Newcastle United hand ‘perfect fit’ manager Eddie Howe new long-term deal

Newcastle United hand ‘perfect fit’ manager Eddie Howe new long-term deal
Newcastle United’s owners have declared Eddie Howe as ‘the perfect fit’ after the Magpies’ head coach put pen to paper on a new long-term deal. (Reuters/File)
Short Url
Updated 05 August 2022

Newcastle United hand ‘perfect fit’ manager Eddie Howe new long-term deal

Newcastle United hand ‘perfect fit’ manager Eddie Howe new long-term deal
  • Howe himself has his sights set on success at St. James’ Park with trophies in his eyeline
  • The news comes on the eve of Newcastle’s first Premier League game of the season against Nottingham Forest on Tyneside on Saturday

NEWCASTLE: Newcastle United’s owners have declared Eddie Howe as ‘the perfect fit’ after the Magpies’ head coach put pen to paper on a new long-term deal.
And Howe himself has his sights set on success at St. James’ Park with trophies in his eyeline.
On Friday, United confirmed the former Bournemouth and Burnley boss, appointed to the job last November, has extended his deal at the club, taking it past the end date of his previous contract, which was due to run out in the summer of 2024.
The news comes on the eve of Newcastle’s first Premier League game of the season against Nottingham Forest on Tyneside on Saturday, a level United looked set to miss out on after Howe took over a team winless in 12 games.
But a remarkable run at the back end of last season, recording six wins in the last eight, saw Howe’s side pull away from relegation trouble — still a very real prospect in February — and finish 11th in the Premier League table.
And the 44-year-old has been rewarded with a new deal as a result. A club statement confirming the news read: “Newcastle United are delighted to confirm that head coach Eddie Howe has signed a new long-term contract at St. James’ Park.
Howe joined the Magpies in November 2021, shortly after a takeover of the club by an investment group comprising PIF, PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media.
“The team was still pursuing its first Premier League win of the season at the time of Howe’s arrival, however he guided United to 11th place during the 2021/22 campaign, finishing 14 points clear of the bottom three and just two points off the top ten.
“An unbeaten run in February 2022 also saw Howe officially voted the Barclays Manager of the Month, earning him the award for the fourth time in his career.”
Reacting to the news, Howe said: “It’s a great feeling to commit my future to this incredible club. I’m extremely proud to be the head coach of Newcastle United and have enjoyed every moment here.
“I’d like to take the opportunity to acknowledge my coaching team, the players, staff and supporters. They make it a very special place to be every day.
“I’d also like to extend my gratitude to our owners and to Dan Ashworth. We are still at the start of our journey, but this is an exciting time to be a part of Newcastle United and I’m very excited about the future together.”
What that future looks like in Howe’s eyes is very clear — he wants silverware on Tyneside, something not done since Fairs Cup glory in 1969.
Speaking ahead of the Forest clash from the club’s Benton training base, Howe said: “If I sat here and said I didn’t want to win a trophy, in my position, there would be something wrong with me.
“That is my dream — to win silverware, trophies, and cup competitions. And I think I have to dream big on behalf of the club.
“That’s not saying we are going to do it. We have to work hard to get there. Every day I am pushing the staff and the players to try and make that dream a reality.”
Howe, seen by many as a potential successor to Gareth Southgate in the England hotseat, has been lauded by club sporting director Dan Ashworth, who took a lead role in the new deal negotiations.
Ashworth said: “I’m delighted Eddie has committed his long-term future to Newcastle United. He is an incredibly talented leader and has had a huge impact since being appointed in November.
“In the short period of time I have worked with him, I have seen how much of a diligent, detailed, hard-working coach and leader he is.
“This is great news for the club and I am looking forward to working with Eddie and our colleagues on our exciting journey ahead.”
The club’s shareholders, headed by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, said: “We are excited to have secured Eddie’s long-term future. He is a young, dynamic and ambitious coach who fits Newcastle United well; we look forward to working with him and supporting him as we strive toward achieving long-term success.”


Quintana denies use of banned drug after Tour de France disqualification

Quintana denies use of banned drug after Tour de France disqualification
Updated 18 August 2022

Quintana denies use of banned drug after Tour de France disqualification

Quintana denies use of banned drug after Tour de France disqualification
  • Tramadol is only banned in competition and while Quintana has been disqualified from the Tour after testing positive for the substance on both July 8 and 13, he will not be banned from future races

PARIS: Colombian Nairo Quintana on Wednesday denied taking a banned pain medication after he was retrospectively disqualified from this year’s Tour de France over a positive tramadol test result.

