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BRADLEY WIGGINS

"is the first British winner of the Tour de France. "

 

 

 

davy_jones  Davy Jones, Manchester-born lead singer with 60s band The Monkees, has died aged 66, his publicist has confirmed.

 

He died in his sleep at his home in Florida. His publicist, Deborah Robicheau, said he had had a massive heart attack.

 

Brought together for a US TV series in 1966, Jones, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork hits included Daydream Believer and I'm a Believer.

 

Jones was married three times and had four daughters.

 

The Monkees' TV show was popular in both the US and the UK, and the band had four number one albums in a 13-month period.

 

They were famous for their clean-cut image and were marketed as the American answer to The Beatles, notching up nine top 40 hits.

 

 

 

 

 

gerard_smith  R.I.P. TV On The Radio bassist Gerard Smith died this week of lung cancer, the band said in an announcement on its website. He was 36.

Smith's death comes a little over a month after it was announced that he was battling the disease.

At the time, the band said Smith had health insurance, great medical care and had already seen "dramatic results." However, Smith was unable to join the band on tour as they promoted their last album, "Nine Types of Light."

In a recent interview, the rest of his bandmates declined to talk about his illness out of respect for Smith.

"We are very sad to announce the death of our beloved friend and bandmate, Gerard Smith, following a courageous fight against lung cancer," the band said on the website. "We will miss him terribly."

The band canceled its concerts for the next few days, starting in Detroit.

Smith had described himself as a subway performer in New York when he was recruited for the band, who have been hailed by critics for masterful albums like "Return to Cookie Mountain" and "Dear Science."

Smith recalled in a 2008 interview, how lead singer Tunde Adebimpe discovered him and added him to the band.

"I saw Tunde in the movie 'Jump Tomorrow' on IFC. And I was super addicted to film at that time. A year later, I was playing on the subway platform here, at the Bedford stop, and he kept giving me money. And then I was like, I
recognize this guy. Then it finally clicked, and I said, 'Dude you were in that movie! I loved that movie!' That film had meant a lot to me, especially because there was a black actor that wasn't in the ghetto, and there weren't a lot of politics," he said. "He was being a human being and not only a black actor. And that meant a lot to me."

In that same interview, Adebimpe told Smith: "What you were playing was just so far and above what was normally down there that I can't even describe it. I was just like, that dude's awesome."

Smith grew up in Long Island, N.Y., and studied fine arts in high school but would later abandon it.

"I had a difficult time, to say the least, toward the end of my fine arts career," he told L.A. Record in 2008. "I started to look around and see that I was one of the few — if not only — black fine arts students and I saw that again in the art world itself."

Smith didn't expect that his stint in TV on the Radio would have lasting meaning

"I just never took it seriously ... I never imagined that this would be a position that I would be in," he said in the same interview.

Smith told the blog the Pistola Press in 2009, after the band went on hiatus, he was planning to use his time off to spend time with his son and get better at his craft, but also to embrace life.

"Yeah, trying to get back what little bit of life I can and appreciate that ..." he said.

He and Adebimpe also scored the music for the 2010 documentary "The Lottery."

 

 

 

 

 

img3  Malcolm Allison, the coach who helped inspire Manchester City to great success in the late 1960s, has died at the age of 83.

Allison arrived at City in 1965 as assistant manager to Joe Mercer.

City went on to win the Second Division crown in 1966, the League title in 1968, FA Cup in 1969 and European Cup-Winners Cup and League Cup in 1970.

Allison managed 11 clubs at home and abroad, leading Sporting Lisbon to the Portuguese League and Cup in 1982.

He took charge of Crystal Palace on two separate occasions, and also had spells as manager of Bath, Plymouth, Galatasaray, Toronto City, Middlesbrough and Bristol Rovers.

During his playing days, Allison made more than 250 appearances at centre half for West Ham, before losing a lung as the result of tuberculosis in 1958.

