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Football's most inspiring and unusual half-time team talks

Sevilla staged a remarkable comeback from 3-0 down against Liverpool in the Champions League on Tuesday, after learning that their coach had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. According to reports, Eduardo Berizzo gave his players the shattering news in the dressing room at half-time before they launched a dramatic revival. Sevilla celebrated their 93rd minute equaliser by running to the touchline and embracing Berizzo, and their second-half showing suggested they were determined to express their solidarity with him.  Here are some of football's most inspiring and unusual half-time team talks.  Silence is golden - Arsene Wenger Arsene Wenger rarely resorts to throwing tea cups around the Arsenal dressing room, believing that displays of anger lose their effect if used on the players too often. One occasion where the Zen-like ambience he strives for worked wonders was at half-time of a league game against Liverpool on Good Friday, 2004. 'The Invincibles' were on their way to an unbeaten league title, but had just lost an FA Cup semi-final to Man Utd and had their hearts broken in Europe by Wayne Bridge and Chelsea.  Arsene Wenger had Martin Keown to thank for one half-time intervention Credit: Russel Cheyne At 2-1 down against Liverpool, some wondered if Arsenal were going to collapse as they had done the previous season. As revealed in Amy Lawrence's book Invincible: Inside Arsenal's Unbeaten 2003-4 Season, Wenger decided to take a back seat and say the square root of nothing. Martin Keown was the one to deliver a few home truths, and by the time Thierry Henry had left Jamie Carragher and the rest of the Liverpool defence on the seat of their pants, Arsenal's season was back on track with a 4-2 win.  Going Public - Phil Brown  With his suspiciously bronzed tan, former Hull manager Phil Brown clearly knew the importance of keeping up appearances. When his team found themselves 4-0 down at Manchester City in 2008, he decided to make a show of them by delivering his half-time rollocking on the pitch. A group of well-paid athletes sat on the turf like a school team gathered round a stern games teacher, as Brown wagged his finger at them with a volley of Anglo-Saxon. It stemmed the rtide slightly, as Hull went down 5-1.  The stunt was cemented in folklore the following season, when Jimmy Bullard and his Hull teammates recreated the team-talk as part of a celebration in the same fixture.  Brown said: “I was told it meant I had lost the dressing room and that I had exposed the club to ridicule. But the bigger picture was that we had won at the Emirates, we had won at White Hart Lane, we had won at St James’ Park and lost 4-3 at Old Trafford. People choose to forget that.”  Who could forget it? Credit: PA Rub of the Green - Chelsea's Masseur  Chelsea's 1-0 victory at Manchester City in 2014 was dubbed a 'Mourinho Monday Night Masterclass', a rather sycophantic expression since applied to several 0-0 draws. However, the then Chelsea manager conceded (perhaps in jest) after the game that masseur Billy McCulloch gave the team talk. Described by John Terry as the 'funniest man in the world', McCulloch roused Chelsea's players before a crucial top of the table meeting.  Mourinho said: "He was screaming so much in Scottish I didn't understand it. "I'm serious. Rrrrr! Rrrrr! Rrrrr! I didn't understand. But the players looked like they understood. It was fantastic." Of course, Mourinho has supplied every player with a 42-page dossier on their opposite number, but it McCulloch who made the difference.  A Numbers Game - Rafael Benitez in Istanbul  Benitez's half time alterations in the 2005 Champions League final were a critical intervention that inspired Liverpool's historic comeback. However, it was a case of bad process good outcome. Benitez wanted to take defender Djimi Traore off and replace him with defensive midfielder Dietmar Hamann - Liverpool would switch to a 3-5-1-1 with Steven Gerrard pushed further forward.  However, just as Traore was heading for the showers, Liverpool's physio told Benitez that Steve Finnan was injured. Trying to think on his feet, Benitez got himself in a bit of a muddle at the white board.  "I had Hamann, Finnan was still on and I added Traore back," Benitez wrote in his autobiography. "Someone pointed out I was sending out 12 men. So I rubbed out both full backs. It left 10 men." It was Finnan who was taken off, Traore put his boots back on and the rest is history. The 100 greatest Champions League moments Bring Yer Dinner - John Sitton  No collection of half-time team talks would be complete without it. Popularised by 1995 Channel 4 documentary Club For a Fiver, which detailed the plight of Leyton Orient through financial turmoil, Sitton's expletives turned him into a cult figure among fans - but ruined his fledgling career as a promising coach.  A goal down to Sam Allardyce's Blackpool, Sitton sacked Terry Howard at half-time before offering two other players out for a fight. Exasperated by Howard's lack of professionalism (Sitton would later say he lived on takeaways and spent his wages at Walthamstow dog track), he delivered his fortnight's notice in the dressing room. It was his words to Barry Lakin and Mark Warren however, that would follow him until the present day:  "And if you f****** come back at me, we’ll have a f****** right sort out in here. "And you can pair up if you like. And you can f****** pick someone else to help you, and you can bring your f****** dinner. Because, by the time I’m finished with you, you’ll f****** need it. Do you f****** hear what I’m saying or not?'" In his self-published memoir, A Little Knowledge is A Dangerous Thing, black cab driver Sitton revealed he was inspired by a scene between Robert Duvall and Sean Penn in the film Colors.  

Football's most inspiring and unusual half-time team talks

Sevilla staged a remarkable comeback from 3-0 down against Liverpool in the Champions League on Tuesday, after learning that their coach had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. According to reports, Eduardo Berizzo gave his players the shattering news in the dressing room at half-time before they launched a dramatic revival. Sevilla celebrated their 93rd minute equaliser by running to the touchline and embracing Berizzo, and their second-half showing suggested they were determined to express their solidarity with him.  Here are some of football's most inspiring and unusual half-time team talks.  Silence is golden - Arsene Wenger Arsene Wenger rarely resorts to throwing tea cups around the Arsenal dressing room, believing that displays of anger lose their effect if used on the players too often. One occasion where the Zen-like ambience he strives for worked wonders was at half-time of a league game against Liverpool on Good Friday, 2004. 'The Invincibles' were on their way to an unbeaten league title, but had just lost an FA Cup semi-final to Man Utd and had their hearts broken in Europe by Wayne Bridge and Chelsea.  Arsene Wenger had Martin Keown to thank for one half-time intervention Credit: Russel Cheyne At 2-1 down against Liverpool, some wondered if Arsenal were going to collapse as they had done the previous season. As revealed in Amy Lawrence's book Invincible: Inside Arsenal's Unbeaten 2003-4 Season, Wenger decided to take a back seat and say the square root of nothing. Martin Keown was the one to deliver a few home truths, and by the time Thierry Henry had left Jamie Carragher and the rest of the Liverpool defence on the seat of their pants, Arsenal's season was back on track with a 4-2 win.  Going Public - Phil Brown  With his suspiciously bronzed tan, former Hull manager Phil Brown clearly knew the importance of keeping up appearances. When his team found themselves 4-0 down at Manchester City in 2008, he decided to make a show of them by delivering his half-time rollocking on the pitch. A group of well-paid athletes sat on the turf like a school team gathered round a stern games teacher, as Brown wagged his finger at them with a volley of Anglo-Saxon. It stemmed the rtide slightly, as Hull went down 5-1.  The stunt was cemented in folklore the following season, when Jimmy Bullard and his Hull teammates recreated the team-talk as part of a celebration in the same fixture.  Brown said: “I was told it meant I had lost the dressing room and that I had exposed the club to ridicule. But the bigger picture was that we had won at the Emirates, we had won at White Hart Lane, we had won at St James’ Park and lost 4-3 at Old Trafford. People choose to forget that.”  Who could forget it? Credit: PA Rub of the Green - Chelsea's Masseur  Chelsea's 1-0 victory at Manchester City in 2014 was dubbed a 'Mourinho Monday Night Masterclass', a rather sycophantic expression since applied to several 0-0 draws. However, the then Chelsea manager conceded (perhaps in jest) after the game that masseur Billy McCulloch gave the team talk. Described by John Terry as the 'funniest man in the world', McCulloch roused Chelsea's players before a crucial top of the table meeting.  Mourinho said: "He was screaming so much in Scottish I didn't understand it. "I'm serious. Rrrrr! Rrrrr! Rrrrr! I didn't understand. But the players looked like they understood. It was fantastic." Of course, Mourinho has supplied every player with a 42-page dossier on their opposite number, but it McCulloch who made the difference.  A Numbers Game - Rafael Benitez in Istanbul  Benitez's half time alterations in the 2005 Champions League final were a critical intervention that inspired Liverpool's historic comeback. However, it was a case of bad process good outcome. Benitez wanted to take defender Djimi Traore off and replace him with defensive midfielder Dietmar Hamann - Liverpool would switch to a 3-5-1-1 with Steven Gerrard pushed further forward.  However, just as Traore was heading for the showers, Liverpool's physio told Benitez that Steve Finnan was injured. Trying to think on his feet, Benitez got himself in a bit of a muddle at the white board.  "I had Hamann, Finnan was still on and I added Traore back," Benitez wrote in his autobiography. "Someone pointed out I was sending out 12 men. So I rubbed out both full backs. It left 10 men." It was Finnan who was taken off, Traore put his boots back on and the rest is history. The 100 greatest Champions League moments Bring Yer Dinner - John Sitton  No collection of half-time team talks would be complete without it. Popularised by 1995 Channel 4 documentary Club For a Fiver, which detailed the plight of Leyton Orient through financial turmoil, Sitton's expletives turned him into a cult figure among fans - but ruined his fledgling career as a promising coach.  A goal down to Sam Allardyce's Blackpool, Sitton sacked Terry Howard at half-time before offering two other players out for a fight. Exasperated by Howard's lack of professionalism (Sitton would later say he lived on takeaways and spent his wages at Walthamstow dog track), he delivered his fortnight's notice in the dressing room. It was his words to Barry Lakin and Mark Warren however, that would follow him until the present day:  "And if you f****** come back at me, we’ll have a f****** right sort out in here. "And you can pair up if you like. And you can f****** pick someone else to help you, and you can bring your f****** dinner. Because, by the time I’m finished with you, you’ll f****** need it. Do you f****** hear what I’m saying or not?'" In his self-published memoir, A Little Knowledge is A Dangerous Thing, black cab driver Sitton revealed he was inspired by a scene between Robert Duvall and Sean Penn in the film Colors.  

Football's most inspiring and unusual half-time team talks

Sevilla staged a remarkable comeback from 3-0 down against Liverpool in the Champions League on Tuesday, after learning that their coach had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. According to reports, Eduardo Berizzo gave his players the shattering news in the dressing room at half-time before they launched a dramatic revival. Sevilla celebrated their 93rd minute equaliser by running to the touchline and embracing Berizzo, and their second-half showing suggested they were determined to express their solidarity with him.  Here are some of football's most inspiring and unusual half-time team talks.  Silence is golden - Arsene Wenger Arsene Wenger rarely resorts to throwing tea cups around the Arsenal dressing room, believing that displays of anger lose their effect if used on the players too often. One occasion where the Zen-like ambience he strives for worked wonders was at half-time of a league game against Liverpool on Good Friday, 2004. 'The Invincibles' were on their way to an unbeaten league title, but had just lost an FA Cup semi-final to Man Utd and had their hearts broken in Europe by Wayne Bridge and Chelsea.  Arsene Wenger had Martin Keown to thank for one half-time intervention Credit: Russel Cheyne At 2-1 down against Liverpool, some wondered if Arsenal were going to collapse as they had done the previous season. As revealed in Amy Lawrence's book Invincible: Inside Arsenal's Unbeaten 2003-4 Season, Wenger decided to take a back seat and say the square root of nothing. Martin Keown was the one to deliver a few home truths, and by the time Thierry Henry had left Jamie Carragher and the rest of the Liverpool defence on the seat of their pants, Arsenal's season was back on track with a 4-2 win.  Going Public - Phil Brown  With his suspiciously bronzed tan, former Hull manager Phil Brown clearly knew the importance of keeping up appearances. When his team found themselves 4-0 down at Manchester City in 2008, he decided to make a show of them by delivering his half-time rollocking on the pitch. A group of well-paid athletes sat on the turf like a school team gathered round a stern games teacher, as Brown wagged his finger at them with a volley of Anglo-Saxon. It stemmed the rtide slightly, as Hull went down 5-1.  The stunt was cemented in folklore the following season, when Jimmy Bullard and his Hull teammates recreated the team-talk as part of a celebration in the same fixture.  Brown said: “I was told it meant I had lost the dressing room and that I had exposed the club to ridicule. But the bigger picture was that we had won at the Emirates, we had won at White Hart Lane, we had won at St James’ Park and lost 4-3 at Old Trafford. People choose to forget that.”  Who could forget it? Credit: PA Rub of the Green - Chelsea's Masseur  Chelsea's 1-0 victory at Manchester City in 2014 was dubbed a 'Mourinho Monday Night Masterclass', a rather sycophantic expression since applied to several 0-0 draws. However, the then Chelsea manager conceded (perhaps in jest) after the game that masseur Billy McCulloch gave the team talk. Described by John Terry as the 'funniest man in the world', McCulloch roused Chelsea's players before a crucial top of the table meeting.  Mourinho said: "He was screaming so much in Scottish I didn't understand it. "I'm serious. Rrrrr! Rrrrr! Rrrrr! I didn't understand. But the players looked like they understood. It was fantastic." Of course, Mourinho has supplied every player with a 42-page dossier on their opposite number, but it McCulloch who made the difference.  A Numbers Game - Rafael Benitez in Istanbul  Benitez's half time alterations in the 2005 Champions League final were a critical intervention that inspired Liverpool's historic comeback. However, it was a case of bad process good outcome. Benitez wanted to take defender Djimi Traore off and replace him with defensive midfielder Dietmar Hamann - Liverpool would switch to a 3-5-1-1 with Steven Gerrard pushed further forward.  However, just as Traore was heading for the showers, Liverpool's physio told Benitez that Steve Finnan was injured. Trying to think on his feet, Benitez got himself in a bit of a muddle at the white board.  "I had Hamann, Finnan was still on and I added Traore back," Benitez wrote in his autobiography. "Someone pointed out I was sending out 12 men. So I rubbed out both full backs. It left 10 men." It was Finnan who was taken off, Traore put his boots back on and the rest is history. The 100 greatest Champions League moments Bring Yer Dinner - John Sitton  No collection of half-time team talks would be complete without it. Popularised by 1995 Channel 4 documentary Club For a Fiver, which detailed the plight of Leyton Orient through financial turmoil, Sitton's expletives turned him into a cult figure among fans - but ruined his fledgling career as a promising coach.  A goal down to Sam Allardyce's Blackpool, Sitton sacked Terry Howard at half-time before offering two other players out for a fight. Exasperated by Howard's lack of professionalism (Sitton would later say he lived on takeaways and spent his wages at Walthamstow dog track), he delivered his fortnight's notice in the dressing room. It was his words to Barry Lakin and Mark Warren however, that would follow him until the present day:  "And if you f****** come back at me, we’ll have a f****** right sort out in here. "And you can pair up if you like. And you can f****** pick someone else to help you, and you can bring your f****** dinner. Because, by the time I’m finished with you, you’ll f****** need it. Do you f****** hear what I’m saying or not?'" In his self-published memoir, A Little Knowledge is A Dangerous Thing, black cab driver Sitton revealed he was inspired by a scene between Robert Duvall and Sean Penn in the film Colors.  

