Portsmouth

Portsmouth slideshow

Liverpool legend Bill Shankly's years at Anfield coal face seem an age away

Should you have the company of any football fan under the age of 15 when Sunday night’s BBC documentary tribute to Bill Shankly is broadcast, you should be braced for an interrogation on the source material. This will likely take the form of questions like “What was coal?”, “Who were the miners?” and “Are there any Scottish football managers left?” The tone of the programme – Shankly: Nature’s Fire – is inevitably elegiac but it also powerfully evokes a period of football and social history which seems now almost as remote as the 19th century. That should not be surprising, given that Shankly and the Liverpool fans who placed him at the heart of their idolatry became acquainted amid the expiring energy of the Industrial Revolution. His birthplace of Glenbuck, in the hills around the Ayrshire-Lanarkshire border, remains a blasted heath, rendered virtually bereft of nutrients by the insatiable desire for coal to fuel Britain’s factories, foundries and fleets at the height of empire. The five Shankly brothers worked in the local colliery until, by 1931, even the dross had been exhausted. The brothers all went on to become professional footballers, swelling a roster that included four other local boys who won caps for Scotland. Two earlier Glenbuck natives, Sandy Tait and Sandy Brown, won FA Cup medals with Tottenham Hotspur in 1901, the year that Shankly’s uncle, Bob Blyth, became manager of Portsmouth. There is sufficient material for a further programme in their stories – and yet another in the fact that as a manager Bob Shankly won the Scottish league title with Dundee and took them to a European Cup semi-final against FC Cologne in 1963 – but the opening montage of Sunday night’s film mingles shots of the Glenbuck wasteland with footage of Liverpool streets and buildings crammed with fans saluting the return of their team from Wembley with the FA Cup in 1965. “Even when the Beatles came back to the city on tour and were at the height of their fame they didn’t get as many people as we got. Unbelievable,” says Ian St John. Players putting in earphones and walking off the bus without acknowledging the fans – he'd hate thatKevin Keegan on Bill Shankly Command of multitudes was intuitive to Shankly. He was an unaffected populist, as emphasised repeatedly in Sunday night’s account. “He was one of the people, a leader of the people, really,” St John observes. That characteristic was personified by the fans who turned up in such numbers at the Shankly home in Bellefield Road that the lawn became threadbare and his wife, Nessie, insisted on having it concreted. The visitors were attracted by the guarantee that they would be invited inside for a cup of tea and a chat. The same philosophy applied at Liverpool’s Anfield home and at the Melwood training ground, where Shankly chatted routinely with the tea ladies, cleaners and general staff and knew them by name. Like his fellow Scottish management legends, Sir Matt Busby and Jock Stein – also former miners – he endlessly emphasised the need for collective endeavour, on and off the pitch. Shankly and Sir Matt Busby were men cut from the same cloth In other circumstances, Shankly would surely have channelled his ambition towards Westminster, rather than Wembley. A glimpse of a match programme reveals his photograph below the headline: “Politics is my escape hatch”. His demotic power can be gauged in an address to another vast congregation of Liverpool fans – a speech which an emotional Kevin Keegan admits to watching regularly – when Shankly tells his rapt audience: “I have drummed it into our players time and again that they are privileged to play for you. And if they didn’t believe me, they believe me now.” Shankly’s niece and granddaughter are on hand to illuminate his personality, while former players testify to the thrall in which he held them and footage reminds us of his transformation of a complacent second-tier club into a major football power. There is, too, the dispiriting poignancy of his decision to quit and subsequent realisation that he had done so prematurely, only to find that nobody on the Liverpool board had the imagination to devise a role which could harness his love for the club to mutual benefit. And if Bill Shankly could survey the game today? “Players putting in earphones and walking off the bus without acknowledging the fans – he’d hate that,” says Keegan. One member of the Spirit of Shankly supporters’ club complains that, “it has been taken out of our hands by greedy people who’ve got involved in football because of the money”. Shankly died of a cardiac arrest – some said that his heart had been broken – in 1981. Now, when teams have become brands and supporters are seen as revenue streams, the epitaph on his statue at Anfield is all the more emotive. “He made the people happy…” Shankly: Nature’s Fire will be broadcast on BBC Two Scotland on Sunday at 9pm and will be available on iPlayer afterwards.

Liverpool legend Bill Shankly's years at Anfield coal face seem an age away

Should you have the company of any football fan under the age of 15 when Sunday night’s BBC documentary tribute to Bill Shankly is broadcast, you should be braced for an interrogation on the source material. This will likely take the form of questions like “What was coal?”, “Who were the miners?” and “Are there any Scottish football managers left?” The tone of the programme – Shankly: Nature’s Fire – is inevitably elegiac but it also powerfully evokes a period of football and social history which seems now almost as remote as the 19th century. That should not be surprising, given that Shankly and the Liverpool fans who placed him at the heart of their idolatry became acquainted amid the expiring energy of the Industrial Revolution. His birthplace of Glenbuck, in the hills around the Ayrshire-Lanarkshire border, remains a blasted heath, rendered virtually bereft of nutrients by the insatiable desire for coal to fuel Britain’s factories, foundries and fleets at the height of empire. The five Shankly brothers worked in the local colliery until, by 1931, even the dross had been exhausted. The brothers all went on to become professional footballers, swelling a roster that included four other local boys who won caps for Scotland. Two earlier Glenbuck natives, Sandy Tait and Sandy Brown, won FA Cup medals with Tottenham Hotspur in 1901, the year that Shankly’s uncle, Bob Blyth, became manager of Portsmouth. There is sufficient material for a further programme in their stories – and yet another in the fact that as a manager Bob Shankly won the Scottish league title with Dundee and took them to a European Cup semi-final against FC Cologne in 1963 – but the opening montage of Sunday night’s film mingles shots of the Glenbuck wasteland with footage of Liverpool streets and buildings crammed with fans saluting the return of their team from Wembley with the FA Cup in 1965. “Even when the Beatles came back to the city on tour and were at the height of their fame they didn’t get as many people as we got. Unbelievable,” says Ian St John. Players putting in earphones and walking off the bus without acknowledging the fans – he'd hate thatKevin Keegan on Bill Shankly Command of multitudes was intuitive to Shankly. He was an unaffected populist, as emphasised repeatedly in Sunday night’s account. “He was one of the people, a leader of the people, really,” St John observes. That characteristic was personified by the fans who turned up in such numbers at the Shankly home in Bellefield Road that the lawn became threadbare and his wife, Nessie, insisted on having it concreted. The visitors were attracted by the guarantee that they would be invited inside for a cup of tea and a chat. The same philosophy applied at Liverpool’s Anfield home and at the Melwood training ground, where Shankly chatted routinely with the tea ladies, cleaners and general staff and knew them by name. Like his fellow Scottish management legends, Sir Matt Busby and Jock Stein – also former miners – he endlessly emphasised the need for collective endeavour, on and off the pitch. Shankly and Sir Matt Busby were men cut from the same cloth In other circumstances, Shankly would surely have channelled his ambition towards Westminster, rather than Wembley. A glimpse of a match programme reveals his photograph below the headline: “Politics is my escape hatch”. His demotic power can be gauged in an address to another vast congregation of Liverpool fans – a speech which an emotional Kevin Keegan admits to watching regularly – when Shankly tells his rapt audience: “I have drummed it into our players time and again that they are privileged to play for you. And if they didn’t believe me, they believe me now.” Shankly’s niece and granddaughter are on hand to illuminate his personality, while former players testify to the thrall in which he held them and footage reminds us of his transformation of a complacent second-tier club into a major football power. There is, too, the dispiriting poignancy of his decision to quit and subsequent realisation that he had done so prematurely, only to find that nobody on the Liverpool board had the imagination to devise a role which could harness his love for the club to mutual benefit. And if Bill Shankly could survey the game today? “Players putting in earphones and walking off the bus without acknowledging the fans – he’d hate that,” says Keegan. One member of the Spirit of Shankly supporters’ club complains that, “it has been taken out of our hands by greedy people who’ve got involved in football because of the money”. Shankly died of a cardiac arrest – some said that his heart had been broken – in 1981. Now, when teams have become brands and supporters are seen as revenue streams, the epitaph on his statue at Anfield is all the more emotive. “He made the people happy…” Shankly: Nature’s Fire will be broadcast on BBC Two Scotland on Sunday at 9pm and will be available on iPlayer afterwards.

Referee named Ben Toner replaced for Blackpool game following high court ruling on the Oystons 

Referee Ben Toner has been replaced for Blackpool's League Two match with Portsmouth just days after a high court decreed that the Seasiders' owners, the Oystons, had operated an “illegitimate stripping” of the Lancashire club.  The EFL say they have brought in Premier League referee Jon Moss to officiate the match due to the “increased attention” surrounding the fixture - but the timing of the decision has been met with amusement online.  In a ruling handed down by Justice Marcus Smith on Monday, Owen Oyston and his son Karl were ordered £31m to buy out the minority shareholder Valeri Belokon because of “fundamental breaches” of their duties as directors. Given Toner's name, the decision to appoint the Lancashire-born referee was the subject of some amusement on social media. Blackpool chairman Karl Oysten  Credit: AFP  Toner will now officiate Carlisle United’s fixture against Yeovil Town in League Two. “As a result of the increased attention surrounding this weekend’s League One fixture between Blackpool and Portsmouth, PGMOL [Professional Game Match Officials Limited] has determined it would be appropriate for a select group 1 referee to take charge of proceedings at Bloomfield Road," said an EFL spokesman.  “The previously selected official will instead fill a vacancy that has a arisen at Brunton Park for the League Two match between Carlisle United and Yeovil Town as the referee who was scheduled to officiate sustained an injury during Bury’s game with Stoke City Under-21s on Wednesday evening.”

Referee named Ben Toner replaced for Blackpool game following high court ruling on the Oystons 

Referee Ben Toner has been replaced for Blackpool's League Two match with Portsmouth just days after a high court decreed that the Seasiders' owners, the Oystons, had operated an “illegitimate stripping” of the Lancashire club.  The EFL say they have brought in Premier League referee Jon Moss to officiate the match due to the “increased attention” surrounding the fixture - but the timing of the decision has been met with amusement online.  In a ruling handed down by Justice Marcus Smith on Monday, Owen Oyston and his son Karl were ordered £31m to buy out the minority shareholder Valeri Belokon because of “fundamental breaches” of their duties as directors. Given Toner's name, the decision to appoint the Lancashire-born referee was the subject of some amusement on social media. Blackpool chairman Karl Oysten  Credit: AFP  Toner will now officiate Carlisle United’s fixture against Yeovil Town in League Two. “As a result of the increased attention surrounding this weekend’s League One fixture between Blackpool and Portsmouth, PGMOL [Professional Game Match Officials Limited] has determined it would be appropriate for a select group 1 referee to take charge of proceedings at Bloomfield Road," said an EFL spokesman.  “The previously selected official will instead fill a vacancy that has a arisen at Brunton Park for the League Two match between Carlisle United and Yeovil Town as the referee who was scheduled to officiate sustained an injury during Bury’s game with Stoke City Under-21s on Wednesday evening.”

Referee Ben Toner dropped from Blackpool game after Oystons court verdict

The referee Ben Toner will take charge of a League Two match rather than Blackpool’s game at home to Portsmouth.

Kevin Prince Boateng has previously played for AC Milan, Portsmouth, Tottenham Hotspur, Hertha Berlin and Schalke

Kevin Prince Boateng has previously played for AC Milan, Portsmouth, Tottenham Hotspur, Hertha Berlin and Schalke

Kevin Prince Boateng has previously played for AC Milan, Portsmouth, Tottenham Hotspur, Hertha Berlin and Schalke (AFP Photo/Bernd Thissen)

Football Manager 2018: the seven best and most exciting teams to manage on new game

Football Manager 2018 is nearly here. The latest in the gaming series is released on today, so it's time to turn your phone off and go into hibernation over the weekend in a new game. First, it's time to decide which team to manage. Do you want to take a fallen giant back to the heights of their heyday? Does a new project, with an exciting, vibrant team excite you? Or do you want the riches of Manchester City to splash around lavishly? Here, with the help of the guys at Football Manager, we list the best teams to start a game with on the 2018 edition of the game. As you'll see, they are all very different, but each boasts a lure all of their own.  AC Milan Completely redesigned their squad over the summer transfer window by capturing established talents like Leonardo Bonucci, Mateo Mussachio and Lucas Biglia alongside highly-rated prospects like Andre Silva and Hakan Calhanoglu. Leo Bonucci made the switch from Juventus to AC Milan in the summer Credit: reuters With similar investment from the new owners likely to continue over the next few seasons this is a perfect time to restore Milan to their former glories and usher in a new level of dominance at the San Siro. They haven't started the new season brilliantly but they surely have the potential to break Juventus' monopoly on Serie A. Wolves Sitting near the top of the Championship and playing some scintillating football, Wolves are one of the most exciting teams in English football at the moment. Super-agent Jorge Mendes has been instrumental in securing the services of players like Ruben Neves and Diego Jota who would’ve likely been unattainable last season. Wolves will expect to be back in the Premier League before long Credit: Getty images That leaves Wolves nicely placed to sustain a place in the top flight – if they can get there. Napoli The hipsters dream. This is a squad that is built for attacking football but their goal difference is the highest in Serie A which shows they can keep it tight at the back, too. Could this be the year that they bring back the glory days of the late 80s? Or will Juventus prove too strong, yet again? Portsmouth Would there be any greater achievement than taking Portsmouth back to the big time after they tumbled down the leagues? Could you take Portsmouth back to former glories? Credit: PA Promotion from League Two in 2016/17 needs to be built on; can you keep the momentum up and inspire a rise up the tables as fast as their freefall of the last decade? The club's finances are at least slightly more secure than they were, but this is a challenge and a half. Just don't sign Niko Kranjcar, alright? Nantes Anyone looking for the chance to ‘do a Leicester’ need look no further than French side Nantes. Not only do they have their title-winning manager, Claudio Ranieri, in charge but they are also the surprise package in Ligue 1 this season. How about 'doing a Leicester' with Nantes? Credit: Reuters They combine exciting young players with experience, but there are very, very few household names at the club: probably the most recognisable is former Fulham man Alexander Kacaniklic. There is a solid defence in place, leaving you free to focus on bringing in a few more goalscorers that could propel you to an unlikely title win. Forest Green Rovers For those who like to take on the challenge of managing in the lower leagues, there may be no better option than Forest Green. Newly promoted into the Football League and struggling at the foot of the table in the real world, Football Manager gives you the chance to put that right with a healthy (by League 2 standards) transfer budget. If you can avoid a relegation scrap in the first season you could be well on your way to taking this plucky Gloucestershire club up the football pyramid. AFC Wimbledon A sad footballing story that is could one day still have its fairytale ending, Wimbledon's short history has seen a meteoric rise up the English leagues that has seen six promotions in just 15 seasons of existence. Could you uncover the next Vinnie Jones? Credit: Getty images Now in League One and hoping to build on their 15th-placed finish last season, they are just two dream campaigns from being back in the Premier League.  A chance to recreate the Crazy gang could be too good to turn down for some, while a return to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace would be historic.