"Big Mal" - as he was known - always had an eye for publicity, and was famed for the "Lucky Fedora" he wore during one of Crystal Palace's Cup runs and his love of cigars - but his later years were dogged by ill health.

 

 

 

img2  ALEX HIGGINS R.I.P.

 

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Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins, the 1972 and 1982 World Snooker Champion, a heavy smoker, was reportedly found dead in his flat in Belfast, aged 61 after a long battle against throat cancer.

 

Recent newspaper pictures showed a painfully thin Higgins in Spain after his hopes of having surgery to get new teeth had been dashed.


Higgins lost all his teeth during his cancer treatment but was not deemed fit enough to have the surgery.


The legendary Northern Ireland player had been suffering from throat cancer for more than a decade and he blamed his illness largely on the cigarette makers who sponsored his sport.

 

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His weight had reportedly plummeted to only seven stone as he had to have all his food pureed because eating in a normal fashion had become excruciating.


Friends of the controversial snooker legend had raised around £20,000 to enable Higgins to have the surgery in Spain.


However, he was deemed too frail to undergo the operation by the Spanish medics.

 

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Higgins was in the news in May after claiming that he had knowledge of at least four top players taking bribes to lose tournament matches.


The Northern Ireland legend also revealed that he turned down several big-money offers to throw games in his career.


Higgins, the world champion in 1972 and 1982, claimed Greek gamblers offered him £18,000 in 1979 to lose his Benson & Hedges Masters quarter-final against Perrie Mans and £20,000 to cheat at the Irish Masters in 1989 but rejected both.


Higgins was scheduled to appear in the new World Seniors Championship in November.


The Belfast man clinched his first World title in 1972 as he defeated John Spencer in the final and memorably repeated that triumph 10 years later at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield by beating Ray Reardon.


Higgins was also beaten in the 1976 and 1980 world finals while other triumphs included two Masters titles at Wembley.


He had frequent brushes with snooker's governing body - he once head-butted a tournament director - and his career suffered a downward spiral after being banned for an entire season following a threat to have his compatriot Dennis Taylor shot in 1990.


However, Taylor was among the first of many former players and others connected with the sport to pay tribute to Higgins, admitting: "There was just something about the way he played the game - there was a little bit of [John] McEnroe in there.


"I don't think you'll ever see a player in the game of snooker like the great Alex Higgins."

 

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BBC snooker commentator Philip Studd described Higgins as "snooker's original, troubled genius".


"Charismatic, flash, fast, unpredictable, combustible - you just couldn't take your eyes off the 'Hurricane'," the BBC commentator told Radio 5 live.


"While he could never match the consistency of Steve Davis or Stephen Hendry, Higgins on his day was the greatest of them all.


"He touched the heights in 1982 when he won his second world title.


"He pipped Jimmy White to the final thanks to a break still widely regarded as the finest ever made.


"His tears of triumph after beating Ray Reardon - wife and baby in arms - remains one of snooker's most iconic moments.


"Without Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins snooker would never have become one of the most popular television sports in the 1980s and beyond."

 

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Higgins was married twice and had two children with his second wife Lynn, whom he later divorced.


 

 

 

img1  Spain overcame the brutal fouling of the Dutch and always kept to their passing principles, to lift the 2010 World Cup Final. Now they are champions of Europe and the World, emulating West Germany in 72' & 74' and France in 98' & 2000. As fans of the 1970's, 1990's, Euro 2000 and even Euro 2008 Dutch sides, it was quite distressing to see the Dutch reverting to a 'win at all costs' attitude and game plan. In fact the greatest ever Dutch player Johan Cruyff had this to say about his 2010 countrymen, "Sadly, they played very dirty. This ugly, vulgar, hard, hermetic, hardly eye-catching, hardly football style...If with this they got satisfaction, fine, but they lost....it's anti-football"

 

 

 

 

img1  Malcolm McLaren, who has died aged 64, came to public attention in 1976 as the manager of the Sex Pistols, the punk band which he steered to fame and notoriety before their implosion barely two years later. The Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon commentated on the death of McLaren, "I'll miss him and so should you".