Steve Davis sacked by Leyton Orient after just one win from 12 games

Steve Davis sacked by Leyton Orient after just one win from 12 games

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

Kevin Nolan: 'I don't have a divine right to manage in the Premier League - Notts County is my apprenticeship'

There are microwaves that have lasted longer than managers at Meadow Lane of late. Kevin Nolan is the 19th to have passed through the gates here at venerable Notts County, the oldest club in the world still competing at a professional level, in the last 18 years. But he still hopes, as he positions his League Two manager of the month award on his office mantelpiece, to become part of the furniture. It helps, perhaps, that Alan Hardy, Nolan’s chairman and a figure with whom he enjoys a palpable rapport, made his fortune in the interiors trade. Once, it would have taken a brave soul to accept Notts County’s call. Former owner Ray Trew developed a reputation for being more trigger-happy than Errol Flynn on sheriff’s duty in Dodge City. Martin Allen lasted all of 10 months in the dug-out, Paul Ince six months, and Jamie Fullarton a mere 69 days. Throw in an earlier ill-starred spell by Sven-Goran Eriksson as director of football, a post he abdicated the moment Trew took over, and Sol Campbell’s bizarre one-game cameo, and the picture was a tempestuous one. Nolan’s quest, with Hardy’s fulsome backing, is to steer the club into calmer waters. Ever since his players rebounded from 10 consecutive defeats last season to avert relegation, the decline has turned around, with a recent sequence of seven victories propelling them to the top of the table. Emblematic of the change is Nolan, who at 35 already seems to this manor born. Where his predecessor, John Sheridan, was sacked in January for gross misconduct, after allegedly blaming a referee for his children not receiving Christmas presents, Nolan is trying to build an image as a paragon of virtue: loyal, conscientious, meticulous. “I love being in control of a club,” he says. “I’m trying to give this one the right attitude, built on trust and respect.” Nolan picked up September's League Two manager of the month award Credit: John Robertson A captain at Bolton Wanderer when he was just 23, Nolan has long been identified as a natural leader of men. Sam Allardyce, whom he followed from Bolton to Newcastle and later to West Ham, described him as a classic general, adept at “weeding out the troublemakers”. But the transition to management has hardly been seamless. At benighted Leyton Orient, he found himself at the mercy of petty meddling by former owner Francesco Becchetti, only to be fired after 15 games. “Sacked for winning almost half your matches? That’s more egg on the face for him than me,” Nolan says. “I didn’t want an owner instructing me on what team I had to pick. When someone’s telling me, ‘That player should be playing in this way’, I’ve got no time for it. The first thing Alan did here was to explain that he would always have an opinion, but that he would only ever look to help me. That was a breath of fresh air.” The move was also heavy with emotion. Three days after he took charge of his first game, Nolan’s grandfather, a crucial influence in his upbringing after attending almost all his games, passed away. When he next walked out at Meadow Lane, the sense of loss threatened to overwhelm him, but stoicism prevailed. “I’m not a religious person, but I felt that he was with me that day,” he says. “I hope that he keeps me striving to be better.” Nolan hardly wants for popularity in his latest post. Revived left-back Carl Dickinson has paid tribute to the vibrancy of his man-management and the clarity of his team talks, while a Bolton fan appeared in his latest press conference just to shake his hand. His stock has seldom been so high. After two red cards at West Ham, he endured some fearful abuse, not least from owner David Sullivan’s son, who foolishly wrote on Twitter: “How the f--- Nolan is playing about League Two amazes me. Gives us all hope.” Nolan, famed for his resilience, acknowledges that a few barbs cut deep. “Some of the abuse does hurt. I’m human, not a robot, but I always want to prove people wrong. At such moments, you turn to your family, to those you believe in you.” Nolan was long ago identified as a natural leader of men Credit: ap In just his second year, Nolan is ahead of most managerial curves, but youth is increasingly in vogue in this division. Harry Kewell at Crawley is 39, Stevenage’s Darren Sarll is 34, while Barnet’s Rossi Eames, a retired gymnast, is another whippersnapper at 32. In Nolan’s view, there could be no finer proving ground. “Sometimes you have to start at the bottom, to build yourself up again. Yes, I played in the Premier League for many years, but that doesn’t give me a divine right to manage there. I have to earn that right, and this is my apprenticeship.” That said, Nolan does have a gentleman’s agreement with Hardy that he will be allowed to leave if a more powerful club comes calling – which, given Notts County’s rate of resurgence, appears increasingly likely. “It’s a magnificent gesture on Alan’s behalf, but for me it means nothing,” he says, diplomatically. “With the passion he has shown, it would be ridiculous if I couldn’t show the same work ethic.” One senses the workaholic lifestyle agrees with Nolan, who abhors any state of limbo. “As a player, before I had children, I can remember going home some days at 2pm, putting DVDs on, falling asleep, having my tea, going back to sea, watching another film. Before I knew it, it was morning. “Now, I never switch off. Until recently, my assistant, Richard Thomas, was living in my apartment, and we would be talking about football until one every morning. We’re still on the same WhatsApp group, texting each other all night about tactics. But I love every minute – I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love the fact that I don’t stop thinking about football. I don’t want that Saturday afternoon buzz to be taken away again.”

Kevin Nolan: 'I don't have a divine right to manage in the Premier League - Notts County is my apprenticeship'

There are microwaves that have lasted longer than managers at Meadow Lane of late. Kevin Nolan is the 19th to have passed through the gates here at venerable Notts County, the oldest club in the world still competing at a professional level, in the last 18 years. But he still hopes, as he positions his League Two manager of the month award on his office mantelpiece, to become part of the furniture. It helps, perhaps, that Alan Hardy, Nolan’s chairman and a figure with whom he enjoys a palpable rapport, made his fortune in the interiors trade. Once, it would have taken a brave soul to accept Notts County’s call. Former owner Ray Trew developed a reputation for being more trigger-happy than Errol Flynn on sheriff’s duty in Dodge City. Martin Allen lasted all of 10 months in the dug-out, Paul Ince six months, and Jamie Fullarton a mere 69 days. Throw in an earlier ill-starred spell by Sven-Goran Eriksson as director of football, a post he abdicated the moment Trew took over, and Sol Campbell’s bizarre one-game cameo, and the picture was a tempestuous one. Nolan’s quest, with Hardy’s fulsome backing, is to steer the club into calmer waters. Ever since his players rebounded from 10 consecutive defeats last season to avert relegation, the decline has turned around, with a recent sequence of seven victories propelling them to the top of the table. Emblematic of the change is Nolan, who at 35 already seems to this manor born. Where his predecessor, John Sheridan, was sacked in January for gross misconduct, after allegedly blaming a referee for his children not receiving Christmas presents, Nolan is trying to build an image as a paragon of virtue: loyal, conscientious, meticulous. “I love being in control of a club,” he says. “I’m trying to give this one the right attitude, built on trust and respect.” Nolan picked up September's League Two manager of the month award Credit: John Robertson A captain at Bolton Wanderer when he was just 23, Nolan has long been identified as a natural leader of men. Sam Allardyce, whom he followed from Bolton to Newcastle and later to West Ham, described him as a classic general, adept at “weeding out the troublemakers”. But the transition to management has hardly been seamless. At benighted Leyton Orient, he found himself at the mercy of petty meddling by former owner Francesco Becchetti, only to be fired after 15 games. “Sacked for winning almost half your matches? That’s more egg on the face for him than me,” Nolan says. “I didn’t want an owner instructing me on what team I had to pick. When someone’s telling me, ‘That player should be playing in this way’, I’ve got no time for it. The first thing Alan did here was to explain that he would always have an opinion, but that he would only ever look to help me. That was a breath of fresh air.” The move was also heavy with emotion. Three days after he took charge of his first game, Nolan’s grandfather, a crucial influence in his upbringing after attending almost all his games, passed away. When he next walked out at Meadow Lane, the sense of loss threatened to overwhelm him, but stoicism prevailed. “I’m not a religious person, but I felt that he was with me that day,” he says. “I hope that he keeps me striving to be better.” Nolan hardly wants for popularity in his latest post. Revived left-back Carl Dickinson has paid tribute to the vibrancy of his man-management and the clarity of his team talks, while a Bolton fan appeared in his latest press conference just to shake his hand. His stock has seldom been so high. After two red cards at West Ham, he endured some fearful abuse, not least from owner David Sullivan’s son, who foolishly wrote on Twitter: “How the f--- Nolan is playing about League Two amazes me. Gives us all hope.” Nolan, famed for his resilience, acknowledges that a few barbs cut deep. “Some of the abuse does hurt. I’m human, not a robot, but I always want to prove people wrong. At such moments, you turn to your family, to those you believe in you.” Nolan was long ago identified as a natural leader of men Credit: ap In just his second year, Nolan is ahead of most managerial curves, but youth is increasingly in vogue in this division. Harry Kewell at Crawley is 39, Stevenage’s Darren Sarll is 34, while Barnet’s Rossi Eames, a retired gymnast, is another whippersnapper at 32. In Nolan’s view, there could be no finer proving ground. “Sometimes you have to start at the bottom, to build yourself up again. Yes, I played in the Premier League for many years, but that doesn’t give me a divine right to manage there. I have to earn that right, and this is my apprenticeship.” That said, Nolan does have a gentleman’s agreement with Hardy that he will be allowed to leave if a more powerful club comes calling – which, given Notts County’s rate of resurgence, appears increasingly likely. “It’s a magnificent gesture on Alan’s behalf, but for me it means nothing,” he says, diplomatically. “With the passion he has shown, it would be ridiculous if I couldn’t show the same work ethic.” One senses the workaholic lifestyle agrees with Nolan, who abhors any state of limbo. “As a player, before I had children, I can remember going home some days at 2pm, putting DVDs on, falling asleep, having my tea, going back to sea, watching another film. Before I knew it, it was morning. “Now, I never switch off. Until recently, my assistant, Richard Thomas, was living in my apartment, and we would be talking about football until one every morning. We’re still on the same WhatsApp group, texting each other all night about tactics. But I love every minute – I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love the fact that I don’t stop thinking about football. I don’t want that Saturday afternoon buzz to be taken away again.”

