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Bromley FC is a proud old club, but not a successful one. Dave Roberts’ book The Bromley Boys chronicles the author following the team in the 1960s, when it had an authentic claim to being the worst in the country. The town it represents has a higher population than Crewe, Shrewsbury and Accrington but has never hosted the league football expected in those places. Instead, Bromley have just completed a third season of steady improvement in the National League, the highest level the club have ever reached. They have visited Wembley once, for the final of the old FA Amateur Cup in 1949 for a 1-0 win over Romford in front of 96,000. They return on Sunday for the FA Trophy final and have a player to call on who has already played three times under the arch, seeking a redemptive coda to a varied career. Centre-back Roger Johnson was part of the Birmingham City side who beat Arsenal in the 2011 League Cup final, and with Cardiff when they lost the FA Cup final to Portsmouth in 2008 but beat Barnsley in the semi at Wembley. “Everyone says ‘just try and relax and enjoy the day’ but it’s very stressful,” he says. “The anxiety, getting there, the build-up. I’m sure once we’re out there and the whistle blows we’ll be fine.” Johnson, 35, looks remarkably lean as we talk after a video analysis session at Bromley’s Hayes Lane home. An armful of tattoos indicates his tour of duty in the modern Premier League, where he shone at Birmingham, endured a tougher spell at Wolves and turned out four times for West Ham as recently as 2014. The Wembley opponents are Brackley Town from the tier below and while Bromley have sold an impressive 20,000 tickets the stadium will still be sparsely occupied. Nevertheless, Johnson puts the game on a par with his most notable previous visit. “Winning on Sunday would mean as much as the Birmingham win,” he says. “Yeah it’s not an 89,000 sell-out against an Arsenal team with Robin van Persie in it who beat Barcelona nine days before, but we’re we’re there on merit.” Surprisingly heartfelt words from a man who came close to the England squad while with Birmingham. “I got six England call-ups for the 30-man squad, but nobody got injured so I didn’t make the 23,” he says. It was a rapid ascension after a long apprenticeship at Wycombe Wanderers, where he made his debut at 17. Cardiff eventually took a gamble on him in 2006 before Johnson stepped up to the Premier League with Birmingham. That solid side finished ninth in his first season but were relegated three months after their Wembley win. Johnson joined Bromley after 18 months at Charlton Athletic Credit: JULIAN SIMMONDS for The Telegraph A move to Wolves followed to prolong his top-flight career but little went to plan. He strongly disputes stories he once arrived at training worse for wear from the night before, but addresses his time at Molineux with candour. “I blame myself,” he says. “I had a dip in form, in a team of people that had a dip in form. I was blocking shots and it was going in off me, I was making stupid errors that I never make. “A regret is taking the captaincy when it was offered to me. It made my signing even bigger because I was the team captain and if things are going wrong the skipper has to answer for it. “It was hard to dig people out and have an opinion on what was going wrong, because I was one of the things that wasn’t working.” Loans to Sheffield Wednesday and West Ham took him away from the West Midlands before two spells at Charlton, either side of a sojourn in India with Pune City and unlikely team-mates Adrian Mutu and Didier Zokora. “I’d never choose to go to that side of the world personally, but I’ve seen the whole of India now. Goa was good, but the north-east was tough. There was no phone signal. Some of the flights were very dodgy, but it’s a tick in a box.” A far cry from Bromley’s Hayes Lane, surely one of the country’s only grounds which is approached via a road next to a field of grazing horses. Johnson celebrates Birmingham's victory over Arsenal in the 2011 League Cup final in the traditional fashion Credit: Action Images/Lee Smith After a knee injury and a subsequent blood poisoning from the surgery to treat it, Johnson is happy to be back playing the game he loves. “I’m not going to sit here and think I’ve had a failed career,” he says. “Every player wants to reach the Premier League and play for their country, I did one of them and got very close to the other.” Calm and philosophical, he seems every inch the elder statesmen and you can easily imagine him coaching. “I’m not too proud to go down the divisions but I probably wouldn’t drop any further, unless there was a player-coach role. I can’t see myself doing pub football. “There are some horrible people out there, who want to bad mouth you and write nonsense on social media. But have they been a footballer? No they haven’t. “My career, my stats, and what I’ve won speak for themselves. Wikipedia it, then write me something on social media.”
Roger Johnson returns for another shot at Wembley
Bromley FC is a proud old club, but not a successful one. Dave Roberts’ book The Bromley Boys chronicles the author following the team in the 1960s, when it had an authentic claim to being the worst in the country. The town it represents has a higher population than Crewe, Shrewsbury and Accrington but has never hosted the league football expected in those places. Instead, Bromley have just completed a third season of steady improvement in the National League, the highest level the club have ever reached. They have visited Wembley once, for the final of the old FA Amateur Cup in 1949 for a 1-0 win over Romford in front of 96,000. They return on Sunday for the FA Trophy final and have a player to call on who has already played three times under the arch, seeking a redemptive coda to a varied career. Centre-back Roger Johnson was part of the Birmingham City side who beat Arsenal in the 2011 League Cup final, and with Cardiff when they lost the FA Cup final to Portsmouth in 2008 but beat Barnsley in the semi at Wembley. “Everyone says ‘just try and relax and enjoy the day’ but it’s very stressful,” he says. “The anxiety, getting there, the build-up. I’m sure once we’re out there and the whistle blows we’ll be fine.” Johnson, 35, looks remarkably lean as we talk after a video analysis session at Bromley’s Hayes Lane home. An armful of tattoos indicates his tour of duty in the modern Premier League, where he shone at Birmingham, endured a tougher spell at Wolves and turned out four times for West Ham as recently as 2014. The Wembley opponents are Brackley Town from the tier below and while Bromley have sold an impressive 20,000 tickets the stadium will still be sparsely occupied. Nevertheless, Johnson puts the game on a par with his most notable previous visit. “Winning on Sunday would mean as much as the Birmingham win,” he says. “Yeah it’s not an 89,000 sell-out against an Arsenal team with Robin van Persie in it who beat Barcelona nine days before, but we’re we’re there on merit.” Surprisingly heartfelt words from a man who came close to the England squad while with Birmingham. “I got six England call-ups for the 30-man squad, but nobody got injured so I didn’t make the 23,” he says. It was a rapid ascension after a long apprenticeship at Wycombe Wanderers, where he made his debut at 17. Cardiff eventually took a gamble on him in 2006 before Johnson stepped up to the Premier League with Birmingham. That solid side finished ninth in his first season but were relegated three months after their Wembley win. Johnson joined Bromley after 18 months at Charlton Athletic Credit: JULIAN SIMMONDS for The Telegraph A move to Wolves followed to prolong his top-flight career but little went to plan. He strongly disputes stories he once arrived at training worse for wear from the night before, but addresses his time at Molineux with candour. “I blame myself,” he says. “I had a dip in form, in a team of people that had a dip in form. I was blocking shots and it was going in off me, I was making stupid errors that I never make. “A regret is taking the captaincy when it was offered to me. It made my signing even bigger because I was the team captain and if things are going wrong the skipper has to answer for it. “It was hard to dig people out and have an opinion on what was going wrong, because I was one of the things that wasn’t working.” Loans to Sheffield Wednesday and West Ham took him away from the West Midlands before two spells at Charlton, either side of a sojourn in India with Pune City and unlikely team-mates Adrian Mutu and Didier Zokora. “I’d never choose to go to that side of the world personally, but I’ve seen the whole of India now. Goa was good, but the north-east was tough. There was no phone signal. Some of the flights were very dodgy, but it’s a tick in a box.” A far cry from Bromley’s Hayes Lane, surely one of the country’s only grounds which is approached via a road next to a field of grazing horses. Johnson celebrates Birmingham's victory over Arsenal in the 2011 League Cup final in the traditional fashion Credit: Action Images/Lee Smith After a knee injury and a subsequent blood poisoning from the surgery to treat it, Johnson is happy to be back playing the game he loves. “I’m not going to sit here and think I’ve had a failed career,” he says. “Every player wants to reach the Premier League and play for their country, I did one of them and got very close to the other.” Calm and philosophical, he seems every inch the elder statesmen and you can easily imagine him coaching. “I’m not too proud to go down the divisions but I probably wouldn’t drop any further, unless there was a player-coach role. I can’t see myself doing pub football. “There are some horrible people out there, who want to bad mouth you and write nonsense on social media. But have they been a footballer? No they haven’t. “My career, my stats, and what I’ve won speak for themselves. Wikipedia it, then write me something on social media.”
Bromley FC is a proud old club, but not a successful one. Dave Roberts’ book The Bromley Boys chronicles the author following the team in the 1960s, when it had an authentic claim to being the worst in the country. The town it represents has a higher population than Crewe, Shrewsbury and Accrington but has never hosted the league football expected in those places. Instead, Bromley have just completed a third season of steady improvement in the National League, the highest level the club have ever reached. They have visited Wembley once, for the final of the old FA Amateur Cup in 1949 for a 1-0 win over Romford in front of 96,000. They return on Sunday for the FA Trophy final and have a player to call on who has already played three times under the arch, seeking a redemptive coda to a varied career. Centre-back Roger Johnson was part of the Birmingham City side who beat Arsenal in the 2011 League Cup final, and with Cardiff when they lost the FA Cup final to Portsmouth in 2008 but beat Barnsley in the semi at Wembley. “Everyone says ‘just try and relax and enjoy the day’ but it’s very stressful,” he says. “The anxiety, getting there, the build-up. I’m sure once we’re out there and the whistle blows we’ll be fine.” Johnson, 35, looks remarkably lean as we talk after a video analysis session at Bromley’s Hayes Lane home. An armful of tattoos indicates his tour of duty in the modern Premier League, where he shone at Birmingham, endured a tougher spell at Wolves and turned out four times for West Ham as recently as 2014. The Wembley opponents are Brackley Town from the tier below and while Bromley have sold an impressive 20,000 tickets the stadium will still be sparsely occupied. Nevertheless, Johnson puts the game on a par with his most notable previous visit. “Winning on Sunday would mean as much as the Birmingham win,” he says. “Yeah it’s not an 89,000 sell-out against an Arsenal team with Robin van Persie in it who beat Barcelona nine days before, but we’re we’re there on merit.” Surprisingly heartfelt words from a man who came close to the England squad while with Birmingham. “I got six England call-ups for the 30-man squad, but nobody got injured so I didn’t make the 23,” he says. It was a rapid ascension after a long apprenticeship at Wycombe Wanderers, where he made his debut at 17. Cardiff eventually took a gamble on him in 2006 before Johnson stepped up to the Premier League with Birmingham. That solid side finished ninth in his first season but were relegated three months after their Wembley win. Johnson joined Bromley after 18 months at Charlton Athletic Credit: JULIAN SIMMONDS for The Telegraph A move to Wolves followed to prolong his top-flight career but little went to plan. He strongly disputes stories he once arrived at training worse for wear from the night before, but addresses his time at Molineux with candour. “I blame myself,” he says. “I had a dip in form, in a team of people that had a dip in form. I was blocking shots and it was going in off me, I was making stupid errors that I never make. “A regret is taking the captaincy when it was offered to me. It made my signing even bigger because I was the team captain and if things are going wrong the skipper has to answer for it. “It was hard to dig people out and have an opinion on what was going wrong, because I was one of the things that wasn’t working.” Loans to Sheffield Wednesday and West Ham took him away from the West Midlands before two spells at Charlton, either side of a sojourn in India with Pune City and unlikely team-mates Adrian Mutu and Didier Zokora. “I’d never choose to go to that side of the world personally, but I’ve seen the whole of India now. Goa was good, but the north-east was tough. There was no phone signal. Some of the flights were very dodgy, but it’s a tick in a box.” A far cry from Bromley’s Hayes Lane, surely one of the country’s only grounds which is approached via a road next to a field of grazing horses. Johnson celebrates Birmingham's victory over Arsenal in the 2011 League Cup final in the traditional fashion Credit: Action Images/Lee Smith After a knee injury and a subsequent blood poisoning from the surgery to treat it, Johnson is happy to be back playing the game he loves. “I’m not going to sit here and think I’ve had a failed career,” he says. “Every player wants to reach the Premier League and play for their country, I did one of them and got very close to the other.” Calm and philosophical, he seems every inch the elder statesmen and you can easily imagine him coaching. “I’m not too proud to go down the divisions but I probably wouldn’t drop any further, unless there was a player-coach role. I can’t see myself doing pub football. “There are some horrible people out there, who want to bad mouth you and write nonsense on social media. But have they been a footballer? No they haven’t. “My career, my stats, and what I’ve won speak for themselves. Wikipedia it, then write me something on social media.”
Roger Johnson returns for another shot at Wembley
Bromley FC is a proud old club, but not a successful one. Dave Roberts’ book The Bromley Boys chronicles the author following the team in the 1960s, when it had an authentic claim to being the worst in the country. The town it represents has a higher population than Crewe, Shrewsbury and Accrington but has never hosted the league football expected in those places. Instead, Bromley have just completed a third season of steady improvement in the National League, the highest level the club have ever reached. They have visited Wembley once, for the final of the old FA Amateur Cup in 1949 for a 1-0 win over Romford in front of 96,000. They return on Sunday for the FA Trophy final and have a player to call on who has already played three times under the arch, seeking a redemptive coda to a varied career. Centre-back Roger Johnson was part of the Birmingham City side who beat Arsenal in the 2011 League Cup final, and with Cardiff when they lost the FA Cup final to Portsmouth in 2008 but beat Barnsley in the semi at Wembley. “Everyone says ‘just try and relax and enjoy the day’ but it’s very stressful,” he says. “The anxiety, getting there, the build-up. I’m sure once we’re out there and the whistle blows we’ll be fine.” Johnson, 35, looks remarkably lean as we talk after a video analysis session at Bromley’s Hayes Lane home. An armful of tattoos indicates his tour of duty in the modern Premier League, where he shone at Birmingham, endured a tougher spell at Wolves and turned out four times for West Ham as recently as 2014. The Wembley opponents are Brackley Town from the tier below and while Bromley have sold an impressive 20,000 tickets the stadium will still be sparsely occupied. Nevertheless, Johnson puts the game on a par with his most notable previous visit. “Winning on Sunday would mean as much as the Birmingham win,” he says. “Yeah it’s not an 89,000 sell-out against an Arsenal team with Robin van Persie in it who beat Barcelona nine days before, but we’re we’re there on merit.” Surprisingly heartfelt words from a man who came close to the England squad while with Birmingham. “I got six England call-ups for the 30-man squad, but nobody got injured so I didn’t make the 23,” he says. It was a rapid ascension after a long apprenticeship at Wycombe Wanderers, where he made his debut at 17. Cardiff eventually took a gamble on him in 2006 before Johnson stepped up to the Premier League with Birmingham. That solid side finished ninth in his first season but were relegated three months after their Wembley win. Johnson joined Bromley after 18 months at Charlton Athletic Credit: JULIAN SIMMONDS for The Telegraph A move to Wolves followed to prolong his top-flight career but little went to plan. He strongly disputes stories he once arrived at training worse for wear from the night before, but addresses his time at Molineux with candour. “I blame myself,” he says. “I had a dip in form, in a team of people that had a dip in form. I was blocking shots and it was going in off me, I was making stupid errors that I never make. “A regret is taking the captaincy when it was offered to me. It made my signing even bigger because I was the team captain and if things are going wrong the skipper has to answer for it. “It was hard to dig people out and have an opinion on what was going wrong, because I was one of the things that wasn’t working.” Loans to Sheffield Wednesday and West Ham took him away from the West Midlands before two spells at Charlton, either side of a sojourn in India with Pune City and unlikely team-mates Adrian Mutu and Didier Zokora. “I’d never choose to go to that side of the world personally, but I’ve seen the whole of India now. Goa was good, but the north-east was tough. There was no phone signal. Some of the flights were very dodgy, but it’s a tick in a box.” A far cry from Bromley’s Hayes Lane, surely one of the country’s only grounds which is approached via a road next to a field of grazing horses. Johnson celebrates Birmingham's victory over Arsenal in the 2011 League Cup final in the traditional fashion Credit: Action Images/Lee Smith After a knee injury and a subsequent blood poisoning from the surgery to treat it, Johnson is happy to be back playing the game he loves. “I’m not going to sit here and think I’ve had a failed career,” he says. “Every player wants to reach the Premier League and play for their country, I did one of them and got very close to the other.” Calm and philosophical, he seems every inch the elder statesmen and you can easily imagine him coaching. “I’m not too proud to go down the divisions but I probably wouldn’t drop any further, unless there was a player-coach role. I can’t see myself doing pub football. “There are some horrible people out there, who want to bad mouth you and write nonsense on social media. But have they been a footballer? No they haven’t. “My career, my stats, and what I’ve won speak for themselves. Wikipedia it, then write me something on social media.”
Bromley FC is a proud old club, but not a successful one. Dave Roberts’ book The Bromley Boys chronicles the author following the team in the 1960s, when it had an authentic claim to being the worst in the country. The town it represents has a higher population than Crewe, Shrewsbury and Accrington but has never hosted the league football expected in those places. Instead, Bromley have just completed a third season of steady improvement in the National League, the highest level the club have ever reached. They have visited Wembley once, for the final of the old FA Amateur Cup in 1949 for a 1-0 win over Romford in front of 96,000. They return on Sunday for the FA Trophy final and have a player to call on who has already played three times under the arch, seeking a redemptive coda to a varied career. Centre-back Roger Johnson was part of the Birmingham City side who beat Arsenal in the 2011 League Cup final, and with Cardiff when they lost the FA Cup final to Portsmouth in 2008 but beat Barnsley in the semi at Wembley. “Everyone says ‘just try and relax and enjoy the day’ but it’s very stressful,” he says. “The anxiety, getting there, the build-up. I’m sure once we’re out there and the whistle blows we’ll be fine.” Johnson, 35, looks remarkably lean as we talk after a video analysis session at Bromley’s Hayes Lane home. An armful of tattoos indicates his tour of duty in the modern Premier League, where he shone at Birmingham, endured a tougher spell at Wolves and turned out four times for West Ham as recently as 2014. The Wembley opponents are Brackley Town from the tier below and while Bromley have sold an impressive 20,000 tickets the stadium will still be sparsely occupied. Nevertheless, Johnson puts the game on a par with his most notable previous visit. “Winning on Sunday would mean as much as the Birmingham win,” he says. “Yeah it’s not an 89,000 sell-out against an Arsenal team with Robin van Persie in it who beat Barcelona nine days before, but we’re we’re there on merit.” Surprisingly heartfelt words from a man who came close to the England squad while with Birmingham. “I got six England call-ups for the 30-man squad, but nobody got injured so I didn’t make the 23,” he says. It was a rapid ascension after a long apprenticeship at Wycombe Wanderers, where he made his debut at 17. Cardiff eventually took a gamble on him in 2006 before Johnson stepped up to the Premier League with Birmingham. That solid side finished ninth in his first season but were relegated three months after their Wembley win. Johnson joined Bromley after 18 months at Charlton Athletic Credit: JULIAN SIMMONDS for The Telegraph A move to Wolves followed to prolong his top-flight career but little went to plan. He strongly disputes stories he once arrived at training worse for wear from the night before, but addresses his time at Molineux with candour. “I blame myself,” he says. “I had a dip in form, in a team of people that had a dip in form. I was blocking shots and it was going in off me, I was making stupid errors that I never make. “A regret is taking the captaincy when it was offered to me. It made my signing even bigger because I was the team captain and if things are going wrong the skipper has to answer for it. “It was hard to dig people out and have an opinion on what was going wrong, because I was one of the things that wasn’t working.” Loans to Sheffield Wednesday and West Ham took him away from the West Midlands before two spells at Charlton, either side of a sojourn in India with Pune City and unlikely team-mates Adrian Mutu and Didier Zokora. “I’d never choose to go to that side of the world personally, but I’ve seen the whole of India now. Goa was good, but the north-east was tough. There was no phone signal. Some of the flights were very dodgy, but it’s a tick in a box.” A far cry from Bromley’s Hayes Lane, surely one of the country’s only grounds which is approached via a road next to a field of grazing horses. Johnson celebrates Birmingham's victory over Arsenal in the 2011 League Cup final in the traditional fashion Credit: Action Images/Lee Smith After a knee injury and a subsequent blood poisoning from the surgery to treat it, Johnson is happy to be back playing the game he loves. “I’m not going to sit here and think I’ve had a failed career,” he says. “Every player wants to reach the Premier League and play for their country, I did one of them and got very close to the other.” Calm and philosophical, he seems every inch the elder statesmen and you can easily imagine him coaching. “I’m not too proud to go down the divisions but I probably wouldn’t drop any further, unless there was a player-coach role. I can’t see myself doing pub football. “There are some horrible people out there, who want to bad mouth you and write nonsense on social media. But have they been a footballer? No they haven’t. “My career, my stats, and what I’ve won speak for themselves. Wikipedia it, then write me something on social media.”
Roger Johnson returns for another shot at Wembley
Bromley FC is a proud old club, but not a successful one. Dave Roberts’ book The Bromley Boys chronicles the author following the team in the 1960s, when it had an authentic claim to being the worst in the country. The town it represents has a higher population than Crewe, Shrewsbury and Accrington but has never hosted the league football expected in those places. Instead, Bromley have just completed a third season of steady improvement in the National League, the highest level the club have ever reached. They have visited Wembley once, for the final of the old FA Amateur Cup in 1949 for a 1-0 win over Romford in front of 96,000. They return on Sunday for the FA Trophy final and have a player to call on who has already played three times under the arch, seeking a redemptive coda to a varied career. Centre-back Roger Johnson was part of the Birmingham City side who beat Arsenal in the 2011 League Cup final, and with Cardiff when they lost the FA Cup final to Portsmouth in 2008 but beat Barnsley in the semi at Wembley. “Everyone says ‘just try and relax and enjoy the day’ but it’s very stressful,” he says. “The anxiety, getting there, the build-up. I’m sure once we’re out there and the whistle blows we’ll be fine.” Johnson, 35, looks remarkably lean as we talk after a video analysis session at Bromley’s Hayes Lane home. An armful of tattoos indicates his tour of duty in the modern Premier League, where he shone at Birmingham, endured a tougher spell at Wolves and turned out four times for West Ham as recently as 2014. The Wembley opponents are Brackley Town from the tier below and while Bromley have sold an impressive 20,000 tickets the stadium will still be sparsely occupied. Nevertheless, Johnson puts the game on a par with his most notable previous visit. “Winning on Sunday would mean as much as the Birmingham win,” he says. “Yeah it’s not an 89,000 sell-out against an Arsenal team with Robin van Persie in it who beat Barcelona nine days before, but we’re we’re there on merit.” Surprisingly heartfelt words from a man who came close to the England squad while with Birmingham. “I got six England call-ups for the 30-man squad, but nobody got injured so I didn’t make the 23,” he says. It was a rapid ascension after a long apprenticeship at Wycombe Wanderers, where he made his debut at 17. Cardiff eventually took a gamble on him in 2006 before Johnson stepped up to the Premier League with Birmingham. That solid side finished ninth in his first season but were relegated three months after their Wembley win. Johnson joined Bromley after 18 months at Charlton Athletic Credit: JULIAN SIMMONDS for The Telegraph A move to Wolves followed to prolong his top-flight career but little went to plan. He strongly disputes stories he once arrived at training worse for wear from the night before, but addresses his time at Molineux with candour. “I blame myself,” he says. “I had a dip in form, in a team of people that had a dip in form. I was blocking shots and it was going in off me, I was making stupid errors that I never make. “A regret is taking the captaincy when it was offered to me. It made my signing even bigger because I was the team captain and if things are going wrong the skipper has to answer for it. “It was hard to dig people out and have an opinion on what was going wrong, because I was one of the things that wasn’t working.” Loans to Sheffield Wednesday and West Ham took him away from the West Midlands before two spells at Charlton, either side of a sojourn in India with Pune City and unlikely team-mates Adrian Mutu and Didier Zokora. “I’d never choose to go to that side of the world personally, but I’ve seen the whole of India now. Goa was good, but the north-east was tough. There was no phone signal. Some of the flights were very dodgy, but it’s a tick in a box.” A far cry from Bromley’s Hayes Lane, surely one of the country’s only grounds which is approached via a road next to a field of grazing horses. Johnson celebrates Birmingham's victory over Arsenal in the 2011 League Cup final in the traditional fashion Credit: Action Images/Lee Smith After a knee injury and a subsequent blood poisoning from the surgery to treat it, Johnson is happy to be back playing the game he loves. “I’m not going to sit here and think I’ve had a failed career,” he says. “Every player wants to reach the Premier League and play for their country, I did one of them and got very close to the other.” Calm and philosophical, he seems every inch the elder statesmen and you can easily imagine him coaching. “I’m not too proud to go down the divisions but I probably wouldn’t drop any further, unless there was a player-coach role. I can’t see myself doing pub football. “There are some horrible people out there, who want to bad mouth you and write nonsense on social media. But have they been a footballer? No they haven’t. “My career, my stats, and what I’ve won speak for themselves. Wikipedia it, then write me something on social media.”
Huddersfield's battling draw with Chelsea completed a remarkable season in which every team that won promotion to English football's top leagues remain in the division. David Wagner's side earned a vital point at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night to guarantee their Premier League safety for another season. The result meant that Huddersfield joined fellow promoted sides Brighton and Newcastle in safely avoiding a return the Championship as Stoke, West Brom and - barring a miracle - Swansea all dropped out of the top flight. For the first time since the 2001-02 season, when Fulham, Blackburn and Bolton defied the odds, every single team that earned promotion to one of English football's top four leagues avoided relegation. Alan Alger, PR manager at bookmakers Betway, said the odds on such an outcome would have been bigger than Leicester City's Premier League title triumph in 2016. Stoke City lost to Crystal Palace last weekend to end their 10-year stay in the Premier League Credit: Getty Images In the Championship, Burton Albion and Barnsley were relegated on a dramatic final day after Sunderland's fate had been sealed a week earlier. Below the top-flight, Championship new-boys Sheffield United and Millwall both enjoyed top-half finishes while Bolton Wanderers escaped the drop on the final day. In League One, Portsmouth, Plymouth Argyle, Doncaster Rovers, Blackpool all stayed well clear of the bottom four as Bury, MK Dons, Northampton Town, and Oldham Athletic were relegated to the fourth tier. League Two's Forest Green narrowly avoided an immediate return to the Vanarama National League while fellow promoted side Lincoln enjoyed a seventh-place finish, booking their place in the play-offs. Bolton Wanderers came from behind to beat Nottingham Forest on the final day and avoid an instant return to League One Credit: Getty Images In fact, the trend extends beyond the Football League, with Maidenhead United, Ebbsfleet United, Halifax Town and Fylde all securing safety after earning promotion to National League One last season. Huddersfield manager David Wagner was last night quick to praise his players for the "incredible achievement" of defying Premier League relegation. “This is an absolute over-achievement,” said Wagner. Huddersfield came up via the Championship play-offs Credit: PA “It's a bigger achievement than the promotion last season. Last year we were predicted to be relegated and we got promoted. This season we were predicted to be a team relegated by miles and I understand it. “We work under circumstances which are not even Championship circumstances. But part of our DNA, the Huddersfield Town DNA, is to try it. "To have passion, desire... how big you are doesn't count. It's about trying everything. We are humble. We are ambitious, too. We search a chance in every game. Today we were chance-less, more or less. It's an incredible achievement for us. It feels like another trophy.” Promoted teams avoid relegation | English football's top five leagues
Year of the underdog: Every single promoted team in English football's top four divisions avoids relegation
Huddersfield's battling draw with Chelsea completed a remarkable season in which every team that won promotion to English football's top leagues remain in the division. David Wagner's side earned a vital point at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night to guarantee their Premier League safety for another season. The result meant that Huddersfield joined fellow promoted sides Brighton and Newcastle in safely avoiding a return the Championship as Stoke, West Brom and - barring a miracle - Swansea all dropped out of the top flight. For the first time since the 2001-02 season, when Fulham, Blackburn and Bolton defied the odds, every single team that earned promotion to one of English football's top four leagues avoided relegation. Alan Alger, PR manager at bookmakers Betway, said the odds on such an outcome would have been bigger than Leicester City's Premier League title triumph in 2016. Stoke City lost to Crystal Palace last weekend to end their 10-year stay in the Premier League Credit: Getty Images In the Championship, Burton Albion and Barnsley were relegated on a dramatic final day after Sunderland's fate had been sealed a week earlier. Below the top-flight, Championship new-boys Sheffield United and Millwall both enjoyed top-half finishes while Bolton Wanderers escaped the drop on the final day. In League One, Portsmouth, Plymouth Argyle, Doncaster Rovers, Blackpool all stayed well clear of the bottom four as Bury, MK Dons, Northampton Town, and Oldham Athletic were relegated to the fourth tier. League Two's Forest Green narrowly avoided an immediate return to the Vanarama National League while fellow promoted side Lincoln enjoyed a seventh-place finish, booking their place in the play-offs. Bolton Wanderers came from behind to beat Nottingham Forest on the final day and avoid an instant return to League One Credit: Getty Images In fact, the trend extends beyond the Football League, with Maidenhead United, Ebbsfleet United, Halifax Town and Fylde all securing safety after earning promotion to National League One last season. Huddersfield manager David Wagner was last night quick to praise his players for the "incredible achievement" of defying Premier League relegation. “This is an absolute over-achievement,” said Wagner. Huddersfield came up via the Championship play-offs Credit: PA “It's a bigger achievement than the promotion last season. Last year we were predicted to be relegated and we got promoted. This season we were predicted to be a team relegated by miles and I understand it. “We work under circumstances which are not even Championship circumstances. But part of our DNA, the Huddersfield Town DNA, is to try it. "To have passion, desire... how big you are doesn't count. It's about trying everything. We are humble. We are ambitious, too. We search a chance in every game. Today we were chance-less, more or less. It's an incredible achievement for us. It feels like another trophy.” Promoted teams avoid relegation | English football's top five leagues
Huddersfield's battling draw with Chelsea completed a remarkable season in which every team that won promotion to English football's top leagues remain in the division. David Wagner's side earned a vital point at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night to guarantee their Premier League safety for another season. The result meant that Huddersfield joined fellow promoted sides Brighton and Newcastle in safely avoiding a return the Championship as Stoke, West Brom and - barring a miracle - Swansea all dropped out of the top flight. For the first time since the 2001-02 season, when Fulham, Blackburn and Bolton defied the odds, every single team that earned promotion to one of English football's top four leagues avoided relegation. Alan Alger, PR manager at bookmakers Betway, said the odds on such an outcome would have been bigger than Leicester City's Premier League title triumph in 2016. Stoke City lost to Crystal Palace last weekend to end their 10-year stay in the Premier League Credit: Getty Images In the Championship, Burton Albion and Barnsley were relegated on a dramatic final day after Sunderland's fate had been sealed a week earlier. Below the top-flight, Championship new-boys Sheffield United and Millwall both enjoyed top-half finishes while Bolton Wanderers escaped the drop on the final day. In League One, Portsmouth, Plymouth Argyle, Doncaster Rovers, Blackpool all stayed well clear of the bottom four as Bury, MK Dons, Northampton Town, and Oldham Athletic were relegated to the fourth tier. League Two's Forest Green narrowly avoided an immediate return to the Vanarama National League while fellow promoted side Lincoln enjoyed a seventh-place finish, booking their place in the play-offs. Bolton Wanderers came from behind to beat Nottingham Forest on the final day and avoid an instant return to League One Credit: Getty Images In fact, the trend extends beyond the Football League, with Maidenhead United, Ebbsfleet United, Halifax Town and Fylde all securing safety after earning promotion to National League One last season. Huddersfield manager David Wagner was last night quick to praise his players for the "incredible achievement" of defying Premier League relegation. “This is an absolute over-achievement,” said Wagner. Huddersfield came up via the Championship play-offs Credit: PA “It's a bigger achievement than the promotion last season. Last year we were predicted to be relegated and we got promoted. This season we were predicted to be a team relegated by miles and I understand it. “We work under circumstances which are not even Championship circumstances. But part of our DNA, the Huddersfield Town DNA, is to try it. "To have passion, desire... how big you are doesn't count. It's about trying everything. We are humble. We are ambitious, too. We search a chance in every game. Today we were chance-less, more or less. It's an incredible achievement for us. It feels like another trophy.” Promoted teams avoid relegation | English football's top five leagues
Year of the underdog: Every single promoted team in English football's top four divisions avoids relegation
Huddersfield's battling draw with Chelsea completed a remarkable season in which every team that won promotion to English football's top leagues remain in the division. David Wagner's side earned a vital point at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night to guarantee their Premier League safety for another season. The result meant that Huddersfield joined fellow promoted sides Brighton and Newcastle in safely avoiding a return the Championship as Stoke, West Brom and - barring a miracle - Swansea all dropped out of the top flight. For the first time since the 2001-02 season, when Fulham, Blackburn and Bolton defied the odds, every single team that earned promotion to one of English football's top four leagues avoided relegation. Alan Alger, PR manager at bookmakers Betway, said the odds on such an outcome would have been bigger than Leicester City's Premier League title triumph in 2016. Stoke City lost to Crystal Palace last weekend to end their 10-year stay in the Premier League Credit: Getty Images In the Championship, Burton Albion and Barnsley were relegated on a dramatic final day after Sunderland's fate had been sealed a week earlier. Below the top-flight, Championship new-boys Sheffield United and Millwall both enjoyed top-half finishes while Bolton Wanderers escaped the drop on the final day. In League One, Portsmouth, Plymouth Argyle, Doncaster Rovers, Blackpool all stayed well clear of the bottom four as Bury, MK Dons, Northampton Town, and Oldham Athletic were relegated to the fourth tier. League Two's Forest Green narrowly avoided an immediate return to the Vanarama National League while fellow promoted side Lincoln enjoyed a seventh-place finish, booking their place in the play-offs. Bolton Wanderers came from behind to beat Nottingham Forest on the final day and avoid an instant return to League One Credit: Getty Images In fact, the trend extends beyond the Football League, with Maidenhead United, Ebbsfleet United, Halifax Town and Fylde all securing safety after earning promotion to National League One last season. Huddersfield manager David Wagner was last night quick to praise his players for the "incredible achievement" of defying Premier League relegation. “This is an absolute over-achievement,” said Wagner. Huddersfield came up via the Championship play-offs Credit: PA “It's a bigger achievement than the promotion last season. Last year we were predicted to be relegated and we got promoted. This season we were predicted to be a team relegated by miles and I understand it. “We work under circumstances which are not even Championship circumstances. But part of our DNA, the Huddersfield Town DNA, is to try it. "To have passion, desire... how big you are doesn't count. It's about trying everything. We are humble. We are ambitious, too. We search a chance in every game. Today we were chance-less, more or less. It's an incredible achievement for us. It feels like another trophy.” Promoted teams avoid relegation | English football's top five leagues
Huddersfield's battling draw with Chelsea completed a remarkable season in which every team that won promotion to English football's top leagues remain in the division. David Wagner's side earned a vital point at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night to guarantee their Premier League safety for another season. The result meant that Huddersfield joined fellow promoted sides Brighton and Newcastle in safely avoiding a return the Championship as Stoke, West Brom and - barring a miracle - Swansea all dropped out of the top flight. For the first time since the 2001-02 season, when Fulham, Blackburn and Bolton defied the odds, every single team that earned promotion to one of English football's top four leagues avoided relegation. Alan Alger, PR manager at bookmakers Betway, said the odds on such an outcome would have been bigger than Leicester City's Premier League title triumph in 2016. Stoke City lost to Crystal Palace last weekend to end their 10-year stay in the Premier League Credit: Getty Images In the Championship, Burton Albion and Barnsley were relegated on a dramatic final day after Sunderland's fate had been sealed a week earlier. Below the top-flight, Championship new-boys Sheffield United and Millwall both enjoyed top-half finishes while Bolton Wanderers escaped the drop on the final day. In League One, Portsmouth, Plymouth Argyle, Doncaster Rovers, Blackpool all stayed well clear of the bottom four as Bury, MK Dons, Northampton Town, and Oldham Athletic were relegated to the fourth tier. League Two's Forest Green narrowly avoided an immediate return to the Vanarama National League while fellow promoted side Lincoln enjoyed a seventh-place finish, booking their place in the play-offs. Bolton Wanderers came from behind to beat Nottingham Forest on the final day and avoid an instant return to League One Credit: Getty Images In fact, the trend extends beyond the Football League, with Maidenhead United, Ebbsfleet United, Halifax Town and Fylde all securing safety after earning promotion to National League One last season. Huddersfield manager David Wagner was last night quick to praise his players for the "incredible achievement" of defying Premier League relegation. “This is an absolute over-achievement,” said Wagner. Huddersfield came up via the Championship play-offs Credit: PA “It's a bigger achievement than the promotion last season. Last year we were predicted to be relegated and we got promoted. This season we were predicted to be a team relegated by miles and I understand it. “We work under circumstances which are not even Championship circumstances. But part of our DNA, the Huddersfield Town DNA, is to try it. "To have passion, desire... how big you are doesn't count. It's about trying everything. We are humble. We are ambitious, too. We search a chance in every game. Today we were chance-less, more or less. It's an incredible achievement for us. It feels like another trophy.” Promoted teams avoid relegation | English football's top five leagues
Year of the underdog: Every single promoted team in English football's top four divisions avoids relegation
Huddersfield's battling draw with Chelsea completed a remarkable season in which every team that won promotion to English football's top leagues remain in the division. David Wagner's side earned a vital point at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night to guarantee their Premier League safety for another season. The result meant that Huddersfield joined fellow promoted sides Brighton and Newcastle in safely avoiding a return the Championship as Stoke, West Brom and - barring a miracle - Swansea all dropped out of the top flight. For the first time since the 2001-02 season, when Fulham, Blackburn and Bolton defied the odds, every single team that earned promotion to one of English football's top four leagues avoided relegation. Alan Alger, PR manager at bookmakers Betway, said the odds on such an outcome would have been bigger than Leicester City's Premier League title triumph in 2016. Stoke City lost to Crystal Palace last weekend to end their 10-year stay in the Premier League Credit: Getty Images In the Championship, Burton Albion and Barnsley were relegated on a dramatic final day after Sunderland's fate had been sealed a week earlier. Below the top-flight, Championship new-boys Sheffield United and Millwall both enjoyed top-half finishes while Bolton Wanderers escaped the drop on the final day. In League One, Portsmouth, Plymouth Argyle, Doncaster Rovers, Blackpool all stayed well clear of the bottom four as Bury, MK Dons, Northampton Town, and Oldham Athletic were relegated to the fourth tier. League Two's Forest Green narrowly avoided an immediate return to the Vanarama National League while fellow promoted side Lincoln enjoyed a seventh-place finish, booking their place in the play-offs. Bolton Wanderers came from behind to beat Nottingham Forest on the final day and avoid an instant return to League One Credit: Getty Images In fact, the trend extends beyond the Football League, with Maidenhead United, Ebbsfleet United, Halifax Town and Fylde all securing safety after earning promotion to National League One last season. Huddersfield manager David Wagner was last night quick to praise his players for the "incredible achievement" of defying Premier League relegation. “This is an absolute over-achievement,” said Wagner. Huddersfield came up via the Championship play-offs Credit: PA “It's a bigger achievement than the promotion last season. Last year we were predicted to be relegated and we got promoted. This season we were predicted to be a team relegated by miles and I understand it. “We work under circumstances which are not even Championship circumstances. But part of our DNA, the Huddersfield Town DNA, is to try it. "To have passion, desire... how big you are doesn't count. It's about trying everything. We are humble. We are ambitious, too. We search a chance in every game. Today we were chance-less, more or less. It's an incredible achievement for us. It feels like another trophy.” Promoted teams avoid relegation | English football's top five leagues
Huddersfield's battling draw with Chelsea completed a remarkable season in which every team that won promotion to English football's top leagues remain in the division. David Wagner's side earned a vital point at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night to guarantee their Premier League safety for another season. The result meant that Huddersfield joined fellow promoted sides Brighton and Newcastle in safely avoiding a return the Championship as Stoke, West Brom and - barring a miracle - Swansea all dropped out of the top flight. For the first time since the 2001-02 season, when Fulham, Blackburn and Bolton defied the odds, every single team that earned promotion to one of English football's top four leagues avoided relegation. Alan Alger, PR manager at bookmakers Betway, said the odds on such an outcome would have been bigger than Leicester City's Premier League title triumph in 2016. Stoke City lost to Crystal Palace last weekend to end their 10-year stay in the Premier League Credit: Getty Images In the Championship, Burton Albion and Barnsley were relegated on a dramatic final day after Sunderland's fate had been sealed a week earlier. Below the top-flight, Championship new-boys Sheffield United and Millwall both enjoyed top-half finishes while Bolton Wanderers escaped the drop on the final day. In League One, Portsmouth, Plymouth Argyle, Doncaster Rovers, Blackpool all stayed well clear of the bottom four as Bury, MK Dons, Northampton Town, and Oldham Athletic were relegated to the fourth tier. League Two's Forest Green narrowly avoided an immediate return to the Vanarama National League while fellow promoted side Lincoln enjoyed a seventh-place finish, booking their place in the play-offs. Bolton Wanderers came from behind to beat Nottingham Forest on the final day and avoid an instant return to League One Credit: Getty Images In fact, the trend extends beyond the Football League, with Maidenhead United, Ebbsfleet United, Halifax Town and Fylde all securing safety after earning promotion to National League One last season. Huddersfield manager David Wagner was last night quick to praise his players for the "incredible achievement" of defying Premier League relegation. “This is an absolute over-achievement,” said Wagner. Huddersfield came up via the Championship play-offs Credit: PA “It's a bigger achievement than the promotion last season. Last year we were predicted to be relegated and we got promoted. This season we were predicted to be a team relegated by miles and I understand it. “We work under circumstances which are not even Championship circumstances. But part of our DNA, the Huddersfield Town DNA, is to try it. "To have passion, desire... how big you are doesn't count. It's about trying everything. We are humble. We are ambitious, too. We search a chance in every game. Today we were chance-less, more or less. It's an incredible achievement for us. It feels like another trophy.” Promoted teams avoid relegation | English football's top five leagues
Year of the underdog: Every single promoted team in English football's top four divisions avoids relegation
Huddersfield's battling draw with Chelsea completed a remarkable season in which every team that won promotion to English football's top leagues remain in the division. David Wagner's side earned a vital point at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night to guarantee their Premier League safety for another season. The result meant that Huddersfield joined fellow promoted sides Brighton and Newcastle in safely avoiding a return the Championship as Stoke, West Brom and - barring a miracle - Swansea all dropped out of the top flight. For the first time since the 2001-02 season, when Fulham, Blackburn and Bolton defied the odds, every single team that earned promotion to one of English football's top four leagues avoided relegation. Alan Alger, PR manager at bookmakers Betway, said the odds on such an outcome would have been bigger than Leicester City's Premier League title triumph in 2016. Stoke City lost to Crystal Palace last weekend to end their 10-year stay in the Premier League Credit: Getty Images In the Championship, Burton Albion and Barnsley were relegated on a dramatic final day after Sunderland's fate had been sealed a week earlier. Below the top-flight, Championship new-boys Sheffield United and Millwall both enjoyed top-half finishes while Bolton Wanderers escaped the drop on the final day. In League One, Portsmouth, Plymouth Argyle, Doncaster Rovers, Blackpool all stayed well clear of the bottom four as Bury, MK Dons, Northampton Town, and Oldham Athletic were relegated to the fourth tier. League Two's Forest Green narrowly avoided an immediate return to the Vanarama National League while fellow promoted side Lincoln enjoyed a seventh-place finish, booking their place in the play-offs. Bolton Wanderers came from behind to beat Nottingham Forest on the final day and avoid an instant return to League One Credit: Getty Images In fact, the trend extends beyond the Football League, with Maidenhead United, Ebbsfleet United, Halifax Town and Fylde all securing safety after earning promotion to National League One last season. Huddersfield manager David Wagner was last night quick to praise his players for the "incredible achievement" of defying Premier League relegation. “This is an absolute over-achievement,” said Wagner. Huddersfield came up via the Championship play-offs Credit: PA “It's a bigger achievement than the promotion last season. Last year we were predicted to be relegated and we got promoted. This season we were predicted to be a team relegated by miles and I understand it. “We work under circumstances which are not even Championship circumstances. But part of our DNA, the Huddersfield Town DNA, is to try it. "To have passion, desire... how big you are doesn't count. It's about trying everything. We are humble. We are ambitious, too. We search a chance in every game. Today we were chance-less, more or less. It's an incredible achievement for us. It feels like another trophy.” Promoted teams avoid relegation | English football's top five leagues
The morning after masterminding West Bromwich Albion’s win at Newcastle last weekend, Darren Moore was to be found in the humble environs of Halesowen, a small town in Dudley. He is one of the nominees for April’s Premier League manager of the month, alongside Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and former England managers Sam Allardyce and Roy Hodgson, after four games unbeaten as caretaker. Yet Moore was at Halesowen Town’s Grove stadium last Sunday, taking charge of an Albion Legends XI for a charity game held as a tribute to Richard Eades, the club’s former mascot who passed away on Boxing Day. Moore’s presence was no surprise, and it epitomised the character and deeply caring nature of a man who has salvaged respect for Albion following a troubled season. West Brom could finally be relegated this weekend but Moore’s influence over the past four weeks has been significant, clawing back some pride and repairing a dispirited dressing room post-Alan Pardew. "All I'm doing is playing my part in a team of people here. I have got the title of caretaker manager, so I'm up here speaking on behalf of the football club," Moore said on Friday, with typical understatement. "It's great to be nominated alongside that calibre of managers, but I share that nomination with everybody here working hard behind the scenes.” Premier League | What can still happen? Moore, or ‘Big Dave’ as he is more commonly known at the Hawthorns, has a close affinity with West Brom after first joining the club in September 2001; a hulking bear of a centre-half with the build of a super heavyweight. He was coaching the club’s stars of the future when he accepted the call to take temporary charge of the first-team, after Pardew’s bewildering regime was ended in April. It has proven an outstanding interim appointment, and one can only wonder where Albion might find themselves if they had jettisoned Pardew and taken the plunge with Moore sooner. With intuitive man-management, organisation and a determination to keep it simple, Moore has won at Manchester United, drawn with Champions League finalists Liverpool and beaten Rafael Benitez. Moore oversaw West Brom's 1-0 win at Newcastle Credit: PA He has restored hope and galvanised a club which was in danger of becoming a laughing stock. Can you imagine the now infamous ‘Cab Four’ incident, when four senior players allegedly hijacked a taxi in Barcelona, happening under his watch? Because of Moore’s results, West Brom still possess a sliver of hope in their battle to avoid the drop. They could go down on Saturday even if they win but while the Great Escape seems unlikely, his work cannot be underestimated. Chris Brunt, the midfielder, said: "He came in and stopped the rot, we drew against Swansea and we haven't really looked back since then. "The details he's gone to on the training ground have been great, probably just what we needed. “He's such as a positive guy and he's built up a lot of confidence between everybody again, and you can see that on the pitch.” Shortly after taking the job, Moore implored his players that if anyone noticed a change in him, they were welcome to “give him a slap”. They would have been either brave or stupid to carry that out, but it offers an intriguing insight into the 44-year-old’s approach. He has not changed in any way, say club insiders, often opting to sit with the kit-man or press officers in the canteen at lunchtime, rather than the first-team players. He commands respect from those players, staff and supporters, his legendary status at West Brom only enhanced by the past month. Gary Megson, Albion’s former manager who signed him from Portsmouth for £750,000, recalls a story which captures Moore’s compassion. “He was sat in the dug-out behind me for a game, he was either injured or suspended. On the Monday he came in to see me in my office,” he said. Credit: GETTY IMAGES “He simply asked if I was alright, because he’d noticed me putting my hand to my chest during the game. He was worried about my health and told me to chill out a bit more. That sums him up as a bloke, always thinking of other people.” Now, here’s the tricky bit. After such an impressive start, there is now a growing clamour for Moore to get the job permanently. Influential members of the team, including former England goalkeeper Ben Foster, have backed Moore’s appointment. Supporters of a certain vintage are pointing to the example of Brian Talbot, who landed the role in 1988 after winning four games in a row as player-manager. However, there are fears that West Brom’s summer rebuilding job, with significant player trading expected, could be too big for Moore. Who is your Premier League manager of the year? Our writers have their say He will be assured of a key role within the new set-up, yet the likes of Brentford’s Dean Smith and Leicester assistant manager Michael Appleton are seen as more realistic contenders. With relegation inevitable, the decision over the next head coach is huge. Moore claims he would be entirely happy with whatever that decision is, but the past few weeks have shown that he is management material. “We just continue to work,” he says. "I'll just continue with these six games. It's the fifth game, it's another tough game, we're just focusing on that. “All we’re doing is looking after West Bromwich Albion and showing our commitment to the football club.”
West Brom must decide what to do with Darren Moore - where would they be without him?
The morning after masterminding West Bromwich Albion’s win at Newcastle last weekend, Darren Moore was to be found in the humble environs of Halesowen, a small town in Dudley. He is one of the nominees for April’s Premier League manager of the month, alongside Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and former England managers Sam Allardyce and Roy Hodgson, after four games unbeaten as caretaker. Yet Moore was at Halesowen Town’s Grove stadium last Sunday, taking charge of an Albion Legends XI for a charity game held as a tribute to Richard Eades, the club’s former mascot who passed away on Boxing Day. Moore’s presence was no surprise, and it epitomised the character and deeply caring nature of a man who has salvaged respect for Albion following a troubled season. West Brom could finally be relegated this weekend but Moore’s influence over the past four weeks has been significant, clawing back some pride and repairing a dispirited dressing room post-Alan Pardew. "All I'm doing is playing my part in a team of people here. I have got the title of caretaker manager, so I'm up here speaking on behalf of the football club," Moore said on Friday, with typical understatement. "It's great to be nominated alongside that calibre of managers, but I share that nomination with everybody here working hard behind the scenes.” Premier League | What can still happen? Moore, or ‘Big Dave’ as he is more commonly known at the Hawthorns, has a close affinity with West Brom after first joining the club in September 2001; a hulking bear of a centre-half with the build of a super heavyweight. He was coaching the club’s stars of the future when he accepted the call to take temporary charge of the first-team, after Pardew’s bewildering regime was ended in April. It has proven an outstanding interim appointment, and one can only wonder where Albion might find themselves if they had jettisoned Pardew and taken the plunge with Moore sooner. With intuitive man-management, organisation and a determination to keep it simple, Moore has won at Manchester United, drawn with Champions League finalists Liverpool and beaten Rafael Benitez. Moore oversaw West Brom's 1-0 win at Newcastle Credit: PA He has restored hope and galvanised a club which was in danger of becoming a laughing stock. Can you imagine the now infamous ‘Cab Four’ incident, when four senior players allegedly hijacked a taxi in Barcelona, happening under his watch? Because of Moore’s results, West Brom still possess a sliver of hope in their battle to avoid the drop. They could go down on Saturday even if they win but while the Great Escape seems unlikely, his work cannot be underestimated. Chris Brunt, the midfielder, said: "He came in and stopped the rot, we drew against Swansea and we haven't really looked back since then. "The details he's gone to on the training ground have been great, probably just what we needed. “He's such as a positive guy and he's built up a lot of confidence between everybody again, and you can see that on the pitch.” Shortly after taking the job, Moore implored his players that if anyone noticed a change in him, they were welcome to “give him a slap”. They would have been either brave or stupid to carry that out, but it offers an intriguing insight into the 44-year-old’s approach. He has not changed in any way, say club insiders, often opting to sit with the kit-man or press officers in the canteen at lunchtime, rather than the first-team players. He commands respect from those players, staff and supporters, his legendary status at West Brom only enhanced by the past month. Gary Megson, Albion’s former manager who signed him from Portsmouth for £750,000, recalls a story which captures Moore’s compassion. “He was sat in the dug-out behind me for a game, he was either injured or suspended. On the Monday he came in to see me in my office,” he said. Credit: GETTY IMAGES “He simply asked if I was alright, because he’d noticed me putting my hand to my chest during the game. He was worried about my health and told me to chill out a bit more. That sums him up as a bloke, always thinking of other people.” Now, here’s the tricky bit. After such an impressive start, there is now a growing clamour for Moore to get the job permanently. Influential members of the team, including former England goalkeeper Ben Foster, have backed Moore’s appointment. Supporters of a certain vintage are pointing to the example of Brian Talbot, who landed the role in 1988 after winning four games in a row as player-manager. However, there are fears that West Brom’s summer rebuilding job, with significant player trading expected, could be too big for Moore. Who is your Premier League manager of the year? Our writers have their say He will be assured of a key role within the new set-up, yet the likes of Brentford’s Dean Smith and Leicester assistant manager Michael Appleton are seen as more realistic contenders. With relegation inevitable, the decision over the next head coach is huge. Moore claims he would be entirely happy with whatever that decision is, but the past few weeks have shown that he is management material. “We just continue to work,” he says. "I'll just continue with these six games. It's the fifth game, it's another tough game, we're just focusing on that. “All we’re doing is looking after West Bromwich Albion and showing our commitment to the football club.”
The morning after masterminding West Bromwich Albion’s win at Newcastle last weekend, Darren Moore was to be found in the humble environs of Halesowen, a small town in Dudley. He is one of the nominees for April’s Premier League manager of the month, alongside Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and former England managers Sam Allardyce and Roy Hodgson, after four games unbeaten as caretaker. Yet Moore was at Halesowen Town’s Grove stadium last Sunday, taking charge of an Albion Legends XI for a charity game held as a tribute to Richard Eades, the club’s former mascot who passed away on Boxing Day. Moore’s presence was no surprise, and it epitomised the character and deeply caring nature of a man who has salvaged respect for Albion following a troubled season. West Brom could finally be relegated this weekend but Moore’s influence over the past four weeks has been significant, clawing back some pride and repairing a dispirited dressing room post-Alan Pardew. "All I'm doing is playing my part in a team of people here. I have got the title of caretaker manager, so I'm up here speaking on behalf of the football club," Moore said on Friday, with typical understatement. "It's great to be nominated alongside that calibre of managers, but I share that nomination with everybody here working hard behind the scenes.” Premier League | What can still happen? Moore, or ‘Big Dave’ as he is more commonly known at the Hawthorns, has a close affinity with West Brom after first joining the club in September 2001; a hulking bear of a centre-half with the build of a super heavyweight. He was coaching the club’s stars of the future when he accepted the call to take temporary charge of the first-team, after Pardew’s bewildering regime was ended in April. It has proven an outstanding interim appointment, and one can only wonder where Albion might find themselves if they had jettisoned Pardew and taken the plunge with Moore sooner. With intuitive man-management, organisation and a determination to keep it simple, Moore has won at Manchester United, drawn with Champions League finalists Liverpool and beaten Rafael Benitez. Moore oversaw West Brom's 1-0 win at Newcastle Credit: PA He has restored hope and galvanised a club which was in danger of becoming a laughing stock. Can you imagine the now infamous ‘Cab Four’ incident, when four senior players allegedly hijacked a taxi in Barcelona, happening under his watch? Because of Moore’s results, West Brom still possess a sliver of hope in their battle to avoid the drop. They could go down on Saturday even if they win but while the Great Escape seems unlikely, his work cannot be underestimated. Chris Brunt, the midfielder, said: "He came in and stopped the rot, we drew against Swansea and we haven't really looked back since then. "The details he's gone to on the training ground have been great, probably just what we needed. “He's such as a positive guy and he's built up a lot of confidence between everybody again, and you can see that on the pitch.” Shortly after taking the job, Moore implored his players that if anyone noticed a change in him, they were welcome to “give him a slap”. They would have been either brave or stupid to carry that out, but it offers an intriguing insight into the 44-year-old’s approach. He has not changed in any way, say club insiders, often opting to sit with the kit-man or press officers in the canteen at lunchtime, rather than the first-team players. He commands respect from those players, staff and supporters, his legendary status at West Brom only enhanced by the past month. Gary Megson, Albion’s former manager who signed him from Portsmouth for £750,000, recalls a story which captures Moore’s compassion. “He was sat in the dug-out behind me for a game, he was either injured or suspended. On the Monday he came in to see me in my office,” he said. Credit: GETTY IMAGES “He simply asked if I was alright, because he’d noticed me putting my hand to my chest during the game. He was worried about my health and told me to chill out a bit more. That sums him up as a bloke, always thinking of other people.” Now, here’s the tricky bit. After such an impressive start, there is now a growing clamour for Moore to get the job permanently. Influential members of the team, including former England goalkeeper Ben Foster, have backed Moore’s appointment. Supporters of a certain vintage are pointing to the example of Brian Talbot, who landed the role in 1988 after winning four games in a row as player-manager. However, there are fears that West Brom’s summer rebuilding job, with significant player trading expected, could be too big for Moore. Who is your Premier League manager of the year? Our writers have their say He will be assured of a key role within the new set-up, yet the likes of Brentford’s Dean Smith and Leicester assistant manager Michael Appleton are seen as more realistic contenders. With relegation inevitable, the decision over the next head coach is huge. Moore claims he would be entirely happy with whatever that decision is, but the past few weeks have shown that he is management material. “We just continue to work,” he says. "I'll just continue with these six games. It's the fifth game, it's another tough game, we're just focusing on that. “All we’re doing is looking after West Bromwich Albion and showing our commitment to the football club.”
West Brom must decide what to do with Darren Moore - where would they be without him?