Football Manager 2018: the seven best and most exciting teams to manage on new game

Football Manager 2018 is nearly here. The latest in the gaming series is released on today, so it's time to turn your phone off and go into hibernation over the weekend in a new game. First, it's time to decide which team to manage. Do you want to take a fallen giant back to the heights of their heyday? Does a new project, with an exciting, vibrant team excite you? Or do you want the riches of Manchester City to splash around lavishly? Here, with the help of the guys at Football Manager, we list the best teams to start a game with on the 2018 edition of the game. As you'll see, they are all very different, but each boasts a lure all of their own.  AC Milan Completely redesigned their squad over the summer transfer window by capturing established talents like Leonardo Bonucci, Mateo Mussachio and Lucas Biglia alongside highly-rated prospects like Andre Silva and Hakan Calhanoglu. Leo Bonucci made the switch from Juventus to AC Milan in the summer Credit: reuters With similar investment from the new owners likely to continue over the next few seasons this is a perfect time to restore Milan to their former glories and usher in a new level of dominance at the San Siro. They haven't started the new season brilliantly but they surely have the potential to break Juventus' monopoly on Serie A. Wolves Sitting near the top of the Championship and playing some scintillating football, Wolves are one of the most exciting teams in English football at the moment. Super-agent Jorge Mendes has been instrumental in securing the services of players like Ruben Neves and Diego Jota who would’ve likely been unattainable last season. Wolves will expect to be back in the Premier League before long Credit: Getty images That leaves Wolves nicely placed to sustain a place in the top flight – if they can get there. Napoli The hipsters dream. This is a squad that is built for attacking football but their goal difference is the highest in Serie A which shows they can keep it tight at the back, too. Could this be the year that they bring back the glory days of the late 80s? Or will Juventus prove too strong, yet again? Portsmouth Would there be any greater achievement than taking Portsmouth back to the big time after they tumbled down the leagues? Could you take Portsmouth back to former glories? Credit: PA Promotion from League Two in 2016/17 needs to be built on; can you keep the momentum up and inspire a rise up the tables as fast as their freefall of the last decade? The club's finances are at least slightly more secure than they were, but this is a challenge and a half. Just don't sign Niko Kranjcar, alright? Nantes Anyone looking for the chance to ‘do a Leicester’ need look no further than French side Nantes. Not only do they have their title-winning manager, Claudio Ranieri, in charge but they are also the surprise package in Ligue 1 this season. How about 'doing a Leicester' with Nantes? Credit: Reuters They combine exciting young players with experience, but there are very, very few household names at the club: probably the most recognisable is former Fulham man Alexander Kacaniklic. There is a solid defence in place, leaving you free to focus on bringing in a few more goalscorers that could propel you to an unlikely title win. Forest Green Rovers For those who like to take on the challenge of managing in the lower leagues, there may be no better option than Forest Green. Newly promoted into the Football League and struggling at the foot of the table in the real world, Football Manager gives you the chance to put that right with a healthy (by League 2 standards) transfer budget. If you can avoid a relegation scrap in the first season you could be well on your way to taking this plucky Gloucestershire club up the football pyramid. AFC Wimbledon A sad footballing story that is could one day still have its fairytale ending, Wimbledon's short history has seen a meteoric rise up the English leagues that has seen six promotions in just 15 seasons of existence. Could you uncover the next Vinnie Jones? Credit: Getty images Now in League One and hoping to build on their 15th-placed finish last season, they are just two dream campaigns from being back in the Premier League.  A chance to recreate the Crazy gang could be too good to turn down for some, while a return to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace would be historic.

Football Manager 2018: the seven best and most exciting teams to manage on new game

Football Manager 2018 is nearly here. The latest in the gaming series is released on today, so it's time to turn your phone off and go into hibernation over the weekend in a new game. First, it's time to decide which team to manage. Do you want to take a fallen giant back to the heights of their heyday? Does a new project, with an exciting, vibrant team excite you? Or do you want the riches of Manchester City to splash around lavishly? Here, with the help of the guys at Football Manager, we list the best teams to start a game with on the 2018 edition of the game. As you'll see, they are all very different, but each boasts a lure all of their own.  AC Milan Completely redesigned their squad over the summer transfer window by capturing established talents like Leonardo Bonucci, Mateo Mussachio and Lucas Biglia alongside highly-rated prospects like Andre Silva and Hakan Calhanoglu. Leo Bonucci made the switch from Juventus to AC Milan in the summer Credit: reuters With similar investment from the new owners likely to continue over the next few seasons this is a perfect time to restore Milan to their former glories and usher in a new level of dominance at the San Siro. They haven't started the new season brilliantly but they surely have the potential to break Juventus' monopoly on Serie A. Wolves Sitting near the top of the Championship and playing some scintillating football, Wolves are one of the most exciting teams in English football at the moment. Super-agent Jorge Mendes has been instrumental in securing the services of players like Ruben Neves and Diego Jota who would’ve likely been unattainable last season. Wolves will expect to be back in the Premier League before long Credit: Getty images That leaves Wolves nicely placed to sustain a place in the top flight – if they can get there. Napoli The hipsters dream. This is a squad that is built for attacking football but their goal difference is the highest in Serie A which shows they can keep it tight at the back, too. Could this be the year that they bring back the glory days of the late 80s? Or will Juventus prove too strong, yet again? Portsmouth Would there be any greater achievement than taking Portsmouth back to the big time after they tumbled down the leagues? Could you take Portsmouth back to former glories? Credit: PA Promotion from League Two in 2016/17 needs to be built on; can you keep the momentum up and inspire a rise up the tables as fast as their freefall of the last decade? The club's finances are at least slightly more secure than they were, but this is a challenge and a half. Just don't sign Niko Kranjcar, alright? Nantes Anyone looking for the chance to ‘do a Leicester’ need look no further than French side Nantes. Not only do they have their title-winning manager, Claudio Ranieri, in charge but they are also the surprise package in Ligue 1 this season. How about 'doing a Leicester' with Nantes? Credit: Reuters They combine exciting young players with experience, but there are very, very few household names at the club: probably the most recognisable is former Fulham man Alexander Kacaniklic. There is a solid defence in place, leaving you free to focus on bringing in a few more goalscorers that could propel you to an unlikely title win. Forest Green Rovers For those who like to take on the challenge of managing in the lower leagues, there may be no better option than Forest Green. Newly promoted into the Football League and struggling at the foot of the table in the real world, Football Manager gives you the chance to put that right with a healthy (by League 2 standards) transfer budget. If you can avoid a relegation scrap in the first season you could be well on your way to taking this plucky Gloucestershire club up the football pyramid. AFC Wimbledon A sad footballing story that is could one day still have its fairytale ending, Wimbledon's short history has seen a meteoric rise up the English leagues that has seen six promotions in just 15 seasons of existence. Could you uncover the next Vinnie Jones? Credit: Getty images Now in League One and hoping to build on their 15th-placed finish last season, they are just two dream campaigns from being back in the Premier League.  A chance to recreate the Crazy gang could be too good to turn down for some, while a return to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace would be historic.

Football Manager 2018: the seven best and most exciting teams to manage on new game

Football Manager 2018 is nearly here. The latest in the gaming series is released on today, so it's time to turn your phone off and go into hibernation over the weekend in a new game. First, it's time to decide which team to manage. Do you want to take a fallen giant back to the heights of their heyday? Does a new project, with an exciting, vibrant team excite you? Or do you want the riches of Manchester City to splash around lavishly? Here, with the help of the guys at Football Manager, we list the best teams to start a game with on the 2018 edition of the game. As you'll see, they are all very different, but each boasts a lure all of their own.  AC Milan Completely redesigned their squad over the summer transfer window by capturing established talents like Leonardo Bonucci, Mateo Mussachio and Lucas Biglia alongside highly-rated prospects like Andre Silva and Hakan Calhanoglu. Leo Bonucci made the switch from Juventus to AC Milan in the summer Credit: reuters With similar investment from the new owners likely to continue over the next few seasons this is a perfect time to restore Milan to their former glories and usher in a new level of dominance at the San Siro. They haven't started the new season brilliantly but they surely have the potential to break Juventus' monopoly on Serie A. Wolves Sitting near the top of the Championship and playing some scintillating football, Wolves are one of the most exciting teams in English football at the moment. Super-agent Jorge Mendes has been instrumental in securing the services of players like Ruben Neves and Diego Jota who would’ve likely been unattainable last season. Wolves will expect to be back in the Premier League before long Credit: Getty images That leaves Wolves nicely placed to sustain a place in the top flight – if they can get there. Napoli The hipsters dream. This is a squad that is built for attacking football but their goal difference is the highest in Serie A which shows they can keep it tight at the back, too. Could this be the year that they bring back the glory days of the late 80s? Or will Juventus prove too strong, yet again? Portsmouth Would there be any greater achievement than taking Portsmouth back to the big time after they tumbled down the leagues? Could you take Portsmouth back to former glories? Credit: PA Promotion from League Two in 2016/17 needs to be built on; can you keep the momentum up and inspire a rise up the tables as fast as their freefall of the last decade? The club's finances are at least slightly more secure than they were, but this is a challenge and a half. Just don't sign Niko Kranjcar, alright? Nantes Anyone looking for the chance to ‘do a Leicester’ need look no further than French side Nantes. Not only do they have their title-winning manager, Claudio Ranieri, in charge but they are also the surprise package in Ligue 1 this season. How about 'doing a Leicester' with Nantes? Credit: Reuters They combine exciting young players with experience, but there are very, very few household names at the club: probably the most recognisable is former Fulham man Alexander Kacaniklic. There is a solid defence in place, leaving you free to focus on bringing in a few more goalscorers that could propel you to an unlikely title win. Forest Green Rovers For those who like to take on the challenge of managing in the lower leagues, there may be no better option than Forest Green. Newly promoted into the Football League and struggling at the foot of the table in the real world, Football Manager gives you the chance to put that right with a healthy (by League 2 standards) transfer budget. If you can avoid a relegation scrap in the first season you could be well on your way to taking this plucky Gloucestershire club up the football pyramid. AFC Wimbledon A sad footballing story that is could one day still have its fairytale ending, Wimbledon's short history has seen a meteoric rise up the English leagues that has seen six promotions in just 15 seasons of existence. Could you uncover the next Vinnie Jones? Credit: Getty images Now in League One and hoping to build on their 15th-placed finish last season, they are just two dream campaigns from being back in the Premier League.  A chance to recreate the Crazy gang could be too good to turn down for some, while a return to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace would be historic.

Football Manager 2018: the seven best and most exciting teams to manage on new game

Football Manager 2018 is nearly here. The latest in the gaming series is released on today, so it's time to turn your phone off and go into hibernation over the weekend in a new game. First, it's time to decide which team to manage. Do you want to take a fallen giant back to the heights of their heyday? Does a new project, with an exciting, vibrant team excite you? Or do you want the riches of Manchester City to splash around lavishly? Here, with the help of the guys at Football Manager, we list the best teams to start a game with on the 2018 edition of the game. As you'll see, they are all very different, but each boasts a lure all of their own.  AC Milan Completely redesigned their squad over the summer transfer window by capturing established talents like Leonardo Bonucci, Mateo Mussachio and Lucas Biglia alongside highly-rated prospects like Andre Silva and Hakan Calhanoglu. Leo Bonucci made the switch from Juventus to AC Milan in the summer Credit: reuters With similar investment from the new owners likely to continue over the next few seasons this is a perfect time to restore Milan to their former glories and usher in a new level of dominance at the San Siro. They haven't started the new season brilliantly but they surely have the potential to break Juventus' monopoly on Serie A. Wolves Sitting near the top of the Championship and playing some scintillating football, Wolves are one of the most exciting teams in English football at the moment. Super-agent Jorge Mendes has been instrumental in securing the services of players like Ruben Neves and Diego Jota who would’ve likely been unattainable last season. Wolves will expect to be back in the Premier League before long Credit: Getty images That leaves Wolves nicely placed to sustain a place in the top flight – if they can get there. Napoli The hipsters dream. This is a squad that is built for attacking football but their goal difference is the highest in Serie A which shows they can keep it tight at the back, too. Could this be the year that they bring back the glory days of the late 80s? Or will Juventus prove too strong, yet again? Portsmouth Would there be any greater achievement than taking Portsmouth back to the big time after they tumbled down the leagues? Could you take Portsmouth back to former glories? Credit: PA Promotion from League Two in 2016/17 needs to be built on; can you keep the momentum up and inspire a rise up the tables as fast as their freefall of the last decade? The club's finances are at least slightly more secure than they were, but this is a challenge and a half. Just don't sign Niko Kranjcar, alright? Nantes Anyone looking for the chance to ‘do a Leicester’ need look no further than French side Nantes. Not only do they have their title-winning manager, Claudio Ranieri, in charge but they are also the surprise package in Ligue 1 this season. How about 'doing a Leicester' with Nantes? Credit: Reuters They combine exciting young players with experience, but there are very, very few household names at the club: probably the most recognisable is former Fulham man Alexander Kacaniklic. There is a solid defence in place, leaving you free to focus on bringing in a few more goalscorers that could propel you to an unlikely title win. Forest Green Rovers For those who like to take on the challenge of managing in the lower leagues, there may be no better option than Forest Green. Newly promoted into the Football League and struggling at the foot of the table in the real world, Football Manager gives you the chance to put that right with a healthy (by League 2 standards) transfer budget. If you can avoid a relegation scrap in the first season you could be well on your way to taking this plucky Gloucestershire club up the football pyramid. AFC Wimbledon A sad footballing story that is could one day still have its fairytale ending, Wimbledon's short history has seen a meteoric rise up the English leagues that has seen six promotions in just 15 seasons of existence. Could you uncover the next Vinnie Jones? Credit: Getty images Now in League One and hoping to build on their 15th-placed finish last season, they are just two dream campaigns from being back in the Premier League.  A chance to recreate the Crazy gang could be too good to turn down for some, while a return to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace would be historic.

