Apr 282016
Milan Mandaric (right) sold Leicester City to Thai businessman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha (left)

Leicester City’s success in the Premier League will be sustained, according to former owner Milan Mandaric.

The Foxes will win the title for the first time in their 132-year history if they beat Manchester United on Sunday.

Mandaric, 77, sold the then Championship club to Thai businessman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in 2010.

“Knowing those people, they will go as high as possible – they’re very ambitious people. They’re not going to give up,” he told BBC Radio Leicester.

“It’s now in their blood. It’s not just the money any more – you’re part of something you never dreamed of.

“It’s just incredible feelings, that’s what gives you rewards, not the money. He’s got enough money for after Leicester, so I don’t think those people will sell very soon.”

Mandaric (right) celebrating the League One title with former Leicester boss Nigel Pearson in 2009

Under Mandaric’s ownership, the Foxes were relegated to League One in 2008, but returned to the second tier with Nigel Pearson as manager the following season.

The Serbian-American, who previously owned Portsmouth and Sheffield Wednesday, is chairman of Slovenian side Olimpija Ljubljana.

“I don’t think Leicester will be one of those one-offs – I think they’ll continue and see what’s possible,” he added. “They’re not going to let go.

“We get Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal – they are big clubs, powerful clubs, but mighty Leicester ignored all that.

“Everything I did there, I did with enthusiasm and whatever I did, I couldn’t have done for better people than Leicester City.”

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Watford to discuss Flores future

 Posted by at 5:06 AM
Apr 282016
Watford lost 2-1 to Palace in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley

Watford say they will discuss the future of manager Quique Sanchez Flores at the end of the season.

The Spaniard, 51, was appointed in June of last year following the club’s promotion from the Championship.

The Hornets are 12th in the Premier League but have won just twice in 11 league games and lost their FA Cup semi-final with Crystal Palace.

“The club would stress it is very happy with the job Quique and his staff have done this season,” a statement read.

“As the club has consistently made clear, no decision has been made on the future of Quique Sanchez Flores and certainly no decision will be taken until the club has held in-depth discussions with Quique.

“Those discussions will only take place once the season has finished.”

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Atletico Madrid 1-0 Bayern Munich

 Posted by at 5:04 AM
Apr 282016
Niguez has scored nine goals in all competitions this season, more than any other Atletico midfielder

Saul Niguez’s sublime solo goal put Atletico Madrid in control of their Champions League semi-final against German giants Bayern Munich.

Niguez jinked past a clutch of Bayern defenders before curling into the corner, giving the home side a narrow first-leg lead to take to Germany.

Bayern dominated the second half, David Alaba hitting the bar from 35 yards and Arturo Vidal’s strike forcing a save.

Fernando Torres poked against the post in a rare counter as Atletico held on.

The teams will meet at Bayern’s Allianz Arena on Tuesday to decide who will meet Manchester City or Real Madrid in the final on 28 May.

Relive Atletico’s tense win at the Vicente Calderon

Better call Saul

Atletico – for so many years in the shadow of illustrious neighbours Real Madrid – have never been crowned European champions, twice losing in the final of the continent’s leading club competition.

Under coach Diego Simeone, Los Rojiblancos have emerged as serious challengers to Spain’s regular duopoly of Barcelona and Real Madrid and have now put themselves in a decent position to create history by winning the Champions League.

With Bayern boasting a remarkable home record of only one defeat in 24 matches, the tie is far from over.

But Niguez – a Spain Under-21 international who has cemented his place in the Atletico side this season – extended the Spanish title-chasing side’s own excellent form at a raucous Vicente Calderon.

The 21-year-old midfielder picked up the ball about 35 yards from goal, dancing through flimsy challenges from Bayern trio Thiago Alcantara, Juan Bernat and Xabi Alonso, then keeping his composure to steer the ball into the bottom corner.

The clubs were meeting for the first time in a competitive fixture since Bayern won their first European Cup by beating Atletico in the 1974 final

Atletico defence blunts Bayern attack

Much of Atletico’s success under Simeone has been built on defensive resilience, with his organised side conceding just five goals in this season’s Champions League.

Atletico had also kept clean sheets in their previous four La Liga games but faced Bayern – the competition’s top scorers with 28 goals in 10 matches – without defensive lynchpin Diego Godin.

However, the injured Uruguay centre-back, 30, was barely missed as a typically determined Atletico display shut out Bayern.