The morning after masterminding West Bromwich Albion’s win at Newcastle last weekend, Darren Moore was to be found in the humble environs of Halesowen, a small town in Dudley. He is one of the nominees for April’s Premier League manager of the month, alongside Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and former England managers Sam Allardyce and Roy Hodgson, after four games unbeaten as caretaker. Yet Moore was at Halesowen Town’s Grove stadium last Sunday, taking charge of an Albion Legends XI for a charity game held as a tribute to Richard Eades, the club’s former mascot who passed away on Boxing Day. Moore’s presence was no surprise, and it epitomised the character and deeply caring nature of a man who has salvaged respect for Albion following a troubled season. West Brom could finally be relegated this weekend but Moore’s influence over the past four weeks has been significant, clawing back some pride and repairing a dispirited dressing room post-Alan Pardew. "All I'm doing is playing my part in a team of people here. I have got the title of caretaker manager, so I'm up here speaking on behalf of the football club," Moore said on Friday, with typical understatement. "It's great to be nominated alongside that calibre of managers, but I share that nomination with everybody here working hard behind the scenes.” Premier League | What can still happen? Moore, or ‘Big Dave’ as he is more commonly known at the Hawthorns, has a close affinity with West Brom after first joining the club in September 2001; a hulking bear of a centre-half with the build of a super heavyweight. He was coaching the club’s stars of the future when he accepted the call to take temporary charge of the first-team, after Pardew’s bewildering regime was ended in April. It has proven an outstanding interim appointment, and one can only wonder where Albion might find themselves if they had jettisoned Pardew and taken the plunge with Moore sooner. With intuitive man-management, organisation and a determination to keep it simple, Moore has won at Manchester United, drawn with Champions League finalists Liverpool and beaten Rafael Benitez. Moore oversaw West Brom's 1-0 win at Newcastle Credit: PA He has restored hope and galvanised a club which was in danger of becoming a laughing stock. Can you imagine the now infamous ‘Cab Four’ incident, when four senior players allegedly hijacked a taxi in Barcelona, happening under his watch? Because of Moore’s results, West Brom still possess a sliver of hope in their battle to avoid the drop. They could go down on Saturday even if they win but while the Great Escape seems unlikely, his work cannot be underestimated. Chris Brunt, the midfielder, said: "He came in and stopped the rot, we drew against Swansea and we haven't really looked back since then. "The details he's gone to on the training ground have been great, probably just what we needed. “He's such as a positive guy and he's built up a lot of confidence between everybody again, and you can see that on the pitch.” Shortly after taking the job, Moore implored his players that if anyone noticed a change in him, they were welcome to “give him a slap”. They would have been either brave or stupid to carry that out, but it offers an intriguing insight into the 44-year-old’s approach. He has not changed in any way, say club insiders, often opting to sit with the kit-man or press officers in the canteen at lunchtime, rather than the first-team players. He commands respect from those players, staff and supporters, his legendary status at West Brom only enhanced by the past month. Gary Megson, Albion’s former manager who signed him from Portsmouth for £750,000, recalls a story which captures Moore’s compassion. “He was sat in the dug-out behind me for a game, he was either injured or suspended. On the Monday he came in to see me in my office,” he said. Credit: GETTY IMAGES “He simply asked if I was alright, because he’d noticed me putting my hand to my chest during the game. He was worried about my health and told me to chill out a bit more. That sums him up as a bloke, always thinking of other people.” Now, here’s the tricky bit. After such an impressive start, there is now a growing clamour for Moore to get the job permanently. Influential members of the team, including former England goalkeeper Ben Foster, have backed Moore’s appointment. Supporters of a certain vintage are pointing to the example of Brian Talbot, who landed the role in 1988 after winning four games in a row as player-manager. However, there are fears that West Brom’s summer rebuilding job, with significant player trading expected, could be too big for Moore. Who is your Premier League manager of the year? Our writers have their say He will be assured of a key role within the new set-up, yet the likes of Brentford’s Dean Smith and Leicester assistant manager Michael Appleton are seen as more realistic contenders. With relegation inevitable, the decision over the next head coach is huge. Moore claims he would be entirely happy with whatever that decision is, but the past few weeks have shown that he is management material. “We just continue to work,” he says. "I'll just continue with these six games. It's the fifth game, it's another tough game, we're just focusing on that. “All we’re doing is looking after West Bromwich Albion and showing our commitment to the football club.”
The morning after masterminding West Bromwich Albion’s win at Newcastle last weekend, Darren Moore was to be found in the humble environs of Halesowen, a small town in Dudley. He is one of the nominees for April’s Premier League manager of the month, alongside Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and former England managers Sam Allardyce and Roy Hodgson, after four games unbeaten as caretaker. Yet Moore was at Halesowen Town’s Grove stadium last Sunday, taking charge of an Albion Legends XI for a charity game held as a tribute to Richard Eades, the club’s former mascot who passed away on Boxing Day. Moore’s presence was no surprise, and it epitomised the character and deeply caring nature of a man who has salvaged respect for Albion following a troubled season. West Brom could finally be relegated this weekend but Moore’s influence over the past four weeks has been significant, clawing back some pride and repairing a dispirited dressing room post-Alan Pardew. "All I'm doing is playing my part in a team of people here. I have got the title of caretaker manager, so I'm up here speaking on behalf of the football club," Moore said on Friday, with typical understatement. "It's great to be nominated alongside that calibre of managers, but I share that nomination with everybody here working hard behind the scenes.” Premier League | What can still happen? Moore, or ‘Big Dave’ as he is more commonly known at the Hawthorns, has a close affinity with West Brom after first joining the club in September 2001; a hulking bear of a centre-half with the build of a super heavyweight. He was coaching the club’s stars of the future when he accepted the call to take temporary charge of the first-team, after Pardew’s bewildering regime was ended in April. It has proven an outstanding interim appointment, and one can only wonder where Albion might find themselves if they had jettisoned Pardew and taken the plunge with Moore sooner. With intuitive man-management, organisation and a determination to keep it simple, Moore has won at Manchester United, drawn with Champions League finalists Liverpool and beaten Rafael Benitez. Moore oversaw West Brom's 1-0 win at Newcastle Credit: PA He has restored hope and galvanised a club which was in danger of becoming a laughing stock. Can you imagine the now infamous ‘Cab Four’ incident, when four senior players allegedly hijacked a taxi in Barcelona, happening under his watch? Because of Moore’s results, West Brom still possess a sliver of hope in their battle to avoid the drop. They could go down on Saturday even if they win but while the Great Escape seems unlikely, his work cannot be underestimated. Chris Brunt, the midfielder, said: "He came in and stopped the rot, we drew against Swansea and we haven't really looked back since then. "The details he's gone to on the training ground have been great, probably just what we needed. “He's such as a positive guy and he's built up a lot of confidence between everybody again, and you can see that on the pitch.” Shortly after taking the job, Moore implored his players that if anyone noticed a change in him, they were welcome to “give him a slap”. They would have been either brave or stupid to carry that out, but it offers an intriguing insight into the 44-year-old’s approach. He has not changed in any way, say club insiders, often opting to sit with the kit-man or press officers in the canteen at lunchtime, rather than the first-team players. He commands respect from those players, staff and supporters, his legendary status at West Brom only enhanced by the past month. Gary Megson, Albion’s former manager who signed him from Portsmouth for £750,000, recalls a story which captures Moore’s compassion. “He was sat in the dug-out behind me for a game, he was either injured or suspended. On the Monday he came in to see me in my office,” he said. Credit: GETTY IMAGES “He simply asked if I was alright, because he’d noticed me putting my hand to my chest during the game. He was worried about my health and told me to chill out a bit more. That sums him up as a bloke, always thinking of other people.” Now, here’s the tricky bit. After such an impressive start, there is now a growing clamour for Moore to get the job permanently. Influential members of the team, including former England goalkeeper Ben Foster, have backed Moore’s appointment. Supporters of a certain vintage are pointing to the example of Brian Talbot, who landed the role in 1988 after winning four games in a row as player-manager. However, there are fears that West Brom’s summer rebuilding job, with significant player trading expected, could be too big for Moore. Who is your Premier League manager of the year? Our writers have their say He will be assured of a key role within the new set-up, yet the likes of Brentford’s Dean Smith and Leicester assistant manager Michael Appleton are seen as more realistic contenders. With relegation inevitable, the decision over the next head coach is huge. Moore claims he would be entirely happy with whatever that decision is, but the past few weeks have shown that he is management material. “We just continue to work,” he says. "I'll just continue with these six games. It's the fifth game, it's another tough game, we're just focusing on that. “All we’re doing is looking after West Bromwich Albion and showing our commitment to the football club.”
West Brom must decide what to do with Darren Moore - where would they be without him?
The morning after masterminding West Bromwich Albion’s win at Newcastle last weekend, Darren Moore was to be found in the humble environs of Halesowen, a small town in Dudley. He is one of the nominees for April’s Premier League manager of the month, alongside Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and former England managers Sam Allardyce and Roy Hodgson, after four games unbeaten as caretaker. Yet Moore was at Halesowen Town’s Grove stadium last Sunday, taking charge of an Albion Legends XI for a charity game held as a tribute to Richard Eades, the club’s former mascot who passed away on Boxing Day. Moore’s presence was no surprise, and it epitomised the character and deeply caring nature of a man who has salvaged respect for Albion following a troubled season. West Brom could finally be relegated this weekend but Moore’s influence over the past four weeks has been significant, clawing back some pride and repairing a dispirited dressing room post-Alan Pardew. "All I'm doing is playing my part in a team of people here. I have got the title of caretaker manager, so I'm up here speaking on behalf of the football club," Moore said on Friday, with typical understatement. "It's great to be nominated alongside that calibre of managers, but I share that nomination with everybody here working hard behind the scenes.” Premier League | What can still happen? Moore, or ‘Big Dave’ as he is more commonly known at the Hawthorns, has a close affinity with West Brom after first joining the club in September 2001; a hulking bear of a centre-half with the build of a super heavyweight. He was coaching the club’s stars of the future when he accepted the call to take temporary charge of the first-team, after Pardew’s bewildering regime was ended in April. It has proven an outstanding interim appointment, and one can only wonder where Albion might find themselves if they had jettisoned Pardew and taken the plunge with Moore sooner. With intuitive man-management, organisation and a determination to keep it simple, Moore has won at Manchester United, drawn with Champions League finalists Liverpool and beaten Rafael Benitez. Moore oversaw West Brom's 1-0 win at Newcastle Credit: PA He has restored hope and galvanised a club which was in danger of becoming a laughing stock. Can you imagine the now infamous ‘Cab Four’ incident, when four senior players allegedly hijacked a taxi in Barcelona, happening under his watch? Because of Moore’s results, West Brom still possess a sliver of hope in their battle to avoid the drop. They could go down on Saturday even if they win but while the Great Escape seems unlikely, his work cannot be underestimated. Chris Brunt, the midfielder, said: "He came in and stopped the rot, we drew against Swansea and we haven't really looked back since then. "The details he's gone to on the training ground have been great, probably just what we needed. “He's such as a positive guy and he's built up a lot of confidence between everybody again, and you can see that on the pitch.” Shortly after taking the job, Moore implored his players that if anyone noticed a change in him, they were welcome to “give him a slap”. They would have been either brave or stupid to carry that out, but it offers an intriguing insight into the 44-year-old’s approach. He has not changed in any way, say club insiders, often opting to sit with the kit-man or press officers in the canteen at lunchtime, rather than the first-team players. He commands respect from those players, staff and supporters, his legendary status at West Brom only enhanced by the past month. Gary Megson, Albion’s former manager who signed him from Portsmouth for £750,000, recalls a story which captures Moore’s compassion. “He was sat in the dug-out behind me for a game, he was either injured or suspended. On the Monday he came in to see me in my office,” he said. Credit: GETTY IMAGES “He simply asked if I was alright, because he’d noticed me putting my hand to my chest during the game. He was worried about my health and told me to chill out a bit more. That sums him up as a bloke, always thinking of other people.” Now, here’s the tricky bit. After such an impressive start, there is now a growing clamour for Moore to get the job permanently. Influential members of the team, including former England goalkeeper Ben Foster, have backed Moore’s appointment. Supporters of a certain vintage are pointing to the example of Brian Talbot, who landed the role in 1988 after winning four games in a row as player-manager. However, there are fears that West Brom’s summer rebuilding job, with significant player trading expected, could be too big for Moore. Who is your Premier League manager of the year? Our writers have their say He will be assured of a key role within the new set-up, yet the likes of Brentford’s Dean Smith and Leicester assistant manager Michael Appleton are seen as more realistic contenders. With relegation inevitable, the decision over the next head coach is huge. Moore claims he would be entirely happy with whatever that decision is, but the past few weeks have shown that he is management material. “We just continue to work,” he says. "I'll just continue with these six games. It's the fifth game, it's another tough game, we're just focusing on that. “All we’re doing is looking after West Bromwich Albion and showing our commitment to the football club.”
FILE PHOTO: Sailing - The America's Cup - Portsmouth - 24/7/15 Land Rover BAR skippered by Sir Ben Ainslie during practice in Portsmouth Reuters / Andrew Yates/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The America's Cup
FILE PHOTO: Sailing - The America's Cup - Portsmouth - 24/7/15 Land Rover BAR skippered by Sir Ben Ainslie during practice in Portsmouth Reuters / Andrew Yates/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Sailing - The America's Cup - Portsmouth - 24/7/15 Land Rover BAR skippered by Sir Ben Ainslie during practice in Portsmouth Reuters / Andrew Yates/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The America's Cup
FILE PHOTO: Sailing - The America's Cup - Portsmouth - 24/7/15 Land Rover BAR skippered by Sir Ben Ainslie during practice in Portsmouth Reuters / Andrew Yates/File Photo
For most clubs, reaching the FA Cup semi final is a delicious interruption from the day-to-day necessities of a league campaign. At Southampton this year, however, it is not like that. Four points adrift of safety with games running out, their six-year stay in the Premier League is in jeopardy. And their league position has cast a dark cloud over tomorrow’s semi-final against Chelsea. “It is a strange sort of feeling,” admits James Ward-Prowse, their long-serving midfielder. “But as players we see it as a great opportunity to get to another final and it might be a nice distraction from the league. We played Chelsea the other day and got cruelly beaten, so a sort of revenge factor might be there for us. Regardless of the situation, we want to win this game.” For Ward-Prowse, Southampton matters. He has been at St Mary’s for 15 years, joining the academy as an eight-year-old in 2003, the year the club last reached the FA Cup final. As he sits in the magnificent new training facility in Marchwood, considering what might happen in his 202nd first-team game this weekend, he constantly refers to Southampton as “a Premier League club”. Given their current condition, that might seem a little optimistic. “No,” he says. “It’s because we are a Premier League club, one that wants to be pushing on to European football.” Yet, whatever the infrastructure might imply, this season results have suggested otherwise. Speaking before the team’s latest goalless setback at Leicester on Thursday, he admits he is as bemused as anyone about what has gone wrong. “I think the club has been on a massive journey over the past few years. I’ve seen it from the dark times of League One and the club nearly going out of business. That progression has been so vast and so impressive that, year on year, it’s difficult to keep replicating. The target at the beginning of this season was to get back in Europe. Ward-Prowse has been with Southampton for 15 years since joining as an eight-year-old Credit: SOUTHAMPTON FC “Halfway through we had to re-evaluate, choose our goals wisely and that’s clearly to remain a Premier League club. It’s difficult to pinpoint a reason, but we are in a situation we are in and it’s down to ourselves to get us out of it.” There has been much written about how a club who prided themselves on stable long-term planning have found themselves suddenly in peril. The most common assumption has been that too much of the talent has been sold – mostly to Liverpool – with the replacements not up to the job. It is a critique Ward-Prowse does not accept. “I’ve seen a lot of players go, that is their decision, which we all respect. But the club has always been good at recruiting replacements. Not just as players but as people as well. That’s what the club has always been about, getting good people, getting that togetherness as a family unit. “It might not appear to have worked this season, but the players they’ve brought in have been very good. It’s a team game, it’s how the team replicates on the pitch what we’ve worked on during the week. Collectively, we haven’t done that consistently well this season. That’s the reason we are where we are now.” He refutes the idea complacency took hold in the club’s hierarchy, a belief that they had found a way – the much-vaunted Southampton Way – which somehow of itself elevated them above the scramble. “I wouldn’t say that at all. I think it’s a club that is very grounded, a family club, the people around the place, the new players included, have all bought into that as well. I wouldn’t say it’s a case of complacency. The club has wanted to develop year on year. It might not have done this year. But we have to finish the season strong, make sure we remain a Premier League club and then re-assess from there.” Though it could be said re-assessment has already started, largely in the dugout. The departure of the ultra-cautious Mauricio Pellegrino was hardly mourned in the St Mary’s stands. And judging by Ward-Prowse’s upbeat assessment of the new man in charge, Mark Hughes, the Argentine has not been much missed in the home dressing room, either. Ward-Prowse says the new manager has urged the team to be more positive and take more risks Credit: SOUTHAMPTON FC “I think he [Hughes] has brought a positive feel to the group, encouraged risks a lot more. He wants us to be more positive. It’s felt like we’ve stepped up in recent weeks, especially against Arsenal and Chelsea. If we can defend right, the basics are there. So we’re all excited for the remainder of the season because we built that strong base with him.” Which brings us to the semi-final and the possibility of an inglorious season’s double, achieved previously only by Manchester City, Leicester, Brighton, Middlesbrough, Portsmouth and Wigan, of reaching the FA Cup final and being relegated from the top flight. “It’s a difficult situation,” admits Ward-Prowse. “We all want to be playing in the Premier League next season but, equally, if we can lift an FA Cup, it’s a great choice as well. We want to win every game. We want to have both.” If the worst was to happen, if relegation becomes inevitable, the assumptions will grow that he will join old academy mates like Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in seeking employment away from St Mary’s. It is not a possibility he is prepared to contemplate. “I have always loved being here,” he says. “It has been a great journey up until now and it is one that hopefully will continue. We are not looking at the worst happening. As a squad we are looking at being a Premier League club next year. We are all looking forward to getting out of this challenge together.”
Southampton's James Ward-Prowse looks to 'revenge factor' for FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea
For most clubs, reaching the FA Cup semi final is a delicious interruption from the day-to-day necessities of a league campaign. At Southampton this year, however, it is not like that. Four points adrift of safety with games running out, their six-year stay in the Premier League is in jeopardy. And their league position has cast a dark cloud over tomorrow’s semi-final against Chelsea. “It is a strange sort of feeling,” admits James Ward-Prowse, their long-serving midfielder. “But as players we see it as a great opportunity to get to another final and it might be a nice distraction from the league. We played Chelsea the other day and got cruelly beaten, so a sort of revenge factor might be there for us. Regardless of the situation, we want to win this game.” For Ward-Prowse, Southampton matters. He has been at St Mary’s for 15 years, joining the academy as an eight-year-old in 2003, the year the club last reached the FA Cup final. As he sits in the magnificent new training facility in Marchwood, considering what might happen in his 202nd first-team game this weekend, he constantly refers to Southampton as “a Premier League club”. Given their current condition, that might seem a little optimistic. “No,” he says. “It’s because we are a Premier League club, one that wants to be pushing on to European football.” Yet, whatever the infrastructure might imply, this season results have suggested otherwise. Speaking before the team’s latest goalless setback at Leicester on Thursday, he admits he is as bemused as anyone about what has gone wrong. “I think the club has been on a massive journey over the past few years. I’ve seen it from the dark times of League One and the club nearly going out of business. That progression has been so vast and so impressive that, year on year, it’s difficult to keep replicating. The target at the beginning of this season was to get back in Europe. Ward-Prowse has been with Southampton for 15 years since joining as an eight-year-old Credit: SOUTHAMPTON FC “Halfway through we had to re-evaluate, choose our goals wisely and that’s clearly to remain a Premier League club. It’s difficult to pinpoint a reason, but we are in a situation we are in and it’s down to ourselves to get us out of it.” There has been much written about how a club who prided themselves on stable long-term planning have found themselves suddenly in peril. The most common assumption has been that too much of the talent has been sold – mostly to Liverpool – with the replacements not up to the job. It is a critique Ward-Prowse does not accept. “I’ve seen a lot of players go, that is their decision, which we all respect. But the club has always been good at recruiting replacements. Not just as players but as people as well. That’s what the club has always been about, getting good people, getting that togetherness as a family unit. “It might not appear to have worked this season, but the players they’ve brought in have been very good. It’s a team game, it’s how the team replicates on the pitch what we’ve worked on during the week. Collectively, we haven’t done that consistently well this season. That’s the reason we are where we are now.” He refutes the idea complacency took hold in the club’s hierarchy, a belief that they had found a way – the much-vaunted Southampton Way – which somehow of itself elevated them above the scramble. “I wouldn’t say that at all. I think it’s a club that is very grounded, a family club, the people around the place, the new players included, have all bought into that as well. I wouldn’t say it’s a case of complacency. The club has wanted to develop year on year. It might not have done this year. But we have to finish the season strong, make sure we remain a Premier League club and then re-assess from there.” Though it could be said re-assessment has already started, largely in the dugout. The departure of the ultra-cautious Mauricio Pellegrino was hardly mourned in the St Mary’s stands. And judging by Ward-Prowse’s upbeat assessment of the new man in charge, Mark Hughes, the Argentine has not been much missed in the home dressing room, either. Ward-Prowse says the new manager has urged the team to be more positive and take more risks Credit: SOUTHAMPTON FC “I think he [Hughes] has brought a positive feel to the group, encouraged risks a lot more. He wants us to be more positive. It’s felt like we’ve stepped up in recent weeks, especially against Arsenal and Chelsea. If we can defend right, the basics are there. So we’re all excited for the remainder of the season because we built that strong base with him.” Which brings us to the semi-final and the possibility of an inglorious season’s double, achieved previously only by Manchester City, Leicester, Brighton, Middlesbrough, Portsmouth and Wigan, of reaching the FA Cup final and being relegated from the top flight. “It’s a difficult situation,” admits Ward-Prowse. “We all want to be playing in the Premier League next season but, equally, if we can lift an FA Cup, it’s a great choice as well. We want to win every game. We want to have both.” If the worst was to happen, if relegation becomes inevitable, the assumptions will grow that he will join old academy mates like Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in seeking employment away from St Mary’s. It is not a possibility he is prepared to contemplate. “I have always loved being here,” he says. “It has been a great journey up until now and it is one that hopefully will continue. We are not looking at the worst happening. As a squad we are looking at being a Premier League club next year. We are all looking forward to getting out of this challenge together.”
For most clubs, reaching the FA Cup semi final is a delicious interruption from the day-to-day necessities of a league campaign. At Southampton this year, however, it is not like that. Four points adrift of safety with games running out, their six-year stay in the Premier League is in jeopardy. And their league position has cast a dark cloud over tomorrow’s semi-final against Chelsea. “It is a strange sort of feeling,” admits James Ward-Prowse, their long-serving midfielder. “But as players we see it as a great opportunity to get to another final and it might be a nice distraction from the league. We played Chelsea the other day and got cruelly beaten, so a sort of revenge factor might be there for us. Regardless of the situation, we want to win this game.” For Ward-Prowse, Southampton matters. He has been at St Mary’s for 15 years, joining the academy as an eight-year-old in 2003, the year the club last reached the FA Cup final. As he sits in the magnificent new training facility in Marchwood, considering what might happen in his 202nd first-team game this weekend, he constantly refers to Southampton as “a Premier League club”. Given their current condition, that might seem a little optimistic. “No,” he says. “It’s because we are a Premier League club, one that wants to be pushing on to European football.” Yet, whatever the infrastructure might imply, this season results have suggested otherwise. Speaking before the team’s latest goalless setback at Leicester on Thursday, he admits he is as bemused as anyone about what has gone wrong. “I think the club has been on a massive journey over the past few years. I’ve seen it from the dark times of League One and the club nearly going out of business. That progression has been so vast and so impressive that, year on year, it’s difficult to keep replicating. The target at the beginning of this season was to get back in Europe. Ward-Prowse has been with Southampton for 15 years since joining as an eight-year-old Credit: SOUTHAMPTON FC “Halfway through we had to re-evaluate, choose our goals wisely and that’s clearly to remain a Premier League club. It’s difficult to pinpoint a reason, but we are in a situation we are in and it’s down to ourselves to get us out of it.” There has been much written about how a club who prided themselves on stable long-term planning have found themselves suddenly in peril. The most common assumption has been that too much of the talent has been sold – mostly to Liverpool – with the replacements not up to the job. It is a critique Ward-Prowse does not accept. “I’ve seen a lot of players go, that is their decision, which we all respect. But the club has always been good at recruiting replacements. Not just as players but as people as well. That’s what the club has always been about, getting good people, getting that togetherness as a family unit. “It might not appear to have worked this season, but the players they’ve brought in have been very good. It’s a team game, it’s how the team replicates on the pitch what we’ve worked on during the week. Collectively, we haven’t done that consistently well this season. That’s the reason we are where we are now.” He refutes the idea complacency took hold in the club’s hierarchy, a belief that they had found a way – the much-vaunted Southampton Way – which somehow of itself elevated them above the scramble. “I wouldn’t say that at all. I think it’s a club that is very grounded, a family club, the people around the place, the new players included, have all bought into that as well. I wouldn’t say it’s a case of complacency. The club has wanted to develop year on year. It might not have done this year. But we have to finish the season strong, make sure we remain a Premier League club and then re-assess from there.” Though it could be said re-assessment has already started, largely in the dugout. The departure of the ultra-cautious Mauricio Pellegrino was hardly mourned in the St Mary’s stands. And judging by Ward-Prowse’s upbeat assessment of the new man in charge, Mark Hughes, the Argentine has not been much missed in the home dressing room, either. Ward-Prowse says the new manager has urged the team to be more positive and take more risks Credit: SOUTHAMPTON FC “I think he [Hughes] has brought a positive feel to the group, encouraged risks a lot more. He wants us to be more positive. It’s felt like we’ve stepped up in recent weeks, especially against Arsenal and Chelsea. If we can defend right, the basics are there. So we’re all excited for the remainder of the season because we built that strong base with him.” Which brings us to the semi-final and the possibility of an inglorious season’s double, achieved previously only by Manchester City, Leicester, Brighton, Middlesbrough, Portsmouth and Wigan, of reaching the FA Cup final and being relegated from the top flight. “It’s a difficult situation,” admits Ward-Prowse. “We all want to be playing in the Premier League next season but, equally, if we can lift an FA Cup, it’s a great choice as well. We want to win every game. We want to have both.” If the worst was to happen, if relegation becomes inevitable, the assumptions will grow that he will join old academy mates like Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in seeking employment away from St Mary’s. It is not a possibility he is prepared to contemplate. “I have always loved being here,” he says. “It has been a great journey up until now and it is one that hopefully will continue. We are not looking at the worst happening. As a squad we are looking at being a Premier League club next year. We are all looking forward to getting out of this challenge together.”
Southampton's James Ward-Prowse looks to 'revenge factor' for FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea
For most clubs, reaching the FA Cup semi final is a delicious interruption from the day-to-day necessities of a league campaign. At Southampton this year, however, it is not like that. Four points adrift of safety with games running out, their six-year stay in the Premier League is in jeopardy. And their league position has cast a dark cloud over tomorrow’s semi-final against Chelsea. “It is a strange sort of feeling,” admits James Ward-Prowse, their long-serving midfielder. “But as players we see it as a great opportunity to get to another final and it might be a nice distraction from the league. We played Chelsea the other day and got cruelly beaten, so a sort of revenge factor might be there for us. Regardless of the situation, we want to win this game.” For Ward-Prowse, Southampton matters. He has been at St Mary’s for 15 years, joining the academy as an eight-year-old in 2003, the year the club last reached the FA Cup final. As he sits in the magnificent new training facility in Marchwood, considering what might happen in his 202nd first-team game this weekend, he constantly refers to Southampton as “a Premier League club”. Given their current condition, that might seem a little optimistic. “No,” he says. “It’s because we are a Premier League club, one that wants to be pushing on to European football.” Yet, whatever the infrastructure might imply, this season results have suggested otherwise. Speaking before the team’s latest goalless setback at Leicester on Thursday, he admits he is as bemused as anyone about what has gone wrong. “I think the club has been on a massive journey over the past few years. I’ve seen it from the dark times of League One and the club nearly going out of business. That progression has been so vast and so impressive that, year on year, it’s difficult to keep replicating. The target at the beginning of this season was to get back in Europe. Ward-Prowse has been with Southampton for 15 years since joining as an eight-year-old Credit: SOUTHAMPTON FC “Halfway through we had to re-evaluate, choose our goals wisely and that’s clearly to remain a Premier League club. It’s difficult to pinpoint a reason, but we are in a situation we are in and it’s down to ourselves to get us out of it.” There has been much written about how a club who prided themselves on stable long-term planning have found themselves suddenly in peril. The most common assumption has been that too much of the talent has been sold – mostly to Liverpool – with the replacements not up to the job. It is a critique Ward-Prowse does not accept. “I’ve seen a lot of players go, that is their decision, which we all respect. But the club has always been good at recruiting replacements. Not just as players but as people as well. That’s what the club has always been about, getting good people, getting that togetherness as a family unit. “It might not appear to have worked this season, but the players they’ve brought in have been very good. It’s a team game, it’s how the team replicates on the pitch what we’ve worked on during the week. Collectively, we haven’t done that consistently well this season. That’s the reason we are where we are now.” He refutes the idea complacency took hold in the club’s hierarchy, a belief that they had found a way – the much-vaunted Southampton Way – which somehow of itself elevated them above the scramble. “I wouldn’t say that at all. I think it’s a club that is very grounded, a family club, the people around the place, the new players included, have all bought into that as well. I wouldn’t say it’s a case of complacency. The club has wanted to develop year on year. It might not have done this year. But we have to finish the season strong, make sure we remain a Premier League club and then re-assess from there.” Though it could be said re-assessment has already started, largely in the dugout. The departure of the ultra-cautious Mauricio Pellegrino was hardly mourned in the St Mary’s stands. And judging by Ward-Prowse’s upbeat assessment of the new man in charge, Mark Hughes, the Argentine has not been much missed in the home dressing room, either. Ward-Prowse says the new manager has urged the team to be more positive and take more risks Credit: SOUTHAMPTON FC “I think he [Hughes] has brought a positive feel to the group, encouraged risks a lot more. He wants us to be more positive. It’s felt like we’ve stepped up in recent weeks, especially against Arsenal and Chelsea. If we can defend right, the basics are there. So we’re all excited for the remainder of the season because we built that strong base with him.” Which brings us to the semi-final and the possibility of an inglorious season’s double, achieved previously only by Manchester City, Leicester, Brighton, Middlesbrough, Portsmouth and Wigan, of reaching the FA Cup final and being relegated from the top flight. “It’s a difficult situation,” admits Ward-Prowse. “We all want to be playing in the Premier League next season but, equally, if we can lift an FA Cup, it’s a great choice as well. We want to win every game. We want to have both.” If the worst was to happen, if relegation becomes inevitable, the assumptions will grow that he will join old academy mates like Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in seeking employment away from St Mary’s. It is not a possibility he is prepared to contemplate. “I have always loved being here,” he says. “It has been a great journey up until now and it is one that hopefully will continue. We are not looking at the worst happening. As a squad we are looking at being a Premier League club next year. We are all looking forward to getting out of this challenge together.”
For most clubs, reaching the FA Cup semi final is a delicious interruption from the day-to-day necessities of a league campaign. At Southampton this year, however, it is not like that. Four points adrift of safety with games running out, their six-year stay in the Premier League is in jeopardy. And their league position has cast a dark cloud over tomorrow’s semi-final against Chelsea. “It is a strange sort of feeling,” admits James Ward-Prowse, their long-serving midfielder. “But as players we see it as a great opportunity to get to another final and it might be a nice distraction from the league. We played Chelsea the other day and got cruelly beaten, so a sort of revenge factor might be there for us. Regardless of the situation, we want to win this game.” For Ward-Prowse, Southampton matters. He has been at St Mary’s for 15 years, joining the academy as an eight-year-old in 2003, the year the club last reached the FA Cup final. As he sits in the magnificent new training facility in Marchwood, considering what might happen in his 202nd first-team game this weekend, he constantly refers to Southampton as “a Premier League club”. Given their current condition, that might seem a little optimistic. “No,” he says. “It’s because we are a Premier League club, one that wants to be pushing on to European football.” Yet, whatever the infrastructure might imply, this season results have suggested otherwise. Speaking before the team’s latest goalless setback at Leicester on Thursday, he admits he is as bemused as anyone about what has gone wrong. “I think the club has been on a massive journey over the past few years. I’ve seen it from the dark times of League One and the club nearly going out of business. That progression has been so vast and so impressive that, year on year, it’s difficult to keep replicating. The target at the beginning of this season was to get back in Europe. Ward-Prowse has been with Southampton for 15 years since joining as an eight-year-old Credit: SOUTHAMPTON FC “Halfway through we had to re-evaluate, choose our goals wisely and that’s clearly to remain a Premier League club. It’s difficult to pinpoint a reason, but we are in a situation we are in and it’s down to ourselves to get us out of it.” There has been much written about how a club who prided themselves on stable long-term planning have found themselves suddenly in peril. The most common assumption has been that too much of the talent has been sold – mostly to Liverpool – with the replacements not up to the job. It is a critique Ward-Prowse does not accept. “I’ve seen a lot of players go, that is their decision, which we all respect. But the club has always been good at recruiting replacements. Not just as players but as people as well. That’s what the club has always been about, getting good people, getting that togetherness as a family unit. “It might not appear to have worked this season, but the players they’ve brought in have been very good. It’s a team game, it’s how the team replicates on the pitch what we’ve worked on during the week. Collectively, we haven’t done that consistently well this season. That’s the reason we are where we are now.” He refutes the idea complacency took hold in the club’s hierarchy, a belief that they had found a way – the much-vaunted Southampton Way – which somehow of itself elevated them above the scramble. “I wouldn’t say that at all. I think it’s a club that is very grounded, a family club, the people around the place, the new players included, have all bought into that as well. I wouldn’t say it’s a case of complacency. The club has wanted to develop year on year. It might not have done this year. But we have to finish the season strong, make sure we remain a Premier League club and then re-assess from there.” Though it could be said re-assessment has already started, largely in the dugout. The departure of the ultra-cautious Mauricio Pellegrino was hardly mourned in the St Mary’s stands. And judging by Ward-Prowse’s upbeat assessment of the new man in charge, Mark Hughes, the Argentine has not been much missed in the home dressing room, either. Ward-Prowse says the new manager has urged the team to be more positive and take more risks Credit: SOUTHAMPTON FC “I think he [Hughes] has brought a positive feel to the group, encouraged risks a lot more. He wants us to be more positive. It’s felt like we’ve stepped up in recent weeks, especially against Arsenal and Chelsea. If we can defend right, the basics are there. So we’re all excited for the remainder of the season because we built that strong base with him.” Which brings us to the semi-final and the possibility of an inglorious season’s double, achieved previously only by Manchester City, Leicester, Brighton, Middlesbrough, Portsmouth and Wigan, of reaching the FA Cup final and being relegated from the top flight. “It’s a difficult situation,” admits Ward-Prowse. “We all want to be playing in the Premier League next season but, equally, if we can lift an FA Cup, it’s a great choice as well. We want to win every game. We want to have both.” If the worst was to happen, if relegation becomes inevitable, the assumptions will grow that he will join old academy mates like Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in seeking employment away from St Mary’s. It is not a possibility he is prepared to contemplate. “I have always loved being here,” he says. “It has been a great journey up until now and it is one that hopefully will continue. We are not looking at the worst happening. As a squad we are looking at being a Premier League club next year. We are all looking forward to getting out of this challenge together.”
Southampton's James Ward-Prowse looks to 'revenge factor' for FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea
For most clubs, reaching the FA Cup semi final is a delicious interruption from the day-to-day necessities of a league campaign. At Southampton this year, however, it is not like that. Four points adrift of safety with games running out, their six-year stay in the Premier League is in jeopardy. And their league position has cast a dark cloud over tomorrow’s semi-final against Chelsea. “It is a strange sort of feeling,” admits James Ward-Prowse, their long-serving midfielder. “But as players we see it as a great opportunity to get to another final and it might be a nice distraction from the league. We played Chelsea the other day and got cruelly beaten, so a sort of revenge factor might be there for us. Regardless of the situation, we want to win this game.” For Ward-Prowse, Southampton matters. He has been at St Mary’s for 15 years, joining the academy as an eight-year-old in 2003, the year the club last reached the FA Cup final. As he sits in the magnificent new training facility in Marchwood, considering what might happen in his 202nd first-team game this weekend, he constantly refers to Southampton as “a Premier League club”. Given their current condition, that might seem a little optimistic. “No,” he says. “It’s because we are a Premier League club, one that wants to be pushing on to European football.” Yet, whatever the infrastructure might imply, this season results have suggested otherwise. Speaking before the team’s latest goalless setback at Leicester on Thursday, he admits he is as bemused as anyone about what has gone wrong. “I think the club has been on a massive journey over the past few years. I’ve seen it from the dark times of League One and the club nearly going out of business. That progression has been so vast and so impressive that, year on year, it’s difficult to keep replicating. The target at the beginning of this season was to get back in Europe. Ward-Prowse has been with Southampton for 15 years since joining as an eight-year-old Credit: SOUTHAMPTON FC “Halfway through we had to re-evaluate, choose our goals wisely and that’s clearly to remain a Premier League club. It’s difficult to pinpoint a reason, but we are in a situation we are in and it’s down to ourselves to get us out of it.” There has been much written about how a club who prided themselves on stable long-term planning have found themselves suddenly in peril. The most common assumption has been that too much of the talent has been sold – mostly to Liverpool – with the replacements not up to the job. It is a critique Ward-Prowse does not accept. “I’ve seen a lot of players go, that is their decision, which we all respect. But the club has always been good at recruiting replacements. Not just as players but as people as well. That’s what the club has always been about, getting good people, getting that togetherness as a family unit. “It might not appear to have worked this season, but the players they’ve brought in have been very good. It’s a team game, it’s how the team replicates on the pitch what we’ve worked on during the week. Collectively, we haven’t done that consistently well this season. That’s the reason we are where we are now.” He refutes the idea complacency took hold in the club’s hierarchy, a belief that they had found a way – the much-vaunted Southampton Way – which somehow of itself elevated them above the scramble. “I wouldn’t say that at all. I think it’s a club that is very grounded, a family club, the people around the place, the new players included, have all bought into that as well. I wouldn’t say it’s a case of complacency. The club has wanted to develop year on year. It might not have done this year. But we have to finish the season strong, make sure we remain a Premier League club and then re-assess from there.” Though it could be said re-assessment has already started, largely in the dugout. The departure of the ultra-cautious Mauricio Pellegrino was hardly mourned in the St Mary’s stands. And judging by Ward-Prowse’s upbeat assessment of the new man in charge, Mark Hughes, the Argentine has not been much missed in the home dressing room, either. Ward-Prowse says the new manager has urged the team to be more positive and take more risks Credit: SOUTHAMPTON FC “I think he [Hughes] has brought a positive feel to the group, encouraged risks a lot more. He wants us to be more positive. It’s felt like we’ve stepped up in recent weeks, especially against Arsenal and Chelsea. If we can defend right, the basics are there. So we’re all excited for the remainder of the season because we built that strong base with him.” Which brings us to the semi-final and the possibility of an inglorious season’s double, achieved previously only by Manchester City, Leicester, Brighton, Middlesbrough, Portsmouth and Wigan, of reaching the FA Cup final and being relegated from the top flight. “It’s a difficult situation,” admits Ward-Prowse. “We all want to be playing in the Premier League next season but, equally, if we can lift an FA Cup, it’s a great choice as well. We want to win every game. We want to have both.” If the worst was to happen, if relegation becomes inevitable, the assumptions will grow that he will join old academy mates like Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in seeking employment away from St Mary’s. It is not a possibility he is prepared to contemplate. “I have always loved being here,” he says. “It has been a great journey up until now and it is one that hopefully will continue. We are not looking at the worst happening. As a squad we are looking at being a Premier League club next year. We are all looking forward to getting out of this challenge together.”
Former Portsmouth footballer Svetoslav Todorov
Former Portsmouth footballer Svetoslav Todorov
Former Portsmouth footballer Svetoslav Todorov
The annual Portsmouth Invitational gives top college seniors a chance to prove they belong in the NBA. The Crossover's Front Office examines nine potential draft sleepers that stood out this year.
Nine College Seniors Who Could Be NBA Sleepers
The annual Portsmouth Invitational gives top college seniors a chance to prove they belong in the NBA. The Crossover's Front Office examines nine potential draft sleepers that stood out this year.
The annual Portsmouth Invitational gives top college seniors a chance to prove they belong in the NBA. The Crossover's Front Office examines nine potential draft sleepers that stood out this year.
Nine College Seniors Who Could Be NBA Sleepers
The annual Portsmouth Invitational gives top college seniors a chance to prove they belong in the NBA. The Crossover's Front Office examines nine potential draft sleepers that stood out this year.
The death of Ray Wilkins at the age of 61 has inspired a number of famous faces from the world of football to share their memories of the former England midfielder. Known affectionately as 'Butch', Wilkins earned a reputation as one the game's true gentlemen, enjoying a 23-year playing career that saw him represent 11 clubs across four different countries. One of the many young footballers to have had the fortune of playing under Wilkins was Nigel Quashie. The former Portsmouth midfielder played for Wilkins at Queens Park Rangers, and recounted the story of his debut for the club against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Nigel Quashie Ray Wilkins gave Nigel Quashie his professional debut as QPR manager Credit: PA I will never forget going to Manchester United as a YTS trainee to do all the kit and boots in the changing room for the first-team squad. One hour and 30 minutes before kick-off you name the team and I was in it, and that's how my debut went. I didn't even get to think about it because all you said was: you're number 18, here are your boots and shin pads, just go and play, have fun and treat it like you're over the park with your mates. My mum never had a mobile phone back then because we couldn't afford anything like that and everything went through her work or home phone. I asked you after the game if I could call home to speak to her. You said use my mobile and call this number - it was my mum on the other end of the line and she said she was outside by the away team bus. I went outside to see her and asked how did you get here because I knew she couldn't afford it. She told me Ray had got the club to pay for her train ticket to come to the game and then told me Ray got the club to give us our first mobile phone in life during the week and he wanted to surprise me, knowing I was making my debut. Former Chelsea and England midfielder Joe Cole also paid tribute to Wilkins. Cole worked with Wilkins at Chelsea where he was assistant manager to Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti. Joe Cole Ray Wilkins lifts the Premier League trophy during his time as assistant coach Credit: Joe Cole Instagram I loved you telling me about Franco Barresi and all the greats you have played with and against and reminiscing about the “good old days". Loved our daily chats and arguments about football and will always remember you saying “You young chappies should never give the ball away, these days you play on bowling greens, we played underneath the grass young man”. But most of all mate I will miss bumping into you and catching up and i always left your company with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. You will always be “dangerously well“. They don’t make them like you anymore Raymond. Ray Wilkins had most recently worked as a broadcaster on talkSport radio Credit: TalkSport Twitter Wilkins had most recently been working for Talksport alongside Alan Brazil and the station's tribute to their former colleague uncovered a number of touching stories. One listener phoned the station to he was a homeless ex-soldier when Wilkins took time to sit down with him when he was at his lowest ebb. According to the anonymous caller, Wilkins took time to discuss the man's addiction issues before giving him £20 for a meal and a bed for the night. He wasn't just a football man, he was a real man. I'm an ex-soldier and I had some time when I was homeless and I was outside of West Brompton station. He came over to me and I recognised him straight away and he just took some time to sit and chat and we were both sat on my cardboard together. He took the time to sit and talk and we were chatting about the army. He gave me £20 and told me to get myself a hot meal. I took that money and I got some shelter and a hot meal. During that time I met a guy who was helping ex-soldiers, who put me in touch with decent people who would help me. Now I'm fully recovered, I'm not gambling, I have my own place, a beautiful girlfriend I'm about to marry and I put it down to the time that man took to give to a man that was nothing to him. He was a real hero to me and to millions of others across the world. Just heard a guy on @talkSPORT telling a story of him being homeless dealing with addiction and depression. Ray Wilkins gave him £20 and took him for a coffee. With the money he got shelter and now is clean of addiction. Amazing story & tribute to the man.— James Stannard (@jimmy_coach) April 5, 2018 Ex-Chelsea midfielder Jody Morris joined former teammates Frank Lampard and John Terry in paying tribute to Wilkins' warmth and sense of humour. Morris, now a coach at Chelsea's academy, shared a training ground anecdote involving Wilkins that referred to his days with AC Milan. Jody Morris played under Ray Wilkins during his time at Chelsea Credit: Jody Morris Instagram Jody Morris I’d been out injured for a long time and Razor [Wilkins] bursts into the treatment room while mid training session and says ‘Come on fella let’s get you involved... You can be ref as I’ve had enough of those Herberts moaning’. I came out and took his whistle and he took his watch off and put it on my wrist... I’d been used to seeing Ray with Rolexes but as I was taking the watch off to give it back I noticed it was was an Omega. Me being an uneducated ‘young pup’ (as Ray would say) and wanting to have a bit of banter with him I cheekily said ‘Omega?? Come on Razor I expected better from you’. Ray with his face resembling that 'I'm about to take you to school' look says ‘why don’t you just have a look at the back of the timepiece before handing it here fella?’ I flipped it over and it had a big AC Milan badge engraved with ‘FRANCO BARESI TESTIMONIAL’ and the date. 'I take it back Razor I take it back’. He just winked at me and walked off chuckling to himself. Ray Wilkins enjoyed two stints as assistant coach of Chelsea between 1998 and 2010 Credit: PA BBC Channel Islands producer Jack Murley recalled an occasion when Wilkins showed empathy during one of his first interview as a journalist. "A few years back, I had the chance to interview him. I was fairly new in the job, and about as green behind the ears as it gets. Twice during the interview, the recording equipment packed up. "But each time, he let me start again, smiling and chatting as I fumbled with the batteries until we got the interview in the bag. Other journalists will agree, I'm sure, there aren't a lot of sporting A-listers who are that kind and considerate. We've lost a good one today." The impression of Wilkins' as a considerate man is reiterated in a short story told by a Queens Park Rangers fan on Twitter. Ben Brennan, QPR fan Ray Wilkins managed QPR between 1994 and 1996 Credit: PA As a QPR mad 9 year old, I spent a couple of years in hospital, on and off, when Ray Wilkins was QPR manager. A friend arranged for Ray to visit me. He brought presents, he stayed, he chatted, he cheered me up, and left with my spirits raised. A few weeks later he came back again, unannounced, and did the same. And then he came again, a few weeks later. And then he came again, and again. Didn't have to, nobody expected him to. He did so, I presume, because he was a really good bloke. As well as a brilliant footballer. Ex-England captain Terry Butcher has revealed Wilkins' hospitality during their time as teammates at Rangers. Terry Butcher Former Rangers captain Terry Butcher remembers Ray Wilkins being incredibly hospitable during their time together at Ibrox Credit: PA I remember at Rangers, where I was his captain, we went round his house every Sunday to watch Serie A Football Italia on his TV. He had this huge great [satellite] dish in his garden and he'd have all the Rangers players and their families around to watch the games. That's what he loved; he loved his family and everybody. He had time for everyone, he took time and made time for them.
Ray Wilkins: stars share their stories of kindness and generosity
The death of Ray Wilkins at the age of 61 has inspired a number of famous faces from the world of football to share their memories of the former England midfielder. Known affectionately as 'Butch', Wilkins earned a reputation as one the game's true gentlemen, enjoying a 23-year playing career that saw him represent 11 clubs across four different countries. One of the many young footballers to have had the fortune of playing under Wilkins was Nigel Quashie. The former Portsmouth midfielder played for Wilkins at Queens Park Rangers, and recounted the story of his debut for the club against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Nigel Quashie Ray Wilkins gave Nigel Quashie his professional debut as QPR manager Credit: PA I will never forget going to Manchester United as a YTS trainee to do all the kit and boots in the changing room for the first-team squad. One hour and 30 minutes before kick-off you name the team and I was in it, and that's how my debut went. I didn't even get to think about it because all you said was: you're number 18, here are your boots and shin pads, just go and play, have fun and treat it like you're over the park with your mates. My mum never had a mobile phone back then because we couldn't afford anything like that and everything went through her work or home phone. I asked you after the game if I could call home to speak to her. You said use my mobile and call this number - it was my mum on the other end of the line and she said she was outside by the away team bus. I went outside to see her and asked how did you get here because I knew she couldn't afford it. She told me Ray had got the club to pay for her train ticket to come to the game and then told me Ray got the club to give us our first mobile phone in life during the week and he wanted to surprise me, knowing I was making my debut. Former Chelsea and England midfielder Joe Cole also paid tribute to Wilkins. Cole worked with Wilkins at Chelsea where he was assistant manager to Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti. Joe Cole Ray Wilkins lifts the Premier League trophy during his time as assistant coach Credit: Joe Cole Instagram I loved you telling me about Franco Barresi and all the greats you have played with and against and reminiscing about the “good old days". Loved our daily chats and arguments about football and will always remember you saying “You young chappies should never give the ball away, these days you play on bowling greens, we played underneath the grass young man”. But most of all mate I will miss bumping into you and catching up and i always left your company with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. You will always be “dangerously well“. They don’t make them like you anymore Raymond. Ray Wilkins had most recently worked as a broadcaster on talkSport radio Credit: TalkSport Twitter Wilkins had most recently been working for Talksport alongside Alan Brazil and the station's tribute to their former colleague uncovered a number of touching stories. One listener phoned the station to he was a homeless ex-soldier when Wilkins took time to sit down with him when he was at his lowest ebb. According to the anonymous caller, Wilkins took time to discuss the man's addiction issues before giving him £20 for a meal and a bed for the night. He wasn't just a football man, he was a real man. I'm an ex-soldier and I had some time when I was homeless and I was outside of West Brompton station. He came over to me and I recognised him straight away and he just took some time to sit and chat and we were both sat on my cardboard together. He took the time to sit and talk and we were chatting about the army. He gave me £20 and told me to get myself a hot meal. I took that money and I got some shelter and a hot meal. During that time I met a guy who was helping ex-soldiers, who put me in touch with decent people who would help me. Now I'm fully recovered, I'm not gambling, I have my own place, a beautiful girlfriend I'm about to marry and I put it down to the time that man took to give to a man that was nothing to him. He was a real hero to me and to millions of others across the world. Just heard a guy on @talkSPORT telling a story of him being homeless dealing with addiction and depression. Ray Wilkins gave him £20 and took him for a coffee. With the money he got shelter and now is clean of addiction. Amazing story & tribute to the man.— James Stannard (@jimmy_coach) April 5, 2018 Ex-Chelsea midfielder Jody Morris joined former teammates Frank Lampard and John Terry in paying tribute to Wilkins' warmth and sense of humour. Morris, now a coach at Chelsea's academy, shared a training ground anecdote involving Wilkins that referred to his days with AC Milan. Jody Morris played under Ray Wilkins during his time at Chelsea Credit: Jody Morris Instagram Jody Morris I’d been out injured for a long time and Razor [Wilkins] bursts into the treatment room while mid training session and says ‘Come on fella let’s get you involved... You can be ref as I’ve had enough of those Herberts moaning’. I came out and took his whistle and he took his watch off and put it on my wrist... I’d been used to seeing Ray with Rolexes but as I was taking the watch off to give it back I noticed it was was an Omega. Me being an uneducated ‘young pup’ (as Ray would say) and wanting to have a bit of banter with him I cheekily said ‘Omega?? Come on Razor I expected better from you’. Ray with his face resembling that 'I'm about to take you to school' look says ‘why don’t you just have a look at the back of the timepiece before handing it here fella?’ I flipped it over and it had a big AC Milan badge engraved with ‘FRANCO BARESI TESTIMONIAL’ and the date. 'I take it back Razor I take it back’. He just winked at me and walked off chuckling to himself. Ray Wilkins enjoyed two stints as assistant coach of Chelsea between 1998 and 2010 Credit: PA BBC Channel Islands producer Jack Murley recalled an occasion when Wilkins showed empathy during one of his first interview as a journalist. "A few years back, I had the chance to interview him. I was fairly new in the job, and about as green behind the ears as it gets. Twice during the interview, the recording equipment packed up. "But each time, he let me start again, smiling and chatting as I fumbled with the batteries until we got the interview in the bag. Other journalists will agree, I'm sure, there aren't a lot of sporting A-listers who are that kind and considerate. We've lost a good one today." The impression of Wilkins' as a considerate man is reiterated in a short story told by a Queens Park Rangers fan on Twitter. Ben Brennan, QPR fan Ray Wilkins managed QPR between 1994 and 1996 Credit: PA As a QPR mad 9 year old, I spent a couple of years in hospital, on and off, when Ray Wilkins was QPR manager. A friend arranged for Ray to visit me. He brought presents, he stayed, he chatted, he cheered me up, and left with my spirits raised. A few weeks later he came back again, unannounced, and did the same. And then he came again, a few weeks later. And then he came again, and again. Didn't have to, nobody expected him to. He did so, I presume, because he was a really good bloke. As well as a brilliant footballer. Ex-England captain Terry Butcher has revealed Wilkins' hospitality during their time as teammates at Rangers. Terry Butcher Former Rangers captain Terry Butcher remembers Ray Wilkins being incredibly hospitable during their time together at Ibrox Credit: PA I remember at Rangers, where I was his captain, we went round his house every Sunday to watch Serie A Football Italia on his TV. He had this huge great [satellite] dish in his garden and he'd have all the Rangers players and their families around to watch the games. That's what he loved; he loved his family and everybody. He had time for everyone, he took time and made time for them.
The death of Ray Wilkins at the age of 61 has inspired a number of famous faces from the world of football to share their memories of the former England midfielder. Known affectionately as 'Butch', Wilkins earned a reputation as one the game's true gentlemen, enjoying a 23-year playing career that saw him represent 11 clubs across four different countries. One of the many young footballers to have had the fortune of playing under Wilkins was Nigel Quashie. The former Portsmouth midfielder played for Wilkins at Queens Park Rangers, and recounted the story of his debut for the club against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Nigel Quashie Ray Wilkins gave Nigel Quashie his professional debut as QPR manager Credit: PA I will never forget going to Manchester United as a YTS trainee to do all the kit and boots in the changing room for the first-team squad. One hour and 30 minutes before kick-off you name the team and I was in it, and that's how my debut went. I didn't even get to think about it because all you said was: you're number 18, here are your boots and shin pads, just go and play, have fun and treat it like you're over the park with your mates. My mum never had a mobile phone back then because we couldn't afford anything like that and everything went through her work or home phone. I asked you after the game if I could call home to speak to her. You said use my mobile and call this number - it was my mum on the other end of the line and she said she was outside by the away team bus. I went outside to see her and asked how did you get here because I knew she couldn't afford it. She told me Ray had got the club to pay for her train ticket to come to the game and then told me Ray got the club to give us our first mobile phone in life during the week and he wanted to surprise me, knowing I was making my debut. Former Chelsea and England midfielder Joe Cole also paid tribute to Wilkins. Cole worked with Wilkins at Chelsea where he was assistant manager to Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti. Joe Cole Ray Wilkins lifts the Premier League trophy during his time as assistant coach Credit: Joe Cole Instagram I loved you telling me about Franco Barresi and all the greats you have played with and against and reminiscing about the “good old days". Loved our daily chats and arguments about football and will always remember you saying “You young chappies should never give the ball away, these days you play on bowling greens, we played underneath the grass young man”. But most of all mate I will miss bumping into you and catching up and i always left your company with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. You will always be “dangerously well“. They don’t make them like you anymore Raymond. Ray Wilkins had most recently worked as a broadcaster on talkSport radio Credit: TalkSport Twitter Wilkins had most recently been working for Talksport alongside Alan Brazil and the station's tribute to their former colleague uncovered a number of touching stories. One listener phoned the station to he was a homeless ex-soldier when Wilkins took time to sit down with him when he was at his lowest ebb. According to the anonymous caller, Wilkins took time to discuss the man's addiction issues before giving him £20 for a meal and a bed for the night. He wasn't just a football man, he was a real man. I'm an ex-soldier and I had some time when I was homeless and I was outside of West Brompton station. He came over to me and I recognised him straight away and he just took some time to sit and chat and we were both sat on my cardboard together. He took the time to sit and talk and we were chatting about the army. He gave me £20 and told me to get myself a hot meal. I took that money and I got some shelter and a hot meal. During that time I met a guy who was helping ex-soldiers, who put me in touch with decent people who would help me. Now I'm fully recovered, I'm not gambling, I have my own place, a beautiful girlfriend I'm about to marry and I put it down to the time that man took to give to a man that was nothing to him. He was a real hero to me and to millions of others across the world. Just heard a guy on @talkSPORT telling a story of him being homeless dealing with addiction and depression. Ray Wilkins gave him £20 and took him for a coffee. With the money he got shelter and now is clean of addiction. Amazing story & tribute to the man.— James Stannard (@jimmy_coach) April 5, 2018 Ex-Chelsea midfielder Jody Morris joined former teammates Frank Lampard and John Terry in paying tribute to Wilkins' warmth and sense of humour. Morris, now a coach at Chelsea's academy, shared a training ground anecdote involving Wilkins that referred to his days with AC Milan. Jody Morris played under Ray Wilkins during his time at Chelsea Credit: Jody Morris Instagram Jody Morris I’d been out injured for a long time and Razor [Wilkins] bursts into the treatment room while mid training session and says ‘Come on fella let’s get you involved... You can be ref as I’ve had enough of those Herberts moaning’. I came out and took his whistle and he took his watch off and put it on my wrist... I’d been used to seeing Ray with Rolexes but as I was taking the watch off to give it back I noticed it was was an Omega. Me being an uneducated ‘young pup’ (as Ray would say) and wanting to have a bit of banter with him I cheekily said ‘Omega?? Come on Razor I expected better from you’. Ray with his face resembling that 'I'm about to take you to school' look says ‘why don’t you just have a look at the back of the timepiece before handing it here fella?’ I flipped it over and it had a big AC Milan badge engraved with ‘FRANCO BARESI TESTIMONIAL’ and the date. 'I take it back Razor I take it back’. He just winked at me and walked off chuckling to himself. Ray Wilkins enjoyed two stints as assistant coach of Chelsea between 1998 and 2010 Credit: PA BBC Channel Islands producer Jack Murley recalled an occasion when Wilkins showed empathy during one of his first interview as a journalist. "A few years back, I had the chance to interview him. I was fairly new in the job, and about as green behind the ears as it gets. Twice during the interview, the recording equipment packed up. "But each time, he let me start again, smiling and chatting as I fumbled with the batteries until we got the interview in the bag. Other journalists will agree, I'm sure, there aren't a lot of sporting A-listers who are that kind and considerate. We've lost a good one today." The impression of Wilkins' as a considerate man is reiterated in a short story told by a Queens Park Rangers fan on Twitter. Ben Brennan, QPR fan Ray Wilkins managed QPR between 1994 and 1996 Credit: PA As a QPR mad 9 year old, I spent a couple of years in hospital, on and off, when Ray Wilkins was QPR manager. A friend arranged for Ray to visit me. He brought presents, he stayed, he chatted, he cheered me up, and left with my spirits raised. A few weeks later he came back again, unannounced, and did the same. And then he came again, a few weeks later. And then he came again, and again. Didn't have to, nobody expected him to. He did so, I presume, because he was a really good bloke. As well as a brilliant footballer. Ex-England captain Terry Butcher has revealed Wilkins' hospitality during their time as teammates at Rangers. Terry Butcher Former Rangers captain Terry Butcher remembers Ray Wilkins being incredibly hospitable during their time together at Ibrox Credit: PA I remember at Rangers, where I was his captain, we went round his house every Sunday to watch Serie A Football Italia on his TV. He had this huge great [satellite] dish in his garden and he'd have all the Rangers players and their families around to watch the games. That's what he loved; he loved his family and everybody. He had time for everyone, he took time and made time for them.
