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Gianluca Vialli: 'Crowdfunding in football clubs will be the norm in 10 years' time'

“Football has been everything to me,” Gianluca Vialli says. “I bought my first house, my first car, because of football. More importantly I had sex for the first time because of football - otherwise I would still be a virgin!” Borrowing Peter Crouch’s famous, self-deprecating line – when asked what he would have been if he were not a footballer the Stoke City striker once replied “a virgin” – is some sales pitch from Vialli. “There are so many ex-footballers in the football industry but I think it’s important to find something meaningful, innovative, that can make a difference,” he explains. “I felt this was an opportunity to get involved in something that in 10 years time will be the norm.” “This” is a venture that aims to tap into the growing desire of sport – and football, in particular – to use alternative ways to improve their finances by turning to their fans. The former Chelsea striker and manager is one of the founders of Tifosy, an equity crowd-funding organisation – or “fan-funding” as Vialli calls it - that allows people to invest in sports clubs. The obvious danger in an interview like this, as we meet for a coffee near Vialli’s home in west London, is that it may sound like a free advert or simply a plug. And football and finance do not always make a good mix. Vialli has had an interesting time since his playing career ended Credit: Action images But Tifosy already have a number of projects to be proud of and to press their case and, interestingly, one of the key aims is to call for more “transparency” from those who own football clubs while also trying to bridge the disconnect that has undoubtedly developed between them and the fans. It is a hot topic. So what, so far, has Tifosy done? Here are a few interesting examples: In the summer of 2014 Portsmouth supporters raised £270,000 to pay for pitches to give the club’s academy a permanent base. Almost 5,500 people contributed in a three-month campaign and those pitches were officially unveiled last August. In Parma, Italy, €170,000 was raised to create the ‘Crociato’ Museum to house the club’s trophies and memorabilia after it went bust. The museum officially opened on Jan 13 this year, the day of the feast of St Hilary, the patron saint of Parma. It has helped kick-start the re-birth of the club. Also in Italy, Serie A and Serie B launched an appeal to help construct a football pitch and clubhouse for refugees on the island of Lampedusa, which is just 70 miles from the North African coast. The target is €100,000 and so far they are just over half way there. Back in England Stevenage raised £600,000 in just six weeks to build the League Two club a new North Stand. More than 200 fans invested between £500 and £25,000 through the first ever mini-bond in English football. Vialli is an interesting character to head up Tifosy, which he established with Fausto Zanetton, a former investment banker with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. The 53-year-old Italian won Serie A titles with Sampdoria and Juventus – with whom he also won the Champions League - before first playing for and then managing Chelsea in the pre-Roman Abramovich era. During his period in charge at Stamford Bridge Vialli won five trophies in three years, at that time making him the club’s most successful manager, but it ended unhappily and was followed by a brief spell at Watford. Portsmouth needed new training facilities and Tifosy helped out Credit: Getty images Since then Vialli has been more a pundit, working for Sky Italia, but his background is different from the average footballer. The son of a wealthy industrialist he grew up in a 60-room, 15th century castle in Lombardy and had to overcome his ‘rich kid’ background from the moment he joined his first club, Cremonese, to eventually earn 59 caps for Italy. That background may, partly, explain how comfortable he feels in the world of finance but he protests that his involvement is not about making money. “It’s about helping football clubs to raise money in order to become a bit more sustainable and financially sound,” Vialli explains. “But, at the same time, to build better relationships between football clubs and fans. “It is a platform to allow fans to invest in meaningful projects for their own football clubs. It is about football clubs doing something with the fans to make the club more solid, more sustainable and also generate a financial return for the fans. Football clubs have got to be sustainable companies and if you involve the fans then you have a duty to be a bit more transparent and to think a bit harder about any decision you make.” Portsmouth, he says, is a good example. Vialli was once Chelsea's most successful manager Credit: Jeff Gilbert “The club needed some training facilities for the academy which was training miles away,” Vialli explains. “For the club, which was owned by the fans at the time, it was perfect: I want to see a guy in a few years time, a local guy, trained at the academy, which would not have happened if the money was not raised.” Tifosy does take a cut of between five to seven per cent from the sum raised from an investment campaign and while equity crowd-funding schemes have been criticised in recent years, with the argument that they can target unwitting investors who are making an emotional decision, Vialli says they have turned down a number of ideas and are highly selective. “We started of with a rewards campaign – you donate and in return you get a reward like a shirt or a name on a plaque. But now we have the possibility to invest in mini-bonds, like at Stevenage,” Vialli says. “But this is not just a way to raise money, and obviously in the Premier League this is not so much a need because there is so much money, but if you want to raise money for a meaningful project and you want to involve the fans then why not? It can be match-funding: the club puts £1 in for every £1 the fans put in. Why should I not want to invest in a club that I love, even if it’s a rich club, if I am also going to get four per cent interest? If it is a rich club then maybe even better because my money is safer. I am not saying football clubs should turn into banks but they should do something together for the fans.”