Former two-time runner-up Quintana, 32, finished sixth overall in the race that ended on July 24.

The pain medication has been on a list of International Cycling Union (UCI) prohibited substances since 2019.

“I know nothing about the use of this substance and deny ever having used it in my career,” Quintana, who is due to take part in the Vuelta a Espana beginning on Friday in the Netherlands, said in a statement published to Twitter.

“With my team of lawyers we are exhausting all avenues to mount my defense.”

Tramadol is only banned in competition and while Quintana has been disqualified from the Tour after testing positive for the substance on both July 8 and 13, he will not be banned from future races.

The UCI said Quintana “has been sanctioned for an infringement of the in-competition ban on using tramadol... with the aim of protecting the safety and health of riders in light of the side-effects of this substance.”

The governing body added that “the analyzes of two dried blood samples... revealed the presence of tramadol and its two main metabolites.”

Quintana has 10 days to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the UCI said.

“As this is a first offense, Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas is not declared ineligible and can therefore participate in competitions,” it added.

Quintana’s Arkea-Samsic team said they were aware of the decision but would “make no further comment.”

The team did not say whether Quintana would still take part in the Vuelta but the Grand Tour’s race director, Javier Guillen told Spanish news agency EFE that he “can start the race, according to the rules.” 

“The rider and the team will decide what they are going to do,” added Guillen.

On Tuesday, the Breton outfit announced Quintana had signed a contract extension until 2025.

Quintana was the first Colombian to win a Grand Tour when he claimed Giro d’Italia glory in 2014 before adding a Vuelta triumph two years later.

Although he never won the Tour, he was an inspiration to many more Colombian cyclists that came after him, such as Egan Bernal who in 2019 became his country’s first winner of the world’s most prestigious race.


LeBron James inks 2-year, $97.1 million deal with Lakers

LeBron James inks 2-year, $97.1 million deal with Lakers
Updated 18 August 2022

LeBron James inks 2-year, $97.1 million deal with Lakers

LeBron James inks 2-year, $97.1 million deal with Lakers
  • The new deal means the 18-time All-Star will make $46.7 million this season
  • James’ recommitment to the Lakers also silences persistent talk of his possible departure as a free agent or in a trade

LOS ANGELES: LeBron James has agreed to a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension through the 2024-25 season with the Los Angeles Lakers, his agent announced Wednesday.

Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul said the league-maximum deal makes James the highest-paid player in NBA history. His new deal includes a player option that would keep the second-leading scorer in NBA history with the Lakers past his 40th birthday in December 2024.

The 37-year-old James is headed into the final year of his most recent contract with the Lakers, who signed the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player and four-time league champion in July 2018. The new deal means the 18-time All-Star will make $46.7 million this season.

Barring injury, James is likely to surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s career scoring king this winter. James and the Lakers also still hope to be in contention for another title if James and Anthony Davis can return at full health after an injury-plagued 2021-22 ended without a playoff appearance.

James’ new deal syncs with Davis’ most recent contract extension with the Lakers, allowing both to leave the Lakers or to negotiate new deals in 2024. Both superstars are represented by Klutch.

James’ recommitment to the Lakers also silences persistent talk of his possible departure as a free agent or in a trade. James hasn’t appeared to be going anywhere on social media or in his public appearances, and he praised the hiring of new Lakers coach Darvin Ham.

James has missed significant portions of the season due to injury in three of his four years with the Lakers. He was largely healthy in the elongated 2019-20 season when the Lakers won the franchise’s 17th NBA title in the Florida bubble, and he has been every bit the dominant player of his prime when at full strength in the ensuing two years.

Although his contract status inspired plenty of offseason chatter, James seemed unlikely to relocate after spending the past four seasons of his 19-year career with the storied Lakers. His family is settled in Los Angeles, where his eldest son, Bronny, is a 17-year-old senior and college basketball prospect playing at Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth.

James has occasionally said he intends to play on the same team with Bronny when his son reaches the NBA. Although plenty of obstacles remain between the younger James and the NBA, he could be draft-eligible in the summer of 2024.