 

 

 

 

img1img30  Five backroom staff sacked by Portsmouth administrator Andrew Andronikou were back after Avram Grant and his players got together to pay their wages until the end of the season.

The £1,500 per player donation was England goalkeeper David James's idea and the first good off-field story for months from the cash-strapped club, which is doomed to relegation.

And Grant was determined to put his hand in his own pocket, despite being owed months of back-pay, so his squad could be prepared for title-chasing Chelsea's visit to Fratton Park.

'The players, me, the staff, everybody here has contributed,' said Grant. 'And I must say that we were all happy to do it. When a club drops the human side, that's the first step down to finishing as a club. Portsmouth existed before me and the players and will exist after. For me, these people are very important. They are not in the spotlight, but without these people you cannot succeed as a club.'

Grant had two kitmen, a masseur and an analyst back in action yesterday, along with long-time training ground manager Tug Wilson.

The 64-year-old former Royal Navy sailor said he was delighted to be back after attending a meeting at Fratton Park on Tuesday.

'You read a lot of bad things about footballers these days,' said Wilson. 'But what's happened here has been amazing.

'I know David James was behind it, but all of the players have been amazing, it's great to be back.

 

 

 

 

img4  Harry Carpenter R.I.P. The former BBC boxing commentator Harry Carpenter has died at the age of 84.

 

img1 Carpenter was the BBC's voice of boxing for almost half a century after joining the corporation in 1949, when he first began commentating on the sport.


img1  Known for his double act with British boxing great Frank Bruno, Carpenter also presented Sportsnight, Grandstand and Sports Personality of the Year.

 

He retired in 1994 and died in his sleep at King's College Hospital in London in the early hours of Saturday.

His lawyer David Wills said: "He had been unwell since last summer when he had a minor heart attack. The funeral has not been arranged but will be a family funeral, to be followed by a memorial service in London."


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Carpenter became closely identified with Frank Bruno, whose catchphrase "Know what I mean, 'arry?" featured in their post-fight interviews.

The former world heavyweight champion, 48, was said to be "very upset and shocked" by the death.

"He [Carpenter] was obviously part of Frank's up-and-coming career from the early days when Harry used to commentate, particularly at the Royal Albert Hall, on Frank's boxing," said a spokesman for Bruno.

"Then they became a bit of a double act with the 'Know what I mean, 'arry' thing. From there they went on to do appearances together almost like a little cabaret act."

He also referred to the moment during Bruno's world-title fight against Mike Tyson in 1989 - which the American won - when Carpenter forgot his impartiality for a moment and cried out: "Get in there, Frank."

"The most exciting time was probably the Tyson fight when even Harry Carpenter, who was quite a cool man, sort of lost his cool," the spokesman added.


Former world heavyweight champion George Foreman, who took part in the "Rumble in the Jungle" with Muhammad Ali in 1974 - which Carpenter covered - said the commentator brought style to the sport.

"We all knew if there was going to be some class in boxing, someone who really brought out boxing and the human being probably, it would be Harry - great Harry," Foreman told BBC Radio 5 live.

"We were all accustomed to boxing people bustling in and arguing. but Harry was a real classy human being. Always a good smile, sticking right to the point as though he wanted to give the public a bird's-eye view of the human being and of the boxer."


Former world heavyweight title challenger Sir Henry Cooper said Carpenter was "a lovely guy" who was "never flash".

He added: "If you were good then he'd give you a good write-up and if not, he told you one or two truths. I always enjoyed his company and enjoyed talking to him. And he knew the game."


Promoter Frank Maloney also paid tribute to Carpenter, describing him as "probably one of the greatest commentators of all time".

He added: "His voice was so distinctive and I remember all those Ali fights and Bruno fights he commentated on. It's like a piece of boxing history has been taken away."


And former world light-heavyweight champion John Conteh said Carpenter had an "outstanding passion" for boxing.

"We in this sport, including people like Muhammad Ali, can intuitively tell when someone loves boxing - and he was steeped in it," added Conteh.

