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                           | pdf edition | Thursday June 2 2011                                                  Sport
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Mark Hughes leaves Fulham but Aston
Villa do not want him as manager
Hughes activates break clause to leave Craven Cottage • Aston
Villa unimpressed by course of events Page 2



Joe Hart keeps his feet on the ground after
rapid rise to England No1
The Manchester City keeper established his supremacy over the
past season but knows how easily fortunes can change Page 2



England’s Andrew Strauss backs Kevin
Pietersen to conquer left-armers
Andrew Strauss says Kevin Pietersen will ‘prove a point’ • England
to face Sri Lanka at Lord’s in second Test Page 3




Andy Murray eager to                        Adam Johnson                                 PFA tackles sensitive   Senna – review Page 8
overcome odds and                           hoping his flair can                         issue of mental
baguettes against                           shine on the England                         health among            Sri Lanka remain
Rafa Nadal Page 4                           wing Page 5                                 footballers Page 7      down to earth about
                                                                                                                 threat of England’s
Gareth Southgate                            Gavin Henson says                            Paul Collingwood’s     pace attack Page 8
urges county FAs                            Wales v Barbarians is                        comeback ends in
to reform youth                             last chance for World                        defeat for Durham by
football Page 5                             Cup spot Page 6                              Warwickshire Page 8




guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007                                                                          guardian.co.uk
Registered in England and Wales. No. 908396. Registered office: Number 1 Scott Place, Manchester M3 3GG
Page 2 G24 Sport                                                                      Thursday June 2 2011             22:34 GMT

                                                                    nobody at the London club considered the two events to be
                                                                    unrelated. What Fulham could not understand, however, was
Mark Hughes leaves Fulham but Aston                                 that Paul Faulkner, the Villa chief executive, had made it clear
Villa do not want him as manager                                    to Alistair Mackintosh, his counterpart at Craven Cottage,
                                                                    with whom he gets on well, that Villa did not want Hughes.
• Hughes activates break clause to leave                            The Welshman, who describes himself as an ambitious young
Craven Cottage • Aston Villa unimpressed                            manager, may have taken a leap of faith as there was a deadline
                                                                    of midnight on Wednesday on the activation of his break clause.
by course of events
                                                                    The clause permits him to walk away from the club as a free
Stuart James, Jamie Jackson and David Hytner                        agent at the end of June. Premier League rules prevent him or
                                                                    his representative from contacting or being contacted by other
Mark Hughes [http://tinyurl.com/mf64ek] will not be the new
                                                                    clubs until after that.
Aston Villa [http://tinyurl.com/d7dtzk] manager and has been
                                                                        His back-room entourage, which includes Mark Bowen,
left without a club after walking out on Fulham [http://tinyurl.
                                                                    Eddie Niedzwiecki, Glyn Hodges and Kevin Hitchcock, remain
com/3qxezc] on Thursday night. The Welshman had been the
                                                                    under contract at Fulham for another year, with no break
favourite to succeed Gérard Houllier but Villa, unimpressed
                                                                    clauses in their deals.
with the course of events that culminated in Hughes activating
                                                                        Fulham accepted Hughes’s resignation and their impression
a break clause in his contract and leaving Fulham, have turned
                                                                    was that he thought he would get the Villa job, despite the
their attention elsewhere. Martin Jol and Steve McClaren are at
                                                                    assurances they had received from Faulkner that he would not.
the top of Villa’s shortlist.
                                                                    Fayed is clear that there is no way back for Hughes at the club.
    In a further twist Jol and McClaren, who are out of work and
                                                                    “Roy Hodgson appreciated the club after he had left and [Fayed]
eager to return to employment in the Premier League [http://
                                                                    believes Mark will do the same,” a spokesperson said.
tinyurl.com/6yneax], will also be leading candidates to take
                                                                        Villa say they have an open mind about filling their vacancy.
over at Craven Cottage, where Hughes had been expected to
                                                                    Speculation that Carlo Ancelotti is among their leading
sign an improved two-year contract. Martin O’Neill, a former
                                                                    candidates is wide of the mark, however. The former Chelsea
Villa manager, will be another major contender for that post.
                                                                    manager has not received any contact from Villa and he is
    Mohamed Al Fayed, the Fulham chairman, was furious after
                                                                    known to have no interest in the position. Ancelotti, according
Hughes activated the break clause and tendered his resignation.
                                                                    to sources close to the Italian, is holding out for a club that can
A Fulham spokesperson said: “The chairman became
                                                                    offer Champions League football. Roberto Martínez, the Wigan
increasingly annoyed by Mark positioning himself for another
                                                                    Athletic manager, has, however, emerged as an outsider for the
club, whilst still negotiating with us, and having agreed terms.”
                                                                    Villa post.
    Fayed was, however, ready to extend Hughes’s deal. One
                                                                        O’Neill, who has been out of work since leaving Villa last
view from sources at the club is that contract talks with Hughes
                                                                    August, is the bookmakers’ favourite for the Fulham jobAs well
fell apart when Fulham felt unable to match the fees demanded
                                                                    as Jol and McClaren, other names likely to feature on Fulham’s
by his representative, Kia Joorabchian.
                                                                    shortlist may include Gianfranco Zola, the former West Ham
    Villa’s reluctance to move for Hughes comes as something of
                                                                    manager, and Chris Hughton, who led Newcastle United back
a surprise. He has been the frontrunner for the Villa post since
                                                                    to the Premier League at the first attempt before being sacked
it emerged this week that Houllier would be stepping down on
                                                                    in December. Jol had been Fulham’s No1 target last summer,
health grounds. Villa, however, told Fulham that they would
                                                                    ahead of Hughes, and he had wanted to come. He was blocked
not be making an approach for Hughes in the hours before his
                                                                    by his then club, Ajax.
decision to leave.
    The Midlands club have since made it clear that their stance
has not changed after Hughes’s departure from Fulham. It
is understood they would have grave reservations about
                                                                    Joe Hart keeps his feet on the ground
appointing the former Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City          after rapid rise to England No1
manager because of how his departure from Fulham has been
handled.                                                            The Manchester City keeper established his
    Hughes, who is on holiday in Dubai, said in a statement:
                                                                    supremacy over the past season but knows
“I would like to take this opportunity to clarify that neither
myself nor my representative have approached or have been
                                                                    how easily fortunes can change
approached by another club. This decision to leave Fulham has       Dominic Fifield
not been influenced by any outside party.”
                                                                    Joe Hart [http://tinyurl.com/37xnlr5] may be forgiven for
    When Villa parted company with Houllier on Wednesday
                                                                    feeling bulletproof by now. This is a goalkeeper who has
evening, Fulham believed that Hughes would stay loyal to
                                                                    been transformed from a Manchester City [http://tinyurl.
them, as Fayed had done with him on Boxing Day, when the
                                                                    com/4jsgmx] loanee to clear first-choice over the past 12
Craven Cottage crowd had called for Hughes’s sacking after a 3-1
                                                                    months, a youngster who had in effect been a tourist with the
home defeat by West Ham United that dropped the club into the
                                                                    England [http://tinyurl.com/4v7v9n] squad at the World Cup
relegation zone. Hughes’s new contract had even gone to the
                                                                    last summer but who can now consider himself his country’s
lawyers, with the terms and conditions agreed, in readiness for
                                                                    undisputed No1. Throw in an FA Cup winner’s medal and the
his signature.
                                                                    prospect of confronting Europe’s best in the Champions League
    Yet in the hours that followed Villa’s announcement of
                                                                    next season and his rapid rise is the stuff of dreams.
Houllier’s departure, Hughes went cold on Fulham – and
                                                                       Yet, where others might have revelled in the perceived
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007                                                                      guardian.co.uk
Page 3 G24 Sport                                                                      Thursday June 2 2011              22:34 GMT