Billionaire Ratcliffe interested in buying Manchester United — source

Billionaire Ratcliffe interested in buying Manchester United — source
Updated 17 August 2022

Billionaire Ratcliffe interested in buying Manchester United — source

Billionaire Ratcliffe interested in buying Manchester United — source
  • The club's owners, the American Glazer family, are under pressure with United sitting bottom of the Premier League after two games of the season
  • Bloomberg reported they would consider selling a minority stake, opening the door for Ratcliffe

DUBAI: British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe is interested in buying Manchester United, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters after Elon Musk said his plan to buy the Premier League club was all part of “a long-running joke.”
Musk, the world’s richest person, said on Tuesday night on Twitter that he wanted to buy England’s most successful club before clarifying that it was a joke and that he had no interest in purchasing any sports teams.
The club’s owners, the American Glazer family, are under pressure with United sitting bottom of the Premier League after two games of the season. Bloomberg reported they would consider selling a minority stake, opening the door for Ratcliffe.
A source close to Ratcliffe said the billionaire was a potential buyer as he wants to help rebuild the team. The Times first reported Ratcliffe’s interest on Wednesday.
It is unclear if the interest would result in any deals. The Glazer family is not ready to concede the controlling stake in Manchester United and has an expectation of valuing the club at more than double its current market cap of $2.2 billion, another source said.
In May 2022, Chelsea Football Club was sold to a consortium led by an investment group led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital for $3.2 billion (2.5 billion pounds).
The Glazers have been the target of intense criticism for their failure to invest in the team who have not won a trophy in five years. United’s net debt had grown 11 percent to about 496 million pounds ($598 million) by the end of March.
The owners have also been criticized for not improving the Old Trafford stadium, the biggest club ground in the country with a capacity of around 75,000 fans.
Ratcliffe, head of chemical company INEOS, is from the Manchester area and a long-standing United fan.
Ratcliffe failed this year in an attempt to buy London club Chelsea which was ultimately bought by an investment group led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital.
United finished sixth last season in their worst Premier League campaign with respect to points earned, failing to qualify for the lucrative European Champions League.
They won the last of their record 20 top-flight league titles in 2013, the year Alex Ferguson stepped down as manager after more than 26 years in charge.
The club hired manager Erik ten Hag from Ajax Amsterdam in a bid to turn around their fortunes but the Dutchman has not yet succeeded in imposing his playing style, with United losing their opening two games after conceding six goals.
United play their arch-rivals Liverpool, who scored nine times without reply in their two league meetings last season, at Old Trafford on Monday.
Shares of Manchester United jumped 6.96 percent on Wednesday.


Usyk and Joshua get ready to rumble in Jeddah

Usyk and Joshua get ready to rumble in Jeddah
Updated 17 August 2022

Usyk and Joshua get ready to rumble in Jeddah

Usyk and Joshua get ready to rumble in Jeddah
  • Eddie Hearn: This is the unified world heavyweight title between two greats of boxing; it doesn’t get any bigger than that
  • Anthony Joshua: It’s a ‘must-win’ fight; preparations have been tough, but I like the pressure

JEDDAH: The increasing anticipation ahead of this weekend’s blockbuster World Heavyweight Championship rematch between Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua scaled new heights in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Wednesday evening. The traditional fight week press conference culminated with the ‘Rage on the Red Sea’ headliners facing off for the world’s media and VIPs in attendance.

With only three days to go before the reigning unified world heavyweight champion Usyk battles former two-time champion Joshua for the second time, the fighters and their teams topped the bill as a capacity crowd inside the coastal city’s Shangri-La Hotel and millions more tuning in from around the globe watched on.

Matchroom Sport Chairman Eddie Hearn, who led the press conference proceedings, said: “This is the unified world heavyweight title between two greats of boxing. It doesn’t get any bigger than that. Oleksandr Usyk; an Olympic gold medallist, the pound-for-pound number one, former undisputed cruiserweight, and current unified heavyweight champion.

“Anthony Joshua; also, an Olympic gold medallist, became heavyweight champion in his 16th fight, unified the division in front of 90,000 people in his 19th fight, and has changed the face of the sport around the world. Two tremendous fighters, two tremendous athletes, champions, and ambassadors of the sport that people in Saudi Arabia and all around the world can be inspired by. It’s been an incredible week and the best is still to come.”

Unlike last time when he was widely considered the underdog before taking on Joshua, Ukrainian Usyk (19-0, 13 KO) enters Rage on the Red Sea as favorite following his impressive unanimous decision victory over the Briton. Billed as ‘The Perfect Storm’, last year’s event saw the undefeated Usyk claim the WBA ‘Super’, IBF, WBA, and IBO titles at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England, as well as lay his claim for boxing’s coveted ‘pound-for-point number one’ status.

Speaking about his upcoming title defense, Usyk commented: “First and foremost, I want to say thank you to all who made it possible for us to fight here in Saudi Arabia. It is very important for me, my team, my country, and I’m really happy to be here.

