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Wimbledon – Murray tames Djokovic to end 77 years of British hurt
Andy Murray ended Britain’s 77-year wait for a men’s Wimbledon champion with a 6-4 7-5 6-4 win over world number one Novak Djokovic.
Eurosport – 37 minutes ago
Scotland’s world number two unsettled Serbia’s 2011 champion Djokovic from an epic opening game, coming back from breaks down in the second and third sets, before fending off a brave fightback while serving for the match as he claimed his finest career victory.
Murray won last year’s US Open to end what was then a 76-year wait for a British male Grand Slam champion; he is now the first Briton of either gender to win Wimbledon since Virginia Wade in 1977, and the first male since Fred Perry in 1936.
"It feels slightly different to last year," Murray said in reference to his tearful defeat in the 2012 final. "I don’t know how I managed to get through that last game – losing three match points was unbelievable. It was hard to watch but imagine playing it!
"Novak has come back so many times from similar positions and he almost did it again."
The beaten world number one was typically sportsmanlike at the trophy presentation.
"Congratulations to Andy, who absolutely deserved this win – you played incredible tennis," Djokovic said. "I know how much it means to all of you guys, the whole country, well done.
"I’m aware of the pressure he gets, although I cannot imagine the extent not being in his shoes.
"It was an absolute pleasure and an honour to be part of this final."
Murray was exceptional at times but, by contrast, Djokovic had one of his worst games on Centre Court.
On the hottest day of the year in Britain, with the mercury soaring toward 30 degrees Celsius, the world’s two best players produced some scorching sinew-stretching action from the start and the first three games alone lasted 20 minutes.
The opening salvo of the Centre Court clash lasted 20 strokes as Murray went up 0-40 on the Serb’s serve but Djokovic produced staunch defence to stave off his opponent’s attack.
The duo did trade breaks in the third and fourth games, with each Murray winner being greeted by a chorus of 15,000 roars.
Second seed Murray got another chance to break to love in the seventh game and this time he pounced as the 2011 champion surrendered his serve by slapping a backhand into the net.
A set that initially looked like lasting forever ended exactly on the hour mark as Djokovic whipped a service return wide to give Murray, runner-up to Roger Federer last year, the one-set cushion.
The battle between the two players who were born seven days apart in 1987 intensified in the second set as they went toe-to-toe from the baseline with 25-shot rallies being par for the course.
Djokovic, who survived a four hour 43 minute semi-final epic against Juan Martin Del Potro two days ago, showed his super-human ability to recover quickly as he ran down everything Murray could throw at him.
The Serb rattled Murray by going for the lines and broke for a 3-1 lead when Olympic champion Murray flicked a forehand into the net.
Even when Djokovic slipped and skidded flat on to his stomach while trying to chase down a Murray winner, the six-times Grand Slam champion appeared unfazed as he quickly got back on to his feet to extend his lead to 4-1.
But Murray, who trains in the intense Miami heat, showed off his iron-man conditioning as he stormed back to level at 4-4, a Djokovic double fault on break point down handing him the break back in the seventh game.
While the cheering crowd, which included British Prime Minister David Cameron, got behind a pumped up Murray, Djokovic simply exploded in anger in the 11th game.
Convinced that Murray had gone long mid-rally at 15-15, he screamed at umpire Mohamed Lahyani "Why? What’s going on?" as he gesticulated wildly to show what he thought the linesman had failed to see.
Murray ignored the uproar to break the fuming Serb and soon had the fans roaring when he wrapped up the 69-minute second set with a 125mph thunderbolt ace.
The third set initially seemed a formality for Murray, who broke Djokovic early and almost sealed a double-break.
But two sloppy drop shots allowed the Serb to break back, with a rejuvenated Djokovic holding before winning the subsequent Murray service game as the Briton seemed to lose momentum.
Murray, however, has incredible mental and physical reserves and cancelled out that break with some intense hustling at the net, bringing it back with serve, which he held with a wonderful diving forehand off the baseline.
That was followed by a magnificent break for Murray, which boasted two astounding last-gasp winners, leaving him serving for the title.
Initially Djokovic saved three championship points as a nervy Murray’s serve deserted him, and the Serb even had three break-back points thanks to an unforced error to net from the Briton, a wonderful drop-shot off the net-cord and then a beautiful diving winner across the net.
But Murray saved them all, bringing up his fourth match point with some incredible fight at the baseline, his forehand pass forcing Djokovic to net a volley.