invincibility afforded by his new-found status, Hart remains        Hart, as with his own progress to date, has already drawn a line
bound by a sense of perspective. “When you list what’s              under the side’s achievements so far.
happened in the last year like that, quite a lot of things have        “Reaching the final – playing in it and winning it – well, you
gone my way,” he says. “I’ve been lucky in a few situations,        don’t realise what you’ve done until some time afterwards,”
had breaks with key decisions. But it doesn’t matter who you’re     he says. “All the talk was about the 35 years thing [since City’s
playing against – I could be down the park playing with my          last trophy] but it’s not that. It was the experience bringing us
nephew who’s not even three but, if he kicks it in the corner, I    together so much more than before. Before that match maybe
can’t save it. You can be humbled as a goalkeeper. You have to      we were a group of players. But it feels as if we merged together
accept that.”                                                       and realised what we could do together. It brought us on as a
    Acknowledging as much will keep the 24-year-old grounded.       team and helped us in the run-in to the season.
Hart knew this had to be his breakthrough campaign, a                  “But at the same time we appreciate that, great as it was to
year when he felt compelled to make his mark at Eastlands           win something, we’re not just going to carry on playing well all
– displacing Shay Given, one of the Premier League’s best and a     the time. I’d just like to think that, if we do stay together, then,
man he considered his “hero”, in the process – if he was to live    when required, that closeness will get us through a horrible
up to the hype that had accompanied his junior career. He had       game when we don’t play well. That’s what Manchester United
undertaken his own pre-season training schedule while on a          and Chelsea have got – and you can’t buy it. It gets you a 2-0 win
post-World Cup holiday in Marbella aimed at hitting the ground      and three points from a bad performance.”
running. Those preparations have paid off handsomely. His              England would like to shine against Switzerland at Wembley
selection for Saturday’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland    and claim similar rewards but few in the national team, their
is assumed.                                                         goalkeeper principal among them, will be taking anything for
    The other contenders have acknowledged just how much            granted. A sense of perspective persists.
of a fixture Hart could become in the England jersey. Paul
Robinson has long retired from this level; Ben Foster, Fabio
Capello’s favoured back-up, has taken a sabbatical from             England’s Andrew Strauss backs Kevin
international football with little prospect of displacing the       Pietersen to conquer left-armers
first-choice; even Rob Green, who began the World Cup as
No1, has considered his future with England. “I must smell
or something,” Hart jokes when asked why his rivals were
                                                                    • Andrew Strauss says Kevin Pietersen will
dropping like flies. David Stockdale and Scott Carson, the          ‘prove a point’ • England to face Sri Lanka
other selected keepers, do not yet have his aura or assurance.      at Lord’s in second Test
In the event Stockdale, reserve at Fulham to Mark Schwarzer,
                                                                    David Hopps
withdrew to get married today and Green agreed to take his
place.                                                              Andrew Strauss [http://tinyurl.com/75z3kr], the England
    Not that Hart is taking anything for granted. A goalkeeper      captain, has urged Kevin Pietersen [http://tinyurl.com/6luxjh]
who made his senior debut at 17 with Shrewsbury Town – “At          to overcome his difficulties against left-arm spinners. The
the time, that was as high as I could go” – will not rest on his    batsman will resume his “game of cat and mouse” with the Sri
laurels after one staggering campaign.                              Lanka spinner Rangana Herath in the second Test at Lord’s on
    This year was a springboard not a finale. He accepts there      Friday.
will be mistakes on the way, so an ability to put those errors in       Pietersen was a cat who got the cream early in his Test
the past and move on quickly is critical.                           career, but increasingly his visits to the crease have lapsed
    “There is a lot of pressure at this level but there is in       into episodes of Tom and Jerry as a succession of left-arm spin
everything you do whether it is at home looking after the family    bowlers audition for the role of the mouse, eager to make his
or playing in goal for England,” he says. “You can’t live in fear   life a nightmare. as Pietersen underwent an extra net session
of preventing mistakes. You just have to try and do your best to    at Lord’s, to try to combat a weakness that is the talk of cricket,
move England forward.                                               Strauss warned that his predecessor as captain had to overcome
    “I was told I could play at the top long before I realised I    a repeated failure against slow left-armers, or the issue would
could. A few people told me that. I’ve always had a ‘name’ and      become “self-perpetuating”.
I don’t know how I got it but I was blessed with people in the          “He’s got out a few times to left-arm spin so he needs to
right situations saying good things about me.                       make sure he addresses that, and that is the way Test cricket
    “I never doubted myself as such but I did think people were     goes,” Strauss said. “It is a game of cat and mouse and any
getting a bit carried away. But they showed faith in me and I’m     particular weakness you have is exploited so you need to
thankful for that. Now I just try to repay them as best I can by    close that up and stay a step or two ahead of the bowlers. He
working hard and taking the opportunities which have been           is saying, ‘Yeah, I need to work hard,’ which we all need to do
given to me.”                                                       because none of us can stick our heads in the sand and say
    He has done that impressively. He kept 18 league clean          we’re infallible. We have to push on and improve. He will be
sheets this season – the most by any goalkeeper in the Premier      determined to prove a point or two over the next couple of
League – to leave Given on the outside looking in as the club       weeks.”
maintain their emergence into the elite.                                Herath’s dismissal of Pietersen in the first Test at Cardiff,
    Hart was a key player in their successes. The victory in the    lbw for three on the television review, was the batsman’s 19th
FA Cup, together with a top-three finish, duly established City’s   dismissal against slow left-armers in his past 61 Test innings. It
credentials and whet the appetite for the seasons ahead, even if    was also Sri Lanka’s sole psychological blow against England, as
                                                                    they crumbled to 82 all out to lose the match by an innings and
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007                                                                       guardian.co.uk
Page 4 G24 Sport                                                                          Thursday June 2 2011               22:34 GMT