Gianluca Vialli: 'Crowdfunding in football clubs will be the norm in 10 years' time'

“Football has been everything to me,” Gianluca Vialli says. “I bought my first house, my first car, because of football. More importantly I had sex for the first time because of football - otherwise I would still be a virgin!” Borrowing Peter Crouch’s famous, self-deprecating line – when asked what he would have been if he were not a footballer the Stoke City striker once replied “a virgin” – is some sales pitch from Vialli. “There are so many ex-footballers in the football industry but I think it’s important to find something meaningful, innovative, that can make a difference,” he explains. “I felt this was an opportunity to get involved in something that in 10 years time will be the norm.” “This” is a venture that aims to tap into the growing desire of sport – and football, in particular – to use alternative ways to improve their finances by turning to their fans. The former Chelsea striker and manager is one of the founders of Tifosy, an equity crowd-funding organisation – or “fan-funding” as Vialli calls it - that allows people to invest in sports clubs. The obvious danger in an interview like this, as we meet for a coffee near Vialli’s home in west London, is that it may sound like a free advert or simply a plug. And football and finance do not always make a good mix. Vialli has had an interesting time since his playing career ended Credit: Action images But Tifosy already have a number of projects to be proud of and to press their case and, interestingly, one of the key aims is to call for more “transparency” from those who own football clubs while also trying to bridge the disconnect that has undoubtedly developed between them and the fans. It is a hot topic. So what, so far, has Tifosy done? Here are a few interesting examples: In the summer of 2014 Portsmouth supporters raised £270,000 to pay for pitches to give the club’s academy a permanent base. Almost 5,500 people contributed in a three-month campaign and those pitches were officially unveiled last August. In Parma, Italy, €170,000 was raised to create the ‘Crociato’ Museum to house the club’s trophies and memorabilia after it went bust. The museum officially opened on Jan 13 this year, the day of the feast of St Hilary, the patron saint of Parma. It has helped kick-start the re-birth of the club. Also in Italy, Serie A and Serie B launched an appeal to help construct a football pitch and clubhouse for refugees on the island of Lampedusa, which is just 70 miles from the North African coast. The target is €100,000 and so far they are just over half way there. Back in England Stevenage raised £600,000 in just six weeks to build the League Two club a new North Stand. More than 200 fans invested between £500 and £25,000 through the first ever mini-bond in English football. Vialli is an interesting character to head up Tifosy, which he established with Fausto Zanetton, a former investment banker with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. The 53-year-old Italian won Serie A titles with Sampdoria and Juventus – with whom he also won the Champions League - before first playing for and then managing Chelsea in the pre-Roman Abramovich era. During his period in charge at Stamford Bridge Vialli won five trophies in three years, at that time making him the club’s most successful manager, but it ended unhappily and was followed by a brief spell at Watford. Portsmouth needed new training facilities and Tifosy helped out Credit: Getty images Since then Vialli has been more a pundit, working for Sky Italia, but his background is different from the average footballer. The son of a wealthy industrialist he grew up in a 60-room, 15th century castle in Lombardy and had to overcome his ‘rich kid’ background from the moment he joined his first club, Cremonese, to eventually earn 59 caps for Italy. That background may, partly, explain how comfortable he feels in the world of finance but he protests that his involvement is not about making money. “It’s about helping football clubs to raise money in order to become a bit more sustainable and financially sound,” Vialli explains. “But, at the same time, to build better relationships between football clubs and fans. “It is a platform to allow fans to invest in meaningful projects for their own football clubs. It is about football clubs doing something with the fans to make the club more solid, more sustainable and also generate a financial return for the fans. Football clubs have got to be sustainable companies and if you involve the fans then you have a duty to be a bit more transparent and to think a bit harder about any decision you make.” Portsmouth, he says, is a good example. Vialli was once Chelsea's most successful manager Credit: Jeff Gilbert “The club needed some training facilities for the academy which was training miles away,” Vialli explains. “For the club, which was owned by the fans at the time, it was perfect: I want to see a guy in a few years time, a local guy, trained at the academy, which would not have happened if the money was not raised.” Tifosy does take a cut of between five to seven per cent from the sum raised from an investment campaign and while equity crowd-funding schemes have been criticised in recent years, with the argument that they can target unwitting investors who are making an emotional decision, Vialli says they have turned down a number of ideas and are highly selective. “We started of with a rewards campaign – you donate and in return you get a reward like a shirt or a name on a plaque. But now we have the possibility to invest in mini-bonds, like at Stevenage,” Vialli says. “But this is not just a way to raise money, and obviously in the Premier League this is not so much a need because there is so much money, but if you want to raise money for a meaningful project and you want to involve the fans then why not? It can be match-funding: the club puts £1 in for every £1 the fans put in. Why should I not want to invest in a club that I love, even if it’s a rich club, if I am also going to get four per cent interest? If it is a rich club then maybe even better because my money is safer. I am not saying football clubs should turn into banks but they should do something together for the fans.”