Football Manager 2018: the seven best and most exciting teams to manage on new game

Football Manager 2018 is nearly here. The latest in the gaming series is released on today, so it's time to turn your phone off and go into hibernation over the weekend in a new game. First, it's time to decide which team to manage. Do you want to take a fallen giant back to the heights of their heyday? Does a new project, with an exciting, vibrant team excite you? Or do you want the riches of Manchester City to splash around lavishly? Here, with the help of the guys at Football Manager, we list the best teams to start a game with on the 2018 edition of the game. As you'll see, they are all very different, but each boasts a lure all of their own.  AC Milan Completely redesigned their squad over the summer transfer window by capturing established talents like Leonardo Bonucci, Mateo Mussachio and Lucas Biglia alongside highly-rated prospects like Andre Silva and Hakan Calhanoglu. Leo Bonucci made the switch from Juventus to AC Milan in the summer Credit: reuters With similar investment from the new owners likely to continue over the next few seasons this is a perfect time to restore Milan to their former glories and usher in a new level of dominance at the San Siro. They haven't started the new season brilliantly but they surely have the potential to break Juventus' monopoly on Serie A. Wolves Sitting near the top of the Championship and playing some scintillating football, Wolves are one of the most exciting teams in English football at the moment. Super-agent Jorge Mendes has been instrumental in securing the services of players like Ruben Neves and Diego Jota who would’ve likely been unattainable last season. Wolves will expect to be back in the Premier League before long Credit: Getty images That leaves Wolves nicely placed to sustain a place in the top flight – if they can get there. Napoli The hipsters dream. This is a squad that is built for attacking football but their goal difference is the highest in Serie A which shows they can keep it tight at the back, too. Could this be the year that they bring back the glory days of the late 80s? Or will Juventus prove too strong, yet again? Portsmouth Would there be any greater achievement than taking Portsmouth back to the big time after they tumbled down the leagues? Could you take Portsmouth back to former glories? Credit: PA Promotion from League Two in 2016/17 needs to be built on; can you keep the momentum up and inspire a rise up the tables as fast as their freefall of the last decade? The club's finances are at least slightly more secure than they were, but this is a challenge and a half. Just don't sign Niko Kranjcar, alright? Nantes Anyone looking for the chance to ‘do a Leicester’ need look no further than French side Nantes. Not only do they have their title-winning manager, Claudio Ranieri, in charge but they are also the surprise package in Ligue 1 this season. How about 'doing a Leicester' with Nantes? Credit: Reuters They combine exciting young players with experience, but there are very, very few household names at the club: probably the most recognisable is former Fulham man Alexander Kacaniklic. There is a solid defence in place, leaving you free to focus on bringing in a few more goalscorers that could propel you to an unlikely title win. Forest Green Rovers For those who like to take on the challenge of managing in the lower leagues, there may be no better option than Forest Green. Newly promoted into the Football League and struggling at the foot of the table in the real world, Football Manager gives you the chance to put that right with a healthy (by League 2 standards) transfer budget. If you can avoid a relegation scrap in the first season you could be well on your way to taking this plucky Gloucestershire club up the football pyramid. AFC Wimbledon A sad footballing story that is could one day still have its fairytale ending, Wimbledon's short history has seen a meteoric rise up the English leagues that has seen six promotions in just 15 seasons of existence. Could you uncover the next Vinnie Jones? Credit: Getty images Now in League One and hoping to build on their 15th-placed finish last season, they are just two dream campaigns from being back in the Premier League.  A chance to recreate the Crazy gang could be too good to turn down for some, while a return to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace would be historic.

FILE PHOTO: British sailor Ben Ainslie's Land Rover BAR crew practices in the waters off Portsmouth

FILE PHOTO: British sailor Ben Ainslie's Land Rover BAR crew practices in the waters off Portsmouth, Britain, November 10, 2016, ahead of the final AmericaÕs Cup World Series event in Fukuoka, Japan. REUTERS/Alexander Smith/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: British sailor Ben Ainslie's Land Rover BAR crew practices in the waters off Portsmouth

FILE PHOTO: British sailor Ben Ainslie's Land Rover BAR crew practices in the waters off Portsmouth, Britain, November 10, 2016, ahead of the final AmericaÕs Cup World Series event in Fukuoka, Japan. REUTERS/Alexander Smith/File Photo

David Unsworth, then with Portsmouth, celebrates after scoring a penalty against Manchester United during a game on October 30, 2004 in Portsmouth, southern England

David Unsworth, then with Portsmouth, celebrates after scoring a penalty against Manchester United during a game on October 30, 2004 in Portsmouth, southern England (AFP Photo/)

What next for Dejan Lovren: How do players respond to the humiliation of a first half substitution?

We can all agree Sunday was a day to forget for Dejan Lovren. After two mistakes that led to two Tottenham goals and the end of the game at Wembley as a contest, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hooked the centre-back after just 31 minutes. There is little in football that can be more humiliating than a first half substitution that has nothing to do with injury, and the worry for Liverpool now will be how well Lovren responds. However much criticism he is given, he remains an important part of Liverpool's team (statistically, they are even worse off when he doesn't play), and it will be interesting to see how Klopp manages the situation. Will he be back in the starting lineup for Huddersfield's visit to Anfield next week (given Liverpool weren't much better after he'd been taken off on Sunday) or will he be left to his own devices to regain his confidence while wallowing on the bench? What is the best action for Klopp to take? Lovren is by no means the first to suffer such ignominy and nor will he be the last. Lovren had an afternoon to forget at Wembley on Sunday Credit: AFP Here, we look back at some other players who have been hauled off before half time and ask what happened next? Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips With Chelsea top of the table in March 2006, Jose Mourinho decided to rotate his team for a trip to Fulham, having recently gone out of the Champions League and with an FA Cup quarter-final against Newcastle just three days after this match. Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips started out wide, but Chelsea quickly went a goal down and were struggling so badly that both were taken off after just 26 minutes. Shaun Wright-Phillips was unable to take his chance in the first team Credit:  Russell Cheyne/The Telegraph Chelsea went on to win a second successive Premier League title and Cole played a crucial role in the run-in, starting four of their remaining eight games as well as the aforementioned FA Cup tie, but Wright-Phillips was restricted to substitute appearances. Long-term, however, both continued to be key players for Mourinho and bounced back from that dreadful night at Craven Cottage. Verdict: Positive repsonse. Joe Cole (again) and Jack Collison Poor old Joe Cole. Not only did he overcome severe injury problems over the course of his career, seven years after his embarrassment at Fulham, he was taken off before half time by West Ham manager Sam Allardyce against his former club. Cole took his shirt off and stormed straight down the tunnel when he was hooked on 40 minutes with West Ham 2-0 down to Chelsea, something Allardyce called "disappointing" after the game, also warning Cole about his future conduct. Cole apologised shortly afterwards. Cole started only three more goals for West Ham after being subbed off in the first half Credit: Getty images Jack Collison was also taken off but he went with rather less protest. Cole let his football do the talking a week later when he came off the bench to score against Fulham, but the two of them started just three games each between the Chelsea game in November and the end of the season. With injury problems mounting, both left West Ham that summer. Verdict: Negative response. James McCarthy It is rare for a first half sub to be as effective as this, but after McCarthy was replaced by Romelu Lukaku with Everton 1-0 down at West Brom in August 2016, the game swung towards Ronald Koeman's side. Will McCarthy return to the Everton team? Credit: PA McCarthy was given a League cup game against Yeovil to regain his confidence but suffered an injury and didn't play again until November. His performance against West Brom combined with injury problems have meant he has barely featured for Everton since. He is back in training but is yet to play this season and it isn't clear what the future holds for him. Verdict: Jury still out. Claudio Cacapa Long before the Cole-Collison debacle, Allardyce was at it at Newcastle, when he took Brazilian centre-back Cacapa off just 18 minutes in to a home game against Portsmouth in November 2007 with his side 3-0 down after just 11 minutes. Cacapa had been skinned by John Utaka for the third and was swiftly removed from the pitch as a result, looking grossly out of his depth. Claudio Cacapa in action for Newcastle Credit: AFP He was made to wait another six weeks for another start, and though he worked his way back into the Newcastle team, he never really established himself in England and was released in the summer of 2009 having played his final game for the club in the preceding December. Verdict: Negative response. Dante Pep Guardiola took defender Dante off after just 30 minutes against Hannover with his Bayern Munich team 1-0 down in March 2015. Dante seemed to take it well: "I was a little disappointed, but I understand the coach’s decision," he said. "Why should he have three centre-backs on the pitch when the opposition has eleven players in their own box? We won today and that is most important." Dante didn't last long after he was subbed off in the first half of a Bayern game Credit: PA Bayern legend Steffen Effenberg predicted after the game that Dante would leave the club in the summer, but Guardiola started the Brazilian in all but two of their remaining nine games. During the run-in, Guardiola heaped praise on Dante, saying "I'd like 1,000 Dantes in my team." And yet, just one month later, after Bayern had again won the Bundesliga title, Dante played his final game for the club. Effenberg was proved correct, and Dante was sold to Wolfsburg that summer. Verdict: Positive short-term, but long-term negative.

What next for Dejan Lovren: How do players respond to the humiliation of a first half substitution?

We can all agree Sunday was a day to forget for Dejan Lovren. After two mistakes that led to two Tottenham goals and the end of the game at Wembley as a contest, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hooked the centre-back after just 31 minutes. There is little in football that can be more humiliating than a first half substitution that has nothing to do with injury, and the worry for Liverpool now will be how well Lovren responds. However much criticism he is given, he remains an important part of Liverpool's team (statistically, they are even worse off when he doesn't play), and it will be interesting to see how Klopp manages the situation. Will he be back in the starting lineup for Huddersfield's visit to Anfield next week (given Liverpool weren't much better after he'd been taken off on Sunday) or will he be left to his own devices to regain his confidence while wallowing on the bench? What is the best action for Klopp to take? Lovren is by no means the first to suffer such ignominy and nor will he be the last. Lovren had an afternoon to forget at Wembley on Sunday Credit: AFP Here, we look back at some other players who have been hauled off before half time and ask what happened next? Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips With Chelsea top of the table in March 2006, Jose Mourinho decided to rotate his team for a trip to Fulham, having recently gone out of the Champions League and with an FA Cup quarter-final against Newcastle just three days after this match. Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips started out wide, but Chelsea quickly went a goal down and were struggling so badly that both were taken off after just 26 minutes. Shaun Wright-Phillips was unable to take his chance in the first team Credit:  Russell Cheyne/The Telegraph Chelsea went on to win a second successive Premier League title and Cole played a crucial role in the run-in, starting four of their remaining eight games as well as the aforementioned FA Cup tie, but Wright-Phillips was restricted to substitute appearances. Long-term, however, both continued to be key players for Mourinho and bounced back from that dreadful night at Craven Cottage. Verdict: Positive repsonse. Joe Cole (again) and Jack Collison Poor old Joe Cole. Not only did he overcome severe injury problems over the course of his career, seven years after his embarrassment at Fulham, he was taken off before half time by West Ham manager Sam Allardyce against his former club. Cole took his shirt off and stormed straight down the tunnel when he was hooked on 40 minutes with West Ham 2-0 down to Chelsea, something Allardyce called "disappointing" after the game, also warning Cole about his future conduct. Cole apologised shortly afterwards. Cole started only three more goals for West Ham after being subbed off in the first half Credit: Getty images Jack Collison was also taken off but he went with rather less protest. Cole let his football do the talking a week later when he came off the bench to score against Fulham, but the two of them started just three games each between the Chelsea game in November and the end of the season. With injury problems mounting, both left West Ham that summer. Verdict: Negative response. James McCarthy It is rare for a first half sub to be as effective as this, but after McCarthy was replaced by Romelu Lukaku with Everton 1-0 down at West Brom in August 2016, the game swung towards Ronald Koeman's side. Will McCarthy return to the Everton team? Credit: PA McCarthy was given a League cup game against Yeovil to regain his confidence but suffered an injury and didn't play again until November. His performance against West Brom combined with injury problems have meant he has barely featured for Everton since. He is back in training but is yet to play this season and it isn't clear what the future holds for him. Verdict: Jury still out. Claudio Cacapa Long before the Cole-Collison debacle, Allardyce was at it at Newcastle, when he took Brazilian centre-back Cacapa off just 18 minutes in to a home game against Portsmouth in November 2007 with his side 3-0 down after just 11 minutes. Cacapa had been skinned by John Utaka for the third and was swiftly removed from the pitch as a result, looking grossly out of his depth. Claudio Cacapa in action for Newcastle Credit: AFP He was made to wait another six weeks for another start, and though he worked his way back into the Newcastle team, he never really established himself in England and was released in the summer of 2009 having played his final game for the club in the preceding December. Verdict: Negative response. Dante Pep Guardiola took defender Dante off after just 30 minutes against Hannover with his Bayern Munich team 1-0 down in March 2015. Dante seemed to take it well: "I was a little disappointed, but I understand the coach’s decision," he said. "Why should he have three centre-backs on the pitch when the opposition has eleven players in their own box? We won today and that is most important." Dante didn't last long after he was subbed off in the first half of a Bayern game Credit: PA Bayern legend Steffen Effenberg predicted after the game that Dante would leave the club in the summer, but Guardiola started the Brazilian in all but two of their remaining nine games. During the run-in, Guardiola heaped praise on Dante, saying "I'd like 1,000 Dantes in my team." And yet, just one month later, after Bayern had again won the Bundesliga title, Dante played his final game for the club. Effenberg was proved correct, and Dante was sold to Wolfsburg that summer. Verdict: Positive short-term, but long-term negative.

What next for Dejan Lovren: How do players respond to the humiliation of a first half substitution?

We can all agree Sunday was a day to forget for Dejan Lovren. After two mistakes that led to two Tottenham goals and the end of the game at Wembley as a contest, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hooked the centre-back after just 31 minutes. There is little in football that can be more humiliating than a first half substitution that has nothing to do with injury, and the worry for Liverpool now will be how well Lovren responds. However much criticism he is given, he remains an important part of Liverpool's team (statistically, they are even worse off when he doesn't play), and it will be interesting to see how Klopp manages the situation. Will he be back in the starting lineup for Huddersfield's visit to Anfield next week (given Liverpool weren't much better after he'd been taken off on Sunday) or will he be left to his own devices to regain his confidence while wallowing on the bench? What is the best action for Klopp to take? Lovren is by no means the first to suffer such ignominy and nor will he be the last. Lovren had an afternoon to forget at Wembley on Sunday Credit: AFP Here, we look back at some other players who have been hauled off before half time and ask what happened next? Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips With Chelsea top of the table in March 2006, Jose Mourinho decided to rotate his team for a trip to Fulham, having recently gone out of the Champions League and with an FA Cup quarter-final against Newcastle just three days after this match. Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips started out wide, but Chelsea quickly went a goal down and were struggling so badly that both were taken off after just 26 minutes. Shaun Wright-Phillips was unable to take his chance in the first team Credit:  Russell Cheyne/The Telegraph Chelsea went on to win a second successive Premier League title and Cole played a crucial role in the run-in, starting four of their remaining eight games as well as the aforementioned FA Cup tie, but Wright-Phillips was restricted to substitute appearances. Long-term, however, both continued to be key players for Mourinho and bounced back from that dreadful night at Craven Cottage. Verdict: Positive repsonse. Joe Cole (again) and Jack Collison Poor old Joe Cole. Not only did he overcome severe injury problems over the course of his career, seven years after his embarrassment at Fulham, he was taken off before half time by West Ham manager Sam Allardyce against his former club. Cole took his shirt off and stormed straight down the tunnel when he was hooked on 40 minutes with West Ham 2-0 down to Chelsea, something Allardyce called "disappointing" after the game, also warning Cole about his future conduct. Cole apologised shortly afterwards. Cole started only three more goals for West Ham after being subbed off in the first half Credit: Getty images Jack Collison was also taken off but he went with rather less protest. Cole let his football do the talking a week later when he came off the bench to score against Fulham, but the two of them started just three games each between the Chelsea game in November and the end of the season. With injury problems mounting, both left West Ham that summer. Verdict: Negative response. James McCarthy It is rare for a first half sub to be as effective as this, but after McCarthy was replaced by Romelu Lukaku with Everton 1-0 down at West Brom in August 2016, the game swung towards Ronald Koeman's side. Will McCarthy return to the Everton team? Credit: PA McCarthy was given a League cup game against Yeovil to regain his confidence but suffered an injury and didn't play again until November. His performance against West Brom combined with injury problems have meant he has barely featured for Everton since. He is back in training but is yet to play this season and it isn't clear what the future holds for him. Verdict: Jury still out. Claudio Cacapa Long before the Cole-Collison debacle, Allardyce was at it at Newcastle, when he took Brazilian centre-back Cacapa off just 18 minutes in to a home game against Portsmouth in November 2007 with his side 3-0 down after just 11 minutes. Cacapa had been skinned by John Utaka for the third and was swiftly removed from the pitch as a result, looking grossly out of his depth. Claudio Cacapa in action for Newcastle Credit: AFP He was made to wait another six weeks for another start, and though he worked his way back into the Newcastle team, he never really established himself in England and was released in the summer of 2009 having played his final game for the club in the preceding December. Verdict: Negative response. Dante Pep Guardiola took defender Dante off after just 30 minutes against Hannover with his Bayern Munich team 1-0 down in March 2015. Dante seemed to take it well: "I was a little disappointed, but I understand the coach’s decision," he said. "Why should he have three centre-backs on the pitch when the opposition has eleven players in their own box? We won today and that is most important." Dante didn't last long after he was subbed off in the first half of a Bayern game Credit: PA Bayern legend Steffen Effenberg predicted after the game that Dante would leave the club in the summer, but Guardiola started the Brazilian in all but two of their remaining nine games. During the run-in, Guardiola heaped praise on Dante, saying "I'd like 1,000 Dantes in my team." And yet, just one month later, after Bayern had again won the Bundesliga title, Dante played his final game for the club. Effenberg was proved correct, and Dante was sold to Wolfsburg that summer. Verdict: Positive short-term, but long-term negative.