"I remember watching and listening back to some of my fights that he commentated on and there was always constructive, not destructive, criticism from him."


Former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan also paid tribute to Carpenter, telling BBC Radio 5 live: "This guy was a legend. Harry Carpenter was an amazing man with an amazing voice."


Carpenter worked for the Greyhound Express and Daily Mail in the early years of his career before joining the BBC.

He commentated on major sporting events including Wimbledon and the Boat Race.

But it was as the public face - and voice - of the corporation's boxing coverage that he became best known.

One of his best-known pieces of commentary was at the end of the Rumble in the Jungle.

He labelled the end of the contest in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), which underdog Ali won by knockout in the eighth round to reclaim the world heavyweight crown at the age of 32 - as "the most extraordinary few seconds that I have ever seen in a boxing ring".

Of Ali himself, Carpenter said: "He is not only the most remarkable sports personality I have ever met, he is the most remarkable man I have ever met."

 

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Carpenter also had the privilege of presenting Ali with the BBC's Sports Personality of the Century award in 1999.

A year later, Carpenter recalled: "It was a wonderfully poignant moment. I was very flattered and pleased that I was asked to do the tribute to him. It was such a shame to see the old boy tottering about, but we had a chat afterwards and he is still very, very sharp. He remembers all those old days."

Carpenter was a regular Sports Personality of the Year co-host throughout the 1970s and 1980s, having first worked on the programme in 1958, and also covered a wide range of sports for the BBC, including rowing, tennis and golf.

His immediately recognisable, warm broadcasting style earned him plaudits outside the United Kingdom, too.

In 1989, he received American Sportscasters' Association and International Sportscaster of the Year awards.


Presenter Des Lynam added: "Harry never yelled or screamed - he was a great wordsmith. He was modest, humble and never starstruck. He travelled to Television Centre by tube. He will be very missed."


Tony Jeffries, Britain's light-heavyweight bronze medallist at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, said: "He was a brilliant man and his knowledge of boxing was second to none."


And former GB Boxing coach Terry Edwards said Carpenter and fellow commentator Reg Gutteridge, who died in January 2009, were "monumental people" in the sport.

He stated: "Their commentary was so great, detailed and passionate that you remember their voices as much as you remember the bout. If you were to ask me now who would take Carpenter's place, there is nobody who could truly take his place - not with the same passion and professionalism."

 

 

 

 

img02  Sachin Tendulkar creates history in becoming the first cricketer to smash an ODI double-ton in India's win over South Africa in the first ODI in Gwalior.

 

 

 

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Amy Williams won Britain's first solo Winter Olympics gold medal for 30 years with victory in the women's skeleton. The Bath slider, 27, broke her own track record on the way to Team GB's first medal of the Vancouver Games in a time of three minutes 35.64 seconds.

 

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img01  Dick Francis, a champion jockey for the British royal family who turned to writing crime fiction and helped launch an immensely popular sub-genre of mysteries set in the horse racing world, died February 14 at a home he kept in the Cayman Islands, aged 89. No cause of death was reported, but he had prostate cancer diagnosed in the mid-1990s.

 

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In a career spanning four decades and 42 novels, Dick Francis sold more than 60 million books. His protagonists, often former jockeys themselves, caromed through page-turning murder plots and ruthless kidnapping schemes. They endured impossibly excruciating torture but solved the mystery, nabbed the bad-guy and usually got the girl.

Reviewers said Mr. Francis captured the authentic smells, sounds and sights of the racetrack.

As a jockey in Britain after World War II, he won about 350 races during his nine-year career and was Champion Jockey of the 1953-54 season. His success led the Queen Mother to retain him as her jockey for the 1956 Grand National at Aintree, one of steeplechasing's top races.

Mr. Francis often said that if a mystery had not unfolded literally underneath his feet at the Grand National during the mid-1950s, he might have never started writing at all.