Gianluca Vialli: 'Crowdfunding in football clubs will be the norm in 10 years' time'

“Football has been everything to me,” Gianluca Vialli says. “I bought my first house, my first car, because of football. More importantly I had sex for the first time because of football - otherwise I would still be a virgin!” Borrowing Peter Crouch’s famous, self-deprecating line – when asked what he would have been if he were not a footballer the Stoke City striker once replied “a virgin” – is some sales pitch from Vialli. “There are so many ex-footballers in the football industry but I think it’s important to find something meaningful, innovative, that can make a difference,” he explains. “I felt this was an opportunity to get involved in something that in 10 years time will be the norm.” “This” is a venture that aims to tap into the growing desire of sport – and football, in particular – to use alternative ways to improve their finances by turning to their fans. The former Chelsea striker and manager is one of the founders of Tifosy, an equity crowd-funding organisation – or “fan-funding” as Vialli calls it - that allows people to invest in sports clubs. The obvious danger in an interview like this, as we meet for a coffee near Vialli’s home in west London, is that it may sound like a free advert or simply a plug. And football and finance do not always make a good mix. Vialli has had an interesting time since his playing career ended Credit: Action images But Tifosy already have a number of projects to be proud of and to press their case and, interestingly, one of the key aims is to call for more “transparency” from those who own football clubs while also trying to bridge the disconnect that has undoubtedly developed between them and the fans. It is a hot topic. So what, so far, has Tifosy done? Here are a few interesting examples: In the summer of 2014 Portsmouth supporters raised £270,000 to pay for pitches to give the club’s academy a permanent base. Almost 5,500 people contributed in a three-month campaign and those pitches were officially unveiled last August. In Parma, Italy, €170,000 was raised to create the ‘Crociato’ Museum to house the club’s trophies and memorabilia after it went bust. The museum officially opened on Jan 13 this year, the day of the feast of St Hilary, the patron saint of Parma. It has helped kick-start the re-birth of the club. Also in Italy, Serie A and Serie B launched an appeal to help construct a football pitch and clubhouse for refugees on the island of Lampedusa, which is just 70 miles from the North African coast. The target is €100,000 and so far they are just over half way there. Back in England Stevenage raised £600,000 in just six weeks to build the League Two club a new North Stand. More than 200 fans invested between £500 and £25,000 through the first ever mini-bond in English football. Vialli is an interesting character to head up Tifosy, which he established with Fausto Zanetton, a former investment banker with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. The 53-year-old Italian won Serie A titles with Sampdoria and Juventus – with whom he also won the Champions League - before first playing for and then managing Chelsea in the pre-Roman Abramovich era. During his period in charge at Stamford Bridge Vialli won five trophies in three years, at that time making him the club’s most successful manager, but it ended unhappily and was followed by a brief spell at Watford. Portsmouth needed new training facilities and Tifosy helped out Credit: Getty images Since then Vialli has been more a pundit, working for Sky Italia, but his background is different from the average footballer. The son of a wealthy industrialist he grew up in a 60-room, 15th century castle in Lombardy and had to overcome his ‘rich kid’ background from the moment he joined his first club, Cremonese, to eventually earn 59 caps for Italy. That background may, partly, explain how comfortable he feels in the world of finance but he protests that his involvement is not about making money. “It’s about helping football clubs to raise money in order to become a bit more sustainable and financially sound,” Vialli explains. “But, at the same time, to build better relationships between football clubs and fans. “It is a platform to allow fans to invest in meaningful projects for their own football clubs. It is about football clubs doing something with the fans to make the club more solid, more sustainable and also generate a financial return for the fans. Football clubs have got to be sustainable companies and if you involve the fans then you have a duty to be a bit more transparent and to think a bit harder about any decision you make.” Portsmouth, he says, is a good example. Vialli was once Chelsea's most successful manager Credit: Jeff Gilbert “The club needed some training facilities for the academy which was training miles away,” Vialli explains. “For the club, which was owned by the fans at the time, it was perfect: I want to see a guy in a few years time, a local guy, trained at the academy, which would not have happened if the money was not raised.” Tifosy does take a cut of between five to seven per cent from the sum raised from an investment campaign and while equity crowd-funding schemes have been criticised in recent years, with the argument that they can target unwitting investors who are making an emotional decision, Vialli says they have turned down a number of ideas and are highly selective. “We started of with a rewards campaign – you donate and in return you get a reward like a shirt or a name on a plaque. But now we have the possibility to invest in mini-bonds, like at Stevenage,” Vialli says. “But this is not just a way to raise money, and obviously in the Premier League this is not so much a need because there is so much money, but if you want to raise money for a meaningful project and you want to involve the fans then why not? It can be match-funding: the club puts £1 in for every £1 the fans put in. Why should I not want to invest in a club that I love, even if it’s a rich club, if I am also going to get four per cent interest? If it is a rich club then maybe even better because my money is safer. I am not saying football clubs should turn into banks but they should do something together for the fans.”

Gianluca Vialli: 'Crowdfunding in football clubs will be the norm in 10 years' time'

