Matt Crossen had to learn how to walk and talk after a stroke. He kept going and now captains the England cerebral palsy team.
Sunday’s is the biggest Milan derby between the city’s (fallen?) giants since they were duking it out in the Champions League in the 2000s.
A reminder of last night’s red-hot Europa League action
Ryan Shawcross has had his Stoke contract terminated by mutual consent to bring an end to his 14 years with the club.
The 33-year-old made over 400 appearances for the Potters – most of them as captain – after arriving from Manchester United in 2007. In a club statement, Stoke said Shawcross had left “to allow him to pursue new playing opportunities in the United States”.
Stoke chief executive Tony Scholes said: “Ryan’s contribution to the club over the last 14 years simply cannot be under-estimated. His outstanding leadership and the consistency of his displays made him a talismanic figure for us.
“He has been an outstanding role-model, both on and off the pitch, and the way he applied himself in training and matches epitomised the city of Stoke-on-Trent – hard-working, committed and loyal.
“He feels the time is right to explore new opportunities and leaves with our very best wishes. I would like to take this opportunity to wish Ryan, his wife Kath and their family every success for the future – they will always be welcome at the bet365 Stadium.”
National League North and South season come to an end
News from last night:
National League North and South fixtures will cease with immediate effect after clubs voted in favour of the season being declared null and void. As the impact of the coronavirus pandemic continues to take its toll at the levels of the football pyramid below the EFL, clubs voted 24 to 19 in favour of the campaign being ended early, thereby satisfying the 51 per cent majority required for the resolution to be passed.
According to a statement, the National League board will take the outcome to the Football Association for ratification, where the issue of promotion and relegation will be discussed.
The majority of National League South clubs voted to continue the season (12-9) but it was a different story in National League North (7-15), resulting in the overall decision to scrap proceedings.
The National League season will continue as planned after 13 of its 23 clubs decided against declaring the season null and void.
Two clubs in that division are yet to cast votes but, with a majority decision already reached, the outcome cannot be affected.
The 66 clubs from the three divisions received a resolution from the league to decide the outcome of the season after learning 11million due to be offered as part of the Government’s Sports Winter Survival Package would be in the form of loans rather than grants.
Clubs were given 28 days to consider their positions and vote.
Fixtures in both the National League North and National League South were suspended for a two-week period last month amid the discontent over funding, before resuming early this month.
Let’s begin with 10 things.
The maintenance programme of having top-level football injected into your veins in lieu of bog all else to do continues apace. Recovered from the buzz of the Champions League and Europa League, the Premier League is back, though it’s actually only been two days since Manchester City confirmed their title with that 3-1 win at Everton. And those who watched it know that Burnley played Fulham in a fixture that made a micrometer screw gauge manual look like Jilly Cooper’s Riders.
So, what’s in store this weekend. There’s Friday night lights as entertainers Leeds take on non-entertainers Wolves at Molineux. It’s sad the fans won’t get to sidle down Piss Alley to catch that one. Saturday begins with off-form Southampton taking on very much on-form Chelsea, now flushed with the teutonic efficiency and vegan values of Thomas Tuchel. (Oh Frank!)
Burnley v West Brom is a battle of kindred spirits in Sean Dyche and Sam Allardyce, with Sam having out-tactic-ed Manchester United last week. Then comes the Merseyside derby in which bad blood flows after Virgil van Dijk’s felling by Jordan Pickford in their last meeting. Liverpool looked OK v Leipzig, and Everton didn’t actually look too bad when losing to City in midweek. The race for sixth place is on.
Then comes Fulham v Sheffield United, a battle of two teams who have played well of late without getting the results required to pull them anywhere close to being out of the relegation battle.
Sunday begins with the ‘chosen one’ in David Moyes getting the chance to put one over on José Mourinho and West Ham to exert their clear superiority over Tottenham. Then comes Aston Villa v Leicester, a battle of the quiffs in Jack Grealish v James Maddison, with Brendan’s boys looking good for second place, barring a collapse like last season. Manchester City v Arsenal sees the Premier League’s best two young players in Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka going head to head, barring a piece of Pep Guardiola jiggery pokery. The evening session is Manchester United, fresh off giving David Silva and Adnan Januzaj a good hiding, take on the often supine form of Newcastle.
And it all finishes on Monday – there’s actually a PL game on Tuesday too, of course there is – with that Eagles/Seagulls, Alan-Mullery-related derby that nobody else really understands with Brighton taking on Crystal Palace.
So, plenty to build up to.