QPR confirm Ilias Chair has signed a three-year deal at Championship side

19 Sep

Ilias Chair has signed a new three-year deal at Queens Park Rangers, the Championship side have announced.

talkSPORT.com revealed last week that the new contract had been agreed following positive talks with club hierarchy and Chair’s representatives, with the formalities of the deal ironed out since then.

Ilias Chair, right, has signed a new deal at QPR
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The Morocco Under-23 international, whose current deal was due to expire in the summer of 2020, joined the Hoops in January 2017 after impressing on trial.

Rangers have been keen to tie Chair down to a new-long term for some time, identifying this as one of their main priorities in their squad revamp.

Discussing the new deal, Chair said: “I am very pleased and very happy.

“I feel this is the start. In life when you do something and you get rewarded, you move onto the next thing, the next target.

“Now that I have signed this contract I am focused on the next one.”

Elsewhere, QPR remain in talks with Bright Oyasi-Samuel over extending his stay in west London.

Rangers have a one-year option clause activated in the 21-year-old’s current contract, but want to tie him down to a longer contract.

Oyasi-Samuel, who joined the Rs from Blackpool two years ago, has indicated he is happy to commit his future to the club.

QPR have made an impressive start to the 2019/20 under new boss Mark Warburton, lying seventh in the table with 13 points on the board already.

Blackburn sign former Tottenham midfielder Lewis Holtby on free transfer

19 Sep

Blackburn have signed former Tottenham midfielder Lewis Holtby on a free transfer.

The 29-year-old had been without a club since leaving Hamburg at the end of last season.

Lewis Holtby has Premier League experience with Tottenham
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Holtby made 42 appearances in a two-year spell with Tottenham, before permanently joining Hamburg in 2015 after a successful loan stint.

The Germany international, who signed a two-year deal at Ewood Park on Thursday, told the club’s website: “The people that I’ve got to know here, such as the gaffer, I can see that this is a club with ambition and a club that wants to get back to the Premier League.

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“For me, from now on, the aim is to show my best football to improve the team and myself. Hopefully we can get going to have a positive time together.

“I think the move took so long because it was a big decision to return to England. I’ve played at Hamburg, which was a really intensive time for me over the five years.

“After that, you try to figure out your personality, what you’re looking for and what you want to do.

“Coming back to England, with me being half-English, it was a very attractive proposition for me and playing in the Championship is a new and exciting challenge for me.”

Blackburn are 12th in the Championship, winning three of their opening seven games.

Stoke City fans first for football-related offences in 2018/19 season, while number of hate crimes at matches across England and Wales rose

19 Sep

The Home Office has revealed a drop of 10 per cent in football-related arrests for the 2018/19 season compared to the previous campaign, though hate crimes at matches have risen by 47 per cent.

The latest figures published on Thursday morning showed there were 1,381 football-related arrests in England and Wales last year.

Stoke City fans were the club with the highest number of football-related arrests across 2018/19
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The clubs with the highest number of arrests were Stoke (80), Leeds (49) and Aston Villa (42) according to the data.

Of the 1,381 arrests under Schedule 1 of the Football Spectators Act 1989, the most common types of offence were public disorder (38 per cent) and violent disorder (19 per cent).

The number of new football banning orders in force during 2018/19 increased by 19 per cent compared to the previous season.

Just under a third (31 per cent) of the total banning orders in force at August 1, 2019 were issued during the 2018/19 campaign, which for the purposes of the data covered the period August 1, 2018 to July 31, 2019.

There were 1,771 football banning orders in force on August 1, 2019, a decrease of three per cent compared to the same date in 2018, when 1,822 were in force.

The duration of a banning order can range from a minimum of three years up to a maximum of 10 years.

Stoke supporters were issued the highest number of new banning orders during the 2018/19 season with 46.

Their Staffordshire neighbours Port Vale were second on the list with 31.

Newcastle have the most banning orders in force overall at 71, eight fewer than in the previous season.

The statistics are supplied by the 43 police forces in England and Wales and British Transport Police (BTP) to the United Kingdom Football Policing Unit (UKFPU).

