What Sir Alex Ferguson told Andy Cole before he came

The forward had bagged 23 goals in all competitions so far that term and United needed to match Arsenal’s result at home to Aston Villa to win their fifth Premier League title. Cole and Dwight Yorke were first choice throughout the season but United had Newcastle United and Bayern Munich to come in the FA Cup Final and European Cup final respectively as Ferguson’s men looked to complete an unprecedented Treble. Ferguson called Cole into his office on the morning of the game to explain to him that he had been dropped and that his reward was that he would start both cup finals.

Though that was some consolation, Cole was still furious and argued that the Tottenham game was the biggest match of the three. However, being the master of the mind game that he was, Ferguson introduced Cole at half-time against Spurs with the scores level at 1-1 at Old Trafford and he told Cole in the dressing room that he would win United the league title. Speaking to Sky Sports about being dropped, Cole said: ‘You know the gaffer always said ‘there’s bigger games’ but I said ‘there can’t be a bigger game than the last game of the season that you have to win’. ‘But he was always thinking about the next game so that was one of the reasons that he left me out. ‘[Before I came on] The gaffer just said to me ‘Coley you’ll win us the game, get on, you’ll win us the game’.

Cole, of course, scored the all-important third goal of the game just minutes after coming on when he collected Gary Neville’s pass to lob an exquisite effort over Ian Walker. The victory handed United the first trophy in their pursuit of the Treble and they registered two wins in the next eight days to become the first English side in history to accomplish the feat.

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Scottish Premiership cancelled due to coronavirus

The final SPL standings were determined by points per game, with Hearts relegated from the top flight.

A decision was made at a board meeting on Monday after the 12 clubs agreed completing the season was unfeasible.

The points per game system saw just one change to the league table, with St Johnstone rising above Hibernian into sixth place.

Celtic were 13 points clear of second-placed Rangers, having played a game more, before the season was suspended.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: ‘The focus will now turn to how we get football up and running again safely as soon as possible.

‘Nobody should be under any illusion as to how complicated and difficult a challenge it will be to return Scottish football to normality.’

Visit our live blog for the latest updates: Coronavirus news live

Hearts were four points adrift of Hamilton Academical at the bottom of the table.

The Tynecastle club could potentially be handed a reprieve after chair Ann Budge was given approval to work on a proposal for temporary league reconstruction – a move that would see the top flight expanded.

Scottish football chiefs received a letter of assurance from Uefa that an early finish to the season would not see them forfeit European places.

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Alex Song has admitted he left Arsenal for Barcelona

The 32-year-old spent seven seasons with the Gunners, making over 200 appearances for the north London club. Song made the switch to Barca for £15 million in the summer of 2012, but only played 65 times for the Spanish club in four years. The Cameroon international confessed that he was careless with his spending during his time at Arsenal, and when Barcelona offered him a mega-money contract, he didn’t hesitate for a second.

‘Most footballers live beyond their means. I was at Arsenal for eight years but only began to earn a good living in the last four,’ Song said in an Instagram live video with Pascal Siakam. ‘That was because my salary went up a lot – but also because I came to realise what a waster I was. ‘When I first joined them I was getting £15,000 a week. I was a young lad, and I was ecstatic. ‘I wanted to rub shoulders with the big boys. I could shop wherever I wanted and have crazy nights out.

‘I would go to training and see Thierry Henry – the King – turn up in an absolute gem of a car. I told myself I wanted the same car at all costs. ‘I went to the dealership, signed the papers and arranged to pay for it by standing order – and just like that I had the same car as The King. ‘But I swear that I had to hand the car back inside two months. All my money was going on filling it with petrol. ‘I told them, ‘Give me a Toyota – this car’s too much for me’. ‘When I next went to training Thierry asked me, ‘Where’s your car, son?’ I told him it’s on a higher level than me. ‘During my entire time at Arsenal I couldn’t even save £100,000, while people thought I must be a millionaire.

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The thing I miss the most is the spontaneity to move around

I am trying to keep myself updated, too. In Germany, the situation is completely different, and their decisions are not the same. It’s interesting. I think it’s necessary to be informed about what is happening.

It’s getting better in Spain. The mortality rate has peaked, and now it’s going down. I hope that trend continues. I hope people respect the restrictions of each of the four phases that have been established in the country so we can return to normality soon.