“Football has been everything to me,” Gianluca Vialli says. “I bought my first house, my first car, because of football. More importantly I had sex for the first time because of football - otherwise I would still be a virgin!” Borrowing Peter Crouch’s famous, self-deprecating line – when asked what he would have been if he were not a footballer the Stoke City striker once replied “a virgin” – is some sales pitch from Vialli. “There are so many ex-footballers in the football industry but I think it’s important to find something meaningful, innovative, that can make a difference,” he explains. “I felt this was an opportunity to get involved in something that in 10 years time will be the norm.” “This” is a venture that aims to tap into the growing desire of sport – and football, in particular – to use alternative ways to improve their finances by turning to their fans. The former Chelsea striker and manager is one of the founders of Tifosy, an equity crowd-funding organisation – or “fan-funding” as Vialli calls it - that allows people to invest in sports clubs. The obvious danger in an interview like this, as we meet for a coffee near Vialli’s home in west London, is that it may sound like a free advert or simply a plug. And football and finance do not always make a good mix. Vialli has had an interesting time since his playing career ended Credit: Action images But Tifosy already have a number of projects to be proud of and to press their case and, interestingly, one of the key aims is to call for more “transparency” from those who own football clubs while also trying to bridge the disconnect that has undoubtedly developed between them and the fans. It is a hot topic. So what, so far, has Tifosy done? Here are a few interesting examples: In the summer of 2014 Portsmouth supporters raised £270,000 to pay for pitches to give the club’s academy a permanent base. Almost 5,500 people contributed in a three-month campaign and those pitches were officially unveiled last August. In Parma, Italy, €170,000 was raised to create the ‘Crociato’ Museum to house the club’s trophies and memorabilia after it went bust. The museum officially opened on Jan 13 this year, the day of the feast of St Hilary, the patron saint of Parma. It has helped kick-start the re-birth of the club. Also in Italy, Serie A and Serie B launched an appeal to help construct a football pitch and clubhouse for refugees on the island of Lampedusa, which is just 70 miles from the North African coast. The target is €100,000 and so far they are just over half way there. Back in England Stevenage raised £600,000 in just six weeks to build the League Two club a new North Stand. More than 200 fans invested between £500 and £25,000 through the first ever mini-bond in English football. Vialli is an interesting character to head up Tifosy, which he established with Fausto Zanetton, a former investment banker with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. The 53-year-old Italian won Serie A titles with Sampdoria and Juventus – with whom he also won the Champions League - before first playing for and then managing Chelsea in the pre-Roman Abramovich era. During his period in charge at Stamford Bridge Vialli won five trophies in three years, at that time making him the club’s