What next for Dejan Lovren: How do players respond to the humiliation of a first half substitution?

We can all agree Sunday was a day to forget for Dejan Lovren. After two mistakes that led to two Tottenham goals and the end of the game at Wembley as a contest, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hooked the centre-back after just 31 minutes. There is little in football that can be more humiliating than a first half substitution that has nothing to do with injury, and the worry for Liverpool now will be how well Lovren responds. However much criticism he is given, he remains an important part of Liverpool's team (statistically, they are even worse off when he doesn't play), and it will be interesting to see how Klopp manages the situation. Will he be back in the starting lineup for Huddersfield's visit to Anfield next week (given Liverpool weren't much better after he'd been taken off on Sunday) or will he be left to his own devices to regain his confidence while wallowing on the bench? What is the best action for Klopp to take? Lovren is by no means the first to suffer such ignominy and nor will he be the last. Lovren had an afternoon to forget at Wembley on Sunday Credit: AFP Here, we look back at some other players who have been hauled off before half time and ask what happened next? Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips With Chelsea top of the table in March 2006, Jose Mourinho decided to rotate his team for a trip to Fulham, having recently gone out of the Champions League and with an FA Cup quarter-final against Newcastle just three days after this match. Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips started out wide, but Chelsea quickly went a goal down and were struggling so badly that both were taken off after just 26 minutes. Shaun Wright-Phillips was unable to take his chance in the first team Credit:  Russell Cheyne/The Telegraph Chelsea went on to win a second successive Premier League title and Cole played a crucial role in the run-in, starting four of their remaining eight games as well as the aforementioned FA Cup tie, but Wright-Phillips was restricted to substitute appearances. Long-term, however, both continued to be key players for Mourinho and bounced back from that dreadful night at Craven Cottage. Verdict: Positive repsonse. Joe Cole (again) and Jack Collison Poor old Joe Cole. Not only did he overcome severe injury problems over the course of his career, seven years after his embarrassment at Fulham, he was taken off before half time by West Ham manager Sam Allardyce against his former club. Cole took his shirt off and stormed straight down the tunnel when he was hooked on 40 minutes with West Ham 2-0 down to Chelsea, something Allardyce called "disappointing" after the game, also warning Cole about his future conduct. Cole apologised shortly afterwards. Cole started only three more goals for West Ham after being subbed off in the first half Credit: Getty images Jack Collison was also taken off but he went with rather less protest. Cole let his football do the talking a week later when he came off the bench to score against Fulham, but the two of them started just three games each between the Chelsea game in November and the end of the season. With injury problems mounting, both left West Ham that summer. Verdict: Negative response. James McCarthy It is rare for a first half sub to be as effective as this, but after McCarthy was replaced by Romelu Lukaku with Everton 1-0 down at West Brom in August 2016, the game swung towards Ronald Koeman's side. Will McCarthy return to the Everton team? Credit: PA McCarthy was given a League cup game against Yeovil to regain his confidence but suffered an injury and didn't play again until November. His performance against West Brom combined with injury problems have meant he has barely featured for Everton since. He is back in training but is yet to play this season and it isn't clear what the future holds for him. Verdict: Jury still out. Claudio Cacapa Long before the Cole-Collison debacle, Allardyce was at it at Newcastle, when he took Brazilian centre-back Cacapa off just 18 minutes in to a home game against Portsmouth in November 2007 with his side 3-0 down after just 11 minutes. Cacapa had been skinned by John Utaka for the third and was swiftly removed from the pitch as a result, looking grossly out of his depth. Claudio Cacapa in action for Newcastle Credit: AFP He was made to wait another six weeks for another start, and though he worked his way back into the Newcastle team, he never really established himself in England and was released in the summer of 2009 having played his final game for the club in the preceding December. Verdict: Negative response. Dante Pep Guardiola took defender Dante off after just 30 minutes against Hannover with his Bayern Munich team 1-0 down in March 2015. Dante seemed to take it well: "I was a little disappointed, but I understand the coach’s decision," he said. "Why should he have three centre-backs on the pitch when the opposition has eleven players in their own box? We won today and that is most important." Dante didn't last long after he was subbed off in the first half of a Bayern game Credit: PA Bayern legend Steffen Effenberg predicted after the game that Dante would leave the club in the summer, but Guardiola started the Brazilian in all but two of their remaining nine games. During the run-in, Guardiola heaped praise on Dante, saying "I'd like 1,000 Dantes in my team." And yet, just one month later, after Bayern had again won the Bundesliga title, Dante played his final game for the club. Effenberg was proved correct, and Dante was sold to Wolfsburg that summer. Verdict: Positive short-term, but long-term negative.

What next for Dejan Lovren: How do players respond to the humiliation of a first half substitution?

We can all agree Sunday was a day to forget for Dejan Lovren. After two mistakes that led to two Tottenham goals and the end of the game at Wembley as a contest, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hooked the centre-back after just 31 minutes. There is little in football that can be more humiliating than a first half substitution that has nothing to do with injury, and the worry for Liverpool now will be how well Lovren responds. However much criticism he is given, he remains an important part of Liverpool's team (statistically, they are even worse off when he doesn't play), and it will be interesting to see how Klopp manages the situation. Will he be back in the starting lineup for Huddersfield's visit to Anfield next week (given Liverpool weren't much better after he'd been taken off on Sunday) or will he be left to his own devices to regain his confidence while wallowing on the bench? What is the best action for Klopp to take? Lovren is by no means the first to suffer such ignominy and nor will he be the last. Lovren had an afternoon to forget at Wembley on Sunday Credit: AFP Here, we look back at some other players who have been hauled off before half time and ask what happened next? Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips With Chelsea top of the table in March 2006, Jose Mourinho decided to rotate his team for a trip to Fulham, having recently gone out of the Champions League and with an FA Cup quarter-final against Newcastle just three days after this match. Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips started out wide, but Chelsea quickly went a goal down and were struggling so badly that both were taken off after just 26 minutes. Shaun Wright-Phillips was unable to take his chance in the first team Credit:  Russell Cheyne/The Telegraph Chelsea went on to win a second successive Premier League title and Cole played a crucial role in the run-in, starting four of their remaining eight games as well as the aforementioned FA Cup tie, but Wright-Phillips was restricted to substitute appearances. Long-term, however, both continued to be key players for Mourinho and bounced back from that dreadful night at Craven Cottage. Verdict: Positive repsonse. Joe Cole (again) and Jack Collison Poor old Joe Cole. Not only did he overcome severe injury problems over the course of his career, seven years after his embarrassment at Fulham, he was taken off before half time by West Ham manager Sam Allardyce against his former club. Cole took his shirt off and stormed straight down the tunnel when he was hooked on 40 minutes with West Ham 2-0 down to Chelsea, something Allardyce called "disappointing" after the game, also warning Cole about his future conduct. Cole apologised shortly afterwards. Cole started only three more goals for West Ham after being subbed off in the first half Credit: Getty images Jack Collison was also taken off but he went with rather less protest. Cole let his football do the talking a week later when he came off the bench to score against Fulham, but the two of them started just three games each between the Chelsea game in November and the end of the season. With injury problems mounting, both left West Ham that summer. Verdict: Negative response. James McCarthy It is rare for a first half sub to be as effective as this, but after McCarthy was replaced by Romelu Lukaku with Everton 1-0 down at West Brom in August 2016, the game swung towards Ronald Koeman's side. Will McCarthy return to the Everton team? Credit: PA McCarthy was given a League cup game against Yeovil to regain his confidence but suffered an injury and didn't play again until November. His performance against West Brom combined with injury problems have meant he has barely featured for Everton since. He is back in training but is yet to play this season and it isn't clear what the future holds for him. Verdict: Jury still out. Claudio Cacapa Long before the Cole-Collison debacle, Allardyce was at it at Newcastle, when he took Brazilian centre-back Cacapa off just 18 minutes in to a home game against Portsmouth in November 2007 with his side 3-0 down after just 11 minutes. Cacapa had been skinned by John Utaka for the third and was swiftly removed from the pitch as a result, looking grossly out of his depth. Claudio Cacapa in action for Newcastle Credit: AFP He was made to wait another six weeks for another start, and though he worked his way back into the Newcastle team, he never really established himself in England and was released in the summer of 2009 having played his final game for the club in the preceding December. Verdict: Negative response. Dante Pep Guardiola took defender Dante off after just 30 minutes against Hannover with his Bayern Munich team 1-0 down in March 2015. Dante seemed to take it well: "I was a little disappointed, but I understand the coach’s decision," he said. "Why should he have three centre-backs on the pitch when the opposition has eleven players in their own box? We won today and that is most important." Dante didn't last long after he was subbed off in the first half of a Bayern game Credit: PA Bayern legend Steffen Effenberg predicted after the game that Dante would leave the club in the summer, but Guardiola started the Brazilian in all but two of their remaining nine games. During the run-in, Guardiola heaped praise on Dante, saying "I'd like 1,000 Dantes in my team." And yet, just one month later, after Bayern had again won the Bundesliga title, Dante played his final game for the club. Effenberg was proved correct, and Dante was sold to Wolfsburg that summer. Verdict: Positive short-term, but long-term negative.

What next for Dejan Lovren: How do players respond to the humiliation of a first half substitution?

We can all agree Sunday was a day to forget for Dejan Lovren. After two mistakes that led to two Tottenham goals and the end of the game at Wembley as a contest, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hooked the centre-back after just 31 minutes. There is little in football that can be more humiliating than a first half substitution that has nothing to do with injury, and the worry for Liverpool now will be how well Lovren responds. However much criticism he is given, he remains an important part of Liverpool's team (statistically, they are even worse off when he doesn't play), and it will be interesting to see how Klopp manages the situation. Will he be back in the starting lineup for Huddersfield's visit to Anfield next week (given Liverpool weren't much better after he'd been taken off on Sunday) or will he be left to his own devices to regain his confidence while wallowing on the bench? What is the best action for Klopp to take? Lovren is by no means the first to suffer such ignominy and nor will he be the last. Lovren had an afternoon to forget at Wembley on Sunday Credit: AFP Here, we look back at some other players who have been hauled off before half time and ask what happened next? Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips With Chelsea top of the table in March 2006, Jose Mourinho decided to rotate his team for a trip to Fulham, having recently gone out of the Champions League and with an FA Cup quarter-final against Newcastle just three days after this match. Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips started out wide, but Chelsea quickly went a goal down and were struggling so badly that both were taken off after just 26 minutes. Shaun Wright-Phillips was unable to take his chance in the first team Credit:  Russell Cheyne/The Telegraph Chelsea went on to win a second successive Premier League title and Cole played a crucial role in the run-in, starting four of their remaining eight games as well as the aforementioned FA Cup tie, but Wright-Phillips was restricted to substitute appearances. Long-term, however, both continued to be key players for Mourinho and bounced back from that dreadful night at Craven Cottage. Verdict: Positive repsonse. Joe Cole (again) and Jack Collison Poor old Joe Cole. Not only did he overcome severe injury problems over the course of his career, seven years after his embarrassment at Fulham, he was taken off before half time by West Ham manager Sam Allardyce against his former club. Cole took his shirt off and stormed straight down the tunnel when he was hooked on 40 minutes with West Ham 2-0 down to Chelsea, something Allardyce called "disappointing" after the game, also warning Cole about his future conduct. Cole apologised shortly afterwards. Cole started only three more goals for West Ham after being subbed off in the first half Credit: Getty images Jack Collison was also taken off but he went with rather less protest. Cole let his football do the talking a week later when he came off the bench to score against Fulham, but the two of them started just three games each between the Chelsea game in November and the end of the season. With injury problems mounting, both left West Ham that summer. Verdict: Negative response. James McCarthy It is rare for a first half sub to be as effective as this, but after McCarthy was replaced by Romelu Lukaku with Everton 1-0 down at West Brom in August 2016, the game swung towards Ronald Koeman's side. Will McCarthy return to the Everton team? Credit: PA McCarthy was given a League cup game against Yeovil to regain his confidence but suffered an injury and didn't play again until November. His performance against West Brom combined with injury problems have meant he has barely featured for Everton since. He is back in training but is yet to play this season and it isn't clear what the future holds for him. Verdict: Jury still out. Claudio Cacapa Long before the Cole-Collison debacle, Allardyce was at it at Newcastle, when he took Brazilian centre-back Cacapa off just 18 minutes in to a home game against Portsmouth in November 2007 with his side 3-0 down after just 11 minutes. Cacapa had been skinned by John Utaka for the third and was swiftly removed from the pitch as a result, looking grossly out of his depth. Claudio Cacapa in action for Newcastle Credit: AFP He was made to wait another six weeks for another start, and though he worked his way back into the Newcastle team, he never really established himself in England and was released in the summer of 2009 having played his final game for the club in the preceding December. Verdict: Negative response. Dante Pep Guardiola took defender Dante off after just 30 minutes against Hannover with his Bayern Munich team 1-0 down in March 2015. Dante seemed to take it well: "I was a little disappointed, but I understand the coach’s decision," he said. "Why should he have three centre-backs on the pitch when the opposition has eleven players in their own box? We won today and that is most important." Dante didn't last long after he was subbed off in the first half of a Bayern game Credit: PA Bayern legend Steffen Effenberg predicted after the game that Dante would leave the club in the summer, but Guardiola started the Brazilian in all but two of their remaining nine games. During the run-in, Guardiola heaped praise on Dante, saying "I'd like 1,000 Dantes in my team." And yet, just one month later, after Bayern had again won the Bundesliga title, Dante played his final game for the club. Effenberg was proved correct, and Dante was sold to Wolfsburg that summer. Verdict: Positive short-term, but long-term negative.