We have definitely learned a lot about ourselves. There are many negatives, but this situation has also taught us things that maybe we will now reflect on. People realise how well-connected the world is, and that maybe it’s not normal to fly from one point to another all the time. It’s a luxury. Maybe we didn’t appreciate that as we should.

I am curious to see how people behave with each other when the restrictions are lifted, too. Will they shake hands? Will they try to avoid direct contact? Maybe they will at the beginning, but in the long-term? I am not a fan of shaking hands. I can also be respectful and nice to people by saying hello and looking at them. In Spain, for example, it’s very normal to kiss each other on each cheek as a greeting. People are very close to each other when they communicate. Maybe this will change. I don’t know. Nobody knows how life will be post-coronavirus, but I am curious to find out.

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We have fresh fruit and vegetables delivered every Thursday

Spain has been hit particularly hard. We weren’t allowed to leave the house for almost eight weeks, with restrictions now finally beginning to be lifted, but you can’t look at things from a negative point of view. These circumstances make us value the things that are really important.

As well as reading books and rewatching La Casa de Papel (“Money Heist,” on Netflix) for a second time (my wife hadn’t seen it!), cooking is taking up a lot of my time. My wife and I are making fresh food and looking for new recipes every day. We have made some really nice meals, like a lentil dal we cooked the other day. Whoa! That was amazing. Maybe a bit heavy, but it was really good.

Ben is super easy. It’s great. He’s growing so fast, and it’s so nice to be with him. You are able see so many things when you are with him every day. He’s very active with his hands, feet and eyes, following and reacting to everything. It’s funny because just as we’re keeping an eye on him, it’s like he’s keeping an eye on us. When he is sleeping during the day, it becomes a game of quickly checking the emails and messages you need to reply to. I must admit, I can be disorganised when it comes to sending replies. And if Ben’s asking for attention, I try to be with him as much as possible.

For me, that’s meant being able to throw myself into fatherhood. My son Ben is 4 months old. My wife, Dani, would wake up with him in the night most of the time when I had training or a game the next day. She was definitely lacking more sleep than me! But in lockdown, it’s been different. We can alternate.

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We carried on training as normal until March 13

Over 1,100 players and officials tested negative for the virus at the end of April and everyone entering the stadium had temperatures taken. Anyone not on the pitch or warming up also had to wear masks at all times. Most managed to do just that with some snazzy club-branded protective equipment on display, but there were times when it slipped.

We were travelling to Napoli at the end of February to play a Champions League game when things began to happen. There had already been coronavirus cases in the north of Italy and we had our temperatures taken when we arrived in the country: We were all OK. In general, the mood was still that the pandemic we find ourselves in now was quite far away. Little did we know, it was right on our doorstep.

The virus was uncontrollable. It soon arrived in Spain. People got scared, but nobody expected a situation like the one we are experiencing now.

Two weeks later, on March 7, we played Real Sociedad at Camp Nou. The following week, La Liga was suspended. Nobody expected it to happen that fast, but the league made the right decision to stop playing football. There were already people dying.

Coaches had talked of how difficult it was in preseason friendlies to get their instructions across to players during a game while masked, and there were occasions when masks were lifted. Not all substitutes wore the masks correctly at all times, but overall, it worked pretty well.

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The latest players linked with a move to Newcastle

Newcastle are also ready to join the race for the PSG striker, who is soon to be out of contract. Atletico Madrid, Boca Juniors, Flamengo and Palmeiras are also said to be keen (Footmercato, April 26); Newcastle have been linked with a move for the PSG forward among a host of big-name players (Newcastle Chronicle, May 10)

Newcastle’s new-found financial power under their new owners could convince Koulibaly to join the club (Daily Star, May 8); Newcastle have opened talks with Napoli over the defender also linked with Manchester United and Manchester City – but he would cost in the region of £70m (Footmercato, April 26)

Newcastle will make a move for the 32-year-old Belgian midfielder, who currently plays for Cagliari on loan from Inter Milan (Calciomercato, April 27)

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England Euro 96 song lyrics, meaning’上海夜总会’s Coming Home’ anthem

‘It’s Coming Home’ has become a slogan and call to arms for England fans.

The line was born over 20 years ago and has somehow managed to endure the ravages of numerous failed campaigns to come forth once more and give hope to a new generation of English football supporters.