In addition to the 1,381 football-related arrests, a further 155 were made by BTP and there were 347 ‘other’ arrests at football matches which did not fall under Schedule 1 of the Football Spectators Act.

Supporters of Premier League sides Sheffield United (41), Manchester City (39) and Manchester United (36) were fourth, fifth and sixth respectively in the football-related arrests statistics for 2018/19.

Stoke statement

The Championship side explained they are working to help rid the game of anti-social behaviour

“The latest Home Office statistics do not make for pleasant reading, but to provide some context, 62 of the 80 arrests were as a result of anti-social behaviour that occurred both during and after the Checkatrade Trophy fixture against Port Vale in December 2018.

“Of the other 18 arrests, only five of those were made at home fixtures at the bet365 Stadium where, working in partnership with the police and authorities, we are continuing to do everything we can to try and eradicate anti-social behaviour from football.”

However, the number of matches where a hate crime was reported increased from 131 to 193 matches.

Of the 193 games, 79 per cent of the reported hate crime incidents related to race.

The Home Office report stated that some of the increase was likely due to improvements in recording.

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the National Police Chief’s Council Football Policing Lead said: “Home Office statistics show football disorder remains at concerning levels – over the past two seasons, incidents reported are at more than 1,000 fixtures, and worryingly, this is becoming the new normality.

“Interestingly, higher levels of disorder are being seen in the lower leagues, and this could be attributed to the fact there is often a reduced police presence.

“With the absence of police officers to witness and respond, we are reliant on supporters and other agencies to report matters to us, so there could be a lot that goes unreported. There is also a reluctance from the leagues to share safety officer’s reports with us at a national level.

“Notably there are a greater number of arrests made in the lower leagues, despite lower crowds, with four out of the five clubs with the most arrests from the Championship.

“This is also reflected in the fact that Grimsby Town, a League Two club, has the second-highest number of banning orders, rising from 50 to 61 over the past two seasons.

“A lower number of arrests in the Premier League is likely related to the fact these clubs have greater security measures in place, and a police presence at matches.”

DCC Roberts added: “Hate crime is also on the rise, and this reflects some of the high profile incidents reported over the past season.

“The 28 per cent increase in arrests by British Transport Police shows the levels of disorder away from the stadiums.

“We are committed to working with the leagues and clubs to tackle these issues but that will take a sustained focus on security from all concerned.”

Sol Campbell EXCLUSIVE: Arsenal legend opens up over ‘impossible’ Macclesfield Town job and says he is ‘hungry’ for another managerial role

19 Sep

Sol Campbell has revealed to talkSPORT the many reasons behind his departure as Macclesfield Town manager just four games into the new season.

Having waited a long time for his debut managerial role, the former England defender was appointed in charge of the Silkmen in November 2018.

He came in with the team seven points adrift to the foot of League Two and with the club struggling financially, and he performed a minor miracle to keep them in the Football League.

Sol Campbell did a remarkable job to keep Macclesfield in the Football League
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Under his stewardship, Macclesfield collected 31 points from 25 games and dramatically beat relegation on the final day of the season with a 1-1 draw with Cambridge United.

However, he left Moss Rose ‘amicably’ after just eight months as boss back in August, just four games into the new campaign, having battled four winding up orders during his short tenure.

And, having stayed virtually silent since his departure, Campbell has explained why, saying the club’s financial struggles and disorganisation behind the scenes made it ‘impossible’ for him to do his job.

He also confirmed reports that he and assistant Hermann Hreidarsson spent months waiting to be paid by the club, saying they were both practically ‘working for free’.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with talkSPORT’s James Savundra, he said: “I had a contract in place and did everything in that contract, I kept the team up, I represented the club in a proper way, with style and with hard work.

“I also changed the mentality of the playing side, their attitude towards games, I changed the personnel so the team was competitive and everybody was rocking and rolling in the right way.

“But behind that I had to keep the show going on.

“My family had a place to stay up there that was organised, but I had to pay for all that. I had to pay for my travel up and down and in the last five months I got paid once.