most successful manager, but it ended unhappily and was followed by a brief spell at Watford. Portsmouth needed new training facilities and Tifosy helped out Credit: Getty images Since then Vialli has been more a pundit, working for Sky Italia, but his background is different from the average footballer. The son of a wealthy industrialist he grew up in a 60-room, 15th century castle in Lombardy and had to overcome his ‘rich kid’ background from the moment he joined his first club, Cremonese, to eventually earn 59 caps for Italy. That background may, partly, explain how comfortable he feels in the world of finance but he protests that his involvement is not about making money. “It’s about helping football clubs to raise money in order to become a bit more sustainable and financially sound,” Vialli explains. “But, at the same time, to build better relationships between football clubs and fans. “It is a platform to allow fans to invest in meaningful projects for their own football clubs. It is about football clubs doing something with the fans to make the club more solid, more sustainable and also generate a financial return for the fans. Football clubs have got to be sustainable companies and if you involve the fans then you have a duty to be a bit more transparent and to think a bit harder about any decision you make.” Portsmouth, he says, is a good example. Vialli was once Chelsea's most successful manager Credit: Jeff Gilbert “The club needed some training facilities for the academy which was training miles away,” Vialli explains. “For the club, which was owned by the fans at the time, it was perfect: I want to see a guy in a few years time, a local guy, trained at the academy, which would not have happened if the money was not raised.” Tifosy does take a cut of between five to seven per cent from the sum raised from an investment campaign and while equity crowd-funding schemes have been criticised in recent years, with the argument that they can target unwitting investors who are making an emotional decision, Vialli says they have turned down a number of ideas and are highly selective. “We started of with a rewards campaign – you donate and in return you get a reward like a shirt or a name on a plaque. But now we have the possibility to invest in mini-bonds, like at Stevenage,” Vialli says. “But this is not just a way to raise money, and obviously in the Premier League this is not so much a need because there is so much money, but if you want to raise money for a meaningful project and you want to involve the fans then why not? It can be match-funding: the club puts £1 in for every £1 the fans put in. Why should I not want to invest in a club that I love, even if it’s a rich club, if I am also going to get four per cent interest? If it is a rich club then maybe even better because my money is safer. I am not saying football clubs should turn into banks but they should do something together for the fans.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

English Football League investigates after fans made to show bras to stewards

The events are alleged to have taken place at Saturday’s League Two game between Stevenage and Grimsby Town.

Female football fans 'forced to show their bras' to get into match at Stevenage FC