14 runs.                                                                Fred Perry will not see himself as a woebegone nitwit – and he
    Asked if Pietersen’s struggles were technical or mental,            is far from that – but his otherworldliness is also his strength:
Strauss said: “Like all these things it is a bit of both, really. I     opponents are often as bemused by him on court as those
don’t think it is as big an issue as people are making out. Once        employed to chronicle his pronouncements are off it.
he gets in he generally plays [left-arm spinners] very well. It             His analysis of his chances, over a dish of pasta, chicken
is just the first over or two. It can also easily go out of your        and vegetables in the players’ lounge, cuts to the heart of his
head as well if you have one or two good innings and then it is         challenge. “It’s tough,” he says, in his addictive search for
completely gone.                                                        demons. “The conditions here have been so tricky. It’s not that
    “We always have these things in cricket because there are so        easy with the way the wind’s been blowing around to stick to [a
many variables that we come up against. It might be any type            plan].
of bowling or it might be on certain grounds. You think: ‘Oh,               “You have to be the aggressor [against Nadal] but it doesn’t
my record here isn’t very good,’ and then that becomes self-            mean going for outrageous winners. It means keeping the ball
perpetuating so these things test you mentally and you have to          to a good length and hitting it hard and with a good margin so,
overcome them.                                                          if he leaves one short, you can come forward. I won’t just think
    “What [Pietersen] acknowledges and what he talks about is           that on the second point I have to go for a winner because I
irrelevant, it is about what he does in the middle. Look at his         don’t want the rally to go for five or six shots. On clay, against
record for England. It is fantastic and his recent Test record is       everyone, you need to play long rallies.
very good as well. It is a great thing that his work ethic is as high       “It’s the trajectory of the ball you hit. You can still hit a very
as ever and he has been a pleasure to have around over the past         aggressive shot but give it a metre of height over the net and
couple of weeks. He’ll transfer that into runs.”                        make sure it’s not going to land [just] an inch from the line.
                                                                        You can still make the move. If you hit a good wide serve to
                                                                        the deuce court, you can hit the forehand high and up the line
Andy Murray eager to overcome odds                                      without having to run from one corner to the other. Then you
and baguettes against Rafa Nadal                                        might get the short ball and that might be the time to go for it
                                                                        – but you have to be careful not to get dragged into panicking
                                                                        that you need to finish the points quickly, which I have done a
The British No1 has suffered injury and                                 few times this tournament, hitting a lot of drop shots, going for
mishap but believes he can beat the five-                               flat balls early in rallies. It just doesn’t work.
times champion in Paris                                                     “You have to be willing to work for points. If he loses some of
                                                                        the longer rallies, that creates doubt for him whereas, if he sees
Kevin Mitchell at Roland Garros
                                                                        you rushing the net, serve-volleying all the time, it’s so tough to
Andy Murray [http://tinyurl.com/548xkw] walks into Rafael               keep it up.
Nadal [http://tinyurl.com/5nwpp7]’s ochre-tinged garden of                  “[John] Isner at the end of the fourth set and the beginning
serial disappointments onFriday on one reliable leg, rattling           of the fifth [when the American surprised Nadal in the first
like an aspirin bottle, nursing a sore throat as well as a tooth        round], started serve-volleying from nowhere. He started to
he chipped on a baguette and sporting one of his less appalling         rush. You have no chance when you do that.”
haircuts. How can he lose?                                                  Others have progressed here serenely, none more so than
    Jaw set against the prevailing wind, Murray is a very British       Novak Djokovic [http://tinyurl.com/6xnbjky] who goes into his
hero before a ball is struck. He stands on the burning deck             semi-final against Roger Federer [http://tinyurl.com/35y4f8u],
armed with only a tennis [http://tinyurl.com/63kuyy] racket             second up on Court Philippe Chatrier (an unsubtle nod to the
and a resolve to turn back the tide of misfortune that has              demands of television) after four days’ rest. If the Swiss cuts
washed over him the past fortnight.                                     the Serb down it will end his 43-match run, and surprise a lot of
    Murray has never played Nadal at Roland Garros, where the           good judges.
Spaniard has lost once in six years and 44 matches (to Robin                Djokovic will start favourite – even though Federer has
Soderling in 2009 on two crocked knees), but he ignores the             played with his customary stealth. Apart from having to
odds because, in his own mind, they are invariably stacked              extend himself in a tie-break against Feliciano López in the
against him. Nadal is a prohibitive 1-6 favourite.                      first round and perhaps in brief moments against Gaël Monfils,
    From the moment the world No4 sent a scare through tennis           the Swiss has been a picture of calm. Djokovic dropped a set to
by pulling out of a charity hit-up two weeks ago with a groin           Juan Martín del Potro, no black mark, but will appreciate his
strain, he has been wreaking comic havoc in Paris although,             walkover against Fabio Fognini after tough matches in Madrid
when he got lost on the Métro on the way to dinner with his             and Rome.
mother, Judy, he was trying to stay grounded, to do something               Murray has not dwelt on the prospect of playing either of
normal in what, clearly, is not an entirely normal world. He            them in the final; they, however, are wary of him – as is Nadal,
embraces the surreal.                                                   who said on Wednesday he would rather be playing someone
    Then came his Mr Bean moment. “I was on the way back                else. Murray, though, cannot wait to get the Spaniard on court
from the courts after I beat [Viktor] Troicki,” he says of the          for the 15th time in their careers.
tooth incident. “I bit into a baguette and it kind of snapped.              “I’ve just known him a long time,” Murray says. “I know his
It was still in position when I got back. I looked in the mirror,       game well. I like playing against him. I understand that Rafa
fiddled around and pulled it out. I had a good old look down the        could probably get away without playing his best match on
gum and there was a nice big hole. I’ve not been to the dentist         clay against me and I understand that I’m going to have to play
for ages and he sorted it out within 15 minutes.”                       my best to give myself a good chance. I definitely feel like the
    The finest tennis player these islands have produced since
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007                                                                             guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                       Thursday June 2 2011             22:34 GMT