Ray Wilkins: stars share their stories of kindness and generosity
The death of Ray Wilkins at the age of 61 has inspired a number of famous faces from the world of football to share their memories of the former England midfielder. Known affectionately as 'Butch', Wilkins earned a reputation as one the game's true gentlemen, enjoying a 23-year playing career that saw him represent 11 clubs across four different countries. One of the many young footballers to have had the fortune of playing under Wilkins was Nigel Quashie. The former Portsmouth midfielder played for Wilkins at Queens Park Rangers, and recounted the story of his debut for the club against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Nigel Quashie Ray Wilkins gave Nigel Quashie his professional debut as QPR manager Credit: PA I will never forget going to Manchester United as a YTS trainee to do all the kit and boots in the changing room for the first-team squad. One hour and 30 minutes before kick-off you name the team and I was in it, and that's how my debut went. I didn't even get to think about it because all you said was: you're number 18, here are your boots and shin pads, just go and play, have fun and treat it like you're over the park with your mates. My mum never had a mobile phone back then because we couldn't afford anything like that and everything went through her work or home phone. I asked you after the game if I could call home to speak to her. You said use my mobile and call this number - it was my mum on the other end of the line and she said she was outside by the away team bus. I went outside to see her and asked how did you get here because I knew she couldn't afford it. She told me Ray had got the club to pay for her train ticket to come to the game and then told me Ray got the club to give us our first mobile phone in life during the week and he wanted to surprise me, knowing I was making my debut. Former Chelsea and England midfielder Joe Cole also paid tribute to Wilkins. Cole worked with Wilkins at Chelsea where he was assistant manager to Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti. Joe Cole Ray Wilkins lifts the Premier League trophy during his time as assistant coach Credit: Joe Cole Instagram I loved you telling me about Franco Barresi and all the greats you have played with and against and reminiscing about the “good old days". Loved our daily chats and arguments about football and will always remember you saying “You young chappies should never give the ball away, these days you play on bowling greens, we played underneath the grass young man”. But most of all mate I will miss bumping into you and catching up and i always left your company with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. You will always be “dangerously well“. They don’t make them like you anymore Raymond. Ray Wilkins had most recently worked as a broadcaster on talkSport radio Credit: TalkSport Twitter Wilkins had most recently been working for Talksport alongside Alan Brazil and the station's tribute to their former colleague uncovered a number of touching stories. One listener phoned the station to he was a homeless ex-soldier when Wilkins took time to sit down with him when he was at his lowest ebb. According to the anonymous caller, Wilkins took time to discuss the man's addiction issues before giving him £20 for a meal and a bed for the night. He wasn't just a football man, he was a real man. I'm an ex-soldier and I had some time when I was homeless and I was outside of West Brompton station. He came over to me and I recognised him straight away and he just took some time to sit and chat and we were both sat on my cardboard together. He took the time to sit and talk and we were chatting about the army. He gave me £20 and told me to get myself a hot meal. I took that money and I got some shelter and a hot meal. During that time I met a guy who was helping ex-soldiers, who put me in touch with decent people who would help me. Now I'm fully recovered, I'm not gambling, I have my own place, a beautiful girlfriend I'm about to marry and I put it down to the time that man took to give to a man that was nothing to him. He was a real hero to me and to millions of others across the world. Just heard a guy on @talkSPORT telling a story of him being homeless dealing with addiction and depression. Ray Wilkins gave him £20 and took him for a coffee. With the money he got shelter and now is clean of addiction. Amazing story & tribute to the man.— James Stannard (@jimmy_coach) April 5, 2018 Ex-Chelsea midfielder Jody Morris joined former teammates Frank Lampard and John Terry in paying tribute to Wilkins' warmth and sense of humour. Morris, now a coach at Chelsea's academy, shared a training ground anecdote involving Wilkins that referred to his days with AC Milan. Jody Morris played under Ray Wilkins during his time at Chelsea Credit: Jody Morris Instagram Jody Morris I’d been out injured for a long time and Razor [Wilkins] bursts into the treatment room while mid training session and says ‘Come on fella let’s get you involved... You can be ref as I’ve had enough of those Herberts moaning’. I came out and took his whistle and he took his watch off and put it on my wrist... I’d been used to seeing Ray with Rolexes but as I was taking the watch off to give it back I noticed it was was an Omega. Me being an uneducated ‘young pup’ (as Ray would say) and wanting to have a bit of banter with him I cheekily said ‘Omega?? Come on Razor I expected better from you’. Ray with his face resembling that 'I'm about to take you to school' look says ‘why don’t you just have a look at the back of the timepiece before handing it here fella?’ I flipped it over and it had a big AC Milan badge engraved with ‘FRANCO BARESI TESTIMONIAL’ and the date. 'I take it back Razor I take it back’. He just winked at me and walked off chuckling to himself. Ray Wilkins enjoyed two stints as assistant coach of Chelsea between 1998 and 2010 Credit: PA BBC Channel Islands producer Jack Murley recalled an occasion when Wilkins showed empathy during one of his first interview as a journalist. "A few years back, I had the chance to interview him. I was fairly new in the job, and about as green behind the ears as it gets. Twice during the interview, the recording equipment packed up. "But each time, he let me start again, smiling and chatting as I fumbled with the batteries until we got the interview in the bag. Other journalists will agree, I'm sure, there aren't a lot of sporting A-listers who are that kind and considerate. We've lost a good one today." The impression of Wilkins' as a considerate man is reiterated in a short story told by a Queens Park Rangers fan on Twitter. Ben Brennan, QPR fan Ray Wilkins managed QPR between 1994 and 1996 Credit: PA As a QPR mad 9 year old, I spent a couple of years in hospital, on and off, when Ray Wilkins was QPR manager. A friend arranged for Ray to visit me. He brought presents, he stayed, he chatted, he cheered me up, and left with my spirits raised. A few weeks later he came back again, unannounced, and did the same. And then he came again, a few weeks later. And then he came again, and again. Didn't have to, nobody expected him to. He did so, I presume, because he was a really good bloke. As well as a brilliant footballer. Ex-England captain Terry Butcher has revealed Wilkins' hospitality during their time as teammates at Rangers. Terry Butcher Former Rangers captain Terry Butcher remembers Ray Wilkins being incredibly hospitable during their time together at Ibrox Credit: PA I remember at Rangers, where I was his captain, we went round his house every Sunday to watch Serie A Football Italia on his TV. He had this huge great [satellite] dish in his garden and he'd have all the Rangers players and their families around to watch the games. That's what he loved; he loved his family and everybody. He had time for everyone, he took time and made time for them.
The death of Ray Wilkins at the age of 61 has inspired a number of famous faces from the world of football to share their memories of the former England midfielder. Known affectionately as 'Butch', Wilkins earned a reputation as one the game's true gentlemen, enjoying a 23-year playing career that saw him represent 11 clubs across four different countries. One of the many young footballers to have had the fortune of playing under Wilkins was Nigel Quashie. The former Portsmouth midfielder played for Wilkins at Queens Park Rangers, and recounted the story of his debut for the club against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Nigel Quashie Ray Wilkins gave Nigel Quashie his professional debut as QPR manager Credit: PA I will never forget going to Manchester United as a YTS trainee to do all the kit and boots in the changing room for the first-team squad. One hour and 30 minutes before kick-off you name the team and I was in it, and that's how my debut went. I didn't even get to think about it because all you said was: you're number 18, here are your boots and shin pads, just go and play, have fun and treat it like you're over the park with your mates. My mum never had a mobile phone back then because we couldn't afford anything like that and everything went through her work or home phone. I asked you after the game if I could call home to speak to her. You said use my mobile and call this number - it was my mum on the other end of the line and she said she was outside by the away team bus. I went outside to see her and asked how did you get here because I knew she couldn't afford it. She told me Ray had got the club to pay for her train ticket to come to the game and then told me Ray got the club to give us our first mobile phone in life during the week and he wanted to surprise me, knowing I was making my debut. Former Chelsea and England midfielder Joe Cole also paid tribute to Wilkins. Cole worked with Wilkins at Chelsea where he was assistant manager to Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti. Joe Cole Ray Wilkins lifts the Premier League trophy during his time as assistant coach Credit: Joe Cole Instagram I loved you telling me about Franco Barresi and all the greats you have played with and against and reminiscing about the “good old days". Loved our daily chats and arguments about football and will always remember you saying “You young chappies should never give the ball away, these days you play on bowling greens, we played underneath the grass young man”. But most of all mate I will miss bumping into you and catching up and i always left your company with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. You will always be “dangerously well“. They don’t make them like you anymore Raymond. Ray Wilkins had most recently worked as a broadcaster on talkSport radio Credit: TalkSport Twitter Wilkins had most recently been working for Talksport alongside Alan Brazil and the station's tribute to their former colleague uncovered a number of touching stories. One listener phoned the station to he was a homeless ex-soldier when Wilkins took time to sit down with him when he was at his lowest ebb. According to the anonymous caller, Wilkins took time to discuss the man's addiction issues before giving him £20 for a meal and a bed for the night. He wasn't just a football man, he was a real man. I'm an ex-soldier and I had some time when I was homeless and I was outside of West Brompton station. He came over to me and I recognised him straight away and he just took some time to sit and chat and we were both sat on my cardboard together. He took the time to sit and talk and we were chatting about the army. He gave me £20 and told me to get myself a hot meal. I took that money and I got some shelter and a hot meal. During that time I met a guy who was helping ex-soldiers, who put me in touch with decent people who would help me. Now I'm fully recovered, I'm not gambling, I have my own place, a beautiful girlfriend I'm about to marry and I put it down to the time that man took to give to a man that was nothing to him. He was a real hero to me and to millions of others across the world. Just heard a guy on @talkSPORT telling a story of him being homeless dealing with addiction and depression. Ray Wilkins gave him £20 and took him for a coffee. With the money he got shelter and now is clean of addiction. Amazing story & tribute to the man.— James Stannard (@jimmy_coach) April 5, 2018 Ex-Chelsea midfielder Jody Morris joined former teammates Frank Lampard and John Terry in paying tribute to Wilkins' warmth and sense of humour. Morris, now a coach at Chelsea's academy, shared a training ground anecdote involving Wilkins that referred to his days with AC Milan. Jody Morris played under Ray Wilkins during his time at Chelsea Credit: Jody Morris Instagram Jody Morris I’d been out injured for a long time and Razor [Wilkins] bursts into the treatment room while mid training session and says ‘Come on fella let’s get you involved... You can be ref as I’ve had enough of those Herberts moaning’. I came out and took his whistle and he took his watch off and put it on my wrist... I’d been used to seeing Ray with Rolexes but as I was taking the watch off to give it back I noticed it was was an Omega. Me being an uneducated ‘young pup’ (as Ray would say) and wanting to have a bit of banter with him I cheekily said ‘Omega?? Come on Razor I expected better from you’. Ray with his face resembling that 'I'm about to take you to school' look says ‘why don’t you just have a look at the back of the timepiece before handing it here fella?’ I flipped it over and it had a big AC Milan badge engraved with ‘FRANCO BARESI TESTIMONIAL’ and the date. 'I take it back Razor I take it back’. He just winked at me and walked off chuckling to himself. Ray Wilkins enjoyed two stints as assistant coach of Chelsea between 1998 and 2010 Credit: PA BBC Channel Islands producer Jack Murley recalled an occasion when Wilkins showed empathy during one of his first interview as a journalist. "A few years back, I had the chance to interview him. I was fairly new in the job, and about as green behind the ears as it gets. Twice during the interview, the recording equipment packed up. "But each time, he let me start again, smiling and chatting as I fumbled with the batteries until we got the interview in the bag. Other journalists will agree, I'm sure, there aren't a lot of sporting A-listers who are that kind and considerate. We've lost a good one today." The impression of Wilkins' as a considerate man is reiterated in a short story told by a Queens Park Rangers fan on Twitter. Ben Brennan, QPR fan Ray Wilkins managed QPR between 1994 and 1996 Credit: PA As a QPR mad 9 year old, I spent a couple of years in hospital, on and off, when Ray Wilkins was QPR manager. A friend arranged for Ray to visit me. He brought presents, he stayed, he chatted, he cheered me up, and left with my spirits raised. A few weeks later he came back again, unannounced, and did the same. And then he came again, a few weeks later. And then he came again, and again. Didn't have to, nobody expected him to. He did so, I presume, because he was a really good bloke. As well as a brilliant footballer. Ex-England captain Terry Butcher has revealed Wilkins' hospitality during their time as teammates at Rangers. Terry Butcher Former Rangers captain Terry Butcher remembers Ray Wilkins being incredibly hospitable during their time together at Ibrox Credit: PA I remember at Rangers, where I was his captain, we went round his house every Sunday to watch Serie A Football Italia on his TV. He had this huge great [satellite] dish in his garden and he'd have all the Rangers players and their families around to watch the games. That's what he loved; he loved his family and everybody. He had time for everyone, he took time and made time for them.
Ray Wilkins: stars share their stories of kindness and generosity
The death of Ray Wilkins at the age of 61 has inspired a number of famous faces from the world of football to share their memories of the former England midfielder. Known affectionately as 'Butch', Wilkins earned a reputation as one the game's true gentlemen, enjoying a 23-year playing career that saw him represent 11 clubs across four different countries. One of the many young footballers to have had the fortune of playing under Wilkins was Nigel Quashie. The former Portsmouth midfielder played for Wilkins at Queens Park Rangers, and recounted the story of his debut for the club against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Nigel Quashie Ray Wilkins gave Nigel Quashie his professional debut as QPR manager Credit: PA I will never forget going to Manchester United as a YTS trainee to do all the kit and boots in the changing room for the first-team squad. One hour and 30 minutes before kick-off you name the team and I was in it, and that's how my debut went. I didn't even get to think about it because all you said was: you're number 18, here are your boots and shin pads, just go and play, have fun and treat it like you're over the park with your mates. My mum never had a mobile phone back then because we couldn't afford anything like that and everything went through her work or home phone. I asked you after the game if I could call home to speak to her. You said use my mobile and call this number - it was my mum on the other end of the line and she said she was outside by the away team bus. I went outside to see her and asked how did you get here because I knew she couldn't afford it. She told me Ray had got the club to pay for her train ticket to come to the game and then told me Ray got the club to give us our first mobile phone in life during the week and he wanted to surprise me, knowing I was making my debut. Former Chelsea and England midfielder Joe Cole also paid tribute to Wilkins. Cole worked with Wilkins at Chelsea where he was assistant manager to Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti. Joe Cole Ray Wilkins lifts the Premier League trophy during his time as assistant coach Credit: Joe Cole Instagram I loved you telling me about Franco Barresi and all the greats you have played with and against and reminiscing about the “good old days". Loved our daily chats and arguments about football and will always remember you saying “You young chappies should never give the ball away, these days you play on bowling greens, we played underneath the grass young man”. But most of all mate I will miss bumping into you and catching up and i always left your company with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. You will always be “dangerously well“. They don’t make them like you anymore Raymond. Ray Wilkins had most recently worked as a broadcaster on talkSport radio Credit: TalkSport Twitter Wilkins had most recently been working for Talksport alongside Alan Brazil and the station's tribute to their former colleague uncovered a number of touching stories. One listener phoned the station to he was a homeless ex-soldier when Wilkins took time to sit down with him when he was at his lowest ebb. According to the anonymous caller, Wilkins took time to discuss the man's addiction issues before giving him £20 for a meal and a bed for the night. He wasn't just a football man, he was a real man. I'm an ex-soldier and I had some time when I was homeless and I was outside of West Brompton station. He came over to me and I recognised him straight away and he just took some time to sit and chat and we were both sat on my cardboard together. He took the time to sit and talk and we were chatting about the army. He gave me £20 and told me to get myself a hot meal. I took that money and I got some shelter and a hot meal. During that time I met a guy who was helping ex-soldiers, who put me in touch with decent people who would help me. Now I'm fully recovered, I'm not gambling, I have my own place, a beautiful girlfriend I'm about to marry and I put it down to the time that man took to give to a man that was nothing to him. He was a real hero to me and to millions of others across the world. Just heard a guy on @talkSPORT telling a story of him being homeless dealing with addiction and depression. Ray Wilkins gave him £20 and took him for a coffee. With the money he got shelter and now is clean of addiction. Amazing story & tribute to the man.— James Stannard (@jimmy_coach) April 5, 2018 Ex-Chelsea midfielder Jody Morris joined former teammates Frank Lampard and John Terry in paying tribute to Wilkins' warmth and sense of humour. Morris, now a coach at Chelsea's academy, shared a training ground anecdote involving Wilkins that referred to his days with AC Milan. Jody Morris played under Ray Wilkins during his time at Chelsea Credit: Jody Morris Instagram Jody Morris I’d been out injured for a long time and Razor [Wilkins] bursts into the treatment room while mid training session and says ‘Come on fella let’s get you involved... You can be ref as I’ve had enough of those Herberts moaning’. I came out and took his whistle and he took his watch off and put it on my wrist... I’d been used to seeing Ray with Rolexes but as I was taking the watch off to give it back I noticed it was was an Omega. Me being an uneducated ‘young pup’ (as Ray would say) and wanting to have a bit of banter with him I cheekily said ‘Omega?? Come on Razor I expected better from you’. Ray with his face resembling that 'I'm about to take you to school' look says ‘why don’t you just have a look at the back of the timepiece before handing it here fella?’ I flipped it over and it had a big AC Milan badge engraved with ‘FRANCO BARESI TESTIMONIAL’ and the date. 'I take it back Razor I take it back’. He just winked at me and walked off chuckling to himself. Ray Wilkins enjoyed two stints as assistant coach of Chelsea between 1998 and 2010 Credit: PA BBC Channel Islands producer Jack Murley recalled an occasion when Wilkins showed empathy during one of his first interview as a journalist. "A few years back, I had the chance to interview him. I was fairly new in the job, and about as green behind the ears as it gets. Twice during the interview, the recording equipment packed up. "But each time, he let me start again, smiling and chatting as I fumbled with the batteries until we got the interview in the bag. Other journalists will agree, I'm sure, there aren't a lot of sporting A-listers who are that kind and considerate. We've lost a good one today." The impression of Wilkins' as a considerate man is reiterated in a short story told by a Queens Park Rangers fan on Twitter. Ben Brennan, QPR fan Ray Wilkins managed QPR between 1994 and 1996 Credit: PA As a QPR mad 9 year old, I spent a couple of years in hospital, on and off, when Ray Wilkins was QPR manager. A friend arranged for Ray to visit me. He brought presents, he stayed, he chatted, he cheered me up, and left with my spirits raised. A few weeks later he came back again, unannounced, and did the same. And then he came again, a few weeks later. And then he came again, and again. Didn't have to, nobody expected him to. He did so, I presume, because he was a really good bloke. As well as a brilliant footballer. Ex-England captain Terry Butcher has revealed Wilkins' hospitality during their time as teammates at Rangers. Terry Butcher Former Rangers captain Terry Butcher remembers Ray Wilkins being incredibly hospitable during their time together at Ibrox Credit: PA I remember at Rangers, where I was his captain, we went round his house every Sunday to watch Serie A Football Italia on his TV. He had this huge great [satellite] dish in his garden and he'd have all the Rangers players and their families around to watch the games. That's what he loved; he loved his family and everybody. He had time for everyone, he took time and made time for them.
The death of Ray Wilkins at the age of 61 has inspired a number of famous faces from the world of football to share their memories of the former England midfielder. Known affectionately as 'Butch', Wilkins earned a reputation as one the game's true gentlemen, enjoying a 23-year playing career that saw him represent 11 clubs across four different countries. One of the many young footballers to have had the fortune of playing under Wilkins was Nigel Quashie. The former Portsmouth midfielder played for Wilkins at Queens Park Rangers, and recounted the story of his debut for the club against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Nigel Quashie Ray Wilkins gave Nigel Quashie his professional debut as QPR manager Credit: PA I will never forget going to Manchester United as a YTS trainee to do all the kit and boots in the changing room for the first-team squad. One hour and 30 minutes before kick-off you name the team and I was in it, and that's how my debut went. I didn't even get to think about it because all you said was: you're number 18, here are your boots and shin pads, just go and play, have fun and treat it like you're over the park with your mates. My mum never had a mobile phone back then because we couldn't afford anything like that and everything went through her work or home phone. I asked you after the game if I could call home to speak to her. You said use my mobile and call this number - it was my mum on the other end of the line and she said she was outside by the away team bus. I went outside to see her and asked how did you get here because I knew she couldn't afford it. She told me Ray had got the club to pay for her train ticket to come to the game and then told me Ray got the club to give us our first mobile phone in life during the week and he wanted to surprise me, knowing I was making my debut. Former Chelsea and England midfielder Joe Cole also paid tribute to Wilkins. Cole worked with Wilkins at Chelsea where he was assistant manager to Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti. Joe Cole Ray Wilkins lifts the Premier League trophy during his time as assistant coach Credit: Joe Cole Instagram I loved you telling me about Franco Barresi and all the greats you have played with and against and reminiscing about the “good old days". Loved our daily chats and arguments about football and will always remember you saying “You young chappies should never give the ball away, these days you play on bowling greens, we played underneath the grass young man”. But most of all mate I will miss bumping into you and catching up and i always left your company with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. You will always be “dangerously well“. They don’t make them like you anymore Raymond. Ray Wilkins had most recently worked as a broadcaster on talkSport radio Credit: TalkSport Twitter Wilkins had most recently been working for Talksport alongside Alan Brazil and the station's tribute to their former colleague uncovered a number of touching stories. One listener phoned the station to he was a homeless ex-soldier when Wilkins took time to sit down with him when he was at his lowest ebb. According to the anonymous caller, Wilkins took time to discuss the man's addiction issues before giving him £20 for a meal and a bed for the night. He wasn't just a football man, he was a real man. I'm an ex-soldier and I had some time when I was homeless and I was outside of West Brompton station. He came over to me and I recognised him straight away and he just took some time to sit and chat and we were both sat on my cardboard together. He took the time to sit and talk and we were chatting about the army. He gave me £20 and told me to get myself a hot meal. I took that money and I got some shelter and a hot meal. During that time I met a guy who was helping ex-soldiers, who put me in touch with decent people who would help me. Now I'm fully recovered, I'm not gambling, I have my own place, a beautiful girlfriend I'm about to marry and I put it down to the time that man took to give to a man that was nothing to him. He was a real hero to me and to millions of others across the world. Just heard a guy on @talkSPORT telling a story of him being homeless dealing with addiction and depression. Ray Wilkins gave him £20 and took him for a coffee. With the money he got shelter and now is clean of addiction. Amazing story & tribute to the man.— James Stannard (@jimmy_coach) April 5, 2018 Ex-Chelsea midfielder Jody Morris joined former teammates Frank Lampard and John Terry in paying tribute to Wilkins' warmth and sense of humour. Morris, now a coach at Chelsea's academy, shared a training ground anecdote involving Wilkins that referred to his days with AC Milan. Jody Morris played under Ray Wilkins during his time at Chelsea Credit: Jody Morris Instagram Jody Morris I’d been out injured for a long time and Razor [Wilkins] bursts into the treatment room while mid training session and says ‘Come on fella let’s get you involved... You can be ref as I’ve had enough of those Herberts moaning’. I came out and took his whistle and he took his watch off and put it on my wrist... I’d been used to seeing Ray with Rolexes but as I was taking the watch off to give it back I noticed it was was an Omega. Me being an uneducated ‘young pup’ (as Ray would say) and wanting to have a bit of banter with him I cheekily said ‘Omega?? Come on Razor I expected better from you’. Ray with his face resembling that 'I'm about to take you to school' look says ‘why don’t you just have a look at the back of the timepiece before handing it here fella?’ I flipped it over and it had a big AC Milan badge engraved with ‘FRANCO BARESI TESTIMONIAL’ and the date. 'I take it back Razor I take it back’. He just winked at me and walked off chuckling to himself. Ray Wilkins enjoyed two stints as assistant coach of Chelsea between 1998 and 2010 Credit: PA BBC Channel Islands producer Jack Murley recalled an occasion when Wilkins showed empathy during one of his first interview as a journalist. "A few years back, I had the chance to interview him. I was fairly new in the job, and about as green behind the ears as it gets. Twice during the interview, the recording equipment packed up. "But each time, he let me start again, smiling and chatting as I fumbled with the batteries until we got the interview in the bag. Other journalists will agree, I'm sure, there aren't a lot of sporting A-listers who are that kind and considerate. We've lost a good one today." The impression of Wilkins' as a considerate man is reiterated in a short story told by a Queens Park Rangers fan on Twitter. Ben Brennan, QPR fan Ray Wilkins managed QPR between 1994 and 1996 Credit: PA As a QPR mad 9 year old, I spent a couple of years in hospital, on and off, when Ray Wilkins was QPR manager. A friend arranged for Ray to visit me. He brought presents, he stayed, he chatted, he cheered me up, and left with my spirits raised. A few weeks later he came back again, unannounced, and did the same. And then he came again, a few weeks later. And then he came again, and again. Didn't have to, nobody expected him to. He did so, I presume, because he was a really good bloke. As well as a brilliant footballer. Ex-England captain Terry Butcher has revealed Wilkins' hospitality during their time as teammates at Rangers. Terry Butcher Former Rangers captain Terry Butcher remembers Ray Wilkins being incredibly hospitable during their time together at Ibrox Credit: PA I remember at Rangers, where I was his captain, we went round his house every Sunday to watch Serie A Football Italia on his TV. He had this huge great [satellite] dish in his garden and he'd have all the Rangers players and their families around to watch the games. That's what he loved; he loved his family and everybody. He had time for everyone, he took time and made time for them.
Ray Wilkins: stars share their stories of kindness and generosity
The death of Ray Wilkins at the age of 61 has inspired a number of famous faces from the world of football to share their memories of the former England midfielder. Known affectionately as 'Butch', Wilkins earned a reputation as one the game's true gentlemen, enjoying a 23-year playing career that saw him represent 11 clubs across four different countries. One of the many young footballers to have had the fortune of playing under Wilkins was Nigel Quashie. The former Portsmouth midfielder played for Wilkins at Queens Park Rangers, and recounted the story of his debut for the club against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Nigel Quashie Ray Wilkins gave Nigel Quashie his professional debut as QPR manager Credit: PA I will never forget going to Manchester United as a YTS trainee to do all the kit and boots in the changing room for the first-team squad. One hour and 30 minutes before kick-off you name the team and I was in it, and that's how my debut went. I didn't even get to think about it because all you said was: you're number 18, here are your boots and shin pads, just go and play, have fun and treat it like you're over the park with your mates. My mum never had a mobile phone back then because we couldn't afford anything like that and everything went through her work or home phone. I asked you after the game if I could call home to speak to her. You said use my mobile and call this number - it was my mum on the other end of the line and she said she was outside by the away team bus. I went outside to see her and asked how did you get here because I knew she couldn't afford it. She told me Ray had got the club to pay for her train ticket to come to the game and then told me Ray got the club to give us our first mobile phone in life during the week and he wanted to surprise me, knowing I was making my debut. Former Chelsea and England midfielder Joe Cole also paid tribute to Wilkins. Cole worked with Wilkins at Chelsea where he was assistant manager to Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti. Joe Cole Ray Wilkins lifts the Premier League trophy during his time as assistant coach Credit: Joe Cole Instagram I loved you telling me about Franco Barresi and all the greats you have played with and against and reminiscing about the “good old days". Loved our daily chats and arguments about football and will always remember you saying “You young chappies should never give the ball away, these days you play on bowling greens, we played underneath the grass young man”. But most of all mate I will miss bumping into you and catching up and i always left your company with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. You will always be “dangerously well“. They don’t make them like you anymore Raymond. Ray Wilkins had most recently worked as a broadcaster on talkSport radio Credit: TalkSport Twitter Wilkins had most recently been working for Talksport alongside Alan Brazil and the station's tribute to their former colleague uncovered a number of touching stories. One listener phoned the station to he was a homeless ex-soldier when Wilkins took time to sit down with him when he was at his lowest ebb. According to the anonymous caller, Wilkins took time to discuss the man's addiction issues before giving him £20 for a meal and a bed for the night. He wasn't just a football man, he was a real man. I'm an ex-soldier and I had some time when I was homeless and I was outside of West Brompton station. He came over to me and I recognised him straight away and he just took some time to sit and chat and we were both sat on my cardboard together. He took the time to sit and talk and we were chatting about the army. He gave me £20 and told me to get myself a hot meal. I took that money and I got some shelter and a hot meal. During that time I met a guy who was helping ex-soldiers, who put me in touch with decent people who would help me. Now I'm fully recovered, I'm not gambling, I have my own place, a beautiful girlfriend I'm about to marry and I put it down to the time that man took to give to a man that was nothing to him. He was a real hero to me and to millions of others across the world. Just heard a guy on @talkSPORT telling a story of him being homeless dealing with addiction and depression. Ray Wilkins gave him £20 and took him for a coffee. With the money he got shelter and now is clean of addiction. Amazing story & tribute to the man.— James Stannard (@jimmy_coach) April 5, 2018 Ex-Chelsea midfielder Jody Morris joined former teammates Frank Lampard and John Terry in paying tribute to Wilkins' warmth and sense of humour. Morris, now a coach at Chelsea's academy, shared a training ground anecdote involving Wilkins that referred to his days with AC Milan. Jody Morris played under Ray Wilkins during his time at Chelsea Credit: Jody Morris Instagram Jody Morris I’d been out injured for a long time and Razor [Wilkins] bursts into the treatment room while mid training session and says ‘Come on fella let’s get you involved... You can be ref as I’ve had enough of those Herberts moaning’. I came out and took his whistle and he took his watch off and put it on my wrist... I’d been used to seeing Ray with Rolexes but as I was taking the watch off to give it back I noticed it was was an Omega. Me being an uneducated ‘young pup’ (as Ray would say) and wanting to have a bit of banter with him I cheekily said ‘Omega?? Come on Razor I expected better from you’. Ray with his face resembling that 'I'm about to take you to school' look says ‘why don’t you just have a look at the back of the timepiece before handing it here fella?’ I flipped it over and it had a big AC Milan badge engraved with ‘FRANCO BARESI TESTIMONIAL’ and the date. 'I take it back Razor I take it back’. He just winked at me and walked off chuckling to himself. Ray Wilkins enjoyed two stints as assistant coach of Chelsea between 1998 and 2010 Credit: PA BBC Channel Islands producer Jack Murley recalled an occasion when Wilkins showed empathy during one of his first interview as a journalist. "A few years back, I had the chance to interview him. I was fairly new in the job, and about as green behind the ears as it gets. Twice during the interview, the recording equipment packed up. "But each time, he let me start again, smiling and chatting as I fumbled with the batteries until we got the interview in the bag. Other journalists will agree, I'm sure, there aren't a lot of sporting A-listers who are that kind and considerate. We've lost a good one today." The impression of Wilkins' as a considerate man is reiterated in a short story told by a Queens Park Rangers fan on Twitter. Ben Brennan, QPR fan Ray Wilkins managed QPR between 1994 and 1996 Credit: PA As a QPR mad 9 year old, I spent a couple of years in hospital, on and off, when Ray Wilkins was QPR manager. A friend arranged for Ray to visit me. He brought presents, he stayed, he chatted, he cheered me up, and left with my spirits raised. A few weeks later he came back again, unannounced, and did the same. And then he came again, a few weeks later. And then he came again, and again. Didn't have to, nobody expected him to. He did so, I presume, because he was a really good bloke. As well as a brilliant footballer. Ex-England captain Terry Butcher has revealed Wilkins' hospitality during their time as teammates at Rangers. Terry Butcher Former Rangers captain Terry Butcher remembers Ray Wilkins being incredibly hospitable during their time together at Ibrox Credit: PA I remember at Rangers, where I was his captain, we went round his house every Sunday to watch Serie A Football Italia on his TV. He had this huge great [satellite] dish in his garden and he'd have all the Rangers players and their families around to watch the games. That's what he loved; he loved his family and everybody. He had time for everyone, he took time and made time for them.
The death of Ray Wilkins at the age of 61 has inspired a number of famous faces from the world of football to share their memories of the former England midfielder. Known affectionately as 'Butch', Wilkins earned a reputation as one the game's true gentlemen, enjoying a 23-year playing career that saw him represent 11 clubs across four different countries. One of the many young footballers to have had the fortune of playing under Wilkins was Nigel Quashie. The former Portsmouth midfielder played for Wilkins at Queens Park Rangers, and recounted the story of his debut for the club against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Nigel Quashie Ray Wilkins gave Nigel Quashie his professional debut as QPR manager Credit: PA I will never forget going to Manchester United as a YTS trainee to do all the kit and boots in the changing room for the first-team squad. One hour and 30 minutes before kick-off you name the team and I was in it, and that's how my debut went. I didn't even get to think about it because all you said was: you're number 18, here are your boots and shin pads, just go and play, have fun and treat it like you're over the park with your mates. My mum never had a mobile phone back then because we couldn't afford anything like that and everything went through her work or home phone. I asked you after the game if I could call home to speak to her. You said use my mobile and call this number - it was my mum on the other end of the line and she said she was outside by the away team bus. I went outside to see her and asked how did you get here because I knew she couldn't afford it. She told me Ray had got the club to pay for her train ticket to come to the game and then told me Ray got the club to give us our first mobile phone in life during the week and he wanted to surprise me, knowing I was making my debut. Former Chelsea and England midfielder Joe Cole also paid tribute to Wilkins. Cole worked with Wilkins at Chelsea where he was assistant manager to Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti. Joe Cole Ray Wilkins lifts the Premier League trophy during his time as assistant coach Credit: Joe Cole Instagram I loved you telling me about Franco Barresi and all the greats you have played with and against and reminiscing about the “good old days". Loved our daily chats and arguments about football and will always remember you saying “You young chappies should never give the ball away, these days you play on bowling greens, we played underneath the grass young man”. But most of all mate I will miss bumping into you and catching up and i always left your company with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. You will always be “dangerously well“. They don’t make them like you anymore Raymond. Ray Wilkins had most recently worked as a broadcaster on talkSport radio Credit: TalkSport Twitter Wilkins had most recently been working for Talksport alongside Alan Brazil and the station's tribute to their former colleague uncovered a number of touching stories. One listener phoned the station to he was a homeless ex-soldier when Wilkins took time to sit down with him when he was at his lowest ebb. According to the anonymous caller, Wilkins took time to discuss the man's addiction issues before giving him £20 for a meal and a bed for the night. He wasn't just a football man, he was a real man. I'm an ex-soldier and I had some time when I was homeless and I was outside of West Brompton station. He came over to me and I recognised him straight away and he just took some time to sit and chat and we were both sat on my cardboard together. He took the time to sit and talk and we were chatting about the army. He gave me £20 and told me to get myself a hot meal. I took that money and I got some shelter and a hot meal. During that time I met a guy who was helping ex-soldiers, who put me in touch with decent people who would help me. Now I'm fully recovered, I'm not gambling, I have my own place, a beautiful girlfriend I'm about to marry and I put it down to the time that man took to give to a man that was nothing to him. He was a real hero to me and to millions of others across the world. Just heard a guy on @talkSPORT telling a story of him being homeless dealing with addiction and depression. Ray Wilkins gave him £20 and took him for a coffee. With the money he got shelter and now is clean of addiction. Amazing story & tribute to the man.— James Stannard (@jimmy_coach) April 5, 2018 Ex-Chelsea midfielder Jody Morris joined former teammates Frank Lampard and John Terry in paying tribute to Wilkins' warmth and sense of humour. Morris, now a coach at Chelsea's academy, shared a training ground anecdote involving Wilkins that referred to his days with AC Milan. Jody Morris played under Ray Wilkins during his time at Chelsea Credit: Jody Morris Instagram Jody Morris I’d been out injured for a long time and Razor [Wilkins] bursts into the treatment room while mid training session and says ‘Come on fella let’s get you involved... You can be ref as I’ve had enough of those Herberts moaning’. I came out and took his whistle and he took his watch off and put it on my wrist... I’d been used to seeing Ray with Rolexes but as I was taking the watch off to give it back I noticed it was was an Omega. Me being an uneducated ‘young pup’ (as Ray would say) and wanting to have a bit of banter with him I cheekily said ‘Omega?? Come on Razor I expected better from you’. Ray with his face resembling that 'I'm about to take you to school' look says ‘why don’t you just have a look at the back of the timepiece before handing it here fella?’ I flipped it over and it had a big AC Milan badge engraved with ‘FRANCO BARESI TESTIMONIAL’ and the date. 'I take it back Razor I take it back’. He just winked at me and walked off chuckling to himself. Ray Wilkins enjoyed two stints as assistant coach of Chelsea between 1998 and 2010 Credit: PA BBC Channel Islands producer Jack Murley recalled an occasion when Wilkins showed empathy during one of his first interview as a journalist. "A few years back, I had the chance to interview him. I was fairly new in the job, and about as green behind the ears as it gets. Twice during the interview, the recording equipment packed up. "But each time, he let me start again, smiling and chatting as I fumbled with the batteries until we got the interview in the bag. Other journalists will agree, I'm sure, there aren't a lot of sporting A-listers who are that kind and considerate. We've lost a good one today." The impression of Wilkins' as a considerate man is reiterated in a short story told by a Queens Park Rangers fan on Twitter. Ben Brennan, QPR fan Ray Wilkins managed QPR between 1994 and 1996 Credit: PA As a QPR mad 9 year old, I spent a couple of years in hospital, on and off, when Ray Wilkins was QPR manager. A friend arranged for Ray to visit me. He brought presents, he stayed, he chatted, he cheered me up, and left with my spirits raised. A few weeks later he came back again, unannounced, and did the same. And then he came again, a few weeks later. And then he came again, and again. Didn't have to, nobody expected him to. He did so, I presume, because he was a really good bloke. As well as a brilliant footballer. Ex-England captain Terry Butcher has revealed Wilkins' hospitality during their time as teammates at Rangers. Terry Butcher Former Rangers captain Terry Butcher remembers Ray Wilkins being incredibly hospitable during their time together at Ibrox Credit: PA I remember at Rangers, where I was his captain, we went round his house every Sunday to watch Serie A Football Italia on his TV. He had this huge great [satellite] dish in his garden and he'd have all the Rangers players and their families around to watch the games. That's what he loved; he loved his family and everybody. He had time for everyone, he took time and made time for them.
Ray Wilkins: stars share their stories of kindness and generosity
The death of Ray Wilkins at the age of 61 has inspired a number of famous faces from the world of football to share their memories of the former England midfielder. Known affectionately as 'Butch', Wilkins earned a reputation as one the game's true gentlemen, enjoying a 23-year playing career that saw him represent 11 clubs across four different countries. One of the many young footballers to have had the fortune of playing under Wilkins was Nigel Quashie. The former Portsmouth midfielder played for Wilkins at Queens Park Rangers, and recounted the story of his debut for the club against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Nigel Quashie Ray Wilkins gave Nigel Quashie his professional debut as QPR manager Credit: PA I will never forget going to Manchester United as a YTS trainee to do all the kit and boots in the changing room for the first-team squad. One hour and 30 minutes before kick-off you name the team and I was in it, and that's how my debut went. I didn't even get to think about it because all you said was: you're number 18, here are your boots and shin pads, just go and play, have fun and treat it like you're over the park with your mates. My mum never had a mobile phone back then because we couldn't afford anything like that and everything went through her work or home phone. I asked you after the game if I could call home to speak to her. You said use my mobile and call this number - it was my mum on the other end of the line and she said she was outside by the away team bus. I went outside to see her and asked how did you get here because I knew she couldn't afford it. She told me Ray had got the club to pay for her train ticket to come to the game and then told me Ray got the club to give us our first mobile phone in life during the week and he wanted to surprise me, knowing I was making my debut. Former Chelsea and England midfielder Joe Cole also paid tribute to Wilkins. Cole worked with Wilkins at Chelsea where he was assistant manager to Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti. Joe Cole Ray Wilkins lifts the Premier League trophy during his time as assistant coach Credit: Joe Cole Instagram I loved you telling me about Franco Barresi and all the greats you have played with and against and reminiscing about the “good old days". Loved our daily chats and arguments about football and will always remember you saying “You young chappies should never give the ball away, these days you play on bowling greens, we played underneath the grass young man”. But most of all mate I will miss bumping into you and catching up and i always left your company with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. You will always be “dangerously well“. They don’t make them like you anymore Raymond. Ray Wilkins had most recently worked as a broadcaster on talkSport radio Credit: TalkSport Twitter Wilkins had most recently been working for Talksport alongside Alan Brazil and the station's tribute to their former colleague uncovered a number of touching stories. One listener phoned the station to he was a homeless ex-soldier when Wilkins took time to sit down with him when he was at his lowest ebb. According to the anonymous caller, Wilkins took time to discuss the man's addiction issues before giving him £20 for a meal and a bed for the night. He wasn't just a football man, he was a real man. I'm an ex-soldier and I had some time when I was homeless and I was outside of West Brompton station. He came over to me and I recognised him straight away and he just took some time to sit and chat and we were both sat on my cardboard together. He took the time to sit and talk and we were chatting about the army. He gave me £20 and told me to get myself a hot meal. I took that money and I got some shelter and a hot meal. During that time I met a guy who was helping ex-soldiers, who put me in touch with decent people who would help me. Now I'm fully recovered, I'm not gambling, I have my own place, a beautiful girlfriend I'm about to marry and I put it down to the time that man took to give to a man that was nothing to him. He was a real hero to me and to millions of others across the world. Just heard a guy on @talkSPORT telling a story of him being homeless dealing with addiction and depression. Ray Wilkins gave him £20 and took him for a coffee. With the money he got shelter and now is clean of addiction. Amazing story & tribute to the man.— James Stannard (@jimmy_coach) April 5, 2018 Ex-Chelsea midfielder Jody Morris joined former teammates Frank Lampard and John Terry in paying tribute to Wilkins' warmth and sense of humour. Morris, now a coach at Chelsea's academy, shared a training ground anecdote involving Wilkins that referred to his days with AC Milan. Jody Morris played under Ray Wilkins during his time at Chelsea Credit: Jody Morris Instagram Jody Morris I’d been out injured for a long time and Razor [Wilkins] bursts into the treatment room while mid training session and says ‘Come on fella let’s get you involved... You can be ref as I’ve had enough of those Herberts moaning’. I came out and took his whistle and he took his watch off and put it on my wrist... I’d been used to seeing Ray with Rolexes but as I was taking the watch off to give it back I noticed it was was an Omega. Me being an uneducated ‘young pup’ (as Ray would say) and wanting to have a bit of banter with him I cheekily said ‘Omega?? Come on Razor I expected better from you’. Ray with his face resembling that 'I'm about to take you to school' look says ‘why don’t you just have a look at the back of the timepiece before handing it here fella?’ I flipped it over and it had a big AC Milan badge engraved with ‘FRANCO BARESI TESTIMONIAL’ and the date. 'I take it back Razor I take it back’. He just winked at me and walked off chuckling to himself. Ray Wilkins enjoyed two stints as assistant coach of Chelsea between 1998 and 2010 Credit: PA BBC Channel Islands producer Jack Murley recalled an occasion when Wilkins showed empathy during one of his first interview as a journalist. "A few years back, I had the chance to interview him. I was fairly new in the job, and about as green behind the ears as it gets. Twice during the interview, the recording equipment packed up. "But each time, he let me start again, smiling and chatting as I fumbled with the batteries until we got the interview in the bag. Other journalists will agree, I'm sure, there aren't a lot of sporting A-listers who are that kind and considerate. We've lost a good one today." The impression of Wilkins' as a considerate man is reiterated in a short story told by a Queens Park Rangers fan on Twitter. Ben Brennan, QPR fan Ray Wilkins managed QPR between 1994 and 1996 Credit: PA As a QPR mad 9 year old, I spent a couple of years in hospital, on and off, when Ray Wilkins was QPR manager. A friend arranged for Ray to visit me. He brought presents, he stayed, he chatted, he cheered me up, and left with my spirits raised. A few weeks later he came back again, unannounced, and did the same. And then he came again, a few weeks later. And then he came again, and again. Didn't have to, nobody expected him to. He did so, I presume, because he was a really good bloke. As well as a brilliant footballer. Ex-England captain Terry Butcher has revealed Wilkins' hospitality during their time as teammates at Rangers. Terry Butcher Former Rangers captain Terry Butcher remembers Ray Wilkins being incredibly hospitable during their time together at Ibrox Credit: PA I remember at Rangers, where I was his captain, we went round his house every Sunday to watch Serie A Football Italia on his TV. He had this huge great [satellite] dish in his garden and he'd have all the Rangers players and their families around to watch the games. That's what he loved; he loved his family and everybody. He had time for everyone, he took time and made time for them.
The death of Ray Wilkins at the age of 61 has inspired a number of famous faces from the world of football to share their memories of the former England midfielder. Known affectionately as 'Butch', Wilkins earned a reputation as one the game's true gentlemen, enjoying a 23-year playing career that saw him represent 11 clubs across four different countries. One of the many young footballers to have had the fortune of playing under Wilkins was Nigel Quashie. The former Portsmouth midfielder played for Wilkins at Queens Park Rangers, and recounted the story of his debut for the club against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Nigel Quashie Ray Wilkins gave Nigel Quashie his professional debut as QPR manager Credit: PA I will never forget going to Manchester United as a YTS trainee to do all the kit and boots in the changing room for the first-team squad. One hour and 30 minutes before kick-off you name the team and I was in it, and that's how my debut went. I didn't even get to think about it because all you said was: you're number 18, here are your boots and shin pads, just go and play, have fun and treat it like you're over the park with your mates. My mum never had a mobile phone back then because we couldn't afford anything like that and everything went through her work or home phone. I asked you after the game if I could call home to speak to her. You said use my mobile and call this number - it was my mum on the other end of the line and she said she was outside by the away team bus. I went outside to see her and asked how did you get here because I knew she couldn't afford it. She told me Ray had got the club to pay for her train ticket to come to the game and then told me Ray got the club to give us our first mobile phone in life during the week and he wanted to surprise me, knowing I was making my debut. Former Chelsea and England midfielder Joe Cole also paid tribute to Wilkins. Cole worked with Wilkins at Chelsea where he was assistant manager to Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti. Joe Cole Ray Wilkins lifts the Premier League trophy during his time as assistant coach Credit: Joe Cole Instagram I loved you telling me about Franco Barresi and all the greats you have played with and against and reminiscing about the “good old days". Loved our daily chats and arguments about football and will always remember you saying “You young chappies should never give the ball away, these days you play on bowling greens, we played underneath the grass young man”. But most of all mate I will miss bumping into you and catching up and i always left your company with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. You will always be “dangerously well“. They don’t make them like you anymore Raymond. Ray Wilkins had most recently worked as a broadcaster on talkSport radio Credit: TalkSport Twitter Wilkins had most recently been working for Talksport alongside Alan Brazil and the station's tribute to their former colleague uncovered a number of touching stories. One listener phoned the station to he was a homeless ex-soldier when Wilkins took time to sit down with him when he was at his lowest ebb. According to the anonymous caller, Wilkins took time to discuss the man's addiction issues before giving him £20 for a meal and a bed for the night. He wasn't just a football man, he was a real man. I'm an ex-soldier and I had some time when I was homeless and I was outside of West Brompton station. He came over to me and I recognised him straight away and he just took some time to sit and chat and we were both sat on my cardboard together. He took the time to sit and talk and we were chatting about the army. He gave me £20 and told me to get myself a hot meal. I took that money and I got some shelter and a hot meal. During that time I met a guy who was helping ex-soldiers, who put me in touch with decent people who would help me. Now I'm fully recovered, I'm not gambling, I have my own place, a beautiful girlfriend I'm about to marry and I put it down to the time that man took to give to a man that was nothing to him. He was a real hero to me and to millions of others across the world. Just heard a guy on @talkSPORT telling a story of him being homeless dealing with addiction and depression. Ray Wilkins gave him £20 and took him for a coffee. With the money he got shelter and now is clean of addiction. Amazing story & tribute to the man.— James Stannard (@jimmy_coach) April 5, 2018 Ex-Chelsea midfielder Jody Morris joined former teammates Frank Lampard and John Terry in paying tribute to Wilkins' warmth and sense of humour. Morris, now a coach at Chelsea's academy, shared a training ground anecdote involving Wilkins that referred to his days with AC Milan. Jody Morris played under Ray Wilkins during his time at Chelsea Credit: Jody Morris Instagram Jody Morris I’d been out injured for a long time and Razor [Wilkins] bursts into the treatment room while mid training session and says ‘Come on fella let’s get you involved... You can be ref as I’ve had enough of those Herberts moaning’. I came out and took his whistle and he took his watch off and put it on my wrist... I’d been used to seeing Ray with Rolexes but as I was taking the watch off to give it back I noticed it was was an Omega. Me being an uneducated ‘young pup’ (as Ray would say) and wanting to have a bit of banter with him I cheekily said ‘Omega?? Come on Razor I expected better from you’. Ray with his face resembling that 'I'm about to take you to school' look says ‘why don’t you just have a look at the back of the timepiece before handing it here fella?’ I flipped it over and it had a big AC Milan badge engraved with ‘FRANCO BARESI TESTIMONIAL’ and the date. 'I take it back Razor I take it back’. He just winked at me and walked off chuckling to himself. Ray Wilkins enjoyed two stints as assistant coach of Chelsea between 1998 and 2010 Credit: PA BBC Channel Islands producer Jack Murley recalled an occasion when Wilkins showed empathy during one of his first interview as a journalist. "A few years back, I had the chance to interview him. I was fairly new in the job, and about as green behind the ears as it gets. Twice during the interview, the recording equipment packed up. "But each time, he let me start again, smiling and chatting as I fumbled with the batteries until we got the interview in the bag. Other journalists will agree, I'm sure, there aren't a lot of sporting A-listers who are that kind and considerate. We've lost a good one today." The impression of Wilkins' as a considerate man is reiterated in a short story told by a Queens Park Rangers fan on Twitter. Ben Brennan, QPR fan Ray Wilkins managed QPR between 1994 and 1996 Credit: PA As a QPR mad 9 year old, I spent a couple of years in hospital, on and off, when Ray Wilkins was QPR manager. A friend arranged for Ray to visit me. He brought presents, he stayed, he chatted, he cheered me up, and left with my spirits raised. A few weeks later he came back again, unannounced, and did the same. And then he came again, a few weeks later. And then he came again, and again. Didn't have to, nobody expected him to. He did so, I presume, because he was a really good bloke. As well as a brilliant footballer. Ex-England captain Terry Butcher has revealed Wilkins' hospitality during their time as teammates at Rangers. Terry Butcher Former Rangers captain Terry Butcher remembers Ray Wilkins being incredibly hospitable during their time together at Ibrox Credit: PA I remember at Rangers, where I was his captain, we went round his house every Sunday to watch Serie A Football Italia on his TV. He had this huge great [satellite] dish in his garden and he'd have all the Rangers players and their families around to watch the games. That's what he loved; he loved his family and everybody. He had time for everyone, he took time and made time for them.
Ray Wilkins: stars share their stories of kindness and generosity
The death of Ray Wilkins at the age of 61 has inspired a number of famous faces from the world of football to share their memories of the former England midfielder. Known affectionately as 'Butch', Wilkins earned a reputation as one the game's true gentlemen, enjoying a 23-year playing career that saw him represent 11 clubs across four different countries. One of the many young footballers to have had the fortune of playing under Wilkins was Nigel Quashie. The former Portsmouth midfielder played for Wilkins at Queens Park Rangers, and recounted the story of his debut for the club against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Nigel Quashie Ray Wilkins gave Nigel Quashie his professional debut as QPR manager Credit: PA I will never forget going to Manchester United as a YTS trainee to do all the kit and boots in the changing room for the first-team squad. One hour and 30 minutes before kick-off you name the team and I was in it, and that's how my debut went. I didn't even get to think about it because all you said was: you're number 18, here are your boots and shin pads, just go and play, have fun and treat it like you're over the park with your mates. My mum never had a mobile phone back then because we couldn't afford anything like that and everything went through her work or home phone. I asked you after the game if I could call home to speak to her. You said use my mobile and call this number - it was my mum on the other end of the line and she said she was outside by the away team bus. I went outside to see her and asked how did you get here because I knew she couldn't afford it. She told me Ray had got the club to pay for her train ticket to come to the game and then told me Ray got the club to give us our first mobile phone in life during the week and he wanted to surprise me, knowing I was making my debut. Former Chelsea and England midfielder Joe Cole also paid tribute to Wilkins. Cole worked with Wilkins at Chelsea where he was assistant manager to Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti. Joe Cole Ray Wilkins lifts the Premier League trophy during his time as assistant coach Credit: Joe Cole Instagram I loved you telling me about Franco Barresi and all the greats you have played with and against and reminiscing about the “good old days". Loved our daily chats and arguments about football and will always remember you saying “You young chappies should never give the ball away, these days you play on bowling greens, we played underneath the grass young man”. But most of all mate I will miss bumping into you and catching up and i always left your company with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. You will always be “dangerously well“. They don’t make them like you anymore Raymond. Ray Wilkins had most recently worked as a broadcaster on talkSport radio Credit: TalkSport Twitter Wilkins had most recently been working for Talksport alongside Alan Brazil and the station's tribute to their former colleague uncovered a number of touching stories. One listener phoned the station to he was a homeless ex-soldier when Wilkins took time to sit down with him when he was at his lowest ebb. According to the anonymous caller, Wilkins took time to discuss the man's addiction issues before giving him £20 for a meal and a bed for the night. He wasn't just a football man, he was a real man. I'm an ex-soldier and I had some time when I was homeless and I was outside of West Brompton station. He came over to me and I recognised him straight away and he just took some time to sit and chat and we were both sat on my cardboard together. He took the time to sit and talk and we were chatting about the army. He gave me £20 and told me to get myself a hot meal. I took that money and I got some shelter and a hot meal. During that time I met a guy who was helping ex-soldiers, who put me in touch with decent people who would help me. Now I'm fully recovered, I'm not gambling, I have my own place, a beautiful girlfriend I'm about to marry and I put it down to the time that man took to give to a man that was nothing to him. He was a real hero to me and to millions of others across the world. Just heard a guy on @talkSPORT telling a story of him being homeless dealing with addiction and depression. Ray Wilkins gave him £20 and took him for a coffee. With the money he got shelter and now is clean of addiction. Amazing story & tribute to the man.— James Stannard (@jimmy_coach) April 5, 2018 Ex-Chelsea midfielder Jody Morris joined former teammates Frank Lampard and John Terry in paying tribute to Wilkins' warmth and sense of humour. Morris, now a coach at Chelsea's academy, shared a training ground anecdote involving Wilkins that referred to his days with AC Milan. Jody Morris played under Ray Wilkins during his time at Chelsea Credit: Jody Morris Instagram Jody Morris I’d been out injured for a long time and Razor [Wilkins] bursts into the treatment room while mid training session and says ‘Come on fella let’s get you involved... You can be ref as I’ve had enough of those Herberts moaning’. I came out and took his whistle and he took his watch off and put it on my wrist... I’d been used to seeing Ray with Rolexes but as I was taking the watch off to give it back I noticed it was was an Omega. Me being an uneducated ‘young pup’ (as Ray would say) and wanting to have a bit of banter with him I cheekily said ‘Omega?? Come on Razor I expected better from you’. Ray with his face resembling that 'I'm about to take you to school' look says ‘why don’t you just have a look at the back of the timepiece before handing it here fella?’ I flipped it over and it had a big AC Milan badge engraved with ‘FRANCO BARESI TESTIMONIAL’ and the date. 'I take it back Razor I take it back’. He just winked at me and walked off chuckling to himself. Ray Wilkins enjoyed two stints as assistant coach of Chelsea between 1998 and 2010 Credit: PA BBC Channel Islands producer Jack Murley recalled an occasion when Wilkins showed empathy during one of his first interview as a journalist. "A few years back, I had the chance to interview him. I was fairly new in the job, and about as green behind the ears as it gets. Twice during the interview, the recording equipment packed up. "But each time, he let me start again, smiling and chatting as I fumbled with the batteries until we got the interview in the bag. Other journalists will agree, I'm sure, there aren't a lot of sporting A-listers who are that kind and considerate. We've lost a good one today." The impression of Wilkins' as a considerate man is reiterated in a short story told by a Queens Park Rangers fan on Twitter. Ben Brennan, QPR fan Ray Wilkins managed QPR between 1994 and 1996 Credit: PA As a QPR mad 9 year old, I spent a couple of years in hospital, on and off, when Ray Wilkins was QPR manager. A friend arranged for Ray to visit me. He brought presents, he stayed, he chatted, he cheered me up, and left with my spirits raised. A few weeks later he came back again, unannounced, and did the same. And then he came again, a few weeks later. And then he came again, and again. Didn't have to, nobody expected him to. He did so, I presume, because he was a really good bloke. As well as a brilliant footballer. Ex-England captain Terry Butcher has revealed Wilkins' hospitality during their time as teammates at Rangers. Terry Butcher Former Rangers captain Terry Butcher remembers Ray Wilkins being incredibly hospitable during their time together at Ibrox Credit: PA I remember at Rangers, where I was his captain, we went round his house every Sunday to watch Serie A Football Italia on his TV. He had this huge great [satellite] dish in his garden and he'd have all the Rangers players and their families around to watch the games. That's what he loved; he loved his family and everybody. He had time for everyone, he took time and made time for them.