And, after his next serve was returned just inside the baseline, Murray was a spectator as Djokovic netted the follow up, sending Centre Court and an entire nation into raptures.
Nice work Pippa, but you forgot to mention Wimbledon’s big four
It is a brave pundit who attempts to follow the doyenne. In her guide to Wimbledon, published in Vanity Fair magazine, Pippa Middleton barely hits a bum note.
What observation, what perspicacity, what insight the future Queen’s sister offers up in her insider’s guide to what to look out for at the All England Club.
Take a raincoat, she suggests. Don’t plan dinner afterwards because matches sometimes go on late into the evening and there is apparently nothing worse in the human condition than missing Rafa Nadal in action because you’ve booked for a routine pizza with friends.
Do join in the Mexican wave (it’s such fun). And for goodness sake don’t wear stilettos: the walk from the tube is almost twenty minutes. Remember that, lads.
Thanks Pippa. Not a lot left for anyone else to consider after that. Though, to be fair – perhaps out of deference to friends and family – she leaves it to others to point out that the Centre Court crowd invariably features the year’s biggest gathering of those who have enjoyed the services of a cosmetic surgeon.
The ladies who lunch there (or if they follow Pippa’s advice take a cream tea with strawberries – seriously strawberries at Wimbledon, who’d have thought it until Pippa suggested the idea?) appear to do so only after an appointment in a nearby wind tunnel.
Also missing from her list is any observation about the centre court “oof”, the collective groan of disapproval when a player misses a winnable shot. This is the most dispiriting sound in world sport, a grumbly ticking off that makes the New Den greeting the arrival of West Ham sound positively encouraging.
But then Pippa isn’t one for miserablism. She loves her Wimbledon. She has been going since she was a tomboy, her appearance there an annual event long before the paparazzi picked her out in the stands quite coincidentally wearing a see-through dress.
And when Pippa takes her place in the royal box this year (no queuing up for tickets for People’s Sunday liked she used to now she has contacts) she could well be in for a treat.
This has the potential of being the best Wimbledon in a generation, certainly the best she will have seen in her twenty-odd years of unbroken attendance.
Never before – in the men’s game at least – has there been such an array of talent on show. Never before has it been so difficult to predict a winner.
When Rafa Nadal – fresh from quite astonishing triumph in the French Open – is seeded number five there is a clue to the excellence that will be on display.
Actually the very fact Nadal is going to be at Wimbledon fit and firing is cause for celebration. Last year, as he was knocked out by Lukas Rosol, the Czech world number 100, he was clearly struggling with the accumulated wear and tear of playing the power game.
But, as he proved in Paris, the muscular Spaniard is now back on form, fishing his knickers out of his crack with something approaching his old aplomb.
Novak Djokovic, the number one seed, too is as imperious as ever, an indefatigable combination of skill and refusal to yield. And it would be a foolish punter who writes off Roger Federer, a man who takes enormous enjoyment from circumventing the debilitations of time.
Sure, at 31, the clock is ticking on the elegant champion’s continuing mastery of centre court. Sure at times this season he has looked forlorn in defeat. But he loves Wimbledon almost as much as Pippa does. And the evidence of his first tournament win of the season last week is that his grass game is showing little sign yet of giving way to chronology.
Then there is Andy Murray. In truth, while his supporters have long talked about the big four of the men’s game, Murray has only recently joined the quartet.
Until last year, it was really only a big three and a half, Murray’s achievements to that point meant he belonged in the elite solely in the mind of British tennis writers and his mum.
Last year, however, changed all that. The Wimbledon final, Olympic gold and a win at the US Open signalled his accession to the very top of the game.
After missing the French Open with injury, he was simply brilliant at Queen’s, combining solid ground strokes with a flourish of eye-catching winners that were at times breath-taking.
He looked fitter than ever, strong, resourceful and canny. As John McEnroe suggested, he looked ready to fulfil his destiny. There can be no doubting he is now the real thing.
What this represents is Wimbledon’s perfect storm of talent, the four of them arriving together, ready to provide the finest competitive hoedown in the competition’s history.
And, given the fleeting nature of sporting prowess, this first gathering of the quartet coinciding in absolutely top form, might be the last. Hang on to your flats, Pippa: this could be the year Wimbledon blows your socks off.