“We learned from each other in the first fight, but this is a continuation and the first round on Saturday will be Round 13,” he continued. “We were born to compete for life, for belts, for everything. The one who does not compete, does not win. All our lives are competitions for something or somebody. That’s why we are competing. We’ve had enough time to study each other and this Saturday will be a great, great fight.”

Meanwhile, Joshua is no stranger to Saudi Arabia or to avenging defeat at the first attempt. In December 2019, he defeated Mexican-American champion Andy Ruiz Jr by unanimous decision at Riyadh’s UNESCO World Heritage Site of Al-Turaif, reclaiming the unified WBA ‘Super’, IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight titles to avenge his stoppage loss to Ruiz Jr at New York City’s Madison Square Garden six months earlier. This time around, ‘AJ’ is aiming to repeat history while going where few have gone before him by becoming a three-time heavyweight champion of the world.

“It’s a ‘must-win’ fight,” he stated. “Preparations have been tough, but I like the pressure. Robert Garcia, Angel Fernandez, members of my previous team as well; they’ve been pushing me, challenging me, ensuring I stay focused, and positioning me to get the job done and emerge victorious come Saturday night. This is what competition is all about; setting goals I want to achieve and being disciplined enough to follow them through. I’m prepared to do whatever it takes and I’m looking forward to competing this weekend.”

In addition to the Rage on the Red Sea headliners, the press conference saw the fighters featuring on Saturday’s undercard give their thoughts ahead of their respective bouts before facing off with their opponents. The undercard includes Croatian contender Filip Hrgovic vs China’s unbeaten Zhilei Zhang to establish the new number one contender and mandatory challenger for the IBF heavyweight title, and former world champion Callum Smith vs Mathieu Bauderlique in a final eliminator for the WBC light-heavyweight title. Former two-weight world champion Badou Jack and former cruiserweight world title challenger Andrew Tabiti were also present at the press conference, as was Ramla Ali, Benjamin Whittaker, and local professional boxing prospect Ziyad Almaayouf.


Ronaldo cautioned by police after allegedly slapping phone from fan’s hand

Ronaldo cautioned by police after allegedly slapping phone from fan’s hand
Updated 17 August 2022

Ronaldo cautioned by police after allegedly slapping phone from fan’s hand

Ronaldo cautioned by police after allegedly slapping phone from fan’s hand
  • Merseyside Police launched an investigation after a clip was circulated online of Ronaldo appearing to knock the supporter's mobile phone on to the ground
  • After the incident, Ronaldo issued a social media apology for his "outburst"

LONDON: Cristiano Ronaldo has been cautioned by British police after footage emerged of the Manchester United forward appearing to smash a phone out of an Everton fan’s hand at a match last season.
The 37-year-old was interviewed by officers in relation to an allegation of assault and criminal damage following the incident at Goodison Park on April 9.
Merseyside Police launched an investigation after a clip was circulated online of Ronaldo appearing to knock the supporter’s mobile phone on to the ground as he limped toward the tunnel following United’s 1-0 loss.
The force said in a statement on Wednesday: “We can confirm that a 37-year-old man voluntarily attended and was interviewed under caution in relation to an allegation of assault and criminal damage.
“The allegation relates to an incident following the Everton v Manchester United football match at Goodison Park on Saturday April 9.
“The matter has been dealt with by way of conditional caution. The matter has now concluded.”
After the incident, Ronaldo issued a social media apology for his “outburst” and invited the supporter to watch a game at Old Trafford “as a sign of fair-play and sportsmanship.”
Taking to his Instagram account after the match, the Portuguese forward said: “It’s never easy to deal with emotions in difficult moments such as the one we are facing.
“Nevertheless, we always have to be respectful, patient and set the example for all the youngsters who love the beautiful game.
“I would like to apologize for my outburst and, if possible, I would like to invite this supporter to watch a game at Old Trafford as a sign of fair-play and sportsmanship.”
It comes as Ronaldo hit out at the “lies” surrounding reports about his future at struggling United.
The Portugal forward missed the club’s pre-season tour to Thailand and Australia for personal reasons as speculation swirled over whether he would be leaving Old Trafford.
It has been reported Ronaldo wants to play Champions League football, but United maintain he is not for sale and remains an integral part of the plans of new boss Erik ten Hag.
The former Real Madrid star played the full 90 minutes of United’s 4-0 defeat at Brentford on Saturday, which left them bottom of the Premier League.
In a reply to a fan account on Instagram that referred to a report linking the United frontman to Atletico Madrid, Ronaldo said fans would “know the truth” in a couple of weeks, adding: “The media is telling lies.”