What next for Dejan Lovren: How do players respond to the humiliation of a first half substitution?

We can all agree Sunday was a day to forget for Dejan Lovren. After two mistakes that led to two Tottenham goals and the end of the game at Wembley as a contest, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hooked the centre-back after just 31 minutes. There is little in football that can be more humiliating than a first half substitution that has nothing to do with injury, and the worry for Liverpool now will be how well Lovren responds. However much criticism he is given, he remains an important part of Liverpool's team (statistically, they are even worse off when he doesn't play), and it will be interesting to see how Klopp manages the situation. Will he be back in the starting lineup for Huddersfield's visit to Anfield next week (given Liverpool weren't much better after he'd been taken off on Sunday) or will he be left to his own devices to regain his confidence while wallowing on the bench? What is the best action for Klopp to take? Lovren is by no means the first to suffer such ignominy and nor will he be the last. Lovren had an afternoon to forget at Wembley on Sunday Credit: AFP Here, we look back at some other players who have been hauled off before half time and ask what happened next? Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips With Chelsea top of the table in March 2006, Jose Mourinho decided to rotate his team for a trip to Fulham, having recently gone out of the Champions League and with an FA Cup quarter-final against Newcastle just three days after this match. Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips started out wide, but Chelsea quickly went a goal down and were struggling so badly that both were taken off after just 26 minutes. Shaun Wright-Phillips was unable to take his chance in the first team Credit:  Russell Cheyne/The Telegraph Chelsea went on to win a second successive Premier League title and Cole played a crucial role in the run-in, starting four of their remaining eight games as well as the aforementioned FA Cup tie, but Wright-Phillips was restricted to substitute appearances. Long-term, however, both continued to be key players for Mourinho and bounced back from that dreadful night at Craven Cottage. Verdict: Positive repsonse. Joe Cole (again) and Jack Collison Poor old Joe Cole. Not only did he overcome severe injury problems over the course of his career, seven years after his embarrassment at Fulham, he was taken off before half time by West Ham manager Sam Allardyce against his former club. Cole took his shirt off and stormed straight down the tunnel when he was hooked on 40 minutes with West Ham 2-0 down to Chelsea, something Allardyce called "disappointing" after the game, also warning Cole about his future conduct. Cole apologised shortly afterwards. Cole started only three more goals for West Ham after being subbed off in the first half Credit: Getty images Jack Collison was also taken off but he went with rather less protest. Cole let his football do the talking a week later when he came off the bench to score against Fulham, but the two of them started just three games each between the Chelsea game in November and the end of the season. With injury problems mounting, both left West Ham that summer. Verdict: Negative response. James McCarthy It is rare for a first half sub to be as effective as this, but after McCarthy was replaced by Romelu Lukaku with Everton 1-0 down at West Brom in August 2016, the game swung towards Ronald Koeman's side. Will McCarthy return to the Everton team? Credit: PA McCarthy was given a League cup game against Yeovil to regain his confidence but suffered an injury and didn't play again until November. His performance against West Brom combined with injury problems have meant he has barely featured for Everton since. He is back in training but is yet to play this season and it isn't clear what the future holds for him. Verdict: Jury still out. Claudio Cacapa Long before the Cole-Collison debacle, Allardyce was at it at Newcastle, when he took Brazilian centre-back Cacapa off just 18 minutes in to a home game against Portsmouth in November 2007 with his side 3-0 down after just 11 minutes. Cacapa had been skinned by John Utaka for the third and was swiftly removed from the pitch as a result, looking grossly out of his depth. Claudio Cacapa in action for Newcastle Credit: AFP He was made to wait another six weeks for another start, and though he worked his way back into the Newcastle team, he never really established himself in England and was released in the summer of 2009 having played his final game for the club in the preceding December. Verdict: Negative response. Dante Pep Guardiola took defender Dante off after just 30 minutes against Hannover with his Bayern Munich team 1-0 down in March 2015. Dante seemed to take it well: "I was a little disappointed, but I understand the coach’s decision," he said. "Why should he have three centre-backs on the pitch when the opposition has eleven players in their own box? We won today and that is most important." Dante didn't last long after he was subbed off in the first half of a Bayern game Credit: PA Bayern legend Steffen Effenberg predicted after the game that Dante would leave the club in the summer, but Guardiola started the Brazilian in all but two of their remaining nine games. During the run-in, Guardiola heaped praise on Dante, saying "I'd like 1,000 Dantes in my team." And yet, just one month later, after Bayern had again won the Bundesliga title, Dante played his final game for the club. Effenberg was proved correct, and Dante was sold to Wolfsburg that summer. Verdict: Positive short-term, but long-term negative.

The time was right for Scott

Portsmouth (Oh.) OL Blaine Scott’s mind had been made up for quite some time when it comes to a college decision.

The time was right for Scott

Portsmouth (Oh.) OL Blaine Scott’s mind had been made up for quite some time when it comes to a college decision.

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

Jermain Defoe: I knew Harry Kane would be a star and still dream of playing in the World Cup 

When Harry Kane and Jermain Defoe embrace at Wembley on Saturday at the end of Tottenham’s game with Bournemouth, it will not be the first time they have swapped shirts. Since sheepishly asking Defoe if he could inherit his No 18 jersey when his former hero departed Tottenham for Canada in 2014, Kane has gone on to take his place as the goal king of White Hart Lane. It is also likely that if Defoe does fulfil his ambitions of being named in England’s World Cup squad in Russia next summer, it will be as understudy to the country’s leading man. But, far from being bitter that Kane’s career is just beginning to flourish while he is in the twilight of his, Defoe is thankful the fresh-faced 16-year-old he identified as a future star is living up to his potential. “I have been saying for a long time how good Harry was and that he should have got his chance in the first team sooner,” Defoe said. “I remember watching Harry when he was 15, 16 and saying to the youth coaches he was a natural finisher. “I do not want to put too much pressure on him because he is a nice kid but he is a goal machine and the sky is the limit.” Jermain Defoe and Harry Kane in England training Credit: AFP Having fulfilled one of Defoe’s prophesies, the veteran is now backing Kane to break Alan Shearer’s long-standing Premier League record of 260 goals. After racing to 84 goals in just 123 matches Kane, 24, is on course to eclipse Shearer’s tally by the time he celebrates his 32nd birthday. Defoe said: “Shearer was special and, with all the great forwards in the Premier League, is still at the top. “Wayne Rooney was getting close to him but it is not easy. For 260 goals you have to be doing it year in, year out, for a number of years. 20 best players in the Premier League: August 2017 “I just feel like Harry has to be thinking about beating him because I would. The dream is to be the highest goalscorer for England and the highest goalscorer in the Premier League. “If you speak to him he must feel, especially in that team, where it’s like his team now, the way they play with the chances and that manager, he must be looking at the record.” If Kane does overtake Shearer then Defoe, currently seventh in the all-time Premier League scoring charts, will be long since retired, having turned 35 last week. Jamie Carragher's ultimate Premier League XI 02:33 While age is definitely not on his side the chance to embark on a final World Cup adventure is one the former Portsmouth and West Ham forward he is determined not to pass up, fuelled by the heartache of being overlooked for selection four years ago. “Being involved at a World Cup is the pinnacle and for me to do that again would be really special,” added Defoe. “That is the dream, to play in major tournaments and that has never changed, especially with this group of players because I believe we can do something. In 2014 I still feel like I should have gone. That disappointment motivates you.”

Jermain Defoe: I knew Harry Kane would be a star and still dream of playing in the World Cup 

When Harry Kane and Jermain Defoe embrace at Wembley on Saturday at the end of Tottenham’s game with Bournemouth, it will not be the first time they have swapped shirts. Since sheepishly asking Defoe if he could inherit his No 18 jersey when his former hero departed Tottenham for Canada in 2014, Kane has gone on to take his place as the goal king of White Hart Lane. It is also likely that if Defoe does fulfil his ambitions of being named in England’s World Cup squad in Russia next summer, it will be as understudy to the country’s leading man. But, far from being bitter that Kane’s career is just beginning to flourish while he is in the twilight of his, Defoe is thankful the fresh-faced 16-year-old he identified as a future star is living up to his potential. “I have been saying for a long time how good Harry was and that he should have got his chance in the first team sooner,” Defoe said. “I remember watching Harry when he was 15, 16 and saying to the youth coaches he was a natural finisher. “I do not want to put too much pressure on him because he is a nice kid but he is a goal machine and the sky is the limit.” Jermain Defoe and Harry Kane in England training Credit: AFP Having fulfilled one of Defoe’s prophesies, the veteran is now backing Kane to break Alan Shearer’s long-standing Premier League record of 260 goals. After racing to 84 goals in just 123 matches Kane, 24, is on course to eclipse Shearer’s tally by the time he celebrates his 32nd birthday. Defoe said: “Shearer was special and, with all the great forwards in the Premier League, is still at the top. “Wayne Rooney was getting close to him but it is not easy. For 260 goals you have to be doing it year in, year out, for a number of years. 20 best players in the Premier League: August 2017 “I just feel like Harry has to be thinking about beating him because I would. The dream is to be the highest goalscorer for England and the highest goalscorer in the Premier League. “If you speak to him he must feel, especially in that team, where it’s like his team now, the way they play with the chances and that manager, he must be looking at the record.” If Kane does overtake Shearer then Defoe, currently seventh in the all-time Premier League scoring charts, will be long since retired, having turned 35 last week. Jamie Carragher's ultimate Premier League XI 02:33 While age is definitely not on his side the chance to embark on a final World Cup adventure is one the former Portsmouth and West Ham forward he is determined not to pass up, fuelled by the heartache of being overlooked for selection four years ago. “Being involved at a World Cup is the pinnacle and for me to do that again would be really special,” added Defoe. “That is the dream, to play in major tournaments and that has never changed, especially with this group of players because I believe we can do something. In 2014 I still feel like I should have gone. That disappointment motivates you.”

Paul Hayward's weekend lowdown: Crystal Palace are not beyond saving and have three reasons to be cheerful

By the time Chelsea have vacated Selhurst Park, Crystal Palace could be oh-and-eight for the season, or woe-and-eight. Only Manchester United in 1931 would have posted a longer losing streak in the top division. But that ancient record of 12 defeats in a row is unlikely to fall to Roy Hodgson’s team. Palace’s quest for a goal and a point has acquired a grim fascination far beyond South London. Hodgson must feel he is stuck in another version of the England-Iceland game in Nice: a calamity that acquires its own mortifying force. Yet all is not lost. There are three reasons for hope: the impending return of Wilfried Zaha, Hodgson’s history of improving defensive structures at this level, and the end of the brutal run of fixtures dumped on Hodgson by the timing of Frank de Boer’s sacking. Palace have been trounced 5-0 by Manchester City and traduced 4-0 by Manchester United. Chelsea will aim to match those thrashings. Then things turn easier. Palace face Newcastle away, West Ham (home), and Spurs (away) before home fixtures against Everton and Stoke and a trip to Brighton for the ‘A23 derby’. By the end of November, they should have points on the board. Even now, with both hands empty, they are only five points shy of the non-relegation places. The number crunchers already have them in the Championship for 2018-19. A firm of analysts called Gracenote give Palace a 72% chance of going down, and they are 1-2 with bookmakers to sink in May. An ominous detail is that the current losing run is largely a continuation of last season’s form. Palace have won only one of their last 12 league games - a 4-0 victory over Hull. Against that backdrop, survival is a slim hope, until you factor in how much harder they will be to score against if they stop attackers running behind their full-backs, and restore Zaha’s runs through opposition defences. Zaha has not played since the 3-0 defeat by Huddersfield on Aug 12 but was back in training this week with a ball at his feet. Wilfried Zaha's return gives Palace hope Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien The human factor should not be underestimated. If Zaha sees saving his boyhood club as a personal mission, the spark could ignite the team and alleviate the fatalism of supporters. Too reductionist? Not if Hodgson can also revive Christian Benteke, who has three yellow cards but no goals in six appearances - and cure Palace’s vulnerability in wide defensive areas, where Joel Ward, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Patrick van Aanholt are too easily circumvented. Palace have been marmalised by Manchester’s big two but have lost three of their seven games 1-0, so their defence is not beyond saving. And Alvaro Morata’s absence at Selhurst Park removes Chelsea’s main goalscoring threat. With eight straight defeats, Palace would match the Liverpool side of 1900. They already share a top-flight shelf (seven losses) with Bolton (1903) and Portsmouth (2010). There is no reason, of course, to wait until after the Chelsea game to begin the fightback. With Zaha returning, and Morata and N’Golo Kanté injured, 65 days into the season would be a good place to start. Arsenal take a bath on Sanchez Arsenal’s decision not to sell Alexis Sánchez in August could cost them £10m a month. If they rejected a £60m offer from Manchester City on deadline day, but let him go for £20m after Christmas, which Arsène Wenger seems to accept as a possibility, they will have blown £40m for no apparent gain - unless he goes on a scoring rampage for the rest of 2017, starting at Watford this weekend. The decision to hang on to Alexis Sanchez looks like costing Arsenal £10m a month Credit: IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images There is no way to make sense of these figures. There was no bolstering of Arsenal’s dignity in the refusal to sell an unhappy player with less than a year left on his contract. And if you had to say what gear Sánchez has been in so far this term, you would say ‘second’. Occasionally - ‘third’. International jet set Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy might be the most jetlagged returning international footballer in Premier League history, and is likely to be spared a place in David Wagner’s starting XI at Swansea, which itself is no hop from Yorkshire. Nine days ago, Mooy played for Australia against Syria in a World Cup play-off in Malaysia - a neutral venue - before continuing to Sydney for the second-leg on Tuesday, where he came on inside 10 minutes and performed in a tense encounter that went to extra-time. Then he flew back to England for the Swansea game.  Aaron Mooy came off the bench after 10 minutes to play for Australia as anyone with a soul persists in calling them Credit: AP Photo/Rick Rycroft In between, there was a draining row about the Australia coach’s decision not to start him in Sydney, which spilled on to social media (as all things must), with Mooy himself expressing displeasure. The journey to Swansea alone might finish him off, never mind the game. I’m calling them Australia, but the Asian qualifier play-off finalists go by an altogether more exotic name: the Caltex Socceroos, which they will not be called in Russia, you would hope, should they get there. Huddersfield’s nom de guerre is simpler, and preferable: The Terriers. Loyalty card? More like prudence Grumbling about Premier League decadence is still not translating to an exodus. With the claims about £30 tickets being common, it was also announced that three-quarters of the 800,000 seats are taken by season-ticket holders. Loyalty and faith? No - season tickets are just better value for money. A man who sees the thorn before the rose Here is Sean Dyche on Burnley’s 24-pass goalscoring move against Everton: “Let's lose this idea there's only one way of playing. There's still a thrill about the ball going into the box, the ball rumbling around the box.” You have to love a manager who is offended by a compliment.  