Sir Alex Ferguson retires: Manchester United manager to step down at end of season after 27 years in charge | Mail Online
‘It has been an honour and a privilege’: Sir Alex Ferguson steps down after 27 years in charge of Manchester United as he pays tribute to his wife (and club’s share price falls by 4.5%)
- The 71-year-old will retire at the end of the season, club announces
- Sir Alex has won 13 Premier League titles during his United reign
- He will become a director and ambassador of the club after May 18
- United’s game with West Brom – his 1,500th in charge – will be his last
- Sir Alex said it was important to leave club in ‘strongest possible shape’
- Also won five FA Cup and four League Cups for the Old Trafford club
- His side won the European Champions League in 1999 and 2008
- Everton boss David Moyes, a fellow Scot, is set to replace Ferguson
- Bookmakers take a ‘bet every second’ on Ferguson’s successor today
By Steve Nolan
Sir Alex Ferguson announced today that he is to retire as Manchester United manager at the end of the season, describing his 27 years in charge of the club as having been an ‘honour and a privilege.’
The 71-year-old, who clinched his 13th Premier League title with the club last month paid tribute to his wife and colleagues for their support during his long tenure at Old Trafford.
But the announcement appeared to damage the club’s value on the stock market with shares falling by 4.5 per cent in the hours that followed before rallying to -1.28 per cent.
Sir Alex said in a statement that it was important to him to leave the club in the ‘strongest possible shape.’
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Retiring: Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has announced that he will step down after 27 years in charge of the club and 13 Premier League title wins
Cheerful: Ferguson in the Ibrox directors’ box at the Rangers v Man United legends match this week
Success: Sir Alex pops a cork after winning the Premier League title last month, left, and is seen decked out in United colours after he was unveiled as their new manager in 1986
CLUB’S SHARE PRICES TUMBLE
Shares in Manchester United today fell in New York amid fears over the impact that Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure will have on the club.
The opening bell on Wall Street saw shares down by 3 per cent, driven lower by worries over whether the club can appoint the right replacement for the most successful manager in English football history.
His successor will be the key figure at a business laden with almost £370 million of debt and tightly controlled by its US majority owners, the Glazer family.
The club, which trades under the MANU ticker on Wall Street, announced his departure while US markets were closed, but shares slipped on opening as investors digested the impact of the 71-year-old’s departure on one of sport’s most successful franchises.
In the prospectus to its 2012 stock market flotation, Manchester United warned: ‘We are highly dependent on members of our management, coaching staff and our players.
‘Any successor to our current manager may not be as successful as our current manager.’
Shares in the club have surged 34 per cent since floating in August at 14 US dollars (£9) per share, closing on Tuesday evening at 18.77 US dollars (£12.11).
The flotation allowed the Glazer family to sell 16.7m shares – equal to a 10 per cent stake.
The Glazers bought the Premier League football club for £790 million in 2005 in a controversial deal that enraged fans because they put in just £300 million of their own money and loaded the club with debt.
The club’s most recent annual results showed total revenues of £320.3 million for the year to the end of June 2012, down 3.3 per cent on a year earlier.
Hargreaves Lansdown head of equities Richard Hunter said: ‘The Manchester United merchandising machine will not grind to a halt overnight.
‘The company is thinly traded and researched on Wall Street, but of the handful of analysts which cover the stock, the consensus of the shares as a buy is likely to remain intact, despite the inevitably difficult transition phase to a new chapter in the club’s history.’
He said: ‘The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about and one that I have not taken lightly. It is the right time.
‘It was important to me to leave an organisation in the strongest possible shape and I believe I have done so.
‘The quality of this league winning squad, and the balance of ages within it, bodes well for continued success at the highest level whilst the structure of the youth set-up will ensure that the long-term future of the club remains a bright one.’
Sir Alex will remain part of the set up at Old Trafford despite stepping back from on the field matters.
He will take up a role as director and ambassador for the club when he retires after Manchester United’s game with West Brom on May 18 – his 1,500th game in charge.
He said: ‘Going forward, I am delighted to take on the roles of both Director and Ambassador for the club. With these activities, along with my many other interests, I am looking forward to the future.’
He paid tribute to the support of his friends, colleagues and family throughout his career, in particular his wife Cathy.
He said: ‘I must pay tribute to my family, their love and support has been essential.
‘My wife Cathy has been the key figure throughout my career, providing a bedrock of both stability and encouragement. Words are not enough to express what this has meant to me.
‘As for my players and staff, past and present, I would like to thank them all for a staggering level of professional conduct and dedication that has helped to deliver so many memorable triumphs.’
Ferguson has had a career the like of which will never be seen again.
He won his 49th trophy by winning United’s 20th league championship and seemed set to extend his career into next season, confirming as much in his programme notes ahead of Sunday’s encounter with Chelsea.
