16-02-2019 Gordon Banks on ‘the greatest save ever made’ – video obituary

England’s World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks has died at the age of 81. Banks played 73 times for England and was a key figure in Sir Alf Ramsey’s legendary 1966 side. However it’s Banks’s twisting save from Brazilian superstar Pelé that he is often best remembered for, a save deemed ‘one of the greatest feats of goalkeeping’Gordon Banks, World Cup winner with England in 1966, dies aged 81 Continue reading...

16-02-2019 Harry Wilson: ‘Ian Rush phoned. I thought what do I call him? Ian? Rushy?’

The Liverpool winger, on loan at Derby, talks about that five-fingered goal celebration at Manchester United and his surprise Wales debut at 16In October 2013, Harry Wilson was having a lie-in, watching television in bed in academy digs in Eccleston, round the corner from Liverpool’s academy in Kirkby, when his phone rang again. He had already missed a couple of calls from an unknown number. “I don’t usually answer them but something told me to answer it, so I answered it and it was Ian Rush,” Wilson explains, smiling. “He was like: ‘Hiya Harry, it’s Ian Rush.’ I was like: ‘What do I call him? Do I call him Ian? Do I call him Rushy?’ I didn’t really know what to call him.” Related: FA Cup fifth round: 10 things to look out for this weekend Continue reading...

16-02-2019 Caster Semenya gets government backing in IAAF testosterone row

• Minister calls proposed limits a ‘violation of human rights’• Double Olympic champion takes her fight to Cas on MondayThe South African government has thrown its weight behind Caster Semenya in her legal battle with world athletics’ governing body, the IAAF, declaring its proposed testosterone limit for women “a gross violation of human rights”.The double Olympic and three-times world 800m champion takes her fight against the IAAF to the court of arbitration for sport (Cas) in Lausanne on Monday. Continue reading...

16-02-2019 Genesis Open: JB Holmes leads from Jordan Spieth after rain-delayed opening

JB Holmes leads the Genesis Open by one shot from fellow American Jordan Spieth after the first round was completed on Friday.

16-02-2019 Mark Wood: ‘You almost feel like a superhero … you’re absolutely flying’

England fast bowler was thrilled to make an explosive impact in the third Test against West Indies after years of frustrationWhat is it like to bowl at 95mph? For Mark Wood, whose scorching return to England’s Test team sent everyone a bit gaga in St Lucia, the answer is wonderfully simple: “You almost feel like a superhero. I’ve been playing Mario Kart recently and yeah, it’s like when you get a magic mushroom and you’re just absolutely flying.”It will come as little surprise to learn Wood is still glowing from victory in the third Test against West Indies and his maiden five-wicket haul. The 29-year-old sat down for a chat this week and, in that inimitable Ashington twang, his delight at finally becoming a match-winner shone through. Continue reading...

16-02-2019 Calm, alert and brave, Gordon Banks was the ideal goalkeeper for any age | Richard Williams

For a while, as the 60s bled into the 70s, Gordon Banks, who has died at the age of 81, was accepted as the finest goalkeeper in the worldNot all of the 11 players who won the World Cup for England in 1966 would claim he was the best in his position the country has ever produced. Two or three might have a good shout, but the one over whom there could be no dissent was Gordon Banks.He was, in short, the ideal goalkeeper for any age. Calm but ever alert, organising his defenders, watching his angles, plucking the ball out of the air, anticipating what a forward with the ball at his feet might do next, as brave as a lion in an era when strikers had a licence to intimidate, his qualities were beyond dispute. Continue reading...

16-02-2019 Eric Harrison, the man to whom the Class of ‘92 owe it all

The Manchester United youth coach turned talented youngsters into household names and ‘good human beings’Originally they were called Fergie’s Fledglings, then the Class of ’92, though it was fitting that Eric Harrison’s death at the age of 81 led everyone at Manchester United to acknowledge where the credit for a remarkable generation was due.“Eric we owe you everything,” Gary Neville said. “We’ve lost our mentor, our coach and the man who made us. He taught us how to play, to never give up and how important it was to win your individual battles.” Continue reading...

16-02-2019 Bloodied Tom Curry channels spirit of Terry Butcher to stake England claim

The 20-year-old flanker has quickly become a vital part of the team and now looks forward to testing himself against WalesPerhaps it should not be surprising Tom Curry did not know who Terry Butcher is. It is a sure-fire way to make one feel old, yes, but not really a shock considering Curry was born almost a decade after Butcher’s blood-soaked heroics earned his place in English sporting legend. At 20 Curry is the youngest member of the England squad, as such responsible for keeping his teammates’ drinks topped up, and he has a way to go to earn legend status. But the early signs bode well. And he has already had his bloody Butcher moment – his face covered in claret during England’s thumping win over France last Sunday. “I thought I was just sweating,” says Curry. “Then it came up on the big screens and the whole crowd went: ‘Oooh.’”As with most things Curry took it in his stride and he is matter of fact about how it happened: “I think I just head-butted the full-back.” Rather, it was his mum, Susanne, who was more concerned. “My mum’s tears had dried up [after the game] I think! Everyone was surprised how small [the scar] was, given how much blood there was. [My mum] was asking me on Tuesday night if my head was all right but everything was fine.” Continue reading...