The death of Ray Wilkins at the age of 61 has inspired a number of famous faces from the world of football to share their memories of the former England midfielder. Known affectionately as 'Butch', Wilkins earned a reputation as one the game's true gentlemen, enjoying a 23-year playing career that saw him represent 11 clubs across four different countries. One of the many young footballers to have had the fortune of playing under Wilkins was Nigel Quashie. The former Portsmouth midfielder played for Wilkins at Queens Park Rangers, and recounted the story of his debut for the club against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Nigel Quashie Ray Wilkins gave Nigel Quashie his professional debut as QPR manager Credit: PA I will never forget going to Manchester United as a YTS trainee to do all the kit and boots in the changing room for the first-team squad. One hour and 30 minutes before kick-off you name the team and I was in it, and that's how my debut went. I didn't even get to think about it because all you said was: you're number 18, here are your boots and shin pads, just go and play, have fun and treat it like you're over the park with your mates. My mum never had a mobile phone back then because we couldn't afford anything like that and everything went through her work or home phone. I asked you after the game if I could call home to speak to her. You said use my mobile and call this number - it was my mum on the other end of the line and she said she was outside by the away team bus. I went outside to see her and asked how did you get here because I knew she couldn't afford it. She told me Ray had got the club to pay for her train ticket to come to the game and then told me Ray got the club to give us our first mobile phone in life during the week and he wanted to surprise me, knowing I was making my debut. Former Chelsea and England midfielder Joe Cole also paid tribute to Wilkins. Cole worked with Wilkins at Chelsea where he was assistant manager to Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti. Joe Cole Ray Wilkins lifts the Premier League trophy during his time as assistant coach Credit: Joe Cole Instagram I loved you telling me about Franco Barresi and all the greats you have played with and against and reminiscing about the “good old days". Loved our daily chats and arguments about football and will always remember you saying “You young chappies should never give the ball away, these days you play on bowling greens, we played underneath the grass young man”. But most of all mate I will miss bumping into you and catching up and i always left your company with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. You will always be “dangerously well“. They don’t make them like you anymore Raymond. Ray Wilkins had most recently worked as a broadcaster on talkSport radio Credit: TalkSport Twitter Wilkins had most recently been working for Talksport alongside Alan Brazil and the station's tribute to their former colleague uncovered a number of touching stories. One listener phoned the station to he was a homeless ex-soldier when Wilkins took time to sit down with him when he was at his lowest ebb. According to the anonymous caller, Wilkins took time to discuss the man's addiction issues before giving him £20 for a meal and a bed for the night. He wasn't just a football man, he was a real man. I'm an ex-soldier and I had some time when I was homeless and I was outside of West Brompton station. He came over to me and I recognised him straight away and he just took some time to sit and chat and we were both sat on my cardboard together. He took the time to sit and talk and we were chatting about the army. He gave me £20 and told me to get myself a hot meal. I took that money and I got some shelter and a hot meal. During that time I met a guy who was helping ex-soldiers, who put me in touch with decent people who would help me. Now I'm fully recovered, I'm not gambling, I have my own place, a beautiful girlfriend I'm about to marry and I put it down to the time that man took to give to a man that was nothing to him. He was a real hero to me and to millions of others across the world. Just heard a guy on @talkSPORT telling a story of him being homeless dealing with addiction and depression. Ray Wilkins gave him £20 and took him for a coffee. With the money he got shelter and now is clean of addiction. Amazing story & tribute to the man.— James Stannard (@jimmy_coach) April 5, 2018 Ex-Chelsea midfielder Jody Morris joined former teammates Frank Lampard and John Terry in paying tribute to Wilkins' warmth and sense of humour. Morris, now a coach at Chelsea's academy, shared a training ground anecdote involving Wilkins that referred to his days with AC Milan. Jody Morris played under Ray Wilkins during his time at Chelsea Credit: Jody Morris Instagram Jody Morris I’d been out injured for a long time and Razor [Wilkins] bursts into the treatment room while mid training session and says ‘Come on fella let’s get you involved... You can be ref as I’ve had enough of those Herberts moaning’. I came out and took his whistle and he took his watch off and put it on my wrist... I’d been used to seeing Ray with Rolexes but as I was taking the watch off to give it back I noticed it was was an Omega. Me being an uneducated ‘young pup’ (as Ray would say) and wanting to have a bit of banter with him I cheekily said ‘Omega?? Come on Razor I expected better from you’. Ray with his face resembling that 'I'm about to take you to school' look says ‘why don’t you just have a look at the back of the timepiece before handing it here fella?’ I flipped it over and it had a big AC Milan badge engraved with ‘FRANCO BARESI TESTIMONIAL’ and the date. 'I take it back Razor I take it back’. He just winked at me and walked off chuckling to himself. Ray Wilkins enjoyed two stints as assistant coach of Chelsea between 1998 and 2010 Credit: PA BBC Channel Islands producer Jack Murley recalled an occasion when Wilkins showed empathy during one of his first interview as a journalist. "A few years back, I had the chance to interview him. I was fairly new in the job, and about as green behind the ears as it gets. Twice during the interview, the recording equipment packed up. "But each time, he let me start again, smiling and chatting as I fumbled with the batteries until we got the interview in the bag. Other journalists will agree, I'm sure, there aren't a lot of sporting A-listers who are that kind and considerate. We've lost a good one today." The impression of Wilkins' as a considerate man is reiterated in a short story told by a Queens Park Rangers fan on Twitter. Ben Brennan, QPR fan Ray Wilkins managed QPR between 1994 and 1996 Credit: PA As a QPR mad 9 year old, I spent a couple of years in hospital, on and off, when Ray Wilkins was QPR manager. A friend arranged for Ray to visit me. He brought presents, he stayed, he chatted, he cheered me up, and left with my spirits raised. A few weeks later he came back again, unannounced, and did the same. And then he came again, a few weeks later. And then he came again, and again. Didn't have to, nobody expected him to. He did so, I presume, because he was a really good bloke. As well as a brilliant footballer. Ex-England captain Terry Butcher has revealed Wilkins' hospitality during their time as teammates at Rangers. Terry Butcher Former Rangers captain Terry Butcher remembers Ray Wilkins being incredibly hospitable during their time together at Ibrox Credit: PA I remember at Rangers, where I was his captain, we went round his house every Sunday to watch Serie A Football Italia on his TV. He had this huge great [satellite] dish in his garden and he'd have all the Rangers players and their families around to watch the games. That's what he loved; he loved his family and everybody. He had time for everyone, he took time and made time for them.
Ray Wilkins: stars share their stories of kindness and generosity
The death of Ray Wilkins at the age of 61 has inspired a number of famous faces from the world of football to share their memories of the former England midfielder. Known affectionately as 'Butch', Wilkins earned a reputation as one the game's true gentlemen, enjoying a 23-year playing career that saw him represent 11 clubs across four different countries. One of the many young footballers to have had the fortune of playing under Wilkins was Nigel Quashie. The former Portsmouth midfielder played for Wilkins at Queens Park Rangers, and recounted the story of his debut for the club against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Nigel Quashie Ray Wilkins gave Nigel Quashie his professional debut as QPR manager Credit: PA I will never forget going to Manchester United as a YTS trainee to do all the kit and boots in the changing room for the first-team squad. One hour and 30 minutes before kick-off you name the team and I was in it, and that's how my debut went. I didn't even get to think about it because all you said was: you're number 18, here are your boots and shin pads, just go and play, have fun and treat it like you're over the park with your mates. My mum never had a mobile phone back then because we couldn't afford anything like that and everything went through her work or home phone. I asked you after the game if I could call home to speak to her. You said use my mobile and call this number - it was my mum on the other end of the line and she said she was outside by the away team bus. I went outside to see her and asked how did you get here because I knew she couldn't afford it. She told me Ray had got the club to pay for her train ticket to come to the game and then told me Ray got the club to give us our first mobile phone in life during the week and he wanted to surprise me, knowing I was making my debut. Former Chelsea and England midfielder Joe Cole also paid tribute to Wilkins. Cole worked with Wilkins at Chelsea where he was assistant manager to Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti. Joe Cole Ray Wilkins lifts the Premier League trophy during his time as assistant coach Credit: Joe Cole Instagram I loved you telling me about Franco Barresi and all the greats you have played with and against and reminiscing about the “good old days". Loved our daily chats and arguments about football and will always remember you saying “You young chappies should never give the ball away, these days you play on bowling greens, we played underneath the grass young man”. But most of all mate I will miss bumping into you and catching up and i always left your company with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. You will always be “dangerously well“. They don’t make them like you anymore Raymond. Ray Wilkins had most recently worked as a broadcaster on talkSport radio Credit: TalkSport Twitter Wilkins had most recently been working for Talksport alongside Alan Brazil and the station's tribute to their former colleague uncovered a number of touching stories. One listener phoned the station to he was a homeless ex-soldier when Wilkins took time to sit down with him when he was at his lowest ebb. According to the anonymous caller, Wilkins took time to discuss the man's addiction issues before giving him £20 for a meal and a bed for the night. He wasn't just a football man, he was a real man. I'm an ex-soldier and I had some time when I was homeless and I was outside of West Brompton station. He came over to me and I recognised him straight away and he just took some time to sit and chat and we were both sat on my cardboard together. He took the time to sit and talk and we were chatting about the army. He gave me £20 and told me to get myself a hot meal. I took that money and I got some shelter and a hot meal. During that time I met a guy who was helping ex-soldiers, who put me in touch with decent people who would help me. Now I'm fully recovered, I'm not gambling, I have my own place, a beautiful girlfriend I'm about to marry and I put it down to the time that man took to give to a man that was nothing to him. He was a real hero to me and to millions of others across the world. Just heard a guy on @talkSPORT telling a story of him being homeless dealing with addiction and depression. Ray Wilkins gave him £20 and took him for a coffee. With the money he got shelter and now is clean of addiction. Amazing story & tribute to the man.— James Stannard (@jimmy_coach) April 5, 2018 Ex-Chelsea midfielder Jody Morris joined former teammates Frank Lampard and John Terry in paying tribute to Wilkins' warmth and sense of humour. Morris, now a coach at Chelsea's academy, shared a training ground anecdote involving Wilkins that referred to his days with AC Milan. Jody Morris played under Ray Wilkins during his time at Chelsea Credit: Jody Morris Instagram Jody Morris I’d been out injured for a long time and Razor [Wilkins] bursts into the treatment room while mid training session and says ‘Come on fella let’s get you involved... You can be ref as I’ve had enough of those Herberts moaning’. I came out and took his whistle and he took his watch off and put it on my wrist... I’d been used to seeing Ray with Rolexes but as I was taking the watch off to give it back I noticed it was was an Omega. Me being an uneducated ‘young pup’ (as Ray would say) and wanting to have a bit of banter with him I cheekily said ‘Omega?? Come on Razor I expected better from you’. Ray with his face resembling that 'I'm about to take you to school' look says ‘why don’t you just have a look at the back of the timepiece before handing it here fella?’ I flipped it over and it had a big AC Milan badge engraved with ‘FRANCO BARESI TESTIMONIAL’ and the date. 'I take it back Razor I take it back’. He just winked at me and walked off chuckling to himself. Ray Wilkins enjoyed two stints as assistant coach of Chelsea between 1998 and 2010 Credit: PA BBC Channel Islands producer Jack Murley recalled an occasion when Wilkins showed empathy during one of his first interview as a journalist. "A few years back, I had the chance to interview him. I was fairly new in the job, and about as green behind the ears as it gets. Twice during the interview, the recording equipment packed up. "But each time, he let me start again, smiling and chatting as I fumbled with the batteries until we got the interview in the bag. Other journalists will agree, I'm sure, there aren't a lot of sporting A-listers who are that kind and considerate. We've lost a good one today." The impression of Wilkins' as a considerate man is reiterated in a short story told by a Queens Park Rangers fan on Twitter. Ben Brennan, QPR fan Ray Wilkins managed QPR between 1994 and 1996 Credit: PA As a QPR mad 9 year old, I spent a couple of years in hospital, on and off, when Ray Wilkins was QPR manager. A friend arranged for Ray to visit me. He brought presents, he stayed, he chatted, he cheered me up, and left with my spirits raised. A few weeks later he came back again, unannounced, and did the same. And then he came again, a few weeks later. And then he came again, and again. Didn't have to, nobody expected him to. He did so, I presume, because he was a really good bloke. As well as a brilliant footballer. Ex-England captain Terry Butcher has revealed Wilkins' hospitality during their time as teammates at Rangers. Terry Butcher Former Rangers captain Terry Butcher remembers Ray Wilkins being incredibly hospitable during their time together at Ibrox Credit: PA I remember at Rangers, where I was his captain, we went round his house every Sunday to watch Serie A Football Italia on his TV. He had this huge great [satellite] dish in his garden and he'd have all the Rangers players and their families around to watch the games. That's what he loved; he loved his family and everybody. He had time for everyone, he took time and made time for them.
The death of Ray Wilkins at the age of 61 has inspired a number of famous faces from the world of football to share their memories of the former England midfielder. Known affectionately as 'Butch', Wilkins earned a reputation as one the game's true gentlemen, enjoying a 23-year playing career that saw him represent 11 clubs across four different countries. One of the many young footballers to have had the fortune of playing under Wilkins was Nigel Quashie. The former Portsmouth midfielder played for Wilkins at Queens Park Rangers, and recounted the story of his debut for the club against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Nigel Quashie Ray Wilkins gave Nigel Quashie his professional debut as QPR manager Credit: PA I will never forget going to Manchester United as a YTS trainee to do all the kit and boots in the changing room for the first-team squad. One hour and 30 minutes before kick-off you name the team and I was in it, and that's how my debut went. I didn't even get to think about it because all you said was: you're number 18, here are your boots and shin pads, just go and play, have fun and treat it like you're over the park with your mates. My mum never had a mobile phone back then because we couldn't afford anything like that and everything went through her work or home phone. I asked you after the game if I could call home to speak to her. You said use my mobile and call this number - it was my mum on the other end of the line and she said she was outside by the away team bus. I went outside to see her and asked how did you get here because I knew she couldn't afford it. She told me Ray had got the club to pay for her train ticket to come to the game and then told me Ray got the club to give us our first mobile phone in life during the week and he wanted to surprise me, knowing I was making my debut. Former Chelsea and England midfielder Joe Cole also paid tribute to Wilkins. Cole worked with Wilkins at Chelsea where he was assistant manager to Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti. Joe Cole Ray Wilkins lifts the Premier League trophy during his time as assistant coach Credit: Joe Cole Instagram I loved you telling me about Franco Barresi and all the greats you have played with and against and reminiscing about the “good old days". Loved our daily chats and arguments about football and will always remember you saying “You young chappies should never give the ball away, these days you play on bowling greens, we played underneath the grass young man”. But most of all mate I will miss bumping into you and catching up and i always left your company with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. You will always be “dangerously well“. They don’t make them like you anymore Raymond. Ray Wilkins had most recently worked as a broadcaster on talkSport radio Credit: TalkSport Twitter Wilkins had most recently been working for Talksport alongside Alan Brazil and the station's tribute to their former colleague uncovered a number of touching stories. One listener phoned the station to he was a homeless ex-soldier when Wilkins took time to sit down with him when he was at his lowest ebb. According to the anonymous caller, Wilkins took time to discuss the man's addiction issues before giving him £20 for a meal and a bed for the night. He wasn't just a football man, he was a real man. I'm an ex-soldier and I had some time when I was homeless and I was outside of West Brompton station. He came over to me and I recognised him straight away and he just took some time to sit and chat and we were both sat on my cardboard together. He took the time to sit and talk and we were chatting about the army. He gave me £20 and told me to get myself a hot meal. I took that money and I got some shelter and a hot meal. During that time I met a guy who was helping ex-soldiers, who put me in touch with decent people who would help me. Now I'm fully recovered, I'm not gambling, I have my own place, a beautiful girlfriend I'm about to marry and I put it down to the time that man took to give to a man that was nothing to him. He was a real hero to me and to millions of others across the world. Just heard a guy on @talkSPORT telling a story of him being homeless dealing with addiction and depression. Ray Wilkins gave him £20 and took him for a coffee. With the money he got shelter and now is clean of addiction. Amazing story & tribute to the man.— James Stannard (@jimmy_coach) April 5, 2018 Ex-Chelsea midfielder Jody Morris joined former teammates Frank Lampard and John Terry in paying tribute to Wilkins' warmth and sense of humour. Morris, now a coach at Chelsea's academy, shared a training ground anecdote involving Wilkins that referred to his days with AC Milan. Jody Morris played under Ray Wilkins during his time at Chelsea Credit: Jody Morris Instagram Jody Morris I’d been out injured for a long time and Razor [Wilkins] bursts into the treatment room while mid training session and says ‘Come on fella let’s get you involved... You can be ref as I’ve had enough of those Herberts moaning’. I came out and took his whistle and he took his watch off and put it on my wrist... I’d been used to seeing Ray with Rolexes but as I was taking the watch off to give it back I noticed it was was an Omega. Me being an uneducated ‘young pup’ (as Ray would say) and wanting to have a bit of banter with him I cheekily said ‘Omega?? Come on Razor I expected better from you’. Ray with his face resembling that 'I'm about to take you to school' look says ‘why don’t you just have a look at the back of the timepiece before handing it here fella?’ I flipped it over and it had a big AC Milan badge engraved with ‘FRANCO BARESI TESTIMONIAL’ and the date. 'I take it back Razor I take it back’. He just winked at me and walked off chuckling to himself. Ray Wilkins enjoyed two stints as assistant coach of Chelsea between 1998 and 2010 Credit: PA BBC Channel Islands producer Jack Murley recalled an occasion when Wilkins showed empathy during one of his first interview as a journalist. "A few years back, I had the chance to interview him. I was fairly new in the job, and about as green behind the ears as it gets. Twice during the interview, the recording equipment packed up. "But each time, he let me start again, smiling and chatting as I fumbled with the batteries until we got the interview in the bag. Other journalists will agree, I'm sure, there aren't a lot of sporting A-listers who are that kind and considerate. We've lost a good one today." The impression of Wilkins' as a considerate man is reiterated in a short story told by a Queens Park Rangers fan on Twitter. Ben Brennan, QPR fan Ray Wilkins managed QPR between 1994 and 1996 Credit: PA As a QPR mad 9 year old, I spent a couple of years in hospital, on and off, when Ray Wilkins was QPR manager. A friend arranged for Ray to visit me. He brought presents, he stayed, he chatted, he cheered me up, and left with my spirits raised. A few weeks later he came back again, unannounced, and did the same. And then he came again, a few weeks later. And then he came again, and again. Didn't have to, nobody expected him to. He did so, I presume, because he was a really good bloke. As well as a brilliant footballer. Ex-England captain Terry Butcher has revealed Wilkins' hospitality during their time as teammates at Rangers. Terry Butcher Former Rangers captain Terry Butcher remembers Ray Wilkins being incredibly hospitable during their time together at Ibrox Credit: PA I remember at Rangers, where I was his captain, we went round his house every Sunday to watch Serie A Football Italia on his TV. He had this huge great [satellite] dish in his garden and he'd have all the Rangers players and their families around to watch the games. That's what he loved; he loved his family and everybody. He had time for everyone, he took time and made time for them.
Ray Wilkins: stars share their stories of kindness and generosity
The death of Ray Wilkins at the age of 61 has inspired a number of famous faces from the world of football to share their memories of the former England midfielder. Known affectionately as 'Butch', Wilkins earned a reputation as one the game's true gentlemen, enjoying a 23-year playing career that saw him represent 11 clubs across four different countries. One of the many young footballers to have had the fortune of playing under Wilkins was Nigel Quashie. The former Portsmouth midfielder played for Wilkins at Queens Park Rangers, and recounted the story of his debut for the club against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Nigel Quashie Ray Wilkins gave Nigel Quashie his professional debut as QPR manager Credit: PA I will never forget going to Manchester United as a YTS trainee to do all the kit and boots in the changing room for the first-team squad. One hour and 30 minutes before kick-off you name the team and I was in it, and that's how my debut went. I didn't even get to think about it because all you said was: you're number 18, here are your boots and shin pads, just go and play, have fun and treat it like you're over the park with your mates. My mum never had a mobile phone back then because we couldn't afford anything like that and everything went through her work or home phone. I asked you after the game if I could call home to speak to her. You said use my mobile and call this number - it was my mum on the other end of the line and she said she was outside by the away team bus. I went outside to see her and asked how did you get here because I knew she couldn't afford it. She told me Ray had got the club to pay for her train ticket to come to the game and then told me Ray got the club to give us our first mobile phone in life during the week and he wanted to surprise me, knowing I was making my debut. Former Chelsea and England midfielder Joe Cole also paid tribute to Wilkins. Cole worked with Wilkins at Chelsea where he was assistant manager to Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti. Joe Cole Ray Wilkins lifts the Premier League trophy during his time as assistant coach Credit: Joe Cole Instagram I loved you telling me about Franco Barresi and all the greats you have played with and against and reminiscing about the “good old days". Loved our daily chats and arguments about football and will always remember you saying “You young chappies should never give the ball away, these days you play on bowling greens, we played underneath the grass young man”. But most of all mate I will miss bumping into you and catching up and i always left your company with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. You will always be “dangerously well“. They don’t make them like you anymore Raymond. Ray Wilkins had most recently worked as a broadcaster on talkSport radio Credit: TalkSport Twitter Wilkins had most recently been working for Talksport alongside Alan Brazil and the station's tribute to their former colleague uncovered a number of touching stories. One listener phoned the station to he was a homeless ex-soldier when Wilkins took time to sit down with him when he was at his lowest ebb. According to the anonymous caller, Wilkins took time to discuss the man's addiction issues before giving him £20 for a meal and a bed for the night. He wasn't just a football man, he was a real man. I'm an ex-soldier and I had some time when I was homeless and I was outside of West Brompton station. He came over to me and I recognised him straight away and he just took some time to sit and chat and we were both sat on my cardboard together. He took the time to sit and talk and we were chatting about the army. He gave me £20 and told me to get myself a hot meal. I took that money and I got some shelter and a hot meal. During that time I met a guy who was helping ex-soldiers, who put me in touch with decent people who would help me. Now I'm fully recovered, I'm not gambling, I have my own place, a beautiful girlfriend I'm about to marry and I put it down to the time that man took to give to a man that was nothing to him. He was a real hero to me and to millions of others across the world. Just heard a guy on @talkSPORT telling a story of him being homeless dealing with addiction and depression. Ray Wilkins gave him £20 and took him for a coffee. With the money he got shelter and now is clean of addiction. Amazing story & tribute to the man.— James Stannard (@jimmy_coach) April 5, 2018 Ex-Chelsea midfielder Jody Morris joined former teammates Frank Lampard and John Terry in paying tribute to Wilkins' warmth and sense of humour. Morris, now a coach at Chelsea's academy, shared a training ground anecdote involving Wilkins that referred to his days with AC Milan. Jody Morris played under Ray Wilkins during his time at Chelsea Credit: Jody Morris Instagram Jody Morris I’d been out injured for a long time and Razor [Wilkins] bursts into the treatment room while mid training session and says ‘Come on fella let’s get you involved... You can be ref as I’ve had enough of those Herberts moaning’. I came out and took his whistle and he took his watch off and put it on my wrist... I’d been used to seeing Ray with Rolexes but as I was taking the watch off to give it back I noticed it was was an Omega. Me being an uneducated ‘young pup’ (as Ray would say) and wanting to have a bit of banter with him I cheekily said ‘Omega?? Come on Razor I expected better from you’. Ray with his face resembling that 'I'm about to take you to school' look says ‘why don’t you just have a look at the back of the timepiece before handing it here fella?’ I flipped it over and it had a big AC Milan badge engraved with ‘FRANCO BARESI TESTIMONIAL’ and the date. 'I take it back Razor I take it back’. He just winked at me and walked off chuckling to himself. Ray Wilkins enjoyed two stints as assistant coach of Chelsea between 1998 and 2010 Credit: PA BBC Channel Islands producer Jack Murley recalled an occasion when Wilkins showed empathy during one of his first interview as a journalist. "A few years back, I had the chance to interview him. I was fairly new in the job, and about as green behind the ears as it gets. Twice during the interview, the recording equipment packed up. "But each time, he let me start again, smiling and chatting as I fumbled with the batteries until we got the interview in the bag. Other journalists will agree, I'm sure, there aren't a lot of sporting A-listers who are that kind and considerate. We've lost a good one today." The impression of Wilkins' as a considerate man is reiterated in a short story told by a Queens Park Rangers fan on Twitter. Ben Brennan, QPR fan Ray Wilkins managed QPR between 1994 and 1996 Credit: PA As a QPR mad 9 year old, I spent a couple of years in hospital, on and off, when Ray Wilkins was QPR manager. A friend arranged for Ray to visit me. He brought presents, he stayed, he chatted, he cheered me up, and left with my spirits raised. A few weeks later he came back again, unannounced, and did the same. And then he came again, a few weeks later. And then he came again, and again. Didn't have to, nobody expected him to. He did so, I presume, because he was a really good bloke. As well as a brilliant footballer. Ex-England captain Terry Butcher has revealed Wilkins' hospitality during their time as teammates at Rangers. Terry Butcher Former Rangers captain Terry Butcher remembers Ray Wilkins being incredibly hospitable during their time together at Ibrox Credit: PA I remember at Rangers, where I was his captain, we went round his house every Sunday to watch Serie A Football Italia on his TV. He had this huge great [satellite] dish in his garden and he'd have all the Rangers players and their families around to watch the games. That's what he loved; he loved his family and everybody. He had time for everyone, he took time and made time for them.
FILE PHOTO: Football - Chelsea v Portsmouth - FA Cup Final - Wembley Stadium - 15/5/10 Chelsea Assistant first team coach Ray Wilkins and Player liaison officer and administrative manager Gary Staker celebrate winning the FA Cup Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Matthew Childs/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Chelsea v Portsmouth FA Cup Final
FILE PHOTO: Football - Chelsea v Portsmouth - FA Cup Final - Wembley Stadium - 15/5/10 Chelsea Assistant first team coach Ray Wilkins and Player liaison officer and administrative manager Gary Staker celebrate winning the FA Cup Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Matthew Childs/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Football - Chelsea v Portsmouth - FA Cup Final - Wembley Stadium - 15/5/10 Chelsea Assistant first team coach Ray Wilkins and Player liaison officer and administrative manager Gary Staker celebrate winning the FA Cup Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Matthew Childs/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Chelsea v Portsmouth FA Cup Final
FILE PHOTO: Football - Chelsea v Portsmouth - FA Cup Final - Wembley Stadium - 15/5/10 Chelsea Assistant first team coach Ray Wilkins and Player liaison officer and administrative manager Gary Staker celebrate winning the FA Cup Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Matthew Childs/File Photo
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth’s Gareth Evans in action with Wigan’s Dan Burn Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth’s Gareth Evans in action with Wigan’s Dan Burn Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth’s Jamal Lowe celebrates scoring their second goal Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth’s Jamal Lowe celebrates scoring their second goal Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth’s Brett Pitman in action with Wigan’s Nathan Byrne Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth’s Brett Pitman in action with Wigan’s Nathan Byrne Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth’s Jamal Lowe scores their second goal Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth’s Jamal Lowe scores their second goal Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Wigan manager Paul Cook Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Wigan manager Paul Cook Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth’s Gareth Evans in action with Wigan’s James Vaughan Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth’s Gareth Evans in action with Wigan’s James Vaughan Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Wigan manager Paul Cook Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Wigan manager Paul Cook Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth’s Brett Pitman in action with Wigan’s Chey Dunkley Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth’s Brett Pitman in action with Wigan’s Chey Dunkley Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth’s Gareth Evans in action with Wigan’s Nick Powell Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth’s Gareth Evans in action with Wigan’s Nick Powell Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth’s Gareth Evans (L) and Nathan Thompson (R) in action with Wigan’s Michael Jacobs Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth’s Gareth Evans (L) and Nathan Thompson (R) in action with Wigan’s Michael Jacobs Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
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League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth’s Jamal Lowe in action with Wigan’s Callum Elder Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth’s Jamal Lowe in action with Wigan’s Callum Elder Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth’s Jamal Lowe in action with Wigan’s Callum Elder Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth’s Anton Walkes in action with Wigan’s Nick Powell Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth’s Anton Walkes in action with Wigan’s Nick Powell Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth’s Gareth Evans in action with Wigan’s Sam Morsy Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth’s Gareth Evans in action with Wigan’s Sam Morsy Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Wigan Athletic - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - April 2, 2018 Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett Action Images/Matthew Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth's Gareth Evans celebrates after the match with manager Kenny Jackett Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth's Gareth Evans celebrates after the match with manager Kenny Jackett Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth's Gareth Evans celebrates after the match Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth's Gareth Evans celebrates after the match Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth’s Gareth Evans celebrates scoring their first goal with Jamal Lowe Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth’s Gareth Evans celebrates scoring their first goal with Jamal Lowe Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth’s Gareth Evans celebrates scoring their first goal with Jamal Lowe Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth’s Gareth Evans celebrates scoring their first goal with Jamal Lowe Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Walsall manager Dean Keates Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Walsall manager Dean Keates Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Walsall manager Dean Keates Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Walsall manager Dean Keates Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth manager Kenny Jacket Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth manager Kenny Jacket Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth manager Kenny Jacket Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth manager Kenny Jacket Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Walsall's Flo Cuvelier in action with Portsmouth's Ben Close Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Walsall's Flo Cuvelier in action with Portsmouth's Ben Close Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Walsall's Amadou Bakayoko in action with Portsmouth's Matt Clarke Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Walsall's Amadou Bakayoko in action with Portsmouth's Matt Clarke Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Walsall's Flo Cuvelier in action with Portsmouth's Gareth Evans Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Walsall's Flo Cuvelier in action with Portsmouth's Gareth Evans Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth's Brett Pitman in action with Walsall's Jack Fitzwater Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Portsmouth's Brett Pitman in action with Walsall's Jack Fitzwater Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Walsall manager Dean Keates Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth
Soccer Football - League One - Walsall vs Portsmouth - The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Britain - March 31, 2018 Walsall manager Dean Keates Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Manchester United have taken the first steps towards trying to improve Old Trafford’s flagging atmosphere by introducing a heavily discounted season ticket for 18-25 year olds seated in the lower Stretford End. Fans in that age category sat in what is traditionally regarded as the loudest section of the ground will pay £285 for a season ticket, almost half the cost of the cheapest adult season ticket. United have also chosen to freeze season ticket prices for the seventh straight year. The move follows a meeting between senior club officials and the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST) over ways to improve the matchday atmosphere as well as criticism from manager Jose Mourinho, who has been unhappy with the noise levels inside Old Trafford since taking charge almost two years ago. Mourinho has criticised the atmosphere on several occasions, most recently after the 2-0 Premier League win over Huddersfield Town last month when he complained about the stadium being “quiet” and claimed the atmosphere at Portsmouth’s Fratton Park was far better. Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman, met with Mourinho over the matter and the club’s hierarchy are thought to share his concerns and are committed to addressing the situation. MUST, who had proposed cheaper season tickets in the 18-25 bracket during talks with the club in a bid to boost the atmosphere and entice younger, louder supporters who have been priced out, have welcomed the measure. Jose Mourinho has criticised the Old Trafford atmosphere Credit: REUTERS In a statement, MUST said: “We welcome the precedent of a new 18-25 ticket price. While this is only available in a small area for now, it starts to demonstrate an understanding that groups of young adults have felt priced out in the past, particularly at the transition point from youth to full adult pricing.” MUST have also made a series of other proposals, including the relocation of executive fans, part of the family stand and the disabled section, in order to free up thousands of seats in the Stretford End and Scoreboard End for more vocal supporters. “We await further information on these issues following our requests to the club,” MUST said. Meanwhile, former United manager Louis van Gaal has renewed his attack on Woodward over the handling of his sacking but does not blame Mourinho for taking his job. “I am not disappointed with Jose Mourinho. Every coach wants to train Manchester United, it’s one of the biggest clubs in the world,” Van Gaal told Sport Bild. “I think Jose wanted that too and had the opportunity, despite being laid off in 13th, on a fantastic team like Chelsea. I was in fourth place! I still do not blame him. “What I find wrong is when a CEO [Woodward] says we’re totally happy with you, do not believe the press. Then you win the FA Cup and still be fired.” Van Gaal also claimed Pep Guardiola is playing the brand of football at Manchester City that he envisaged for United. “Pep Guardiola is for me currently the best coach of the Premier League,” he said. “Pep made City a machine. He shows a football that I would have liked to play at Manchester United. But he has better players for it. For me, the process would have taken longer. Unfortunately, I did not get the time.”
Man Utd target 18-25 year-olds in attempt to improve Old Trafford atmosphere
Manchester United have taken the first steps towards trying to improve Old Trafford’s flagging atmosphere by introducing a heavily discounted season ticket for 18-25 year olds seated in the lower Stretford End. Fans in that age category sat in what is traditionally regarded as the loudest section of the ground will pay £285 for a season ticket, almost half the cost of the cheapest adult season ticket. United have also chosen to freeze season ticket prices for the seventh straight year. The move follows a meeting between senior club officials and the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST) over ways to improve the matchday atmosphere as well as criticism from manager Jose Mourinho, who has been unhappy with the noise levels inside Old Trafford since taking charge almost two years ago. Mourinho has criticised the atmosphere on several occasions, most recently after the 2-0 Premier League win over Huddersfield Town last month when he complained about the stadium being “quiet” and claimed the atmosphere at Portsmouth’s Fratton Park was far better. Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman, met with Mourinho over the matter and the club’s hierarchy are thought to share his concerns and are committed to addressing the situation. MUST, who had proposed cheaper season tickets in the 18-25 bracket during talks with the club in a bid to boost the atmosphere and entice younger, louder supporters who have been priced out, have welcomed the measure. Jose Mourinho has criticised the Old Trafford atmosphere Credit: REUTERS In a statement, MUST said: “We welcome the precedent of a new 18-25 ticket price. While this is only available in a small area for now, it starts to demonstrate an understanding that groups of young adults have felt priced out in the past, particularly at the transition point from youth to full adult pricing.” MUST have also made a series of other proposals, including the relocation of executive fans, part of the family stand and the disabled section, in order to free up thousands of seats in the Stretford End and Scoreboard End for more vocal supporters. “We await further information on these issues following our requests to the club,” MUST said. Meanwhile, former United manager Louis van Gaal has renewed his attack on Woodward over the handling of his sacking but does not blame Mourinho for taking his job. “I am not disappointed with Jose Mourinho. Every coach wants to train Manchester United, it’s one of the biggest clubs in the world,” Van Gaal told Sport Bild. “I think Jose wanted that too and had the opportunity, despite being laid off in 13th, on a fantastic team like Chelsea. I was in fourth place! I still do not blame him. “What I find wrong is when a CEO [Woodward] says we’re totally happy with you, do not believe the press. Then you win the FA Cup and still be fired.” Van Gaal also claimed Pep Guardiola is playing the brand of football at Manchester City that he envisaged for United. “Pep Guardiola is for me currently the best coach of the Premier League,” he said. “Pep made City a machine. He shows a football that I would have liked to play at Manchester United. But he has better players for it. For me, the process would have taken longer. Unfortunately, I did not get the time.”
Manchester United have taken the first steps towards trying to improve Old Trafford’s flagging atmosphere by introducing a heavily discounted season ticket for 18-25 year olds seated in the lower Stretford End. Fans in that age category sat in what is traditionally regarded as the loudest section of the ground will pay £285 for a season ticket, almost half the cost of the cheapest adult season ticket. United have also chosen to freeze season ticket prices for the seventh straight year. The move follows a meeting between senior club officials and the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST) over ways to improve the matchday atmosphere as well as criticism from manager Jose Mourinho, who has been unhappy with the noise levels inside Old Trafford since taking charge almost two years ago. Mourinho has criticised the atmosphere on several occasions, most recently after the 2-0 Premier League win over Huddersfield Town last month when he complained about the stadium being “quiet” and claimed the atmosphere at Portsmouth’s Fratton Park was far better. Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman, met with Mourinho over the matter and the club’s hierarchy are thought to share his concerns and are committed to addressing the situation. MUST, who had proposed cheaper season tickets in the 18-25 bracket during talks with the club in a bid to boost the atmosphere and entice younger, louder supporters who have been priced out, have welcomed the measure. Jose Mourinho has criticised the Old Trafford atmosphere Credit: REUTERS In a statement, MUST said: “We welcome the precedent of a new 18-25 ticket price. While this is only available in a small area for now, it starts to demonstrate an understanding that groups of young adults have felt priced out in the past, particularly at the transition point from youth to full adult pricing.” MUST have also made a series of other proposals, including the relocation of executive fans, part of the family stand and the disabled section, in order to free up thousands of seats in the Stretford End and Scoreboard End for more vocal supporters. “We await further information on these issues following our requests to the club,” MUST said. Meanwhile, former United manager Louis van Gaal has renewed his attack on Woodward over the handling of his sacking but does not blame Mourinho for taking his job. “I am not disappointed with Jose Mourinho. Every coach wants to train Manchester United, it’s one of the biggest clubs in the world,” Van Gaal told Sport Bild. “I think Jose wanted that too and had the opportunity, despite being laid off in 13th, on a fantastic team like Chelsea. I was in fourth place! I still do not blame him. “What I find wrong is when a CEO [Woodward] says we’re totally happy with you, do not believe the press. Then you win the FA Cup and still be fired.” Van Gaal also claimed Pep Guardiola is playing the brand of football at Manchester City that he envisaged for United. “Pep Guardiola is for me currently the best coach of the Premier League,” he said. “Pep made City a machine. He shows a football that I would have liked to play at Manchester United. But he has better players for it. For me, the process would have taken longer. Unfortunately, I did not get the time.”
Man Utd target 18-25 year-olds in attempt to improve Old Trafford atmosphere
Manchester United have taken the first steps towards trying to improve Old Trafford’s flagging atmosphere by introducing a heavily discounted season ticket for 18-25 year olds seated in the lower Stretford End. Fans in that age category sat in what is traditionally regarded as the loudest section of the ground will pay £285 for a season ticket, almost half the cost of the cheapest adult season ticket. United have also chosen to freeze season ticket prices for the seventh straight year. The move follows a meeting between senior club officials and the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST) over ways to improve the matchday atmosphere as well as criticism from manager Jose Mourinho, who has been unhappy with the noise levels inside Old Trafford since taking charge almost two years ago. Mourinho has criticised the atmosphere on several occasions, most recently after the 2-0 Premier League win over Huddersfield Town last month when he complained about the stadium being “quiet” and claimed the atmosphere at Portsmouth’s Fratton Park was far better. Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman, met with Mourinho over the matter and the club’s hierarchy are thought to share his concerns and are committed to addressing the situation. MUST, who had proposed cheaper season tickets in the 18-25 bracket during talks with the club in a bid to boost the atmosphere and entice younger, louder supporters who have been priced out, have welcomed the measure. Jose Mourinho has criticised the Old Trafford atmosphere Credit: REUTERS In a statement, MUST said: “We welcome the precedent of a new 18-25 ticket price. While this is only available in a small area for now, it starts to demonstrate an understanding that groups of young adults have felt priced out in the past, particularly at the transition point from youth to full adult pricing.” MUST have also made a series of other proposals, including the relocation of executive fans, part of the family stand and the disabled section, in order to free up thousands of seats in the Stretford End and Scoreboard End for more vocal supporters. “We await further information on these issues following our requests to the club,” MUST said. Meanwhile, former United manager Louis van Gaal has renewed his attack on Woodward over the handling of his sacking but does not blame Mourinho for taking his job. “I am not disappointed with Jose Mourinho. Every coach wants to train Manchester United, it’s one of the biggest clubs in the world,” Van Gaal told Sport Bild. “I think Jose wanted that too and had the opportunity, despite being laid off in 13th, on a fantastic team like Chelsea. I was in fourth place! I still do not blame him. “What I find wrong is when a CEO [Woodward] says we’re totally happy with you, do not believe the press. Then you win the FA Cup and still be fired.” Van Gaal also claimed Pep Guardiola is playing the brand of football at Manchester City that he envisaged for United. “Pep Guardiola is for me currently the best coach of the Premier League,” he said. “Pep made City a machine. He shows a football that I would have liked to play at Manchester United. But he has better players for it. For me, the process would have taken longer. Unfortunately, I did not get the time.”
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth fan gestures Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth fan gestures Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth fans gesture Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth fans gesture Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth's Ben Close in action with Oxford United's Joe Rothwell Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth's Ben Close in action with Oxford United's Joe Rothwell Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Oxford United's Alex Mowatt misses a penalty Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Oxford United's Alex Mowatt misses a penalty Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Oxford United's Alex Mowatt reacts after missing a penalty Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Oxford United's Alex Mowatt reacts after missing a penalty Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth fan in the stands Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth fan in the stands Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth's Kal Naismith heads at goal Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth's Kal Naismith heads at goal Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth's Kal Naismith celebrates scoring their first goal Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth's Kal Naismith celebrates scoring their first goal Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth's Kal Naismith celebrates scoring their first goal Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth's Kal Naismith celebrates scoring their first goal Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth's Brett Pitman in action Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth's Brett Pitman in action Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth's Brett Pitman in action with Oxford United's Rob Dickie Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth's Brett Pitman in action with Oxford United's Rob Dickie Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 A young Portsmouth fan gestures the score to the Oxford United fans Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 A young Portsmouth fan gestures the score to the Oxford United fans Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth's Matt Clarke in action with Oxford United's Wes Thomas Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth's Matt Clarke in action with Oxford United's Wes Thomas Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 A young Portsmouth fan gestures the score to the Oxford United fans Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 A young Portsmouth fan gestures the score to the Oxford United fans Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth's Kal Naismith celebrates scoring their first goal with team mates Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth's Kal Naismith celebrates scoring their first goal with team mates Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth's Matt Clarke in action with Oxford United's Wes Thomas Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth's Matt Clarke in action with Oxford United's Wes Thomas Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth's Kal Naismith celebrates scoring their first goal Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth's Kal Naismith celebrates scoring their first goal Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth's Kal Naismith scores their first goal Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth's Kal Naismith scores their first goal Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth's Kal Naismith scores their first goal Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Portsmouth's Kal Naismith scores their first goal Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Oxford United manager Karl Robinson before the match Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Oxford United manager Karl Robinson before the match Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Oxford United manager Karl Robinson before the match Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Oxford United manager Karl Robinson before the match Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Oxford United manager Karl Robinson before the match Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Oxford United manager Karl Robinson before the match Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Oxford United manager Karl Robinson before the match Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Oxford United manager Karl Robinson before the match Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Oxford United manager Karl Robinson before the match Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United
Soccer Football - League One - Portsmouth vs Oxford United - Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Britain - March 25, 2018 Oxford United manager Karl Robinson before the match Action Images/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Yes, the former Portsmouth favourite is still doing it at the grand old age of 36. Woof!
Watch: Andres DAlessandro rolls back the years with stunning free-kick
Yes, the former Portsmouth favourite is still doing it at the grand old age of 36. Woof!
For the international break of March 2017, England's three goalkeepers were Joe Hart, Tom Heaton and Fraser Forster. All three were first choice at their respective clubs, and competition for the No 1 jersey looked healthy. Jordan Pickford was consistently praised as the only Sunderland player with any credit left and was forging himself a reputation as a star of the future. Jack Butland was having one of those periods of absence where everyone's heart grows fonder following an impressive debut campaign. And there was always Ben Foster to tempt out of international retirement, too. A year ago it was inconceivable that England would be heading to the World Cup finals with a goalkeeping crisis. It seemed even less likely that someone other than the six keepers mentioned above might start against Tunisia in Volograd on June 18. Now, though, with just 13 weeks to go until England's World Cup opener, Gareth Southgate should opt for Burnley's Nick Pope between the sticks. Only afforded an opportunity when Tom Heaton dislocated his shoulder in early September (if that had happened 10 days earlier, might Sean Dyche have bought a replacement?), Pope has quashed any fears that his inexperience might hurt Burnley with performances that have only enhanced their lofty position. It is now a genuine wonder whether Heaton has any chance of dislodging Pope as Burnley's first choice stopper on his return. England's other goalkeeping options aren't much cop Credit: Reuters Of the top flight's goalkeepers, Pope ranks behind only David De Gea this season when it comes to save percentage. He has stopped 80.2 per cent of the shots on target he has faced, compared to De Gea's 80.7 per cent. The next best is Lukasz Fabianski, way down on 71.6 per cent, followed by Ederson (70.6 per cent) and Hugo Lloris (70 per cent). You have to scroll down to seventh to find another English player, in Newcastle's Karl Darlow, while the other goalkeepers in Southgate's current England squad - Butland, Pickford and Hart - are even further down the list. Best save percentages | Premier League 2017/17 England squad goalkeepers Pope benefits from playing behind one of the Premier League's most organised defences, but some of his best saves have come in one-on-one situations. Indeed, he has saved 11 of the 22 clear cut chances he has faced this season, which is the best record of anyone to face at least 10 such chances, ahead of Darlow and De Gea. On his debut, when he came off the bench to replace Heaton at home to Crystal Palace, he earned Burnley two points by denying Christian Benteke from point blank range. At Manchester City, he saved low to his left from Kevin De Bruyne when one-on-one. Last week, Pope produced a quite brilliant reaction to save from Manuel Lanzini with a stretched out left boot when the game was still goalless. Burnley went on to win 3-0. He provides the solid foundations upon which this Burnley team is built. He has made 89 saves from 111 shots on target faced. He has kept 10 clean sheets this season, the fifth-most in the Premier League and three more than any of his England rivals. Pope denies Kevin De Bruyne at the Etihad Perhaps crucially for a potential England goalkeeper, Pope has a penalty save to his name this season, while he has not made a single error leading to an opposition goal. Hart alone, on the other hand, has made three. Opta's 'expected goals' metric provides another way of assessing goalkeeper performance, assigning a value to every shot to show the likelihood of it being scored. That is, the better the chance, the higher the value. The system can be used to assess a striker's finishing ability, ascertaining how many goals they score compared to the quality of their chances. Similarly, it is possible to evaluate goalkeeping performance, assessing the number of goals each has conceded (and prevented) given the quality of chances they have faced. Again, Pope stands out. He has faced shots worthy of 32 goals this season, but has in fact conceded only 22, meaning he has effectively prevented 10 goals' worth of chances. He is one of only two Premier League goalkeepers to have prevented more than five goals, along with De Gea. xG goals prevented As can be seen in the above table, Pickford has prevented 1.4 goals, while Butland and Hart have negative values in the final column, meaning they have conceded more goals than they should have from the quality of chances they have faced. Hart has the third worst record in the entire league. This situation is reminiscent of eight years ago, in the lead up to the 2010 World Cup, when neither of Fabio Capello's first choice goalkeepers were in form. David James had just played his final season in the top flight, finishing bottom of the table with Portsmouth, while Rob Green played every game for West Ham as they came 17th. A young Hart, meanwhile, was in his third Premier League season, on loan at Birmingham and playing 36 times to help them to an impressive top half finish. Green and James shared goalkeeping duties in South Africa and we all know what happened next. Pope is the young, exciting, in-form option this time around, and he is by far the best option available to England. Past mistakes should be learned from this year, and the best-performing goalkeeper should start in Russia.
Why Nick Pope must start in goal for England
For the international break of March 2017, England's three goalkeepers were Joe Hart, Tom Heaton and Fraser Forster. All three were first choice at their respective clubs, and competition for the No 1 jersey looked healthy. Jordan Pickford was consistently praised as the only Sunderland player with any credit left and was forging himself a reputation as a star of the future. Jack Butland was having one of those periods of absence where everyone's heart grows fonder following an impressive debut campaign. And there was always Ben Foster to tempt out of international retirement, too. A year ago it was inconceivable that England would be heading to the World Cup finals with a goalkeeping crisis. It seemed even less likely that someone other than the six keepers mentioned above might start against Tunisia in Volograd on June 18. Now, though, with just 13 weeks to go until England's World Cup opener, Gareth Southgate should opt for Burnley's Nick Pope between the sticks. Only afforded an opportunity when Tom Heaton dislocated his shoulder in early September (if that had happened 10 days earlier, might Sean Dyche have bought a replacement?), Pope has quashed any fears that his inexperience might hurt Burnley with performances that have only enhanced their lofty position. It is now a genuine wonder whether Heaton has any chance of dislodging Pope as Burnley's first choice stopper on his return. England's other goalkeeping options aren't much cop Credit: Reuters Of the top flight's goalkeepers, Pope ranks behind only David De Gea this season when it comes to save percentage. He has stopped 80.2 per cent of the shots on target he has faced, compared to De Gea's 80.7 per cent. The next best is Lukasz Fabianski, way down on 71.6 per cent, followed by Ederson (70.6 per cent) and Hugo Lloris (70 per cent). You have to scroll down to seventh to find another English player, in Newcastle's Karl Darlow, while the other goalkeepers in Southgate's current England squad - Butland, Pickford and Hart - are even further down the list. Best save percentages | Premier League 2017/17 England squad goalkeepers Pope benefits from playing behind one of the Premier League's most organised defences, but some of his best saves have come in one-on-one situations. Indeed, he has saved 11 of the 22 clear cut chances he has faced this season, which is the best record of anyone to face at least 10 such chances, ahead of Darlow and De Gea. On his debut, when he came off the bench to replace Heaton at home to Crystal Palace, he earned Burnley two points by denying Christian Benteke from point blank range. At Manchester City, he saved low to his left from Kevin De Bruyne when one-on-one. Last week, Pope produced a quite brilliant reaction to save from Manuel Lanzini with a stretched out left boot when the game was still goalless. Burnley went on to win 3-0. He provides the solid foundations upon which this Burnley team is built. He has made 89 saves from 111 shots on target faced. He has kept 10 clean sheets this season, the fifth-most in the Premier League and three more than any of his England rivals. Pope denies Kevin De Bruyne at the Etihad Perhaps crucially for a potential England goalkeeper, Pope has a penalty save to his name this season, while he has not made a single error leading to an opposition goal. Hart alone, on the other hand, has made three. Opta's 'expected goals' metric provides another way of assessing goalkeeper performance, assigning a value to every shot to show the likelihood of it being scored. That is, the better the chance, the higher the value. The system can be used to assess a striker's finishing ability, ascertaining how many goals they score compared to the quality of their chances. Similarly, it is possible to evaluate goalkeeping performance, assessing the number of goals each has conceded (and prevented) given the quality of chances they have faced. Again, Pope stands out. He has faced shots worthy of 32 goals this season, but has in fact conceded only 22, meaning he has effectively prevented 10 goals' worth of chances. He is one of only two Premier League goalkeepers to have prevented more than five goals, along with De Gea. xG goals prevented As can be seen in the above table, Pickford has prevented 1.4 goals, while Butland and Hart have negative values in the final column, meaning they have conceded more goals than they should have from the quality of chances they have faced. Hart has the third worst record in the entire league. This situation is reminiscent of eight years ago, in the lead up to the 2010 World Cup, when neither of Fabio Capello's first choice goalkeepers were in form. David James had just played his final season in the top flight, finishing bottom of the table with Portsmouth, while Rob Green played every game for West Ham as they came 17th. A young Hart, meanwhile, was in his third Premier League season, on loan at Birmingham and playing 36 times to help them to an impressive top half finish. Green and James shared goalkeeping duties in South Africa and we all know what happened next. Pope is the young, exciting, in-form option this time around, and he is by far the best option available to England. Past mistakes should be learned from this year, and the best-performing goalkeeper should start in Russia.
For the international break of March 2017, England's three goalkeepers were Joe Hart, Tom Heaton and Fraser Forster. All three were first choice at their respective clubs, and competition for the No 1 jersey looked healthy. Jordan Pickford was consistently praised as the only Sunderland player with any credit left and was forging himself a reputation as a star of the future. Jack Butland was having one of those periods of absence where everyone's heart grows fonder following an impressive debut campaign. And there was always Ben Foster to tempt out of international retirement, too. A year ago it was inconceivable that England would be heading to the World Cup finals with a goalkeeping crisis. It seemed even less likely that someone other than the six keepers mentioned above might start against Tunisia in Volograd on June 18. Now, though, with just 13 weeks to go until England's World Cup opener, Gareth Southgate should opt for Burnley's Nick Pope between the sticks. Only afforded an opportunity when Tom Heaton dislocated his shoulder in early September (if that had happened 10 days earlier, might Sean Dyche have bought a replacement?), Pope has quashed any fears that his inexperience might hurt Burnley with performances that have only enhanced their lofty position. It is now a genuine wonder whether Heaton has any chance of dislodging Pope as Burnley's first choice stopper on his return. England's other goalkeeping options aren't much cop Credit: Reuters Of the top flight's goalkeepers, Pope ranks behind only David De Gea this season when it comes to save percentage. He has stopped 80.2 per cent of the shots on target he has faced, compared to De Gea's 80.7 per cent. The next best is Lukasz Fabianski, way down on 71.6 per cent, followed by Ederson (70.6 per cent) and Hugo Lloris (70 per cent). You have to scroll down to seventh to find another English player, in Newcastle's Karl Darlow, while the other goalkeepers in Southgate's current England squad - Butland, Pickford and Hart - are even further down the list. Best save percentages | Premier League 2017/17 England squad goalkeepers Pope benefits from playing behind one of the Premier League's most organised defences, but some of his best saves have come in one-on-one situations. Indeed, he has saved 11 of the 22 clear cut chances he has faced this season, which is the best record of anyone to face at least 10 such chances, ahead of Darlow and De Gea. On his debut, when he came off the bench to replace Heaton at home to Crystal Palace, he earned Burnley two points by denying Christian Benteke from point blank range. At Manchester City, he saved low to his left from Kevin De Bruyne when one-on-one. Last week, Pope produced a quite brilliant reaction to save from Manuel Lanzini with a stretched out left boot when the game was still goalless. Burnley went on to win 3-0. He provides the solid foundations upon which this Burnley team is built. He has made 89 saves from 111 shots on target faced. He has kept 10 clean sheets this season, the fifth-most in the Premier League and three more than any of his England rivals. Pope denies Kevin De Bruyne at the Etihad Perhaps crucially for a potential England goalkeeper, Pope has a penalty save to his name this season, while he has not made a single error leading to an opposition goal. Hart alone, on the other hand, has made three. Opta's 'expected goals' metric provides another way of assessing goalkeeper performance, assigning a value to every shot to show the likelihood of it being scored. That is, the better the chance, the higher the value. The system can be used to assess a striker's finishing ability, ascertaining how many goals they score compared to the quality of their chances. Similarly, it is possible to evaluate goalkeeping performance, assessing the number of goals each has conceded (and prevented) given the quality of chances they have faced. Again, Pope stands out. He has faced shots worthy of 32 goals this season, but has in fact conceded only 22, meaning he has effectively prevented 10 goals' worth of chances. He is one of only two Premier League goalkeepers to have prevented more than five goals, along with De Gea. xG goals prevented As can be seen in the above table, Pickford has prevented 1.4 goals, while Butland and Hart have negative values in the final column, meaning they have conceded more goals than they should have from the quality of chances they have faced. Hart has the third worst record in the entire league. This situation is reminiscent of eight years ago, in the lead up to the 2010 World Cup, when neither of Fabio Capello's first choice goalkeepers were in form. David James had just played his final season in the top flight, finishing bottom of the table with Portsmouth, while Rob Green played every game for West Ham as they came 17th. A young Hart, meanwhile, was in his third Premier League season, on loan at Birmingham and playing 36 times to help them to an impressive top half finish. Green and James shared goalkeeping duties in South Africa and we all know what happened next. Pope is the young, exciting, in-form option this time around, and he is by far the best option available to England. Past mistakes should be learned from this year, and the best-performing goalkeeper should start in Russia.