Paul Hayward's weekend lowdown: Crystal Palace are not beyond saving and have three reasons to be cheerful

By the time Chelsea have vacated Selhurst Park, Crystal Palace could be oh-and-eight for the season, or woe-and-eight. Only Manchester United in 1931 would have posted a longer losing streak in the top division. But that ancient record of 12 defeats in a row is unlikely to fall to Roy Hodgson’s team. Palace’s quest for a goal and a point has acquired a grim fascination far beyond South London. Hodgson must feel he is stuck in another version of the England-Iceland game in Nice: a calamity that acquires its own mortifying force. Yet all is not lost. There are three reasons for hope: the impending return of Wilfried Zaha, Hodgson’s history of improving defensive structures at this level, and the end of the brutal run of fixtures dumped on Hodgson by the timing of Frank de Boer’s sacking. Palace have been trounced 5-0 by Manchester City and traduced 4-0 by Manchester United. Chelsea will aim to match those thrashings. Then things turn easier. Palace face Newcastle away, West Ham (home), and Spurs (away) before home fixtures against Everton and Stoke and a trip to Brighton for the ‘A23 derby’. By the end of November, they should have points on the board. Even now, with both hands empty, they are only five points shy of the non-relegation places. The number crunchers already have them in the Championship for 2018-19. A firm of analysts called Gracenote give Palace a 72% chance of going down, and they are 1-2 with bookmakers to sink in May. An ominous detail is that the current losing run is largely a continuation of last season’s form. Palace have won only one of their last 12 league games - a 4-0 victory over Hull. Against that backdrop, survival is a slim hope, until you factor in how much harder they will be to score against if they stop attackers running behind their full-backs, and restore Zaha’s runs through opposition defences. Zaha has not played since the 3-0 defeat by Huddersfield on Aug 12 but was back in training this week with a ball at his feet. Wilfried Zaha's return gives Palace hope Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien The human factor should not be underestimated. If Zaha sees saving his boyhood club as a personal mission, the spark could ignite the team and alleviate the fatalism of supporters. Too reductionist? Not if Hodgson can also revive Christian Benteke, who has three yellow cards but no goals in six appearances - and cure Palace’s vulnerability in wide defensive areas, where Joel Ward, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Patrick van Aanholt are too easily circumvented. Palace have been marmalised by Manchester’s big two but have lost three of their seven games 1-0, so their defence is not beyond saving. And Alvaro Morata’s absence at Selhurst Park removes Chelsea’s main goalscoring threat. With eight straight defeats, Palace would match the Liverpool side of 1900. They already share a top-flight shelf (seven losses) with Bolton (1903) and Portsmouth (2010). There is no reason, of course, to wait until after the Chelsea game to begin the fightback. With Zaha returning, and Morata and N’Golo Kanté injured, 65 days into the season would be a good place to start. Arsenal take a bath on Sanchez Arsenal’s decision not to sell Alexis Sánchez in August could cost them £10m a month. If they rejected a £60m offer from Manchester City on deadline day, but let him go for £20m after Christmas, which Arsène Wenger seems to accept as a possibility, they will have blown £40m for no apparent gain - unless he goes on a scoring rampage for the rest of 2017, starting at Watford this weekend. The decision to hang on to Alexis Sanchez looks like costing Arsenal £10m a month Credit: IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images There is no way to make sense of these figures. There was no bolstering of Arsenal’s dignity in the refusal to sell an unhappy player with less than a year left on his contract. And if you had to say what gear Sánchez has been in so far this term, you would say ‘second’. Occasionally - ‘third’. International jet set Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy might be the most jetlagged returning international footballer in Premier League history, and is likely to be spared a place in David Wagner’s starting XI at Swansea, which itself is no hop from Yorkshire. Nine days ago, Mooy played for Australia against Syria in a World Cup play-off in Malaysia - a neutral venue - before continuing to Sydney for the second-leg on Tuesday, where he came on inside 10 minutes and performed in a tense encounter that went to extra-time. Then he flew back to England for the Swansea game.  Aaron Mooy came off the bench after 10 minutes to play for Australia as anyone with a soul persists in calling them Credit: AP Photo/Rick Rycroft In between, there was a draining row about the Australia coach’s decision not to start him in Sydney, which spilled on to social media (as all things must), with Mooy himself expressing displeasure. The journey to Swansea alone might finish him off, never mind the game. I’m calling them Australia, but the Asian qualifier play-off finalists go by an altogether more exotic name: the Caltex Socceroos, which they will not be called in Russia, you would hope, should they get there. Huddersfield’s nom de guerre is simpler, and preferable: The Terriers. Loyalty card? More like prudence Grumbling about Premier League decadence is still not translating to an exodus. With the claims about £30 tickets being common, it was also announced that three-quarters of the 800,000 seats are taken by season-ticket holders. Loyalty and faith? No - season tickets are just better value for money. A man who sees the thorn before the rose Here is Sean Dyche on Burnley’s 24-pass goalscoring move against Everton: “Let's lose this idea there's only one way of playing. There's still a thrill about the ball going into the box, the ball rumbling around the box.” You have to love a manager who is offended by a compliment.  

Paul Hayward's weekend lowdown: Crystal Palace are not beyond saving and have three reasons to be cheerful

By the time Chelsea have vacated Selhurst Park, Crystal Palace could be oh-and-eight for the season, or woe-and-eight. Only Manchester United in 1931 would have posted a longer losing streak in the top division. But that ancient record of 12 defeats in a row is unlikely to fall to Roy Hodgson’s team. Palace’s quest for a goal and a point has acquired a grim fascination far beyond South London. Hodgson must feel he is stuck in another version of the England-Iceland game in Nice: a calamity that acquires its own mortifying force. Yet all is not lost. There are three reasons for hope: the impending return of Wilfried Zaha, Hodgson’s history of improving defensive structures at this level, and the end of the brutal run of fixtures dumped on Hodgson by the timing of Frank de Boer’s sacking. Palace have been trounced 5-0 by Manchester City and traduced 4-0 by Manchester United. Chelsea will aim to match those thrashings. Then things turn easier. Palace face Newcastle away, West Ham (home), and Spurs (away) before home fixtures against Everton and Stoke and a trip to Brighton for the ‘A23 derby’. By the end of November, they should have points on the board. Even now, with both hands empty, they are only five points shy of the non-relegation places. The number crunchers already have them in the Championship for 2018-19. A firm of analysts called Gracenote give Palace a 72% chance of going down, and they are 1-2 with bookmakers to sink in May. An ominous detail is that the current losing run is largely a continuation of last season’s form. Palace have won only one of their last 12 league games - a 4-0 victory over Hull. Against that backdrop, survival is a slim hope, until you factor in how much harder they will be to score against if they stop attackers running behind their full-backs, and restore Zaha’s runs through opposition defences. Zaha has not played since the 3-0 defeat by Huddersfield on Aug 12 but was back in training this week with a ball at his feet. Wilfried Zaha's return gives Palace hope Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien The human factor should not be underestimated. If Zaha sees saving his boyhood club as a personal mission, the spark could ignite the team and alleviate the fatalism of supporters. Too reductionist? Not if Hodgson can also revive Christian Benteke, who has three yellow cards but no goals in six appearances - and cure Palace’s vulnerability in wide defensive areas, where Joel Ward, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Patrick van Aanholt are too easily circumvented. Palace have been marmalised by Manchester’s big two but have lost three of their seven games 1-0, so their defence is not beyond saving. And Alvaro Morata’s absence at Selhurst Park removes Chelsea’s main goalscoring threat. With eight straight defeats, Palace would match the Liverpool side of 1900. They already share a top-flight shelf (seven losses) with Bolton (1903) and Portsmouth (2010). There is no reason, of course, to wait until after the Chelsea game to begin the fightback. With Zaha returning, and Morata and N’Golo Kanté injured, 65 days into the season would be a good place to start. Arsenal take a bath on Sanchez Arsenal’s decision not to sell Alexis Sánchez in August could cost them £10m a month. If they rejected a £60m offer from Manchester City on deadline day, but let him go for £20m after Christmas, which Arsène Wenger seems to accept as a possibility, they will have blown £40m for no apparent gain - unless he goes on a scoring rampage for the rest of 2017, starting at Watford this weekend. The decision to hang on to Alexis Sanchez looks like costing Arsenal £10m a month Credit: IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images There is no way to make sense of these figures. There was no bolstering of Arsenal’s dignity in the refusal to sell an unhappy player with less than a year left on his contract. And if you had to say what gear Sánchez has been in so far this term, you would say ‘second’. Occasionally - ‘third’. International jet set Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy might be the most jetlagged returning international footballer in Premier League history, and is likely to be spared a place in David Wagner’s starting XI at Swansea, which itself is no hop from Yorkshire. Nine days ago, Mooy played for Australia against Syria in a World Cup play-off in Malaysia - a neutral venue - before continuing to Sydney for the second-leg on Tuesday, where he came on inside 10 minutes and performed in a tense encounter that went to extra-time. Then he flew back to England for the Swansea game.  Aaron Mooy came off the bench after 10 minutes to play for Australia as anyone with a soul persists in calling them Credit: AP Photo/Rick Rycroft In between, there was a draining row about the Australia coach’s decision not to start him in Sydney, which spilled on to social media (as all things must), with Mooy himself expressing displeasure. The journey to Swansea alone might finish him off, never mind the game. I’m calling them Australia, but the Asian qualifier play-off finalists go by an altogether more exotic name: the Caltex Socceroos, which they will not be called in Russia, you would hope, should they get there. Huddersfield’s nom de guerre is simpler, and preferable: The Terriers. Loyalty card? More like prudence Grumbling about Premier League decadence is still not translating to an exodus. With the claims about £30 tickets being common, it was also announced that three-quarters of the 800,000 seats are taken by season-ticket holders. Loyalty and faith? No - season tickets are just better value for money. A man who sees the thorn before the rose Here is Sean Dyche on Burnley’s 24-pass goalscoring move against Everton: “Let's lose this idea there's only one way of playing. There's still a thrill about the ball going into the box, the ball rumbling around the box.” You have to love a manager who is offended by a compliment.  

Paul Hayward's weekend lowdown: Crystal Palace are not beyond saving and have three reasons to be cheerful

By the time Chelsea have vacated Selhurst Park, Crystal Palace could be oh-and-eight for the season, or woe-and-eight. Only Manchester United in 1931 would have posted a longer losing streak in the top division. But that ancient record of 12 defeats in a row is unlikely to fall to Roy Hodgson’s team. Palace’s quest for a goal and a point has acquired a grim fascination far beyond South London. Hodgson must feel he is stuck in another version of the England-Iceland game in Nice: a calamity that acquires its own mortifying force. Yet all is not lost. There are three reasons for hope: the impending return of Wilfried Zaha, Hodgson’s history of improving defensive structures at this level, and the end of the brutal run of fixtures dumped on Hodgson by the timing of Frank de Boer’s sacking. Palace have been trounced 5-0 by Manchester City and traduced 4-0 by Manchester United. Chelsea will aim to match those thrashings. Then things turn easier. Palace face Newcastle away, West Ham (home), and Spurs (away) before home fixtures against Everton and Stoke and a trip to Brighton for the ‘A23 derby’. By the end of November, they should have points on the board. Even now, with both hands empty, they are only five points shy of the non-relegation places. The number crunchers already have them in the Championship for 2018-19. A firm of analysts called Gracenote give Palace a 72% chance of going down, and they are 1-2 with bookmakers to sink in May. An ominous detail is that the current losing run is largely a continuation of last season’s form. Palace have won only one of their last 12 league games - a 4-0 victory over Hull. Against that backdrop, survival is a slim hope, until you factor in how much harder they will be to score against if they stop attackers running behind their full-backs, and restore Zaha’s runs through opposition defences. Zaha has not played since the 3-0 defeat by Huddersfield on Aug 12 but was back in training this week with a ball at his feet. Wilfried Zaha's return gives Palace hope Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien The human factor should not be underestimated. If Zaha sees saving his boyhood club as a personal mission, the spark could ignite the team and alleviate the fatalism of supporters. Too reductionist? Not if Hodgson can also revive Christian Benteke, who has three yellow cards but no goals in six appearances - and cure Palace’s vulnerability in wide defensive areas, where Joel Ward, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Patrick van Aanholt are too easily circumvented. Palace have been marmalised by Manchester’s big two but have lost three of their seven games 1-0, so their defence is not beyond saving. And Alvaro Morata’s absence at Selhurst Park removes Chelsea’s main goalscoring threat. With eight straight defeats, Palace would match the Liverpool side of 1900. They already share a top-flight shelf (seven losses) with Bolton (1903) and Portsmouth (2010). There is no reason, of course, to wait until after the Chelsea game to begin the fightback. With Zaha returning, and Morata and N’Golo Kanté injured, 65 days into the season would be a good place to start. Arsenal take a bath on Sanchez Arsenal’s decision not to sell Alexis Sánchez in August could cost them £10m a month. If they rejected a £60m offer from Manchester City on deadline day, but let him go for £20m after Christmas, which Arsène Wenger seems to accept as a possibility, they will have blown £40m for no apparent gain - unless he goes on a scoring rampage for the rest of 2017, starting at Watford this weekend. The decision to hang on to Alexis Sanchez looks like costing Arsenal £10m a month Credit: IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images There is no way to make sense of these figures. There was no bolstering of Arsenal’s dignity in the refusal to sell an unhappy player with less than a year left on his contract. And if you had to say what gear Sánchez has been in so far this term, you would say ‘second’. Occasionally - ‘third’. International jet set Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy might be the most jetlagged returning international footballer in Premier League history, and is likely to be spared a place in David Wagner’s starting XI at Swansea, which itself is no hop from Yorkshire. Nine days ago, Mooy played for Australia against Syria in a World Cup play-off in Malaysia - a neutral venue - before continuing to Sydney for the second-leg on Tuesday, where he came on inside 10 minutes and performed in a tense encounter that went to extra-time. Then he flew back to England for the Swansea game.  Aaron Mooy came off the bench after 10 minutes to play for Australia as anyone with a soul persists in calling them Credit: AP Photo/Rick Rycroft In between, there was a draining row about the Australia coach’s decision not to start him in Sydney, which spilled on to social media (as all things must), with Mooy himself expressing displeasure. The journey to Swansea alone might finish him off, never mind the game. I’m calling them Australia, but the Asian qualifier play-off finalists go by an altogether more exotic name: the Caltex Socceroos, which they will not be called in Russia, you would hope, should they get there. Huddersfield’s nom de guerre is simpler, and preferable: The Terriers. Loyalty card? More like prudence Grumbling about Premier League decadence is still not translating to an exodus. With the claims about £30 tickets being common, it was also announced that three-quarters of the 800,000 seats are taken by season-ticket holders. Loyalty and faith? No - season tickets are just better value for money. A man who sees the thorn before the rose Here is Sean Dyche on Burnley’s 24-pass goalscoring move against Everton: “Let's lose this idea there's only one way of playing. There's still a thrill about the ball going into the box, the ball rumbling around the box.” You have to love a manager who is offended by a compliment.  