Atletico had to withstand heavy Bayern pressure in the second half, particularly between 55 and 60 minutes when the visitors were camped in the opposing half

Former Argentina midfielder Simeone slightly altered his side’s defensive tactics in the first half, occasionally pressing Bayern higher up the pitch, before reverting to their deep and compact shape after the break.

The German side, who are one win away from a fourth consecutive Bundesliga title, totally dominated in the second half as Alaba and Vidal went closest to equalising.

Home keeper Jan Oblak also blocked Javi Martinez’s close-range header in-between, helping Atletico secure a 14th clean sheet in 16 Champions League home matches.

Uno, dos, tres – third time unlucky for Pep?

Bayern coach Pep Guardiola’s three-year reign ends in the summer when he moves to Manchester City, with the Spaniard admitting his time in Germany will be judged on his ability to win the Champions League.

His side have lost to Spanish opposition at the semi-final stage in each of the past two seasons, knocked out by Real Madrid in 2014 and Guardiola’s former club Barcelona last year.

Now the Catalan coach must outwit Simeone next week to avoid a clean sweep of defeats by La Liga’s big three.

Atletico’s compact and deep shape, forced by Bayern’s attacking dominance, is illustrated by this graphic showing the sides’ respective average positions

Guardiola, on course to comfortably win the Bundesliga in each of his three seasons, may reflect on his decision to leave Germany forward Thomas Muller on the bench until the final quarter of the match.

Muller is their joint top scorer in the Champions League having scored eight goals in his 10 appearances this season.

With Guardiola’s gameplan seemingly relying heavily on crosses into the Atletico box, the absence of the predatory Muller appeared even more strange.

Man of the match – Saul Niguez

The Atletico match-winner impressed going forward, particularly in the first half, while also keeping his discipline defensively to help shut out Bayern

Post-match reaction

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone:

“The first half was very close to what we wanted. In the second half they were better and got in behind but we felt comfortable, we defended well.

“It was a great piece of individual skill with lots of creativity, Saul Niguez is developing well which is great for us.

“I think it’s still an open tie, they will be playing at home next week with their fans behind them but we have the chance to get an away goal. It’ll be a close game like today, we’ll see who makes the most of their chances.”

Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres:

“It was a fantastic night and I’m happy for all Atleticos. We’ve got the lead we wanted.

“We kept fighting, that’s what we do. Bayern have a level that few other teams have but we kept on doing our thing.”

Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola:

“Their goal is a brilliant goal, but it’s our mistake. We kept standing off. I’m not happy with how we played.

“It was a good game overall, but we started badly. The goal was a consequence of our slow play.”

What’s next?

Both teams continue the pursuit of their domestic league titles this weekend.

Second-placed Atletico, who are level on points with leaders Barcelona, host lowly Rayo Vallecano as they bid for a second La Liga title in three seasons.

Bundesliga champions-elect Bayern also play on Saturday when they host fifth-placed Borussia Monchengladbach.

Stats of the day

  • Atletico have won 13 of their 17 home Champions League games under Diego Simeone, drawing three and losing one.
  • Atletico have scored against 23 of the 25 teams they have faced this season in all competitions, only failing to score against Villarreal and PSV Eindhoven.
  • Bayern Munich are winless in their past eight away games in the Champions League knockout stages, drawing four and losing four.
  • Robert Lewandowski has failed to score in eight of his past nine Champions League games outside the Allianz Arena.
  • Bayern defender David Alaba made his 50th appearance in the Champions league – more than any other Austrian player.

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Apr 282016
Police chief suspended over Hillsborough
South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable David CromptonImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable David Crompton made a statement after the inquests jury returned its conclusions

South Yorkshire Police chief constable David Crompton has been suspended following the Hillsborough inquests.

Jurors concluded the 96 victims of the 1989 disaster were unlawfully killed and there were police failings.

Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham said “those responsible must be held to account” saying the force had gone back on its 2012 apology.

The force’s Police and Crime Commissioner said there had been an “erosion of trust”.

Dr Alan Billings said he had no choice but to act.

Media captionPolice and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings: “I’ve reached this decision with a heavy heart”

The PCC said: “The continuing criticism that has been directed at the Chief Constable and the eroding trust and confidence in South Yorkshire Police I have been left with no choice other than to suspend David Crompton from his duties.

“I have reached this decision with a heavy heart following discussions with David.”

Mr Crompton was due to retire in November after four years in the role.

Thousands of people are attending a vigil in Liverpool in memory of those who died in the Hillsborough disaster.

