What is the smallest football ground a European champion has lost at? | The Knowledge

16-12-2018 Plus: the longest delay for any new stadium in history and the worst goal difference you can get away with and still qualify in the Champions League. Mail us or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU“Real Madrid recently lost 3-0 to Eibar in a stadium that holds just 7,000 people,” begins Robin Tucker. “That got me thinking: have any former European champions lost a competitive match in a smaller stadium? This would be only counting results after their first European success, so games such as Liverpool’s 1959 defeat to Worcester City would not count.”A fine question, but it’s not even the smallest stadium a former European champion has lost in this season. The 1986 winners Steaua Bucharest, now snappily known as FCSB, have suffered plenty of turmoil recently, including a defeat earlier this month to Sepsi OSK. That was in front of an estimated 2,500 at the 5,200-capacity Stadionul Municipal. Continue reading...

Gareth Farrelly: ‘It was a toxic, bullying culture for young players at Aston Villa’

16-12-2018 Midfielder turned lawyer claims coach Kevin MacDonald left a ‘dark shadow’ over players at Villa and says it drove him to suicidal thoughts“It was a culture of verbal and physical bullying, but there were no checks and balances; he operated with impunity … It was like a dark shadow came over.”Gareth Farrelly, now 43 and a qualified lawyer, with a Premier League and international career behind him, is recalling the bullying he says he endured as a young player at Aston Villa in the 1990s from the coach Kevin MacDonald. It was a “relentlessly negative” regime under him. Continue reading...

BBC Sports Personality of the Year: who should win five top awards? | Observer writers

16-12-2018 Our writers offer their choices for the highest honours at the prestigious ceremony, from Ronnie O’Sullivan to Tracey NevilleRonnie O’Sullivan has been winning for 25 years now: five world championships, seven Masters and seven UK titles, the latest of them this month. His 19th major victory means he has overtaken Stephen Hendry and become the most successful player in snooker history. Continue reading...

Watford hold on for nervy home win after Cardiff’s frenetic fightback

16-12-2018 This was a good win for Watford. Such was the harum-scarum nature of the closing stages, however, that a moment’s reflection was needed in order to be sure. After dominating possession and storming to a 3-0 lead with some sumptuous goals, they almost threw it away in the last 10 minutes. The final moments saw the hosts clinging on to the result, keeping the ball by the corner flag.The time-wasting made Neil Warnock chuckle afterwards and once again his Cardiff side had rattled loftier opponents. Junior Hoilett and Bobby Reid both scored in the last 10 minutes to make the result close but even the Cardiff manager had to admit it was closer than it should have been. “We thought we would try and contain them and then have a go in the last half-hour,” he said. “But you don’t legislate for losing two or three goals by that point.” Continue reading...

Jamie Lawrence: ‘One minute I’m in jail, the next on TV with Sunderland’

16-12-2018 The former Premier League winger is stepping back into jails to help prisoners and working with young players ‘to change their whole outlook on life’For a man whose slogan is “Prison to Premiership” it was a tense moment for Jamie Lawrence to find himself outside Brixton prison on a crisp winter’s morning, preparing to go back inside. He was here as a teenager, PN 2991LAWRENCE. He trots out his prison number, thinks about the boy he was then, the circumstances that allowed crime to seem like the easier option. Now 48, he braced himself to step back into his former life hoping he might strike some kind of chord with the prisoners of today. Whatever talks and workshops are on offer to them, not many can look them in the eye and level with them in the way he can.He half smiles as he explains that these days he gets cleared by security. “Normally I was going in the sweat box before I was going in,” he says wryly. “It was nice to go through the gate. I got introduced to the boys. I was nervous as hell. There were 12 prisoners in a little room. I started sharing my story, from being in prison to getting out and turning my life around and playing in the Premiership and for my country. We challenged them with a few things about what they are going to do on release. ‘How can you not reoffend?’ That is so, so important. Continue reading...

'It's right for the team': Steve Hansen steps down as All Blacks coach – video

16-12-2018 After 14 years Steve Hansen has called time on coaching New Zealand. The 59-year-old announced that he will be stepping down after the World Cup in Japan next year, saying that it was time for 'a fresh pair of eyes'. The All Blacks have lost only eight of 96 Tests under Hansen, a win ratio of 89%.  Continue reading...