Romelu Lukaku has Man Utd record in sight - but needs four against Liverpool to trump a mighty No 1

Romelu Lukaku could become the first Manchester United player to score eight goals in his first eight Premier League matches at Anfield on Saturday. Despite doubts over an ankle injury, the £75m summer signing played the last half an hour of Belgium's dead rubber against Cyprus in a World Cup qualifier in midweek, even though Roberto Martinez's side had already booked their spot in Russia.  Lukaku was even on the scoresheet in the 4-0 win, taking his tally to 16 goals in 13 appearances in all competitions.  Now the 24-year-old is on the brink of moving clear of Andrew Cole's seven-goal run as United travel to Liverpool in the early kick-off on Saturday. A single strike against Liverpool would see Lukaku join a small band of legendary strikers in scoring eight goals in their first eight league games. 7 - No player has scored more goals in their first 7 @premierleague apps for @ManUtd than Romelu Lukaku (7, level with Andrew Cole). Heaven. pic.twitter.com/fcsfhDfbdw— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 30, 2017 A brace versus Jurgen Klopp's men would draw him alongside seven past and present forwards. And if Lukaku becomes the first United player to score a hat-trick against the Reds since Dimitar Berbatov in 2010, he would move level on 10 goals with a blast from the past. But can you guess who (before scrolling below).  We take a look at the hotshots Lukaku is primed to emulate after eight league matches and look what happened next after their goalscoring exploits. The eight goals in eight games group... Alan Shearer, Blackburn 1992/93 Turning down the lure of Man Utd, the former England captain struck twice on his debut at Crystal Palace. The now MOTD pundit's spree didn't stop at eight goals in eight games. Further efforts at Wimbledon, against Oldham and a double in Blackburn's 7-1 thrashing of Norwich at Ewood Park saw Shearer eventually end his purple patch with 12 goals in 11 games. His first season was cruelly ended by a cruciate ligament injury suffered in December. Kevin Phillips, Sunderland, 1999/2000 The 5ft 7in forward had already acclimatised to his north east surroundings by the time he got his boots firing in the Premier League. Phillips spent two seasons in the Championship banging in the goals that lifted the Black Cats into the top flight and his exploits didn't stop there.  A hat-trick at Derby on September 18, 1999 took Phillips to the eight-in-eight mark. Despite a relatively lean spell by his standards towards the end of the season where he scored just one in four games, he ended the season with 30 goals and the Golden Boot.  Kevin Phillips won the Golden Boot in 1999/2000 Credit: Getty Images Jermain Defoe, Portsmouth, Feb 2008 to March 2008 The 35-year-old ended a six-match barren run by swapping Tottenham for the south coast in the transfer window nine years ago. However, after his goal splurge he failed to score in his next five top-flight matches which also resulted in Pompey collecting just one point. In fairness, Portsmouth had bigger fish to fry with their run and capture of the FA Cup, a competition Defoe was unfortunately ineligible for. Jermain Defoe ended a six-match barren spell when he joined Pompey Credit: Getty Images Francesco Baiano, Derby, 1997/98 The Italian needed two games to adjust to the hustle and bustle of the English game before getting up and running with a strike at Aston Villa. The now 49-year-old, who was voted one of the club's best ever imports, ended the season with 12 league goals but his purple patch was about as good as it got for the diminutive forward. Baiano ended up scoring 16 goals in 64 appearances in the East Midlands. Francesco Baiano was a fans' favourite at Derby Credit: PA The nine goals in eight games party... Mark Viduka, Leeds, 2000/2001 'Big Dukes' established a formidable partnership with Alan Smith but he will always be remembered for scoring all four goals in the thrilling 4-3 win over Liverpool in November 2000. The Australian added another eight goals to his league campaign in his debut season in the English top flight. Les Ferdinand, Newcastle, 1995/96 Part of Kevin Keegan's 'Entertainers', Ferdinand scored three goals in his first two games for Newcastle following a £6m move from QPR. Ferdinand's exploits didn't stop at nine goals in eight. A hat-trick in a 6-1 win over Wimbledon took him to 12 in nine before Spurs, the club he would later join two seasons later, stopped him in his tracks. After just one goal in six games at the end of the season, Ferdinand's effort in a 1-1 draw against Tottenham on the final day took his overall tally to 25. Dion Dublin, Aston Villa, 1998/99 The now Homes Under the Hammer presenter scored five goals in his first two games for Villa including a hat-trick against Southampton following an autumn switch from Coventry. After two against Arsenal in his first eight games in Claret and Blue, Dublin went on an eight-goal drought that ironically came to a halt against his former club. It was only a consolation as the Sky Blues had the last laugh in a 4-1 win. Dublin only scored once more between February and the end of the season, taking his tally for Villa to 11.  Diego Costa, Chelsea, 2014/15 It hasn't been all tantrums and tempestuous behaviour from Costa at the Bridge. The Brazilian-born forward enjoyed a lengthy honeymoon which included a hat-trick against Swansea which saw him score seven goals in four games. Costa only scored more than one goal in a game on one other occasion that season - against Swansea no less - and the rest of his time in west London has been well documented. Costa highs, lows Papiss Cisse, Newcastle,  Feb to April 2012 The Senegalese made little impact when Newcastle slipped out of the top flight two seasons ago. It was in stark contrast to his explosive arrival where a triple of doubles kept Alan Pardew's side in the chase for a Champions League spot. Cisse scored 13 goals in 14 appearances as Newcastle finished fifth. The summer break didn't do Cisse any favours, though. He needed seven league games to get off the mark and only scored three more goals in the top flight that calendar year. Kevin Campbell, Everton, 1999 Evertonians weren't that enamoured with Campbell's arrival on loan from Trabsonspor in April 1999. But Campbell defied those critics who suggested his career was petering out with nine goals in eight appearances to safeguard Everton's top-flight status. Sergio Aguero, Manchester City, 2011/12 The Argentine declared upon signing with City that he'd be fine in the north west as he didn't like hot weather. Five goals later in his first two home games and Aguero was already at home at the Etihad. Aguero's goalscoring sequence ended in City's pummelling against rivals United with the popular forward scoring the third in their still incredible 6-1 win at Old Trafford. The 10 goals in eight games one-man band And so we come to the sole player who has amassed the most goals in their opening eight Premier League matches with their respective new club. Take a bow, Micky Quinn. Quinn, in fact, reached double figures after just six games and then drew blanks against Man Utd and Nottingham as Coventry's early season good form suffered a minor blip. Micky Quinn struck 10 goals after six games for Coventry Quinn had to wait until the final two games of the season to score in successive games to finish his debut top-flight season with 17 goals in 26 appearances.   So just the four required against Liverpool to break the Mighty Quinn's record. It's over to you Romelu...  

Romelu Lukaku has Man Utd record in sight - but needs four against Liverpool to trump a mighty No 1

Romelu Lukaku could become the first Manchester United player to score eight goals in his first eight Premier League matches at Anfield on Saturday. Despite doubts over an ankle injury, the £75m summer signing played the last half an hour of Belgium's dead rubber against Cyprus in a World Cup qualifier in midweek, even though Roberto Martinez's side had already booked their spot in Russia.  Lukaku was even on the scoresheet in the 4-0 win, taking his tally to 16 goals in 13 appearances in all competitions.  Now the 24-year-old is on the brink of moving clear of Andrew Cole's seven-goal run as United travel to Liverpool in the early kick-off on Saturday. A single strike against Liverpool would see Lukaku join a small band of legendary strikers in scoring eight goals in their first eight league games. 7 - No player has scored more goals in their first 7 @premierleague apps for @ManUtd than Romelu Lukaku (7, level with Andrew Cole). Heaven. pic.twitter.com/fcsfhDfbdw— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 30, 2017 A brace versus Jurgen Klopp's men would draw him alongside seven past and present forwards. And if Lukaku becomes the first United player to score a hat-trick against the Reds since Dimitar Berbatov in 2010, he would move level on 10 goals with a blast from the past. But can you guess who (before scrolling below).  We take a look at the hotshots Lukaku is primed to emulate after eight league matches and look what happened next after their goalscoring exploits. The eight goals in eight games group... Alan Shearer, Blackburn 1992/93 Turning down the lure of Man Utd, the former England captain struck twice on his debut at Crystal Palace. The now MOTD pundit's spree didn't stop at eight goals in eight games. Further efforts at Wimbledon, against Oldham and a double in Blackburn's 7-1 thrashing of Norwich at Ewood Park saw Shearer eventually end his purple patch with 12 goals in 11 games. His first season was cruelly ended by a cruciate ligament injury suffered in December. Kevin Phillips, Sunderland, 1999/2000 The 5ft 7in forward had already acclimatised to his north east surroundings by the time he got his boots firing in the Premier League. Phillips spent two seasons in the Championship banging in the goals that lifted the Black Cats into the top flight and his exploits didn't stop there.  A hat-trick at Derby on September 18, 1999 took Phillips to the eight-in-eight mark. Despite a relatively lean spell by his standards towards the end of the season where he scored just one in four games, he ended the season with 30 goals and the Golden Boot.  Kevin Phillips won the Golden Boot in 1999/2000 Credit: Getty Images Jermain Defoe, Portsmouth, Feb 2008 to March 2008 The 35-year-old ended a six-match barren run by swapping Tottenham for the south coast in the transfer window nine years ago. However, after his goal splurge he failed to score in his next five top-flight matches which also resulted in Pompey collecting just one point. In fairness, Portsmouth had bigger fish to fry with their run and capture of the FA Cup, a competition Defoe was unfortunately ineligible for. Jermain Defoe ended a six-match barren spell when he joined Pompey Credit: Getty Images Francesco Baiano, Derby, 1997/98 The Italian needed two games to adjust to the hustle and bustle of the English game before getting up and running with a strike at Aston Villa. The now 49-year-old, who was voted one of the club's best ever imports, ended the season with 12 league goals but his purple patch was about as good as it got for the diminutive forward. Baiano ended up scoring 16 goals in 64 appearances in the East Midlands. Francesco Baiano was a fans' favourite at Derby Credit: PA The nine goals in eight games party... Mark Viduka, Leeds, 2000/2001 'Big Dukes' established a formidable partnership with Alan Smith but he will always be remembered for scoring all four goals in the thrilling 4-3 win over Liverpool in November 2000. The Australian added another eight goals to his league campaign in his debut season in the English top flight. Les Ferdinand, Newcastle, 1995/96 Part of Kevin Keegan's 'Entertainers', Ferdinand scored three goals in his first two games for Newcastle following a £6m move from QPR. Ferdinand's exploits didn't stop at nine goals in eight. A hat-trick in a 6-1 win over Wimbledon took him to 12 in nine before Spurs, the club he would later join two seasons later, stopped him in his tracks. After just one goal in six games at the end of the season, Ferdinand's effort in a 1-1 draw against Tottenham on the final day took his overall tally to 25. Dion Dublin, Aston Villa, 1998/99 The now Homes Under the Hammer presenter scored five goals in his first two games for Villa including a hat-trick against Southampton following an autumn switch from Coventry. After two against Arsenal in his first eight games in Claret and Blue, Dublin went on an eight-goal drought that ironically came to a halt against his former club. It was only a consolation as the Sky Blues had the last laugh in a 4-1 win. Dublin only scored once more between February and the end of the season, taking his tally for Villa to 11.  Diego Costa, Chelsea, 2014/15 It hasn't been all tantrums and tempestuous behaviour from Costa at the Bridge. The Brazilian-born forward enjoyed a lengthy honeymoon which included a hat-trick against Swansea which saw him score seven goals in four games. Costa only scored more than one goal in a game on one other occasion that season - against Swansea no less - and the rest of his time in west London has been well documented. Costa highs, lows Papiss Cisse, Newcastle,  Feb to April 2012 The Senegalese made little impact when Newcastle slipped out of the top flight two seasons ago. It was in stark contrast to his explosive arrival where a triple of doubles kept Alan Pardew's side in the chase for a Champions League spot. Cisse scored 13 goals in 14 appearances as Newcastle finished fifth. The summer break didn't do Cisse any favours, though. He needed seven league games to get off the mark and only scored three more goals in the top flight that calendar year. Kevin Campbell, Everton, 1999 Evertonians weren't that enamoured with Campbell's arrival on loan from Trabsonspor in April 1999. But Campbell defied those critics who suggested his career was petering out with nine goals in eight appearances to safeguard Everton's top-flight status. Sergio Aguero, Manchester City, 2011/12 The Argentine declared upon signing with City that he'd be fine in the north west as he didn't like hot weather. Five goals later in his first two home games and Aguero was already at home at the Etihad. Aguero's goalscoring sequence ended in City's pummelling against rivals United with the popular forward scoring the third in their still incredible 6-1 win at Old Trafford. The 10 goals in eight games one-man band And so we come to the sole player who has amassed the most goals in their opening eight Premier League matches with their respective new club. Take a bow, Micky Quinn. Quinn, in fact, reached double figures after just six games and then drew blanks against Man Utd and Nottingham as Coventry's early season good form suffered a minor blip. Micky Quinn struck 10 goals after six games for Coventry Quinn had to wait until the final two games of the season to score in successive games to finish his debut top-flight season with 17 goals in 26 appearances.   So just the four required against Liverpool to break the Mighty Quinn's record. It's over to you Romelu...  