A complaint that female fans were forced to show their bras to stewards before Stevenage’s match against Grimsby Town was under investigation on Monday. Both Stevenage and the EFL were examining allegations away supporters were ordered to lift their tops while queuing to get into Saturday’s League Two fixtures between the clubs. An open letter sent to Stevenage by Grimsby Town fans group the Mariners Trust also accused stewards of asking to feel the underwiring of any bras during the “gross invasion of privacy”. It read: “Several female supporters were asked to lift their tops up to show their bras to female stewards upon entry to the Lamex Stadium. This decision – in the queue in front of other supporters, including men and male stewards – is a gross invasion of privacy. “Female supporters have also since contacted us to state they were asked by female stewards if they could feel their bras if they confirmed that they were underwired. The supporters were made to feel uncomfortable and when they replied they would ‘rather not’ they were ‘reluctantly’ let into the ground. “This act would effectively constitute a sexual assault and these types of searches are unlawful. If deemed necessary, although we cannot see how feeling an underwire in a bra could be deemed so unless acting on previous intelligence, then any fans in question should have been taken to a private area of the ground to be searched by a female steward rather than being searched in full view of male stewards, fans and police. “We are not aware at this stage that any previous intelligence contributed to these types of searches being implemented against female supporters.” The letter also claimed full body searches were carried out on children as young as five, with stewards branded “antagonistic”. Stevenage responded by announcing they had launched an internal investigation, while the EFL said it was looking into the matter as well.

Female football fans 'forced to show their bras' to get into match at Stevenage FC

Female football fans 'forced to show their bras' to get into match at Stevenage FC

Female away fans 'forced to show their bras' to get into match at Stevenage

A complaint that female fans were forced to show their bras to stewards before Stevenage’s match against Grimsby Town was under investigation on Monday. Both Stevenage and the EFL were examining allegations away supporters were ordered to lift their tops while queuing to get into Saturday’s League Two fixtures between the clubs. An open letter sent to Stevenage by Grimsby Town fans group the Mariners Trust also accused stewards of asking to feel the underwiring of any bras during the “gross invasion of privacy”. It read: “Several female supporters were asked to lift their tops up to show their bras to female stewards upon entry to the Lamex Stadium. This decision – in the queue in front of other supporters, including men and male stewards – is a gross invasion of privacy. “Female supporters have also since contacted us to state they were asked by female stewards if they could feel their bras if they confirmed that they were underwired. The supporters were made to feel uncomfortable and when they replied they would ‘rather not’ they were ‘reluctantly’ let into the ground. “This act would effectively constitute a sexual assault and these types of searches are unlawful. If deemed necessary, although we cannot see how feeling an underwire in a bra could be deemed so unless acting on previous intelligence, then any fans in question should have been taken to a private area of the ground to be searched by a female steward rather than being searched in full view of male stewards, fans and police. “We are not aware at this stage that any previous intelligence contributed to these types of searches being implemented against female supporters.” The letter also claimed full body searches were carried out on children as young as five, with stewards branded “antagonistic”. Stevenage responded by announcing they had launched an internal investigation, while the EFL said it was looking into the matter as well.

Female away fans 'forced to show their bras' to get into match at Stevenage

Female away fans 'forced to show their bras' to get into match at Stevenage

Female fans 'forced to show their bras' to get into match at Stevenage

Female fans 'forced to show their bras' to get into match at Stevenage

Female fans 'forced to show their bras' to get into match at Stevenage

A complaint that female fans were forced to show their bras to stewards before Stevenage’s match against Grimsby Town was under investigation on Monday. Both Stevenage and the EFL were examining allegations away supporters were ordered to lift their tops while queuing to get into Saturday’s League Two fixtures between the clubs. An open letter sent to Stevenage by Grimsby fans group the Mariners Trust also accused stewards of asking to feel the underwiring of any bras during the “gross invasion of privacy”. It read: “Several female supporters were asked to lift their tops up to show their bras to female stewards upon entry to the Lamex Stadium. This decision – in the queue in front of other supporters, including men and male stewards – is a gross invasion of privacy. “Female supporters have also since contacted us to state they were asked by female stewards if they could feel their bras if they confirmed that they were underwired. The supporters were made to feel uncomfortable and when they replied they would ‘rather not’ they were ‘reluctantly’ let into the ground. “This act would effectively constitute a sexual assault and these types of searches are unlawful. If deemed necessary, although we cannot see how feeling an underwire in a bra could be deemed so unless acting on previous intelligence, then any fans in question should have been taken to a private area of the ground to be searched by a female steward rather than being searched in full view of male stewards, fans and police. “We are not aware at this stage that any previous intelligence contributed to these types of searches being implemented against female supporters.” The letter also claimed full body searches were carried out on children as young as five, with stewards branded “antagonistic”. Stevenage responded by announcing they had launched an internal investigation, while the EFL said it was looking into the matter as well.