Why Nick Pope must start in goal for England
For the international break of March 2017, England's three goalkeepers were Joe Hart, Tom Heaton and Fraser Forster. All three were first choice at their respective clubs, and competition for the No 1 jersey looked healthy. Jordan Pickford was consistently praised as the only Sunderland player with any credit left and was forging himself a reputation as a star of the future. Jack Butland was having one of those periods of absence where everyone's heart grows fonder following an impressive debut campaign. And there was always Ben Foster to tempt out of international retirement, too. A year ago it was inconceivable that England would be heading to the World Cup finals with a goalkeeping crisis. It seemed even less likely that someone other than the six keepers mentioned above might start against Tunisia in Volograd on June 18. Now, though, with just 13 weeks to go until England's World Cup opener, Gareth Southgate should opt for Burnley's Nick Pope between the sticks. Only afforded an opportunity when Tom Heaton dislocated his shoulder in early September (if that had happened 10 days earlier, might Sean Dyche have bought a replacement?), Pope has quashed any fears that his inexperience might hurt Burnley with performances that have only enhanced their lofty position. It is now a genuine wonder whether Heaton has any chance of dislodging Pope as Burnley's first choice stopper on his return. England's other goalkeeping options aren't much cop Credit: Reuters Of the top flight's goalkeepers, Pope ranks behind only David De Gea this season when it comes to save percentage. He has stopped 80.2 per cent of the shots on target he has faced, compared to De Gea's 80.7 per cent. The next best is Lukasz Fabianski, way down on 71.6 per cent, followed by Ederson (70.6 per cent) and Hugo Lloris (70 per cent). You have to scroll down to seventh to find another English player, in Newcastle's Karl Darlow, while the other goalkeepers in Southgate's current England squad - Butland, Pickford and Hart - are even further down the list. Best save percentages | Premier League 2017/17 England squad goalkeepers Pope benefits from playing behind one of the Premier League's most organised defences, but some of his best saves have come in one-on-one situations. Indeed, he has saved 11 of the 22 clear cut chances he has faced this season, which is the best record of anyone to face at least 10 such chances, ahead of Darlow and De Gea. On his debut, when he came off the bench to replace Heaton at home to Crystal Palace, he earned Burnley two points by denying Christian Benteke from point blank range. At Manchester City, he saved low to his left from Kevin De Bruyne when one-on-one. Last week, Pope produced a quite brilliant reaction to save from Manuel Lanzini with a stretched out left boot when the game was still goalless. Burnley went on to win 3-0. He provides the solid foundations upon which this Burnley team is built. He has made 89 saves from 111 shots on target faced. He has kept 10 clean sheets this season, the fifth-most in the Premier League and three more than any of his England rivals. Pope denies Kevin De Bruyne at the Etihad Perhaps crucially for a potential England goalkeeper, Pope has a penalty save to his name this season, while he has not made a single error leading to an opposition goal. Hart alone, on the other hand, has made three. Opta's 'expected goals' metric provides another way of assessing goalkeeper performance, assigning a value to every shot to show the likelihood of it being scored. That is, the better the chance, the higher the value. The system can be used to assess a striker's finishing ability, ascertaining how many goals they score compared to the quality of their chances. Similarly, it is possible to evaluate goalkeeping performance, assessing the number of goals each has conceded (and prevented) given the quality of chances they have faced. Again, Pope stands out. He has faced shots worthy of 32 goals this season, but has in fact conceded only 22, meaning he has effectively prevented 10 goals' worth of chances. He is one of only two Premier League goalkeepers to have prevented more than five goals, along with De Gea. xG goals prevented As can be seen in the above table, Pickford has prevented 1.4 goals, while Butland and Hart have negative values in the final column, meaning they have conceded more goals than they should have from the quality of chances they have faced. Hart has the third worst record in the entire league. This situation is reminiscent of eight years ago, in the lead up to the 2010 World Cup, when neither of Fabio Capello's first choice goalkeepers were in form. David James had just played his final season in the top flight, finishing bottom of the table with Portsmouth, while Rob Green played every game for West Ham as they came 17th. A young Hart, meanwhile, was in his third Premier League season, on loan at Birmingham and playing 36 times to help them to an impressive top half finish. Green and James shared goalkeeping duties in South Africa and we all know what happened next. Pope is the young, exciting, in-form option this time around, and he is by far the best option available to England. Past mistakes should be learned from this year, and the best-performing goalkeeper should start in Russia.
For the international break of March 2017, England's three goalkeepers were Joe Hart, Tom Heaton and Fraser Forster. All three were first choice at their respective clubs, and competition for the No 1 jersey looked healthy. Jordan Pickford was consistently praised as the only Sunderland player with any credit left and was forging himself a reputation as a star of the future. Jack Butland was having one of those periods of absence where everyone's heart grows fonder following an impressive debut campaign. And there was always Ben Foster to tempt out of international retirement, too. A year ago it was inconceivable that England would be heading to the World Cup finals with a goalkeeping crisis. It seemed even less likely that someone other than the six keepers mentioned above might start against Tunisia in Volograd on June 18. Now, though, with just 13 weeks to go until England's World Cup opener, Gareth Southgate should opt for Burnley's Nick Pope between the sticks. Only afforded an opportunity when Tom Heaton dislocated his shoulder in early September (if that had happened 10 days earlier, might Sean Dyche have bought a replacement?), Pope has quashed any fears that his inexperience might hurt Burnley with performances that have only enhanced their lofty position. It is now a genuine wonder whether Heaton has any chance of dislodging Pope as Burnley's first choice stopper on his return. England's other goalkeeping options aren't much cop Credit: Reuters Of the top flight's goalkeepers, Pope ranks behind only David De Gea this season when it comes to save percentage. He has stopped 80.2 per cent of the shots on target he has faced, compared to De Gea's 80.7 per cent. The next best is Lukasz Fabianski, way down on 71.6 per cent, followed by Ederson (70.6 per cent) and Hugo Lloris (70 per cent). You have to scroll down to seventh to find another English player, in Newcastle's Karl Darlow, while the other goalkeepers in Southgate's current England squad - Butland, Pickford and Hart - are even further down the list. Best save percentages | Premier League 2017/17 England squad goalkeepers Pope benefits from playing behind one of the Premier League's most organised defences, but some of his best saves have come in one-on-one situations. Indeed, he has saved 11 of the 22 clear cut chances he has faced this season, which is the best record of anyone to face at least 10 such chances, ahead of Darlow and De Gea. On his debut, when he came off the bench to replace Heaton at home to Crystal Palace, he earned Burnley two points by denying Christian Benteke from point blank range. At Manchester City, he saved low to his left from Kevin De Bruyne when one-on-one. Last week, Pope produced a quite brilliant reaction to save from Manuel Lanzini with a stretched out left boot when the game was still goalless. Burnley went on to win 3-0. He provides the solid foundations upon which this Burnley team is built. He has made 89 saves from 111 shots on target faced. He has kept 10 clean sheets this season, the fifth-most in the Premier League and three more than any of his England rivals. Pope denies Kevin De Bruyne at the Etihad Perhaps crucially for a potential England goalkeeper, Pope has a penalty save to his name this season, while he has not made a single error leading to an opposition goal. Hart alone, on the other hand, has made three. Opta's 'expected goals' metric provides another way of assessing goalkeeper performance, assigning a value to every shot to show the likelihood of it being scored. That is, the better the chance, the higher the value. The system can be used to assess a striker's finishing ability, ascertaining how many goals they score compared to the quality of their chances. Similarly, it is possible to evaluate goalkeeping performance, assessing the number of goals each has conceded (and prevented) given the quality of chances they have faced. Again, Pope stands out. He has faced shots worthy of 32 goals this season, but has in fact conceded only 22, meaning he has effectively prevented 10 goals' worth of chances. He is one of only two Premier League goalkeepers to have prevented more than five goals, along with De Gea. xG goals prevented As can be seen in the above table, Pickford has prevented 1.4 goals, while Butland and Hart have negative values in the final column, meaning they have conceded more goals than they should have from the quality of chances they have faced. Hart has the third worst record in the entire league. This situation is reminiscent of eight years ago, in the lead up to the 2010 World Cup, when neither of Fabio Capello's first choice goalkeepers were in form. David James had just played his final season in the top flight, finishing bottom of the table with Portsmouth, while Rob Green played every game for West Ham as they came 17th. A young Hart, meanwhile, was in his third Premier League season, on loan at Birmingham and playing 36 times to help them to an impressive top half finish. Green and James shared goalkeeping duties in South Africa and we all know what happened next. Pope is the young, exciting, in-form option this time around, and he is by far the best option available to England. Past mistakes should be learned from this year, and the best-performing goalkeeper should start in Russia.
Why Nick Pope must start in goal for England
For the international break of March 2017, England's three goalkeepers were Joe Hart, Tom Heaton and Fraser Forster. All three were first choice at their respective clubs, and competition for the No 1 jersey looked healthy. Jordan Pickford was consistently praised as the only Sunderland player with any credit left and was forging himself a reputation as a star of the future. Jack Butland was having one of those periods of absence where everyone's heart grows fonder following an impressive debut campaign. And there was always Ben Foster to tempt out of international retirement, too. A year ago it was inconceivable that England would be heading to the World Cup finals with a goalkeeping crisis. It seemed even less likely that someone other than the six keepers mentioned above might start against Tunisia in Volograd on June 18. Now, though, with just 13 weeks to go until England's World Cup opener, Gareth Southgate should opt for Burnley's Nick Pope between the sticks. Only afforded an opportunity when Tom Heaton dislocated his shoulder in early September (if that had happened 10 days earlier, might Sean Dyche have bought a replacement?), Pope has quashed any fears that his inexperience might hurt Burnley with performances that have only enhanced their lofty position. It is now a genuine wonder whether Heaton has any chance of dislodging Pope as Burnley's first choice stopper on his return. England's other goalkeeping options aren't much cop Credit: Reuters Of the top flight's goalkeepers, Pope ranks behind only David De Gea this season when it comes to save percentage. He has stopped 80.2 per cent of the shots on target he has faced, compared to De Gea's 80.7 per cent. The next best is Lukasz Fabianski, way down on 71.6 per cent, followed by Ederson (70.6 per cent) and Hugo Lloris (70 per cent). You have to scroll down to seventh to find another English player, in Newcastle's Karl Darlow, while the other goalkeepers in Southgate's current England squad - Butland, Pickford and Hart - are even further down the list. Best save percentages | Premier League 2017/17 England squad goalkeepers Pope benefits from playing behind one of the Premier League's most organised defences, but some of his best saves have come in one-on-one situations. Indeed, he has saved 11 of the 22 clear cut chances he has faced this season, which is the best record of anyone to face at least 10 such chances, ahead of Darlow and De Gea. On his debut, when he came off the bench to replace Heaton at home to Crystal Palace, he earned Burnley two points by denying Christian Benteke from point blank range. At Manchester City, he saved low to his left from Kevin De Bruyne when one-on-one. Last week, Pope produced a quite brilliant reaction to save from Manuel Lanzini with a stretched out left boot when the game was still goalless. Burnley went on to win 3-0. He provides the solid foundations upon which this Burnley team is built. He has made 89 saves from 111 shots on target faced. He has kept 10 clean sheets this season, the fifth-most in the Premier League and three more than any of his England rivals. Pope denies Kevin De Bruyne at the Etihad Perhaps crucially for a potential England goalkeeper, Pope has a penalty save to his name this season, while he has not made a single error leading to an opposition goal. Hart alone, on the other hand, has made three. Opta's 'expected goals' metric provides another way of assessing goalkeeper performance, assigning a value to every shot to show the likelihood of it being scored. That is, the better the chance, the higher the value. The system can be used to assess a striker's finishing ability, ascertaining how many goals they score compared to the quality of their chances. Similarly, it is possible to evaluate goalkeeping performance, assessing the number of goals each has conceded (and prevented) given the quality of chances they have faced. Again, Pope stands out. He has faced shots worthy of 32 goals this season, but has in fact conceded only 22, meaning he has effectively prevented 10 goals' worth of chances. He is one of only two Premier League goalkeepers to have prevented more than five goals, along with De Gea. xG goals prevented As can be seen in the above table, Pickford has prevented 1.4 goals, while Butland and Hart have negative values in the final column, meaning they have conceded more goals than they should have from the quality of chances they have faced. Hart has the third worst record in the entire league. This situation is reminiscent of eight years ago, in the lead up to the 2010 World Cup, when neither of Fabio Capello's first choice goalkeepers were in form. David James had just played his final season in the top flight, finishing bottom of the table with Portsmouth, while Rob Green played every game for West Ham as they came 17th. A young Hart, meanwhile, was in his third Premier League season, on loan at Birmingham and playing 36 times to help them to an impressive top half finish. Green and James shared goalkeeping duties in South Africa and we all know what happened next. Pope is the young, exciting, in-form option this time around, and he is by far the best option available to England. Past mistakes should be learned from this year, and the best-performing goalkeeper should start in Russia.
Comparisons with Lionel Messi have already started, and why not? Mohamed Salah has, after all, scored more goals than the five-time Ballon d'Or winner this season, despite playing in fewer games. He has outscored Messi despite more than eight hours less game time. He has outscored Messi despite attempting 78 fewer shots. He has outscored Messi in a team 18 points off the top of the table. There is some way to go before their careers can reasonably be compared, given the Argentine last week surpassed 600 career goals, but there is no denying that Messi would be content with the heights Salah has been hitting in his first season at Liverpool. Four goals against Watford on Saturday, including a couple of scarcely believable strikes after Messi-like dribbles down what had looked like blind alleys, took Salah to 28 for the season. Four more goals in Liverpool's final seven games would set a new individual Premier League record in a 38-game season. Four more after that and Salah's 2017/18 would become the highest-scoring Premier League season ever, to include the three earliest seasons, where 42 games were played. Most goals in a 38-game Premier League season | 1995-present For a 20-goal striker, four goals in seven games would represent a significant challenge. This season, it's hard to see Salah failing to manage that. He is well on course to beat the three players who share the record for the most goals since the Premier League was reduced to 20 teams: Alan Shearer in 1995/96 for Blackburn, Cristiano Ronaldo's penultimate season at Manchester United in 2007/08 and Luis Suarez at Liverpool in 2013/14. Those three each scored 31 goals, a tally that had not so long ago seemed insurmountable. Until Salah came along, that is. Ronaldo and Suarez both made slow starts to their record-breaking seasons. Ronaldo failed to score in his first four appearances and also missed three matches through suspension after a red card against Portsmouth. Incredibly, it wasn't until late September, eight games in, that Ronaldo scored his first goal of the season. Most goals in a 38-game Premier League season Suarez, meanwhile, missed the first five games of 2013/14 through suspension, and was also made to wait until late September for his first goal of the season. Suarez later endured a four-game goal drought in February. Salah's season has mirrored Shearer's 1995/96 more accurately. After scoring on his debut, Salah has scored consistently throughout the entire campaign. Of the top 10 goal-scorers in a 38-game Premier League season (a list in which Salah is currently joint-ninth), Salah has suffered the shortest drought, at most going two games without a goal. Whether that means he will yet endure a longer drought remains to be seen. Longest droughts suffered by top scorers in a 38-game Premier League season However, at his current rate of scoring - a goal every 85.5 minutes in Premier League games - Salah would reach 35 goals. That would make his season the highest-scoring in the top flight of English football since Southampton's Ron Davies way back in 1966/67. At £1.3m per goal (so far), Salah has been a modern day bargain. In all competitions he now has 36 goals to Messi's 35, despite two fewer appearances, scoring with 22.6 per cent of his shots, compared to 14.8 per cent for Messi. Clearly, Salah is a long, long way off matching Messi's achievements, and whether the Egyptian can extend his form into a second, third or fourth season and beyond is a truer test of his abilities. But in the context of this season, the fact that Salah has outscored Messi is worthy of note. In the context of Premier League goal-scoring, Salah's 2017/18 could be the greatest ever.
Mohamed Salah is outscoring Lionel Messi and is on course to re-write the Premier League record books
Comparisons with Lionel Messi have already started, and why not? Mohamed Salah has, after all, scored more goals than the five-time Ballon d'Or winner this season, despite playing in fewer games. He has outscored Messi despite more than eight hours less game time. He has outscored Messi despite attempting 78 fewer shots. He has outscored Messi in a team 18 points off the top of the table. There is some way to go before their careers can reasonably be compared, given the Argentine last week surpassed 600 career goals, but there is no denying that Messi would be content with the heights Salah has been hitting in his first season at Liverpool. Four goals against Watford on Saturday, including a couple of scarcely believable strikes after Messi-like dribbles down what had looked like blind alleys, took Salah to 28 for the season. Four more goals in Liverpool's final seven games would set a new individual Premier League record in a 38-game season. Four more after that and Salah's 2017/18 would become the highest-scoring Premier League season ever, to include the three earliest seasons, where 42 games were played. Most goals in a 38-game Premier League season | 1995-present For a 20-goal striker, four goals in seven games would represent a significant challenge. This season, it's hard to see Salah failing to manage that. He is well on course to beat the three players who share the record for the most goals since the Premier League was reduced to 20 teams: Alan Shearer in 1995/96 for Blackburn, Cristiano Ronaldo's penultimate season at Manchester United in 2007/08 and Luis Suarez at Liverpool in 2013/14. Those three each scored 31 goals, a tally that had not so long ago seemed insurmountable. Until Salah came along, that is. Ronaldo and Suarez both made slow starts to their record-breaking seasons. Ronaldo failed to score in his first four appearances and also missed three matches through suspension after a red card against Portsmouth. Incredibly, it wasn't until late September, eight games in, that Ronaldo scored his first goal of the season. Most goals in a 38-game Premier League season Suarez, meanwhile, missed the first five games of 2013/14 through suspension, and was also made to wait until late September for his first goal of the season. Suarez later endured a four-game goal drought in February. Salah's season has mirrored Shearer's 1995/96 more accurately. After scoring on his debut, Salah has scored consistently throughout the entire campaign. Of the top 10 goal-scorers in a 38-game Premier League season (a list in which Salah is currently joint-ninth), Salah has suffered the shortest drought, at most going two games without a goal. Whether that means he will yet endure a longer drought remains to be seen. Longest droughts suffered by top scorers in a 38-game Premier League season However, at his current rate of scoring - a goal every 85.5 minutes in Premier League games - Salah would reach 35 goals. That would make his season the highest-scoring in the top flight of English football since Southampton's Ron Davies way back in 1966/67. At £1.3m per goal (so far), Salah has been a modern day bargain. In all competitions he now has 36 goals to Messi's 35, despite two fewer appearances, scoring with 22.6 per cent of his shots, compared to 14.8 per cent for Messi. Clearly, Salah is a long, long way off matching Messi's achievements, and whether the Egyptian can extend his form into a second, third or fourth season and beyond is a truer test of his abilities. But in the context of this season, the fact that Salah has outscored Messi is worthy of note. In the context of Premier League goal-scoring, Salah's 2017/18 could be the greatest ever.
<p>West Brom&#39;s preparation for relegation to the Championship at the conclusion of the season has seen Leicester assistant manager and former Albion player Michael Appleton emerge as the Baggies&#39; potential new boss.</p><p>Alan Pardew&#39;s tenure at the Hawthorns has left a lot to be desired having won just one league game in 16 attempts since his arrival - leaving Albion eight points adrift of safety with just eight games remaining - all but confirming his exit upon their likely relegation. It ensures eyes have already been cast towards who will be next in line to stop the rot and the <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2018/03/16/west-bromwich-albion-eye-leicester-assistant-manager-michael/?WT.mc_id=tmg_share_tw" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Telegraph" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Telegraph</a> claim the Foxes assistant manager is highly regarded by the Baggies&#39; chief executive Mark Jenkins, who is set to lead the club&#39;s overhaul during the summer. </p><p>42-year-old Appleton has managerial experience with Portsmouth, Blackpool, Blackburn and Oxford United and has also spent time working alongside Roberto di Matteo and Roy Hodgson at the Hawthorns, which saw him establish a respectable reputation at the club as a coach. </p><p>After a successful stint with Oxford United, Appleton initially linked up with Craig Shakespeare at Leicester prior to the latter&#39;s dismissal in October, before working as a joint assistant manager under Claude Puel following his arrival at the King Power Stadium. </p><p>West Brom have installed Appleton as one of their leading candidates to rebuild the squad during the summer as Pardew&#39;s place at the helm will <a href="https://www.90min.com/posts/5997727-west-brom-stars-left-bemused-as-alan-pardew-set-to-stay-on-as-manager-at-the-hawthorns" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:remain intact until the end of the season" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">remain intact until the end of the season</a>, regardless of results. </p><p>The Baggies are expecting a number of players to leave during the summer should relegation materialize and Pardew admitted on-loan midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak had to be fined following poor conduct in retaliation to his substitution in the <a href="https://www.90min.com/posts/5999978-west-brom-1-4-leicester-ruthless-foxes-inflict-more-misery-on-baggies-landslide-victory" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:defeat to Leicester last time out." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">defeat to Leicester last time out.</a> </p><p>Pardew said: &quot;Grzegorz came and apologized to me on Tuesday, and to my staff, which is unusual to be honest. I said sometimes an apology isn&#39;t quite enough, so I fined him and also said I don&#39;t ever want to see it again. </p><p>&quot;The selection of the player won&#39;t be influenced after that. I told him how disappointed I was, fined him and we moved on.&quot;</p><p>&quot;I actually really like him as a person and as a footballer and I was surprised at his action. I said, &#39;You need to see the start of the second half and if you see yourself you might have subbed yourself&#39;. He had a little chuckle,&quot; he added. </p>
Report: West Brom Turns to Leicester City Assistant Manager as Alan Pardew Replacement

West Brom's preparation for relegation to the Championship at the conclusion of the season has seen Leicester assistant manager and former Albion player Michael Appleton emerge as the Baggies' potential new boss.

Alan Pardew's tenure at the Hawthorns has left a lot to be desired having won just one league game in 16 attempts since his arrival - leaving Albion eight points adrift of safety with just eight games remaining - all but confirming his exit upon their likely relegation. It ensures eyes have already been cast towards who will be next in line to stop the rot and the Telegraph claim the Foxes assistant manager is highly regarded by the Baggies' chief executive Mark Jenkins, who is set to lead the club's overhaul during the summer.

42-year-old Appleton has managerial experience with Portsmouth, Blackpool, Blackburn and Oxford United and has also spent time working alongside Roberto di Matteo and Roy Hodgson at the Hawthorns, which saw him establish a respectable reputation at the club as a coach.

After a successful stint with Oxford United, Appleton initially linked up with Craig Shakespeare at Leicester prior to the latter's dismissal in October, before working as a joint assistant manager under Claude Puel following his arrival at the King Power Stadium.

West Brom have installed Appleton as one of their leading candidates to rebuild the squad during the summer as Pardew's place at the helm will remain intact until the end of the season, regardless of results.

The Baggies are expecting a number of players to leave during the summer should relegation materialize and Pardew admitted on-loan midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak had to be fined following poor conduct in retaliation to his substitution in the defeat to Leicester last time out.

Pardew said: "Grzegorz came and apologized to me on Tuesday, and to my staff, which is unusual to be honest. I said sometimes an apology isn't quite enough, so I fined him and also said I don't ever want to see it again.

"The selection of the player won't be influenced after that. I told him how disappointed I was, fined him and we moved on."

"I actually really like him as a person and as a footballer and I was surprised at his action. I said, 'You need to see the start of the second half and if you see yourself you might have subbed yourself'. He had a little chuckle," he added.

Michael Appleton is emerging as a serious contender to take over at West Bromwich Albion in the summer, as the club prepare for likely relegation to the Championship. With Alan Pardew expected to leave at the end of Albion’s troubled season, the club are already targeting potential replacements and Appleton is understood to be high on the list. The Leicester assistant manager is highly admired by Mark Jenkins, the West Brom chief executive who will be leading the club’s reboot in the summer, and fits the profile for their next head coach. Appleton is a former Albion player and coach, establishing a fine reputation working alongside first Roberto di Matteo and then Roy Hodgson. He also has managerial experience after spells with Portsmouth, Blackpool , Blackburn and, most recently, Oxford United. The 42-year-old left Oxford last summer to work under Craig Shakespeare at Leicester and is now joint assistant manager in Claude Puel’s backroom staff, following Shakespeare’s dismissal in October. West Brom are believed to have identified Appleton as one of the leading candidates to take charge at the Hawthorns, as part of a huge rebuilding job in the summer. Modern heroes: Who has done most for your club in the last 20 years? Pardew’s position is thought to be safe for the remainder of the season, despite an alarming run of just one league win from 16 games. But Albion anticipate major surgery ahead of next season with a number of players also expected to leave. Pardew takes his team to Bournemouth on Saturday eight points adrift of safety, revealing that he has fined on-loan midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak. The Paris St-Germain star clashed with Pardew last weekend after he was substituted during the 4-1 home defeat to Leicester. Pardew said: &quot;Grzegorz came and apologised to me on Tuesday, and to my staff, which is unusual to be honest. &quot;I said sometimes an apology isn&#39;t quite enough, so I fined him and also said I don&#39;t ever want to see it again. The selection of the player won&#39;t be influenced after that. I told him how disappointed I was, fined him and we moved on. &quot;I actually really like him as a person and as a footballer and I was surprised at his action. I said, &#39;You need to see the start of the second half and if you see yourself you might have subbed yourself&#39;. He had a little chuckle.&quot;
West Bromwich Albion eye Leicester assistant manager Michael Appleton as potential replacement for Alan Pardew
Michael Appleton is emerging as a serious contender to take over at West Bromwich Albion in the summer, as the club prepare for likely relegation to the Championship. With Alan Pardew expected to leave at the end of Albion’s troubled season, the club are already targeting potential replacements and Appleton is understood to be high on the list. The Leicester assistant manager is highly admired by Mark Jenkins, the West Brom chief executive who will be leading the club’s reboot in the summer, and fits the profile for their next head coach. Appleton is a former Albion player and coach, establishing a fine reputation working alongside first Roberto di Matteo and then Roy Hodgson. He also has managerial experience after spells with Portsmouth, Blackpool , Blackburn and, most recently, Oxford United. The 42-year-old left Oxford last summer to work under Craig Shakespeare at Leicester and is now joint assistant manager in Claude Puel’s backroom staff, following Shakespeare’s dismissal in October. West Brom are believed to have identified Appleton as one of the leading candidates to take charge at the Hawthorns, as part of a huge rebuilding job in the summer. Modern heroes: Who has done most for your club in the last 20 years? Pardew’s position is thought to be safe for the remainder of the season, despite an alarming run of just one league win from 16 games. But Albion anticipate major surgery ahead of next season with a number of players also expected to leave. Pardew takes his team to Bournemouth on Saturday eight points adrift of safety, revealing that he has fined on-loan midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak. The Paris St-Germain star clashed with Pardew last weekend after he was substituted during the 4-1 home defeat to Leicester. Pardew said: "Grzegorz came and apologised to me on Tuesday, and to my staff, which is unusual to be honest. "I said sometimes an apology isn't quite enough, so I fined him and also said I don't ever want to see it again. The selection of the player won't be influenced after that. I told him how disappointed I was, fined him and we moved on. "I actually really like him as a person and as a footballer and I was surprised at his action. I said, 'You need to see the start of the second half and if you see yourself you might have subbed yourself'. He had a little chuckle."
Wilkinson claims his very brief stint at Pompeywas cut short because he didnt wantto exercise his vocal chords
Portsmouth ended Conor Wilkinsons 2016 loan spell because he refused to sing at his initiation
Wilkinson claims his very brief stint at Pompeywas cut short because he didnt wantto exercise his vocal chords
The sight of Pep Guardiola marching onto the pitch after the final whistle to lecture Leroy Sane said it all: the Manchester City manager wants more. This comfortable victory, earned through two sublime David Silva goals, was not enough in a campaign in which City can break all kinds of Premier League records. And, with the Champions League draw on Friday, still achieve even greater things. City will be in Abu Dhabi when that draw takes place, as they enjoy a break before resuming their campaign against Everton at the end of this month. Win that and it means that they can claim the title in their next fixture – which just happens to be against Manchester United at home on April 7. The countdown is on. Guardiola said that City will “come back stronger” from the Middle East and it sounded like a threat as much as a promise. Just how much stronger can this dazzling City side be? Stoke are no mugs under Paul Lambert and, as they should, they fought for their lives as they desperately try and beat relegation. But they did not even register a shot on target. Interestingly, Guardiola chose to highlight the fact that this result meant City had achieved the double over Stoke for the first time since 1999-2000, and it shone a light on the fact that such records and achievements really do matter to him. Guardiola does not want to just win this league but to achieve new landmarks in doing so. Already City have earned 81 points, the first team to achieve that after 30 games, and the highest-ever points total in the Premier League - Chelsea’s 95 under Jose Mourinho in 2004-05 - is in Guardiola’s sights. City can top 100 points and, with 85 goals already, can beat the record of 103 achieved by Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea in 2009-10. A double century - 100 points; 100 goals - is possible. Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (David Silva, 10 min) This result also means that City surpassed their points total of 78 earned last season. And have done so with eight games to go. But it is not enough. It also matters to Guardiola that City do not relent once the Premier League is won and stay full-on in Europe. There was an insight into that in the way he spoke to Sane, who had wasted chances, and he also called over captain Vincent Kompany to instruct him once Stoke had brought on substitute Peter Crouch. Kompany later joked that he was pretty well aware what that would mean tactically. The goals were worthy of winning any match. They summed up the silky brilliance of City as they cut through Stoke. The first came after just 10 mintes with Fernandinho, fit again and recalled, playing the ball in to Gabriel Jesus who turned and took out three Stoke players with a pass that released Raheem Sterling down the right. Sterling looked up quickly and crossed low for the onrushing Silva who arrived between two more Stoke defenders to side-foot first time into the net. It was breathtaking, marvellous stuff. Manchester City&#39;s David Silva, who opened the scoring for the away side, takes on Stoke&#39;s Moritz Bauer Credit: PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images It also quickly set back Stoke’s plan to defend deep and try to counter aggressively, with Jese asked to take on the City centre-halves. Their best outlet was matching up Xherdan Shaqiri against Oleksandr Zinchenko and the Swiss international nutmegged the full-back before teeing up Badou Ndiaye whose shot deflected off Fernandinho’s foot and flew narrowly past the post. So would we have a contest after all? It seemed possible when Jack Butland – in front of the watching England manager Gareth Southgate, who announces his next squad on Thursday – launched a goal-kick which flew over Kompany’s head, with Jese running through. Kyle Walker recovered but toed the ball, looping it over Ederson who back-pedalled to tip it over the cross-bar. Possession: Stoke vs Man City At the other end, though, City racked up chances. After Guardiola’s accusations that his team forgot to attack following the Champions League defeat at home to Basle last week, this was a clear response with Butland turning away a low Fernandinho shot and then watching, relieved, as Sane volleyed just wide. Stoke were, rightly, cheered off at half-time. No-one could fault their effort. They had worked hard, they had bitten into tackles and tried to close down their opponents, even if there was always that sense that City were a simple shift through the gears away from extending their advantage. And they did just that. Sterling won the ball back and found Fernandinho who played it in to Silva. The midfielder’s first touch deftly picked out Jesus who lifted the ball across the area. Should Butland have come from his goal quicker? Instead he hesitated but Silva was always going to get there first and he guided the ball into the net. David Silva spins to half-volley in the second Credit: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images City poured forward. De Bruyne struck the side-netting from a tight angle when through, then Sterling tricked his way beyond Kostas Stafylidis and dumped Geoff Cameron to the turf – only for his close-range shot to be saved by Butland with his outstretched leg. There was more: a Zinchenko shot beaten away, a curling Sane effort just wide, Walker slicing wildly when clear and Butland saving from Sane. Stoke desperately needed some respite and almost achieved it when Crouch headed a free-kick back across goal for Maxim Choupo-Moting who headed it back again to Bruno Martins Indi, only for the defender to blast his volley over from four yards. So there would be no late drama except when Sterling provoked an angry response as he whisked away possession, following a drop-ball after a clash of heads, and ran through on goal only to be tackled by a furious Ndiaye. It led to some pushing and shoving. It was the only aggravation this imperious City side faced all evening. 9:55PM Full time Manchester City restore their lead to 16 points with a masterly, indeed masterful, victory over 19th-placed Stoke who are not unique in being comprehensively outclassed. David Silva was brilliant, Raheem Sterling also played very well. 9:53PM 90+5 min Keepball from City for 90 seconds until Bauer picks off a pass from David Silva. They work it up the right and Bauer spears in a deep cross that bypasses Crouch. The ref has seen enough and emits three peeps from his Acme Thunderer. 9:51PM 90+4 min City corner on the right. The Silvas twain and De Bruyne knock it about and go all the way back to Ederson who starts a foray up the left with Zinchenko who then move sit back to safety in midfield. 9:49PM 90+2 min We&#39;ll have five minutes added because of Otamendi&#39;s cut. Stafylidis lets fly from 30 yards and cracks his shot into Otamendi. 9:48PM 90 min City sub: Ilkay Gundogan on, Gabriel Jesus off. David Silva is named man of the match. 9:47PM 88 min Stoke sub: Ramadan Sobhi on for Geoff Cameron. Seems a little pointless and cruel. You&#39;ve had naff all football under Lambert then he chucks you on for 90 seconds of a game you&#39;ve long lost? Must be tempting to tell him to get stuffed. 9:44PM 86 min Stoke corner on the right, curled by Shaqiri straight down Ederson&#39;s throat. He sparks a rapid City break from which they&#39;re caught offside, back come Stoke and Komany makes the only telling tackle that has been required of him all night. 9:42PM 84 min City sub: Sterling, who has played very well, departs to a chorus of disapproval. Bernardo Silva takes his place. 9:41PM 82 min Don&#39;t know how Sterling missed that, or what Jon Moss said to City at the drop ball. But even City&#39;s fans went a but quiet after it. 9:39PM 79 min Jonathan Moss restarts the game with a drop ball 40 yards out. City contest it, Stoke don&#39;t because they think they were going to have possession. Sterling hares off towards goal with Ndiaye chasing him looking intent on whacking him with more than an etiquette guide. Sterling, with Jesus in support, drops his shoulder and veers to the right to try to round Butland which gives Ndiaye the opening to whip the ball behind for a corner. All hell then breaks loose about City&#39;s alleged chicanery. 9:35PM 78 min Otamendi is back on his feet having wrapped his head in Elastoplast. 9:35PM 76 min Sane stings Butland&#39;s palms with a flayed shot then there&#39;s quite a stoppage when Otamendi collides with Stafylidis as they fought for De Bruyne&#39;s cross. The latter is OK having caught his opponent with his brow, Otamendi is still down with a gash on his scalp. 9:32PM 74 min Joe Allen bundles over Jesus in the centre-circle and the ref waves play on. De Bruyne threads a pass down the right for Sterling&#39;s run into the box and he decides to take the shot on from an angle of about 45 degrees and shanks it almost perpendicular. The ref then goes back and books Allen. 9:30PM 72 min Sterling dribbles through the box on the right, shimmies his hips and sells Stafylidis a dummy that causes him to slide in, miss the ball and catch it with his arm as he slid past. Sterling didn&#39;t stop and carried on until his pass towards the spot was blocked. 9:29PM 71 min Otamendi outmuscles Crouch to win the ball and sets off on a gambol upfield to start an attack down the left. Stoke see it out. 9:27PM 68 min Stafylidis hits a long diagonal up for Crouch who wins the aerial battle but was offside. At last they have a focal point for their strategy. 9:26PM 67 min Man City fans are now singing their Yaya Delilah song. Talk about cultural appropriation. 9:24PM 64 min Bauer takes an inswinger, whipping it a foot or so beyond the far post. Crouch wins it comfortably and squares it back across the box. Choupo-Moting wins the second header and diverts it back across goal to Martins Indi who wellies his right-foot volley from six yards over the bar. Miss: Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (Bruno Martins Indi, 64 min) 9:21PM 62 min Good pass from Shaqiri frees Jese down the left. He doubles back on Otamendi who hacks him down. The ref plays the advantage then brings it back. That&#39;s Jese&#39;s last touch. Off he goes to be replaced for the free-kick he won by Peter Crouch. David Silva scores his and City&#39;s second Credit: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images 9:18PM 59 min From the corner Sterling shifts it to Sane who takes a touch to make some space for the shot then cuts his foot across it and sends it swerving in towards goal then away again then in again. Butland does well to save it. Miss: Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (Leroy Sané, 59 min) 9:16PM 58 min Sterling attempts to Ricky Villa his way through the box on the right, twists Stafylidis&#39; blood, but can only find Butland&#39;s shins with his shot. 9:15PM 56 min Fernandinho makes a lung-bursting 60-yard run, feeds De Bruyne down the left then continues his charge into the box to take the return after his team-mate&#39;s lovely pass cut out Bruno Martins Indi. He was a little too wide to squeeze his post in at the near post but tried anyway, stabbing it into the side-netting. 9:12PM 53 min What happened here 20 years ago gave birth to the &#39;We&#39;re not really here&#39; era and Man City&#39;s fans give it a good airing now, followed by their C-bomb Mourinho song. Wildean it ain&#39;t. 9:10PM 52 min Gorgeous finish from David Silva, leaping up to take the return in a one-two with Gabriel Jesus. The ball bounced up to chest height but he acrobatically hooked in a flying volley as Bauer, trying to make up for being caught out of position and Butland closed in on him at pace. Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (David Silva, 50 min) 9:07PM Goal!! Stoke 0-2 Man City (David Silva) 9:07PM 49 min Man City corner after opening Stoke up on the left by virtue of David Silva&#39;s curling pass into Sane&#39;s stride. He takes a touch with his right that actually sows him down and he has to improvise, stopping then shifting it over to the right where Sterling wins a corner. 9:04PM 47 min Shaqiri&#39;s got his Toblerone-shaped boots on tonight, slicing an attempted ball over the top for Jese&#39;s burst up the right into touch. 9:03PM 46 min No changes. Man City kick off, rolling the ball back to Kompany who chips it diagonally over to the left where Sane wins the header, beating Bauer aerially, but Stoke then win the second ball. 8:59PM Southampton have sacked Mauricio Pellegrino Marco Silva? Slavisa Jokanovic would be ideal but I doubt he would leave Fulham. 8:53PM Half-time shot maps Stoke vs Man City shots on goal Stoke vs Man City shots on goal And the weighted touch positions to illustrate City&#39;s dominance of possession and territory: Average touch positions (half time) 8:50PM Half time Some snarl and a lot of huff and puff from Stoke and it has been a pretty entertaining ground. Man City&#39;s class has told in the final third. David Silva has been whack-a-mole-ing all over the shop. Both left-backs look vulnerable and Stoke have had a couple of glimmers but they need the final ball, from Shaqiri largely, to be better ... perfect, in fact, if they&#39;re going to score. 8:47PM 45 min Shaqiri spots Choupo-Moting&#39;s run into the box from the left touchline and hits an isnwinging left-footer from the right towards the far post. He significantly overclubs it and smears it over Ederson and into touch. 8:46PM 44 min Stoke give the ball away cheaply with a panicked clearance and their fans are livid. They get away with their indiscretion and, via a free kick, work the ball towards the City goal on the left. City defend it comfortably and knock it long themselves. Martins Indi is all over Jesus though that&#39;s not the referee&#39;s interpretation as he allows the centre-half to win the ball. 8:43PM 42 min Stafylidis is being beasted on the left side of Stoke&#39;s defence and is allowing City unimpeded access. Once again De Bruyne gets behind him, centres to Sane who roundhouses a left foot volley on the run just wide. Miss: Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (Leroy Sané, 42 min) 8:41PM 41 min Smart save from Butland, diving low to his left to block Fernandinho&#39;s bunny-hopper of a shot. Then De Bruyne smacks a shot wide. 8:40PM 39 min Both Ederson and Butland have to come sprinting out of their areas for some sweeper-keeper action that inflames/tickles the crowd but they were pretty unruffled, Ederson particularly. 8:39PM 36 min Butland kicks it long, Choupo Moting beats Kompany to it but flicks rather than heads it on. The ball bounces through towards the City box and Jese gives chase. Walker tacks in from the right, follows the unusual flight of the ball and gets a toe to it and inadvertently knocks up an up and under that threatens to drift under the bar. Ederson scoots back to tip it over. 8:36PM 33 min Martins Indi plays a blind, preposterous, hospital pass to Butland without spotting De Bruyne&#39;s scavenging run into the box. Butland sprints off his line and beats De Bruyne to it by an inch to block tackle his attempted stab with a very strong challenge. De Bruyne&#39;s boot rakes his metatarsals and leaves the keeper hobbling momentarily but he soon recovers. David Silva scores the first Credit: Manchester City FC 8:33PM 31 min Terrific pass between Zinchenko and Otamendi by Shaqiri that Jese races to meet. The bounce takes him a touch too wide and he can&#39;t warp his foot around it to give his shot the power or precision it needed to beat Ederson. 8:31PM 28 min Zinchenko, the baby-faced tactical fouler, disrupts Stoke&#39;s attempts to take a quick throw-in he had just conceded. Shaqiri wants him sanctioned but the referee restricts himself to a telling-off instead. Shaqiri and Zinchenko tangle Credit: Simon Stacpoole/Offside 8:28PM 26 min De Bruyne crosses from the right and Silva has made another menacing, penetrative run. Cameron has gone with him this time and the delivery is a foot behind him. Silva essays a bicycle kick but doesn&#39;t connect, Stoke dig it out of the box where Fernandinho is first to it. He responds to cries from City fans of &#39;Shoot!&#39; with a wild shank over the bar. 8:26PM 23 min Sane has been quiet so far but goes off on a crossfield run, plays it to Fernandinho and darts beyond Sterling to overload Stafylidis. The intended pass to free him is intercepted by Stafylidis who clips it up to Shaqiri. His touch deserts him and he bludgeons his offload back to David Silva who angles a pass from the right towards the penalty spot where Gabriel Jesus is heading for after tearing past Zouma. But he&#39;s gone too soon. Offside. 8:22PM 20 min Stoke come close when Shaqiri, in the right corner, megs Zinchenko, runs round the inside then cuts back a daisycutter to the 18-yard line. Ndiaye pulls his shot as he aims for the far post and a deflection takes the bobbler wide for a corner that City defend well/Stoke waste. 8:20PM 18 min City should have had a free-kick on the edge of the box when Stafylidis pulls down Sterling, his hand gripping his shoulder. The referee mistakes Sterling for Dele Alli and waves away all legitimate protestations and the Stoke crowd boos him for the sin of being fouled. Here&#39;s the goal: David Silva steers home Sterling&#39;s cross Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge 8:17PM 16 min Zinchenko, who was culpable of a filthy foul on Eden Hazard eight days ago, clatters into Shaqiri very late here, sliding in to chop him down at the ankles. Free kick. Possession: Stoke vs Man City 8:15PM 14 min Very good work from Ndiaye who tracked Sterling&#39;s run into the box as he received a pass from Walker&#39;s cute knock-down. He made himself a second skin without actually fouling him as he harried Sterling into touch. 8:12PM 11 min Lovely pass round the corner from Jesus takes Stafylidis, who was too far forward, out of the game and finds Sterling who has bombed round the back on the right. Sterling picks his head up and centres calmly for David Silva who sidefoots his firm finish on the run with his left past Butland. Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (David Silva, 10 min) 8:09PM Goal! Stoke 0-1 Man City (David Silva) 8:09PM 9 min Choupo-Moting steps in off the left and wins a header, knocking it on for Jese to run on to but the centre-forward didn&#39;t read his intentions. 8:08PM 7 min Direct and tigerish in the tackle, the orders of the day. Ndiaye snaps into one 25 yards out, left of centre and is penalised. De Bruyne takes it and works a routine, hooking it to the 18-yard line where Otamendi was lingering all alone. He flicked it two yards further forward hoping to find Kompany but it didn&#39;t get there ad Stoke play it up to Jese, Allen finding him with a fine pass. Walker sticks to him and eventually hassles him out of possession. 8:06PM 5 min When Sterling is penalised for a shove, Butland spears another free-kick long ball up for Jese who doesn&#39;t have the height or timing of jump to beat Kompany. Already Davie Provan thinks Stoke need Crouch if they&#39;re going to ply this way. 8:04PM 4 min He distributes it to Bauer who tries to steer it up the right for Shaqiri to run at Zinchenko but he can&#39;t control the long pass. Direct is the order of the day for Stoke. 8:03PM 3 min De Bruyne strips the ball off Ndiaye 40 yards from goal but the Senegal midfielder sticks with him and forces him to lay it off. City try to thread a diagonal for Jesus&#39;s run into the box but Butland is on to it and gets there first. 8:02PM 1 min Jese kicks off for Stoke. Vibrant, noisy atmospheer at the Brit tonight. Delilah is fighting it out with Blue Moon. Stoke whack it up the left and immediately lose possession. City move up the right, 10 yards infield until Ndiaye tackles De Bruyne and Stoke quickly knock it over the top again but to no benefit. 7:56PM Kurt Zouma Spoke to Matt Law about facing Manchester City tonight: &quot;This was the worst defeat I’ve ever had in my career in football.“But it can happen and I forgot about it, and I don’t want to think about it. I don’t think about that game. “Man City are a top side. But our job is to make it difficult and they have to feel we want to win the game. The mistakes we made in the 7-2 we can’t make again and we have to try to win to make the fans happy and us happy as well.” 7:37PM A truncated Monday Night Football No Keith Hernandez tonight. Gary Neville flies solo. Paul Lambert is wearing his Gianluca Vialli schoolboy grey V-neck. Pep has his yellow ribbon close to his heart but beneath his jacket. Pep Guardiola watches the warm-up Credit: REUTERS/Hannah McKay Lambert says Stoke have to &#39;play ugly&#39; and &#39;run more than they&#39;ve ever run before&#39;. 7:32PM Your teams in black and white Stoke Butland; Bauer, Zouma, Martins Indi, Stafylidis; Allen, Cameron, Ndiaye; Shaqiri, Jese, Choupo-Moting. Substitutes Haugaard, Johnson, Adam, Shawcross, Fletcher, Crouch, Sobhi. Man City Ederson, Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Zinchenko, De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva, Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Sane. Substitutes Bravo, Danilo, Stones, Gundogan, Laporte, Bernardo Silva, Toure. Referee Jonathan Moss (Leeds) 7:03PM Man City XI Three changes: Vincent Kompany, Raheem Sterling and Fernandinho return for Aymeric Laporte, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan. How we line-up tonight! City XI | Ederson, Walker, Kompany (C), Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Silva, De Bruyne, Sterling, Sane, Jesus Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Stones, Gundogan, Laporte, Bernardo, Yaya Toure Presented by @HAYSWorldwide#scfcvcity#mancitypic.twitter.com/niKExUKO9R— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 12, 2018 7:02PM Stoke City team news �� One change for the Potters against @ManCity this evening as @JeseRodriguez10 replaces @MameDiouf99. STARTING XI: Butland; Bauer, Zouma, M. Indi, Stafylidis; Badou, Cameron, Allen; Shaqiri, Jese, Choupo-Moting.#SCFC ��⚪️ pic.twitter.com/E7ngnPmI9t— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) March 12, 2018 One change: Jese in for Diouf. 6:13PM Good evening Paul Lambert has certainly patched Stoke&#39;s badly leaking defence since taking over from Mark Hughes and a victory and four draws from six games is a very creditable return in theory. Yet when you look at those games more closely - a defeat by Bournemouth, draws with Watford, Southampton, Brighton and Leicester to go with that victory over Huddersfield, it is hard not to conclude that a side in deep relegation shtook really needed to do better against that calibre of opposition. They start tonight in 19th place against the league leaders, only a point off 17th but with a run of fixtures that brings them Everton at home, Arsenal away and Spurs at home after tonight&#39;s meeting with the team that whacked them 7-2 in the autumn. Avoiding a shellacking will be an improvement on the beating Hughes took from his former club but points are also a priority because three of their last five games pit them against other sides fighting for survival - West Ham, Palace and Swansea plus unenviable encounters with Burnley and Liverpool. Victory for Manchester City will extend their lead to 16 points with eight to play and allows them to keep their chance of clinching the title in the Manchester derby on course should United slip up in their next two games. Gabriel Jesus starts tonight in the absence of Sergio Agüero. There will be no 200th goal for Manchester City&#39;s great centre-forward but Stoke will be wary of coming up against Jesus again after his sensational, slippery performance back in October when he scored twice. Twenty years ago these two met in the last match of the 1997-98 season in the second tier of English professional football, known back then, confusingly, as Division One. Manchester City were 23rd on 45 points, Stoke 22nd on 46, Port Vale 21st on 46 and Portsmouth one place higher with the same number of points. &quot;Knowing City&#39;s almost comical capacity for failure, they will probably win only for Port Vale and Portsmouth to do likewise,&quot; wrote the anonymous preview writer in the Sunday Telegraph. Daily Telegraph match report confirming relegation of Stoke and Man City in 1998 Credit: THE TELEGRAPH And lo, it came to pass at the Britannia Stadium. Manchester City won 5-2 , Shaun Goater scored two, Paul Dickov, Lee &#39;Badbuy&#39; Bradbury and Kevin Horlock one each for the visitors while Peter Thorne grabbed two for Stoke. But Port Vale won 4-0 away at Huddersfield and, more gallingly still, Portsmouth, under the management of Alan Ball, who had overseen City&#39;s relegation from the Premier League when he miscalculated what they needed from their final match, beat Bradford 3-1. So, both Stoke and Man City went down with Reading. For all their toils this season, the world of Stoke City, just as much as Manchester City, has been transformed this past 20 years ... just not as radically. Back with the teams when they are announced at 7pm.