Instead, with a hip operation booked in for August, this weekend’s Old Trafford encounter with Swansea, followed by a trophy presentation, will be his last home game in charge.
Manchester united Chief Executive David Gill described his time working with the manager as the ‘greatest experience’ of his working life.
He said that the club have been planning for Sir Alex’s retirement on and off the pitch.
He said: ‘I’ve had the tremendous pleasure of working very closely with Alex for 16 unforgettable years – through the treble, the double, countless trophy wins and numerous signings.
‘We knew that his retirement would come one day and we both have been planning for it by ensuring the quality of the squad and club structures are in first-class condition.
‘Alex’s vision, energy and ability have built teams – both on and off the pitch – that his successor can count on as among the best and most loyal in world sport.’
Where it all began: Sir Alex is unveiled as Manchester United manager by former Chairman Martin Edwards back in 1986
Early days: Manchester United’s new manager Alex Ferguson watches from the dug out as his side play Oxford United, in his first game in charge of the club. United lost 2-0
First European trophy: Sir Alex holding the European Cup Winners Cup and former manager Sir Matt Busby holding the European Cup at Old Trafford, after United won the trophy in 1991
First trophy: Sir Alex is seen clutching the FA Cup after his side beat Crystal Palace in the final in 1990
Joel Glazer, joint chairman of the Manchester United board with brother Avie, pinpointed the 2008 Champions League final penalty shootout success over Chelsea as a highlight among the many memories.
He said: ‘Alex has proven time and time again what a fantastic manager he is but he’s also a wonderful person.
Tribute: Sir Alex thanked his wife Cathy for her support in a statement announcing his retirement this morning
‘His determination to succeed and dedication to the club have been truly remarkable. I will always cherish the wonderful memories he has given us, like that magical night in Moscow.’
Politicians including Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband paid tribute to Sir Alex’s achievements today.
Mr Cameron said on Twitter: ‘Sir Alex Ferguson’s achievement at #MUFC has been exceptional. Hopefully his retirement will make life a little easier for my team #AVFC.’
This afternoon he joked that Sir Alex will have to provide a consultancy service to Aston Villa, the side Cameron supports, as the midlands club have battled relegation this season.
In a speech opening debate in the Commons following the Queen’s address today, Mr Cameron joked that even Conservative MPs would be recognising the achievements of Sir Alex – a staunch Labour supporter.
He said: ‘It is the day to perhaps sing the praises of Sir Alex Ferguson, a remarkable man in British football who has had an extraordinary, successful career.
‘I am sure that all members, even on the blue team, will want to pay tribute to this member of the red team. Perhaps he could now provide some consultancy services for Aston Villa.’
Prior to Mr Cameron’s speech, Labour leader Ed Miliband told MPs that Sir Alex was ‘phenomenally talented at his job’.
He said: ‘I won’t let this day pass without paying tribute to the most successful football manager this world has ever seen – a great supporter of the reds, you might call him.
‘Sir Alex Ferguson, phenomenally talented at his job, winner of 13 championships – (he) can teach us all about hard work and dedication.’
Sir Alex had vowed to carry on ‘indefinitely’ in programme notes written before Sunday’s defeat against Chelsea.
Devoted: Sir Alex and Cathy pictured with new born son Mark, left, and in the kitchen of their Glasgow home when he played for Rangers in 1968. Sir Alex thanked her for her support throughout his career
He arrived at the club’s Carrington training ground to take training as normal this morning.
But already speculation is mounting as to who could replace the most successful manager in British football history.
Talks are underway to find a replacement and Everton manager David Moyes is among the frontrunners.
It had been rumoured that Moyes would initially join the club as understudy to Ferguson for a season before taking over the reigns full time.
Moyes remains the favourite to take over with bookmakers offering odds of 4/6 this morning.
Other big names thought to be in the running include Real Madrid manager and former Chelsea favourite Jose Mourinho, who is tipped at 6/5 by bookmakers to get the job.
The self-proclaimed ‘special one’ has been widely tipped to join Chelsea, but could be set to rethink those plans.
At the races: Manchester United players Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, Michael Carrick and Nemanja Vidic arrive at Chester racecourse today, shortly after boss Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement
Strikers Wayne Rooney and Danny Wellbeck pictured suited and booted at Chester races today – manager Sir Alex Ferguson was nowhere to be seen
He is likely to be available at the end of the season.
Long-serving Manchester United star Ryan Giggs has also been linked with the role as well as Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp.
United’s hand may have been forced in terms of making an announcement by strict New york Stock Exchange rules.