Kevin Nolan: 'I don't have a divine right to manage in the Premier League - Notts County is my apprenticeship'

There are microwaves that have lasted longer than managers at Meadow Lane of late. Kevin Nolan is the 19th to have passed through the gates here at venerable Notts County, the oldest club in the world still competing at a professional level, in the last 18 years. But he still hopes, as he positions his League Two manager of the month award on his office mantelpiece, to become part of the furniture. It helps, perhaps, that Alan Hardy, Nolan’s chairman and a figure with whom he enjoys a palpable rapport, made his fortune in the interiors trade. Once, it would have taken a brave soul to accept Notts County’s call. Former owner Ray Trew developed a reputation for being more trigger-happy than Errol Flynn on sheriff’s duty in Dodge City. Martin Allen lasted all of 10 months in the dug-out, Paul Ince six months, and Jamie Fullarton a mere 69 days. Throw in an earlier ill-starred spell by Sven-Goran Eriksson as director of football, a post he abdicated the moment Trew took over, and Sol Campbell’s bizarre one-game cameo, and the picture was a tempestuous one. Nolan’s quest, with Hardy’s fulsome backing, is to steer the club into calmer waters. Ever since his players rebounded from 10 consecutive defeats last season to avert relegation, the decline has turned around, with a recent sequence of seven victories propelling them to the top of the table. Emblematic of the change is Nolan, who at 35 already seems to this manor born. Where his predecessor, John Sheridan, was sacked in January for gross misconduct, after allegedly blaming a referee for his children not receiving Christmas presents, Nolan is trying to build an image as a paragon of virtue: loyal, conscientious, meticulous. “I love being in control of a club,” he says. “I’m trying to give this one the right attitude, built on trust and respect.” Nolan picked up September's League Two manager of the month award Credit: John Robertson A captain at Bolton Wanderer when he was just 23, Nolan has long been identified as a natural leader of men. Sam Allardyce, whom he followed from Bolton to Newcastle and later to West Ham, described him as a classic general, adept at “weeding out the troublemakers”. But the transition to management has hardly been seamless. At benighted Leyton Orient, he found himself at the mercy of petty meddling by former owner Francesco Becchetti, only to be fired after 15 games. “Sacked for winning almost half your matches? That’s more egg on the face for him than me,” Nolan says. “I didn’t want an owner instructing me on what team I had to pick. When someone’s telling me, ‘That player should be playing in this way’, I’ve got no time for it. The first thing Alan did here was to explain that he would always have an opinion, but that he would only ever look to help me. That was a breath of fresh air.” The move was also heavy with emotion. Three days after he took charge of his first game, Nolan’s grandfather, a crucial influence in his upbringing after attending almost all his games, passed away. When he next walked out at Meadow Lane, the sense of loss threatened to overwhelm him, but stoicism prevailed. “I’m not a religious person, but I felt that he was with me that day,” he says. “I hope that he keeps me striving to be better.” Nolan hardly wants for popularity in his latest post. Revived left-back Carl Dickinson has paid tribute to the vibrancy of his man-management and the clarity of his team talks, while a Bolton fan appeared in his latest press conference just to shake his hand. His stock has seldom been so high. After two red cards at West Ham, he endured some fearful abuse, not least from owner David Sullivan’s son, who foolishly wrote on Twitter: “How the f--- Nolan is playing about League Two amazes me. Gives us all hope.” Nolan, famed for his resilience, acknowledges that a few barbs cut deep. “Some of the abuse does hurt. I’m human, not a robot, but I always want to prove people wrong. At such moments, you turn to your family, to those you believe in you.” Nolan was long ago identified as a natural leader of men Credit: ap In just his second year, Nolan is ahead of most managerial curves, but youth is increasingly in vogue in this division. Harry Kewell at Crawley is 39, Stevenage’s Darren Sarll is 34, while Barnet’s Rossi Eames, a retired gymnast, is another whippersnapper at 32. In Nolan’s view, there could be no finer proving ground. “Sometimes you have to start at the bottom, to build yourself up again. Yes, I played in the Premier League for many years, but that doesn’t give me a divine right to manage there. I have to earn that right, and this is my apprenticeship.” That said, Nolan does have a gentleman’s agreement with Hardy that he will be allowed to leave if a more powerful club comes calling – which, given Notts County’s rate of resurgence, appears increasingly likely. “It’s a magnificent gesture on Alan’s behalf, but for me it means nothing,” he says, diplomatically. “With the passion he has shown, it would be ridiculous if I couldn’t show the same work ethic.” One senses the workaholic lifestyle agrees with Nolan, who abhors any state of limbo. “As a player, before I had children, I can remember going home some days at 2pm, putting DVDs on, falling asleep, having my tea, going back to sea, watching another film. Before I knew it, it was morning. “Now, I never switch off. Until recently, my assistant, Richard Thomas, was living in my apartment, and we would be talking about football until one every morning. We’re still on the same WhatsApp group, texting each other all night about tactics. But I love every minute – I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love the fact that I don’t stop thinking about football. I don’t want that Saturday afternoon buzz to be taken away again.”

Martin Ling exclusive: I was worried my depression might scare people off so Leyton Orient really feels like a second chance

If Martin Ling had been given a pound every time someone asked him if it was wise, given his medical history, to go back to work at Leyton Orient, he would be close to paying off the club’s debt. Here was Ling, who had been obliged to leave his last two jobs in management after crippling bouts of depression, taking up the role of director of football at a club who have latterly redefined the term dysfunctional, a club mired in debt, decline and dispute.  You can understand the surprise at his accepting the role: he was taking on a job that appears guaranteed to induce stress. “Actually, I’m loving it,” he smiles, as he sits in his office in the Brisbane Road stadium. “I was worried my illness might scare people off. I knew another manager’s job was very unlikely. So this really does feel like a second chance. And I’m buzzing off it.” Ling resigned as manager of Swindon Town in 2015 after only 52 days. He left because, despite winning his first few games, he could feel the advancing tide of the depression which had overwhelmed him when he was in charge at Torquay two years previously. It was an episode which left him shattered, hospitalised and undergoing electro-convulsive treatment, an experience from which he took a long time to recover. “I don’t know if it was football that caused it,” he explains. “I can’t prove it was, but I can’t prove it wasn’t. I still take tablets, I still have counselling, I have to live with the fact I have depression. When it hits you, you think you’ve got it for life. But then, as suddenly as it arrives, it goes. And the fact is I feel brilliant today. I’ve felt brilliant for an awful lot of days in recent times.” Martin Ling Credit: Paul Grover What Ling did not want to do after he emerged from his darkness was hide away. An open, engaging, quick-witted presence, he has spent much of the past couple of years giving talks about the condition, he is always willing to have a coffee with someone who is suffering, always keen to widen general understanding of what it entails. And through it all he retained a keenness to get back to work in football, to tap into the experience he has gleaned over the years. So, when he got a call this summer to return to the club where he played and then managed with some success for six years, he did not hesitate. “If I could have picked a job that best suited my skills, this is it,” he says. “I don’t believe football management gave me depression, I think I would have got it in any walk of life. But I do believe football management is an all-encompassing, mind-never-sits-still, always-in-your-head type of job and I didn’t want to test it again. Looking back, what I enjoyed was the managing element of being a football manager more than the coaching bit. I like managing people. And in this role I’m managing more people.” It is a job, he quickly discovered, that entails a lot of managing. Orient had been driven to the very brink of insolvency under the previous ownership of Francesco Becchetti. In his three years in charge, the Italian oversaw the club sinking from the League One play-off final to losing their league status for the first time in 112 years. In the process, he employed 10 managers, failed to pay staff for months on end and drove the supporters to despair. When Becchetti moved on in June, his legacy was an operation stripped of cash, purpose and morale. “It was a massive car crash,” is Ling’s way of putting it. “And there’s still wreckage we’re coming across on a daily basis, in terms of trying to restore our credit rating, in terms of debts. The place was shot.” Ling managed Orient when they were promoted to League One in 2006 Credit: Paul Grover  To the rescue had come Nigel Travis, the chief executive of Dunkin’ Donuts and a lifelong Orient fan, who, after tortuous negotiation with Becchetti, bought the club with his business partner, Kent Teague. Travis is full of enthusiasm and ideas for the club, how he is going to market them as an alternative to the corporate Premier League, how he is going to communicate with fans digitally, how he will develop a presence in the United States, where he lives and works. But before all that, the new owner required someone he could trust to run the operation and install the kind of stability destroyed by Becchetti’s chaotic regime. The first person Travis thought of was the man whose picture adorns the back of the south stand at Brisbane Road, taken in celebration of the time he guided Orient to League One in 2006. “Martin has all the qualities we needed,” the new owner says, speaking on the phone from Texas. “I believe business is all about people, and Martin captures that. He is brilliant with people.” He needs to be. What Ling discovered when he arrived at the stadium was a ghostly shell of a club. “When I walked into this office on June 23, I had three staff members and nine players, the oldest one was 19. Everyone else had gone through the door,” he recalls. “We had no scouting network. We had no physio. Which meant we couldn’t train.” Plus, he had no first-team manager. He recruited Steve Davis, the former Crewe manager, to whom he gave a fundamental reassurance. “I know what it’s like to sit in Steve’s seat,” he says. “I know I’d have hated to have a director of football who was just sitting waiting to take my job, looking for something to go wrong. He knows I’m not interested in being manager, for very personal reasons.” Together, the pair recruited a squad, selling the new owners’ ambitions to them. Initially, there was, according to Ling, “a massive euphoria” among fans that the club were finally out of the hands of Becchetti; more season tickets were sold than in any time in 16 years. But the director of football knew it would take time for a team so hurriedly assembled to gel. He knew that supporters might have to experience a few defeats along the way, as they did against AFC Fylde at home last weekend and away to Tranmere Rovers last night. “Some of our supporters think, because they’ve not heard of these teams, we’re going to railroad them. But simply being Leyton Orient wins you nothing.  “Opposing teams come to this lovely stadium and it’s like a cup final for them. It’s something we’ve got to get used to. This is a tough league to get out of. There were a few boos on Saturday.  The best young players in world football “I don’t mind fans grumbling, they wouldn’t be football fans if they didn’t grumble. But one thing we’re not going to do is panic.” And, though he has no timetable for achieving it, though it might take longer than some supporters assume, Ling believes everything is now in place to bring back the kind of success he once delivered here. “People used to say about me when they heard I was ill, what have you got to be depressed about? I learned it doesn’t work like that. It’s a weird illness, I don’t know where it comes from and I don’t know where it goes,” he says. “But what I do know is, there is nowhere else I’d rather be than sat here now.”

Martin Ling exclusive: I was worried my depression might scare people off so Leyton Orient really feels like a second chance

Martin Ling exclusive: I was worried my depression might scare people off so Leyton Orient really feels like a second chance

Martin Ling exclusive: I was worried my depression might scare people off so Leyton Orient really feels like a second chance

If Martin Ling had been given a pound every time someone asked him if it was wise, given his medical history, to go back to work at Leyton Orient, he would be close to paying off the club’s debt. Here was Ling, who had been obliged to leave his last two jobs in management after crippling bouts of depression, taking up the role of director of football at a club who have latterly redefined the term dysfunctional, a club mired in debt, decline and dispute.  You can understand the surprise at his accepting the role: he was taking on a job that appears guaranteed to induce stress. “Actually, I’m loving it,” he smiles, as he sits in his office in the Brisbane Road stadium. “I was worried my illness might scare people off. I knew another manager’s job was very unlikely. So this really does feel like a second chance. And I’m buzzing off it.” Ling resigned as manager of Swindon Town in 2015 after only 52 days. He left because, despite winning his first few games, he could feel the advancing tide of the depression which had overwhelmed him when he was in charge at Torquay two years previously. It was an episode which left him shattered, hospitalised and undergoing electro-convulsive treatment, an experience from which he took a long time to recover. “I don’t know if it was football that caused it,” he explains. “I can’t prove it was, but I can’t prove it wasn’t. I still take tablets, I still have counselling, I have to live with the fact I have depression. When it hits you, you think you’ve got it for life. But then, as suddenly as it arrives, it goes. And the fact is I feel brilliant today. I’ve felt brilliant for an awful lot of days in recent times.” Martin Ling Credit: Paul Grover What Ling did not want to do after he emerged from his darkness was hide away. An open, engaging, quick-witted presence, he has spent much of the past couple of years giving talks about the condition, he is always willing to have a coffee with someone who is suffering, always keen to widen general understanding of what it entails. And through it all he retained a keenness to get back to work in football, to tap into the experience he has gleaned over the years. So, when he got a call this summer to return to the club where he played and then managed with some success for six years, he did not hesitate. “If I could have picked a job that best suited my skills, this is it,” he says. “I don’t believe football management gave me depression, I think I would have got it in any walk of life. But I do believe football management is an all-encompassing, mind-never-sits-still, always-in-your-head type of job and I didn’t want to test it again. Looking back, what I enjoyed was the managing element of being a football manager more than the coaching bit. I like managing people. And in this role I’m managing more people.” It is a job, he quickly discovered, that entails a lot of managing. Orient had been driven to the very brink of insolvency under the previous ownership of Francesco Becchetti. In his three years in charge, the Italian oversaw the club sinking from the League One play-off final to losing their league status for the first time in 112 years. In the process, he employed 10 managers, failed to pay staff for months on end and drove the supporters to despair. When Becchetti moved on in June, his legacy was an operation stripped of cash, purpose and morale. “It was a massive car crash,” is Ling’s way of putting it. “And there’s still wreckage we’re coming across on a daily basis, in terms of trying to restore our credit rating, in terms of debts. The place was shot.” Ling managed Orient when they were promoted to League One in 2006 Credit: Paul Grover  To the rescue had come Nigel Travis, the chief executive of Dunkin’ Donuts and a lifelong Orient fan, who, after tortuous negotiation with Becchetti, bought the club with his business partner, Kent Teague. Travis is full of enthusiasm and ideas for the club, how he is going to market them as an alternative to the corporate Premier League, how he is going to communicate with fans digitally, how he will develop a presence in the United States, where he lives and works. But before all that, the new owner required someone he could trust to run the operation and install the kind of stability destroyed by Becchetti’s chaotic regime. The first person Travis thought of was the man whose picture adorns the back of the south stand at Brisbane Road, taken in celebration of the time he guided Orient to League One in 2006. “Martin has all the qualities we needed,” the new owner says, speaking on the phone from Texas. “I believe business is all about people, and Martin captures that. He is brilliant with people.” He needs to be. What Ling discovered when he arrived at the stadium was a ghostly shell of a club. “When I walked into this office on June 23, I had three staff members and nine players, the oldest one was 19. Everyone else had gone through the door,” he recalls. “We had no scouting network. We had no physio. Which meant we couldn’t train.” Plus, he had no first-team manager. He recruited Steve Davis, the former Crewe manager, to whom he gave a fundamental reassurance. “I know what it’s like to sit in Steve’s seat,” he says. “I know I’d have hated to have a director of football who was just sitting waiting to take my job, looking for something to go wrong. He knows I’m not interested in being manager, for very personal reasons.” Together, the pair recruited a squad, selling the new owners’ ambitions to them. Initially, there was, according to Ling, “a massive euphoria” among fans that the club were finally out of the hands of Becchetti; more season tickets were sold than in any time in 16 years. But the director of football knew it would take time for a team so hurriedly assembled to gel. He knew that supporters might have to experience a few defeats along the way, as they did against AFC Fylde at home last weekend and away to Tranmere Rovers last night. “Some of our supporters think, because they’ve not heard of these teams, we’re going to railroad them. But simply being Leyton Orient wins you nothing.  “Opposing teams come to this lovely stadium and it’s like a cup final for them. It’s something we’ve got to get used to. This is a tough league to get out of. There were a few boos on Saturday.  The best young players in world football “I don’t mind fans grumbling, they wouldn’t be football fans if they didn’t grumble. But one thing we’re not going to do is panic.” And, though he has no timetable for achieving it, though it might take longer than some supporters assume, Ling believes everything is now in place to bring back the kind of success he once delivered here. “People used to say about me when they heard I was ill, what have you got to be depressed about? I learned it doesn’t work like that. It’s a weird illness, I don’t know where it comes from and I don’t know where it goes,” he says. “But what I do know is, there is nowhere else I’d rather be than sat here now.”