Known as one of the most challenging events for horse and man, the four-mile, 856-yard course is filled with tall jumps that if not cleared properly often lead to fatal crashes. Mr. Francis and his mount, Devon Loch, had survived the course and were in the lead strides away from the finish when the big, brown gelding suddenly collapsed in a heap. After the incident, the horse stood up, apparently uninjured and healthy.

 

 

 

 


 

img01  Rugby Union will never have a more evocative ambassador than Bill McLaren, who has died after a long illness at the age of 86. "His voice transcended his sport," said Gavin Hastings, the former Scotland and Lions captain, reflecting the esteem in which the much-loved BBC commentator was held around the world.

For a generation of TV viewers rugby just did not feel like rugby without Bill McLaren at the microphone. Above all he made it sound fun, his enthusiasm and lack of bias adding to his popularity. Every high ball came down with snow on it, every lock forward operated in somewhere called the boiler-house. Rare was the Scottish border town in which the inhabitants were not dancing in the streets at some stage in his 50-year broadcasting career.

Among the many warm tributes tonight one came from his fellow Scot Gordon Brown, the prime minister, who described McLaren as "a fixture of our national sporting life". The England team manager, Martin Johnson, called him "the iconic voice of rugby" and the Rugby Football Union's president, John Owen, praised his human qualities. "He was a man everybody thought of as their friend. It is unsurprising that the crowd sang For He's a Jolly Good Fellow at his last match as a commentator, for that is exactly what Bill was."

McLaren's broadcasting career began on hospital radio while he was recovering from the tuberculosis which almost killed him and cost him any chance of a cap for Scotland, for whom he had a trial as a flanker in 1947. A qualified PE teacher, he made his BBC radio debut in 1953, having spent his youth dreaming of a similar job: "I've still got the fictional reports I used to write when I was a wee boy of seven or eight. Scotland always won. They beat the world once by 70-3."

 

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He received an MBE, OBE and CBE for services to rugby and combined his meticulous work as a broadcaster with that of a PE teacher until 1987. He commentated on his final international in 2002 but was never prouder than when his son-in-law Alan Lawson scored two tries for Scotland against England at Murrayfield in 1976. Two of McLaren's grandchildren, the Gloucester and Scotland scrum-half Rory Lawson and Edinburgh's Jim Thompson, are current professional players.

More so even than the BBC's other doyens - Dan Maskell, Murray Walker, Peter Alliss, John Arlott and Peter O'Sullevan - he enjoyed an instinctive rapport with players of all ages. "Bill would come along and watch the team train on the Friday," recalled Gregor Townsend, the former Scotland fly-half. "If you were lucky he would give you a Hawick Ball [a minty sweet]. I'm a Gala man but Bill would always say to me I was his wife's favourite when he handed over the sweeties."

 

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The broadcaster, who once famously suggested that a player had "kicked that ball like it were three pounds o' haggis", will also be fondly remembered by Hastings, who shared a commentary box with McLaren. "One of the times I'll always remember he said: 'Now son, if you want to speak, just tug away at my coat.' I was keen to say something so I kept tugging away at his coat for what seemed like five minutes before he allowed me to speak. He got so into the game ... that was just the way he was."

 

 

 

 

 

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Kim Clijsters keeps up her remarkable tennis comeback by winning the Brisbane International Open, by beating her Belgian compatriot and rival Justine Henin, who was playing in her first tournament since coming out of retirement also. To top off Clijsters legend status, she then donates her winnings to a local childrens charity.

Clijsters' popularity has always been high in Australia but she won over even the hardest of hearts after claiming the Brisbane International tennis title. Clijsters, who beat Justine Henin in an epic three-set final on Saturday night, donated her $37,000 first prize to Brisbane's Royal Children's Hospital. The 26-year-old mother of one made the donation after being touched by the hardship of young cancer patients on a visit to the hospital a week before.

Clijsters said the children's struggles, and that of their families, had affected her deeply.

"It changes you, it stuck with me for days," she said. "It's terrible to see kids suffering. There were boys and girls Jada's age, 17 months and three years old, with brain tumours and everything. You wonder how it was possible for a young baby like that and it's not easy."