Media captionThousands attend a vigil in Liverpool to remember the 96 people who died in the disaster

The event follows the conclusion of the inquests, which were held in Warrington, Cheshire.

Flowers and scarves have been laid on the steps of St George’s Hall in the city centre.

Mr Burnham, who has backed the campaign for justice for the Hillsborough victims, had called for Mr Crompton’s resignation in the House of Commons.

He said the force had gone back on its 2012 public apology following the release of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report.

Image caption Hillsborough families were greeted with the chant Justice For The 96 at the vigil following the inquests

Mr Burnham said: “Shamefully, the cover-up continued in this Warrington court room. Millions of pounds of public money were spent retelling discredited lies.

“Lawyers for retired officers threw disgusting slurs; those for today’s force tried to establish that others were responsible for the opening of the gate.

“If the police had chosen to maintain its apology, these inquests would have been much shorter.”

Media captionShadow home secretary Andy Burnham said he blamed South Yorkshire Police’s “leadership and culture, which seems rotten to the core”

Lawyers acting on behalf of the 22 of the families welcomed the suspension.

The statement from Broudie Jackson Canter said: “We hope and expect that his conduct will be subject to the rigorous and impartial scrutiny which has so long been denied to the families.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tributes are being left at Hillsborough stadium following the conclusion of the inquests

In 2012, Mr Crompton admitted “grave errors” were made during the Hillsborough disaster and has apologised “profoundly”.

On Tuesday after the inquests conclusions were delivered, he admitted the policing of the match was “catastrophically wrong” and “unequivocally” accepted the findings.

Hours before his suspension, the force said: “We have never sought, at any stage, to defend the failures of South Yorkshire Police or its officers.

“Nevertheless, these failures had to be put into the context of other contributory factors. In other words, where do the failings of SYP stand in the overall picture?

“We are sorry if our approach has been perceived as at odds with our earlier apology, this was certainly not our intention.”

Image copyright Hillsborough inquests
Image caption The jury was shown pictures of fans in the Leppings Lane end of the stadium as the disaster unfolded

Home Secretary Theresa May has praised the “extraordinary dignity and determination” of the Hillsborough families.

She said for 27 years the families and survivors “fought for justice from the authorities that should have been trusted, and have laid blame and tried to protect themselves.”

The families “have never faltered”, she said, and commended their courage, determination and resolve.

Image copyright bbc
Image caption Theresa May said potential offences under investigation included gross negligence manslaughter,

The fans died as a result of a crush during an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday’s stadium on 15 April 1989.

Mrs May said the jury found that blunders by South Yorkshire’s police and ambulance services “caused or contributed to” the deaths as a result of the disaster.

The jury also concluded that Liverpool fans were not to blame for what happened.

She read out the potential offences under investigation including gross negligence manslaughter, misconduct in a public office, perjury and perverting the course of justice.

John Joyce, 72, who was at Sheffield Wednesday’s ground on the day of the disaster, said like the families of the dead, he too wanted to see the police prosecuted.

“From day one they were at fault. They called us robbers, pickpockets and everything. Rubbish. They switched the statements, it’s been hard. I was at the game, I was in the stands, that’s why I have lived with it for 27 rotten years,” he said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tributes have been laid at St George’s Hall the inquests ended

The inquests jury heard more than two years of evidence at Britain’s longest running inquests.

Nine jurors reached unanimous decisions on all but one of the 14 questions at the inquests into UK’s worst sporting disaster.

The coroner Sir John Goldring said he would accept a majority decision about whether the fans were unlawfully killed – seven jurors agreed they were.

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Apr 272016
Leicester City have never won the championship in England’s top flight.

A football fan has been called the “world’s most calamitous punter” – after losing 5p on a bet on the Foxes to win the Premier league.

The unnamed gambler put 50p on Claudio Ranieri’s team to finish top before the season began at odds of 5,000-1.

But he cashed out after an opening day win for 5p less than his stake and will now miss out on a £2,500 pay day.

Ladbrokes spokesman David Williams said: “It is an absolute mystery. He must be feeling pretty sick.”

Leicester will win the title if they beat Manchester United on Sunday.

If they lose, they could still win the title the following night if nearest rivals Spurs lose at Chelsea or with a win over Everton on 7 May.

Williams added: “He must go down as the most calamitous punter in history.

“He must have thought the wheels were going to come off after the first win and decided to cut his losses.”

Ladbrokes are in the process of trying to contact the man, who lives in the East Midlands, to offer him a consolation to “soften the blow”.

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