Martin Ling exclusive: I was worried my depression might scare people off so Leyton Orient really feels like a second chance

If Martin Ling had been given a pound every time someone asked him if it was wise, given his medical history, to go back to work at Leyton Orient, he would be close to paying off the club’s debt. Here was Ling, who had been obliged to leave his last two jobs in management after crippling bouts of depression, taking up the role of director of football at a club who have latterly redefined the term dysfunctional, a club mired in debt, decline and dispute.  You can understand the surprise at his accepting the role: he was taking on a job that appears guaranteed to induce stress. “Actually, I’m loving it,” he smiles, as he sits in his office in the Brisbane Road stadium. “I was worried my illness might scare people off. I knew another manager’s job was very unlikely. So this really does feel like a second chance. And I’m buzzing off it.” Ling resigned as manager of Swindon Town in 2015 after only 52 days. He left because, despite winning his first few games, he could feel the advancing tide of the depression which had overwhelmed him when he was in charge at Torquay two years previously. It was an episode which left him shattered, hospitalised and undergoing electro-convulsive treatment, an experience from which he took a long time to recover. “I don’t know if it was football that caused it,” he explains. “I can’t prove it was, but I can’t prove it wasn’t. I still take tablets, I still have counselling, I have to live with the fact I have depression. When it hits you, you think you’ve got it for life. But then, as suddenly as it arrives, it goes. And the fact is I feel brilliant today. I’ve felt brilliant for an awful lot of days in recent times.” Martin Ling Credit: Paul Grover What Ling did not want to do after he emerged from his darkness was hide away. An open, engaging, quick-witted presence, he has spent much of the past couple of years giving talks about the condition, he is always willing to have a coffee with someone who is suffering, always keen to widen general understanding of what it entails. And through it all he retained a keenness to get back to work in football, to tap into the experience he has gleaned over the years. So, when he got a call this summer to return to the club where he played and then managed with some success for six years, he did not hesitate. “If I could have picked a job that best suited my skills, this is it,” he says. “I don’t believe football management gave me depression, I think I would have got it in any walk of life. But I do believe football management is an all-encompassing, mind-never-sits-still, always-in-your-head type of job and I didn’t want to test it again. Looking back, what I enjoyed was the managing element of being a football manager more than the coaching bit. I like managing people. And in this role I’m managing more people.” It is a job, he quickly discovered, that entails a lot of managing. Orient had been driven to the very brink of insolvency under the previous ownership of Francesco Becchetti. In his three years in charge, the Italian oversaw the club sinking from the League One play-off final to losing their league status for the first time in 112 years. In the process, he employed 10 managers, failed to pay staff for months on end and drove the supporters to despair. When Becchetti moved on in June, his legacy was an operation stripped of cash, purpose and morale. “It was a massive car crash,” is Ling’s way of putting it. “And there’s still wreckage we’re coming across on a daily basis, in terms of trying to restore our credit rating, in terms of debts. The place was shot.” Ling managed Orient when they were promoted to League One in 2006 Credit: Paul Grover  To the rescue had come Nigel Travis, the chief executive of Dunkin’ Donuts and a lifelong Orient fan, who, after tortuous negotiation with Becchetti, bought the club with his business partner, Kent Teague. Travis is full of enthusiasm and ideas for the club, how he is going to market them as an alternative to the corporate Premier League, how he is going to communicate with fans digitally, how he will develop a presence in the United States, where he lives and works. But before all that, the new owner required someone he could trust to run the operation and install the kind of stability destroyed by Becchetti’s chaotic regime. The first person Travis thought of was the man whose picture adorns the back of the south stand at Brisbane Road, taken in celebration of the time he guided Orient to League One in 2006. “Martin has all the qualities we needed,” the new owner says, speaking on the phone from Texas. “I believe business is all about people, and Martin captures that. He is brilliant with people.” He needs to be. What Ling discovered when he arrived at the stadium was a ghostly shell of a club. “When I walked into this office on June 23, I had three staff members and nine players, the oldest one was 19. Everyone else had gone through the door,” he recalls. “We had no scouting network. We had no physio. Which meant we couldn’t train.” Plus, he had no first-team manager. He recruited Steve Davis, the former Crewe manager, to whom he gave a fundamental reassurance. “I know what it’s like to sit in Steve’s seat,” he says. “I know I’d have hated to have a director of football who was just sitting waiting to take my job, looking for something to go wrong. He knows I’m not interested in being manager, for very personal reasons.” Together, the pair recruited a squad, selling the new owners’ ambitions to them. Initially, there was, according to Ling, “a massive euphoria” among fans that the club were finally out of the hands of Becchetti; more season tickets were sold than in any time in 16 years. But the director of football knew it would take time for a team so hurriedly assembled to gel. He knew that supporters might have to experience a few defeats along the way, as they did against AFC Fylde at home last weekend and away to Tranmere Rovers last night. “Some of our supporters think, because they’ve not heard of these teams, we’re going to railroad them. But simply being Leyton Orient wins you nothing.  “Opposing teams come to this lovely stadium and it’s like a cup final for them. It’s something we’ve got to get used to. This is a tough league to get out of. There were a few boos on Saturday.  The best young players in world football “I don’t mind fans grumbling, they wouldn’t be football fans if they didn’t grumble. But one thing we’re not going to do is panic.” And, though he has no timetable for achieving it, though it might take longer than some supporters assume, Ling believes everything is now in place to bring back the kind of success he once delivered here. “People used to say about me when they heard I was ill, what have you got to be depressed about? I learned it doesn’t work like that. It’s a weird illness, I don’t know where it comes from and I don’t know where it goes,” he says. “But what I do know is, there is nowhere else I’d rather be than sat here now.”

Martin Ling exclusive: I was worried my depression might scare people off so Leyton Orient really feels like a second chance

Leyton Orient boss Steve Davis 'sleeping at the office' as he moves into Brisbane Road

Leyton Orient boss Steve Davis 'sleeping at the office' as he moves into Brisbane Road

Steven Taylor Reveals Strange Newcastle Team Meeting That Followed Magpies' 2009 Relegation

Ex-Newcastle man Steven Taylor has shed light on the stressful period that followed the club's relegation in 2009. After the heartbreak brought about by the drop to the Championship, Newcastle were treated to a 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Leyton Orient in a pre-season friendly, leading to manager Chris Hughton and Kevin Nolan calling a meeting. Steven Taylor was once in a Newcastle team meeting when players put their HANDS UP to say they wanted to leave club: https://t.co/pEyS9rKTji...

Steven Taylor Reveals Strange Newcastle Team Meeting That Followed Magpies' 2009 Relegation

Ex-Newcastle man Steven Taylor has shed light on the stressful period that followed the club's relegation in 2009. After the heartbreak brought about by the drop to the Championship, Newcastle were treated to a 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Leyton Orient in a pre-season friendly, leading to manager Chris Hughton and Kevin Nolan calling a meeting. Steven Taylor was once in a Newcastle team meeting when players put their HANDS UP to say they wanted to leave club: https://t.co/pEyS9rKTji...

Steven Taylor Reveals Strange Newcastle Team Meeting That Followed Magpies' 2009 Relegation

Ex-Newcastle man Steven Taylor has shed light on the stressful period that followed the club's relegation in 2009. After the heartbreak brought about by the drop to the Championship, Newcastle were treated to a 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Leyton Orient in a pre-season friendly, leading to manager Chris Hughton and Kevin Nolan calling a meeting. Steven Taylor was once in a Newcastle team meeting when players put their HANDS UP to say they wanted to leave club: https://t.co/pEyS9rKTji...

Steven Taylor Reveals Strange Newcastle Team Meeting That Followed Magpies' 2009 Relegation

Ex-Newcastle man Steven Taylor has shed light on the stressful period that followed the club's relegation in 2009. After the heartbreak brought about by the drop to the Championship, Newcastle were treated to a 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Leyton Orient in a pre-season friendly, leading to manager Chris Hughton and Kevin Nolan calling a meeting. Steven Taylor was once in a Newcastle team meeting when players put their HANDS UP to say they wanted to leave club: https://t.co/pEyS9rKTji...

Jamie Vardy: 'Turning down Arsenal doesn’t mean I wouldn’t look at another offer'

It may be the most remarkable story in Premier League history, but Jamie Vardy has insisted that one winners’ medal is not enough and has not ruled out a move away from Leicester City if another big offer comes his way. Vardy has spent the summer trying to launch the careers of 42 non-League hopefuls, who dream of following in his footsteps, through his V9 Academy. Despite the fact he has been trying to find the ‘next Jamie Vardy’, the man himself is not ready to accept that his own journey is complete and is desperate to win more silverware – at Leicester or elsewhere. Vardy insists he will never regret turning down Arsenal, even though the Gunners won the FA Cup last season, and could be open to adding another chapter to his story by making a high-profile move either in England or overseas. “I want to win as much as possible, I don’t want to only have one Premier League medal in my drawer at home – it would be an empty glass cabinet,” said Vardy. “I want to win as much as possible. I’m contracted to Leicester and we will see how high we can go. In the future, who knows? “It was my choice to turn Arsenal down. But if another offer came in, it would be the same in that I would look at it and work out the pros and cons. But, no, turning down Arsenal doesn’t mean I wouldn’t look at another offer. Vardy played for England against Malta Credit: AFP “Down the road, there might be an opportunity to go to America or China. It would be something I would like to experience. I've seen other players do it. I know it will involve moving the family again, but it will give them a different experience to see different cultures.” When it was put to Vardy that he would also have an FA Cup winners’ medal if he had joined Arsenal, the 30-year-old replied: “But it weren’t the Premier League was it? So I’m all right with that I think. I’ll never regret anything I’ve chosen to do.” Asked what his reasons were for rejecting the Gunners, Vardy added: “It was just coming up with the positives and negatives, and I came up with a decision and I’m pleased with the decision I made. “They had qualified for the Champions League for the last 20 years or something, until last year. That was something to think about. But Leicester were also in the Champions League and on a different night at home against Atletico Madrid we could have gone even further.” Vardy during the Champions League Quarter Final first leg match against Atletico Madrid  Credit: GETTY IMAGES Wherever he is, Vardy will be keeping a close eye on the careers of Danny Newton, Blair Turgott, Alex Penny and Lamar Reynolds, who all graduated from Vardy’s Academy and were signed by professional clubs. The first episode of The Next Jamie Vardy will be shown on Sky One on September 16 and former Hinckley United and Tamworth striker Newton, who had never previously played for a professional club, has started with three goals in five League Two games for Stevenage. “Straight away, as soon as our game finishes, I’m having a look to see if they have scored at each of their clubs,” said Vardy, who played for Stocksbridge Park Steels, Halifax Town and Fleetwood Town before joining Leicester five years ago. “If not, seeing if they’ve started. “Danny has started off well. I’ve spoken to him and he said it was quite hard for him in pre-season. He was saying that he bets the manager was thinking ‘what have we signed here’, then it just clicked for him and he’s been on fire.” Vardy believes 90 per cent of English clubs, even in the lower leagues, would rather sign a player from overseas than looking in non-League for bargains. “Within the non-League base, my scouts were probably better (than scouts at professional clubs),” said Vardy, who put more than £100,000 of his own money into the V9 project. “A lot of scouts wouldn’t even think about looking in non-League. Jamie and wife Rebekah Vardy oversee training at the first day of their V9 Academy “They are probably told to look at a specific position and specific type of player they want and it will either be someone from the league below they look at or nine times out of 10 nowadays they go abroad.” Having seen youngsters at professional clubs seek the trappings of a top footballer before making an impression on the first team, Vardy believes non-League players can be hungrier to prove themselves. “I think so, yes,” he said. “It was definitely the case for me. As soon as I signed for Leicester and knuckled down and things started going right, and I started scoring goals, I wanted to be as good as I possibly can. A lot of the academies now everything is done for you, but how long’s that going to last for?” As part of his fly-on-the-wall documentary, Vardy returned to the carbon fibre factory where he used to work while playing non-League football. He believes youngsters who have spent their lives in professional academies would benefit from being sent on placements and getting a taste of the real world. “I think it would definitely wake a few of them up,” said Vardy. “I can't see many players wanting to get up at six in the morning to go and do a nine-hour shift. It would definitely open their eyes and make them realise that it's not something they want to even have a chance of doing.” The graduates Danny Newton and Blair Turgott were both signed by Stevenage after impressing in the V9 Academy, but the pair have experienced very different career paths until now. Striker Newton has been likened to Jamie Vardy, as he was never signed by a professional academy or youth set up and has combined a non-League career with working in a factory. Danny Newton has been likened to Jamie Vardy The 26-year-old played up front for Hinckley United with Andre Gray, who this summer joined Watford from Burnley for a fee worth £18.5million. “I was a maintenance engineer,” said Newton, who has scored three goals in five games at Stevenage. “I did a four-year apprenticeship when I was 16 and carried it on. That paid the bills. I got a house with my girlfriend and I was comfortable. But it can’t compare to playing football every day. “I’ve never had an agent, I’ve never had trials. I’ve just played non-League. I was at Hinckley United in the Conference North when I was 17. I broke into the first team and was playing every week for three years and they went bust. “I played with Andre Gray for two years. He’s gone and done it. We played up front together at the time. Luton took him and he’s progressed after getting that chance. I’ve just left it a bit late, but I’m grateful now the V9 academy has given me this chance.” Blair Turgott has played for West Ham, Coventry and Leyton Orient among others Winger Turgott joined West Ham United aged just eight and played in England youth teams with Raheem Sterling and Nathaniel Chalobah, both of whom he is still in touch with. The 23-year-old was loaned out to Bradford City, Colchester United, Rotherham United and Dagenham and Redbridge before being released by the Hammers two years ago. "My first loan was at Bradford when I was 17 and I was lonely,” said Turgott. “I had never been away from home and I was literally just going to training and coming back to a hotel in Bradford city centre. It was difficult at first. “I played for the England youth teams with Raheem Sterling, Nathan Redmond and Nathaniel Chalobah, and it shows that the cream will rise to the top. It's good to see those boys doing so well, and they tell me to keep my head up. Just because one person says ‘no’, it doesn't mean you aren't good enough to make it as a footballer.” 20 best players in the Premier League: August 2017