underdog.”                                                           that the programme would take between 10 and 15 years before
    Those searching for a key to the Scot’s psyche might seize       it reaped proper dividends. Yet the need for change appears
on such negativity as evidence of trepidation but it is Murray’s     clear. The only countries other than England who currently play
nature to prepare for the worst, because it gives him strength.      11-a-side football at under-11s are Belgium, Australia and New
“It’s a really good challenge to have,” he says.                     Zealand. Spain, Italy and France permit it from under-14 level
    If he walks on court on Friday with his pants on fire it would   and have won three of the past four World Cups.
be of a piece with one of the game’s weirdest Parisian odysseys.         “Down the years we have produced some technically gifted
    Nadal should win to meet Djokovic in Sunday’s final – if the     players but we want to increase that pool of talent so that, if
weather holds.                                                       our best one or two players get injured, there is a bigger talent
                                                                     pool to come in,” Southgate said. “We want to develop kids but
                                                                     make sure they enjoy playing football. We want to develop elite
Gareth Southgate urges county FAs to                                 talent but we believe that 99% of the other players will enjoy
reform youth football                                                their football more if this comes in.”


• Southgate says English system rejects                              Adam Johnson hoping his flair can shine
players like Messi • Plans aim to ban 11-a-                          on the England wing
side matches for under-13s
Dominic Fifield                                                      The Manchester City and England
Gareth Southgate has warned that players such as Lionel              midfielder says Fabio Capello gives the
Messi, Xavi Hernández and Andrés Iniesta might have                  creative players freedom to express
slipped unnoticed through the system had they developed in           themselves
England rather than Spain and has urged the county Football
                                                                     Kevin McCarra
Associations to accept proposals to overhaul youth football in
this country.                                                        At the very end of the season there are still opportunities that
    The FA [http://tinyurl.com/m7l2y7]’s head of elite               should galvanise some England [http://tinyurl.com/4v7v9n]
development is touring the country alongside the national            players. Switzerland are the opponents in Saturday’s Euro 2012
development manager, Nick Levett, promoting the Your Kids            [http://tinyurl.com/3f2fqs] qualifier at Wembley but intense
Your Say programme, a result of an 18-month research project         competition has already broken out within the squad. The
with recommendations for key changes to the game at grass-           flanks are now the focus of attention for Fabio Capello [http://
roots level. The plans, which include preventing children            tinyurl.com/4pv2wn] and enough wingers are available for
playing 11-a-side matches until under-13 level, will be put to the   the manager to relish the keen competition as they show their
FA’s voting shareholders at next May’s annual general meeting        worth.
with an aim to implement them for the 2013-14 season.                   There have been casualties and it is notable that Aaron
    There is a recognition within the FA, in the wake of the         Lennon has gone so far out of favour that he has not been
success of Germany and Spain at last summer’s World Cup and          capped since last year’s World Cup. Others have flourished to
Barcelona so prominently this season, that reform is needed.         such a degree that they are seen in a new light. Operating for
Youngsters would also play on smaller pitches, with smaller          Aston Villa as a left-footer on the right has, for instance, seemed
goals, with more emphasis placed on learning the game rather         to help Stewart Downing extend the range of his play. His
than merely winning it. “We’ve got an opportunity now where,         impact was great in March’s friendly with Ghana.
once, there might have been some resistance to change,”                 One of the rivals for selection, however, will be highly
Southgate said. “What the World Cup did, and the success Barça       familiar to him. In his days at Middlesbrough Downing stayed
have had, is give a greater awareness of what is going on in         behind after training with a younger winger who is now a fellow
Europe. There is a desire for change.                                member of the England squad. “We used to practise crossing
    “We’ve had Paul Scholes come through who technically             and shooting after training,” says Adam Johnson, now of
would have been able to play in that Barça team on Saturday          Manchester City [http://tinyurl.com/4jsgmx], “and help each
because his quality of touch, pass appreciation, ability to play     other out.”
one-touch and manipulate the ball was up there with them. But           Johnson looks forward to readying himself for a Champions
would we have produced lots of players like Xavi, Iniesta and        League campaign with City. “I knew it was going to be
Messi? I suspect not. We would probably have overlooked a lot        massive,” he says of a club transforming itself at vast expense.
of those. And not necessarily at club level. It might have been      “My whole life has changed.” The winger has done well not
years before that: at Sunday football where the guy that was         to get lost in that revolution, yet it would have been a foolish
trying to win a league didn’t pick the smaller kids because he       manager who did not recognise potential value in Johnson, who
wanted to win that league.                                           has the bearing of a creative midfielder when he comes in from
    “In 11-a-side matches there are fewer touches for players.       the flank.
If we go to that format too young, then it becomes much more            In the fourth of his six caps he made himself central enough
of an athletic-based game – we have huge pitches that kids           in Basle to score and so end the contest as he put England 2-0
can’t get around. It benefits the physically stronger players but    ahead of Switzerland last September during the 3-1 victory.
there’s a real danger that we lose the smaller, more technically     He did so by taking the ball round the goalkeeper Diego
gifted ones. There is a high drop-out of players in that nature.”    Benaglio. That composure was all the more eye-catching since
    Those sentiments were reiterated by Levett, who stressed
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007                                                                       guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                        Thursday June 2 2011            22:34 GMT