“On top of that, my assistant Hermann Hreidarsson came in for six weeks and his contract was not sorted out. It was verbally agreed but not sorted out – he was basically working for free.

“The wind up orders, the third training ground, software leases were running out, my analyst’s computer was gone, the camera for him to record games and even watch our own games back was far too old.

“In the end you can’t do your job anymore. It was like, what is going on?

“I was trying to do the right things, working hard, trying to keep the team together, I built a better team for less money than the last season and then in end I’m thinking, I’m not being appreciated at any level.”

Campbell says it was ‘impossible’ to do his job to his full potential at Macclesfield Town
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The former boss also said he hopes fans appreciate his commitment to the club, having seen the season through to keep them in the league when other managers might have bailed when the going got tough.

“I put everything into the job, I had to,” he added. “Some other guys just join and leave teams, but I couldn’t do that. I had to see it through, I had to show my mettle.

“Hopefully me sticking around and seeing it out when other managers may have bailed shows my commitment. Macclesfield stayed up and I gave them a better side for this season. I did everything in the contract.

“I would love to be there now, but it just got to the stage where it was impossible.

“We stayed up and it was a great feat what we did together as a squad and I’m really proud of that. Hopefully the fans are happy they’re in the league again.”


Sol Campbell on talkSPORT: Arsenal need to fix their midfield and sign a player like Milner or Parlour


On his future, Campbell made it clear he is ‘hungry’ for another chance in management and is ‘open to offers’ from clubs in England and abroad.

But after his experience at Macclesfield, he insisted he will be scrutinising any interested clubs as much as they might scrutinise him and his suitability for the job.

The two-time Premier League winner with Arsenal said: “I love football. I’m serious about football, it’s not a pastime, it’s all the time for me. I take it deadly seriously. I don’t muck around with football, it’s a serious game and I wasn’t to build another career.

“Even though it wasn’t plain sailing, of course I want to be involved in football. I’m ready now, I’m hungry.

Arsenal – 2001/02
Arsenal Invincible Campbell is ‘hungry’ for another management job after his baptism of fire at Macclesfield
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“Hopefully people have seen what I’m about. Hopefully something will happen and people have seen how I’ve conducted myself and how I’ve been humble and also seen the results, how I rebuilt a broken team and their spirit.

“I’d like to stay in England but I’m willing to take another challenge.

“I’d love to be managing higher, but the most important thing for me is the right club mentality, a club that has itself sorted out top to bottom and is ambitious but also realistic.

“As much as teams will scrutinise me, I have to do the same to them because I don’t want to be in the same scenario as last time.

“I’m open for offers, for sure.”

Listen back to talkSPORT’s exclusive interview with Sol Campbell IN FULL above

Former Burton Albion player Kelvin Maynard shot and killed in Amsterdam

19 Sep

Former Burton Albion defender Kelvin Maynard has been shot dead in Amsterdam.

The 32-year-old was fatally attacked by two men riding a motorbike while he was driving his car in the Langbroekdreef region of the Dutch capital.

Maynard made nine appearances for Burton during his spell in England
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Maynard attempted to escape the attack by driving towards a nearby fire station, according to De Telegraaf, but his vehicle hit the front of the building and he later died of his injuries.

Police are appealing for witnesses as they search for the two suspects.

“We can confirm that the fatal victim of the shooting incident on Langbroekdreef last night was 32-year-old Kelvin Maynard,” read a statement from Dutch police. “The investigation into his death is in full swing.”

Maynard played for Burton Albion from 2014-2016, having been signed by fellow countryman and then manager Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink from Antwerp.

The right-back helped Burton to win the League Two title during his first season at the club but injury ruled him out of action the following season.

Maynard returned to Holland in 2016 with SV Spakenburg and recently played for non-league Dutch club Alphense Boys.

Tottenham set to recall Jack Clarke from Leeds loan with youngster ‘fed up’ at being snubbed by Marcelo Bielsa

19 Sep

Tottenham are set to recall Jack Clarke from his loan spell at Leeds United.