The song from which it is derived is called ‘Three Lions’, which was resurrected for World Cup 2018 and continues to be sung with gusto by England fans across the world.

It went straight to number one on the UK Singles Chart and enjoyed two weeks at the summit during the course of the tournament.

The single was the lead track on the official Euro ’96 album ‘The Beautiful Game’, which also featured songs from Jamiroquai, Massive Attack and Blur, as well as a remixed version of New Order’s classic ‘World In Motion’, which was the official England song for the 1990 World Cup.

Three Lions was the product of a collaboration between comedy duo Frank Skinner and David Baddiel and Ian Broudie’s band The Lightning Seeds.

Baddiel and Skinner, who were the presenters of a television show ‘Fantasy Football League’ at the time, wrote the lyrics, with Broudie coming up with the melody and accompanying music.

Following the song’s release, Skinner explained its origins in an interview with the BBC : “Somebody phoned us up and asked us ‘how would you like to do the official England single for the European Championships?’ And obviously we said yes. We got very excited… and bingo!”

The pair each began their careers as stand-up comedians and were separately prominent on a variety of British television shows before working together on joint projects, such as the aforementioned Fantasy Football League. The ITV show ‘Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned’ was another popular collaboration, which ran for five seasons on ITV in the early 2000s.

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Antetokounmpo isn’t ranked in the 2020 ESPN 100

A round-robin stage of four games would be followed by playoffs consisting of quarterfinals, semifinals and finals, which will determine the league champion and the important automatic berth for next season’s Euroleague, the continent’s preeminent competition.

The Euroleague has also announced tentative plans for a July 4-26 tournament without spectators to be held at a central location. It will include playing out the remaining 54 regular-season games followed by single-elimination quarterfinals, semifinals and a final. That tournament also awaits the approval of public health authorities and local governments.

The Euroleague set a deadline of May 24 to decide the fate of its season and that of the secondary EuroCup league, which would hold its own tournament July 4-17.

Hill started 25 of 30 games for the Bruins under first-year coach Mick Cronin last season, averaging 9.0 points and a team-leading 6.9 rebounds.

The NBA board of governors on Friday voted to postpone two May events set for Chicago — the draft lottery and draft combine. The league hasn’t yet voted to delay the NBA draft on June 25, but there is an increasing belief that it’s just a matter of time, sources said.

There are no imminent plans to make a decision on the calendar, and this discussion will continue, sources said.

As the uncertainty around the pandemic continues, the NBA is anticipating a number of potential obstacles to immediately returning fans to its arenas in the coming months and year.

Other European domestic competitions, such as the Spanish ACB and the Israeli Super League, have plans for similar tournaments. While some of the top competitions, such as the VTB United League, Italy, Lithuania and Greece have canceled their seasons, the outcomes of the French, Turkish and Adriatic leagues remain undecided.

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With the NBA in limbo in the midst of its 74th season

Kerr knows the questions will continue as the documentary comes to a conclusion over the next couple of weeks. He understands the interest surrounding that final Jordan-led Bulls team, but he admits that some of the old storylines, like the scuffle with Jordan, have not been as fun to remember.

“We’re getting into the second three-peat,” Kerr said of the documentary. “And some of the more personal aspects and stories. And that part is, I have mixed emotions about it. On the one hand I’m really happy that this stuff is archived. I’m happy my kids get to see footage from when they were just toddlers or not even born yet. And for them to see what my life was like back then is really cool.

“On the other hand, there’s a reason that this kind of project is not done more often. It’s very private. It’s a behind-the-scenes look and most coaches will stick to that policy of the locker room being sacred and that was such a unique season and a unique time that that decision was made to allow for that. It’s different. It’s really different.”

“I think everybody’s fascinated by it but when you’re part of a team sometimes you want some of that stuff to stay private,” Kerr said. “But again, that was kind of the bargain that was struck. We would allow this camera group behind the scenes and we’d have that season documented and it was ‘the last dance,’ and now here we are 22 years later and it’s opening up a time capsule or something.”

“I think this documentary is giving you a pretty good glimpse inside his life and how different his life was as a player and that probably affected his life ever since,” Kerr said. “He’s very, very private … we might run into each other once a year or so at maybe a golf tournament or All-Star Weekend or maybe in Charlotte when we play and he’s always great and it’s fun to see each other and we relive a few old times and then just move on.

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