a supposedly callow Johnson was a substitute then, just as he          of matches to prove himself worthy of a place in Wales’s Six
had been when claiming a goal in the previous match, a friendly        Nations squad, which he intended to use as a launch pad for
with Bulgaria.                                                         this autumn’s World Cup, a tournament in which he has never
    That calmness is a key asset of a player who was ready to          played. It did not work out like that.
take his opportunity after sustaining ankle ligament damage in             Little more than a month after making his debut for
January. He is sceptical rather than euphoric about his displays       Saracens, he joined Toulon. His debut for the French club
since returning to the City starting line-up in the spring. “I         was delayed by six weeks, because of a calf injury. When he
haven’t been really delighted with my form,” he says. “People          recovered his fitness, he became embroiled in a set-to with a
say it’s going to take a little while to get back to where you were.   team-mate and was suspended. He was reinstated in time to
I rushed back for the FA Cup semi-final but that was the first         make an appearance from the bench in the final match of the
long-term injury of my career.”                                        season. The French club then declined the option of giving
    His winner’s medal in the tournament came as a substitute          Henson a two-year contract.
in the victory over Stoke. Any great achievements still lie                Saturday’s match against the Barbarians will be Henson’s
before him but he is encouraged to show his flair even by the          final opportunity to put himself in contention for a place in
sometimes forbidding England manager. “He lets the creative            Wales’s World Cup squad, and he knows it. Warren Gatland
players express themselves,” Johnson says. “He doesn’t want            has been criticised for choosing a player who has played so
you to do one specific thing. He just wants you to be free. He’s       little rugby in the last two years, but many of the Wales coach’s
not one to take something out of your game. When you’re                detractors also criticised him for a conservative game plan in
attacking in the final third you do what you’re good at. That’s        the Six Nations and the autumn internationals. Henson is the
what you want to hear.”                                                bridge between caution and charisma. It is not often recognised
    It is to Capello’s benefit that Johnson goes about his daily       but his celebrity image masks a steely professionalism that
business at City alongside renowned footballers. “Training with        distinguishes him from the former England fly-half Danny
the likes of Carlos Tevez and David Silva brings you on,” the          Cipriani, another talented player who has been out of his
winger says. Johnson admits that Tevez “carries us sometimes           national side for some time.
with his goals and drive”, adding that the Argentinian is one of           “It is great to be back,” Henson says. “I am delighted to get
“only five or six strikers who can get you that many goals at the      this chance and have really missed playing for Wales. I know
highest level”. As with anyone attached to City, Johnson would         I have a lot to do. I am down the pecking order at the moment
be relieved if speculation over the Argentinian’s future came to       and this is the last-chance saloon for me. The Barbarians is a
an end. “I hope we can keep hold of him,” he says.                     massive game for me and the huge driving factor is the World
    That small disquiet is understandable but the great aim for        Cup, the game’s biggest stage. I do not want to be watching
City is to ensure their fortunes are not tied to the form of one       it on television again. I want to be on the plane going to New
player. Johnson appreciates that and the inclination to refer to       Zealand.”
Silva as well as Tevez is significant.                                     Henson speaks with honesty and humility. There are no bold
    The manager, Roberto Mancini, will expect better still from        predictions about what lies ahead, merely an acknowledgement
Johnson in due course. Only injury has pushed the midfielder           that Saturday is an opportunity he had no right to demand. He
out of Capello’s plans of late and, if picked against Switzerland,     has been linked with a number of clubs since being released by
the onus is on him to demonstrate the same influence even as           Toulon, including Cardiff Blues, Biarritz and Stade Français, but
rivals start planning in more detail to check his impact. Johnson      says he will delay making a decision until he knows where he
had best console himself with the thought that such attention is       stands with Wales.
a compliment.                                                              “The season has not been ideal, but these things happen,”
                                                                       says Henson, whose debut for Saracens was delayed until
                                                                       Boxing Day because of his commitments on the BBC reality
Gavin Henson says Wales v Barbarians                                   show Strictly Come Dancing. “Saracens was an avenue for me
is last chance for World Cup spot                                      to get back into rugby. It didn’t work out: they were looking at
                                                                       me as a 13 which is not what I wanted. I was looking to make
                                                                       an impact and force my way into the Six Nations. There was
Gavin Henson says he is ‘in the last-chance                            no point in staying; the offer came from Toulon and I wanted
saloon’ as he prepares to start for Wales for                          to experience the Top 14. I am really disappointed we couldn’t
the first time in two years                                            work something out with Toulon because I loved it in the south
                                                                       of France. I would like to stay there but I am always going to
Paul Rees
                                                                       come back to Wales at some point. Whether that is next season
Gavin Henson [http://tinyurl.com/y4g7ws7] looks genuinely              or in a year or two I am not really sure. I will wait until after
tanned and relaxed as he holds court in the Vale of Glamorgan.         Saturday to see if Wales want me and then make a decision.”
A game against the Barbarians [http://tinyurl.com/yh3qg4p]                 Henson was suspended by Toulon as the club investigated
in Cardiff does not usually attract much media interest                what happened after a victory over Toulouse in Marseille, when
outside Wales, but here is a player who has not appeared in an         Henson was involved in an incident in a bar. The French media
international for more than two years and who has only started         reported that he had sparked a fight by criticising colleagues,
three club matches since April 2009, commanding attention like         including Jonny Wilkinson, and that he had been struck by the
few others.                                                            former Australia scrum-half Matt Henjak.
   When Henson ended his self-imposed, 20-month exile at the               Henson’s problem is that people can sometimes misinterpret
end of last year, joining Saracens from the Ospreys, the Lions         him. There is no hypocrisy about him. He does not conform to
centre spoke of his firm belief that he would need only a couple
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007                                                                        guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                        Thursday June 2 2011              22:34 GMT