Jamie Vardy: 'Turning down Arsenal doesn’t mean I wouldn’t look at another offer'

It may be the most remarkable story in Premier League history, but Jamie Vardy has insisted that one winners’ medal is not enough and has not ruled out a move away from Leicester City if another big offer comes his way. Vardy has spent the summer trying to launch the careers of 42 non-League hopefuls, who dream of following in his footsteps, through his V9 Academy. Despite the fact he has been trying to find the ‘next Jamie Vardy’, the man himself is not ready to accept that his own journey is complete and is desperate to win more silverware – at Leicester or elsewhere. Vardy insists he will never regret turning down Arsenal, even though the Gunners won the FA Cup last season, and could be open to adding another chapter to his story by making a high-profile move either in England or overseas. “I want to win as much as possible, I don’t want to only have one Premier League medal in my drawer at home – it would be an empty glass cabinet,” said Vardy. “I want to win as much as possible. I’m contracted to Leicester and we will see how high we can go. In the future, who knows? “It was my choice to turn Arsenal down. But if another offer came in, it would be the same in that I would look at it and work out the pros and cons. But, no, turning down Arsenal doesn’t mean I wouldn’t look at another offer. Vardy played for England against Malta Credit: AFP “Down the road, there might be an opportunity to go to America or China. It would be something I would like to experience. I've seen other players do it. I know it will involve moving the family again, but it will give them a different experience to see different cultures.” When it was put to Vardy that he would also have an FA Cup winners’ medal if he had joined Arsenal, the 30-year-old replied: “But it weren’t the Premier League was it? So I’m all right with that I think. I’ll never regret anything I’ve chosen to do.” Asked what his reasons were for rejecting the Gunners, Vardy added: “It was just coming up with the positives and negatives, and I came up with a decision and I’m pleased with the decision I made. “They had qualified for the Champions League for the last 20 years or something, until last year. That was something to think about. But Leicester were also in the Champions League and on a different night at home against Atletico Madrid we could have gone even further.” Vardy during the Champions League Quarter Final first leg match against Atletico Madrid  Credit: GETTY IMAGES Wherever he is, Vardy will be keeping a close eye on the careers of Danny Newton, Blair Turgott, Alex Penny and Lamar Reynolds, who all graduated from Vardy’s Academy and were signed by professional clubs. The first episode of The Next Jamie Vardy will be shown on Sky One on September 16 and former Hinckley United and Tamworth striker Newton, who had never previously played for a professional club, has started with three goals in five League Two games for Stevenage. “Straight away, as soon as our game finishes, I’m having a look to see if they have scored at each of their clubs,” said Vardy, who played for Stocksbridge Park Steels, Halifax Town and Fleetwood Town before joining Leicester five years ago. “If not, seeing if they’ve started. “Danny has started off well. I’ve spoken to him and he said it was quite hard for him in pre-season. He was saying that he bets the manager was thinking ‘what have we signed here’, then it just clicked for him and he’s been on fire.” Vardy believes 90 per cent of English clubs, even in the lower leagues, would rather sign a player from overseas than looking in non-League for bargains. “Within the non-League base, my scouts were probably better (than scouts at professional clubs),” said Vardy, who put more than £100,000 of his own money into the V9 project. “A lot of scouts wouldn’t even think about looking in non-League. Jamie and wife Rebekah Vardy oversee training at the first day of their V9 Academy “They are probably told to look at a specific position and specific type of player they want and it will either be someone from the league below they look at or nine times out of 10 nowadays they go abroad.” Having seen youngsters at professional clubs seek the trappings of a top footballer before making an impression on the first team, Vardy believes non-League players can be hungrier to prove themselves. “I think so, yes,” he said. “It was definitely the case for me. As soon as I signed for Leicester and knuckled down and things started going right, and I started scoring goals, I wanted to be as good as I possibly can. A lot of the academies now everything is done for you, but how long’s that going to last for?” As part of his fly-on-the-wall documentary, Vardy returned to the carbon fibre factory where he used to work while playing non-League football. He believes youngsters who have spent their lives in professional academies would benefit from being sent on placements and getting a taste of the real world. “I think it would definitely wake a few of them up,” said Vardy. “I can't see many players wanting to get up at six in the morning to go and do a nine-hour shift. It would definitely open their eyes and make them realise that it's not something they want to even have a chance of doing.” The graduates Danny Newton and Blair Turgott were both signed by Stevenage after impressing in the V9 Academy, but the pair have experienced very different career paths until now. Striker Newton has been likened to Jamie Vardy, as he was never signed by a professional academy or youth set up and has combined a non-League career with working in a factory. Danny Newton has been likened to Jamie Vardy The 26-year-old played up front for Hinckley United with Andre Gray, who this summer joined Watford from Burnley for a fee worth £18.5million. “I was a maintenance engineer,” said Newton, who has scored three goals in five games at Stevenage. “I did a four-year apprenticeship when I was 16 and carried it on. That paid the bills. I got a house with my girlfriend and I was comfortable. But it can’t compare to playing football every day. “I’ve never had an agent, I’ve never had trials. I’ve just played non-League. I was at Hinckley United in the Conference North when I was 17. I broke into the first team and was playing every week for three years and they went bust. “I played with Andre Gray for two years. He’s gone and done it. We played up front together at the time. Luton took him and he’s progressed after getting that chance. I’ve just left it a bit late, but I’m grateful now the V9 academy has given me this chance.” Blair Turgott has played for West Ham, Coventry and Leyton Orient among others Winger Turgott joined West Ham United aged just eight and played in England youth teams with Raheem Sterling and Nathaniel Chalobah, both of whom he is still in touch with. The 23-year-old was loaned out to Bradford City, Colchester United, Rotherham United and Dagenham and Redbridge before being released by the Hammers two years ago. "My first loan was at Bradford when I was 17 and I was lonely,” said Turgott. “I had never been away from home and I was literally just going to training and coming back to a hotel in Bradford city centre. It was difficult at first. “I played for the England youth teams with Raheem Sterling, Nathan Redmond and Nathaniel Chalobah, and it shows that the cream will rise to the top. It's good to see those boys doing so well, and they tell me to keep my head up. Just because one person says ‘no’, it doesn't mean you aren't good enough to make it as a footballer.” 20 best players in the Premier League: August 2017

Jamie Vardy: 'Turning down Arsenal doesn’t mean I wouldn’t look at another offer'

It may be the most remarkable story in Premier League history, but Jamie Vardy has insisted that one winners’ medal is not enough and has not ruled out a move away from Leicester City if another big offer comes his way. Vardy has spent the summer trying to launch the careers of 42 non-League hopefuls, who dream of following in his footsteps, through his V9 Academy. Despite the fact he has been trying to find the ‘next Jamie Vardy’, the man himself is not ready to accept that his own journey is complete and is desperate to win more silverware – at Leicester or elsewhere. Vardy insists he will never regret turning down Arsenal, even though the Gunners won the FA Cup last season, and could be open to adding another chapter to his story by making a high-profile move either in England or overseas. “I want to win as much as possible, I don’t want to only have one Premier League medal in my drawer at home – it would be an empty glass cabinet,” said Vardy. “I want to win as much as possible. I’m contracted to Leicester and we will see how high we can go. In the future, who knows? “It was my choice to turn Arsenal down. But if another offer came in, it would be the same in that I would look at it and work out the pros and cons. But, no, turning down Arsenal doesn’t mean I wouldn’t look at another offer. Vardy played for England against Malta Credit: AFP “Down the road, there might be an opportunity to go to America or China. It would be something I would like to experience. I've seen other players do it. I know it will involve moving the family again, but it will give them a different experience to see different cultures.” When it was put to Vardy that he would also have an FA Cup winners’ medal if he had joined Arsenal, the 30-year-old replied: “But it weren’t the Premier League was it? So I’m all right with that I think. I’ll never regret anything I’ve chosen to do.” Asked what his reasons were for rejecting the Gunners, Vardy added: “It was just coming up with the positives and negatives, and I came up with a decision and I’m pleased with the decision I made. “They had qualified for the Champions League for the last 20 years or something, until last year. That was something to think about. But Leicester were also in the Champions League and on a different night at home against Atletico Madrid we could have gone even further.” Vardy during the Champions League Quarter Final first leg match against Atletico Madrid  Credit: GETTY IMAGES Wherever he is, Vardy will be keeping a close eye on the careers of Danny Newton, Blair Turgott, Alex Penny and Lamar Reynolds, who all graduated from Vardy’s Academy and were signed by professional clubs. The first episode of The Next Jamie Vardy will be shown on Sky One on September 16 and former Hinckley United and Tamworth striker Newton, who had never previously played for a professional club, has started with three goals in five League Two games for Stevenage. “Straight away, as soon as our game finishes, I’m having a look to see if they have scored at each of their clubs,” said Vardy, who played for Stocksbridge Park Steels, Halifax Town and Fleetwood Town before joining Leicester five years ago. “If not, seeing if they’ve started. “Danny has started off well. I’ve spoken to him and he said it was quite hard for him in pre-season. He was saying that he bets the manager was thinking ‘what have we signed here’, then it just clicked for him and he’s been on fire.” Vardy believes 90 per cent of English clubs, even in the lower leagues, would rather sign a player from overseas than looking in non-League for bargains. “Within the non-League base, my scouts were probably better (than scouts at professional clubs),” said Vardy, who put more than £100,000 of his own money into the V9 project. “A lot of scouts wouldn’t even think about looking in non-League. Jamie and wife Rebekah Vardy oversee training at the first day of their V9 Academy “They are probably told to look at a specific position and specific type of player they want and it will either be someone from the league below they look at or nine times out of 10 nowadays they go abroad.” Having seen youngsters at professional clubs seek the trappings of a top footballer before making an impression on the first team, Vardy believes non-League players can be hungrier to prove themselves. “I think so, yes,” he said. “It was definitely the case for me. As soon as I signed for Leicester and knuckled down and things started going right, and I started scoring goals, I wanted to be as good as I possibly can. A lot of the academies now everything is done for you, but how long’s that going to last for?” As part of his fly-on-the-wall documentary, Vardy returned to the carbon fibre factory where he used to work while playing non-League football. He believes youngsters who have spent their lives in professional academies would benefit from being sent on placements and getting a taste of the real world. “I think it would definitely wake a few of them up,” said Vardy. “I can't see many players wanting to get up at six in the morning to go and do a nine-hour shift. It would definitely open their eyes and make them realise that it's not something they want to even have a chance of doing.” The graduates Danny Newton and Blair Turgott were both signed by Stevenage after impressing in the V9 Academy, but the pair have experienced very different career paths until now. Striker Newton has been likened to Jamie Vardy, as he was never signed by a professional academy or youth set up and has combined a non-League career with working in a factory. Danny Newton has been likened to Jamie Vardy The 26-year-old played up front for Hinckley United with Andre Gray, who this summer joined Watford from Burnley for a fee worth £18.5million. “I was a maintenance engineer,” said Newton, who has scored three goals in five games at Stevenage. “I did a four-year apprenticeship when I was 16 and carried it on. That paid the bills. I got a house with my girlfriend and I was comfortable. But it can’t compare to playing football every day. “I’ve never had an agent, I’ve never had trials. I’ve just played non-League. I was at Hinckley United in the Conference North when I was 17. I broke into the first team and was playing every week for three years and they went bust. “I played with Andre Gray for two years. He’s gone and done it. We played up front together at the time. Luton took him and he’s progressed after getting that chance. I’ve just left it a bit late, but I’m grateful now the V9 academy has given me this chance.” Blair Turgott has played for West Ham, Coventry and Leyton Orient among others Winger Turgott joined West Ham United aged just eight and played in England youth teams with Raheem Sterling and Nathaniel Chalobah, both of whom he is still in touch with. The 23-year-old was loaned out to Bradford City, Colchester United, Rotherham United and Dagenham and Redbridge before being released by the Hammers two years ago. "My first loan was at Bradford when I was 17 and I was lonely,” said Turgott. “I had never been away from home and I was literally just going to training and coming back to a hotel in Bradford city centre. It was difficult at first. “I played for the England youth teams with Raheem Sterling, Nathan Redmond and Nathaniel Chalobah, and it shows that the cream will rise to the top. It's good to see those boys doing so well, and they tell me to keep my head up. Just because one person says ‘no’, it doesn't mean you aren't good enough to make it as a footballer.” 20 best players in the Premier League: August 2017