The 18-year-old winger joined the Premier League club from Leeds in an £8.5million deal in July, but was immediately loaned back to Marcelo Bielsa’s side.

Jack Clarke is set to leave Leeds for a second time
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However, he has been restricted to just two appearances in cup games so far this season and is yet to play a single minute in the Championship.

Clarke has not made a matchday squad for a league match since August 10, with Bielsa only able to select five of the six loan players he has in his matchday squad.

Due to his lack of playing time, The Sun report Spurs will trigger a recall clause to cut the teenager’s loan spell in Yorkshire short.

Clarke made 25 appearances in a breakthrough 2018/19 season as the Whites lost to Derby in the play-off semi-final.

But fellow loanees Jack Harrison and Helder Costa are now ahead of him in the pecking order at Elland Road, and it looks unlikely he will see much action unless there are injuries.

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Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino had hoped Clarke would continue his progression under Bielsa, but that has not been the case.

The youngster is said to be ‘fed up’ at being snubbed by Bielsa and is now likely to return to Tottenham in January.

Clarke could well be loaned to another club when the transfer window reopens, with Pochettino not yet believing his ready to be part of Spurs’ first team squad.

Southend eye former Manchester United and Celtic striker Henrik Larsson for managerial role – reports

18 Sep

Southend want to appoint Henrik Larsson as their next manager, according to reports.

Kevin Bond resigned as Shrimpers boss earlier this month after losing all six of the club’s opening games in League One.

Larsson could take the reins at Roots Hall as Kevin Bond’s successor
AFP

Southend are yet to win in the league this season after eight attempts and are five points from safety.

The Daily Mail claim Larsson is on the club’s managerial wishlist as they hunt for Bond’s successor.

The former Manchester United and Celtic striker has only managed in his homeland of Sweden and is believed to be considering the Southend vacancy.

Helsingborgs were relegated under Larsson’s stewardship in 2016, and his son, Jordan, was attacked by the club’s supporters afterwards.

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Despite the unsavoury scenes, the 47-year-old returned to the club for a second spell earlier this year, but quit after just two months following online abuse he received.

Shoring up Southend’s leaky defence will be Larsson’s number one priority if he takes the job – no team has conceded more league goals (24) than the Shrimpers this season.

Larsson is a Celtic legend after scoring 242 goals in 313 games for the Scottish giants.

His outstanding form earned him a move to Barcelona in 2004, and he would later join Manchester United on loan three years later.

He netted three goals in 13 appearances for the Red Devils, becoming a cult hero despite his very short spell at Old Trafford.

Arsenal loanee Eddie Nketiah is ‘a complete player’, says Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa

15 Sep

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa has hailed Arsenal youngster Eddie Nketiah as ‘a complete player’.

The 20-year-old striker has scored four goals in six appearances since joining Leeds on loan last month.

Eddie Nketiah has made a blistering start to his Leeds career
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And his latest strike came in the Whites’ 2-0 win at Yorkshire rivals Barnsley on Sunday.

While comparing Nketiah to Patrick Bamford, who appeared unhappy after being replaced in the 70th minute, Bielsa said: “Eddie has different characteristics, and in a match like that he is a good option.

“Some players are involved (in play) a lot before creating chances. Nketiah is more involved at the end of the action but he has good characteristics to combine with his team-mates to give us these options.

Patrick Bamford was unhappy after being substituted for Eddie Nketiah in the 70th minute at Barnsley
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“He is a striker who can score goals. For me, he is a complete player.”

Nketiah is yet to start a Championship game with Bamford leading the line for Leeds.

Bamford has netted four league goals so far this season, but was denied three times by Barnsley goalkeeper Brad Collins.

Bielsa added: “He puts in a lot of effort to be in a good condition to score, and he had a lot of chances in this game.

“I tried to explain to him that he deserved a goal. He is a great centre-forward.”

Championship results: Leeds United go top with late win over Barnsley, Huddersfield lose to Sheffield Wednesday in battle of new managers

15 Sep

Eddie Nketiah was the super sub for Leeds United as his late header and Mateusz Klich’s penalty sealed a dramatic win over Barnsley to lift them to the top of the Championship.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side looked to be heading for a goalless draw, with striker Patrick Bamford kicking himself after missing a number of gilt-edged chances.