convention. “It is crazy how things get blown up to the levels            “Many players may not actually recognise what it is or know
that they do, but I should know by now that’s how things              how to seek help. I think this guidebook is groundbreaking for
happen,” Henson says.                                                 players and it takes the first steps towards talking about mental
    “Reflecting back on that night, it was just a clash of            health in professional football.”
personalities. We sorted it out man to man, not in public. We             The stigma that the issue has within the game is reflected by
did not have a problem with each other. We are closer for it, and     how few players have admitted to having a problem. Those who
we had a drink a week later together. These things go on every        have gone public over depression include Paul Gascoigne, Andy
week in every rugby club. When it’s me, it gets blown out of all      Cole, Neil Lennon and Stan Collymore. Each is quoted in the
proportion and I have got to live with that and deal with it. I do    guidebook. In some cases of mental ill health, release is sought
not regret anything. It is just a pity the incident leaked out.       through drink, drugs, sex or gambling, which can further hasten
    “Half the stuff reported was totally untrue. I would not be       the individual’s downfall.
playing rugby again if I had been slagging off team-mates. None           “The attitude is so often ‘pull yourself together’,” Gordon
of that went on. It was just a clash of personalities. We sorted it   Taylor, the PFA’s chief executive, says. “It’s like in the film, The
out together. The incident didn’t help, but I loved every second      King’s Speech, where George VI’s father has no understanding
in Toulon and I get on well with all the players.”                    of the problems that he’s had. When Stan Collymore sought
                                                                      specialist treatment for his depression, Aston Villa wanted to
                                                                      sack him.
PFA tackles sensitive issue of mental                                     “A football dressing room is a bit like being in a barrack
health among footballers                                              room in the services ; it’s about not showing mental weakness.
                                                                      Players have to put on a show but it’s the ducks on the water;
                                                                      they might look calm on the surface but, underneath, they are
The Footballers’ Guidebook will be handed                             paddling furiously.
to every player in England’s top four                                     “We are trying to change things and create an atmosphere of
divisions next season                                                 solidarity ... not to make players with these problems the object
                                                                      of ridicule but to appreciate their qualities and to want to hold
David Hytner
                                                                      them together for the sake of the team.”
It is considered to be one of football’s last taboos, an issue            Mental-health problems affect one in six of the adult
that is not understood and is dismissed far too readily in the        population at any one time, including professional footballers,
machismo-filled dressing room, where weaknesses of any sort           and depression alone affects up to 50%, as well as every family
tend to be ridiculed. Professional players are not supposed to        at some stage. The guidebook outlines the factors that can lead
suffer from panic, anxiety, depression or any sort of mental-         to mental distress and places them in situations that will be
health problem. They are regarded as titans among men.                familiar to players. One of the most stressful, for example, is
    Yet the reality is that footballers display the same              contract-renewal time. Not every professional is on a long-term,
vulnerabilities as other young people and under the intense           multimillion-pound deal.
spotlight of the modern game it is natural and inevitable that            “For players in the lower leagues one-year contracts are
some of them will feel overwhelmed. The suicide in 2009 of            commonplace and this results in annual negotiations, which
the Hannover and Germany goalkeeper Robert Enke, who had              can be unsettling,” says Simone Pound, the PFA’s equality
been depressed since the death of his two-year-old daughter,          executive who has overseen the production of the guidebook.
Lara, from a rare heart condition, was an extreme example but         “This is such a big issue and one of the five sections of the book
it raised the issue of mental health [http://tinyurl.com/c7m6y4]      is devoted to it.”
in football and the authorities in England have now acted.                The overriding messages are the need to seek help,
    At the beginning of next season players in the four divisions     immediately and without fear, if any set of symptoms sounds
will be issued with The Footballers’ Guidebook, which looks           familiar and to recognise that mental health is just as important
at the stressful situations that professionals face and suggests      as physical health.
ways to handle them.                                                      “We hear little about the lows players feel when unfit to
    The concept was devised by the Professional Footballers’          play, the worry and anxiety that not being selected may cause
Association, in conjunction with the Football Association, and        them, or the depression and emptiness many of them face on
it has been brought to life not only by the author Susannah           retirement,” Gary Lewin, the England physiotherapist, says. “A
Strong but by Paul Trevillion, the legendary comic artist behind      number of players have needed help but not known it and that’s
the Observer’s You Are The Ref [http://tinyurl.com/ybyor5r],          why this guidebook is so welcome.”
whose strips within the 36-page booklet highlight various
scenarios, from the depression that an injury lay-off can cause
to the incomprehension and anger of retirement. Trevillion’s



                                                                        *
sketches reinforce the overall tone of the work, helping to make
a potentially heavy subject-matter accessible.
    “Talking about mental-health problems has traditionally
been one of sport’s great taboos,” Clarke Carlisle, the Burnley
defender and PFA chairman, says. “When the boxer Frank                  From Beirut to Big Brother, Murdoch to
Bruno was sectioned under the Mental Health Act, the press ran          Millionaire,
the headline ‘Bonkers Bruno locked up’ and, given this attitude,        discuss the hot topics in the media on
it is unsurprisingly very rare for sportsmen and sportswomen to         not one, but two blogs Organ Grinder and
‘come out’ about mental ill health voluntarily.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007                                                                         guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                        Thursday June 2 2011               22:34 GMT


Paul Collingwood’s comeback ends in                                   Senna – review
defeat for Durham by Warwickshire
                                                                      This inventive documentary is more like
Durham 151-3; Warwickshire 155-5                                      a live action drama on the fascinating,
Warwickshire win by five wickets                                      contradictory Brazilian, going beyond racing
Andy Wilson at the Riverside                                          Steve Rose

This was a comeback to test Paul Collingwood [http://tinyurl.         You don’t need to know, or care, about motor racing to enjoy
com/3ag5mn8]’s resolve to return to the county treadmill. In          Senna [http://tinyurl.com/3zqqtsc]. In sports-cinema terms, it’s
his first appearance for almost three months – during which he        closer to something like Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno’s
has had a serious knee operation, and been summarily dumped           Zidane than recent releases like TT3D or From the Ashes: an
as England’s t20 captain – the Shotley Bridge battler failed to       inventively crafted portrait of an exceptional individual. Yes,
make an impact with bat or ball, and hardly even contributed          we’re taken chronologically through the Brazilian driver’s
in the field as Durham [http://tinyurl.com/93fl97] were soundly       stellar track career, with team-mate Alain Prost as his Dick
thrashed.                                                             Dastardly-like arch-rival. But beneath the helmet, Ayrton Senna
    Collingwood came in at No4 in the 12th over, which                was a fascinating, contradictory mix of religious faith, boyish
represented an act of considerable faith in a man who had not         innocence, global celebrity and reckless determination; you
played since a failure at No8 in England’s World Cup defeat           couldn’t have made a film like this about Nigel Mansell. The
by Bangladesh in Chittagong on 11 March — especially as the           film’s masterstroke is its exclusive use of archive footage, with
new South African signing David Miller and the captain Dale           no visible talking heads or modern-day interruptions. With so
Benkenstein were doubtless itching for an innings on a glorious       much recorded footage of Formula One [http://tinyurl.com/
evening.                                                              4xcwav] available, it has been possible to fashion Senna’s story
    At least the burly Ian Blackwell was at the other end, which      as a live action drama rather than a posthumous documentary
ensured Collingwood’s knee would not be tested by any quick           [http://tinyurl.com/5vb94p]; we’re not so much hearing what
singles. As it was he scratched seven from nine balls before          happened in the past as seeing it happen before our eyes. The
hoicking Darren Maddy to long-on, where Will Porterfield took         immediacy of the approach is exhilarating and, as we approach
a simple catch.                                                       the inevitably tragic ending, undeniably emotional.
    Durham’s total always looked well short, especially after
Neil Carter had swept Graham Onions for six in the first over.
Collingwood fielded at cover point but had precious little to do      Sri Lanka remain down to earth about
and, until Benkenstein brought him on for the eighth over, his        threat of England’s pace attack
only real exertion had been caused by Warwickshire [http://
tinyurl.com/5hxb2c]’s mix of right- and left-handers, which
forced him into regular trots across the square.
                                                                      • Tourists concerned about form of
    He bowled reasonably well, floating the ball up, often            Sangakkara, Jayawardene • Ranatunga says
below 60mph, but the frustration continued. First an appeal           country’s president runs Sri Lanka Cricket
for a stumping was turned down after video review and in his          David Hopps
second over Collingwood should have had Porterfield caught
at wide long-off. But Mitch Claydon had wandered in from his          If Sri Lanka had noticed one of the more amusing newspaper
designated position, so the ball drifted out of his reach and over    graphics during their build-up to the Lord’s Test, they might
the boundary for six.                                                 have imagined that the game was already up. It showed a giant
    Collingwood gave way to Blackwell with suitably                   England fast bowling attack pounding in hostile deliveries
underwhelming figures of 2-0-15-0, and Porterfield batted on to       from about 10 feet in the air while the Sri Lankan batsmen were
83 from 53 balls. He was run out by Miller’s direct hit just before   estimated at “between 5ft and 5ft 3in.” Presumably that was
Rikki Clarke completed a five-wicket victory with 11 balls to         eye height. Not quite cowering, but you get the drift.
spare.                                                                    Few observers would back Sri Lanka to recover from 1-0
    Collingwood trotted back to the dressing room, his knee           down in the series after their capitulation in Cardiff on Monday.
having apparently suffered no reaction. In that regard alone          But they have enough proven international pedigree to be
perhaps it was not such a bad return. But he will hope for            wary of the quality of England’s fast-bowling attack, rather
greater involvement, and impact, when the comeback                    than obsess over its statistical claim to be the tallest trio in Test
continues at Worcester on Sunday.                                     history if it turns out that Steve Finn, and not Jade Dernbach,
                                                                      joins Stuart Broad and Chris Tremlett in the final XI.
                                                                          Tillakaratne Dilshan, the Sri Lanka captain, made light of his
                                                                      side’s task. His concern is not the size of England’s attack, but
                                                                      whether Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, his two
                                                                      most experienced and world-class batsmen, can find form.
                                                                          “If you are tall bowlers you can get bounce, but we can
                                                                      adjust quickly,” he said. “Sanga and Mahela are our two most
                                                                      experienced players and we are waiting for their form. If they