Jamie Vardy: 'Turning down Arsenal doesn’t mean I wouldn’t look at another offer'

It may be the most remarkable story in Premier League history, but Jamie Vardy has insisted that one winners’ medal is not enough and has not ruled out a move away from Leicester City if another big offer comes his way. Vardy has spent the summer trying to launch the careers of 42 non-League hopefuls, who dream of following in his footsteps, through his V9 Academy. Despite the fact he has been trying to find the ‘next Jamie Vardy’, the man himself is not ready to accept that his own journey is complete and is desperate to win more silverware – at Leicester or elsewhere. Vardy insists he will never regret turning down Arsenal, even though the Gunners won the FA Cup last season, and could be open to adding another chapter to his story by making a high-profile move either in England or overseas. “I want to win as much as possible, I don’t want to only have one Premier League medal in my drawer at home – it would be an empty glass cabinet,” said Vardy. “I want to win as much as possible. I’m contracted to Leicester and we will see how high we can go. In the future, who knows? “It was my choice to turn Arsenal down. But if another offer came in, it would be the same in that I would look at it and work out the pros and cons. But, no, turning down Arsenal doesn’t mean I wouldn’t look at another offer. Vardy played for England against Malta Credit: AFP “Down the road, there might be an opportunity to go to America or China. It would be something I would like to experience. I've seen other players do it. I know it will involve moving the family again, but it will give them a different experience to see different cultures.” When it was put to Vardy that he would also have an FA Cup winners’ medal if he had joined Arsenal, the 30-year-old replied: “But it weren’t the Premier League was it? So I’m all right with that I think. I’ll never regret anything I’ve chosen to do.” Asked what his reasons were for rejecting the Gunners, Vardy added: “It was just coming up with the positives and negatives, and I came up with a decision and I’m pleased with the decision I made. “They had qualified for the Champions League for the last 20 years or something, until last year. That was something to think about. But Leicester were also in the Champions League and on a different night at home against Atletico Madrid we could have gone even further.” Vardy during the Champions League Quarter Final first leg match against Atletico Madrid  Credit: GETTY IMAGES Wherever he is, Vardy will be keeping a close eye on the careers of Danny Newton, Blair Turgott, Alex Penny and Lamar Reynolds, who all graduated from Vardy’s Academy and were signed by professional clubs. The first episode of The Next Jamie Vardy will be shown on Sky One on September 16 and former Hinckley United and Tamworth striker Newton, who had never previously played for a professional club, has started with three goals in five League Two games for Stevenage. “Straight away, as soon as our game finishes, I’m having a look to see if they have scored at each of their clubs,” said Vardy, who played for Stocksbridge Park Steels, Halifax Town and Fleetwood Town before joining Leicester five years ago. “If not, seeing if they’ve started. “Danny has started off well. I’ve spoken to him and he said it was quite hard for him in pre-season. He was saying that he bets the manager was thinking ‘what have we signed here’, then it just clicked for him and he’s been on fire.” Vardy believes 90 per cent of English clubs, even in the lower leagues, would rather sign a player from overseas than looking in non-League for bargains. “Within the non-League base, my scouts were probably better (than scouts at professional clubs),” said Vardy, who put more than £100,000 of his own money into the V9 project. “A lot of scouts wouldn’t even think about looking in non-League. Jamie and wife Rebekah Vardy oversee training at the first day of their V9 Academy “They are probably told to look at a specific position and specific type of player they want and it will either be someone from the league below they look at or nine times out of 10 nowadays they go abroad.” Having seen youngsters at professional clubs seek the trappings of a top footballer before making an impression on the first team, Vardy believes non-League players can be hungrier to prove themselves. “I think so, yes,” he said. “It was definitely the case for me. As soon as I signed for Leicester and knuckled down and things started going right, and I started scoring goals, I wanted to be as good as I possibly can. A lot of the academies now everything is done for you, but how long’s that going to last for?” As part of his fly-on-the-wall documentary, Vardy returned to the carbon fibre factory where he used to work while playing non-League football. He believes youngsters who have spent their lives in professional academies would benefit from being sent on placements and getting a taste of the real world. “I think it would definitely wake a few of them up,” said Vardy. “I can't see many players wanting to get up at six in the morning to go and do a nine-hour shift. It would definitely open their eyes and make them realise that it's not something they want to even have a chance of doing.” The graduates Danny Newton and Blair Turgott were both signed by Stevenage after impressing in the V9 Academy, but the pair have experienced very different career paths until now. Striker Newton has been likened to Jamie Vardy, as he was never signed by a professional academy or youth set up and has combined a non-League career with working in a factory. Danny Newton has been likened to Jamie Vardy The 26-year-old played up front for Hinckley United with Andre Gray, who this summer joined Watford from Burnley for a fee worth £18.5million. “I was a maintenance engineer,” said Newton, who has scored three goals in five games at Stevenage. “I did a four-year apprenticeship when I was 16 and carried it on. That paid the bills. I got a house with my girlfriend and I was comfortable. But it can’t compare to playing football every day. “I’ve never had an agent, I’ve never had trials. I’ve just played non-League. I was at Hinckley United in the Conference North when I was 17. I broke into the first team and was playing every week for three years and they went bust. “I played with Andre Gray for two years. He’s gone and done it. We played up front together at the time. Luton took him and he’s progressed after getting that chance. I’ve just left it a bit late, but I’m grateful now the V9 academy has given me this chance.” Blair Turgott has played for West Ham, Coventry and Leyton Orient among others Winger Turgott joined West Ham United aged just eight and played in England youth teams with Raheem Sterling and Nathaniel Chalobah, both of whom he is still in touch with. The 23-year-old was loaned out to Bradford City, Colchester United, Rotherham United and Dagenham and Redbridge before being released by the Hammers two years ago. "My first loan was at Bradford when I was 17 and I was lonely,” said Turgott. “I had never been away from home and I was literally just going to training and coming back to a hotel in Bradford city centre. It was difficult at first. “I played for the England youth teams with Raheem Sterling, Nathan Redmond and Nathaniel Chalobah, and it shows that the cream will rise to the top. It's good to see those boys doing so well, and they tell me to keep my head up. Just because one person says ‘no’, it doesn't mean you aren't good enough to make it as a footballer.” 20 best players in the Premier League: August 2017

Jamie Vardy: 'Turning down Arsenal doesn’t mean I wouldn’t look at another offer'

It may be the most remarkable story in Premier League history, but Jamie Vardy has insisted that one winners’ medal is not enough and has not ruled out a move away from Leicester City if another big offer comes his way. Vardy has spent the summer trying to launch the careers of 42 non-League hopefuls, who dream of following in his footsteps, through his V9 Academy. Despite the fact he has been trying to find the ‘next Jamie Vardy’, the man himself is not ready to accept that his own journey is complete and is desperate to win more silverware – at Leicester or elsewhere. Vardy insists he will never regret turning down Arsenal, even though the Gunners won the FA Cup last season, and could be open to adding another chapter to his story by making a high-profile move either in England or overseas. “I want to win as much as possible, I don’t want to only have one Premier League medal in my drawer at home – it would be an empty glass cabinet,” said Vardy. “I want to win as much as possible. I’m contracted to Leicester and we will see how high we can go. In the future, who knows? “It was my choice to turn Arsenal down. But if another offer came in, it would be the same in that I would look at it and work out the pros and cons. But, no, turning down Arsenal doesn’t mean I wouldn’t look at another offer. Vardy played for England against Malta Credit: AFP “Down the road, there might be an opportunity to go to America or China. It would be something I would like to experience. I've seen other players do it. I know it will involve moving the family again, but it will give them a different experience to see different cultures.” When it was put to Vardy that he would also have an FA Cup winners’ medal if he had joined Arsenal, the 30-year-old replied: “But it weren’t the Premier League was it? So I’m all right with that I think. I’ll never regret anything I’ve chosen to do.” Asked what his reasons were for rejecting the Gunners, Vardy added: “It was just coming up with the positives and negatives, and I came up with a decision and I’m pleased with the decision I made. “They had qualified for the Champions League for the last 20 years or something, until last year. That was something to think about. But Leicester were also in the Champions League and on a different night at home against Atletico Madrid we could have gone even further.” Vardy during the Champions League Quarter Final first leg match against Atletico Madrid  Credit: GETTY IMAGES Wherever he is, Vardy will be keeping a close eye on the careers of Danny Newton, Blair Turgott, Alex Penny and Lamar Reynolds, who all graduated from Vardy’s Academy and were signed by professional clubs. The first episode of The Next Jamie Vardy will be shown on Sky One on September 16 and former Hinckley United and Tamworth striker Newton, who had never previously played for a professional club, has started with three goals in five League Two games for Stevenage. “Straight away, as soon as our game finishes, I’m having a look to see if they have scored at each of their clubs,” said Vardy, who played for Stocksbridge Park Steels, Halifax Town and Fleetwood Town before joining Leicester five years ago. “If not, seeing if they’ve started. “Danny has started off well. I’ve spoken to him and he said it was quite hard for him in pre-season. He was saying that he bets the manager was thinking ‘what have we signed here’, then it just clicked for him and he’s been on fire.” Vardy believes 90 per cent of English clubs, even in the lower leagues, would rather sign a player from overseas than looking in non-League for bargains. “Within the non-League base, my scouts were probably better (than scouts at professional clubs),” said Vardy, who put more than £100,000 of his own money into the V9 project. “A lot of scouts wouldn’t even think about looking in non-League. Jamie and wife Rebekah Vardy oversee training at the first day of their V9 Academy “They are probably told to look at a specific position and specific type of player they want and it will either be someone from the league below they look at or nine times out of 10 nowadays they go abroad.” Having seen youngsters at professional clubs seek the trappings of a top footballer before making an impression on the first team, Vardy believes non-League players can be hungrier to prove themselves. “I think so, yes,” he said. “It was definitely the case for me. As soon as I signed for Leicester and knuckled down and things started going right, and I started scoring goals, I wanted to be as good as I possibly can. A lot of the academies now everything is done for you, but how long’s that going to last for?” As part of his fly-on-the-wall documentary, Vardy returned to the carbon fibre factory where he used to work while playing non-League football. He believes youngsters who have spent their lives in professional academies would benefit from being sent on placements and getting a taste of the real world. “I think it would definitely wake a few of them up,” said Vardy. “I can't see many players wanting to get up at six in the morning to go and do a nine-hour shift. It would definitely open their eyes and make them realise that it's not something they want to even have a chance of doing.” The graduates Danny Newton and Blair Turgott were both signed by Stevenage after impressing in the V9 Academy, but the pair have experienced very different career paths until now. Striker Newton has been likened to Jamie Vardy, as he was never signed by a professional academy or youth set up and has combined a non-League career with working in a factory. Danny Newton has been likened to Jamie Vardy The 26-year-old played up front for Hinckley United with Andre Gray, who this summer joined Watford from Burnley for a fee worth £18.5million. “I was a maintenance engineer,” said Newton, who has scored three goals in five games at Stevenage. “I did a four-year apprenticeship when I was 16 and carried it on. That paid the bills. I got a house with my girlfriend and I was comfortable. But it can’t compare to playing football every day. “I’ve never had an agent, I’ve never had trials. I’ve just played non-League. I was at Hinckley United in the Conference North when I was 17. I broke into the first team and was playing every week for three years and they went bust. “I played with Andre Gray for two years. He’s gone and done it. We played up front together at the time. Luton took him and he’s progressed after getting that chance. I’ve just left it a bit late, but I’m grateful now the V9 academy has given me this chance.” Blair Turgott has played for West Ham, Coventry and Leyton Orient among others Winger Turgott joined West Ham United aged just eight and played in England youth teams with Raheem Sterling and Nathaniel Chalobah, both of whom he is still in touch with. The 23-year-old was loaned out to Bradford City, Colchester United, Rotherham United and Dagenham and Redbridge before being released by the Hammers two years ago. "My first loan was at Bradford when I was 17 and I was lonely,” said Turgott. “I had never been away from home and I was literally just going to training and coming back to a hotel in Bradford city centre. It was difficult at first. “I played for the England youth teams with Raheem Sterling, Nathan Redmond and Nathaniel Chalobah, and it shows that the cream will rise to the top. It's good to see those boys doing so well, and they tell me to keep my head up. Just because one person says ‘no’, it doesn't mean you aren't good enough to make it as a footballer.” 20 best players in the Premier League: August 2017

Jamie Vardy: 'Turning down Arsenal doesn’t mean I wouldn’t look at another offer'