16-02-2019 Étienne Capoue’s strike for Watford leaves QPR to rue missed chances

Queens Park Rangers had to wait for this moment. Their previous appearance in the FA Cup fifth round had come at Wimbledon in 1997 and it is doubtful whether any club has since endured a more dismal record in the competition. The London club had won only four ties – each of them in the third round – before this season.Rangers promised to fight and they made light of a run of five consecutive Championship defeats that has sucked them down to 18th in the table to give their Premier League opponents a scare. Continue reading...

16-02-2019 David Squires on … Chelsea's humiliation at Manchester City

Our resident cartoonist on Maurizio Sarri’s dismay, Mike Dean and a man trying to wear trousers as a jumperTake a look through David’s archive of cartoons Continue reading...

16-02-2019 Is Tottenham's run of 30 league games without a draw a record? | The Knowledge

Plus: Old Trafford’s mysterious semi-final snub, back-to-back penalty misses and unused subs. Mail us or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU“Tottenham have currently played 30 consecutive Premier League games without drawing one,” notes Wouter van Dael. “What is the longest ever such league run?”The short answer is that Spurs are Premier League record-breakers, Wouter, but only just. “Bolton previously held this title with a run of 28 games between March and December 2011,” writes James Clarke. “But in the wider context of English league history, Spurs have a long way to go yet. Twenty-nine clubs have had longer streaks without a draw at some point – and seven have gone more than 40 consecutive league games without a stalemate: Birmingham (43 games), Walsall (44), Leicester (44), Bradford Park Avenue (44), Stoke (46), Sunderland (46) and Aston Villa (51). Although it is probably worth noting that Sunderland’s is the most recent of these, coming comparatively recently in 1908-09. The slightly interesting quirk here is that five of these seven draw-less clubs are midlands teams.Season 2017-1830 Apr Spurs 2-0 Watford5 May West Brom 1-0 Spurs9 May Spurs 1-0 Newcastle13 May Spurs 5-4 Leicester Continue reading...

16-02-2019 The Spin | Sheer pace is sheer bliss though fast bowlers often blow hot and cold

Mark Wood’s Sunday spell in St Lucia was a refreshing reminder of how pace bowling turns a slow game into a fast oneThere are certain words that are crying out to have “sheer” in front of them. Sheer bliss. Sheer lunacy. Sheer pace.In cricket, sheer pace is sheer bliss, as long as it’s on your side. In St Lucia on Sunday evening England, who had been blown away in the first two Tests by a resurgent West Indies attack, finally produced a riposte. Mark Wood came on after 20 overs, when the game is inclined to nod off, and suddenly every delivery carried an electric charge. Bowling to Shai Hope, Wood beat the bat outside off stump with his first ball, and his second, and his third. The fourth was a bouncer, which Hope wisely ducked. The little box on the screen that clocks the bowler’s speed showed 145kph, or 90mph. A stiff breeze was helping, but then Wood, so often kept off the field by a dodgy ankle, deserved a fair wind. Continue reading...

16-02-2019 Caster Semenya: South African government calls on world to fight against IAAF rule

South African Caster Semenya has been "targeted" by athletics' governing body, the IAAF, according to her country's sports minister

16-02-2019 Laura Muir has her sights on 1988 indoor mile record in Birmingham

• Kirsty Wade’s indoor mile Birtish record has stood for 31 years• Muir to defend her 1500m and 3,000m indoor titles next monthShortly after Laura Muir first broke into the British team in 2014 she received an unexpected request from the Scottish middle distance legend Kirsty Wade. “We think Laura has something special,” she wrote in a long email via her husband. “And we would love to see her name in front of mine in the rankings over the next few years.” Related: Laura Muir: ‘I don’t like taking anything. I don’t even drink coffee’ Continue reading...

16-02-2019 Sportswashing and the tangled web of Europe's biggest clubs

Governments wield power over many Champions League clubs and the ties that bind owners, sponsors and Uefa are strikingThe game is about glory, a wise man once said. For many years it has been about money, too. Right now an updated version of Danny Blanchflower’s famous quote would point out something else: that the game is also about politics and placement, about soft power, about presenting a face to the world.As the Champions League knockout stage kicks in, this element of Big Football is primed once again to take the main stage, the executive arm of a sport that has never looked so tangled. Continue reading...

16-02-2019 Matti Nykänen, the Flying Finn who fell so far, so fast | Andy Bull

The ski-jumper, who won five Olympic medals, had an otherworldly talent but not the sense, or support, he needed to cope with the fame it won himMatti Nykänen used to fly so far, so fast that it felt as if he would never come down. When the Finn broke the world ski jump record for the fifth, and final, time at Planica in 1985 he was moving so quickly that the cameraman struggled to track him through the air.Watching the footage you wonder if he might disappear into the yonder off the far side of the screen. In those days, the mid-1980s, Nykänen was the best ski jumper in the world and almost unbeatable. The records were the least of it. He won five world titles, five Olympic medals, including three golds in one Games, and four World Cups. Continue reading...