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007                                                                          guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                      Thursday June 2 2011             22:34 GMT

click, we have a good batting line-up. As a batting group we         Degen, Nabil El Zhar and Emiliano Insúa also remain on the
realise what went wrong in Cardiff. I think we relaxed a bit,        payroll.
knowing we had 51 overs to bat. Everyone thought we would               Liverpool must pay a final instalment of €5m (£4.4m) to
just bat and draw the match.”                                        Roma for Alberto Aquilani by the end of June and must decide
    Sri Lankan cricket has also been lambasted in the build-up       whether to accept a major loss on the Italian midfielder or bring
to Lord’s by Arjuna Ranatunga, Sri Lanka’s World Cup-winning         him back to Merseyside after a season’s loan to Juventus.
captain-turned-politician. Ranatunga told Lanka Independent             Juventus have offered only £6m for a player who will cost
that the president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, was meddling in               Liverpool a total of £17.6m, with Roma to receive 5% of any
cricketing decisions.                                                fee agreed, although the 26-year-old’s agent has insisted a
    “Politics has got into Sri Lanka Cricket and every single        compromise deal is possible. Franco Zavaglia said: “All season
decision is now being taken by President Rajapaksa,”                 Juventus have always given me the necessary guarantees that
Ranatunga claimed. “Once politics enters the game it cannot be       they want to keep Alberto. The next 24 hours will be decisive.
played as it should be played. Sri Lanka Cricket has become yet      Any eventual economic agreements will follow after Juventus
another government institution which has become politicized.”        make their decision. If Juventus can’t do a deal for Alberto and
                                                                     he has to return to Liverpool, then Milan would certainly be a
                                                                     destination that he would accept.”
Liverpool plan summer clearance sale
to fund top-quality signings
                                                                     The Queen’s Carlton House is on course
• Milan Jovanovic heads highly paid who                              to run in Epsom Derby
may leave Anfield • Approach is made for
Sunderland’s Jordan Henderson                                        • Colt comes through gallop with no
                                                                     injury concerns • Thirteen are declared for
Andy Hunter
                                                                     Saturday’s Classic
Liverpool [http://tinyurl.com/42nq4e]’s owner, Fenway Sports
                                                                     Chris Cook
Group, is anxious to rid the club’s wage bill of several expensive
transfer errors this summer to maximise Kenny Dalglish [http://      Carlton House [http://tinyurl.com/6bw8l3l] is expected to take
tinyurl.com/32s549h]’s budget for “highest quality” signings.        his chance in Saturday’s Derby, having apparently recovered
    FSG has sanctioned a substantial outlay on recruits at           from whatever caused the swollen joint he was found to have
Anfield, with an approach having been made for Sunderland’s          on Monday. The Queen [http://tinyurl.com/d5p7ab]’s horse was
Jordan Henderson and interest in the Aston Villa pair of Stewart     among 13 declared for the Classic at Friday’s final entry stage
Downing and Ashley Young expected to develop after their             after pleasing his connections in a piece of work on Newmarket
commitments with England. While FSG is willing to spend              Heath.
heavily on transfer fees it is, however, reluctant to increase           “I’m hopeful that we’re all on target,” said John Warren, the
an already inflated wage bill and wants several high-earning         racing advisor to the Queen, who was keeping in touch with
players to make way for the additions.                               the horse’s trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, by telephone. Warren
    Liverpool had the fourth-highest wage bill in the Premier        added that Thursday night was sure to be an anxious one, with
League in 2010 – £121m – but failed to qualify for the Champions     the possibility of bad news at any moment if the injury recurred
League next season and last. FSG inherited a host of financial       following the morning’s exercise.
burdens from the previous owners, Tom Hicks and George                   “But I don’t think that it’s like waiting for the baby to be
Gillett, and the former managers Rafael Benítez and Roy              born,” he said. “There’s not going to be a moment when I’m
Hodgson, and faces the dual problem of needing to improve            told the horse is definitely fine. We’ll just have to maintain a
Dalglish’s squad – “We want to get the highest quality of player     watching brief over the next two days and see what the horse
in that we can,” the Scot has said – while starting to comply        tells us or doesn’t tell us.”
with Uefa’s fair play regulations.                                       In the absence of renewed swelling, Carlton House is
    As John W Henry [http://tinyurl.com/33acyaa], the club’s         expected to do another piece of work on Friday morning.
principal owner, said recently: “The worst surprise [following           Warren said the colt had been “really good” on the gallops
FSG’s takeover last October] was the lack of depth in the squad.     on Thursday. “He’s never not been under tack, he’s never been
Our biggest concern in taking on this responsibility was this        lame, so I’m pretty hopeful.
issue and it was a bigger issue than we feared. There was a              “It’s like watching Andy Murray play with a twisted ankle
huge multi-year payroll for a squad that had very little quality     and doing mighty well. As with humans, some horses respond
depth.”                                                              quickly from something like this and some take longer. It’s a
    The free signings Joe Cole and Milan Jovanovic, for example,     day by day thing, even a minute by minute thing, as we watch
earn £100,000 and £120,000 a week at Liverpool respectively,         how the horse is responding, but at the moment he’s perfectly
although the latter’s astonishing salary includes a signing-on       settled.”
fee payable over the first 12 months of his contract. Cole made          Media interest in Carlton House’s wellbeing has been intense
nine Premier League starts last season and Jovanovic five. Paul      this week but Warren refused to complain. “I think the coverage
Konchesky, Christian Poulsen and Brad Jones, who cost £5m,           has been deserved because, aside from the fact that he’s owned
£4.5m and £2.3m respectively and were also part of a disastrous      by the Queen, there’s serious money at stake from a betting
transfer policy last summer, are surplus to requirements too but     point of view and we are respectful of that position.
are liable to deter potential suitors with their salaries. Philipp       “It might be that we get to Sunday and look back and think,
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007                                                                      guardian.co.uk
Page 10 G24 Sport                                                                       Thursday June 2 2011          22:34 GMT