Formerly known as "Aussie Kim" when previously engaged to Lleyton Hewitt, Clijsters has kept in touch with some parents of the young patients leading up to her final.

She hoped her "small amount" would encourage others to support the public hospital.

"I thought what can I do? " she said. "It's run by donations and sponsors everything. It's a small amount but hopefully it can help other people and other people can see it that it's a good thing and hopefully other people can donate. Maybe in the long run it can really help."

 

 

 

 

 

img198  Barcelona secured a record sixth piece of silverware this season with a 2-1 extra-time victory over Estudiantes in the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi. Lionel Messi's 110th-minute goal capped a stunning comeback by Barca after they had trailed since the 39th minute. Mauro Bosselli gave Estudiantes the lead before substitute Pedro Rodriguez equalised with a minute to go. The Catalan side have also won La Liga, the Copa del Rey, Champions League and European and Spanish Super Cup titles.

 

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Eddie Izzard received a special award at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award, for his incredible run around the UK in aid of the 'Sport Relief' charity. Izzard ran an equivalent of 42 marathons in 52 days, which he finished at Trafalgar Square in September.

 

 

 

   

 

img2 Sir Bobby Robson has his memorial service.

 

 

Some of the biggest names in football and sport have paid their respects to former England manager Sir Bobby Robson at a service at Durham Cathedral.


Sir Bobby died on 31 July aged 76 following a long battle against cancer.


The service was live on TV and was also beamed to thousands in Ipswich town centre and at St James' Park in Newcastle.

 

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Gary Lineker said Sir Bobby was "gentlemanly, dignified and diplomatic, he never let his country down."

In his tribute, the former England striker said: "Bobby was not just a brilliant leader of men that brought the absolute best out of his players, but he was without question the single most enthusiastic and passionate man in football.

"He made you feel good about yourself and good about the game.

"He loved the game and the game loved him. He was a lion of a man, no, make that three lions."


Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said he was inspired to defer his retirement after advice from Sir Bobby.

 

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Sir Alex said: "It was not a question, it was a demand. 'You're not retiring are you?'.

"'Of course I'm not' (I said). Not after he'd said that."

He said people admired Sir Bobby's "courage, dignity and enthusiasm" and would "forever" remember his "little jig" when England scored a last minute winner against Belgium in the 1990 World Cup.

He said: "Friends have said to me you should never finish a eulogy with a cliche such a 'we'll never see his like again'... but we won't."Former Fulham player Tom Wilson recalled Sir Bobby's early playing days and his love for North East England.


Cancer specialist Dr Ruth Plummer spoke about the foundation set up in Sir Bobby's name, which has so far raised £1.8m.


Welsh soprano Katherine Jenkins sang Pie Jesu at the service, also attended by former England players including Paul Gascoigne, Terry Butcher, Alan Shearer, Bryan Robson, David Seaman, Stuart Pearce and Peter Beardsley.

 

Gazza and Lineker embrace

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                                                                             Shearer, Perace, El Tel, Seaman & Gazza contemplate how close we came in Euro 96

 

Graham Taylor, Terry Venables, Sven Goran Eriksson, Steve McClaren and Fabio Capello, who all managed England after Sir Bobby, were also there.

 

img4 Fabio tells Sven where he went wrong, while Graham Taylor whistles

 

Other famous footballing figures paying their respects among the 1,000-strong congregation were Bobby and Jack Charlton, Harry Redknapp, Sam Allardyce, David Moyes, Mick McCarthy, Don Howe, Roy Keane, Howard Wilkinson, Niall Quinn, Lawrie McMenemy, the current Newcastle Utd squad, Mick Mills, John Wark and Paul Mariner.

 

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Well-known figures from the North East who attended included TV presenters Ant & Dec, actors Tim Healy and Jimmy Nail, and athletes Steve Cram and Brendan Foster.