Stoke City 0 Man City 2: David Silva dazzles to put the title in reach... and they'll claim it with victory over United
The sight of Pep Guardiola marching onto the pitch after the final whistle to lecture Leroy Sane said it all: the Manchester City manager wants more. This comfortable victory, earned through two sublime David Silva goals, was not enough in a campaign in which City can break all kinds of Premier League records. And, with the Champions League draw on Friday, still achieve even greater things. City will be in Abu Dhabi when that draw takes place, as they enjoy a break before resuming their campaign against Everton at the end of this month. Win that and it means that they can claim the title in their next fixture – which just happens to be against Manchester United at home on April 7. The countdown is on. Guardiola said that City will “come back stronger” from the Middle East and it sounded like a threat as much as a promise. Just how much stronger can this dazzling City side be? Stoke are no mugs under Paul Lambert and, as they should, they fought for their lives as they desperately try and beat relegation. But they did not even register a shot on target. Interestingly, Guardiola chose to highlight the fact that this result meant City had achieved the double over Stoke for the first time since 1999-2000, and it shone a light on the fact that such records and achievements really do matter to him. Guardiola does not want to just win this league but to achieve new landmarks in doing so. Already City have earned 81 points, the first team to achieve that after 30 games, and the highest-ever points total in the Premier League - Chelsea’s 95 under Jose Mourinho in 2004-05 - is in Guardiola’s sights. City can top 100 points and, with 85 goals already, can beat the record of 103 achieved by Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea in 2009-10. A double century - 100 points; 100 goals - is possible. Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (David Silva, 10 min) This result also means that City surpassed their points total of 78 earned last season. And have done so with eight games to go. But it is not enough. It also matters to Guardiola that City do not relent once the Premier League is won and stay full-on in Europe. There was an insight into that in the way he spoke to Sane, who had wasted chances, and he also called over captain Vincent Kompany to instruct him once Stoke had brought on substitute Peter Crouch. Kompany later joked that he was pretty well aware what that would mean tactically. The goals were worthy of winning any match. They summed up the silky brilliance of City as they cut through Stoke. The first came after just 10 mintes with Fernandinho, fit again and recalled, playing the ball in to Gabriel Jesus who turned and took out three Stoke players with a pass that released Raheem Sterling down the right. Sterling looked up quickly and crossed low for the onrushing Silva who arrived between two more Stoke defenders to side-foot first time into the net. It was breathtaking, marvellous stuff. Manchester City's David Silva, who opened the scoring for the away side, takes on Stoke's Moritz Bauer Credit: PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images It also quickly set back Stoke’s plan to defend deep and try to counter aggressively, with Jese asked to take on the City centre-halves. Their best outlet was matching up Xherdan Shaqiri against Oleksandr Zinchenko and the Swiss international nutmegged the full-back before teeing up Badou Ndiaye whose shot deflected off Fernandinho’s foot and flew narrowly past the post. So would we have a contest after all? It seemed possible when Jack Butland – in front of the watching England manager Gareth Southgate, who announces his next squad on Thursday – launched a goal-kick which flew over Kompany’s head, with Jese running through. Kyle Walker recovered but toed the ball, looping it over Ederson who back-pedalled to tip it over the cross-bar. Possession: Stoke vs Man City At the other end, though, City racked up chances. After Guardiola’s accusations that his team forgot to attack following the Champions League defeat at home to Basle last week, this was a clear response with Butland turning away a low Fernandinho shot and then watching, relieved, as Sane volleyed just wide. Stoke were, rightly, cheered off at half-time. No-one could fault their effort. They had worked hard, they had bitten into tackles and tried to close down their opponents, even if there was always that sense that City were a simple shift through the gears away from extending their advantage. And they did just that. Sterling won the ball back and found Fernandinho who played it in to Silva. The midfielder’s first touch deftly picked out Jesus who lifted the ball across the area. Should Butland have come from his goal quicker? Instead he hesitated but Silva was always going to get there first and he guided the ball into the net. David Silva spins to half-volley in the second Credit: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images City poured forward. De Bruyne struck the side-netting from a tight angle when through, then Sterling tricked his way beyond Kostas Stafylidis and dumped Geoff Cameron to the turf – only for his close-range shot to be saved by Butland with his outstretched leg. There was more: a Zinchenko shot beaten away, a curling Sane effort just wide, Walker slicing wildly when clear and Butland saving from Sane. Stoke desperately needed some respite and almost achieved it when Crouch headed a free-kick back across goal for Maxim Choupo-Moting who headed it back again to Bruno Martins Indi, only for the defender to blast his volley over from four yards. So there would be no late drama except when Sterling provoked an angry response as he whisked away possession, following a drop-ball after a clash of heads, and ran through on goal only to be tackled by a furious Ndiaye. It led to some pushing and shoving. It was the only aggravation this imperious City side faced all evening. 9:55PM Full time Manchester City restore their lead to 16 points with a masterly, indeed masterful, victory over 19th-placed Stoke who are not unique in being comprehensively outclassed. David Silva was brilliant, Raheem Sterling also played very well. 9:53PM 90+5 min Keepball from City for 90 seconds until Bauer picks off a pass from David Silva. They work it up the right and Bauer spears in a deep cross that bypasses Crouch. The ref has seen enough and emits three peeps from his Acme Thunderer. 9:51PM 90+4 min City corner on the right. The Silvas twain and De Bruyne knock it about and go all the way back to Ederson who starts a foray up the left with Zinchenko who then move sit back to safety in midfield. 9:49PM 90+2 min We'll have five minutes added because of Otamendi's cut. Stafylidis lets fly from 30 yards and cracks his shot into Otamendi. 9:48PM 90 min City sub: Ilkay Gundogan on, Gabriel Jesus off. David Silva is named man of the match. 9:47PM 88 min Stoke sub: Ramadan Sobhi on for Geoff Cameron. Seems a little pointless and cruel. You've had naff all football under Lambert then he chucks you on for 90 seconds of a game you've long lost? Must be tempting to tell him to get stuffed. 9:44PM 86 min Stoke corner on the right, curled by Shaqiri straight down Ederson's throat. He sparks a rapid City break from which they're caught offside, back come Stoke and Komany makes the only telling tackle that has been required of him all night. 9:42PM 84 min City sub: Sterling, who has played very well, departs to a chorus of disapproval. Bernardo Silva takes his place. 9:41PM 82 min Don't know how Sterling missed that, or what Jon Moss said to City at the drop ball. But even City's fans went a but quiet after it. 9:39PM 79 min Jonathan Moss restarts the game with a drop ball 40 yards out. City contest it, Stoke don't because they think they were going to have possession. Sterling hares off towards goal with Ndiaye chasing him looking intent on whacking him with more than an etiquette guide. Sterling, with Jesus in support, drops his shoulder and veers to the right to try to round Butland which gives Ndiaye the opening to whip the ball behind for a corner. All hell then breaks loose about City's alleged chicanery. 9:35PM 78 min Otamendi is back on his feet having wrapped his head in Elastoplast. 9:35PM 76 min Sane stings Butland's palms with a flayed shot then there's quite a stoppage when Otamendi collides with Stafylidis as they fought for De Bruyne's cross. The latter is OK having caught his opponent with his brow, Otamendi is still down with a gash on his scalp. 9:32PM 74 min Joe Allen bundles over Jesus in the centre-circle and the ref waves play on. De Bruyne threads a pass down the right for Sterling's run into the box and he decides to take the shot on from an angle of about 45 degrees and shanks it almost perpendicular. The ref then goes back and books Allen. 9:30PM 72 min Sterling dribbles through the box on the right, shimmies his hips and sells Stafylidis a dummy that causes him to slide in, miss the ball and catch it with his arm as he slid past. Sterling didn't stop and carried on until his pass towards the spot was blocked. 9:29PM 71 min Otamendi outmuscles Crouch to win the ball and sets off on a gambol upfield to start an attack down the left. Stoke see it out. 9:27PM 68 min Stafylidis hits a long diagonal up for Crouch who wins the aerial battle but was offside. At last they have a focal point for their strategy. 9:26PM 67 min Man City fans are now singing their Yaya Delilah song. Talk about cultural appropriation. 9:24PM 64 min Bauer takes an inswinger, whipping it a foot or so beyond the far post. Crouch wins it comfortably and squares it back across the box. Choupo-Moting wins the second header and diverts it back across goal to Martins Indi who wellies his right-foot volley from six yards over the bar. Miss: Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (Bruno Martins Indi, 64 min) 9:21PM 62 min Good pass from Shaqiri frees Jese down the left. He doubles back on Otamendi who hacks him down. The ref plays the advantage then brings it back. That's Jese's last touch. Off he goes to be replaced for the free-kick he won by Peter Crouch. David Silva scores his and City's second Credit: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images 9:18PM 59 min From the corner Sterling shifts it to Sane who takes a touch to make some space for the shot then cuts his foot across it and sends it swerving in towards goal then away again then in again. Butland does well to save it. Miss: Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (Leroy Sané, 59 min) 9:16PM 58 min Sterling attempts to Ricky Villa his way through the box on the right, twists Stafylidis' blood, but can only find Butland's shins with his shot. 9:15PM 56 min Fernandinho makes a lung-bursting 60-yard run, feeds De Bruyne down the left then continues his charge into the box to take the return after his team-mate's lovely pass cut out Bruno Martins Indi. He was a little too wide to squeeze his post in at the near post but tried anyway, stabbing it into the side-netting. 9:12PM 53 min What happened here 20 years ago gave birth to the 'We're not really here' era and Man City's fans give it a good airing now, followed by their C-bomb Mourinho song. Wildean it ain't. 9:10PM 52 min Gorgeous finish from David Silva, leaping up to take the return in a one-two with Gabriel Jesus. The ball bounced up to chest height but he acrobatically hooked in a flying volley as Bauer, trying to make up for being caught out of position and Butland closed in on him at pace. Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (David Silva, 50 min) 9:07PM Goal!! Stoke 0-2 Man City (David Silva) 9:07PM 49 min Man City corner after opening Stoke up on the left by virtue of David Silva's curling pass into Sane's stride. He takes a touch with his right that actually sows him down and he has to improvise, stopping then shifting it over to the right where Sterling wins a corner. 9:04PM 47 min Shaqiri's got his Toblerone-shaped boots on tonight, slicing an attempted ball over the top for Jese's burst up the right into touch. 9:03PM 46 min No changes. Man City kick off, rolling the ball back to Kompany who chips it diagonally over to the left where Sane wins the header, beating Bauer aerially, but Stoke then win the second ball. 8:59PM Southampton have sacked Mauricio Pellegrino Marco Silva? Slavisa Jokanovic would be ideal but I doubt he would leave Fulham. 8:53PM Half-time shot maps Stoke vs Man City shots on goal Stoke vs Man City shots on goal And the weighted touch positions to illustrate City's dominance of possession and territory: Average touch positions (half time) 8:50PM Half time Some snarl and a lot of huff and puff from Stoke and it has been a pretty entertaining ground. Man City's class has told in the final third. David Silva has been whack-a-mole-ing all over the shop. Both left-backs look vulnerable and Stoke have had a couple of glimmers but they need the final ball, from Shaqiri largely, to be better ... perfect, in fact, if they're going to score. 8:47PM 45 min Shaqiri spots Choupo-Moting's run into the box from the left touchline and hits an isnwinging left-footer from the right towards the far post. He significantly overclubs it and smears it over Ederson and into touch. 8:46PM 44 min Stoke give the ball away cheaply with a panicked clearance and their fans are livid. They get away with their indiscretion and, via a free kick, work the ball towards the City goal on the left. City defend it comfortably and knock it long themselves. Martins Indi is all over Jesus though that's not the referee's interpretation as he allows the centre-half to win the ball. 8:43PM 42 min Stafylidis is being beasted on the left side of Stoke's defence and is allowing City unimpeded access. Once again De Bruyne gets behind him, centres to Sane who roundhouses a left foot volley on the run just wide. Miss: Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (Leroy Sané, 42 min) 8:41PM 41 min Smart save from Butland, diving low to his left to block Fernandinho's bunny-hopper of a shot. Then De Bruyne smacks a shot wide. 8:40PM 39 min Both Ederson and Butland have to come sprinting out of their areas for some sweeper-keeper action that inflames/tickles the crowd but they were pretty unruffled, Ederson particularly. 8:39PM 36 min Butland kicks it long, Choupo Moting beats Kompany to it but flicks rather than heads it on. The ball bounces through towards the City box and Jese gives chase. Walker tacks in from the right, follows the unusual flight of the ball and gets a toe to it and inadvertently knocks up an up and under that threatens to drift under the bar. Ederson scoots back to tip it over. 8:36PM 33 min Martins Indi plays a blind, preposterous, hospital pass to Butland without spotting De Bruyne's scavenging run into the box. Butland sprints off his line and beats De Bruyne to it by an inch to block tackle his attempted stab with a very strong challenge. De Bruyne's boot rakes his metatarsals and leaves the keeper hobbling momentarily but he soon recovers. David Silva scores the first Credit: Manchester City FC 8:33PM 31 min Terrific pass between Zinchenko and Otamendi by Shaqiri that Jese races to meet. The bounce takes him a touch too wide and he can't warp his foot around it to give his shot the power or precision it needed to beat Ederson. 8:31PM 28 min Zinchenko, the baby-faced tactical fouler, disrupts Stoke's attempts to take a quick throw-in he had just conceded. Shaqiri wants him sanctioned but the referee restricts himself to a telling-off instead. Shaqiri and Zinchenko tangle Credit: Simon Stacpoole/Offside 8:28PM 26 min De Bruyne crosses from the right and Silva has made another menacing, penetrative run. Cameron has gone with him this time and the delivery is a foot behind him. Silva essays a bicycle kick but doesn't connect, Stoke dig it out of the box where Fernandinho is first to it. He responds to cries from City fans of 'Shoot!' with a wild shank over the bar. 8:26PM 23 min Sane has been quiet so far but goes off on a crossfield run, plays it to Fernandinho and darts beyond Sterling to overload Stafylidis. The intended pass to free him is intercepted by Stafylidis who clips it up to Shaqiri. His touch deserts him and he bludgeons his offload back to David Silva who angles a pass from the right towards the penalty spot where Gabriel Jesus is heading for after tearing past Zouma. But he's gone too soon. Offside. 8:22PM 20 min Stoke come close when Shaqiri, in the right corner, megs Zinchenko, runs round the inside then cuts back a daisycutter to the 18-yard line. Ndiaye pulls his shot as he aims for the far post and a deflection takes the bobbler wide for a corner that City defend well/Stoke waste. 8:20PM 18 min City should have had a free-kick on the edge of the box when Stafylidis pulls down Sterling, his hand gripping his shoulder. The referee mistakes Sterling for Dele Alli and waves away all legitimate protestations and the Stoke crowd boos him for the sin of being fouled. Here's the goal: David Silva steers home Sterling's cross Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge 8:17PM 16 min Zinchenko, who was culpable of a filthy foul on Eden Hazard eight days ago, clatters into Shaqiri very late here, sliding in to chop him down at the ankles. Free kick. Possession: Stoke vs Man City 8:15PM 14 min Very good work from Ndiaye who tracked Sterling's run into the box as he received a pass from Walker's cute knock-down. He made himself a second skin without actually fouling him as he harried Sterling into touch. 8:12PM 11 min Lovely pass round the corner from Jesus takes Stafylidis, who was too far forward, out of the game and finds Sterling who has bombed round the back on the right. Sterling picks his head up and centres calmly for David Silva who sidefoots his firm finish on the run with his left past Butland. Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (David Silva, 10 min) 8:09PM Goal! Stoke 0-1 Man City (David Silva) 8:09PM 9 min Choupo-Moting steps in off the left and wins a header, knocking it on for Jese to run on to but the centre-forward didn't read his intentions. 8:08PM 7 min Direct and tigerish in the tackle, the orders of the day. Ndiaye snaps into one 25 yards out, left of centre and is penalised. De Bruyne takes it and works a routine, hooking it to the 18-yard line where Otamendi was lingering all alone. He flicked it two yards further forward hoping to find Kompany but it didn't get there ad Stoke play it up to Jese, Allen finding him with a fine pass. Walker sticks to him and eventually hassles him out of possession. 8:06PM 5 min When Sterling is penalised for a shove, Butland spears another free-kick long ball up for Jese who doesn't have the height or timing of jump to beat Kompany. Already Davie Provan thinks Stoke need Crouch if they're going to ply this way. 8:04PM 4 min He distributes it to Bauer who tries to steer it up the right for Shaqiri to run at Zinchenko but he can't control the long pass. Direct is the order of the day for Stoke. 8:03PM 3 min De Bruyne strips the ball off Ndiaye 40 yards from goal but the Senegal midfielder sticks with him and forces him to lay it off. City try to thread a diagonal for Jesus's run into the box but Butland is on to it and gets there first. 8:02PM 1 min Jese kicks off for Stoke. Vibrant, noisy atmospheer at the Brit tonight. Delilah is fighting it out with Blue Moon. Stoke whack it up the left and immediately lose possession. City move up the right, 10 yards infield until Ndiaye tackles De Bruyne and Stoke quickly knock it over the top again but to no benefit. 7:56PM Kurt Zouma Spoke to Matt Law about facing Manchester City tonight: "This was the worst defeat I’ve ever had in my career in football.“But it can happen and I forgot about it, and I don’t want to think about it. I don’t think about that game. “Man City are a top side. But our job is to make it difficult and they have to feel we want to win the game. The mistakes we made in the 7-2 we can’t make again and we have to try to win to make the fans happy and us happy as well.” 7:37PM A truncated Monday Night Football No Keith Hernandez tonight. Gary Neville flies solo. Paul Lambert is wearing his Gianluca Vialli schoolboy grey V-neck. Pep has his yellow ribbon close to his heart but beneath his jacket. Pep Guardiola watches the warm-up Credit: REUTERS/Hannah McKay Lambert says Stoke have to 'play ugly' and 'run more than they've ever run before'. 7:32PM Your teams in black and white Stoke Butland; Bauer, Zouma, Martins Indi, Stafylidis; Allen, Cameron, Ndiaye; Shaqiri, Jese, Choupo-Moting. Substitutes Haugaard, Johnson, Adam, Shawcross, Fletcher, Crouch, Sobhi. Man City Ederson, Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Zinchenko, De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva, Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Sane. Substitutes Bravo, Danilo, Stones, Gundogan, Laporte, Bernardo Silva, Toure. Referee Jonathan Moss (Leeds) 7:03PM Man City XI Three changes: Vincent Kompany, Raheem Sterling and Fernandinho return for Aymeric Laporte, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan. How we line-up tonight! City XI | Ederson, Walker, Kompany (C), Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Silva, De Bruyne, Sterling, Sane, Jesus Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Stones, Gundogan, Laporte, Bernardo, Yaya Toure Presented by @HAYSWorldwide#scfcvcity#mancitypic.twitter.com/niKExUKO9R— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 12, 2018 7:02PM Stoke City team news �� One change for the Potters against @ManCity this evening as @JeseRodriguez10 replaces @MameDiouf99. STARTING XI: Butland; Bauer, Zouma, M. Indi, Stafylidis; Badou, Cameron, Allen; Shaqiri, Jese, Choupo-Moting.#SCFC ��⚪️ pic.twitter.com/E7ngnPmI9t— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) March 12, 2018 One change: Jese in for Diouf. 6:13PM Good evening Paul Lambert has certainly patched Stoke's badly leaking defence since taking over from Mark Hughes and a victory and four draws from six games is a very creditable return in theory. Yet when you look at those games more closely - a defeat by Bournemouth, draws with Watford, Southampton, Brighton and Leicester to go with that victory over Huddersfield, it is hard not to conclude that a side in deep relegation shtook really needed to do better against that calibre of opposition. They start tonight in 19th place against the league leaders, only a point off 17th but with a run of fixtures that brings them Everton at home, Arsenal away and Spurs at home after tonight's meeting with the team that whacked them 7-2 in the autumn. Avoiding a shellacking will be an improvement on the beating Hughes took from his former club but points are also a priority because three of their last five games pit them against other sides fighting for survival - West Ham, Palace and Swansea plus unenviable encounters with Burnley and Liverpool. Victory for Manchester City will extend their lead to 16 points with eight to play and allows them to keep their chance of clinching the title in the Manchester derby on course should United slip up in their next two games. Gabriel Jesus starts tonight in the absence of Sergio Agüero. There will be no 200th goal for Manchester City's great centre-forward but Stoke will be wary of coming up against Jesus again after his sensational, slippery performance back in October when he scored twice. Twenty years ago these two met in the last match of the 1997-98 season in the second tier of English professional football, known back then, confusingly, as Division One. Manchester City were 23rd on 45 points, Stoke 22nd on 46, Port Vale 21st on 46 and Portsmouth one place higher with the same number of points. "Knowing City's almost comical capacity for failure, they will probably win only for Port Vale and Portsmouth to do likewise," wrote the anonymous preview writer in the Sunday Telegraph. Daily Telegraph match report confirming relegation of Stoke and Man City in 1998 Credit: THE TELEGRAPH And lo, it came to pass at the Britannia Stadium. Manchester City won 5-2 , Shaun Goater scored two, Paul Dickov, Lee 'Badbuy' Bradbury and Kevin Horlock one each for the visitors while Peter Thorne grabbed two for Stoke. But Port Vale won 4-0 away at Huddersfield and, more gallingly still, Portsmouth, under the management of Alan Ball, who had overseen City's relegation from the Premier League when he miscalculated what they needed from their final match, beat Bradford 3-1. So, both Stoke and Man City went down with Reading. For all their toils this season, the world of Stoke City, just as much as Manchester City, has been transformed this past 20 years ... just not as radically. Back with the teams when they are announced at 7pm.
The sight of Pep Guardiola marching onto the pitch after the final whistle to lecture Leroy Sane said it all: the Manchester City manager wants more. This comfortable victory, earned through two sublime David Silva goals, was not enough in a campaign in which City can break all kinds of Premier League records. And, with the Champions League draw on Friday, still achieve even greater things. City will be in Abu Dhabi when that draw takes place, as they enjoy a break before resuming their campaign against Everton at the end of this month. Win that and it means that they can claim the title in their next fixture – which just happens to be against Manchester United at home on April 7. The countdown is on. Guardiola said that City will “come back stronger” from the Middle East and it sounded like a threat as much as a promise. Just how much stronger can this dazzling City side be? Stoke are no mugs under Paul Lambert and, as they should, they fought for their lives as they desperately try and beat relegation. But they did not even register a shot on target. Interestingly, Guardiola chose to highlight the fact that this result meant City had achieved the double over Stoke for the first time since 1999-2000, and it shone a light on the fact that such records and achievements really do matter to him. Guardiola does not want to just win this league but to achieve new landmarks in doing so. Already City have earned 81 points, the first team to achieve that after 30 games, and the highest-ever points total in the Premier League - Chelsea’s 95 under Jose Mourinho in 2004-05 - is in Guardiola’s sights. City can top 100 points and, with 85 goals already, can beat the record of 103 achieved by Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea in 2009-10. A double century - 100 points; 100 goals - is possible. Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (David Silva, 10 min) This result also means that City surpassed their points total of 78 earned last season. And have done so with eight games to go. But it is not enough. It also matters to Guardiola that City do not relent once the Premier League is won and stay full-on in Europe. There was an insight into that in the way he spoke to Sane, who had wasted chances, and he also called over captain Vincent Kompany to instruct him once Stoke had brought on substitute Peter Crouch. Kompany later joked that he was pretty well aware what that would mean tactically. The goals were worthy of winning any match. They summed up the silky brilliance of City as they cut through Stoke. The first came after just 10 mintes with Fernandinho, fit again and recalled, playing the ball in to Gabriel Jesus who turned and took out three Stoke players with a pass that released Raheem Sterling down the right. Sterling looked up quickly and crossed low for the onrushing Silva who arrived between two more Stoke defenders to side-foot first time into the net. It was breathtaking, marvellous stuff. Manchester City&#39;s David Silva, who opened the scoring for the away side, takes on Stoke&#39;s Moritz Bauer Credit: PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images It also quickly set back Stoke’s plan to defend deep and try to counter aggressively, with Jese asked to take on the City centre-halves. Their best outlet was matching up Xherdan Shaqiri against Oleksandr Zinchenko and the Swiss international nutmegged the full-back before teeing up Badou Ndiaye whose shot deflected off Fernandinho’s foot and flew narrowly past the post. So would we have a contest after all? It seemed possible when Jack Butland – in front of the watching England manager Gareth Southgate, who announces his next squad on Thursday – launched a goal-kick which flew over Kompany’s head, with Jese running through. Kyle Walker recovered but toed the ball, looping it over Ederson who back-pedalled to tip it over the cross-bar. Possession: Stoke vs Man City At the other end, though, City racked up chances. After Guardiola’s accusations that his team forgot to attack following the Champions League defeat at home to Basle last week, this was a clear response with Butland turning away a low Fernandinho shot and then watching, relieved, as Sane volleyed just wide. Stoke were, rightly, cheered off at half-time. No-one could fault their effort. They had worked hard, they had bitten into tackles and tried to close down their opponents, even if there was always that sense that City were a simple shift through the gears away from extending their advantage. And they did just that. Sterling won the ball back and found Fernandinho who played it in to Silva. The midfielder’s first touch deftly picked out Jesus who lifted the ball across the area. Should Butland have come from his goal quicker? Instead he hesitated but Silva was always going to get there first and he guided the ball into the net. David Silva spins to half-volley in the second Credit: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images City poured forward. De Bruyne struck the side-netting from a tight angle when through, then Sterling tricked his way beyond Kostas Stafylidis and dumped Geoff Cameron to the turf – only for his close-range shot to be saved by Butland with his outstretched leg. There was more: a Zinchenko shot beaten away, a curling Sane effort just wide, Walker slicing wildly when clear and Butland saving from Sane. Stoke desperately needed some respite and almost achieved it when Crouch headed a free-kick back across goal for Maxim Choupo-Moting who headed it back again to Bruno Martins Indi, only for the defender to blast his volley over from four yards. So there would be no late drama except when Sterling provoked an angry response as he whisked away possession, following a drop-ball after a clash of heads, and ran through on goal only to be tackled by a furious Ndiaye. It led to some pushing and shoving. It was the only aggravation this imperious City side faced all evening. 9:55PM Full time Manchester City restore their lead to 16 points with a masterly, indeed masterful, victory over 19th-placed Stoke who are not unique in being comprehensively outclassed. David Silva was brilliant, Raheem Sterling also played very well. 9:53PM 90+5 min Keepball from City for 90 seconds until Bauer picks off a pass from David Silva. They work it up the right and Bauer spears in a deep cross that bypasses Crouch. The ref has seen enough and emits three peeps from his Acme Thunderer. 9:51PM 90+4 min City corner on the right. The Silvas twain and De Bruyne knock it about and go all the way back to Ederson who starts a foray up the left with Zinchenko who then move sit back to safety in midfield. 9:49PM 90+2 min We&#39;ll have five minutes added because of Otamendi&#39;s cut. Stafylidis lets fly from 30 yards and cracks his shot into Otamendi. 9:48PM 90 min City sub: Ilkay Gundogan on, Gabriel Jesus off. David Silva is named man of the match. 9:47PM 88 min Stoke sub: Ramadan Sobhi on for Geoff Cameron. Seems a little pointless and cruel. You&#39;ve had naff all football under Lambert then he chucks you on for 90 seconds of a game you&#39;ve long lost? Must be tempting to tell him to get stuffed. 9:44PM 86 min Stoke corner on the right, curled by Shaqiri straight down Ederson&#39;s throat. He sparks a rapid City break from which they&#39;re caught offside, back come Stoke and Komany makes the only telling tackle that has been required of him all night. 9:42PM 84 min City sub: Sterling, who has played very well, departs to a chorus of disapproval. Bernardo Silva takes his place. 9:41PM 82 min Don&#39;t know how Sterling missed that, or what Jon Moss said to City at the drop ball. But even City&#39;s fans went a but quiet after it. 9:39PM 79 min Jonathan Moss restarts the game with a drop ball 40 yards out. City contest it, Stoke don&#39;t because they think they were going to have possession. Sterling hares off towards goal with Ndiaye chasing him looking intent on whacking him with more than an etiquette guide. Sterling, with Jesus in support, drops his shoulder and veers to the right to try to round Butland which gives Ndiaye the opening to whip the ball behind for a corner. All hell then breaks loose about City&#39;s alleged chicanery. 9:35PM 78 min Otamendi is back on his feet having wrapped his head in Elastoplast. 9:35PM 76 min Sane stings Butland&#39;s palms with a flayed shot then there&#39;s quite a stoppage when Otamendi collides with Stafylidis as they fought for De Bruyne&#39;s cross. The latter is OK having caught his opponent with his brow, Otamendi is still down with a gash on his scalp. 9:32PM 74 min Joe Allen bundles over Jesus in the centre-circle and the ref waves play on. De Bruyne threads a pass down the right for Sterling&#39;s run into the box and he decides to take the shot on from an angle of about 45 degrees and shanks it almost perpendicular. The ref then goes back and books Allen. 9:30PM 72 min Sterling dribbles through the box on the right, shimmies his hips and sells Stafylidis a dummy that causes him to slide in, miss the ball and catch it with his arm as he slid past. Sterling didn&#39;t stop and carried on until his pass towards the spot was blocked. 9:29PM 71 min Otamendi outmuscles Crouch to win the ball and sets off on a gambol upfield to start an attack down the left. Stoke see it out. 9:27PM 68 min Stafylidis hits a long diagonal up for Crouch who wins the aerial battle but was offside. At last they have a focal point for their strategy. 9:26PM 67 min Man City fans are now singing their Yaya Delilah song. Talk about cultural appropriation. 9:24PM 64 min Bauer takes an inswinger, whipping it a foot or so beyond the far post. Crouch wins it comfortably and squares it back across the box. Choupo-Moting wins the second header and diverts it back across goal to Martins Indi who wellies his right-foot volley from six yards over the bar. Miss: Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (Bruno Martins Indi, 64 min) 9:21PM 62 min Good pass from Shaqiri frees Jese down the left. He doubles back on Otamendi who hacks him down. The ref plays the advantage then brings it back. That&#39;s Jese&#39;s last touch. Off he goes to be replaced for the free-kick he won by Peter Crouch. David Silva scores his and City&#39;s second Credit: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images 9:18PM 59 min From the corner Sterling shifts it to Sane who takes a touch to make some space for the shot then cuts his foot across it and sends it swerving in towards goal then away again then in again. Butland does well to save it. Miss: Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (Leroy Sané, 59 min) 9:16PM 58 min Sterling attempts to Ricky Villa his way through the box on the right, twists Stafylidis&#39; blood, but can only find Butland&#39;s shins with his shot. 9:15PM 56 min Fernandinho makes a lung-bursting 60-yard run, feeds De Bruyne down the left then continues his charge into the box to take the return after his team-mate&#39;s lovely pass cut out Bruno Martins Indi. He was a little too wide to squeeze his post in at the near post but tried anyway, stabbing it into the side-netting. 9:12PM 53 min What happened here 20 years ago gave birth to the &#39;We&#39;re not really here&#39; era and Man City&#39;s fans give it a good airing now, followed by their C-bomb Mourinho song. Wildean it ain&#39;t. 9:10PM 52 min Gorgeous finish from David Silva, leaping up to take the return in a one-two with Gabriel Jesus. The ball bounced up to chest height but he acrobatically hooked in a flying volley as Bauer, trying to make up for being caught out of position and Butland closed in on him at pace. Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (David Silva, 50 min) 9:07PM Goal!! Stoke 0-2 Man City (David Silva) 9:07PM 49 min Man City corner after opening Stoke up on the left by virtue of David Silva&#39;s curling pass into Sane&#39;s stride. He takes a touch with his right that actually sows him down and he has to improvise, stopping then shifting it over to the right where Sterling wins a corner. 9:04PM 47 min Shaqiri&#39;s got his Toblerone-shaped boots on tonight, slicing an attempted ball over the top for Jese&#39;s burst up the right into touch. 9:03PM 46 min No changes. Man City kick off, rolling the ball back to Kompany who chips it diagonally over to the left where Sane wins the header, beating Bauer aerially, but Stoke then win the second ball. 8:59PM Southampton have sacked Mauricio Pellegrino Marco Silva? Slavisa Jokanovic would be ideal but I doubt he would leave Fulham. 8:53PM Half-time shot maps Stoke vs Man City shots on goal Stoke vs Man City shots on goal And the weighted touch positions to illustrate City&#39;s dominance of possession and territory: Average touch positions (half time) 8:50PM Half time Some snarl and a lot of huff and puff from Stoke and it has been a pretty entertaining ground. Man City&#39;s class has told in the final third. David Silva has been whack-a-mole-ing all over the shop. Both left-backs look vulnerable and Stoke have had a couple of glimmers but they need the final ball, from Shaqiri largely, to be better ... perfect, in fact, if they&#39;re going to score. 8:47PM 45 min Shaqiri spots Choupo-Moting&#39;s run into the box from the left touchline and hits an isnwinging left-footer from the right towards the far post. He significantly overclubs it and smears it over Ederson and into touch. 8:46PM 44 min Stoke give the ball away cheaply with a panicked clearance and their fans are livid. They get away with their indiscretion and, via a free kick, work the ball towards the City goal on the left. City defend it comfortably and knock it long themselves. Martins Indi is all over Jesus though that&#39;s not the referee&#39;s interpretation as he allows the centre-half to win the ball. 8:43PM 42 min Stafylidis is being beasted on the left side of Stoke&#39;s defence and is allowing City unimpeded access. Once again De Bruyne gets behind him, centres to Sane who roundhouses a left foot volley on the run just wide. Miss: Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (Leroy Sané, 42 min) 8:41PM 41 min Smart save from Butland, diving low to his left to block Fernandinho&#39;s bunny-hopper of a shot. Then De Bruyne smacks a shot wide. 8:40PM 39 min Both Ederson and Butland have to come sprinting out of their areas for some sweeper-keeper action that inflames/tickles the crowd but they were pretty unruffled, Ederson particularly. 8:39PM 36 min Butland kicks it long, Choupo Moting beats Kompany to it but flicks rather than heads it on. The ball bounces through towards the City box and Jese gives chase. Walker tacks in from the right, follows the unusual flight of the ball and gets a toe to it and inadvertently knocks up an up and under that threatens to drift under the bar. Ederson scoots back to tip it over. 8:36PM 33 min Martins Indi plays a blind, preposterous, hospital pass to Butland without spotting De Bruyne&#39;s scavenging run into the box. Butland sprints off his line and beats De Bruyne to it by an inch to block tackle his attempted stab with a very strong challenge. De Bruyne&#39;s boot rakes his metatarsals and leaves the keeper hobbling momentarily but he soon recovers. David Silva scores the first Credit: Manchester City FC 8:33PM 31 min Terrific pass between Zinchenko and Otamendi by Shaqiri that Jese races to meet. The bounce takes him a touch too wide and he can&#39;t warp his foot around it to give his shot the power or precision it needed to beat Ederson. 8:31PM 28 min Zinchenko, the baby-faced tactical fouler, disrupts Stoke&#39;s attempts to take a quick throw-in he had just conceded. Shaqiri wants him sanctioned but the referee restricts himself to a telling-off instead. Shaqiri and Zinchenko tangle Credit: Simon Stacpoole/Offside 8:28PM 26 min De Bruyne crosses from the right and Silva has made another menacing, penetrative run. Cameron has gone with him this time and the delivery is a foot behind him. Silva essays a bicycle kick but doesn&#39;t connect, Stoke dig it out of the box where Fernandinho is first to it. He responds to cries from City fans of &#39;Shoot!&#39; with a wild shank over the bar. 8:26PM 23 min Sane has been quiet so far but goes off on a crossfield run, plays it to Fernandinho and darts beyond Sterling to overload Stafylidis. The intended pass to free him is intercepted by Stafylidis who clips it up to Shaqiri. His touch deserts him and he bludgeons his offload back to David Silva who angles a pass from the right towards the penalty spot where Gabriel Jesus is heading for after tearing past Zouma. But he&#39;s gone too soon. Offside. 8:22PM 20 min Stoke come close when Shaqiri, in the right corner, megs Zinchenko, runs round the inside then cuts back a daisycutter to the 18-yard line. Ndiaye pulls his shot as he aims for the far post and a deflection takes the bobbler wide for a corner that City defend well/Stoke waste. 8:20PM 18 min City should have had a free-kick on the edge of the box when Stafylidis pulls down Sterling, his hand gripping his shoulder. The referee mistakes Sterling for Dele Alli and waves away all legitimate protestations and the Stoke crowd boos him for the sin of being fouled. Here&#39;s the goal: David Silva steers home Sterling&#39;s cross Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge 8:17PM 16 min Zinchenko, who was culpable of a filthy foul on Eden Hazard eight days ago, clatters into Shaqiri very late here, sliding in to chop him down at the ankles. Free kick. Possession: Stoke vs Man City 8:15PM 14 min Very good work from Ndiaye who tracked Sterling&#39;s run into the box as he received a pass from Walker&#39;s cute knock-down. He made himself a second skin without actually fouling him as he harried Sterling into touch. 8:12PM 11 min Lovely pass round the corner from Jesus takes Stafylidis, who was too far forward, out of the game and finds Sterling who has bombed round the back on the right. Sterling picks his head up and centres calmly for David Silva who sidefoots his firm finish on the run with his left past Butland. Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (David Silva, 10 min) 8:09PM Goal! Stoke 0-1 Man City (David Silva) 8:09PM 9 min Choupo-Moting steps in off the left and wins a header, knocking it on for Jese to run on to but the centre-forward didn&#39;t read his intentions. 8:08PM 7 min Direct and tigerish in the tackle, the orders of the day. Ndiaye snaps into one 25 yards out, left of centre and is penalised. De Bruyne takes it and works a routine, hooking it to the 18-yard line where Otamendi was lingering all alone. He flicked it two yards further forward hoping to find Kompany but it didn&#39;t get there ad Stoke play it up to Jese, Allen finding him with a fine pass. Walker sticks to him and eventually hassles him out of possession. 8:06PM 5 min When Sterling is penalised for a shove, Butland spears another free-kick long ball up for Jese who doesn&#39;t have the height or timing of jump to beat Kompany. Already Davie Provan thinks Stoke need Crouch if they&#39;re going to ply this way. 8:04PM 4 min He distributes it to Bauer who tries to steer it up the right for Shaqiri to run at Zinchenko but he can&#39;t control the long pass. Direct is the order of the day for Stoke. 8:03PM 3 min De Bruyne strips the ball off Ndiaye 40 yards from goal but the Senegal midfielder sticks with him and forces him to lay it off. City try to thread a diagonal for Jesus&#39;s run into the box but Butland is on to it and gets there first. 8:02PM 1 min Jese kicks off for Stoke. Vibrant, noisy atmospheer at the Brit tonight. Delilah is fighting it out with Blue Moon. Stoke whack it up the left and immediately lose possession. City move up the right, 10 yards infield until Ndiaye tackles De Bruyne and Stoke quickly knock it over the top again but to no benefit. 7:56PM Kurt Zouma Spoke to Matt Law about facing Manchester City tonight: &quot;This was the worst defeat I’ve ever had in my career in football.“But it can happen and I forgot about it, and I don’t want to think about it. I don’t think about that game. “Man City are a top side. But our job is to make it difficult and they have to feel we want to win the game. The mistakes we made in the 7-2 we can’t make again and we have to try to win to make the fans happy and us happy as well.” 7:37PM A truncated Monday Night Football No Keith Hernandez tonight. Gary Neville flies solo. Paul Lambert is wearing his Gianluca Vialli schoolboy grey V-neck. Pep has his yellow ribbon close to his heart but beneath his jacket. Pep Guardiola watches the warm-up Credit: REUTERS/Hannah McKay Lambert says Stoke have to &#39;play ugly&#39; and &#39;run more than they&#39;ve ever run before&#39;. 7:32PM Your teams in black and white Stoke Butland; Bauer, Zouma, Martins Indi, Stafylidis; Allen, Cameron, Ndiaye; Shaqiri, Jese, Choupo-Moting. Substitutes Haugaard, Johnson, Adam, Shawcross, Fletcher, Crouch, Sobhi. Man City Ederson, Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Zinchenko, De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva, Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Sane. Substitutes Bravo, Danilo, Stones, Gundogan, Laporte, Bernardo Silva, Toure. Referee Jonathan Moss (Leeds) 7:03PM Man City XI Three changes: Vincent Kompany, Raheem Sterling and Fernandinho return for Aymeric Laporte, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan. How we line-up tonight! City XI | Ederson, Walker, Kompany (C), Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Silva, De Bruyne, Sterling, Sane, Jesus Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Stones, Gundogan, Laporte, Bernardo, Yaya Toure Presented by @HAYSWorldwide#scfcvcity#mancitypic.twitter.com/niKExUKO9R— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 12, 2018 7:02PM Stoke City team news �� One change for the Potters against @ManCity this evening as @JeseRodriguez10 replaces @MameDiouf99. STARTING XI: Butland; Bauer, Zouma, M. Indi, Stafylidis; Badou, Cameron, Allen; Shaqiri, Jese, Choupo-Moting.#SCFC ��⚪️ pic.twitter.com/E7ngnPmI9t— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) March 12, 2018 One change: Jese in for Diouf. 6:13PM Good evening Paul Lambert has certainly patched Stoke&#39;s badly leaking defence since taking over from Mark Hughes and a victory and four draws from six games is a very creditable return in theory. Yet when you look at those games more closely - a defeat by Bournemouth, draws with Watford, Southampton, Brighton and Leicester to go with that victory over Huddersfield, it is hard not to conclude that a side in deep relegation shtook really needed to do better against that calibre of opposition. They start tonight in 19th place against the league leaders, only a point off 17th but with a run of fixtures that brings them Everton at home, Arsenal away and Spurs at home after tonight&#39;s meeting with the team that whacked them 7-2 in the autumn. Avoiding a shellacking will be an improvement on the beating Hughes took from his former club but points are also a priority because three of their last five games pit them against other sides fighting for survival - West Ham, Palace and Swansea plus unenviable encounters with Burnley and Liverpool. Victory for Manchester City will extend their lead to 16 points with eight to play and allows them to keep their chance of clinching the title in the Manchester derby on course should United slip up in their next two games. Gabriel Jesus starts tonight in the absence of Sergio Agüero. There will be no 200th goal for Manchester City&#39;s great centre-forward but Stoke will be wary of coming up against Jesus again after his sensational, slippery performance back in October when he scored twice. Twenty years ago these two met in the last match of the 1997-98 season in the second tier of English professional football, known back then, confusingly, as Division One. Manchester City were 23rd on 45 points, Stoke 22nd on 46, Port Vale 21st on 46 and Portsmouth one place higher with the same number of points. &quot;Knowing City&#39;s almost comical capacity for failure, they will probably win only for Port Vale and Portsmouth to do likewise,&quot; wrote the anonymous preview writer in the Sunday Telegraph. Daily Telegraph match report confirming relegation of Stoke and Man City in 1998 Credit: THE TELEGRAPH And lo, it came to pass at the Britannia Stadium. Manchester City won 5-2 , Shaun Goater scored two, Paul Dickov, Lee &#39;Badbuy&#39; Bradbury and Kevin Horlock one each for the visitors while Peter Thorne grabbed two for Stoke. But Port Vale won 4-0 away at Huddersfield and, more gallingly still, Portsmouth, under the management of Alan Ball, who had overseen City&#39;s relegation from the Premier League when he miscalculated what they needed from their final match, beat Bradford 3-1. So, both Stoke and Man City went down with Reading. For all their toils this season, the world of Stoke City, just as much as Manchester City, has been transformed this past 20 years ... just not as radically. Back with the teams when they are announced at 7pm.
Stoke City 0 Man City 2: David Silva dazzles to put the title in reach... and they'll claim it with victory over United
The sight of Pep Guardiola marching onto the pitch after the final whistle to lecture Leroy Sane said it all: the Manchester City manager wants more. This comfortable victory, earned through two sublime David Silva goals, was not enough in a campaign in which City can break all kinds of Premier League records. And, with the Champions League draw on Friday, still achieve even greater things. City will be in Abu Dhabi when that draw takes place, as they enjoy a break before resuming their campaign against Everton at the end of this month. Win that and it means that they can claim the title in their next fixture – which just happens to be against Manchester United at home on April 7. The countdown is on. Guardiola said that City will “come back stronger” from the Middle East and it sounded like a threat as much as a promise. Just how much stronger can this dazzling City side be? Stoke are no mugs under Paul Lambert and, as they should, they fought for their lives as they desperately try and beat relegation. But they did not even register a shot on target. Interestingly, Guardiola chose to highlight the fact that this result meant City had achieved the double over Stoke for the first time since 1999-2000, and it shone a light on the fact that such records and achievements really do matter to him. Guardiola does not want to just win this league but to achieve new landmarks in doing so. Already City have earned 81 points, the first team to achieve that after 30 games, and the highest-ever points total in the Premier League - Chelsea’s 95 under Jose Mourinho in 2004-05 - is in Guardiola’s sights. City can top 100 points and, with 85 goals already, can beat the record of 103 achieved by Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea in 2009-10. A double century - 100 points; 100 goals - is possible. Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (David Silva, 10 min) This result also means that City surpassed their points total of 78 earned last season. And have done so with eight games to go. But it is not enough. It also matters to Guardiola that City do not relent once the Premier League is won and stay full-on in Europe. There was an insight into that in the way he spoke to Sane, who had wasted chances, and he also called over captain Vincent Kompany to instruct him once Stoke had brought on substitute Peter Crouch. Kompany later joked that he was pretty well aware what that would mean tactically. The goals were worthy of winning any match. They summed up the silky brilliance of City as they cut through Stoke. The first came after just 10 mintes with Fernandinho, fit again and recalled, playing the ball in to Gabriel Jesus who turned and took out three Stoke players with a pass that released Raheem Sterling down the right. Sterling looked up quickly and crossed low for the onrushing Silva who arrived between two more Stoke defenders to side-foot first time into the net. It was breathtaking, marvellous stuff. Manchester City's David Silva, who opened the scoring for the away side, takes on Stoke's Moritz Bauer Credit: PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images It also quickly set back Stoke’s plan to defend deep and try to counter aggressively, with Jese asked to take on the City centre-halves. Their best outlet was matching up Xherdan Shaqiri against Oleksandr Zinchenko and the Swiss international nutmegged the full-back before teeing up Badou Ndiaye whose shot deflected off Fernandinho’s foot and flew narrowly past the post. So would we have a contest after all? It seemed possible when Jack Butland – in front of the watching England manager Gareth Southgate, who announces his next squad on Thursday – launched a goal-kick which flew over Kompany’s head, with Jese running through. Kyle Walker recovered but toed the ball, looping it over Ederson who back-pedalled to tip it over the cross-bar. Possession: Stoke vs Man City At the other end, though, City racked up chances. After Guardiola’s accusations that his team forgot to attack following the Champions League defeat at home to Basle last week, this was a clear response with Butland turning away a low Fernandinho shot and then watching, relieved, as Sane volleyed just wide. Stoke were, rightly, cheered off at half-time. No-one could fault their effort. They had worked hard, they had bitten into tackles and tried to close down their opponents, even if there was always that sense that City were a simple shift through the gears away from extending their advantage. And they did just that. Sterling won the ball back and found Fernandinho who played it in to Silva. The midfielder’s first touch deftly picked out Jesus who lifted the ball across the area. Should Butland have come from his goal quicker? Instead he hesitated but Silva was always going to get there first and he guided the ball into the net. David Silva spins to half-volley in the second Credit: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images City poured forward. De Bruyne struck the side-netting from a tight angle when through, then Sterling tricked his way beyond Kostas Stafylidis and dumped Geoff Cameron to the turf – only for his close-range shot to be saved by Butland with his outstretched leg. There was more: a Zinchenko shot beaten away, a curling Sane effort just wide, Walker slicing wildly when clear and Butland saving from Sane. Stoke desperately needed some respite and almost achieved it when Crouch headed a free-kick back across goal for Maxim Choupo-Moting who headed it back again to Bruno Martins Indi, only for the defender to blast his volley over from four yards. So there would be no late drama except when Sterling provoked an angry response as he whisked away possession, following a drop-ball after a clash of heads, and ran through on goal only to be tackled by a furious Ndiaye. It led to some pushing and shoving. It was the only aggravation this imperious City side faced all evening. 9:55PM Full time Manchester City restore their lead to 16 points with a masterly, indeed masterful, victory over 19th-placed Stoke who are not unique in being comprehensively outclassed. David Silva was brilliant, Raheem Sterling also played very well. 9:53PM 90+5 min Keepball from City for 90 seconds until Bauer picks off a pass from David Silva. They work it up the right and Bauer spears in a deep cross that bypasses Crouch. The ref has seen enough and emits three peeps from his Acme Thunderer. 9:51PM 90+4 min City corner on the right. The Silvas twain and De Bruyne knock it about and go all the way back to Ederson who starts a foray up the left with Zinchenko who then move sit back to safety in midfield. 9:49PM 90+2 min We'll have five minutes added because of Otamendi's cut. Stafylidis lets fly from 30 yards and cracks his shot into Otamendi. 9:48PM 90 min City sub: Ilkay Gundogan on, Gabriel Jesus off. David Silva is named man of the match. 9:47PM 88 min Stoke sub: Ramadan Sobhi on for Geoff Cameron. Seems a little pointless and cruel. You've had naff all football under Lambert then he chucks you on for 90 seconds of a game you've long lost? Must be tempting to tell him to get stuffed. 9:44PM 86 min Stoke corner on the right, curled by Shaqiri straight down Ederson's throat. He sparks a rapid City break from which they're caught offside, back come Stoke and Komany makes the only telling tackle that has been required of him all night. 9:42PM 84 min City sub: Sterling, who has played very well, departs to a chorus of disapproval. Bernardo Silva takes his place. 9:41PM 82 min Don't know how Sterling missed that, or what Jon Moss said to City at the drop ball. But even City's fans went a but quiet after it. 9:39PM 79 min Jonathan Moss restarts the game with a drop ball 40 yards out. City contest it, Stoke don't because they think they were going to have possession. Sterling hares off towards goal with Ndiaye chasing him looking intent on whacking him with more than an etiquette guide. Sterling, with Jesus in support, drops his shoulder and veers to the right to try to round Butland which gives Ndiaye the opening to whip the ball behind for a corner. All hell then breaks loose about City's alleged chicanery. 9:35PM 78 min Otamendi is back on his feet having wrapped his head in Elastoplast. 9:35PM 76 min Sane stings Butland's palms with a flayed shot then there's quite a stoppage when Otamendi collides with Stafylidis as they fought for De Bruyne's cross. The latter is OK having caught his opponent with his brow, Otamendi is still down with a gash on his scalp. 9:32PM 74 min Joe Allen bundles over Jesus in the centre-circle and the ref waves play on. De Bruyne threads a pass down the right for Sterling's run into the box and he decides to take the shot on from an angle of about 45 degrees and shanks it almost perpendicular. The ref then goes back and books Allen. 9:30PM 72 min Sterling dribbles through the box on the right, shimmies his hips and sells Stafylidis a dummy that causes him to slide in, miss the ball and catch it with his arm as he slid past. Sterling didn't stop and carried on until his pass towards the spot was blocked. 9:29PM 71 min Otamendi outmuscles Crouch to win the ball and sets off on a gambol upfield to start an attack down the left. Stoke see it out. 9:27PM 68 min Stafylidis hits a long diagonal up for Crouch who wins the aerial battle but was offside. At last they have a focal point for their strategy. 9:26PM 67 min Man City fans are now singing their Yaya Delilah song. Talk about cultural appropriation. 9:24PM 64 min Bauer takes an inswinger, whipping it a foot or so beyond the far post. Crouch wins it comfortably and squares it back across the box. Choupo-Moting wins the second header and diverts it back across goal to Martins Indi who wellies his right-foot volley from six yards over the bar. Miss: Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (Bruno Martins Indi, 64 min) 9:21PM 62 min Good pass from Shaqiri frees Jese down the left. He doubles back on Otamendi who hacks him down. The ref plays the advantage then brings it back. That's Jese's last touch. Off he goes to be replaced for the free-kick he won by Peter Crouch. David Silva scores his and City's second Credit: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images 9:18PM 59 min From the corner Sterling shifts it to Sane who takes a touch to make some space for the shot then cuts his foot across it and sends it swerving in towards goal then away again then in again. Butland does well to save it. Miss: Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (Leroy Sané, 59 min) 9:16PM 58 min Sterling attempts to Ricky Villa his way through the box on the right, twists Stafylidis' blood, but can only find Butland's shins with his shot. 9:15PM 56 min Fernandinho makes a lung-bursting 60-yard run, feeds De Bruyne down the left then continues his charge into the box to take the return after his team-mate's lovely pass cut out Bruno Martins Indi. He was a little too wide to squeeze his post in at the near post but tried anyway, stabbing it into the side-netting. 9:12PM 53 min What happened here 20 years ago gave birth to the 'We're not really here' era and Man City's fans give it a good airing now, followed by their C-bomb Mourinho song. Wildean it ain't. 9:10PM 52 min Gorgeous finish from David Silva, leaping up to take the return in a one-two with Gabriel Jesus. The ball bounced up to chest height but he acrobatically hooked in a flying volley as Bauer, trying to make up for being caught out of position and Butland closed in on him at pace. Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (David Silva, 50 min) 9:07PM Goal!! Stoke 0-2 Man City (David Silva) 9:07PM 49 min Man City corner after opening Stoke up on the left by virtue of David Silva's curling pass into Sane's stride. He takes a touch with his right that actually sows him down and he has to improvise, stopping then shifting it over to the right where Sterling wins a corner. 9:04PM 47 min Shaqiri's got his Toblerone-shaped boots on tonight, slicing an attempted ball over the top for Jese's burst up the right into touch. 9:03PM 46 min No changes. Man City kick off, rolling the ball back to Kompany who chips it diagonally over to the left where Sane wins the header, beating Bauer aerially, but Stoke then win the second ball. 8:59PM Southampton have sacked Mauricio Pellegrino Marco Silva? Slavisa Jokanovic would be ideal but I doubt he would leave Fulham. 8:53PM Half-time shot maps Stoke vs Man City shots on goal Stoke vs Man City shots on goal And the weighted touch positions to illustrate City's dominance of possession and territory: Average touch positions (half time) 8:50PM Half time Some snarl and a lot of huff and puff from Stoke and it has been a pretty entertaining ground. Man City's class has told in the final third. David Silva has been whack-a-mole-ing all over the shop. Both left-backs look vulnerable and Stoke have had a couple of glimmers but they need the final ball, from Shaqiri largely, to be better ... perfect, in fact, if they're going to score. 8:47PM 45 min Shaqiri spots Choupo-Moting's run into the box from the left touchline and hits an isnwinging left-footer from the right towards the far post. He significantly overclubs it and smears it over Ederson and into touch. 8:46PM 44 min Stoke give the ball away cheaply with a panicked clearance and their fans are livid. They get away with their indiscretion and, via a free kick, work the ball towards the City goal on the left. City defend it comfortably and knock it long themselves. Martins Indi is all over Jesus though that's not the referee's interpretation as he allows the centre-half to win the ball. 8:43PM 42 min Stafylidis is being beasted on the left side of Stoke's defence and is allowing City unimpeded access. Once again De Bruyne gets behind him, centres to Sane who roundhouses a left foot volley on the run just wide. Miss: Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (Leroy Sané, 42 min) 8:41PM 41 min Smart save from Butland, diving low to his left to block Fernandinho's bunny-hopper of a shot. Then De Bruyne smacks a shot wide. 8:40PM 39 min Both Ederson and Butland have to come sprinting out of their areas for some sweeper-keeper action that inflames/tickles the crowd but they were pretty unruffled, Ederson particularly. 8:39PM 36 min Butland kicks it long, Choupo Moting beats Kompany to it but flicks rather than heads it on. The ball bounces through towards the City box and Jese gives chase. Walker tacks in from the right, follows the unusual flight of the ball and gets a toe to it and inadvertently knocks up an up and under that threatens to drift under the bar. Ederson scoots back to tip it over. 8:36PM 33 min Martins Indi plays a blind, preposterous, hospital pass to Butland without spotting De Bruyne's scavenging run into the box. Butland sprints off his line and beats De Bruyne to it by an inch to block tackle his attempted stab with a very strong challenge. De Bruyne's boot rakes his metatarsals and leaves the keeper hobbling momentarily but he soon recovers. David Silva scores the first Credit: Manchester City FC 8:33PM 31 min Terrific pass between Zinchenko and Otamendi by Shaqiri that Jese races to meet. The bounce takes him a touch too wide and he can't warp his foot around it to give his shot the power or precision it needed to beat Ederson. 8:31PM 28 min Zinchenko, the baby-faced tactical fouler, disrupts Stoke's attempts to take a quick throw-in he had just conceded. Shaqiri wants him sanctioned but the referee restricts himself to a telling-off instead. Shaqiri and Zinchenko tangle Credit: Simon Stacpoole/Offside 8:28PM 26 min De Bruyne crosses from the right and Silva has made another menacing, penetrative run. Cameron has gone with him this time and the delivery is a foot behind him. Silva essays a bicycle kick but doesn't connect, Stoke dig it out of the box where Fernandinho is first to it. He responds to cries from City fans of 'Shoot!' with a wild shank over the bar. 8:26PM 23 min Sane has been quiet so far but goes off on a crossfield run, plays it to Fernandinho and darts beyond Sterling to overload Stafylidis. The intended pass to free him is intercepted by Stafylidis who clips it up to Shaqiri. His touch deserts him and he bludgeons his offload back to David Silva who angles a pass from the right towards the penalty spot where Gabriel Jesus is heading for after tearing past Zouma. But he's gone too soon. Offside. 8:22PM 20 min Stoke come close when Shaqiri, in the right corner, megs Zinchenko, runs round the inside then cuts back a daisycutter to the 18-yard line. Ndiaye pulls his shot as he aims for the far post and a deflection takes the bobbler wide for a corner that City defend well/Stoke waste. 8:20PM 18 min City should have had a free-kick on the edge of the box when Stafylidis pulls down Sterling, his hand gripping his shoulder. The referee mistakes Sterling for Dele Alli and waves away all legitimate protestations and the Stoke crowd boos him for the sin of being fouled. Here's the goal: David Silva steers home Sterling's cross Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge 8:17PM 16 min Zinchenko, who was culpable of a filthy foul on Eden Hazard eight days ago, clatters into Shaqiri very late here, sliding in to chop him down at the ankles. Free kick. Possession: Stoke vs Man City 8:15PM 14 min Very good work from Ndiaye who tracked Sterling's run into the box as he received a pass from Walker's cute knock-down. He made himself a second skin without actually fouling him as he harried Sterling into touch. 8:12PM 11 min Lovely pass round the corner from Jesus takes Stafylidis, who was too far forward, out of the game and finds Sterling who has bombed round the back on the right. Sterling picks his head up and centres calmly for David Silva who sidefoots his firm finish on the run with his left past Butland. Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (David Silva, 10 min) 8:09PM Goal! Stoke 0-1 Man City (David Silva) 8:09PM 9 min Choupo-Moting steps in off the left and wins a header, knocking it on for Jese to run on to but the centre-forward didn't read his intentions. 8:08PM 7 min Direct and tigerish in the tackle, the orders of the day. Ndiaye snaps into one 25 yards out, left of centre and is penalised. De Bruyne takes it and works a routine, hooking it to the 18-yard line where Otamendi was lingering all alone. He flicked it two yards further forward hoping to find Kompany but it didn't get there ad Stoke play it up to Jese, Allen finding him with a fine pass. Walker sticks to him and eventually hassles him out of possession. 8:06PM 5 min When Sterling is penalised for a shove, Butland spears another free-kick long ball up for Jese who doesn't have the height or timing of jump to beat Kompany. Already Davie Provan thinks Stoke need Crouch if they're going to ply this way. 8:04PM 4 min He distributes it to Bauer who tries to steer it up the right for Shaqiri to run at Zinchenko but he can't control the long pass. Direct is the order of the day for Stoke. 8:03PM 3 min De Bruyne strips the ball off Ndiaye 40 yards from goal but the Senegal midfielder sticks with him and forces him to lay it off. City try to thread a diagonal for Jesus's run into the box but Butland is on to it and gets there first. 8:02PM 1 min Jese kicks off for Stoke. Vibrant, noisy atmospheer at the Brit tonight. Delilah is fighting it out with Blue Moon. Stoke whack it up the left and immediately lose possession. City move up the right, 10 yards infield until Ndiaye tackles De Bruyne and Stoke quickly knock it over the top again but to no benefit. 7:56PM Kurt Zouma Spoke to Matt Law about facing Manchester City tonight: "This was the worst defeat I’ve ever had in my career in football.“But it can happen and I forgot about it, and I don’t want to think about it. I don’t think about that game. “Man City are a top side. But our job is to make it difficult and they have to feel we want to win the game. The mistakes we made in the 7-2 we can’t make again and we have to try to win to make the fans happy and us happy as well.” 7:37PM A truncated Monday Night Football No Keith Hernandez tonight. Gary Neville flies solo. Paul Lambert is wearing his Gianluca Vialli schoolboy grey V-neck. Pep has his yellow ribbon close to his heart but beneath his jacket. Pep Guardiola watches the warm-up Credit: REUTERS/Hannah McKay Lambert says Stoke have to 'play ugly' and 'run more than they've ever run before'. 7:32PM Your teams in black and white Stoke Butland; Bauer, Zouma, Martins Indi, Stafylidis; Allen, Cameron, Ndiaye; Shaqiri, Jese, Choupo-Moting. Substitutes Haugaard, Johnson, Adam, Shawcross, Fletcher, Crouch, Sobhi. Man City Ederson, Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Zinchenko, De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva, Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Sane. Substitutes Bravo, Danilo, Stones, Gundogan, Laporte, Bernardo Silva, Toure. Referee Jonathan Moss (Leeds) 7:03PM Man City XI Three changes: Vincent Kompany, Raheem Sterling and Fernandinho return for Aymeric Laporte, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan. How we line-up tonight! City XI | Ederson, Walker, Kompany (C), Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Silva, De Bruyne, Sterling, Sane, Jesus Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Stones, Gundogan, Laporte, Bernardo, Yaya Toure Presented by @HAYSWorldwide#scfcvcity#mancitypic.twitter.com/niKExUKO9R— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 12, 2018 7:02PM Stoke City team news �� One change for the Potters against @ManCity this evening as @JeseRodriguez10 replaces @MameDiouf99. STARTING XI: Butland; Bauer, Zouma, M. Indi, Stafylidis; Badou, Cameron, Allen; Shaqiri, Jese, Choupo-Moting.#SCFC ��⚪️ pic.twitter.com/E7ngnPmI9t— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) March 12, 2018 One change: Jese in for Diouf. 6:13PM Good evening Paul Lambert has certainly patched Stoke's badly leaking defence since taking over from Mark Hughes and a victory and four draws from six games is a very creditable return in theory. Yet when you look at those games more closely - a defeat by Bournemouth, draws with Watford, Southampton, Brighton and Leicester to go with that victory over Huddersfield, it is hard not to conclude that a side in deep relegation shtook really needed to do better against that calibre of opposition. They start tonight in 19th place against the league leaders, only a point off 17th but with a run of fixtures that brings them Everton at home, Arsenal away and Spurs at home after tonight's meeting with the team that whacked them 7-2 in the autumn. Avoiding a shellacking will be an improvement on the beating Hughes took from his former club but points are also a priority because three of their last five games pit them against other sides fighting for survival - West Ham, Palace and Swansea plus unenviable encounters with Burnley and Liverpool. Victory for Manchester City will extend their lead to 16 points with eight to play and allows them to keep their chance of clinching the title in the Manchester derby on course should United slip up in their next two games. Gabriel Jesus starts tonight in the absence of Sergio Agüero. There will be no 200th goal for Manchester City's great centre-forward but Stoke will be wary of coming up against Jesus again after his sensational, slippery performance back in October when he scored twice. Twenty years ago these two met in the last match of the 1997-98 season in the second tier of English professional football, known back then, confusingly, as Division One. Manchester City were 23rd on 45 points, Stoke 22nd on 46, Port Vale 21st on 46 and Portsmouth one place higher with the same number of points. "Knowing City's almost comical capacity for failure, they will probably win only for Port Vale and Portsmouth to do likewise," wrote the anonymous preview writer in the Sunday Telegraph. Daily Telegraph match report confirming relegation of Stoke and Man City in 1998 Credit: THE TELEGRAPH And lo, it came to pass at the Britannia Stadium. Manchester City won 5-2 , Shaun Goater scored two, Paul Dickov, Lee 'Badbuy' Bradbury and Kevin Horlock one each for the visitors while Peter Thorne grabbed two for Stoke. But Port Vale won 4-0 away at Huddersfield and, more gallingly still, Portsmouth, under the management of Alan Ball, who had overseen City's relegation from the Premier League when he miscalculated what they needed from their final match, beat Bradford 3-1. So, both Stoke and Man City went down with Reading. For all their toils this season, the world of Stoke City, just as much as Manchester City, has been transformed this past 20 years ... just not as radically. Back with the teams when they are announced at 7pm.