Sport on the BBC: Best of this week's TV & radio coverage

16-12-2018 This week's sport on the BBC includes European rugby union, Carabao Cup quarter-finals, Olympia Horse Show and Sports Personality of the Year.

World sport: 10 photos we liked this week - 22-28 October

16-12-2018 A selection of the most striking sports photographs from around the world this week.

Sterling’s racism ordeal was ugly but the reaction has been positive | Eni Aluko

16-12-2018 Fallout from the Manchester City forward’s complaint about the media scrutiny black players face has been hearteningThis week could be a eureka moment for football. Most of the reaction to Raheem Sterling’s claims that parts of the media have racially biased agendas has been very positive. It feels like a genuine step forward is being made and that Sterling has managed to turn something outrageous into a catalyst for long, overdue change. Related: If every racist at football was silenced stadiums would still be full of racists | John Barnes Continue reading...

Hockey Men's World Cup 2018: England thrashed by Belgium in semi-finals

16-12-2018 England lose a third straight men's Hockey World Cup semi-final as they are thrashed 6-0 by Belgium in India.

Manchester City 3-1 Everton: Pep Guardiola relived to win 'dangerous, dangerous' game

16-12-2018 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is delighted after seeing his side head back to the top of the Premier League table after a 3-1 win over a "dangerous" Everton side.

Salomón Rondon seals precious points for Newcastle at Huddersfield

16-12-2018 Newcastle spluttered at first but, after finding rhythm in the second half, produced the best move of the match. That work led to a fine goal for Solomón Rondón and another three precious points on the road.They have earned 10 of their 16 Premier League points this season away from St James’s Park, largely thanks to the sort of efficiency that they eventually showed here against hosts who dominated possession but, as so often, lacked sharpness when it mattered most. Continue reading...

BHA forced to row back on chief executive’s comments on whip use

16-12-2018 • Nick Rust commented on discussions not yet taken place• The New One retires as Brain Power wins the dayRacing’s ruling body found itself in the embarrassing position of having to row back on comments made this week by its own chief executive, Nick Rust, on the highly emotive subject of whip use. Rust told a BBC journalist that “a new structure for penalties and deterrents for overuse of the whip” would be announced next month, when in fact initial discussions on any such change have not even begun.Mere hours after Rust’s comments were published on Friday night, the BHA confirmed it had not yet broached the subject. “We are in a position to consider how to progress this issue,” it said in a statement, adding that its review of fatalities at Cheltenham had to be completed before the whip review could start. Privately officials concede that Rust had spoken wildly out of turn and it is understood he made a contrite phone call to Paul Struthers, his opposite number at the Professional Jockeys Association, in an attempt to smooth things over. Continue reading...

Hamilton would be world champion in a Mercedes or a Ferrari - Palmer column

16-12-2018 In his latest column, former Renault driver Jolyon Palmer looks at the brilliance of five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Scottish Open: Mark Allen 'doesn't deserve to be in final' after 'disrespecting' tournament

16-12-2018 Mark Allen says he has reached the Scottish Open final despite "disrespecting the event" with a week of too much drinking.

Harry Kane tipped for BBC’s top gong but history may point to a surprise | Sean Ingle

16-12-2018 The England striker is favourite to win Sports Personality of the Year but footballers do not have a great record in the eventEver since England reached the semi-finals of the World Cup, Harry Kane has been a smouldering favourite for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. The Spurs striker has already won the golden boot. No wonder many believe he is a shoo-in to lift the famous silver-plated trophy of a four-turret lens camera engraved with many legends of British sport.Yet history reminds us that footballers and Spoty do not always mix. For while 18 track and field stars have walked away with the award in its 64-year history – with Formula One drivers claiming it seven times and tennis players six – footballers have done so on only five occasions. Continue reading...

GB claim Madison silver at Track Cycling World Cup in London

16-12-2018 Great Britain claimed a silver medal in the men's Madison on the second day of the Track Cycling World Cup in London.