With the club floated on the market, any information which significantly affects the running of the club must be announced.
The news hit Manchester United’s stateside share prices, with their value down more than 3.5 per cent this afternoon.
Vow: Sir Alex had said that he wanted to carry on as manager in his programme notes ahead of Sunday’s home defeat to Chelsea
Vintage: Sir Alex and Manchester United star Ryan Giggs celebrate winning the Premier League back in 2003
Hairdryer treatment: David Beckham felt the wrath of Sir Alex back in February 2003 when he was hit on the head by a stray boot kicked by the fiery Scotsman
Old boys: Sir Alex Ferguson, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Paul Scholes of Manchester United recreate the famous Class of ’92 photo from 1992 ahead of Gary Neville’s testimonial match in 2011
FERGIE’S FABULOUS 49
Sir Alex Ferguson has won 49 trophies in the most successful managerial career Britain has ever known.
Scottish First Division (1): 1976-77.
Scottish Premier Division (3): 1979-80, 1983-84, 1984-85.
Scottish Cup (4): 1981-82, 1982-83, 1983-84, 1985-86.
Scottish League Cup (1): 1985-86.
European Cup Winners’ Cup (1): 1982-83.
European Super Cup (1): 1983.
Premier League (13): 1992-93, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2000-01, 2002-03, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2012-13.
FA Cup (5): 1989-90, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1998-99, 2003-04.
League Cup (4): 1991-92, 2005-06, 2008-09, 2009-10.
Charity/Community Shield (10): 1990 (shared), 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011.
Champions League (2): 1998-99, 2007-08.
European Cup Winners’ Cup (1): 1990-91.
European Super Cup (1): 1991.
Intercontinental Cup (1): 1999.
FIFA Club World Cup (1): 2008.
Officials at Old Trafford had put up a wall of silence before this morning’s announcement, despite heavy speculation.
The club were not even taking calls from journalists last night amid a frenzy of speculation over their manager’s future.
Similarly the club will have to announce Sir Alex’s successor to the market as soon as he is appointed.
Sources say that there is expected to be ‘an announcement within days.’
Ferguson was expected at Chester Races today for a planned day out with some of United’s players.
But while some of the side’s stars, including Wayne Rooney and Danny Wellbeck were spotted, their manager was nowhere to be seen.
Rumours began to circulate on Tuesday among United’s players and coaching staff, who were involved in a golf match at Dunham Forest in Cheshire.
The Scotsman became famed throughout his career for his infamous ‘hairdryer treatment’ dished out to players and his fiery temperament.
One of the most infamous examples of star players feeling Ferguson’s wrath came in February 2003 when the manager kick a boot in the changing room which hit David Beckham on the forehead.
Beckham wore the wounds from the incident in a very public fallout and left the club months later.
Things could have turned out very differently for Ferguson and Manchester United had the club not won the FA Cup in 1990.
Ferguson’s side were struggling in the league and had a tough third round tie against Nottingham Forest.
If the tabloids were to be believed then Ferguson would have been sacked if the team finished trophyless.
But a goal by youth team product Mark Robins gave United a win and the rest is history.
Moyes was at Goodison Park on Tuesday night to watch Everton defeat Newcastle in the Under 21s Premier League.
The 50-year-old Scot is out of contract this summer but has refused to discuss his future publicly, insisting only that he would weigh up his options at the end of the season.
United’s final match of the season, at West Bromwich Albion on May 19, will be the 1,500th of Ferguson’s tenure as manager.
‘FOOTBALL…BLOODY HELL!’ MEMORABLE SIR ALEX FERGUSON QUOTES
Sir Alex Ferguson has been involved in some of the most exciting moments in British football history and has provided the media with some of the most memorable quotes. Here are a selection of the very best.
‘I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it. Football. Bloody hell.’
After winning the Champions League final against Bayern Munich on May 26, 1999.
‘It’s getting tickly now – squeaky-bum time, I call it.’
During the 2002/03 end-of-season title race between Arsenal and United.
Sealed with a kiss: Sir Alex Ferguson toasts Manchester United’s 1999 Champions League success
‘They say he’s an intelligent man, right? Speaks five languages. I’ve got a 15-year-old boy from the Ivory Coast who speaks five languages!’ – On Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, 1996.
‘He could start a row in an empty house.’ – On Dennis Wise.
Outspoken: Sir Alex has offered the press a number of memorable quotes over the years
‘He was certainly full of it, calling me "Boss" and "Big Man" when we had our post-match drink after the first leg. But it would help if his greetings were accompanied by a decent glass of wine. What he gave me was paint-stripper.’ – On Jose Mourinho.