The service closed with Tenors Unlimited singing Nessun Dorma, the opera aria which was the BBC theme tune for Italia 90 and became synonymous with the England team's World Cup campaign.

 

After the memorial, Sir Bobby's son Andrew said he hoped the public service, which followed a private funeral last month, would help his family.

He said: "I think it was a final tribute to him and singing Nessun Dorma, which always will be associated with him, at the end of the service was very poignant."

 

 

Sir Bobby managed England from 1982 to 1990, taking the national side to the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico and reaching the semi-finals four years later.


Before that he had led Ipswich Town to FA Cup and Uefa Cup success.


Following his time with England he had spells in charge of PSV Eindhoven, Sporting Lisbon, Porto and Barcelona, before returning to England to manage Newcastle United.


His final coaching role was as an assistant to Steve Staunton - who was also at the service - with the Republic of Ireland.


Sir Bobby won the Dutch and Portuguese league titles and the European Cup Winners' Cup with Barcelona.


Barcelona president Joan Laporta was also at Durham Cathedral for the invitation-only event.

 

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Keith Floyd R.I.P.  img01  The first of the TV chefs and first of a kind. He made it not gay to cook!

 

 

 

Bon viveur Keith Floyd, the flamboyant television chef known for his enthusiastic if shambolic presenting style, trademark bow ties and ubiquitous glass of red wine, has died of a heart attack at 65. Floyd, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer in June, died at his partner's Dorset home.

 

 

img5 img2 img1 He might have been posh, but he could drink like a fish and swear like a fucking trucker!!

 

 

 

He shot to fame in the mid-Eighties with his globetrotting BBC television series 'Floyd On'... which saw him explore international cuisine.

 

Floyd originally worked as a cub reporter on the Bristol Evening Post before Michael Caine's role as a heroic British lieutenant in the 1964 film Zulu inspired him to go into the Army. He enlisted for the Royal Tank Regiment, where he pestered the mess cook to produce gourmet dinners. After three years he left to pursue a career in the catering industry and eventually opened his first restaurant, Floyd's Bistro in Bristol. He was just 22.

However, after setting up two more establishments he got into financial difficulties. He sold all three restaurants and moved to the south of France, where he started again with another bistro. His lack of business acumen proved his downfall there, too, and he was forced to return to England.

 

Back in Bristol, he opened yet another restaurant near the city's BBC studios - simply called 'Restaurant' because he had forfeited the rights to his own name when he sold his first restaurant - and it was now that he made his breakthrough. One of his regulars was the TV producer David Pritchard, who recognised the eccentric patron's potential. In 1984 he gave him his first TV series, 'Floyd on Fish'.

 

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Floyd's rows with his four ex-wives were as legendary as his culinary skills and his lack of business nous. He was declared bankrupt in 1996.

 

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Chef Marco Pierre White said Floyd had "inspired a nation" with his programmes. "He was a natural cook. But his very special talent was he could articulate himself and deliver inspiration with words. He spoke in a way that everybody could understand."

He added: "He was an individual, he was a maverick, he was mercurial, he was magical, he was special, he was rare."

 

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By coincidence, Channel 4 screened a documentary about Floyd this week, which showed him looking frail and using a walking stuck. In ‘Keith on Keith', the actor Keith Allen interviewed him at his French home. As he drank wine and chainsmoked, Floyd slated modern TV chefs as "a bunch of arseholes. Gordon Ramsay is on a celebrity zig-zag, they've all been seduced by TV."

 

 

 

 

 

 

England reclaim the Ashes at the Oval  img01

 

 

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How we rate our Ashes Legends:


Andrew Strauss - 8/10 - The skipper took a fair bit stick in the early part of the series, due to a lack of imagination in his captaincy, even being accused of making decisions from a 'Captain's Manual', but strong leadership at Lords and the Oval put pay any doubters.

Strauss ended up the Ashes leading run-scorer and one of only two English batsman who hit a ton. His quick thinking also managed to run-out Michael Clarke in the Aussies 2nd innings at the Oval. He also netted four catches from the slip-cordon.