It may be the most remarkable story in Premier League history, but Jamie Vardy has insisted that one winners’ medal is not enough and has not ruled out a move away from Leicester City if another big offer comes his way. Vardy has spent the summer trying to launch the careers of 42 non-League hopefuls, who dream of following in his footsteps, through his V9 Academy. Despite the fact he has been trying to find the ‘next Jamie Vardy’, the man himself is not ready to accept that his own journey is complete and is desperate to win more silverware – at Leicester or elsewhere. Vardy insists he will never regret turning down Arsenal, even though the Gunners won the FA Cup last season, and could be open to adding another chapter to his story by making a high-profile move either in England or overseas. “I want to win as much as possible, I don’t want to only have one Premier League medal in my drawer at home – it would be an empty glass cabinet,” said Vardy. “I want to win as much as possible. I’m contracted to Leicester and we will see how high we can go. In the future, who knows? “It was my choice to turn Arsenal down. But if another offer came in, it would be the same in that I would look at it and work out the pros and cons. But, no, turning down Arsenal doesn’t mean I wouldn’t look at another offer. Vardy played for England against Malta Credit: AFP “Down the road, there might be an opportunity to go to America or China. It would be something I would like to experience. I've seen other players do it. I know it will involve moving the family again, but it will give them a different experience to see different cultures.” When it was put to Vardy that he would also have an FA Cup winners’ medal if he had joined Arsenal, the 30-year-old replied: “But it weren’t the Premier League was it? So I’m all right with that I think. I’ll never regret anything I’ve chosen to do.” Asked what his reasons were for rejecting the Gunners, Vardy added: “It was just coming up with the positives and negatives, and I came up with a decision and I’m pleased with the decision I made. “They had qualified for the Champions League for the last 20 years or something, until last year. That was something to think about. But Leicester were also in the Champions League and on a different night at home against Atletico Madrid we could have gone even further.” Vardy during the Champions League Quarter Final first leg match against Atletico Madrid  Credit: GETTY IMAGES Wherever he is, Vardy will be keeping a close eye on the careers of Danny Newton, Blair Turgott, Alex Penny and Lamar Reynolds, who all graduated from Vardy’s Academy and were signed by professional clubs. The first episode of The Next Jamie Vardy will be shown on Sky One on September 16 and former Hinckley United and Tamworth striker Newton, who had never previously played for a professional club, has started with three goals in five League Two games for Stevenage. “Straight away, as soon as our game finishes, I’m having a look to see if they have scored at each of their clubs,” said Vardy, who played for Stocksbridge Park Steels, Halifax Town and Fleetwood Town before joining Leicester five years ago. “If not, seeing if they’ve started. “Danny has started off well. I’ve spoken to him and he said it was quite hard for him in pre-season. He was saying that he bets the manager was thinking ‘what have we signed here’, then it just clicked for him and he’s been on fire.” Vardy believes 90 per cent of English clubs, even in the lower leagues, would rather sign a player from overseas than looking in non-League for bargains. “Within the non-League base, my scouts were probably better (than scouts at professional clubs),” said Vardy, who put more than £100,000 of his own money into the V9 project. “A lot of scouts wouldn’t even think about looking in non-League. Jamie and wife Rebekah Vardy oversee training at the first day of their V9 Academy “They are probably told to look at a specific position and specific type of player they want and it will either be someone from the league below they look at or nine times out of 10 nowadays they go abroad.” Having seen youngsters at professional clubs seek the trappings of a top footballer before making an impression on the first team, Vardy believes non-League players can be hungrier to prove themselves. “I think so, yes,” he said. “It was definitely the case for me. As soon as I signed for Leicester and knuckled down and things started going right, and I started scoring goals, I wanted to be as good as I possibly can. A lot of the academies now everything is done for you, but how long’s that going to last for?” As part of his fly-on-the-wall documentary, Vardy returned to the carbon fibre factory where he used to work while playing non-League football. He believes youngsters who have spent their lives in professional academies would benefit from being sent on placements and getting a taste of the real world. “I think it would definitely wake a few of them up,” said Vardy. “I can't see many players wanting to get up at six in the morning to go and do a nine-hour shift. It would definitely open their eyes and make them realise that it's not something they want to even have a chance of doing.” The graduates Danny Newton and Blair Turgott were both signed by Stevenage after impressing in the V9 Academy, but the pair have experienced very different career paths until now. Striker Newton has been likened to Jamie Vardy, as he was never signed by a professional academy or youth set up and has combined a non-League career with working in a factory. Danny Newton has been likened to Jamie Vardy The 26-year-old played up front for Hinckley United with Andre Gray, who this summer joined Watford from Burnley for a fee worth £18.5million. “I was a maintenance engineer,” said Newton, who has scored three goals in five games at Stevenage. “I did a four-year apprenticeship when I was 16 and carried it on. That paid the bills. I got a house with my girlfriend and I was comfortable. But it can’t compare to playing football every day. “I’ve never had an agent, I’ve never had trials. I’ve just played non-League. I was at Hinckley United in the Conference North when I was 17. I broke into the first team and was playing every week for three years and they went bust. “I played with Andre Gray for two years. He’s gone and done it. We played up front together at the time. Luton took him and he’s progressed after getting that chance. I’ve just left it a bit late, but I’m grateful now the V9 academy has given me this chance.” Blair Turgott has played for West Ham, Coventry and Leyton Orient among others Winger Turgott joined West Ham United aged just eight and played in England youth teams with Raheem Sterling and Nathaniel Chalobah, both of whom he is still in touch with. The 23-year-old was loaned out to Bradford City, Colchester United, Rotherham United and Dagenham and Redbridge before being released by the Hammers two years ago. "My first loan was at Bradford when I was 17 and I was lonely,” said Turgott. “I had never been away from home and I was literally just going to training and coming back to a hotel in Bradford city centre. It was difficult at first. “I played for the England youth teams with Raheem Sterling, Nathan Redmond and Nathaniel Chalobah, and it shows that the cream will rise to the top. It's good to see those boys doing so well, and they tell me to keep my head up. Just because one person says ‘no’, it doesn't mean you aren't good enough to make it as a footballer.” 20 best players in the Premier League: August 2017

Supporters Direct lobbies for tougher ‘fit and proper people test’ for owners

Blackpool and Leyton Orient fans joined forces in protest against their respective owners before the final League Two match of the season between their teams at Bloomfield Road in May.

Campaigners urge government to clamp down on football club ownership

Supporters will urge the government to set up a licensing system for football clubs with a roadshow through some of the blackspots of ownership, including Blackpool, Coventry and Leyton Orient. Andorra and Montenegro are among the small group of Uefa countries who do no not force owners to comply with licensing regulations. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport are said to be sympathetic to the campaign as impatience grows in Westminster with football’s failure to reform. An independent regulatory body is another aim of the movement, led by Supporters Direct and Jaimie Fuller, a campaigner for better regulation of sport, who met with Damian Collins, chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport committee, after studying the turmoil at Blackpool. Ashley Brown, the head of Supporters Direct, said: “If you look across the Uefa countries there are probably only five that don’t have an effective club licensing system. We have too long a lost of owners who are driving clubs into the ground. Some have been outright crooks and have taken money out of the game and into their own pockets. “Others treat clubs as their own personal plaything and refuse to engage with supporters. They make some ridiculous decisions that go against the heritage and history of those clubs. Prevention is far easier than cure for some of these clubs. It’s not about making life difficult for the good owners out there.” Through the Supporters Direct website fans will be able to send a template letter to their MP demanding change. Fuller says: “We’d like to see some specific reforms. This is not just a matter of complaining. We believe the DCMS and parliament can play their part. Damian was the first person I spoke to. It was all about the consequences of poor ownership. “He is a very strong supporter in wanting to see the system change to implement regulation to stop these sorts of things happening. It seems pretty clear to us that the British parliament has seen fit to regulate certain industries such as the financial services sector, the media sector - and it seems to be a fairly slippery slope we could be on here with football ownership.” Fuller cited “the social destruction that can happen to a town.” The meetings are in Blackpool (5 Sept), Manchester (6 Sept), Darlington (7 Sept), Coventry (13 Sept) and London (14 Sept).

Harry Kane is one away from 100 Tottenham goals, and xG data suggests his rise will continue

After successive golden boots, Harry Kane's fight against those who still doubt him is surely coming to an end. As his August drought goes on - he has never scored a Premier League goal in the first month of a season - his critics find one final stick with which to beat him. But the man who spent unsuccessful loan spells at Leyton Orient, Millwall, Norwich and Leicester overcame accusations of being a one-, then two-season wonder, and is now just one strike away from 100 Tottenham goals. Having started just 132 matches and made a further 34 substitute appearances, Kane has scored at an extraordinary rate of a goal every 1.67 appearances, or every 1.33 starts. And a look at his 'xG' data over the past three seasons suggests he is only getting better - and also that he has a better understanding than ever with his Tottenham team-mates. xG, or expected goals, is a system that gives a probability that any shot will be scored. That is, based on the quality of the chance, each shot will be assigned a value between 0 and 1 that shows how often it should be scored. A value of 0.2, for example, means that shot would be expected to be scored 20 per cent of the time. (If you want more of an explanation on xG, see here.) Mauricio Pochettino has helped make Kane into one of the world's best strikers Credit: AFP As well as the more noticeable fact that the number of goals he scores is on the rise, the quality of his chances is also improving, suggesting his movement is more innovative and that the creative players playing behind him have a better idea of where he will go. The average xG value of his shots in 2014/15 was 0.11, meaning he'd be expected to score 11 per cent of those chances. In 2015/16 and 2016/17, that has risen to 12 and 13 per cent, respectively. Furthermore, the proportion of his shots that have a high xG value is increasing. That is, in 2014/15, just 16 per cent of Kane's shots had an xG value higher than 0.3 (and would be expected to be scored 30 per cent of the time). 18 per cent of his shots had a high xG value in 2015/16 and 21 per cent in 2016/17. Kane xG So Kane scores more these days and does so from better chances. This can be seen in his xG maps from each of the past three seasons. Red dots are goals, while grey dots are unconverted shots. The bigger the dot, the better the chance, or the higher the xG value. Credit: Opta Credit: Opta While goals from difficult angles and long range remain, there is a noticeable increase in the number of high quality chances Kane had in 2016/17. But not only is Kane having a greater number of good chances, he is also outscoring the tally of goals the data expects him to score. That is, if you tot up the xG values of each chance a player has over the course of the season, you have an 'expected' number of goals he 'should' score in that time. Kane outscored this number by around seven in 2014/15, and then by just two in 2015/16, but that shot up last season, when he scored more than 10 goals more than he should have done. Only Messi and Griezmann have outscored their expected goal value by more than Kane in the last three seasons Credit: Reuters Over the past three seasons, a striker presented with Kane's chances would be expected to score around 44 goals. Excluding penalties, Kane has hit 63 goals, meaning he has outscored his expected goal tally by 19. Since the start of the 2014/15 season across Europe's big five leagues, only Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann have outscored their xG total by a greater margin than Kane. And as recently as November 2014, Kane was still a Tottenham substitute. It's been some rise, and the improvements in his game suggest he now right up there among the world's elite forwards. And if the past three seasons are anything to go by, he might just keep getting better.

Harry Kane is one away from 100 Tottenham goals, and xG data suggests his rise will continue

After successive golden boots, Harry Kane's fight against those who still doubt him is surely coming to an end. As his August drought goes on - he has never scored a Premier League goal in the first month of a season - his critics find one final stick with which to beat him. But the man who spent unsuccessful loan spells at Leyton Orient, Millwall, Norwich and Leicester overcame accusations of being a one-, then two-season wonder, and is now just one strike away from 100 Tottenham goals. Having started just 132 matches and made a further 34 substitute appearances, Kane has scored at an extraordinary rate of a goal every 1.67 appearances, or every 1.33 starts. And a look at his 'xG' data over the past three seasons suggests he is only getting better - and also that he has a better understanding than ever with his Tottenham team-mates. xG, or expected goals, is a system that gives a probability that any shot will be scored. That is, based on the quality of the chance, each shot will be assigned a value between 0 and 1 that shows how often it should be scored. A value of 0.2, for example, means that shot would be expected to be scored 20 per cent of the time. (If you want more of an explanation on xG, see here.) Mauricio Pochettino has helped make Kane into one of the world's best strikers Credit: AFP As well as the more noticeable fact that the number of goals he scores is on the rise, the quality of his chances is also improving, suggesting his movement is more innovative and that the creative players playing behind him have a better idea of where he will go. The average xG value of his shots in 2014/15 was 0.11, meaning he'd be expected to score 11 per cent of those chances. In 2015/16 and 2016/17, that has risen to 12 and 13 per cent, respectively. Furthermore, the proportion of his shots that have a high xG value is increasing. That is, in 2014/15, just 16 per cent of Kane's shots had an xG value higher than 0.3 (and would be expected to be scored 30 per cent of the time). 18 per cent of his shots had a high xG value in 2015/16 and 21 per cent in 2016/17. Kane xG So Kane scores more these days and does so from better chances. This can be seen in his xG maps from each of the past three seasons. Red dots are goals, while grey dots are unconverted shots. The bigger the dot, the better the chance, or the higher the xG value. Credit: Opta Credit: Opta While goals from difficult angles and long range remain, there is a noticeable increase in the number of high quality chances Kane had in 2016/17. But not only is Kane having a greater number of good chances, he is also outscoring the tally of goals the data expects him to score. That is, if you tot up the xG values of each chance a player has over the course of the season, you have an 'expected' number of goals he 'should' score in that time. Kane outscored this number by around seven in 2014/15, and then by just two in 2015/16, but that shot up last season, when he scored more than 10 goals more than he should have done. Only Messi and Griezmann have outscored their expected goal value by more than Kane in the last three seasons Credit: Reuters Over the past three seasons, a striker presented with Kane's chances would be expected to score around 44 goals. Excluding penalties, Kane has hit 63 goals, meaning he has outscored his expected goal tally by 19. Since the start of the 2014/15 season across Europe's big five leagues, only Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann have outscored their xG total by a greater margin than Kane. And as recently as November 2014, Kane was still a Tottenham substitute. It's been some rise, and the improvements in his game suggest he now right up there among the world's elite forwards. And if the past three seasons are anything to go by, he might just keep getting better.