The sight of Pep Guardiola marching onto the pitch after the final whistle to lecture Leroy Sane said it all: the Manchester City manager wants more. This comfortable victory, earned through two sublime David Silva goals, was not enough in a campaign in which City can break all kinds of Premier League records. And, with the Champions League draw on Friday, still achieve even greater things. City will be in Abu Dhabi when that draw takes place, as they enjoy a break before resuming their campaign against Everton at the end of this month. Win that and it means that they can claim the title in their next fixture – which just happens to be against Manchester United at home on April 7. The countdown is on. Guardiola said that City will “come back stronger” from the Middle East and it sounded like a threat as much as a promise. Just how much stronger can this dazzling City side be? Stoke are no mugs under Paul Lambert and, as they should, they fought for their lives as they desperately try and beat relegation. But they did not even register a shot on target. Interestingly, Guardiola chose to highlight the fact that this result meant City had achieved the double over Stoke for the first time since 1999-2000, and it shone a light on the fact that such records and achievements really do matter to him. Guardiola does not want to just win this league but to achieve new landmarks in doing so. Already City have earned 81 points, the first team to achieve that after 30 games, and the highest-ever points total in the Premier League - Chelsea’s 95 under Jose Mourinho in 2004-05 - is in Guardiola’s sights. City can top 100 points and, with 85 goals already, can beat the record of 103 achieved by Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea in 2009-10. A double century - 100 points; 100 goals - is possible. Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (David Silva, 10 min) This result also means that City surpassed their points total of 78 earned last season. And have done so with eight games to go. But it is not enough. It also matters to Guardiola that City do not relent once the Premier League is won and stay full-on in Europe. There was an insight into that in the way he spoke to Sane, who had wasted chances, and he also called over captain Vincent Kompany to instruct him once Stoke had brought on substitute Peter Crouch. Kompany later joked that he was pretty well aware what that would mean tactically. The goals were worthy of winning any match. They summed up the silky brilliance of City as they cut through Stoke. The first came after just 10 mintes with Fernandinho, fit again and recalled, playing the ball in to Gabriel Jesus who turned and took out three Stoke players with a pass that released Raheem Sterling down the right. Sterling looked up quickly and crossed low for the onrushing Silva who arrived between two more Stoke defenders to side-foot first time into the net. It was breathtaking, marvellous stuff. Manchester City&#39;s David Silva, who opened the scoring for the away side, takes on Stoke&#39;s Moritz Bauer Credit: PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images It also quickly set back Stoke’s plan to defend deep and try to counter aggressively, with Jese asked to take on the City centre-halves. Their best outlet was matching up Xherdan Shaqiri against Oleksandr Zinchenko and the Swiss international nutmegged the full-back before teeing up Badou Ndiaye whose shot deflected off Fernandinho’s foot and flew narrowly past the post. So would we have a contest after all? It seemed possible when Jack Butland – in front of the watching England manager Gareth Southgate, who announces his next squad on Thursday – launched a goal-kick which flew over Kompany’s head, with Jese running through. Kyle Walker recovered but toed the ball, looping it over Ederson who back-pedalled to tip it over the cross-bar. Possession: Stoke vs Man City At the other end, though, City racked up chances. After Guardiola’s accusations that his team forgot to attack following the Champions League defeat at home to Basle last week, this was a clear response with Butland turning away a low Fernandinho shot and then watching, relieved, as Sane volleyed just wide. Stoke were, rightly, cheered off at half-time. No-one could fault their effort. They had worked hard, they had bitten into tackles and tried to close down their opponents, even if there was always that sense that City were a simple shift through the gears away from extending their advantage. And they did just that. Sterling won the ball back and found Fernandinho who played it in to Silva. The midfielder’s first touch deftly picked out Jesus who lifted the ball across the area. Should Butland have come from his goal quicker? Instead he hesitated but Silva was always going to get there first and he guided the ball into the net. David Silva spins to half-volley in the second Credit: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images City poured forward. De Bruyne struck the side-netting from a tight angle when through, then Sterling tricked his way beyond Kostas Stafylidis and dumped Geoff Cameron to the turf – only for his close-range shot to be saved by Butland with his outstretched leg. There was more: a Zinchenko shot beaten away, a curling Sane effort just wide, Walker slicing wildly when clear and Butland saving from Sane. Stoke desperately needed some respite and almost achieved it when Crouch headed a free-kick back across goal for Maxim Choupo-Moting who headed it back again to Bruno Martins Indi, only for the defender to blast his volley over from four yards. So there would be no late drama except when Sterling provoked an angry response as he whisked away possession, following a drop-ball after a clash of heads, and ran through on goal only to be tackled by a furious Ndiaye. It led to some pushing and shoving. It was the only aggravation this imperious City side faced all evening. 9:55PM Full time Manchester City restore their lead to 16 points with a masterly, indeed masterful, victory over 19th-placed Stoke who are not unique in being comprehensively outclassed. David Silva was brilliant, Raheem Sterling also played very well. 9:53PM 90+5 min Keepball from City for 90 seconds until Bauer picks off a pass from David Silva. They work it up the right and Bauer spears in a deep cross that bypasses Crouch. The ref has seen enough and emits three peeps from his Acme Thunderer. 9:51PM 90+4 min City corner on the right. The Silvas twain and De Bruyne knock it about and go all the way back to Ederson who starts a foray up the left with Zinchenko who then move sit back to safety in midfield. 9:49PM 90+2 min We&#39;ll have five minutes added because of Otamendi&#39;s cut. Stafylidis lets fly from 30 yards and cracks his shot into Otamendi. 9:48PM 90 min City sub: Ilkay Gundogan on, Gabriel Jesus off. David Silva is named man of the match. 9:47PM 88 min Stoke sub: Ramadan Sobhi on for Geoff Cameron. Seems a little pointless and cruel. You&#39;ve had naff all football under Lambert then he chucks you on for 90 seconds of a game you&#39;ve long lost? Must be tempting to tell him to get stuffed. 9:44PM 86 min Stoke corner on the right, curled by Shaqiri straight down Ederson&#39;s throat. He sparks a rapid City break from which they&#39;re caught offside, back come Stoke and Komany makes the only telling tackle that has been required of him all night. 9:42PM 84 min City sub: Sterling, who has played very well, departs to a chorus of disapproval. Bernardo Silva takes his place. 9:41PM 82 min Don&#39;t know how Sterling missed that, or what Jon Moss said to City at the drop ball. But even City&#39;s fans went a but quiet after it. 9:39PM 79 min Jonathan Moss restarts the game with a drop ball 40 yards out. City contest it, Stoke don&#39;t because they think they were going to have possession. Sterling hares off towards goal with Ndiaye chasing him looking intent on whacking him with more than an etiquette guide. Sterling, with Jesus in support, drops his shoulder and veers to the right to try to round Butland which gives Ndiaye the opening to whip the ball behind for a corner. All hell then breaks loose about City&#39;s alleged chicanery. 9:35PM 78 min Otamendi is back on his feet having wrapped his head in Elastoplast. 9:35PM 76 min Sane stings Butland&#39;s palms with a flayed shot then there&#39;s quite a stoppage when Otamendi collides with Stafylidis as they fought for De Bruyne&#39;s cross. The latter is OK having caught his opponent with his brow, Otamendi is still down with a gash on his scalp. 9:32PM 74 min Joe Allen bundles over Jesus in the centre-circle and the ref waves play on. De Bruyne threads a pass down the right for Sterling&#39;s run into the box and he decides to take the shot on from an angle of about 45 degrees and shanks it almost perpendicular. The ref then goes back and books Allen. 9:30PM 72 min Sterling dribbles through the box on the right, shimmies his hips and sells Stafylidis a dummy that causes him to slide in, miss the ball and catch it with his arm as he slid past. Sterling didn&#39;t stop and carried on until his pass towards the spot was blocked. 9:29PM 71 min Otamendi outmuscles Crouch to win the ball and sets off on a gambol upfield to start an attack down the left. Stoke see it out. 9:27PM 68 min Stafylidis hits a long diagonal up for Crouch who wins the aerial battle but was offside. At last they have a focal point for their strategy. 9:26PM 67 min Man City fans are now singing their Yaya Delilah song. Talk about cultural appropriation. 9:24PM 64 min Bauer takes an inswinger, whipping it a foot or so beyond the far post. Crouch wins it comfortably and squares it back across the box. Choupo-Moting wins the second header and diverts it back across goal to Martins Indi who wellies his right-foot volley from six yards over the bar. Miss: Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (Bruno Martins Indi, 64 min) 9:21PM 62 min Good pass from Shaqiri frees Jese down the left. He doubles back on Otamendi who hacks him down. The ref plays the advantage then brings it back. That&#39;s Jese&#39;s last touch. Off he goes to be replaced for the free-kick he won by Peter Crouch. David Silva scores his and City&#39;s second Credit: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images 9:18PM 59 min From the corner Sterling shifts it to Sane who takes a touch to make some space for the shot then cuts his foot across it and sends it swerving in towards goal then away again then in again. Butland does well to save it. Miss: Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (Leroy Sané, 59 min) 9:16PM 58 min Sterling attempts to Ricky Villa his way through the box on the right, twists Stafylidis&#39; blood, but can only find Butland&#39;s shins with his shot. 9:15PM 56 min Fernandinho makes a lung-bursting 60-yard run, feeds De Bruyne down the left then continues his charge into the box to take the return after his team-mate&#39;s lovely pass cut out Bruno Martins Indi. He was a little too wide to squeeze his post in at the near post but tried anyway, stabbing it into the side-netting. 9:12PM 53 min What happened here 20 years ago gave birth to the &#39;We&#39;re not really here&#39; era and Man City&#39;s fans give it a good airing now, followed by their C-bomb Mourinho song. Wildean it ain&#39;t. 9:10PM 52 min Gorgeous finish from David Silva, leaping up to take the return in a one-two with Gabriel Jesus. The ball bounced up to chest height but he acrobatically hooked in a flying volley as Bauer, trying to make up for being caught out of position and Butland closed in on him at pace. Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (David Silva, 50 min) 9:07PM Goal!! Stoke 0-2 Man City (David Silva) 9:07PM 49 min Man City corner after opening Stoke up on the left by virtue of David Silva&#39;s curling pass into Sane&#39;s stride. He takes a touch with his right that actually sows him down and he has to improvise, stopping then shifting it over to the right where Sterling wins a corner. 9:04PM 47 min Shaqiri&#39;s got his Toblerone-shaped boots on tonight, slicing an attempted ball over the top for Jese&#39;s burst up the right into touch. 9:03PM 46 min No changes. Man City kick off, rolling the ball back to Kompany who chips it diagonally over to the left where Sane wins the header, beating Bauer aerially, but Stoke then win the second ball. 8:59PM Southampton have sacked Mauricio Pellegrino Marco Silva? Slavisa Jokanovic would be ideal but I doubt he would leave Fulham. 8:53PM Half-time shot maps Stoke vs Man City shots on goal Stoke vs Man City shots on goal And the weighted touch positions to illustrate City&#39;s dominance of possession and territory: Average touch positions (half time) 8:50PM Half time Some snarl and a lot of huff and puff from Stoke and it has been a pretty entertaining ground. Man City&#39;s class has told in the final third. David Silva has been whack-a-mole-ing all over the shop. Both left-backs look vulnerable and Stoke have had a couple of glimmers but they need the final ball, from Shaqiri largely, to be better ... perfect, in fact, if they&#39;re going to score. 8:47PM 45 min Shaqiri spots Choupo-Moting&#39;s run into the box from the left touchline and hits an isnwinging left-footer from the right towards the far post. He significantly overclubs it and smears it over Ederson and into touch. 8:46PM 44 min Stoke give the ball away cheaply with a panicked clearance and their fans are livid. They get away with their indiscretion and, via a free kick, work the ball towards the City goal on the left. City defend it comfortably and knock it long themselves. Martins Indi is all over Jesus though that&#39;s not the referee&#39;s interpretation as he allows the centre-half to win the ball. 8:43PM 42 min Stafylidis is being beasted on the left side of Stoke&#39;s defence and is allowing City unimpeded access. Once again De Bruyne gets behind him, centres to Sane who roundhouses a left foot volley on the run just wide. Miss: Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (Leroy Sané, 42 min) 8:41PM 41 min Smart save from Butland, diving low to his left to block Fernandinho&#39;s bunny-hopper of a shot. Then De Bruyne smacks a shot wide. 8:40PM 39 min Both Ederson and Butland have to come sprinting out of their areas for some sweeper-keeper action that inflames/tickles the crowd but they were pretty unruffled, Ederson particularly. 8:39PM 36 min Butland kicks it long, Choupo Moting beats Kompany to it but flicks rather than heads it on. The ball bounces through towards the City box and Jese gives chase. Walker tacks in from the right, follows the unusual flight of the ball and gets a toe to it and inadvertently knocks up an up and under that threatens to drift under the bar. Ederson scoots back to tip it over. 8:36PM 33 min Martins Indi plays a blind, preposterous, hospital pass to Butland without spotting De Bruyne&#39;s scavenging run into the box. Butland sprints off his line and beats De Bruyne to it by an inch to block tackle his attempted stab with a very strong challenge. De Bruyne&#39;s boot rakes his metatarsals and leaves the keeper hobbling momentarily but he soon recovers. David Silva scores the first Credit: Manchester City FC 8:33PM 31 min Terrific pass between Zinchenko and Otamendi by Shaqiri that Jese races to meet. The bounce takes him a touch too wide and he can&#39;t warp his foot around it to give his shot the power or precision it needed to beat Ederson. 8:31PM 28 min Zinchenko, the baby-faced tactical fouler, disrupts Stoke&#39;s attempts to take a quick throw-in he had just conceded. Shaqiri wants him sanctioned but the referee restricts himself to a telling-off instead. Shaqiri and Zinchenko tangle Credit: Simon Stacpoole/Offside 8:28PM 26 min De Bruyne crosses from the right and Silva has made another menacing, penetrative run. Cameron has gone with him this time and the delivery is a foot behind him. Silva essays a bicycle kick but doesn&#39;t connect, Stoke dig it out of the box where Fernandinho is first to it. He responds to cries from City fans of &#39;Shoot!&#39; with a wild shank over the bar. 8:26PM 23 min Sane has been quiet so far but goes off on a crossfield run, plays it to Fernandinho and darts beyond Sterling to overload Stafylidis. The intended pass to free him is intercepted by Stafylidis who clips it up to Shaqiri. His touch deserts him and he bludgeons his offload back to David Silva who angles a pass from the right towards the penalty spot where Gabriel Jesus is heading for after tearing past Zouma. But he&#39;s gone too soon. Offside. 8:22PM 20 min Stoke come close when Shaqiri, in the right corner, megs Zinchenko, runs round the inside then cuts back a daisycutter to the 18-yard line. Ndiaye pulls his shot as he aims for the far post and a deflection takes the bobbler wide for a corner that City defend well/Stoke waste. 8:20PM 18 min City should have had a free-kick on the edge of the box when Stafylidis pulls down Sterling, his hand gripping his shoulder. The referee mistakes Sterling for Dele Alli and waves away all legitimate protestations and the Stoke crowd boos him for the sin of being fouled. Here&#39;s the goal: David Silva steers home Sterling&#39;s cross Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge 8:17PM 16 min Zinchenko, who was culpable of a filthy foul on Eden Hazard eight days ago, clatters into Shaqiri very late here, sliding in to chop him down at the ankles. Free kick. Possession: Stoke vs Man City 8:15PM 14 min Very good work from Ndiaye who tracked Sterling&#39;s run into the box as he received a pass from Walker&#39;s cute knock-down. He made himself a second skin without actually fouling him as he harried Sterling into touch. 8:12PM 11 min Lovely pass round the corner from Jesus takes Stafylidis, who was too far forward, out of the game and finds Sterling who has bombed round the back on the right. Sterling picks his head up and centres calmly for David Silva who sidefoots his firm finish on the run with his left past Butland. Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (David Silva, 10 min) 8:09PM Goal! Stoke 0-1 Man City (David Silva) 8:09PM 9 min Choupo-Moting steps in off the left and wins a header, knocking it on for Jese to run on to but the centre-forward didn&#39;t read his intentions. 8:08PM 7 min Direct and tigerish in the tackle, the orders of the day. Ndiaye snaps into one 25 yards out, left of centre and is penalised. De Bruyne takes it and works a routine, hooking it to the 18-yard line where Otamendi was lingering all alone. He flicked it two yards further forward hoping to find Kompany but it didn&#39;t get there ad Stoke play it up to Jese, Allen finding him with a fine pass. Walker sticks to him and eventually hassles him out of possession. 8:06PM 5 min When Sterling is penalised for a shove, Butland spears another free-kick long ball up for Jese who doesn&#39;t have the height or timing of jump to beat Kompany. Already Davie Provan thinks Stoke need Crouch if they&#39;re going to ply this way. 8:04PM 4 min He distributes it to Bauer who tries to steer it up the right for Shaqiri to run at Zinchenko but he can&#39;t control the long pass. Direct is the order of the day for Stoke. 8:03PM 3 min De Bruyne strips the ball off Ndiaye 40 yards from goal but the Senegal midfielder sticks with him and forces him to lay it off. City try to thread a diagonal for Jesus&#39;s run into the box but Butland is on to it and gets there first. 8:02PM 1 min Jese kicks off for Stoke. Vibrant, noisy atmospheer at the Brit tonight. Delilah is fighting it out with Blue Moon. Stoke whack it up the left and immediately lose possession. City move up the right, 10 yards infield until Ndiaye tackles De Bruyne and Stoke quickly knock it over the top again but to no benefit. 7:56PM Kurt Zouma Spoke to Matt Law about facing Manchester City tonight: &quot;This was the worst defeat I’ve ever had in my career in football.“But it can happen and I forgot about it, and I don’t want to think about it. I don’t think about that game. “Man City are a top side. But our job is to make it difficult and they have to feel we want to win the game. The mistakes we made in the 7-2 we can’t make again and we have to try to win to make the fans happy and us happy as well.” 7:37PM A truncated Monday Night Football No Keith Hernandez tonight. Gary Neville flies solo. Paul Lambert is wearing his Gianluca Vialli schoolboy grey V-neck. Pep has his yellow ribbon close to his heart but beneath his jacket. Pep Guardiola watches the warm-up Credit: REUTERS/Hannah McKay Lambert says Stoke have to &#39;play ugly&#39; and &#39;run more than they&#39;ve ever run before&#39;. 7:32PM Your teams in black and white Stoke Butland; Bauer, Zouma, Martins Indi, Stafylidis; Allen, Cameron, Ndiaye; Shaqiri, Jese, Choupo-Moting. Substitutes Haugaard, Johnson, Adam, Shawcross, Fletcher, Crouch, Sobhi. Man City Ederson, Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Zinchenko, De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva, Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Sane. Substitutes Bravo, Danilo, Stones, Gundogan, Laporte, Bernardo Silva, Toure. Referee Jonathan Moss (Leeds) 7:03PM Man City XI Three changes: Vincent Kompany, Raheem Sterling and Fernandinho return for Aymeric Laporte, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan. How we line-up tonight! City XI | Ederson, Walker, Kompany (C), Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Silva, De Bruyne, Sterling, Sane, Jesus Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Stones, Gundogan, Laporte, Bernardo, Yaya Toure Presented by @HAYSWorldwide#scfcvcity#mancitypic.twitter.com/niKExUKO9R— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 12, 2018 7:02PM Stoke City team news �� One change for the Potters against @ManCity this evening as @JeseRodriguez10 replaces @MameDiouf99. STARTING XI: Butland; Bauer, Zouma, M. Indi, Stafylidis; Badou, Cameron, Allen; Shaqiri, Jese, Choupo-Moting.#SCFC ��⚪️ pic.twitter.com/E7ngnPmI9t— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) March 12, 2018 One change: Jese in for Diouf. 6:13PM Good evening Paul Lambert has certainly patched Stoke&#39;s badly leaking defence since taking over from Mark Hughes and a victory and four draws from six games is a very creditable return in theory. Yet when you look at those games more closely - a defeat by Bournemouth, draws with Watford, Southampton, Brighton and Leicester to go with that victory over Huddersfield, it is hard not to conclude that a side in deep relegation shtook really needed to do better against that calibre of opposition. They start tonight in 19th place against the league leaders, only a point off 17th but with a run of fixtures that brings them Everton at home, Arsenal away and Spurs at home after tonight&#39;s meeting with the team that whacked them 7-2 in the autumn. Avoiding a shellacking will be an improvement on the beating Hughes took from his former club but points are also a priority because three of their last five games pit them against other sides fighting for survival - West Ham, Palace and Swansea plus unenviable encounters with Burnley and Liverpool. Victory for Manchester City will extend their lead to 16 points with eight to play and allows them to keep their chance of clinching the title in the Manchester derby on course should United slip up in their next two games. Gabriel Jesus starts tonight in the absence of Sergio Agüero. There will be no 200th goal for Manchester City&#39;s great centre-forward but Stoke will be wary of coming up against Jesus again after his sensational, slippery performance back in October when he scored twice. Twenty years ago these two met in the last match of the 1997-98 season in the second tier of English professional football, known back then, confusingly, as Division One. Manchester City were 23rd on 45 points, Stoke 22nd on 46, Port Vale 21st on 46 and Portsmouth one place higher with the same number of points. &quot;Knowing City&#39;s almost comical capacity for failure, they will probably win only for Port Vale and Portsmouth to do likewise,&quot; wrote the anonymous preview writer in the Sunday Telegraph. Daily Telegraph match report confirming relegation of Stoke and Man City in 1998 Credit: THE TELEGRAPH And lo, it came to pass at the Britannia Stadium. Manchester City won 5-2 , Shaun Goater scored two, Paul Dickov, Lee &#39;Badbuy&#39; Bradbury and Kevin Horlock one each for the visitors while Peter Thorne grabbed two for Stoke. But Port Vale won 4-0 away at Huddersfield and, more gallingly still, Portsmouth, under the management of Alan Ball, who had overseen City&#39;s relegation from the Premier League when he miscalculated what they needed from their final match, beat Bradford 3-1. So, both Stoke and Man City went down with Reading. For all their toils this season, the world of Stoke City, just as much as Manchester City, has been transformed this past 20 years ... just not as radically. Back with the teams when they are announced at 7pm.
Stoke City 0 Man City 2: David Silva dazzles to put the title in reach... and they'll claim it with victory over United
The sight of Pep Guardiola marching onto the pitch after the final whistle to lecture Leroy Sane said it all: the Manchester City manager wants more. This comfortable victory, earned through two sublime David Silva goals, was not enough in a campaign in which City can break all kinds of Premier League records. And, with the Champions League draw on Friday, still achieve even greater things. City will be in Abu Dhabi when that draw takes place, as they enjoy a break before resuming their campaign against Everton at the end of this month. Win that and it means that they can claim the title in their next fixture – which just happens to be against Manchester United at home on April 7. The countdown is on. Guardiola said that City will “come back stronger” from the Middle East and it sounded like a threat as much as a promise. Just how much stronger can this dazzling City side be? Stoke are no mugs under Paul Lambert and, as they should, they fought for their lives as they desperately try and beat relegation. But they did not even register a shot on target. Interestingly, Guardiola chose to highlight the fact that this result meant City had achieved the double over Stoke for the first time since 1999-2000, and it shone a light on the fact that such records and achievements really do matter to him. Guardiola does not want to just win this league but to achieve new landmarks in doing so. Already City have earned 81 points, the first team to achieve that after 30 games, and the highest-ever points total in the Premier League - Chelsea’s 95 under Jose Mourinho in 2004-05 - is in Guardiola’s sights. City can top 100 points and, with 85 goals already, can beat the record of 103 achieved by Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea in 2009-10. A double century - 100 points; 100 goals - is possible. Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (David Silva, 10 min) This result also means that City surpassed their points total of 78 earned last season. And have done so with eight games to go. But it is not enough. It also matters to Guardiola that City do not relent once the Premier League is won and stay full-on in Europe. There was an insight into that in the way he spoke to Sane, who had wasted chances, and he also called over captain Vincent Kompany to instruct him once Stoke had brought on substitute Peter Crouch. Kompany later joked that he was pretty well aware what that would mean tactically. The goals were worthy of winning any match. They summed up the silky brilliance of City as they cut through Stoke. The first came after just 10 mintes with Fernandinho, fit again and recalled, playing the ball in to Gabriel Jesus who turned and took out three Stoke players with a pass that released Raheem Sterling down the right. Sterling looked up quickly and crossed low for the onrushing Silva who arrived between two more Stoke defenders to side-foot first time into the net. It was breathtaking, marvellous stuff. Manchester City's David Silva, who opened the scoring for the away side, takes on Stoke's Moritz Bauer Credit: PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images It also quickly set back Stoke’s plan to defend deep and try to counter aggressively, with Jese asked to take on the City centre-halves. Their best outlet was matching up Xherdan Shaqiri against Oleksandr Zinchenko and the Swiss international nutmegged the full-back before teeing up Badou Ndiaye whose shot deflected off Fernandinho’s foot and flew narrowly past the post. So would we have a contest after all? It seemed possible when Jack Butland – in front of the watching England manager Gareth Southgate, who announces his next squad on Thursday – launched a goal-kick which flew over Kompany’s head, with Jese running through. Kyle Walker recovered but toed the ball, looping it over Ederson who back-pedalled to tip it over the cross-bar. Possession: Stoke vs Man City At the other end, though, City racked up chances. After Guardiola’s accusations that his team forgot to attack following the Champions League defeat at home to Basle last week, this was a clear response with Butland turning away a low Fernandinho shot and then watching, relieved, as Sane volleyed just wide. Stoke were, rightly, cheered off at half-time. No-one could fault their effort. They had worked hard, they had bitten into tackles and tried to close down their opponents, even if there was always that sense that City were a simple shift through the gears away from extending their advantage. And they did just that. Sterling won the ball back and found Fernandinho who played it in to Silva. The midfielder’s first touch deftly picked out Jesus who lifted the ball across the area. Should Butland have come from his goal quicker? Instead he hesitated but Silva was always going to get there first and he guided the ball into the net. David Silva spins to half-volley in the second Credit: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images City poured forward. De Bruyne struck the side-netting from a tight angle when through, then Sterling tricked his way beyond Kostas Stafylidis and dumped Geoff Cameron to the turf – only for his close-range shot to be saved by Butland with his outstretched leg. There was more: a Zinchenko shot beaten away, a curling Sane effort just wide, Walker slicing wildly when clear and Butland saving from Sane. Stoke desperately needed some respite and almost achieved it when Crouch headed a free-kick back across goal for Maxim Choupo-Moting who headed it back again to Bruno Martins Indi, only for the defender to blast his volley over from four yards. So there would be no late drama except when Sterling provoked an angry response as he whisked away possession, following a drop-ball after a clash of heads, and ran through on goal only to be tackled by a furious Ndiaye. It led to some pushing and shoving. It was the only aggravation this imperious City side faced all evening. 9:55PM Full time Manchester City restore their lead to 16 points with a masterly, indeed masterful, victory over 19th-placed Stoke who are not unique in being comprehensively outclassed. David Silva was brilliant, Raheem Sterling also played very well. 9:53PM 90+5 min Keepball from City for 90 seconds until Bauer picks off a pass from David Silva. They work it up the right and Bauer spears in a deep cross that bypasses Crouch. The ref has seen enough and emits three peeps from his Acme Thunderer. 9:51PM 90+4 min City corner on the right. The Silvas twain and De Bruyne knock it about and go all the way back to Ederson who starts a foray up the left with Zinchenko who then move sit back to safety in midfield. 9:49PM 90+2 min We'll have five minutes added because of Otamendi's cut. Stafylidis lets fly from 30 yards and cracks his shot into Otamendi. 9:48PM 90 min City sub: Ilkay Gundogan on, Gabriel Jesus off. David Silva is named man of the match. 9:47PM 88 min Stoke sub: Ramadan Sobhi on for Geoff Cameron. Seems a little pointless and cruel. You've had naff all football under Lambert then he chucks you on for 90 seconds of a game you've long lost? Must be tempting to tell him to get stuffed. 9:44PM 86 min Stoke corner on the right, curled by Shaqiri straight down Ederson's throat. He sparks a rapid City break from which they're caught offside, back come Stoke and Komany makes the only telling tackle that has been required of him all night. 9:42PM 84 min City sub: Sterling, who has played very well, departs to a chorus of disapproval. Bernardo Silva takes his place. 9:41PM 82 min Don't know how Sterling missed that, or what Jon Moss said to City at the drop ball. But even City's fans went a but quiet after it. 9:39PM 79 min Jonathan Moss restarts the game with a drop ball 40 yards out. City contest it, Stoke don't because they think they were going to have possession. Sterling hares off towards goal with Ndiaye chasing him looking intent on whacking him with more than an etiquette guide. Sterling, with Jesus in support, drops his shoulder and veers to the right to try to round Butland which gives Ndiaye the opening to whip the ball behind for a corner. All hell then breaks loose about City's alleged chicanery. 9:35PM 78 min Otamendi is back on his feet having wrapped his head in Elastoplast. 9:35PM 76 min Sane stings Butland's palms with a flayed shot then there's quite a stoppage when Otamendi collides with Stafylidis as they fought for De Bruyne's cross. The latter is OK having caught his opponent with his brow, Otamendi is still down with a gash on his scalp. 9:32PM 74 min Joe Allen bundles over Jesus in the centre-circle and the ref waves play on. De Bruyne threads a pass down the right for Sterling's run into the box and he decides to take the shot on from an angle of about 45 degrees and shanks it almost perpendicular. The ref then goes back and books Allen. 9:30PM 72 min Sterling dribbles through the box on the right, shimmies his hips and sells Stafylidis a dummy that causes him to slide in, miss the ball and catch it with his arm as he slid past. Sterling didn't stop and carried on until his pass towards the spot was blocked. 9:29PM 71 min Otamendi outmuscles Crouch to win the ball and sets off on a gambol upfield to start an attack down the left. Stoke see it out. 9:27PM 68 min Stafylidis hits a long diagonal up for Crouch who wins the aerial battle but was offside. At last they have a focal point for their strategy. 9:26PM 67 min Man City fans are now singing their Yaya Delilah song. Talk about cultural appropriation. 9:24PM 64 min Bauer takes an inswinger, whipping it a foot or so beyond the far post. Crouch wins it comfortably and squares it back across the box. Choupo-Moting wins the second header and diverts it back across goal to Martins Indi who wellies his right-foot volley from six yards over the bar. Miss: Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (Bruno Martins Indi, 64 min) 9:21PM 62 min Good pass from Shaqiri frees Jese down the left. He doubles back on Otamendi who hacks him down. The ref plays the advantage then brings it back. That's Jese's last touch. Off he goes to be replaced for the free-kick he won by Peter Crouch. David Silva scores his and City's second Credit: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images 9:18PM 59 min From the corner Sterling shifts it to Sane who takes a touch to make some space for the shot then cuts his foot across it and sends it swerving in towards goal then away again then in again. Butland does well to save it. Miss: Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (Leroy Sané, 59 min) 9:16PM 58 min Sterling attempts to Ricky Villa his way through the box on the right, twists Stafylidis' blood, but can only find Butland's shins with his shot. 9:15PM 56 min Fernandinho makes a lung-bursting 60-yard run, feeds De Bruyne down the left then continues his charge into the box to take the return after his team-mate's lovely pass cut out Bruno Martins Indi. He was a little too wide to squeeze his post in at the near post but tried anyway, stabbing it into the side-netting. 9:12PM 53 min What happened here 20 years ago gave birth to the 'We're not really here' era and Man City's fans give it a good airing now, followed by their C-bomb Mourinho song. Wildean it ain't. 9:10PM 52 min Gorgeous finish from David Silva, leaping up to take the return in a one-two with Gabriel Jesus. The ball bounced up to chest height but he acrobatically hooked in a flying volley as Bauer, trying to make up for being caught out of position and Butland closed in on him at pace. Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (David Silva, 50 min) 9:07PM Goal!! Stoke 0-2 Man City (David Silva) 9:07PM 49 min Man City corner after opening Stoke up on the left by virtue of David Silva's curling pass into Sane's stride. He takes a touch with his right that actually sows him down and he has to improvise, stopping then shifting it over to the right where Sterling wins a corner. 9:04PM 47 min Shaqiri's got his Toblerone-shaped boots on tonight, slicing an attempted ball over the top for Jese's burst up the right into touch. 9:03PM 46 min No changes. Man City kick off, rolling the ball back to Kompany who chips it diagonally over to the left where Sane wins the header, beating Bauer aerially, but Stoke then win the second ball. 8:59PM Southampton have sacked Mauricio Pellegrino Marco Silva? Slavisa Jokanovic would be ideal but I doubt he would leave Fulham. 8:53PM Half-time shot maps Stoke vs Man City shots on goal Stoke vs Man City shots on goal And the weighted touch positions to illustrate City's dominance of possession and territory: Average touch positions (half time) 8:50PM Half time Some snarl and a lot of huff and puff from Stoke and it has been a pretty entertaining ground. Man City's class has told in the final third. David Silva has been whack-a-mole-ing all over the shop. Both left-backs look vulnerable and Stoke have had a couple of glimmers but they need the final ball, from Shaqiri largely, to be better ... perfect, in fact, if they're going to score. 8:47PM 45 min Shaqiri spots Choupo-Moting's run into the box from the left touchline and hits an isnwinging left-footer from the right towards the far post. He significantly overclubs it and smears it over Ederson and into touch. 8:46PM 44 min Stoke give the ball away cheaply with a panicked clearance and their fans are livid. They get away with their indiscretion and, via a free kick, work the ball towards the City goal on the left. City defend it comfortably and knock it long themselves. Martins Indi is all over Jesus though that's not the referee's interpretation as he allows the centre-half to win the ball. 8:43PM 42 min Stafylidis is being beasted on the left side of Stoke's defence and is allowing City unimpeded access. Once again De Bruyne gets behind him, centres to Sane who roundhouses a left foot volley on the run just wide. Miss: Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (Leroy Sané, 42 min) 8:41PM 41 min Smart save from Butland, diving low to his left to block Fernandinho's bunny-hopper of a shot. Then De Bruyne smacks a shot wide. 8:40PM 39 min Both Ederson and Butland have to come sprinting out of their areas for some sweeper-keeper action that inflames/tickles the crowd but they were pretty unruffled, Ederson particularly. 8:39PM 36 min Butland kicks it long, Choupo Moting beats Kompany to it but flicks rather than heads it on. The ball bounces through towards the City box and Jese gives chase. Walker tacks in from the right, follows the unusual flight of the ball and gets a toe to it and inadvertently knocks up an up and under that threatens to drift under the bar. Ederson scoots back to tip it over. 8:36PM 33 min Martins Indi plays a blind, preposterous, hospital pass to Butland without spotting De Bruyne's scavenging run into the box. Butland sprints off his line and beats De Bruyne to it by an inch to block tackle his attempted stab with a very strong challenge. De Bruyne's boot rakes his metatarsals and leaves the keeper hobbling momentarily but he soon recovers. David Silva scores the first Credit: Manchester City FC 8:33PM 31 min Terrific pass between Zinchenko and Otamendi by Shaqiri that Jese races to meet. The bounce takes him a touch too wide and he can't warp his foot around it to give his shot the power or precision it needed to beat Ederson. 8:31PM 28 min Zinchenko, the baby-faced tactical fouler, disrupts Stoke's attempts to take a quick throw-in he had just conceded. Shaqiri wants him sanctioned but the referee restricts himself to a telling-off instead. Shaqiri and Zinchenko tangle Credit: Simon Stacpoole/Offside 8:28PM 26 min De Bruyne crosses from the right and Silva has made another menacing, penetrative run. Cameron has gone with him this time and the delivery is a foot behind him. Silva essays a bicycle kick but doesn't connect, Stoke dig it out of the box where Fernandinho is first to it. He responds to cries from City fans of 'Shoot!' with a wild shank over the bar. 8:26PM 23 min Sane has been quiet so far but goes off on a crossfield run, plays it to Fernandinho and darts beyond Sterling to overload Stafylidis. The intended pass to free him is intercepted by Stafylidis who clips it up to Shaqiri. His touch deserts him and he bludgeons his offload back to David Silva who angles a pass from the right towards the penalty spot where Gabriel Jesus is heading for after tearing past Zouma. But he's gone too soon. Offside. 8:22PM 20 min Stoke come close when Shaqiri, in the right corner, megs Zinchenko, runs round the inside then cuts back a daisycutter to the 18-yard line. Ndiaye pulls his shot as he aims for the far post and a deflection takes the bobbler wide for a corner that City defend well/Stoke waste. 8:20PM 18 min City should have had a free-kick on the edge of the box when Stafylidis pulls down Sterling, his hand gripping his shoulder. The referee mistakes Sterling for Dele Alli and waves away all legitimate protestations and the Stoke crowd boos him for the sin of being fouled. Here's the goal: David Silva steers home Sterling's cross Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge 8:17PM 16 min Zinchenko, who was culpable of a filthy foul on Eden Hazard eight days ago, clatters into Shaqiri very late here, sliding in to chop him down at the ankles. Free kick. Possession: Stoke vs Man City 8:15PM 14 min Very good work from Ndiaye who tracked Sterling's run into the box as he received a pass from Walker's cute knock-down. He made himself a second skin without actually fouling him as he harried Sterling into touch. 8:12PM 11 min Lovely pass round the corner from Jesus takes Stafylidis, who was too far forward, out of the game and finds Sterling who has bombed round the back on the right. Sterling picks his head up and centres calmly for David Silva who sidefoots his firm finish on the run with his left past Butland. Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (David Silva, 10 min) 8:09PM Goal! Stoke 0-1 Man City (David Silva) 8:09PM 9 min Choupo-Moting steps in off the left and wins a header, knocking it on for Jese to run on to but the centre-forward didn't read his intentions. 8:08PM 7 min Direct and tigerish in the tackle, the orders of the day. Ndiaye snaps into one 25 yards out, left of centre and is penalised. De Bruyne takes it and works a routine, hooking it to the 18-yard line where Otamendi was lingering all alone. He flicked it two yards further forward hoping to find Kompany but it didn't get there ad Stoke play it up to Jese, Allen finding him with a fine pass. Walker sticks to him and eventually hassles him out of possession. 8:06PM 5 min When Sterling is penalised for a shove, Butland spears another free-kick long ball up for Jese who doesn't have the height or timing of jump to beat Kompany. Already Davie Provan thinks Stoke need Crouch if they're going to ply this way. 8:04PM 4 min He distributes it to Bauer who tries to steer it up the right for Shaqiri to run at Zinchenko but he can't control the long pass. Direct is the order of the day for Stoke. 8:03PM 3 min De Bruyne strips the ball off Ndiaye 40 yards from goal but the Senegal midfielder sticks with him and forces him to lay it off. City try to thread a diagonal for Jesus's run into the box but Butland is on to it and gets there first. 8:02PM 1 min Jese kicks off for Stoke. Vibrant, noisy atmospheer at the Brit tonight. Delilah is fighting it out with Blue Moon. Stoke whack it up the left and immediately lose possession. City move up the right, 10 yards infield until Ndiaye tackles De Bruyne and Stoke quickly knock it over the top again but to no benefit. 7:56PM Kurt Zouma Spoke to Matt Law about facing Manchester City tonight: "This was the worst defeat I’ve ever had in my career in football.“But it can happen and I forgot about it, and I don’t want to think about it. I don’t think about that game. “Man City are a top side. But our job is to make it difficult and they have to feel we want to win the game. The mistakes we made in the 7-2 we can’t make again and we have to try to win to make the fans happy and us happy as well.” 7:37PM A truncated Monday Night Football No Keith Hernandez tonight. Gary Neville flies solo. Paul Lambert is wearing his Gianluca Vialli schoolboy grey V-neck. Pep has his yellow ribbon close to his heart but beneath his jacket. Pep Guardiola watches the warm-up Credit: REUTERS/Hannah McKay Lambert says Stoke have to 'play ugly' and 'run more than they've ever run before'. 7:32PM Your teams in black and white Stoke Butland; Bauer, Zouma, Martins Indi, Stafylidis; Allen, Cameron, Ndiaye; Shaqiri, Jese, Choupo-Moting. Substitutes Haugaard, Johnson, Adam, Shawcross, Fletcher, Crouch, Sobhi. Man City Ederson, Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Zinchenko, De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva, Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Sane. Substitutes Bravo, Danilo, Stones, Gundogan, Laporte, Bernardo Silva, Toure. Referee Jonathan Moss (Leeds) 7:03PM Man City XI Three changes: Vincent Kompany, Raheem Sterling and Fernandinho return for Aymeric Laporte, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan. How we line-up tonight! City XI | Ederson, Walker, Kompany (C), Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Silva, De Bruyne, Sterling, Sane, Jesus Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Stones, Gundogan, Laporte, Bernardo, Yaya Toure Presented by @HAYSWorldwide#scfcvcity#mancitypic.twitter.com/niKExUKO9R— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 12, 2018 7:02PM Stoke City team news �� One change for the Potters against @ManCity this evening as @JeseRodriguez10 replaces @MameDiouf99. STARTING XI: Butland; Bauer, Zouma, M. Indi, Stafylidis; Badou, Cameron, Allen; Shaqiri, Jese, Choupo-Moting.#SCFC ��⚪️ pic.twitter.com/E7ngnPmI9t— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) March 12, 2018 One change: Jese in for Diouf. 6:13PM Good evening Paul Lambert has certainly patched Stoke's badly leaking defence since taking over from Mark Hughes and a victory and four draws from six games is a very creditable return in theory. Yet when you look at those games more closely - a defeat by Bournemouth, draws with Watford, Southampton, Brighton and Leicester to go with that victory over Huddersfield, it is hard not to conclude that a side in deep relegation shtook really needed to do better against that calibre of opposition. They start tonight in 19th place against the league leaders, only a point off 17th but with a run of fixtures that brings them Everton at home, Arsenal away and Spurs at home after tonight's meeting with the team that whacked them 7-2 in the autumn. Avoiding a shellacking will be an improvement on the beating Hughes took from his former club but points are also a priority because three of their last five games pit them against other sides fighting for survival - West Ham, Palace and Swansea plus unenviable encounters with Burnley and Liverpool. Victory for Manchester City will extend their lead to 16 points with eight to play and allows them to keep their chance of clinching the title in the Manchester derby on course should United slip up in their next two games. Gabriel Jesus starts tonight in the absence of Sergio Agüero. There will be no 200th goal for Manchester City's great centre-forward but Stoke will be wary of coming up against Jesus again after his sensational, slippery performance back in October when he scored twice. Twenty years ago these two met in the last match of the 1997-98 season in the second tier of English professional football, known back then, confusingly, as Division One. Manchester City were 23rd on 45 points, Stoke 22nd on 46, Port Vale 21st on 46 and Portsmouth one place higher with the same number of points. "Knowing City's almost comical capacity for failure, they will probably win only for Port Vale and Portsmouth to do likewise," wrote the anonymous preview writer in the Sunday Telegraph. Daily Telegraph match report confirming relegation of Stoke and Man City in 1998 Credit: THE TELEGRAPH And lo, it came to pass at the Britannia Stadium. Manchester City won 5-2 , Shaun Goater scored two, Paul Dickov, Lee 'Badbuy' Bradbury and Kevin Horlock one each for the visitors while Peter Thorne grabbed two for Stoke. But Port Vale won 4-0 away at Huddersfield and, more gallingly still, Portsmouth, under the management of Alan Ball, who had overseen City's relegation from the Premier League when he miscalculated what they needed from their final match, beat Bradford 3-1. So, both Stoke and Man City went down with Reading. For all their toils this season, the world of Stoke City, just as much as Manchester City, has been transformed this past 20 years ... just not as radically. Back with the teams when they are announced at 7pm.
The sight of Pep Guardiola marching onto the pitch after the final whistle to lecture Leroy Sane said it all: the Manchester City manager wants more. This comfortable victory, earned through two sublime David Silva goals, was not enough in a campaign in which City can break all kinds of Premier League records. And, with the Champions League draw on Friday, still achieve even greater things. City will be in Abu Dhabi when that draw takes place, as they enjoy a break before resuming their campaign against Everton at the end of this month. Win that and it means that they can claim the title in their next fixture – which just happens to be against Manchester United at home on April 7. The countdown is on. Guardiola said that City will “come back stronger” from the Middle East and it sounded like a threat as much as a promise. Just how much stronger can this dazzling City side be? Stoke are no mugs under Paul Lambert and, as they should, they fought for their lives as they desperately try and beat relegation. But they did not even register a shot on target. Interestingly, Guardiola chose to highlight the fact that this result meant City had achieved the double over Stoke for the first time since 1999-2000, and it shone a light on the fact that such records and achievements really do matter to him. Guardiola does not want to just win this league but to achieve new landmarks in doing so. Already City have earned 81 points, the first team to achieve that after 30 games, and the highest-ever points total in the Premier League - Chelsea’s 95 under Jose Mourinho in 2004-05 - is in Guardiola’s sights. City can top 100 points and, with 85 goals already, can beat the record of 103 achieved by Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea in 2009-10. A double century - 100 points; 100 goals - is possible. Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (David Silva, 10 min) This result also means that City surpassed their points total of 78 earned last season. And have done so with eight games to go. But it is not enough. It also matters to Guardiola that City do not relent once the Premier League is won and stay full-on in Europe. There was an insight into that in the way he spoke to Sane, who had wasted chances, and he also called over captain Vincent Kompany to instruct him once Stoke had brought on substitute Peter Crouch. Kompany later joked that he was pretty well aware what that would mean tactically. The goals were worthy of winning any match. They summed up the silky brilliance of City as they cut through Stoke. The first came after just 10 mintes with Fernandinho, fit again and recalled, playing the ball in to Gabriel Jesus who turned and took out three Stoke players with a pass that released Raheem Sterling down the right. Sterling looked up quickly and crossed low for the onrushing Silva who arrived between two more Stoke defenders to side-foot first time into the net. It was breathtaking, marvellous stuff. Manchester City&#39;s David Silva, who opened the scoring for the away side, takes on Stoke&#39;s Moritz Bauer Credit: PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images It also quickly set back Stoke’s plan to defend deep and try to counter aggressively, with Jese asked to take on the City centre-halves. Their best outlet was matching up Xherdan Shaqiri against Oleksandr Zinchenko and the Swiss international nutmegged the full-back before teeing up Badou Ndiaye whose shot deflected off Fernandinho’s foot and flew narrowly past the post. So would we have a contest after all? It seemed possible when Jack Butland – in front of the watching England manager Gareth Southgate, who announces his next squad on Thursday – launched a goal-kick which flew over Kompany’s head, with Jese running through. Kyle Walker recovered but toed the ball, looping it over Ederson who back-pedalled to tip it over the cross-bar. Possession: Stoke vs Man City At the other end, though, City racked up chances. After Guardiola’s accusations that his team forgot to attack following the Champions League defeat at home to Basle last week, this was a clear response with Butland turning away a low Fernandinho shot and then watching, relieved, as Sane volleyed just wide. Stoke were, rightly, cheered off at half-time. No-one could fault their effort. They had worked hard, they had bitten into tackles and tried to close down their opponents, even if there was always that sense that City were a simple shift through the gears away from extending their advantage. And they did just that. Sterling won the ball back and found Fernandinho who played it in to Silva. The midfielder’s first touch deftly picked out Jesus who lifted the ball across the area. Should Butland have come from his goal quicker? Instead he hesitated but Silva was always going to get there first and he guided the ball into the net. David Silva spins to half-volley in the second Credit: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images City poured forward. De Bruyne struck the side-netting from a tight angle when through, then Sterling tricked his way beyond Kostas Stafylidis and dumped Geoff Cameron to the turf – only for his close-range shot to be saved by Butland with his outstretched leg. There was more: a Zinchenko shot beaten away, a curling Sane effort just wide, Walker slicing wildly when clear and Butland saving from Sane. Stoke desperately needed some respite and almost achieved it when Crouch headed a free-kick back across goal for Maxim Choupo-Moting who headed it back again to Bruno Martins Indi, only for the defender to blast his volley over from four yards. So there would be no late drama except when Sterling provoked an angry response as he whisked away possession, following a drop-ball after a clash of heads, and ran through on goal only to be tackled by a furious Ndiaye. It led to some pushing and shoving. It was the only aggravation this imperious City side faced all evening. 9:55PM Full time Manchester City restore their lead to 16 points with a masterly, indeed masterful, victory over 19th-placed Stoke who are not unique in being comprehensively outclassed. David Silva was brilliant, Raheem Sterling also played very well. 9:53PM 90+5 min Keepball from City for 90 seconds until Bauer picks off a pass from David Silva. They work it up the right and Bauer spears in a deep cross that bypasses Crouch. The ref has seen enough and emits three peeps from his Acme Thunderer. 9:51PM 90+4 min City corner on the right. The Silvas twain and De Bruyne knock it about and go all the way back to Ederson who starts a foray up the left with Zinchenko who then move sit back to safety in midfield. 9:49PM 90+2 min We&#39;ll have five minutes added because of Otamendi&#39;s cut. Stafylidis lets fly from 30 yards and cracks his shot into Otamendi. 9:48PM 90 min City sub: Ilkay Gundogan on, Gabriel Jesus off. David Silva is named man of the match. 9:47PM 88 min Stoke sub: Ramadan Sobhi on for Geoff Cameron. Seems a little pointless and cruel. You&#39;ve had naff all football under Lambert then he chucks you on for 90 seconds of a game you&#39;ve long lost? Must be tempting to tell him to get stuffed. 9:44PM 86 min Stoke corner on the right, curled by Shaqiri straight down Ederson&#39;s throat. He sparks a rapid City break from which they&#39;re caught offside, back come Stoke and Komany makes the only telling tackle that has been required of him all night. 9:42PM 84 min City sub: Sterling, who has played very well, departs to a chorus of disapproval. Bernardo Silva takes his place. 9:41PM 82 min Don&#39;t know how Sterling missed that, or what Jon Moss said to City at the drop ball. But even City&#39;s fans went a but quiet after it. 9:39PM 79 min Jonathan Moss restarts the game with a drop ball 40 yards out. City contest it, Stoke don&#39;t because they think they were going to have possession. Sterling hares off towards goal with Ndiaye chasing him looking intent on whacking him with more than an etiquette guide. Sterling, with Jesus in support, drops his shoulder and veers to the right to try to round Butland which gives Ndiaye the opening to whip the ball behind for a corner. All hell then breaks loose about City&#39;s alleged chicanery. 9:35PM 78 min Otamendi is back on his feet having wrapped his head in Elastoplast. 9:35PM 76 min Sane stings Butland&#39;s palms with a flayed shot then there&#39;s quite a stoppage when Otamendi collides with Stafylidis as they fought for De Bruyne&#39;s cross. The latter is OK having caught his opponent with his brow, Otamendi is still down with a gash on his scalp. 9:32PM 74 min Joe Allen bundles over Jesus in the centre-circle and the ref waves play on. De Bruyne threads a pass down the right for Sterling&#39;s run into the box and he decides to take the shot on from an angle of about 45 degrees and shanks it almost perpendicular. The ref then goes back and books Allen. 9:30PM 72 min Sterling dribbles through the box on the right, shimmies his hips and sells Stafylidis a dummy that causes him to slide in, miss the ball and catch it with his arm as he slid past. Sterling didn&#39;t stop and carried on until his pass towards the spot was blocked. 9:29PM 71 min Otamendi outmuscles Crouch to win the ball and sets off on a gambol upfield to start an attack down the left. Stoke see it out. 9:27PM 68 min Stafylidis hits a long diagonal up for Crouch who wins the aerial battle but was offside. At last they have a focal point for their strategy. 9:26PM 67 min Man City fans are now singing their Yaya Delilah song. Talk about cultural appropriation. 9:24PM 64 min Bauer takes an inswinger, whipping it a foot or so beyond the far post. Crouch wins it comfortably and squares it back across the box. Choupo-Moting wins the second header and diverts it back across goal to Martins Indi who wellies his right-foot volley from six yards over the bar. Miss: Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (Bruno Martins Indi, 64 min) 9:21PM 62 min Good pass from Shaqiri frees Jese down the left. He doubles back on Otamendi who hacks him down. The ref plays the advantage then brings it back. That&#39;s Jese&#39;s last touch. Off he goes to be replaced for the free-kick he won by Peter Crouch. David Silva scores his and City&#39;s second Credit: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images 9:18PM 59 min From the corner Sterling shifts it to Sane who takes a touch to make some space for the shot then cuts his foot across it and sends it swerving in towards goal then away again then in again. Butland does well to save it. Miss: Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (Leroy Sané, 59 min) 9:16PM 58 min Sterling attempts to Ricky Villa his way through the box on the right, twists Stafylidis&#39; blood, but can only find Butland&#39;s shins with his shot. 9:15PM 56 min Fernandinho makes a lung-bursting 60-yard run, feeds De Bruyne down the left then continues his charge into the box to take the return after his team-mate&#39;s lovely pass cut out Bruno Martins Indi. He was a little too wide to squeeze his post in at the near post but tried anyway, stabbing it into the side-netting. 9:12PM 53 min What happened here 20 years ago gave birth to the &#39;We&#39;re not really here&#39; era and Man City&#39;s fans give it a good airing now, followed by their C-bomb Mourinho song. Wildean it ain&#39;t. 9:10PM 52 min Gorgeous finish from David Silva, leaping up to take the return in a one-two with Gabriel Jesus. The ball bounced up to chest height but he acrobatically hooked in a flying volley as Bauer, trying to make up for being caught out of position and Butland closed in on him at pace. Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (David Silva, 50 min) 9:07PM Goal!! Stoke 0-2 Man City (David Silva) 9:07PM 49 min Man City corner after opening Stoke up on the left by virtue of David Silva&#39;s curling pass into Sane&#39;s stride. He takes a touch with his right that actually sows him down and he has to improvise, stopping then shifting it over to the right where Sterling wins a corner. 9:04PM 47 min Shaqiri&#39;s got his Toblerone-shaped boots on tonight, slicing an attempted ball over the top for Jese&#39;s burst up the right into touch. 9:03PM 46 min No changes. Man City kick off, rolling the ball back to Kompany who chips it diagonally over to the left where Sane wins the header, beating Bauer aerially, but Stoke then win the second ball. 8:59PM Southampton have sacked Mauricio Pellegrino Marco Silva? Slavisa Jokanovic would be ideal but I doubt he would leave Fulham. 8:53PM Half-time shot maps Stoke vs Man City shots on goal Stoke vs Man City shots on goal And the weighted touch positions to illustrate City&#39;s dominance of possession and territory: Average touch positions (half time) 8:50PM Half time Some snarl and a lot of huff and puff from Stoke and it has been a pretty entertaining ground. Man City&#39;s class has told in the final third. David Silva has been whack-a-mole-ing all over the shop. Both left-backs look vulnerable and Stoke have had a couple of glimmers but they need the final ball, from Shaqiri largely, to be better ... perfect, in fact, if they&#39;re going to score. 8:47PM 45 min Shaqiri spots Choupo-Moting&#39;s run into the box from the left touchline and hits an isnwinging left-footer from the right towards the far post. He significantly overclubs it and smears it over Ederson and into touch. 8:46PM 44 min Stoke give the ball away cheaply with a panicked clearance and their fans are livid. They get away with their indiscretion and, via a free kick, work the ball towards the City goal on the left. City defend it comfortably and knock it long themselves. Martins Indi is all over Jesus though that&#39;s not the referee&#39;s interpretation as he allows the centre-half to win the ball. 8:43PM 42 min Stafylidis is being beasted on the left side of Stoke&#39;s defence and is allowing City unimpeded access. Once again De Bruyne gets behind him, centres to Sane who roundhouses a left foot volley on the run just wide. Miss: Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (Leroy Sané, 42 min) 8:41PM 41 min Smart save from Butland, diving low to his left to block Fernandinho&#39;s bunny-hopper of a shot. Then De Bruyne smacks a shot wide. 8:40PM 39 min Both Ederson and Butland have to come sprinting out of their areas for some sweeper-keeper action that inflames/tickles the crowd but they were pretty unruffled, Ederson particularly. 8:39PM 36 min Butland kicks it long, Choupo Moting beats Kompany to it but flicks rather than heads it on. The ball bounces through towards the City box and Jese gives chase. Walker tacks in from the right, follows the unusual flight of the ball and gets a toe to it and inadvertently knocks up an up and under that threatens to drift under the bar. Ederson scoots back to tip it over. 8:36PM 33 min Martins Indi plays a blind, preposterous, hospital pass to Butland without spotting De Bruyne&#39;s scavenging run into the box. Butland sprints off his line and beats De Bruyne to it by an inch to block tackle his attempted stab with a very strong challenge. De Bruyne&#39;s boot rakes his metatarsals and leaves the keeper hobbling momentarily but he soon recovers. David Silva scores the first Credit: Manchester City FC 8:33PM 31 min Terrific pass between Zinchenko and Otamendi by Shaqiri that Jese races to meet. The bounce takes him a touch too wide and he can&#39;t warp his foot around it to give his shot the power or precision it needed to beat Ederson. 8:31PM 28 min Zinchenko, the baby-faced tactical fouler, disrupts Stoke&#39;s attempts to take a quick throw-in he had just conceded. Shaqiri wants him sanctioned but the referee restricts himself to a telling-off instead. Shaqiri and Zinchenko tangle Credit: Simon Stacpoole/Offside 8:28PM 26 min De Bruyne crosses from the right and Silva has made another menacing, penetrative run. Cameron has gone with him this time and the delivery is a foot behind him. Silva essays a bicycle kick but doesn&#39;t connect, Stoke dig it out of the box where Fernandinho is first to it. He responds to cries from City fans of &#39;Shoot!&#39; with a wild shank over the bar. 8:26PM 23 min Sane has been quiet so far but goes off on a crossfield run, plays it to Fernandinho and darts beyond Sterling to overload Stafylidis. The intended pass to free him is intercepted by Stafylidis who clips it up to Shaqiri. His touch deserts him and he bludgeons his offload back to David Silva who angles a pass from the right towards the penalty spot where Gabriel Jesus is heading for after tearing past Zouma. But he&#39;s gone too soon. Offside. 8:22PM 20 min Stoke come close when Shaqiri, in the right corner, megs Zinchenko, runs round the inside then cuts back a daisycutter to the 18-yard line. Ndiaye pulls his shot as he aims for the far post and a deflection takes the bobbler wide for a corner that City defend well/Stoke waste. 8:20PM 18 min City should have had a free-kick on the edge of the box when Stafylidis pulls down Sterling, his hand gripping his shoulder. The referee mistakes Sterling for Dele Alli and waves away all legitimate protestations and the Stoke crowd boos him for the sin of being fouled. Here&#39;s the goal: David Silva steers home Sterling&#39;s cross Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge 8:17PM 16 min Zinchenko, who was culpable of a filthy foul on Eden Hazard eight days ago, clatters into Shaqiri very late here, sliding in to chop him down at the ankles. Free kick. Possession: Stoke vs Man City 8:15PM 14 min Very good work from Ndiaye who tracked Sterling&#39;s run into the box as he received a pass from Walker&#39;s cute knock-down. He made himself a second skin without actually fouling him as he harried Sterling into touch. 8:12PM 11 min Lovely pass round the corner from Jesus takes Stafylidis, who was too far forward, out of the game and finds Sterling who has bombed round the back on the right. Sterling picks his head up and centres calmly for David Silva who sidefoots his firm finish on the run with his left past Butland. Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (David Silva, 10 min) 8:09PM Goal! Stoke 0-1 Man City (David Silva) 8:09PM 9 min Choupo-Moting steps in off the left and wins a header, knocking it on for Jese to run on to but the centre-forward didn&#39;t read his intentions. 8:08PM 7 min Direct and tigerish in the tackle, the orders of the day. Ndiaye snaps into one 25 yards out, left of centre and is penalised. De Bruyne takes it and works a routine, hooking it to the 18-yard line where Otamendi was lingering all alone. He flicked it two yards further forward hoping to find Kompany but it didn&#39;t get there ad Stoke play it up to Jese, Allen finding him with a fine pass. Walker sticks to him and eventually hassles him out of possession. 8:06PM 5 min When Sterling is penalised for a shove, Butland spears another free-kick long ball up for Jese who doesn&#39;t have the height or timing of jump to beat Kompany. Already Davie Provan thinks Stoke need Crouch if they&#39;re going to ply this way. 8:04PM 4 min He distributes it to Bauer who tries to steer it up the right for Shaqiri to run at Zinchenko but he can&#39;t control the long pass. Direct is the order of the day for Stoke. 8:03PM 3 min De Bruyne strips the ball off Ndiaye 40 yards from goal but the Senegal midfielder sticks with him and forces him to lay it off. City try to thread a diagonal for Jesus&#39;s run into the box but Butland is on to it and gets there first. 8:02PM 1 min Jese kicks off for Stoke. Vibrant, noisy atmospheer at the Brit tonight. Delilah is fighting it out with Blue Moon. Stoke whack it up the left and immediately lose possession. City move up the right, 10 yards infield until Ndiaye tackles De Bruyne and Stoke quickly knock it over the top again but to no benefit. 7:56PM Kurt Zouma Spoke to Matt Law about facing Manchester City tonight: &quot;This was the worst defeat I’ve ever had in my career in football.“But it can happen and I forgot about it, and I don’t want to think about it. I don’t think about that game. “Man City are a top side. But our job is to make it difficult and they have to feel we want to win the game. The mistakes we made in the 7-2 we can’t make again and we have to try to win to make the fans happy and us happy as well.” 7:37PM A truncated Monday Night Football No Keith Hernandez tonight. Gary Neville flies solo. Paul Lambert is wearing his Gianluca Vialli schoolboy grey V-neck. Pep has his yellow ribbon close to his heart but beneath his jacket. Pep Guardiola watches the warm-up Credit: REUTERS/Hannah McKay Lambert says Stoke have to &#39;play ugly&#39; and &#39;run more than they&#39;ve ever run before&#39;. 7:32PM Your teams in black and white Stoke Butland; Bauer, Zouma, Martins Indi, Stafylidis; Allen, Cameron, Ndiaye; Shaqiri, Jese, Choupo-Moting. Substitutes Haugaard, Johnson, Adam, Shawcross, Fletcher, Crouch, Sobhi. Man City Ederson, Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Zinchenko, De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva, Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Sane. Substitutes Bravo, Danilo, Stones, Gundogan, Laporte, Bernardo Silva, Toure. Referee Jonathan Moss (Leeds) 7:03PM Man City XI Three changes: Vincent Kompany, Raheem Sterling and Fernandinho return for Aymeric Laporte, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan. How we line-up tonight! City XI | Ederson, Walker, Kompany (C), Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Silva, De Bruyne, Sterling, Sane, Jesus Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Stones, Gundogan, Laporte, Bernardo, Yaya Toure Presented by @HAYSWorldwide#scfcvcity#mancitypic.twitter.com/niKExUKO9R— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 12, 2018 7:02PM Stoke City team news �� One change for the Potters against @ManCity this evening as @JeseRodriguez10 replaces @MameDiouf99. STARTING XI: Butland; Bauer, Zouma, M. Indi, Stafylidis; Badou, Cameron, Allen; Shaqiri, Jese, Choupo-Moting.#SCFC ��⚪️ pic.twitter.com/E7ngnPmI9t— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) March 12, 2018 One change: Jese in for Diouf. 6:13PM Good evening Paul Lambert has certainly patched Stoke&#39;s badly leaking defence since taking over from Mark Hughes and a victory and four draws from six games is a very creditable return in theory. Yet when you look at those games more closely - a defeat by Bournemouth, draws with Watford, Southampton, Brighton and Leicester to go with that victory over Huddersfield, it is hard not to conclude that a side in deep relegation shtook really needed to do better against that calibre of opposition. They start tonight in 19th place against the league leaders, only a point off 17th but with a run of fixtures that brings them Everton at home, Arsenal away and Spurs at home after tonight&#39;s meeting with the team that whacked them 7-2 in the autumn. Avoiding a shellacking will be an improvement on the beating Hughes took from his former club but points are also a priority because three of their last five games pit them against other sides fighting for survival - West Ham, Palace and Swansea plus unenviable encounters with Burnley and Liverpool. Victory for Manchester City will extend their lead to 16 points with eight to play and allows them to keep their chance of clinching the title in the Manchester derby on course should United slip up in their next two games. Gabriel Jesus starts tonight in the absence of Sergio Agüero. There will be no 200th goal for Manchester City&#39;s great centre-forward but Stoke will be wary of coming up against Jesus again after his sensational, slippery performance back in October when he scored twice. Twenty years ago these two met in the last match of the 1997-98 season in the second tier of English professional football, known back then, confusingly, as Division One. Manchester City were 23rd on 45 points, Stoke 22nd on 46, Port Vale 21st on 46 and Portsmouth one place higher with the same number of points. &quot;Knowing City&#39;s almost comical capacity for failure, they will probably win only for Port Vale and Portsmouth to do likewise,&quot; wrote the anonymous preview writer in the Sunday Telegraph. Daily Telegraph match report confirming relegation of Stoke and Man City in 1998 Credit: THE TELEGRAPH And lo, it came to pass at the Britannia Stadium. Manchester City won 5-2 , Shaun Goater scored two, Paul Dickov, Lee &#39;Badbuy&#39; Bradbury and Kevin Horlock one each for the visitors while Peter Thorne grabbed two for Stoke. But Port Vale won 4-0 away at Huddersfield and, more gallingly still, Portsmouth, under the management of Alan Ball, who had overseen City&#39;s relegation from the Premier League when he miscalculated what they needed from their final match, beat Bradford 3-1. So, both Stoke and Man City went down with Reading. For all their toils this season, the world of Stoke City, just as much as Manchester City, has been transformed this past 20 years ... just not as radically. Back with the teams when they are announced at 7pm.