Alistair Cook - 3/10 - Apart from his quickfire 95 at Lords, Cook should be ashamed of himself as he left his opening partner and captain, take all the responcibility of facing the new ball, continually getting out cheaply, wafting the ball to the Aussie slips.


Ravi Bopara - 2/10 - So much was expected of the flair stroke-player, but he was hopelessly exposed by the Aussie pace-attack, after looking good for five minutes before getting out. He deserves another chance, but maybe down the order.


Ian Bell - 4/10 - The Sherminator made a couple of decent knocks after replacing the injured Kevin Pietersen, but he always looked scratchy and living by the seat of his pants. However he deserves some credit for his braveness in taking the knocks to hang around in the crease.

 

Kevin Pietersen - 5/10 - A steady start from KP, but you could tell his dodgy achilles was giving him gip and couldn't cope with it much longer, which was also severly hampering his batting style and technique.


Paul Collingwood - 4/10 - A typical fighting innings from Colly in the 1st Test at Cardiff, helped save the day, but apart from from an easy half-century at Lords, it was all downhill from there.


Jonathan Trott - 7/10 - Only played one Test, but it was the crucial one and boy, what a performance he made, making a fluent 41 in his 1st innings and then a majestic 119 in the 2nd innings, marking his Test debut in some style!


Matt Prior - 7/10 - You can't say anymore about Prior's Ashes series, than say that not one person is talking about his glove-work anymore. Prior took some great catches (11) and an important stumping, to add to his classy aggressive batting, which at times made him look like our best batsman in the side.


Andrew Flintoff - 7/10 - A couple of decent knocks from Freddie, but it wad his bowling which was always on the money, especially in that final spell at Lords. Sometimes just his precence in the side lifts the whole England team and the English crowd. Flintoff's oustanding shye at the stumps to dismiss Ponting at the Oval was something nobody will ever forget.


Stuart Broad - 6/10 - Broad's mantle as the 'next Flintoff' looked way off the mark, until the final two Tests at Headingley and the Oval. By not trying to swing the ball and instead, bowling straight at the stumps, enabled him natural swing and create some devastating spells and batches of wickets. His batting also took on another level in these Tests, and somehow Freddie's retirement from Test cricket, now doesn't seem so alarming.


Graeme Swann - 8/10 - Swann has become a vital component of our batting line-up just as previous spinners like Ashley Giles and John Emburey also did in the past for England too. Maybe with Swann and Broad batting at 7 & 8 in the future, they can be as successful as Shane Warne and Brett Lee were for Australia.

Swann's right-hand off-spin was consistantly good and who can forget the 'Swann Dog' celebrating wrapping up the Aussie innings at Lords and the Oval.


James Anderson - 6/10 - At times, when the ball is not swinging, Anderson can look a bit punchless, but when the conditions are right, Jimmy looks like the best bowler in the world. He lacks Simon Jones natural aggression, but he really is an integral part of the England bowling attack.

His batting has come on in leaps and bounds and now looks like a real handful to get out.


Graham Onions - 6/10 - 'See above', but after looking outclassed in the 1st Test at Cardiff, Onions started to look like he really belonged at this level. We hope and believe Onions can become the new Matthew Hoggard for England.

Was very unlucky not to play at the Oval at the expense of Harmison, but it wasn't all bad, as Lily Allen, who watched four out of the five Tests, now wants some Onions on her fur-burger!


Monty Panesar - 4/10 - Monty only played in the 1st Test at Cardiff, and took the one wicket (though that was Ponting's prized scalp), but his last wicket stand with Anderson was just as important as anything else that happened in the five Tests, in getting England their hands on the little urn.


Steve Harmison - 5/10 - Apart from his opening spell at Headingley and his final spell at the Oval, it looked like Harmy was back to his previous couple of year's England form, where you just couldn't see where a top-order wicket was going to come from. But we were glad for the fella that he was there at the end to bask in the glory of reclaiming the Ashes.