what a lot of to-do about nothing, but it might also turn out to    further requests for an interview.
be something that’s detrimental to him running.”                        Dunlop could not be reached last night and no comment was
   There were no surprise withdrawals from the race and             offered by the Coolmore connections of Recital, who would find
Carlton House is once more established as the clear favourite,      themselves in the unenviable position of needing a new jockey
available at no better than 9-4 last night. He had been a 4-1       at a day’s notice if Araci were granted his injunction. Aidan
chance on Betfair at 7am.                                           O’Brien [http://tinyurl.com/kj87wg], the trainer of Recital,
   Four of Saturday’s 13 runners are trained by Aidan O’Brien,      booked Fallon to ride the horse in a trial race at Leopardstown
who was drawn into giving an assessment of his two most             last month with the specific aim of using the jockey again
obvious contenders during an interview on At The Races. “I          at Epsom, but the potential for conflict with Native Khan’s
suppose Seville was always a very solid-looking horse that you      connections was already clear.
would hope should have no problem getting a mile and a half,”           Carlton House is expected to take his chance in
he said of the 13-2 shot.                                           Saturday’srace, having apparently recovered from whatever
   Recital, who is marginally shorter at 5-1, was described by      caused the swollen joint he was found to have on Monday.
the Ballydoyle trainer as having more pace but an uncertain         The Queen’s horse was among 13 declared for the Classic at
amount of stamina. “We always thought Recital was very              Thursday’sfinal entry stage after pleasing his connections in a
brilliant. He has that kick of brilliance in him, that he would     piece of work on Newmarket Heath.
definitely get a mile and a quarter and you would have to take          “I’m hopeful that we’re all on target,” said John Warren, the
the rest on trust.”                                                 racing advisor to the Queen, who was keeping in touch with
   O’Brien’s other entrants, Memphis Tennessee and Treasure         the horse’s trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, by telephone. Warren
Beach, are both available at 28-1.                                  added that Thursday nightwas sure to be an anxious one, with
                                                                    the possibility of bad news at any moment if the injury recurred
                                                                    following the morning’s exercise.
Judge will rule if Kieren Fallon can ride                               “We’ll just have to maintain a watching brief over the next
Recital in Epsom Derby                                              two days and see what the horse tells us or doesn’t tell us,”
                                                                    Warred added. In the absence of renewed swelling, Carlton
                                                                    House is expected to do another piece of work on Friday
• Native Khan’s owners allege jockey broke                          morning.
contract • Rider claims there has been
innocent misunderstanding
Chris Cook at Sandown
                                                                    Norwich City agree deal with Millwall to
                                                                    sign Steve Morison of Wales
Kieren Fallon [http://tinyurl.com/klf5o4] may be prevented
from taking the ride on Recital in Saturday’sDerby by a legal
dispute with the owners of another runner in the race. The          • Steve Morison to discuss personal terms
sensational news broke on Thursday nightafter the jockey failed     with Norwich • Striker scored 17 goals for
to take his rides at Lingfield, when it emerged that he had spent   Millwall last season
much of the day in a London court.
                                                                    Press Association
    Ibrahim Araci, a Turkish industrialist, alleges that Fallon
is in breach of contract by refusing to ride his horse, Native      Norwich City [http://tinyurl.com/57uu49] have agreed terms
Khan, a 10-1 shot for the Epsom Classic, and seeks an injunction    with Millwall [http://tinyurl.com/3satzy] to sign the Wales
preventing the jockey from riding against him. Fallon is            striker Steve Morison. Morison scored 17 goals last season and is
unbeaten in two previous rides on the grey and was expected         close to completing a remarkable rise from non-league football
to ride him in the 2,000 Guineas last month until a suspension      to the Premier League [http://tinyurl.com/6yneax].
ruled him out of that race.                                             Morison started at Northampton Town before dropping
    The jockey sat on Native Khan during a pre-Derby press          out of the Football League, to play first with Bishop Stortford
event at Epsom last week, when the horse’s trainer, Ed Dunlop,      and then with Stevenage Borough. He scored heavily for both
was asked if there was a firm commitment from Fallon to ride        clubs before being signed by Millwall in May 2009 for a fee of
the horse this weekend. “As firm as Mr Fallon ever makes any        £130,000. How much his transfer value has increased has not
commitment,” Dunlop replied.                                        been revealed by Norwich, who have been given permission to
    But on Monday, Fallon confirmed that he had chosen instead      discuss personal terms with the 27-year-old. If such terms can
to ride Recital, who is 5-1 for the Derby [http://tinyurl.com/      be agreed, Morison will be the Canaries’ second signing since
2v8dr2t]. Native Khan will now be ridden by Johnny Murtagh,         they won promotion, following their acquisition of another
who, like Fallon, has won the race three times.                     forward, James Vaughan, from Everton.
    It is now clear that Araci is not content with obtaining the        The Millwall chief executive, Andy Ambler, said: “We
services of an alternative high-profile rider and intends to        have allowed Steve to talk to a Premier League club, having
prevent Fallon from riding against his horse, if he can. Fallon     negotiated a deal that has matched our valuation. It is now for
denies breach of contract and is reported to have told the court    Norwich and Steve to agree terms.”
that there had been an “innocent misunderstanding”.
    He arrived at the evening meeting here in time to take
his rides and pushed Norman Orpen to a narrow victory, but
offered no details of the case. Having told reporters that legal
considerations prevented him from commenting, he ignored
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007                                                                     guardian.co.uk

				
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