Mateusz Klich celebrates scoring the second Leeds goal against Barnsley from the penalty spot at Oakwell Stadium
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But the luckless number nine was replaced by Arsenal loanee Nketiah on 69 minutes and the substitute changed the game for the visitors.

The 20-year-old finally put Leeds in front with an instinctive finish from a set piece on 83 minutes, and then won a penalty for his side after he was felled in the area.

There was a three-player battle to take the spot kick, with Nketiah, Pablo Hernandez and Mateusz Klich all vying to take it. But captain Liam Cooper ran the length of the pitch to have his say and place the ball in the hands of designated taker Klich, who slotted in nonchalantly to wrap up the late three points.

It was a game wrought with frustration for the Whites, who didn’t dominate the game as they usually do. Barnsley worked hard to keep them at bay and produced good chances of their own, but their players were obviously tiring at the end.

It appeared Leeds would be left to rue their missed chances, with Bamford and Hernandez both going close before Nketiah came off the bench to settle the tie.

The win sees Leeds climb to the top of the Championship table, leapfrogging Swansea City on goal difference with 16 points.

Barnsley remain a place above relegation, again on goal difference, having yet to win a game this season.

It was another frustrating afternoon for Patrick Bamford, who could not add to his tally of four Leeds goals this season
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In the afternoon’s other clash, Huddersfield Town were beaten by Sheffield Wednesday in the battle of the new Yorkshire managers.

Danny Cowley with his brother and assistant Nicky could not guide the Terriers to their first win of the season as they lost 2-0 at home, as Garry Monk enjoyed a winning start in charge of the Owls.

Huddersfield have endured a miserable start to the season following their relegation from the Premier League, with Jan Siewert sacked on August 16 after claiming just one win in seven months as manager.

Garry Monk enjoyed a winning start to his career as Sheffield Wednesday manager
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And, although there were positives for new boss Cowley, that run continued as Steven Fletcher’s tenth-minute header and Sam Winnall’s first goal since December 2017 wrapped up the win for Wednesday.

Huddersfield remain second from bottom of the Championship with just one point from their first seven matches of the season.

Sheffield Wednesday moved back up into the top ten with their win at the John Smith’s Stadium taking them to 12 points, four points off the top of the table.

Results:

Barnsley 0-2 Leeds United

Huddersfield Town 0-2 Sheffield Wednesday

Championship results: Charlton and Swansea unbeaten starts comes to an end, 10-man Stoke lose to Bristol City

14 Sep

Charlton and Swansea saw their unbeaten starts to the Championship season come to an end on Saturday.

The Addicks were beaten 1-0 by Birmingham, whose match winner was 16-year-old Jude Bellingham as Valley boss Lee Bowyer was sent off late on, while the pressure continues to pile on Stoke boss Nathan Jones.

Steve Cooper’s Swansea fell to defeat against Nottingham Forest
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The Potters got off to the perfect start when Sam Clucas gave them a fourth-minute lead, however, their joy was shortlived after Joe Allen was given a straight red card for a poor challenge on Josh Brownhill.

And the man advantage paid dividends for the Robins, who secured the three points thanks to Famara Diedhiou’s strike and a Tom Edwards own goal in the second-half.

Meanwhile, Swansea suffered late heartache following Alfa Semedo’s 85th-minute strike in a smash and grab 1-0 win at the Liberty Stadium.

The slip-ups from Charlton and Swansea mean Leeds could return to the top of the Championship table if they beat Yorkshire rivals Barnsley on Sunday.

Here are all the results from the day’s action.

Results

Fulham 1-1 West Brom

Blackburn 2-0 Millwall

Charlton 0-1 Birmingham

Hull 2-2 Wigan

Middlesbrough 1-0 Reading

Preston 2-0 Brentford

QPR 3-2 Luton

Stoke 1-2 Bristol City

Swansea 0-1 Nottingham Forest