EFL investigating Stevenage after stewards asked female fans to 'feel their bras' during security checks

EFL investigating Stevenage after stewards asked female fans to 'feel their bras' during security checks

EFL investigating Stevenage after stewards asked female fans to 'feel their bras' during security checks

EFL investigating Stevenage after stewards asked female fans to 'feel their bras' during security checks

EFL investigating Stevenage after stewards asked female fans to 'feel their bras' during security checks

EFL investigating Stevenage after stewards asked female fans to 'feel their bras' during security checks

Steve Bruce hints Aston Villa's teenage sensation Keinan Davis could be undroppable 

Two players produced memorable firsts to drag Aston Villa off the bottom of the Championship and inspire their first league win of the season. For midfielder Conor Hourihane, it was a first hat-trick of his career, while manager Steve Bruce was sufficiently impressed with 19-year-old striker Keinan Davis on his full debut to say he could become a claret-and-blue legend. Bruce believes Hourihane is finally capable of coping with the expectations of playing for the club after struggling following his £2 m move from Barnsley in January. Davis, signed from non-league Biggleswade Town in 2016 after being released by Stevenage, battered Norwich, with a hand in two goals, a shot against the bar and twice denied in a display that had Villa Park affording him a standing ovation when he was replaced near the end. “It’s as good a debut as I can remember. Wow. He was terrific,” said Bruce. “He gave two German centre-backs a roasting.  “Aston Villa have always had great number nines. They adore a big striker who plays like an old-fashioned centre-forward, whether you look at Christian Benteke, Peter Withe or Andy Gray. How can I leave him out? I don’t think I can.”  Steve Bruce has fended off plenty of criticism this season Credit: Getty Images Davis crossed for Hourihane to open the floodgates before winning it back for Andre Green to curl past Aaron Gunn. Josh Murphy replied but Hourihane restored Villa’s two-goal cushion. Nelson Oliveira made it 3-2, before Hourihane became the first Villan to complete his treble since Benteke in April 2015. Bruce was delighted with Hourihane, saying: “He’s found it difficult but Saturday will have done him the world of good, that he can deliver on the big stage.”  Hourihane has targeted double figures after four goals in a week.  “I aim for double figures. I’ve got four now so that’s a good start.” Norwich’s Murphy, however, admitted it was “too easy for Villa”. Pick your free Telegraph Fantasy Football team now and start scoring from the next kick-off >>

Steve Bruce hints Aston Villa's teenage sensation Keinan Davis could be undroppable 

Two players produced memorable firsts to drag Aston Villa off the bottom of the Championship and inspire their first league win of the season. For midfielder Conor Hourihane, it was a first hat-trick of his career, while manager Steve Bruce was sufficiently impressed with 19-year-old striker Keinan Davis on his full debut to say he could become a claret-and-blue legend. Bruce believes Hourihane is finally capable of coping with the expectations of playing for the club after struggling following his £2 m move from Barnsley in January. Davis, signed from non-league Biggleswade Town in 2016 after being released by Stevenage, battered Norwich, with a hand in two goals, a shot against the bar and twice denied in a display that had Villa Park affording him a standing ovation when he was replaced near the end. “It’s as good a debut as I can remember. Wow. He was terrific,” said Bruce. “He gave two German centre-backs a roasting.  “Aston Villa have always had great number nines. They adore a big striker who plays like an old-fashioned centre-forward, whether you look at Christian Benteke, Peter Withe or Andy Gray. How can I leave him out? I don’t think I can.”  Steve Bruce has fended off plenty of criticism this season Credit: Getty Images Davis crossed for Hourihane to open the floodgates before winning it back for Andre Green to curl past Aaron Gunn. Josh Murphy replied but Hourihane restored Villa’s two-goal cushion. Nelson Oliveira made it 3-2, before Hourihane became the first Villan to complete his treble since Benteke in April 2015. Bruce was delighted with Hourihane, saying: “He’s found it difficult but Saturday will have done him the world of good, that he can deliver on the big stage.”  Hourihane has targeted double figures after four goals in a week.  “I aim for double figures. I’ve got four now so that’s a good start.” Norwich’s Murphy, however, admitted it was “too easy for Villa”. Pick your free Telegraph Fantasy Football team now and start scoring from the next kick-off >>