Harry Kane is one away from 100 Tottenham goals, and xG data suggests his rise will continue

After successive golden boots, Harry Kane's fight against those who still doubt him is surely coming to an end. As his August drought goes on - he has never scored a Premier League goal in the first month of a season - his critics find one final stick with which to beat him. But the man who spent unsuccessful loan spells at Leyton Orient, Millwall, Norwich and Leicester overcame accusations of being a one-, then two-season wonder, and is now just one strike away from 100 Tottenham goals. Having started just 132 matches and made a further 34 substitute appearances, Kane has scored at an extraordinary rate of a goal every 1.67 appearances, or every 1.33 starts. And a look at his 'xG' data over the past three seasons suggests he is only getting better - and also that he has a better understanding than ever with his Tottenham team-mates. xG, or expected goals, is a system that gives a probability that any shot will be scored. That is, based on the quality of the chance, each shot will be assigned a value between 0 and 1 that shows how often it should be scored. A value of 0.2, for example, means that shot would be expected to be scored 20 per cent of the time. (If you want more of an explanation on xG, see here.) Mauricio Pochettino has helped make Kane into one of the world's best strikers Credit: AFP As well as the more noticeable fact that the number of goals he scores is on the rise, the quality of his chances is also improving, suggesting his movement is more innovative and that the creative players playing behind him have a better idea of where he will go. The average xG value of his shots in 2014/15 was 0.11, meaning he'd be expected to score 11 per cent of those chances. In 2015/16 and 2016/17, that has risen to 12 and 13 per cent, respectively. Furthermore, the proportion of his shots that have a high xG value is increasing. That is, in 2014/15, just 16 per cent of Kane's shots had an xG value higher than 0.3 (and would be expected to be scored 30 per cent of the time). 18 per cent of his shots had a high xG value in 2015/16 and 21 per cent in 2016/17. Kane xG So Kane scores more these days and does so from better chances. This can be seen in his xG maps from each of the past three seasons. Red dots are goals, while grey dots are unconverted shots. The bigger the dot, the better the chance, or the higher the xG value. Credit: Opta Credit: Opta While goals from difficult angles and long range remain, there is a noticeable increase in the number of high quality chances Kane had in 2016/17. But not only is Kane having a greater number of good chances, he is also outscoring the tally of goals the data expects him to score. That is, if you tot up the xG values of each chance a player has over the course of the season, you have an 'expected' number of goals he 'should' score in that time. Kane outscored this number by around seven in 2014/15, and then by just two in 2015/16, but that shot up last season, when he scored more than 10 goals more than he should have done. Only Messi and Griezmann have outscored their expected goal value by more than Kane in the last three seasons Credit: Reuters Over the past three seasons, a striker presented with Kane's chances would be expected to score around 44 goals. Excluding penalties, Kane has hit 63 goals, meaning he has outscored his expected goal tally by 19. Since the start of the 2014/15 season across Europe's big five leagues, only Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann have outscored their xG total by a greater margin than Kane. And as recently as November 2014, Kane was still a Tottenham substitute. It's been some rise, and the improvements in his game suggest he now right up there among the world's elite forwards. And if the past three seasons are anything to go by, he might just keep getting better.

Harry Kane is one away from 100 Tottenham goals, and xG data suggests his rise will continue

After successive golden boots, Harry Kane's fight against those who still doubt him is surely coming to an end. As his August drought goes on - he has never scored a Premier League goal in the first month of a season - his critics find one final stick with which to beat him. But the man who spent unsuccessful loan spells at Leyton Orient, Millwall, Norwich and Leicester overcame accusations of being a one-, then two-season wonder, and is now just one strike away from 100 Tottenham goals. Having started just 132 matches and made a further 34 substitute appearances, Kane has scored at an extraordinary rate of a goal every 1.67 appearances, or every 1.33 starts. And a look at his 'xG' data over the past three seasons suggests he is only getting better - and also that he has a better understanding than ever with his Tottenham team-mates. xG, or expected goals, is a system that gives a probability that any shot will be scored. That is, based on the quality of the chance, each shot will be assigned a value between 0 and 1 that shows how often it should be scored. A value of 0.2, for example, means that shot would be expected to be scored 20 per cent of the time. (If you want more of an explanation on xG, see here.) Mauricio Pochettino has helped make Kane into one of the world's best strikers Credit: AFP As well as the more noticeable fact that the number of goals he scores is on the rise, the quality of his chances is also improving, suggesting his movement is more innovative and that the creative players playing behind him have a better idea of where he will go. The average xG value of his shots in 2014/15 was 0.11, meaning he'd be expected to score 11 per cent of those chances. In 2015/16 and 2016/17, that has risen to 12 and 13 per cent, respectively. Furthermore, the proportion of his shots that have a high xG value is increasing. That is, in 2014/15, just 16 per cent of Kane's shots had an xG value higher than 0.3 (and would be expected to be scored 30 per cent of the time). 18 per cent of his shots had a high xG value in 2015/16 and 21 per cent in 2016/17. Kane xG So Kane scores more these days and does so from better chances. This can be seen in his xG maps from each of the past three seasons. Red dots are goals, while grey dots are unconverted shots. The bigger the dot, the better the chance, or the higher the xG value. Credit: Opta Credit: Opta While goals from difficult angles and long range remain, there is a noticeable increase in the number of high quality chances Kane had in 2016/17. But not only is Kane having a greater number of good chances, he is also outscoring the tally of goals the data expects him to score. That is, if you tot up the xG values of each chance a player has over the course of the season, you have an 'expected' number of goals he 'should' score in that time. Kane outscored this number by around seven in 2014/15, and then by just two in 2015/16, but that shot up last season, when he scored more than 10 goals more than he should have done. Only Messi and Griezmann have outscored their expected goal value by more than Kane in the last three seasons Credit: Reuters Over the past three seasons, a striker presented with Kane's chances would be expected to score around 44 goals. Excluding penalties, Kane has hit 63 goals, meaning he has outscored his expected goal tally by 19. Since the start of the 2014/15 season across Europe's big five leagues, only Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann have outscored their xG total by a greater margin than Kane. And as recently as November 2014, Kane was still a Tottenham substitute. It's been some rise, and the improvements in his game suggest he now right up there among the world's elite forwards. And if the past three seasons are anything to go by, he might just keep getting better.

Harry Kane is one away from 100 Tottenham goals, and xG data suggests his rise will continue

After successive golden boots, Harry Kane's fight against those who still doubt him is surely coming to an end. As his August drought goes on - he has never scored a Premier League goal in the first month of a season - his critics find one final stick with which to beat him. But the man who spent unsuccessful loan spells at Leyton Orient, Millwall, Norwich and Leicester overcame accusations of being a one-, then two-season wonder, and is now just one strike away from 100 Tottenham goals. Having started just 132 matches and made a further 34 substitute appearances, Kane has scored at an extraordinary rate of a goal every 1.67 appearances, or every 1.33 starts. And a look at his 'xG' data over the past three seasons suggests he is only getting better - and also that he has a better understanding than ever with his Tottenham team-mates. xG, or expected goals, is a system that gives a probability that any shot will be scored. That is, based on the quality of the chance, each shot will be assigned a value between 0 and 1 that shows how often it should be scored. A value of 0.2, for example, means that shot would be expected to be scored 20 per cent of the time. (If you want more of an explanation on xG, see here.) Mauricio Pochettino has helped make Kane into one of the world's best strikers Credit: AFP As well as the more noticeable fact that the number of goals he scores is on the rise, the quality of his chances is also improving, suggesting his movement is more innovative and that the creative players playing behind him have a better idea of where he will go. The average xG value of his shots in 2014/15 was 0.11, meaning he'd be expected to score 11 per cent of those chances. In 2015/16 and 2016/17, that has risen to 12 and 13 per cent, respectively. Furthermore, the proportion of his shots that have a high xG value is increasing. That is, in 2014/15, just 16 per cent of Kane's shots had an xG value higher than 0.3 (and would be expected to be scored 30 per cent of the time). 18 per cent of his shots had a high xG value in 2015/16 and 21 per cent in 2016/17. Kane xG So Kane scores more these days and does so from better chances. This can be seen in his xG maps from each of the past three seasons. Red dots are goals, while grey dots are unconverted shots. The bigger the dot, the better the chance, or the higher the xG value. Credit: Opta Credit: Opta While goals from difficult angles and long range remain, there is a noticeable increase in the number of high quality chances Kane had in 2016/17. But not only is Kane having a greater number of good chances, he is also outscoring the tally of goals the data expects him to score. That is, if you tot up the xG values of each chance a player has over the course of the season, you have an 'expected' number of goals he 'should' score in that time. Kane outscored this number by around seven in 2014/15, and then by just two in 2015/16, but that shot up last season, when he scored more than 10 goals more than he should have done. Only Messi and Griezmann have outscored their expected goal value by more than Kane in the last three seasons Credit: Reuters Over the past three seasons, a striker presented with Kane's chances would be expected to score around 44 goals. Excluding penalties, Kane has hit 63 goals, meaning he has outscored his expected goal tally by 19. Since the start of the 2014/15 season across Europe's big five leagues, only Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann have outscored their xG total by a greater margin than Kane. And as recently as November 2014, Kane was still a Tottenham substitute. It's been some rise, and the improvements in his game suggest he now right up there among the world's elite forwards. And if the past three seasons are anything to go by, he might just keep getting better.

Harry Kane is one away from 100 Tottenham goals, and xG data suggests his rise will continue

After successive golden boots, Harry Kane's fight against those who still doubt him is surely coming to an end. As his August drought goes on - he has never scored a Premier League goal in the first month of a season - his critics find one final stick with which to beat him. But the man who spent unsuccessful loan spells at Leyton Orient, Millwall, Norwich and Leicester overcame accusations of being a one-, then two-season wonder, and is now just one strike away from 100 Tottenham goals. Having started just 132 matches and made a further 34 substitute appearances, Kane has scored at an extraordinary rate of a goal every 1.67 appearances, or every 1.33 starts. And a look at his 'xG' data over the past three seasons suggests he is only getting better - and also that he has a better understanding than ever with his Tottenham team-mates. xG, or expected goals, is a system that gives a probability that any shot will be scored. That is, based on the quality of the chance, each shot will be assigned a value between 0 and 1 that shows how often it should be scored. A value of 0.2, for example, means that shot would be expected to be scored 20 per cent of the time. (If you want more of an explanation on xG, see here.) Mauricio Pochettino has helped make Kane into one of the world's best strikers Credit: AFP As well as the more noticeable fact that the number of goals he scores is on the rise, the quality of his chances is also improving, suggesting his movement is more innovative and that the creative players playing behind him have a better idea of where he will go. The average xG value of his shots in 2014/15 was 0.11, meaning he'd be expected to score 11 per cent of those chances. In 2015/16 and 2016/17, that has risen to 12 and 13 per cent, respectively. Furthermore, the proportion of his shots that have a high xG value is increasing. That is, in 2014/15, just 16 per cent of Kane's shots had an xG value higher than 0.3 (and would be expected to be scored 30 per cent of the time). 18 per cent of his shots had a high xG value in 2015/16 and 21 per cent in 2016/17. Kane xG So Kane scores more these days and does so from better chances. This can be seen in his xG maps from each of the past three seasons. Red dots are goals, while grey dots are unconverted shots. The bigger the dot, the better the chance, or the higher the xG value. Credit: Opta Credit: Opta While goals from difficult angles and long range remain, there is a noticeable increase in the number of high quality chances Kane had in 2016/17. But not only is Kane having a greater number of good chances, he is also outscoring the tally of goals the data expects him to score. That is, if you tot up the xG values of each chance a player has over the course of the season, you have an 'expected' number of goals he 'should' score in that time. Kane outscored this number by around seven in 2014/15, and then by just two in 2015/16, but that shot up last season, when he scored more than 10 goals more than he should have done. Only Messi and Griezmann have outscored their expected goal value by more than Kane in the last three seasons Credit: Reuters Over the past three seasons, a striker presented with Kane's chances would be expected to score around 44 goals. Excluding penalties, Kane has hit 63 goals, meaning he has outscored his expected goal tally by 19. Since the start of the 2014/15 season across Europe's big five leagues, only Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann have outscored their xG total by a greater margin than Kane. And as recently as November 2014, Kane was still a Tottenham substitute. It's been some rise, and the improvements in his game suggest he now right up there among the world's elite forwards. And if the past three seasons are anything to go by, he might just keep getting better.

VIDEO: Leyton Orient Sub Caught Enjoying a Good Scratch of His Nuts on the Bench During Sutton Loss

​Leyton Orient reserve goalkeeper Sam Sargeant was caught having a little scratch of his privates during a 2-0 loss to Sutton United. Orient, now playing in the National League following their relegation from League Two, could have used some of Sargeant's frantic ball control during their first match in non-league football in more than a century as they suffered a loss. Glad the sub in the bib is keeping himself busy in the #Suttonunited vs #leytonorient #football game on #btsport...

VIDEO: Leyton Orient Sub Caught Enjoying a Good Scratch of His Nuts on the Bench During Sutton Loss

​Leyton Orient reserve goalkeeper Sam Sargeant was caught having a little scratch of his privates during a 2-0 loss to Sutton United. Orient, now playing in the National League following their relegation from League Two, could have used some of Sargeant's frantic ball control during their first match in non-league football in more than a century as they suffered a loss. Glad the sub in the bib is keeping himself busy in the #Suttonunited vs #leytonorient #football game on #btsport...

Leyton Orient to bank £300,000 from Tristan Abrahams and Steven Alzate sales

Leyton Orient to bank £300,000 from Tristan Abrahams and Steven Alzate sales

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