Romelu Lukaku has Man Utd record in sight - but needs four against Liverpool to trump a mighty No 1

Romelu Lukaku could become the first Manchester United player to score eight goals in his first eight Premier League matches at Anfield on Saturday. Despite doubts over an ankle injury, the £75m summer signing played the last half an hour of Belgium's dead rubber against Cyprus in a World Cup qualifier in midweek, even though Roberto Martinez's side had already booked their spot in Russia.  Lukaku was even on the scoresheet in the 4-0 win, taking his tally to 16 goals in 13 appearances in all competitions.  Now the 24-year-old is on the brink of moving clear of Andrew Cole's seven-goal run as United travel to Liverpool in the early kick-off on Saturday. A single strike against Liverpool would see Lukaku join a small band of legendary strikers in scoring eight goals in their first eight league games. 7 - No player has scored more goals in their first 7 @premierleague apps for @ManUtd than Romelu Lukaku (7, level with Andrew Cole). Heaven. pic.twitter.com/fcsfhDfbdw— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 30, 2017 A brace versus Jurgen Klopp's men would draw him alongside seven past and present forwards. And if Lukaku becomes the first United player to score a hat-trick against the Reds since Dimitar Berbatov in 2010, he would move level on 10 goals with a blast from the past. But can you guess who (before scrolling below).  We take a look at the hotshots Lukaku is primed to emulate after eight league matches and look what happened next after their goalscoring exploits. The eight goals in eight games group... Alan Shearer, Blackburn 1992/93 Turning down the lure of Man Utd, the former England captain struck twice on his debut at Crystal Palace. The now MOTD pundit's spree didn't stop at eight goals in eight games. Further efforts at Wimbledon, against Oldham and a double in Blackburn's 7-1 thrashing of Norwich at Ewood Park saw Shearer eventually end his purple patch with 12 goals in 11 games. His first season was cruelly ended by a cruciate ligament injury suffered in December. Kevin Phillips, Sunderland, 1999/2000 The 5ft 7in forward had already acclimatised to his north east surroundings by the time he got his boots firing in the Premier League. Phillips spent two seasons in the Championship banging in the goals that lifted the Black Cats into the top flight and his exploits didn't stop there.  A hat-trick at Derby on September 18, 1999 took Phillips to the eight-in-eight mark. Despite a relatively lean spell by his standards towards the end of the season where he scored just one in four games, he ended the season with 30 goals and the Golden Boot.  Kevin Phillips won the Golden Boot in 1999/2000 Credit: Getty Images Jermain Defoe, Portsmouth, Feb 2008 to March 2008 The 35-year-old ended a six-match barren run by swapping Tottenham for the south coast in the transfer window nine years ago. However, after his goal splurge he failed to score in his next five top-flight matches which also resulted in Pompey collecting just one point. In fairness, Portsmouth had bigger fish to fry with their run and capture of the FA Cup, a competition Defoe was unfortunately ineligible for. Jermain Defoe ended a six-match barren spell when he joined Pompey Credit: Getty Images Francesco Baiano, Derby, 1997/98 The Italian needed two games to adjust to the hustle and bustle of the English game before getting up and running with a strike at Aston Villa. The now 49-year-old, who was voted one of the club's best ever imports, ended the season with 12 league goals but his purple patch was about as good as it got for the diminutive forward. Baiano ended up scoring 16 goals in 64 appearances in the East Midlands. Francesco Baiano was a fans' favourite at Derby Credit: PA The nine goals in eight games party... Mark Viduka, Leeds, 2000/2001 'Big Dukes' established a formidable partnership with Alan Smith but he will always be remembered for scoring all four goals in the thrilling 4-3 win over Liverpool in November 2000. The Australian added another eight goals to his league campaign in his debut season in the English top flight. Les Ferdinand, Newcastle, 1995/96 Part of Kevin Keegan's 'Entertainers', Ferdinand scored three goals in his first two games for Newcastle following a £6m move from QPR. Ferdinand's exploits didn't stop at nine goals in eight. A hat-trick in a 6-1 win over Wimbledon took him to 12 in nine before Spurs, the club he would later join two seasons later, stopped him in his tracks. After just one goal in six games at the end of the season, Ferdinand's effort in a 1-1 draw against Tottenham on the final day took his overall tally to 25. Dion Dublin, Aston Villa, 1998/99 The now Homes Under the Hammer presenter scored five goals in his first two games for Villa including a hat-trick against Southampton following an autumn switch from Coventry. After two against Arsenal in his first eight games in Claret and Blue, Dublin went on an eight-goal drought that ironically came to a halt against his former club. It was only a consolation as the Sky Blues had the last laugh in a 4-1 win. Dublin only scored once more between February and the end of the season, taking his tally for Villa to 11.  Diego Costa, Chelsea, 2014/15 It hasn't been all tantrums and tempestuous behaviour from Costa at the Bridge. The Brazilian-born forward enjoyed a lengthy honeymoon which included a hat-trick against Swansea which saw him score seven goals in four games. Costa only scored more than one goal in a game on one other occasion that season - against Swansea no less - and the rest of his time in west London has been well documented. Costa highs, lows Papiss Cisse, Newcastle,  Feb to April 2012 The Senegalese made little impact when Newcastle slipped out of the top flight two seasons ago. It was in stark contrast to his explosive arrival where a triple of doubles kept Alan Pardew's side in the chase for a Champions League spot. Cisse scored 13 goals in 14 appearances as Newcastle finished fifth. The summer break didn't do Cisse any favours, though. He needed seven league games to get off the mark and only scored three more goals in the top flight that calendar year. Kevin Campbell, Everton, 1999 Evertonians weren't that enamoured with Campbell's arrival on loan from Trabsonspor in April 1999. But Campbell defied those critics who suggested his career was petering out with nine goals in eight appearances to safeguard Everton's top-flight status. Sergio Aguero, Manchester City, 2011/12 The Argentine declared upon signing with City that he'd be fine in the north west as he didn't like hot weather. Five goals later in his first two home games and Aguero was already at home at the Etihad. Aguero's goalscoring sequence ended in City's pummelling against rivals United with the popular forward scoring the third in their still incredible 6-1 win at Old Trafford. The 10 goals in eight games one-man band And so we come to the sole player who has amassed the most goals in their opening eight Premier League matches with their respective new club. Take a bow, Micky Quinn. Quinn, in fact, reached double figures after just six games and then drew blanks against Man Utd and Nottingham as Coventry's early season good form suffered a minor blip. Micky Quinn struck 10 goals after six games for Coventry Quinn had to wait until the final two games of the season to score in successive games to finish his debut top-flight season with 17 goals in 26 appearances.   So just the four required against Liverpool to break the Mighty Quinn's record. It's over to you Romelu...  

Romelu Lukaku has Man Utd record in sight - but needs four against Liverpool to trump a mighty No 1

Romelu Lukaku could become the first Manchester United player to score eight goals in his first eight Premier League matches at Anfield on Saturday. Despite doubts over an ankle injury, the £75m summer signing played the last half an hour of Belgium's dead rubber against Cyprus in a World Cup qualifier in midweek, even though Roberto Martinez's side had already booked their spot in Russia.  Lukaku was even on the scoresheet in the 4-0 win, taking his tally to 16 goals in 13 appearances in all competitions.  Now the 24-year-old is on the brink of moving clear of Andrew Cole's seven-goal run as United travel to Liverpool in the early kick-off on Saturday. A single strike against Liverpool would see Lukaku join a small band of legendary strikers in scoring eight goals in their first eight league games. 7 - No player has scored more goals in their first 7 @premierleague apps for @ManUtd than Romelu Lukaku (7, level with Andrew Cole). Heaven. pic.twitter.com/fcsfhDfbdw— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 30, 2017 A brace versus Jurgen Klopp's men would draw him alongside seven past and present forwards. And if Lukaku becomes the first United player to score a hat-trick against the Reds since Dimitar Berbatov in 2010, he would move level on 10 goals with a blast from the past. But can you guess who (before scrolling below).  We take a look at the hotshots Lukaku is primed to emulate after eight league matches and look what happened next after their goalscoring exploits. The eight goals in eight games group... Alan Shearer, Blackburn 1992/93 Turning down the lure of Man Utd, the former England captain struck twice on his debut at Crystal Palace. The now MOTD pundit's spree didn't stop at eight goals in eight games. Further efforts at Wimbledon, against Oldham and a double in Blackburn's 7-1 thrashing of Norwich at Ewood Park saw Shearer eventually end his purple patch with 12 goals in 11 games. His first season was cruelly ended by a cruciate ligament injury suffered in December. Kevin Phillips, Sunderland, 1999/2000 The 5ft 7in forward had already acclimatised to his north east surroundings by the time he got his boots firing in the Premier League. Phillips spent two seasons in the Championship banging in the goals that lifted the Black Cats into the top flight and his exploits didn't stop there.  A hat-trick at Derby on September 18, 1999 took Phillips to the eight-in-eight mark. Despite a relatively lean spell by his standards towards the end of the season where he scored just one in four games, he ended the season with 30 goals and the Golden Boot.  Kevin Phillips won the Golden Boot in 1999/2000 Credit: Getty Images Jermain Defoe, Portsmouth, Feb 2008 to March 2008 The 35-year-old ended a six-match barren run by swapping Tottenham for the south coast in the transfer window nine years ago. However, after his goal splurge he failed to score in his next five top-flight matches which also resulted in Pompey collecting just one point. In fairness, Portsmouth had bigger fish to fry with their run and capture of the FA Cup, a competition Defoe was unfortunately ineligible for. Jermain Defoe ended a six-match barren spell when he joined Pompey Credit: Getty Images Francesco Baiano, Derby, 1997/98 The Italian needed two games to adjust to the hustle and bustle of the English game before getting up and running with a strike at Aston Villa. The now 49-year-old, who was voted one of the club's best ever imports, ended the season with 12 league goals but his purple patch was about as good as it got for the diminutive forward. Baiano ended up scoring 16 goals in 64 appearances in the East Midlands. Francesco Baiano was a fans' favourite at Derby Credit: PA The nine goals in eight games party... Mark Viduka, Leeds, 2000/2001 'Big Dukes' established a formidable partnership with Alan Smith but he will always be remembered for scoring all four goals in the thrilling 4-3 win over Liverpool in November 2000. The Australian added another eight goals to his league campaign in his debut season in the English top flight. Les Ferdinand, Newcastle, 1995/96 Part of Kevin Keegan's 'Entertainers', Ferdinand scored three goals in his first two games for Newcastle following a £6m move from QPR. Ferdinand's exploits didn't stop at nine goals in eight. A hat-trick in a 6-1 win over Wimbledon took him to 12 in nine before Spurs, the club he would later join two seasons later, stopped him in his tracks. After just one goal in six games at the end of the season, Ferdinand's effort in a 1-1 draw against Tottenham on the final day took his overall tally to 25. Dion Dublin, Aston Villa, 1998/99 The now Homes Under the Hammer presenter scored five goals in his first two games for Villa including a hat-trick against Southampton following an autumn switch from Coventry. After two against Arsenal in his first eight games in Claret and Blue, Dublin went on an eight-goal drought that ironically came to a halt against his former club. It was only a consolation as the Sky Blues had the last laugh in a 4-1 win. Dublin only scored once more between February and the end of the season, taking his tally for Villa to 11.  Diego Costa, Chelsea, 2014/15 It hasn't been all tantrums and tempestuous behaviour from Costa at the Bridge. The Brazilian-born forward enjoyed a lengthy honeymoon which included a hat-trick against Swansea which saw him score seven goals in four games. Costa only scored more than one goal in a game on one other occasion that season - against Swansea no less - and the rest of his time in west London has been well documented. Costa highs, lows Papiss Cisse, Newcastle,  Feb to April 2012 The Senegalese made little impact when Newcastle slipped out of the top flight two seasons ago. It was in stark contrast to his explosive arrival where a triple of doubles kept Alan Pardew's side in the chase for a Champions League spot. Cisse scored 13 goals in 14 appearances as Newcastle finished fifth. The summer break didn't do Cisse any favours, though. He needed seven league games to get off the mark and only scored three more goals in the top flight that calendar year. Kevin Campbell, Everton, 1999 Evertonians weren't that enamoured with Campbell's arrival on loan from Trabsonspor in April 1999. But Campbell defied those critics who suggested his career was petering out with nine goals in eight appearances to safeguard Everton's top-flight status. Sergio Aguero, Manchester City, 2011/12 The Argentine declared upon signing with City that he'd be fine in the north west as he didn't like hot weather. Five goals later in his first two home games and Aguero was already at home at the Etihad. Aguero's goalscoring sequence ended in City's pummelling against rivals United with the popular forward scoring the third in their still incredible 6-1 win at Old Trafford. The 10 goals in eight games one-man band And so we come to the sole player who has amassed the most goals in their opening eight Premier League matches with their respective new club. Take a bow, Micky Quinn. Quinn, in fact, reached double figures after just six games and then drew blanks against Man Utd and Nottingham as Coventry's early season good form suffered a minor blip. Micky Quinn struck 10 goals after six games for Coventry Quinn had to wait until the final two games of the season to score in successive games to finish his debut top-flight season with 17 goals in 26 appearances.   So just the four required against Liverpool to break the Mighty Quinn's record. It's over to you Romelu...  

Paul Merson claims Arsenal would win league title with Harry Redknapp's 'tactical nous'

Paul Merson has invited ridicule once again for his latest comments. The Sky Sports pundit and former Arsenal midfielder believes Arsene Wenger could land the Premier League title again at Arsenal - if he had Harry Redknapp's tactical nous. Merson played under both Wenger and Redknapp during his career at Arsenal and Portsmouth, but believes the Englishman deserves more credit for his managerial abilities. "People say he's a wheeler-dealer and it's so disrespectful," Merson says in an episode of Sky One's panel show A League Of Their Own. "Tactically, he's one of the best I've worked with. If Arsene Wenger had Harry Redknapp's tactical nous, Arsenal would win the league." Merson played under Redknapp at Portsmouth While Wenger has recently celebrated his 21st anniversary at the north London club, Redknapp is out of work again having been sacked by Championship side Birmingham last month. Redknapp resided over six straight defeats in all competitions and lasted less than five months in charge at St Andrew's.  Merson, however, remembers fondly one match where Redknapp's influence changed the course of one particular match. It was at Crystal Palace back in 2002/03, a season that Portsmouth went on to win the Championship as 33/1 outsiders that stays with Merson. "We won our first game at home and I thought we'd be alright and then went to Crystal Palace. We were 2-0 down at half-time and it could've been 10-0. I thought 'what have I done coming here - this is going to be embarrassing.' "Harry came in at half-time and took three men off, put three at the back, five in midfield with three rolling attackers and we won 3-2. "That's when I knew he was a great manager." Merson, meanwhile, is set for a return to football on the pitch with Welsh fourth-tier side Caerau. The club are awaiting international clearance for the 49-year-old to appear against Pontyclun next Wednesday, October 18. Caerau secretary Dai Hooper got to know Merson at a function several years ago and texted the former Walsall manager to enquire about his services. When asked in an interview on BBC about Merson's match fitness, Hooper replied: "He's looking okay on the box (television)."

Paul Merson claims Arsenal would win league title with Harry Redknapp's 'tactical nous'

Paul Merson has invited ridicule once again for his latest comments. The Sky Sports pundit and former Arsenal midfielder believes Arsene Wenger could land the Premier League title again at Arsenal - if he had Harry Redknapp's tactical nous. Merson played under both Wenger and Redknapp during his career at Arsenal and Portsmouth, but believes the Englishman deserves more credit for his managerial abilities. "People say he's a wheeler-dealer and it's so disrespectful," Merson says in an episode of Sky One's panel show A League Of Their Own. "Tactically, he's one of the best I've worked with. If Arsene Wenger had Harry Redknapp's tactical nous, Arsenal would win the league." Merson played under Redknapp at Portsmouth While Wenger has recently celebrated his 21st anniversary at the north London club, Redknapp is out of work again having been sacked by Championship side Birmingham last month. Redknapp resided over six straight defeats in all competitions and lasted less than five months in charge at St Andrew's.  Merson, however, remembers fondly one match where Redknapp's influence changed the course of one particular match. It was at Crystal Palace back in 2002/03, a season that Portsmouth went on to win the Championship as 33/1 outsiders that stays with Merson. "We won our first game at home and I thought we'd be alright and then went to Crystal Palace. We were 2-0 down at half-time and it could've been 10-0. I thought 'what have I done coming here - this is going to be embarrassing.' "Harry came in at half-time and took three men off, put three at the back, five in midfield with three rolling attackers and we won 3-2. "That's when I knew he was a great manager." Merson, meanwhile, is set for a return to football on the pitch with Welsh fourth-tier side Caerau. The club are awaiting international clearance for the 49-year-old to appear against Pontyclun next Wednesday, October 18. Caerau secretary Dai Hooper got to know Merson at a function several years ago and texted the former Walsall manager to enquire about his services. When asked in an interview on BBC about Merson's match fitness, Hooper replied: "He's looking okay on the box (television)."

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