Charlton consider bid for £1.5m Stevenage striker Matt Godden

Charlton consider bid for £1.5m Stevenage striker Matt Godden

Former England Star Teddy Sheringham Appointed Head Coach of Indian Super League Side

​Former Tottenham and Manchester United striker Teddy Sheringham has been officially unveiled as the new manager of Indian Super League side Atletico de Kolkata, the club have confirmed via their Twitter account.  51-year-old Sheringham previously managed League Two side Stevenage in the 2015/16 season, and has now replaced Spaniard Jose Francisco Molina who led the Indian side to their second title in three years - in his one and only year at the club.   We give you our head coach for the 4th...

Former England Star Teddy Sheringham Appointed Head Coach of Indian Super League Side

​Former Tottenham and Manchester United striker Teddy Sheringham has been officially unveiled as the new manager of Indian Super League side Atletico de Kolkata, the club have confirmed via their Twitter account.  51-year-old Sheringham previously managed League Two side Stevenage in the 2015/16 season, and has now replaced Spaniard Jose Francisco Molina who led the Indian side to their second title in three years - in his one and only year at the club.   We give you our head coach for the 4th...

Former England Star Teddy Sheringham Appointed Head Coach of Indian Super League Side

​Former Tottenham and Manchester United striker Teddy Sheringham has been officially unveiled as the new manager of Indian Super League side Atletico de Kolkata, the club have confirmed via their Twitter account.  51-year-old Sheringham previously managed League Two side Stevenage in the 2015/16 season, and has now replaced Spaniard Jose Francisco Molina who led the Indian side to their second title in three years - in his one and only year at the club.   We give you our head coach for the 4th...

Stevenage v Tottenham Hotspur XI - Pre Season Friendly

Teddy Sheringham. Stevenage v Tottenham Hotspur XI - Pre Season Friendly - Lamex Stadium - 1/8/15. Action Images / Paul Redding

Stevenage v Tottenham Hotspur XI - Pre Season Friendly

Football - Stevenage v Tottenham Hotspur XI - Pre Season Friendly - Lamex Stadium - 1/8/15 Stevenage Manager Teddy Sheringham Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Paul Redding Livepic

The new Vardy? Stevenage sign factory worker from Leicester player’s academy

Jamie Vardy launched his V9 academy with the aim of helping non-league players into the professional game.

The new Vardy? Stevenage sign factory worker from Leicester player’s academy

The new Vardy? Stevenage sign factory worker from Leicester player’s academy

Stevenage v Tottenham Hotspur XI - Pre Season Friendly

FILE PHOTO - Football - Stevenage v Tottenham Hotspur XI - Pre Season Friendly - Lamex Stadium - 1/8/15 Tottenham Hotspur U21 Manager Ugo Ehiogu Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Paul Redding

Tottenham Hotspur U21 Manager Ugo Ehiogu

FILE PHOTO - Britain Football Soccer - Stevenage v Tottenham Hotspur XI - Pre Season Friendly - Lamex Stadium - 1/8/15 Tottenham Hotspur U21 Manager Ugo Ehiogu Action Images via Reuters / Paul Redding Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

Stevenage v Tottenham Hotspur XI - Pre Season Friendly

FILE PHOTO: Football - Stevenage v Tottenham Hotspur XI - Pre Season Friendly - Lamex Stadium - 1/8/15 Tottenham Hotspur U21 Manager Ugo Ehiogu Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Paul Redding Livepic/Files

Stevenage v Tottenham Hotspur XI - Pre Season Friendly

Football - Stevenage v Tottenham Hotspur XI - Pre Season Friendly - Lamex Stadium - 1/8/15 Tottenham Hotspur U21 Manager Ugo Ehiogu Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Paul Redding Livepic

Tottenham keeping tabs on Stevenage defender Ryan Johnson after successful stint at Hostpur Way

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