Stoke City 0 Man City 2: David Silva dazzles to put the title in reach... and they'll claim it with victory over United
The sight of Pep Guardiola marching onto the pitch after the final whistle to lecture Leroy Sane said it all: the Manchester City manager wants more. This comfortable victory, earned through two sublime David Silva goals, was not enough in a campaign in which City can break all kinds of Premier League records. And, with the Champions League draw on Friday, still achieve even greater things. City will be in Abu Dhabi when that draw takes place, as they enjoy a break before resuming their campaign against Everton at the end of this month. Win that and it means that they can claim the title in their next fixture – which just happens to be against Manchester United at home on April 7. The countdown is on. Guardiola said that City will “come back stronger” from the Middle East and it sounded like a threat as much as a promise. Just how much stronger can this dazzling City side be? Stoke are no mugs under Paul Lambert and, as they should, they fought for their lives as they desperately try and beat relegation. But they did not even register a shot on target. Interestingly, Guardiola chose to highlight the fact that this result meant City had achieved the double over Stoke for the first time since 1999-2000, and it shone a light on the fact that such records and achievements really do matter to him. Guardiola does not want to just win this league but to achieve new landmarks in doing so. Already City have earned 81 points, the first team to achieve that after 30 games, and the highest-ever points total in the Premier League - Chelsea’s 95 under Jose Mourinho in 2004-05 - is in Guardiola’s sights. City can top 100 points and, with 85 goals already, can beat the record of 103 achieved by Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea in 2009-10. A double century - 100 points; 100 goals - is possible. Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (David Silva, 10 min) This result also means that City surpassed their points total of 78 earned last season. And have done so with eight games to go. But it is not enough. It also matters to Guardiola that City do not relent once the Premier League is won and stay full-on in Europe. There was an insight into that in the way he spoke to Sane, who had wasted chances, and he also called over captain Vincent Kompany to instruct him once Stoke had brought on substitute Peter Crouch. Kompany later joked that he was pretty well aware what that would mean tactically. The goals were worthy of winning any match. They summed up the silky brilliance of City as they cut through Stoke. The first came after just 10 mintes with Fernandinho, fit again and recalled, playing the ball in to Gabriel Jesus who turned and took out three Stoke players with a pass that released Raheem Sterling down the right. Sterling looked up quickly and crossed low for the onrushing Silva who arrived between two more Stoke defenders to side-foot first time into the net. It was breathtaking, marvellous stuff. Manchester City's David Silva, who opened the scoring for the away side, takes on Stoke's Moritz Bauer Credit: PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images It also quickly set back Stoke’s plan to defend deep and try to counter aggressively, with Jese asked to take on the City centre-halves. Their best outlet was matching up Xherdan Shaqiri against Oleksandr Zinchenko and the Swiss international nutmegged the full-back before teeing up Badou Ndiaye whose shot deflected off Fernandinho’s foot and flew narrowly past the post. So would we have a contest after all? It seemed possible when Jack Butland – in front of the watching England manager Gareth Southgate, who announces his next squad on Thursday – launched a goal-kick which flew over Kompany’s head, with Jese running through. Kyle Walker recovered but toed the ball, looping it over Ederson who back-pedalled to tip it over the cross-bar. Possession: Stoke vs Man City At the other end, though, City racked up chances. After Guardiola’s accusations that his team forgot to attack following the Champions League defeat at home to Basle last week, this was a clear response with Butland turning away a low Fernandinho shot and then watching, relieved, as Sane volleyed just wide. Stoke were, rightly, cheered off at half-time. No-one could fault their effort. They had worked hard, they had bitten into tackles and tried to close down their opponents, even if there was always that sense that City were a simple shift through the gears away from extending their advantage. And they did just that. Sterling won the ball back and found Fernandinho who played it in to Silva. The midfielder’s first touch deftly picked out Jesus who lifted the ball across the area. Should Butland have come from his goal quicker? Instead he hesitated but Silva was always going to get there first and he guided the ball into the net. David Silva spins to half-volley in the second Credit: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images City poured forward. De Bruyne struck the side-netting from a tight angle when through, then Sterling tricked his way beyond Kostas Stafylidis and dumped Geoff Cameron to the turf – only for his close-range shot to be saved by Butland with his outstretched leg. There was more: a Zinchenko shot beaten away, a curling Sane effort just wide, Walker slicing wildly when clear and Butland saving from Sane. Stoke desperately needed some respite and almost achieved it when Crouch headed a free-kick back across goal for Maxim Choupo-Moting who headed it back again to Bruno Martins Indi, only for the defender to blast his volley over from four yards. So there would be no late drama except when Sterling provoked an angry response as he whisked away possession, following a drop-ball after a clash of heads, and ran through on goal only to be tackled by a furious Ndiaye. It led to some pushing and shoving. It was the only aggravation this imperious City side faced all evening. 9:55PM Full time Manchester City restore their lead to 16 points with a masterly, indeed masterful, victory over 19th-placed Stoke who are not unique in being comprehensively outclassed. David Silva was brilliant, Raheem Sterling also played very well. 9:53PM 90+5 min Keepball from City for 90 seconds until Bauer picks off a pass from David Silva. They work it up the right and Bauer spears in a deep cross that bypasses Crouch. The ref has seen enough and emits three peeps from his Acme Thunderer. 9:51PM 90+4 min City corner on the right. The Silvas twain and De Bruyne knock it about and go all the way back to Ederson who starts a foray up the left with Zinchenko who then move sit back to safety in midfield. 9:49PM 90+2 min We'll have five minutes added because of Otamendi's cut. Stafylidis lets fly from 30 yards and cracks his shot into Otamendi. 9:48PM 90 min City sub: Ilkay Gundogan on, Gabriel Jesus off. David Silva is named man of the match. 9:47PM 88 min Stoke sub: Ramadan Sobhi on for Geoff Cameron. Seems a little pointless and cruel. You've had naff all football under Lambert then he chucks you on for 90 seconds of a game you've long lost? Must be tempting to tell him to get stuffed. 9:44PM 86 min Stoke corner on the right, curled by Shaqiri straight down Ederson's throat. He sparks a rapid City break from which they're caught offside, back come Stoke and Komany makes the only telling tackle that has been required of him all night. 9:42PM 84 min City sub: Sterling, who has played very well, departs to a chorus of disapproval. Bernardo Silva takes his place. 9:41PM 82 min Don't know how Sterling missed that, or what Jon Moss said to City at the drop ball. But even City's fans went a but quiet after it. 9:39PM 79 min Jonathan Moss restarts the game with a drop ball 40 yards out. City contest it, Stoke don't because they think they were going to have possession. Sterling hares off towards goal with Ndiaye chasing him looking intent on whacking him with more than an etiquette guide. Sterling, with Jesus in support, drops his shoulder and veers to the right to try to round Butland which gives Ndiaye the opening to whip the ball behind for a corner. All hell then breaks loose about City's alleged chicanery. 9:35PM 78 min Otamendi is back on his feet having wrapped his head in Elastoplast. 9:35PM 76 min Sane stings Butland's palms with a flayed shot then there's quite a stoppage when Otamendi collides with Stafylidis as they fought for De Bruyne's cross. The latter is OK having caught his opponent with his brow, Otamendi is still down with a gash on his scalp. 9:32PM 74 min Joe Allen bundles over Jesus in the centre-circle and the ref waves play on. De Bruyne threads a pass down the right for Sterling's run into the box and he decides to take the shot on from an angle of about 45 degrees and shanks it almost perpendicular. The ref then goes back and books Allen. 9:30PM 72 min Sterling dribbles through the box on the right, shimmies his hips and sells Stafylidis a dummy that causes him to slide in, miss the ball and catch it with his arm as he slid past. Sterling didn't stop and carried on until his pass towards the spot was blocked. 9:29PM 71 min Otamendi outmuscles Crouch to win the ball and sets off on a gambol upfield to start an attack down the left. Stoke see it out. 9:27PM 68 min Stafylidis hits a long diagonal up for Crouch who wins the aerial battle but was offside. At last they have a focal point for their strategy. 9:26PM 67 min Man City fans are now singing their Yaya Delilah song. Talk about cultural appropriation. 9:24PM 64 min Bauer takes an inswinger, whipping it a foot or so beyond the far post. Crouch wins it comfortably and squares it back across the box. Choupo-Moting wins the second header and diverts it back across goal to Martins Indi who wellies his right-foot volley from six yards over the bar. Miss: Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (Bruno Martins Indi, 64 min) 9:21PM 62 min Good pass from Shaqiri frees Jese down the left. He doubles back on Otamendi who hacks him down. The ref plays the advantage then brings it back. That's Jese's last touch. Off he goes to be replaced for the free-kick he won by Peter Crouch. David Silva scores his and City's second Credit: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images 9:18PM 59 min From the corner Sterling shifts it to Sane who takes a touch to make some space for the shot then cuts his foot across it and sends it swerving in towards goal then away again then in again. Butland does well to save it. Miss: Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (Leroy Sané, 59 min) 9:16PM 58 min Sterling attempts to Ricky Villa his way through the box on the right, twists Stafylidis' blood, but can only find Butland's shins with his shot. 9:15PM 56 min Fernandinho makes a lung-bursting 60-yard run, feeds De Bruyne down the left then continues his charge into the box to take the return after his team-mate's lovely pass cut out Bruno Martins Indi. He was a little too wide to squeeze his post in at the near post but tried anyway, stabbing it into the side-netting. 9:12PM 53 min What happened here 20 years ago gave birth to the 'We're not really here' era and Man City's fans give it a good airing now, followed by their C-bomb Mourinho song. Wildean it ain't. 9:10PM 52 min Gorgeous finish from David Silva, leaping up to take the return in a one-two with Gabriel Jesus. The ball bounced up to chest height but he acrobatically hooked in a flying volley as Bauer, trying to make up for being caught out of position and Butland closed in on him at pace. Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (David Silva, 50 min) 9:07PM Goal!! Stoke 0-2 Man City (David Silva) 9:07PM 49 min Man City corner after opening Stoke up on the left by virtue of David Silva's curling pass into Sane's stride. He takes a touch with his right that actually sows him down and he has to improvise, stopping then shifting it over to the right where Sterling wins a corner. 9:04PM 47 min Shaqiri's got his Toblerone-shaped boots on tonight, slicing an attempted ball over the top for Jese's burst up the right into touch. 9:03PM 46 min No changes. Man City kick off, rolling the ball back to Kompany who chips it diagonally over to the left where Sane wins the header, beating Bauer aerially, but Stoke then win the second ball. 8:59PM Southampton have sacked Mauricio Pellegrino Marco Silva? Slavisa Jokanovic would be ideal but I doubt he would leave Fulham. 8:53PM Half-time shot maps Stoke vs Man City shots on goal Stoke vs Man City shots on goal And the weighted touch positions to illustrate City's dominance of possession and territory: Average touch positions (half time) 8:50PM Half time Some snarl and a lot of huff and puff from Stoke and it has been a pretty entertaining ground. Man City's class has told in the final third. David Silva has been whack-a-mole-ing all over the shop. Both left-backs look vulnerable and Stoke have had a couple of glimmers but they need the final ball, from Shaqiri largely, to be better ... perfect, in fact, if they're going to score. 8:47PM 45 min Shaqiri spots Choupo-Moting's run into the box from the left touchline and hits an isnwinging left-footer from the right towards the far post. He significantly overclubs it and smears it over Ederson and into touch. 8:46PM 44 min Stoke give the ball away cheaply with a panicked clearance and their fans are livid. They get away with their indiscretion and, via a free kick, work the ball towards the City goal on the left. City defend it comfortably and knock it long themselves. Martins Indi is all over Jesus though that's not the referee's interpretation as he allows the centre-half to win the ball. 8:43PM 42 min Stafylidis is being beasted on the left side of Stoke's defence and is allowing City unimpeded access. Once again De Bruyne gets behind him, centres to Sane who roundhouses a left foot volley on the run just wide. Miss: Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (Leroy Sané, 42 min) 8:41PM 41 min Smart save from Butland, diving low to his left to block Fernandinho's bunny-hopper of a shot. Then De Bruyne smacks a shot wide. 8:40PM 39 min Both Ederson and Butland have to come sprinting out of their areas for some sweeper-keeper action that inflames/tickles the crowd but they were pretty unruffled, Ederson particularly. 8:39PM 36 min Butland kicks it long, Choupo Moting beats Kompany to it but flicks rather than heads it on. The ball bounces through towards the City box and Jese gives chase. Walker tacks in from the right, follows the unusual flight of the ball and gets a toe to it and inadvertently knocks up an up and under that threatens to drift under the bar. Ederson scoots back to tip it over. 8:36PM 33 min Martins Indi plays a blind, preposterous, hospital pass to Butland without spotting De Bruyne's scavenging run into the box. Butland sprints off his line and beats De Bruyne to it by an inch to block tackle his attempted stab with a very strong challenge. De Bruyne's boot rakes his metatarsals and leaves the keeper hobbling momentarily but he soon recovers. David Silva scores the first Credit: Manchester City FC 8:33PM 31 min Terrific pass between Zinchenko and Otamendi by Shaqiri that Jese races to meet. The bounce takes him a touch too wide and he can't warp his foot around it to give his shot the power or precision it needed to beat Ederson. 8:31PM 28 min Zinchenko, the baby-faced tactical fouler, disrupts Stoke's attempts to take a quick throw-in he had just conceded. Shaqiri wants him sanctioned but the referee restricts himself to a telling-off instead. Shaqiri and Zinchenko tangle Credit: Simon Stacpoole/Offside 8:28PM 26 min De Bruyne crosses from the right and Silva has made another menacing, penetrative run. Cameron has gone with him this time and the delivery is a foot behind him. Silva essays a bicycle kick but doesn't connect, Stoke dig it out of the box where Fernandinho is first to it. He responds to cries from City fans of 'Shoot!' with a wild shank over the bar. 8:26PM 23 min Sane has been quiet so far but goes off on a crossfield run, plays it to Fernandinho and darts beyond Sterling to overload Stafylidis. The intended pass to free him is intercepted by Stafylidis who clips it up to Shaqiri. His touch deserts him and he bludgeons his offload back to David Silva who angles a pass from the right towards the penalty spot where Gabriel Jesus is heading for after tearing past Zouma. But he's gone too soon. Offside. 8:22PM 20 min Stoke come close when Shaqiri, in the right corner, megs Zinchenko, runs round the inside then cuts back a daisycutter to the 18-yard line. Ndiaye pulls his shot as he aims for the far post and a deflection takes the bobbler wide for a corner that City defend well/Stoke waste. 8:20PM 18 min City should have had a free-kick on the edge of the box when Stafylidis pulls down Sterling, his hand gripping his shoulder. The referee mistakes Sterling for Dele Alli and waves away all legitimate protestations and the Stoke crowd boos him for the sin of being fouled. Here's the goal: David Silva steers home Sterling's cross Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge 8:17PM 16 min Zinchenko, who was culpable of a filthy foul on Eden Hazard eight days ago, clatters into Shaqiri very late here, sliding in to chop him down at the ankles. Free kick. Possession: Stoke vs Man City 8:15PM 14 min Very good work from Ndiaye who tracked Sterling's run into the box as he received a pass from Walker's cute knock-down. He made himself a second skin without actually fouling him as he harried Sterling into touch. 8:12PM 11 min Lovely pass round the corner from Jesus takes Stafylidis, who was too far forward, out of the game and finds Sterling who has bombed round the back on the right. Sterling picks his head up and centres calmly for David Silva who sidefoots his firm finish on the run with his left past Butland. Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (David Silva, 10 min) 8:09PM Goal! Stoke 0-1 Man City (David Silva) 8:09PM 9 min Choupo-Moting steps in off the left and wins a header, knocking it on for Jese to run on to but the centre-forward didn't read his intentions. 8:08PM 7 min Direct and tigerish in the tackle, the orders of the day. Ndiaye snaps into one 25 yards out, left of centre and is penalised. De Bruyne takes it and works a routine, hooking it to the 18-yard line where Otamendi was lingering all alone. He flicked it two yards further forward hoping to find Kompany but it didn't get there ad Stoke play it up to Jese, Allen finding him with a fine pass. Walker sticks to him and eventually hassles him out of possession. 8:06PM 5 min When Sterling is penalised for a shove, Butland spears another free-kick long ball up for Jese who doesn't have the height or timing of jump to beat Kompany. Already Davie Provan thinks Stoke need Crouch if they're going to ply this way. 8:04PM 4 min He distributes it to Bauer who tries to steer it up the right for Shaqiri to run at Zinchenko but he can't control the long pass. Direct is the order of the day for Stoke. 8:03PM 3 min De Bruyne strips the ball off Ndiaye 40 yards from goal but the Senegal midfielder sticks with him and forces him to lay it off. City try to thread a diagonal for Jesus's run into the box but Butland is on to it and gets there first. 8:02PM 1 min Jese kicks off for Stoke. Vibrant, noisy atmospheer at the Brit tonight. Delilah is fighting it out with Blue Moon. Stoke whack it up the left and immediately lose possession. City move up the right, 10 yards infield until Ndiaye tackles De Bruyne and Stoke quickly knock it over the top again but to no benefit. 7:56PM Kurt Zouma Spoke to Matt Law about facing Manchester City tonight: "This was the worst defeat I’ve ever had in my career in football.“But it can happen and I forgot about it, and I don’t want to think about it. I don’t think about that game. “Man City are a top side. But our job is to make it difficult and they have to feel we want to win the game. The mistakes we made in the 7-2 we can’t make again and we have to try to win to make the fans happy and us happy as well.” 7:37PM A truncated Monday Night Football No Keith Hernandez tonight. Gary Neville flies solo. Paul Lambert is wearing his Gianluca Vialli schoolboy grey V-neck. Pep has his yellow ribbon close to his heart but beneath his jacket. Pep Guardiola watches the warm-up Credit: REUTERS/Hannah McKay Lambert says Stoke have to 'play ugly' and 'run more than they've ever run before'. 7:32PM Your teams in black and white Stoke Butland; Bauer, Zouma, Martins Indi, Stafylidis; Allen, Cameron, Ndiaye; Shaqiri, Jese, Choupo-Moting. Substitutes Haugaard, Johnson, Adam, Shawcross, Fletcher, Crouch, Sobhi. Man City Ederson, Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Zinchenko, De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva, Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Sane. Substitutes Bravo, Danilo, Stones, Gundogan, Laporte, Bernardo Silva, Toure. Referee Jonathan Moss (Leeds) 7:03PM Man City XI Three changes: Vincent Kompany, Raheem Sterling and Fernandinho return for Aymeric Laporte, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan. How we line-up tonight! City XI | Ederson, Walker, Kompany (C), Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Silva, De Bruyne, Sterling, Sane, Jesus Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Stones, Gundogan, Laporte, Bernardo, Yaya Toure Presented by @HAYSWorldwide#scfcvcity#mancitypic.twitter.com/niKExUKO9R— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 12, 2018 7:02PM Stoke City team news �� One change for the Potters against @ManCity this evening as @JeseRodriguez10 replaces @MameDiouf99. STARTING XI: Butland; Bauer, Zouma, M. Indi, Stafylidis; Badou, Cameron, Allen; Shaqiri, Jese, Choupo-Moting.#SCFC ��⚪️ pic.twitter.com/E7ngnPmI9t— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) March 12, 2018 One change: Jese in for Diouf. 6:13PM Good evening Paul Lambert has certainly patched Stoke's badly leaking defence since taking over from Mark Hughes and a victory and four draws from six games is a very creditable return in theory. Yet when you look at those games more closely - a defeat by Bournemouth, draws with Watford, Southampton, Brighton and Leicester to go with that victory over Huddersfield, it is hard not to conclude that a side in deep relegation shtook really needed to do better against that calibre of opposition. They start tonight in 19th place against the league leaders, only a point off 17th but with a run of fixtures that brings them Everton at home, Arsenal away and Spurs at home after tonight's meeting with the team that whacked them 7-2 in the autumn. Avoiding a shellacking will be an improvement on the beating Hughes took from his former club but points are also a priority because three of their last five games pit them against other sides fighting for survival - West Ham, Palace and Swansea plus unenviable encounters with Burnley and Liverpool. Victory for Manchester City will extend their lead to 16 points with eight to play and allows them to keep their chance of clinching the title in the Manchester derby on course should United slip up in their next two games. Gabriel Jesus starts tonight in the absence of Sergio Agüero. There will be no 200th goal for Manchester City's great centre-forward but Stoke will be wary of coming up against Jesus again after his sensational, slippery performance back in October when he scored twice. Twenty years ago these two met in the last match of the 1997-98 season in the second tier of English professional football, known back then, confusingly, as Division One. Manchester City were 23rd on 45 points, Stoke 22nd on 46, Port Vale 21st on 46 and Portsmouth one place higher with the same number of points. "Knowing City's almost comical capacity for failure, they will probably win only for Port Vale and Portsmouth to do likewise," wrote the anonymous preview writer in the Sunday Telegraph. Daily Telegraph match report confirming relegation of Stoke and Man City in 1998 Credit: THE TELEGRAPH And lo, it came to pass at the Britannia Stadium. Manchester City won 5-2 , Shaun Goater scored two, Paul Dickov, Lee 'Badbuy' Bradbury and Kevin Horlock one each for the visitors while Peter Thorne grabbed two for Stoke. But Port Vale won 4-0 away at Huddersfield and, more gallingly still, Portsmouth, under the management of Alan Ball, who had overseen City's relegation from the Premier League when he miscalculated what they needed from their final match, beat Bradford 3-1. So, both Stoke and Man City went down with Reading. For all their toils this season, the world of Stoke City, just as much as Manchester City, has been transformed this past 20 years ... just not as radically. Back with the teams when they are announced at 7pm.
The sight of Pep Guardiola marching onto the pitch after the final whistle to lecture Leroy Sane said it all: the Manchester City manager wants more. This comfortable victory, earned through two sublime David Silva goals, was not enough in a campaign in which City can break all kinds of Premier League records. And, with the Champions League draw on Friday, still achieve even greater things. City will be in Abu Dhabi when that draw takes place, as they enjoy a break before resuming their campaign against Everton at the end of this month. Win that and it means that they can claim the title in their next fixture – which just happens to be against Manchester United at home on April 7. The countdown is on. Guardiola said that City will “come back stronger” from the Middle East and it sounded like a threat as much as a promise. Just how much stronger can this dazzling City side be? Stoke are no mugs under Paul Lambert and, as they should, they fought for their lives as they desperately try and beat relegation. But they did not even register a shot on target. Interestingly, Guardiola chose to highlight the fact that this result meant City had achieved the double over Stoke for the first time since 1999-2000, and it shone a light on the fact that such records and achievements really do matter to him. Guardiola does not want to just win this league but to achieve new landmarks in doing so. Already City have earned 81 points, the first team to achieve that after 30 games, and the highest-ever points total in the Premier League - Chelsea’s 95 under Jose Mourinho in 2004-05 - is in Guardiola’s sights. City can top 100 points and, with 85 goals already, can beat the record of 103 achieved by Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea in 2009-10. A double century - 100 points; 100 goals - is possible. Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (David Silva, 10 min) This result also means that City surpassed their points total of 78 earned last season. And have done so with eight games to go. But it is not enough. It also matters to Guardiola that City do not relent once the Premier League is won and stay full-on in Europe. There was an insight into that in the way he spoke to Sane, who had wasted chances, and he also called over captain Vincent Kompany to instruct him once Stoke had brought on substitute Peter Crouch. Kompany later joked that he was pretty well aware what that would mean tactically. The goals were worthy of winning any match. They summed up the silky brilliance of City as they cut through Stoke. The first came after just 10 mintes with Fernandinho, fit again and recalled, playing the ball in to Gabriel Jesus who turned and took out three Stoke players with a pass that released Raheem Sterling down the right. Sterling looked up quickly and crossed low for the onrushing Silva who arrived between two more Stoke defenders to side-foot first time into the net. It was breathtaking, marvellous stuff. Manchester City&#39;s David Silva, who opened the scoring for the away side, takes on Stoke&#39;s Moritz Bauer Credit: PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images It also quickly set back Stoke’s plan to defend deep and try to counter aggressively, with Jese asked to take on the City centre-halves. Their best outlet was matching up Xherdan Shaqiri against Oleksandr Zinchenko and the Swiss international nutmegged the full-back before teeing up Badou Ndiaye whose shot deflected off Fernandinho’s foot and flew narrowly past the post. So would we have a contest after all? It seemed possible when Jack Butland – in front of the watching England manager Gareth Southgate, who announces his next squad on Thursday – launched a goal-kick which flew over Kompany’s head, with Jese running through. Kyle Walker recovered but toed the ball, looping it over Ederson who back-pedalled to tip it over the cross-bar. Possession: Stoke vs Man City At the other end, though, City racked up chances. After Guardiola’s accusations that his team forgot to attack following the Champions League defeat at home to Basle last week, this was a clear response with Butland turning away a low Fernandinho shot and then watching, relieved, as Sane volleyed just wide. Stoke were, rightly, cheered off at half-time. No-one could fault their effort. They had worked hard, they had bitten into tackles and tried to close down their opponents, even if there was always that sense that City were a simple shift through the gears away from extending their advantage. And they did just that. Sterling won the ball back and found Fernandinho who played it in to Silva. The midfielder’s first touch deftly picked out Jesus who lifted the ball across the area. Should Butland have come from his goal quicker? Instead he hesitated but Silva was always going to get there first and he guided the ball into the net. David Silva spins to half-volley in the second Credit: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images City poured forward. De Bruyne struck the side-netting from a tight angle when through, then Sterling tricked his way beyond Kostas Stafylidis and dumped Geoff Cameron to the turf – only for his close-range shot to be saved by Butland with his outstretched leg. There was more: a Zinchenko shot beaten away, a curling Sane effort just wide, Walker slicing wildly when clear and Butland saving from Sane. Stoke desperately needed some respite and almost achieved it when Crouch headed a free-kick back across goal for Maxim Choupo-Moting who headed it back again to Bruno Martins Indi, only for the defender to blast his volley over from four yards. So there would be no late drama except when Sterling provoked an angry response as he whisked away possession, following a drop-ball after a clash of heads, and ran through on goal only to be tackled by a furious Ndiaye. It led to some pushing and shoving. It was the only aggravation this imperious City side faced all evening. 9:55PM Full time Manchester City restore their lead to 16 points with a masterly, indeed masterful, victory over 19th-placed Stoke who are not unique in being comprehensively outclassed. David Silva was brilliant, Raheem Sterling also played very well. 9:53PM 90+5 min Keepball from City for 90 seconds until Bauer picks off a pass from David Silva. They work it up the right and Bauer spears in a deep cross that bypasses Crouch. The ref has seen enough and emits three peeps from his Acme Thunderer. 9:51PM 90+4 min City corner on the right. The Silvas twain and De Bruyne knock it about and go all the way back to Ederson who starts a foray up the left with Zinchenko who then move sit back to safety in midfield. 9:49PM 90+2 min We&#39;ll have five minutes added because of Otamendi&#39;s cut. Stafylidis lets fly from 30 yards and cracks his shot into Otamendi. 9:48PM 90 min City sub: Ilkay Gundogan on, Gabriel Jesus off. David Silva is named man of the match. 9:47PM 88 min Stoke sub: Ramadan Sobhi on for Geoff Cameron. Seems a little pointless and cruel. You&#39;ve had naff all football under Lambert then he chucks you on for 90 seconds of a game you&#39;ve long lost? Must be tempting to tell him to get stuffed. 9:44PM 86 min Stoke corner on the right, curled by Shaqiri straight down Ederson&#39;s throat. He sparks a rapid City break from which they&#39;re caught offside, back come Stoke and Komany makes the only telling tackle that has been required of him all night. 9:42PM 84 min City sub: Sterling, who has played very well, departs to a chorus of disapproval. Bernardo Silva takes his place. 9:41PM 82 min Don&#39;t know how Sterling missed that, or what Jon Moss said to City at the drop ball. But even City&#39;s fans went a but quiet after it. 9:39PM 79 min Jonathan Moss restarts the game with a drop ball 40 yards out. City contest it, Stoke don&#39;t because they think they were going to have possession. Sterling hares off towards goal with Ndiaye chasing him looking intent on whacking him with more than an etiquette guide. Sterling, with Jesus in support, drops his shoulder and veers to the right to try to round Butland which gives Ndiaye the opening to whip the ball behind for a corner. All hell then breaks loose about City&#39;s alleged chicanery. 9:35PM 78 min Otamendi is back on his feet having wrapped his head in Elastoplast. 9:35PM 76 min Sane stings Butland&#39;s palms with a flayed shot then there&#39;s quite a stoppage when Otamendi collides with Stafylidis as they fought for De Bruyne&#39;s cross. The latter is OK having caught his opponent with his brow, Otamendi is still down with a gash on his scalp. 9:32PM 74 min Joe Allen bundles over Jesus in the centre-circle and the ref waves play on. De Bruyne threads a pass down the right for Sterling&#39;s run into the box and he decides to take the shot on from an angle of about 45 degrees and shanks it almost perpendicular. The ref then goes back and books Allen. 9:30PM 72 min Sterling dribbles through the box on the right, shimmies his hips and sells Stafylidis a dummy that causes him to slide in, miss the ball and catch it with his arm as he slid past. Sterling didn&#39;t stop and carried on until his pass towards the spot was blocked. 9:29PM 71 min Otamendi outmuscles Crouch to win the ball and sets off on a gambol upfield to start an attack down the left. Stoke see it out. 9:27PM 68 min Stafylidis hits a long diagonal up for Crouch who wins the aerial battle but was offside. At last they have a focal point for their strategy. 9:26PM 67 min Man City fans are now singing their Yaya Delilah song. Talk about cultural appropriation. 9:24PM 64 min Bauer takes an inswinger, whipping it a foot or so beyond the far post. Crouch wins it comfortably and squares it back across the box. Choupo-Moting wins the second header and diverts it back across goal to Martins Indi who wellies his right-foot volley from six yards over the bar. Miss: Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (Bruno Martins Indi, 64 min) 9:21PM 62 min Good pass from Shaqiri frees Jese down the left. He doubles back on Otamendi who hacks him down. The ref plays the advantage then brings it back. That&#39;s Jese&#39;s last touch. Off he goes to be replaced for the free-kick he won by Peter Crouch. David Silva scores his and City&#39;s second Credit: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images 9:18PM 59 min From the corner Sterling shifts it to Sane who takes a touch to make some space for the shot then cuts his foot across it and sends it swerving in towards goal then away again then in again. Butland does well to save it. Miss: Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (Leroy Sané, 59 min) 9:16PM 58 min Sterling attempts to Ricky Villa his way through the box on the right, twists Stafylidis&#39; blood, but can only find Butland&#39;s shins with his shot. 9:15PM 56 min Fernandinho makes a lung-bursting 60-yard run, feeds De Bruyne down the left then continues his charge into the box to take the return after his team-mate&#39;s lovely pass cut out Bruno Martins Indi. He was a little too wide to squeeze his post in at the near post but tried anyway, stabbing it into the side-netting. 9:12PM 53 min What happened here 20 years ago gave birth to the &#39;We&#39;re not really here&#39; era and Man City&#39;s fans give it a good airing now, followed by their C-bomb Mourinho song. Wildean it ain&#39;t. 9:10PM 52 min Gorgeous finish from David Silva, leaping up to take the return in a one-two with Gabriel Jesus. The ball bounced up to chest height but he acrobatically hooked in a flying volley as Bauer, trying to make up for being caught out of position and Butland closed in on him at pace. Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (David Silva, 50 min) 9:07PM Goal!! Stoke 0-2 Man City (David Silva) 9:07PM 49 min Man City corner after opening Stoke up on the left by virtue of David Silva&#39;s curling pass into Sane&#39;s stride. He takes a touch with his right that actually sows him down and he has to improvise, stopping then shifting it over to the right where Sterling wins a corner. 9:04PM 47 min Shaqiri&#39;s got his Toblerone-shaped boots on tonight, slicing an attempted ball over the top for Jese&#39;s burst up the right into touch. 9:03PM 46 min No changes. Man City kick off, rolling the ball back to Kompany who chips it diagonally over to the left where Sane wins the header, beating Bauer aerially, but Stoke then win the second ball. 8:59PM Southampton have sacked Mauricio Pellegrino Marco Silva? Slavisa Jokanovic would be ideal but I doubt he would leave Fulham. 8:53PM Half-time shot maps Stoke vs Man City shots on goal Stoke vs Man City shots on goal And the weighted touch positions to illustrate City&#39;s dominance of possession and territory: Average touch positions (half time) 8:50PM Half time Some snarl and a lot of huff and puff from Stoke and it has been a pretty entertaining ground. Man City&#39;s class has told in the final third. David Silva has been whack-a-mole-ing all over the shop. Both left-backs look vulnerable and Stoke have had a couple of glimmers but they need the final ball, from Shaqiri largely, to be better ... perfect, in fact, if they&#39;re going to score. 8:47PM 45 min Shaqiri spots Choupo-Moting&#39;s run into the box from the left touchline and hits an isnwinging left-footer from the right towards the far post. He significantly overclubs it and smears it over Ederson and into touch. 8:46PM 44 min Stoke give the ball away cheaply with a panicked clearance and their fans are livid. They get away with their indiscretion and, via a free kick, work the ball towards the City goal on the left. City defend it comfortably and knock it long themselves. Martins Indi is all over Jesus though that&#39;s not the referee&#39;s interpretation as he allows the centre-half to win the ball. 8:43PM 42 min Stafylidis is being beasted on the left side of Stoke&#39;s defence and is allowing City unimpeded access. Once again De Bruyne gets behind him, centres to Sane who roundhouses a left foot volley on the run just wide. Miss: Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (Leroy Sané, 42 min) 8:41PM 41 min Smart save from Butland, diving low to his left to block Fernandinho&#39;s bunny-hopper of a shot. Then De Bruyne smacks a shot wide. 8:40PM 39 min Both Ederson and Butland have to come sprinting out of their areas for some sweeper-keeper action that inflames/tickles the crowd but they were pretty unruffled, Ederson particularly. 8:39PM 36 min Butland kicks it long, Choupo Moting beats Kompany to it but flicks rather than heads it on. The ball bounces through towards the City box and Jese gives chase. Walker tacks in from the right, follows the unusual flight of the ball and gets a toe to it and inadvertently knocks up an up and under that threatens to drift under the bar. Ederson scoots back to tip it over. 8:36PM 33 min Martins Indi plays a blind, preposterous, hospital pass to Butland without spotting De Bruyne&#39;s scavenging run into the box. Butland sprints off his line and beats De Bruyne to it by an inch to block tackle his attempted stab with a very strong challenge. De Bruyne&#39;s boot rakes his metatarsals and leaves the keeper hobbling momentarily but he soon recovers. David Silva scores the first Credit: Manchester City FC 8:33PM 31 min Terrific pass between Zinchenko and Otamendi by Shaqiri that Jese races to meet. The bounce takes him a touch too wide and he can&#39;t warp his foot around it to give his shot the power or precision it needed to beat Ederson. 8:31PM 28 min Zinchenko, the baby-faced tactical fouler, disrupts Stoke&#39;s attempts to take a quick throw-in he had just conceded. Shaqiri wants him sanctioned but the referee restricts himself to a telling-off instead. Shaqiri and Zinchenko tangle Credit: Simon Stacpoole/Offside 8:28PM 26 min De Bruyne crosses from the right and Silva has made another menacing, penetrative run. Cameron has gone with him this time and the delivery is a foot behind him. Silva essays a bicycle kick but doesn&#39;t connect, Stoke dig it out of the box where Fernandinho is first to it. He responds to cries from City fans of &#39;Shoot!&#39; with a wild shank over the bar. 8:26PM 23 min Sane has been quiet so far but goes off on a crossfield run, plays it to Fernandinho and darts beyond Sterling to overload Stafylidis. The intended pass to free him is intercepted by Stafylidis who clips it up to Shaqiri. His touch deserts him and he bludgeons his offload back to David Silva who angles a pass from the right towards the penalty spot where Gabriel Jesus is heading for after tearing past Zouma. But he&#39;s gone too soon. Offside. 8:22PM 20 min Stoke come close when Shaqiri, in the right corner, megs Zinchenko, runs round the inside then cuts back a daisycutter to the 18-yard line. Ndiaye pulls his shot as he aims for the far post and a deflection takes the bobbler wide for a corner that City defend well/Stoke waste. 8:20PM 18 min City should have had a free-kick on the edge of the box when Stafylidis pulls down Sterling, his hand gripping his shoulder. The referee mistakes Sterling for Dele Alli and waves away all legitimate protestations and the Stoke crowd boos him for the sin of being fouled. Here&#39;s the goal: David Silva steers home Sterling&#39;s cross Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge 8:17PM 16 min Zinchenko, who was culpable of a filthy foul on Eden Hazard eight days ago, clatters into Shaqiri very late here, sliding in to chop him down at the ankles. Free kick. Possession: Stoke vs Man City 8:15PM 14 min Very good work from Ndiaye who tracked Sterling&#39;s run into the box as he received a pass from Walker&#39;s cute knock-down. He made himself a second skin without actually fouling him as he harried Sterling into touch. 8:12PM 11 min Lovely pass round the corner from Jesus takes Stafylidis, who was too far forward, out of the game and finds Sterling who has bombed round the back on the right. Sterling picks his head up and centres calmly for David Silva who sidefoots his firm finish on the run with his left past Butland. Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (David Silva, 10 min) 8:09PM Goal! Stoke 0-1 Man City (David Silva) 8:09PM 9 min Choupo-Moting steps in off the left and wins a header, knocking it on for Jese to run on to but the centre-forward didn&#39;t read his intentions. 8:08PM 7 min Direct and tigerish in the tackle, the orders of the day. Ndiaye snaps into one 25 yards out, left of centre and is penalised. De Bruyne takes it and works a routine, hooking it to the 18-yard line where Otamendi was lingering all alone. He flicked it two yards further forward hoping to find Kompany but it didn&#39;t get there ad Stoke play it up to Jese, Allen finding him with a fine pass. Walker sticks to him and eventually hassles him out of possession. 8:06PM 5 min When Sterling is penalised for a shove, Butland spears another free-kick long ball up for Jese who doesn&#39;t have the height or timing of jump to beat Kompany. Already Davie Provan thinks Stoke need Crouch if they&#39;re going to ply this way. 8:04PM 4 min He distributes it to Bauer who tries to steer it up the right for Shaqiri to run at Zinchenko but he can&#39;t control the long pass. Direct is the order of the day for Stoke. 8:03PM 3 min De Bruyne strips the ball off Ndiaye 40 yards from goal but the Senegal midfielder sticks with him and forces him to lay it off. City try to thread a diagonal for Jesus&#39;s run into the box but Butland is on to it and gets there first. 8:02PM 1 min Jese kicks off for Stoke. Vibrant, noisy atmospheer at the Brit tonight. Delilah is fighting it out with Blue Moon. Stoke whack it up the left and immediately lose possession. City move up the right, 10 yards infield until Ndiaye tackles De Bruyne and Stoke quickly knock it over the top again but to no benefit. 7:56PM Kurt Zouma Spoke to Matt Law about facing Manchester City tonight: &quot;This was the worst defeat I’ve ever had in my career in football.“But it can happen and I forgot about it, and I don’t want to think about it. I don’t think about that game. “Man City are a top side. But our job is to make it difficult and they have to feel we want to win the game. The mistakes we made in the 7-2 we can’t make again and we have to try to win to make the fans happy and us happy as well.” 7:37PM A truncated Monday Night Football No Keith Hernandez tonight. Gary Neville flies solo. Paul Lambert is wearing his Gianluca Vialli schoolboy grey V-neck. Pep has his yellow ribbon close to his heart but beneath his jacket. Pep Guardiola watches the warm-up Credit: REUTERS/Hannah McKay Lambert says Stoke have to &#39;play ugly&#39; and &#39;run more than they&#39;ve ever run before&#39;. 7:32PM Your teams in black and white Stoke Butland; Bauer, Zouma, Martins Indi, Stafylidis; Allen, Cameron, Ndiaye; Shaqiri, Jese, Choupo-Moting. Substitutes Haugaard, Johnson, Adam, Shawcross, Fletcher, Crouch, Sobhi. Man City Ederson, Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Zinchenko, De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva, Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Sane. Substitutes Bravo, Danilo, Stones, Gundogan, Laporte, Bernardo Silva, Toure. Referee Jonathan Moss (Leeds) 7:03PM Man City XI Three changes: Vincent Kompany, Raheem Sterling and Fernandinho return for Aymeric Laporte, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan. How we line-up tonight! City XI | Ederson, Walker, Kompany (C), Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Silva, De Bruyne, Sterling, Sane, Jesus Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Stones, Gundogan, Laporte, Bernardo, Yaya Toure Presented by @HAYSWorldwide#scfcvcity#mancitypic.twitter.com/niKExUKO9R— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 12, 2018 7:02PM Stoke City team news �� One change for the Potters against @ManCity this evening as @JeseRodriguez10 replaces @MameDiouf99. STARTING XI: Butland; Bauer, Zouma, M. Indi, Stafylidis; Badou, Cameron, Allen; Shaqiri, Jese, Choupo-Moting.#SCFC ��⚪️ pic.twitter.com/E7ngnPmI9t— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) March 12, 2018 One change: Jese in for Diouf. 6:13PM Good evening Paul Lambert has certainly patched Stoke&#39;s badly leaking defence since taking over from Mark Hughes and a victory and four draws from six games is a very creditable return in theory. Yet when you look at those games more closely - a defeat by Bournemouth, draws with Watford, Southampton, Brighton and Leicester to go with that victory over Huddersfield, it is hard not to conclude that a side in deep relegation shtook really needed to do better against that calibre of opposition. They start tonight in 19th place against the league leaders, only a point off 17th but with a run of fixtures that brings them Everton at home, Arsenal away and Spurs at home after tonight&#39;s meeting with the team that whacked them 7-2 in the autumn. Avoiding a shellacking will be an improvement on the beating Hughes took from his former club but points are also a priority because three of their last five games pit them against other sides fighting for survival - West Ham, Palace and Swansea plus unenviable encounters with Burnley and Liverpool. Victory for Manchester City will extend their lead to 16 points with eight to play and allows them to keep their chance of clinching the title in the Manchester derby on course should United slip up in their next two games. Gabriel Jesus starts tonight in the absence of Sergio Agüero. There will be no 200th goal for Manchester City&#39;s great centre-forward but Stoke will be wary of coming up against Jesus again after his sensational, slippery performance back in October when he scored twice. Twenty years ago these two met in the last match of the 1997-98 season in the second tier of English professional football, known back then, confusingly, as Division One. Manchester City were 23rd on 45 points, Stoke 22nd on 46, Port Vale 21st on 46 and Portsmouth one place higher with the same number of points. &quot;Knowing City&#39;s almost comical capacity for failure, they will probably win only for Port Vale and Portsmouth to do likewise,&quot; wrote the anonymous preview writer in the Sunday Telegraph. Daily Telegraph match report confirming relegation of Stoke and Man City in 1998 Credit: THE TELEGRAPH And lo, it came to pass at the Britannia Stadium. Manchester City won 5-2 , Shaun Goater scored two, Paul Dickov, Lee &#39;Badbuy&#39; Bradbury and Kevin Horlock one each for the visitors while Peter Thorne grabbed two for Stoke. But Port Vale won 4-0 away at Huddersfield and, more gallingly still, Portsmouth, under the management of Alan Ball, who had overseen City&#39;s relegation from the Premier League when he miscalculated what they needed from their final match, beat Bradford 3-1. So, both Stoke and Man City went down with Reading. For all their toils this season, the world of Stoke City, just as much as Manchester City, has been transformed this past 20 years ... just not as radically. Back with the teams when they are announced at 7pm.
Stoke City 0 Man City 2: David Silva dazzles to put the title in reach... and they'll claim it with victory over United
The sight of Pep Guardiola marching onto the pitch after the final whistle to lecture Leroy Sane said it all: the Manchester City manager wants more. This comfortable victory, earned through two sublime David Silva goals, was not enough in a campaign in which City can break all kinds of Premier League records. And, with the Champions League draw on Friday, still achieve even greater things. City will be in Abu Dhabi when that draw takes place, as they enjoy a break before resuming their campaign against Everton at the end of this month. Win that and it means that they can claim the title in their next fixture – which just happens to be against Manchester United at home on April 7. The countdown is on. Guardiola said that City will “come back stronger” from the Middle East and it sounded like a threat as much as a promise. Just how much stronger can this dazzling City side be? Stoke are no mugs under Paul Lambert and, as they should, they fought for their lives as they desperately try and beat relegation. But they did not even register a shot on target. Interestingly, Guardiola chose to highlight the fact that this result meant City had achieved the double over Stoke for the first time since 1999-2000, and it shone a light on the fact that such records and achievements really do matter to him. Guardiola does not want to just win this league but to achieve new landmarks in doing so. Already City have earned 81 points, the first team to achieve that after 30 games, and the highest-ever points total in the Premier League - Chelsea’s 95 under Jose Mourinho in 2004-05 - is in Guardiola’s sights. City can top 100 points and, with 85 goals already, can beat the record of 103 achieved by Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea in 2009-10. A double century - 100 points; 100 goals - is possible. Stoke 0 - 1 Man City (David Silva, 10 min) This result also means that City surpassed their points total of 78 earned last season. And have done so with eight games to go. But it is not enough. It also matters to Guardiola that City do not relent once the Premier League is won and stay full-on in Europe. There was an insight into that in the way he spoke to Sane, who had wasted chances, and he also called over captain Vincent Kompany to instruct him once Stoke had brought on substitute Peter Crouch. Kompany later joked that he was pretty well aware what that would mean tactically. The goals were worthy of winning any match. They summed up the silky brilliance of City as they cut through Stoke. The first came after just 10 mintes with Fernandinho, fit again and recalled, playing the ball in to Gabriel Jesus who turned and took out three Stoke players with a pass that released Raheem Sterling down the right. Sterling looked up quickly and crossed low for the onrushing Silva who arrived between two more Stoke defenders to side-foot first time into the net. It was breathtaking, marvellous stuff. Manchester City's David Silva, who opened the scoring for the away side, takes on Stoke's Moritz Bauer Credit: PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images It also quickly set back Stoke’s plan to defend deep and try to counter aggressively, with Jese asked to take on the City centre-halves. Their best outlet was matching up Xherdan Shaqiri against Oleksandr Zinchenko and the Swiss international nutmegged the full-back before teeing up Badou Ndiaye whose shot deflected off Fernandinho’s foot and flew narrowly past the post. So would we have a contest after all? It seemed possible when Jack Butland – in front of the watching England manager Gareth Southgate, who announces his next squad on Thursday – launched a goal-kick which flew over Kompany’s head, with Jese running through. Kyle Walker recovered but toed the ball, looping it over Ederson who back-pedalled to tip it over the cross-bar. Possession: Stoke vs Man City At the other end, though, City racked up chances. After Guardiola’s accusations that his team forgot to attack following the Champions League defeat at home to Basle last week, this was a clear response with Butland turning away a low Fernandinho shot and then watching, relieved, as Sane volleyed just wide. Stoke were, rightly, cheered off at half-time. No-one could fault their effort. They had worked hard, they had bitten into tackles and tried to close down their opponents, even if there was always that sense that City were a simple shift through the gears away from extending their advantage. And they did just that. Sterling won the ball back and found Fernandinho who played it in to Silva. The midfielder’s first touch deftly picked out Jesus who lifted the ball across the area. Should Butland have come from his goal quicker? Instead he hesitated but Silva was always going to get there first and he guided the ball into the net. David Silva spins to half-volley in the second Credit: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images City poured forward. De Bruyne struck the side-netting from a tight angle when through, then Sterling tricked his way beyond Kostas Stafylidis and dumped Geoff Cameron to the turf – only for his close-range shot to be saved by Butland with his outstretched leg. There was more: a Zinchenko shot beaten away, a curling Sane effort just wide, Walker slicing wildly when clear and Butland saving from Sane. Stoke desperately needed some respite and almost achieved it when Crouch headed a free-kick back across goal for Maxim Choupo-Moting who headed it back again to Bruno Martins Indi, only for the defender to blast his volley over from four yards. So there would be no late drama except when Sterling provoked an angry response as he whisked away possession, following a drop-ball after a clash of heads, and ran through on goal only to be tackled by a furious Ndiaye. It led to some pushing and shoving. It was the only aggravation this imperious City side faced all evening. 9:55PM Full time Manchester City restore their lead to 16 points with a masterly, indeed masterful, victory over 19th-placed Stoke who are not unique in being comprehensively outclassed. David Silva was brilliant, Raheem Sterling also played very well. 9:53PM 90+5 min Keepball from City for 90 seconds until Bauer picks off a pass from David Silva. They work it up the right and Bauer spears in a deep cross that bypasses Crouch. The ref has seen enough and emits three peeps from his Acme Thunderer. 9:51PM 90+4 min City corner on the right. The Silvas twain and De Bruyne knock it about and go all the way back to Ederson who starts a foray up the left with Zinchenko who then move sit back to safety in midfield. 9:49PM 90+2 min We'll have five minutes added because of Otamendi's cut. Stafylidis lets fly from 30 yards and cracks his shot into Otamendi. 9:48PM 90 min City sub: Ilkay Gundogan on, Gabriel Jesus off. David Silva is named man of the match. 9:47PM 88 min Stoke sub: Ramadan Sobhi on for Geoff Cameron. Seems a little pointless and cruel. You've had naff all football under Lambert then he chucks you on for 90 seconds of a game you've long lost? Must be tempting to tell him to get stuffed. 9:44PM 86 min Stoke corner on the right, curled by Shaqiri straight down Ederson's throat. He sparks a rapid City break from which they're caught offside, back come Stoke and Komany makes the only telling tackle that has been required of him all night. 9:42PM 84 min City sub: Sterling, who has played very well, departs to a chorus of disapproval. Bernardo Silva takes his place. 9:41PM 82 min Don't know how Sterling missed that, or what Jon Moss said to City at the drop ball. But even City's fans went a but quiet after it. 9:39PM 79 min Jonathan Moss restarts the game with a drop ball 40 yards out. City contest it, Stoke don't because they think they were going to have possession. Sterling hares off towards goal with Ndiaye chasing him looking intent on whacking him with more than an etiquette guide. Sterling, with Jesus in support, drops his shoulder and veers to the right to try to round Butland which gives Ndiaye the opening to whip the ball behind for a corner. All hell then breaks loose about City's alleged chicanery. 9:35PM 78 min Otamendi is back on his feet having wrapped his head in Elastoplast. 9:35PM 76 min Sane stings Butland's palms with a flayed shot then there's quite a stoppage when Otamendi collides with Stafylidis as they fought for De Bruyne's cross. The latter is OK having caught his opponent with his brow, Otamendi is still down with a gash on his scalp. 9:32PM 74 min Joe Allen bundles over Jesus in the centre-circle and the ref waves play on. De Bruyne threads a pass down the right for Sterling's run into the box and he decides to take the shot on from an angle of about 45 degrees and shanks it almost perpendicular. The ref then goes back and books Allen. 9:30PM 72 min Sterling dribbles through the box on the right, shimmies his hips and sells Stafylidis a dummy that causes him to slide in, miss the ball and catch it with his arm as he slid past. Sterling didn't stop and carried on until his pass towards the spot was blocked. 9:29PM 71 min Otamendi outmuscles Crouch to win the ball and sets off on a gambol upfield to start an attack down the left. Stoke see it out. 9:27PM 68 min Stafylidis hits a long diagonal up for Crouch who wins the aerial battle but was offside. At last they have a focal point for their strategy. 9:26PM 67 min Man City fans are now singing their Yaya Delilah song. Talk about cultural appropriation. 9:24PM 64 min Bauer takes an inswinger, whipping it a foot or so beyond the far post. Crouch wins it comfortably and squares it back across the box. Choupo-Moting wins the second header and diverts it back across goal to Martins Indi who wellies his right-foot volley from six yards over the bar. Miss: Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (Bruno Martins Indi, 64 min) 9:21PM 62 min Good pass from Shaqiri frees Jese down the left. He doubles back on Otamendi who hacks him down. The ref plays the advantage then brings it back. That's Jese's last touch. Off he goes to be replaced for the free-kick he won by Peter Crouch. David Silva scores his and City's second Credit: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images 9:18PM 59 min From the corner Sterling shifts it to Sane who takes a touch to make some space for the shot then cuts his foot across it and sends it swerving in towards goal then away again then in again. Butland does well to save it. Miss: Stoke 0 - 2 Man City (Leroy Sané, 59 min) 9:16PM 58 min Sterling attempts to Ricky Villa his way through the box on the right, twists Stafylidis' blood, but can only find Butland's shins with his shot. 9:15PM 56 min Fernandinho makes a lung-bursting 60-yard run, feeds De Bruyne down the left then continues his charge into the box to take the return after his team-mate's lovely pass cut out Bruno Martins Indi. He was a little too wide to squeeze his post in at the near post but tried anyway, stabbing it into the side-netting. 9:12PM 53 min What happened here 20 years ago gave birth to the 'We're not really here' era and Man City's fans give it a good airing now, followed by their C-bomb Mourinho song. Wildean it ain't. 9:10PM 52 min Gorgeous fi