‘It was a freakish incident. If I tried it 100 or a million times it couldn’t happen again. If I could I would have carried on playing!’
Explaining how he kicked a boot in the United dressing room that hit David Beckham in the face.
‘When an Italian tells me it’s pasta on the plate, I check under the sauce to make sure. They are the inventors of the smokescreen.’
Before playing Inter Milan in the Champions League quarter-final, 1999.
‘My greatest challenge is not what’s happening at the moment, my greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their ******* perch. And you can print that.’
On Alan Hansen questioning his future in 2002.
‘Hand-picked’: Everton manager David Moyes leaving his club’s training ground today
That’s handy: Everton boss Moyes is leading the betting to replace Ferguson at Old Trafford
‘THANKS BOSS’: DAVID BECKHAM’S MESSAGE TO HIS BEST MANAGER
‘I’ve just seen the news on Sir Alex. As I have said many times before the boss wasn’t just the greatest and best manager I ever played under he was also a father figure to me from the moment I arrived at the club at the age of 11 until the day I left.
‘Without him I would never have achieved what I have done in my career. He understood how important it was to play for your country and he knew how much it meant to me.
‘After ’98 without the manager I would have found it virtually impossible to cope with the attention I was getting on and off the field and for this I will always be grateful to him for his support and protection.
‘I am truly honoured to have been guided by the greatest manager in football and to have had the career that I had under him.
Thank you boss and enjoy the rest!’
On Twitter, Rio Ferdinand echoed his former teammate’s sentiment, saying: ‘The bosses work ethic, his desire to win + to make us better players were unrivalled. Thanks boss.’
Many people inside football — including two Premier League managers — have suggested privately this season that Ferguson would have stepped aside had United not lost last season’s Premier League title race to Manchester City on the last kick of the campaign.
That has never been confirmed by United but it is thought Ferguson broke the news to his wife, Cath, that he had to shelve plans to retire within hours of City snatching the title.
There were also suggestions that Ferguson’s brother Martin may be standing aside from his scouting duties.
Of similar significance was the decision by David Gill — Ferguson’s closest ally — to step down as chief executive at the end of this season. But it had emerged United were preparing to make a more seismic announcement.
At the weekend, Ferguson suggested in his programme notes he would be around at Old Trafford next season.
Having always cited his health as the primary factor in any decision to retire, the club’s confirmation last Friday evening that Ferguson, who had a heart pacemaker fitted in 2004, would undergo hip surgery in August raised fresh doubt over his determination to continue in the post.
The developments came on the back of fevered and persistent betting this week that British football’s most successful manager may be ready to step aside.
Conquering Europe: Fergie lifts the Champions League trophy in Moscow in 2008
Double top: Fergie, holding a BBC Lifetime Achievement Award, with David Beckham at SPOTY in 2001
Unlucky for some: Ferguson has got his hands on a the Premier League trophy a remarkable 13 times in all
‘I don’t have any plans at the moment to walk away from what I believe will be something special and worth being around to see,’ he said.
‘It’s always difficult in football to be absolutely sure of the future because the game has a habit of tripping you up, but I don’t live in a fantasy world and believe we have every reason to feel confident about the future of Manchester United.
‘My view stems not from the euphoria of winning back the title we lost last season, but on the way we did it and the make-up of our playing personnel.’
Glory days: Sir Alex pictured with the Champions League and Premier League trophies
Finest hour: Manchester United secured a treble of Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup in 1999
Already bookmakers seem to be predicting a slight decline in the fortunes of the club on the pitch after Sir Alex retires.
Bookmakers have already lengthened odds of the club retaining its Premier League crown next season, with Manchester City now installed as firm favourites.
William Hill spokesman Joe Crilly said: ‘Sir Alex has been the bane of bookmakers for 27 years but his leagcy is such that whether Mourinho or Moyes, or anyone else for that matter, takes the job, they
will still be considered very realistic Premier League challengers.
‘Having said that, no one knows how to build a title winning side like Sir Alex and for that reason we have had no option but to ease the price of the Reds winning the League next season.’
The odds on Sir Alex claiming the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award in December have been dramatically slashed following this morning’s news.
He was considered an outsider at 33/1 yesterday, but is now second favourite behind fellow Scot Andy Murray at 6/1.
Betting punters have clearly been swept up in the speculation as to who should take over at Old Trafford with £50,000 staked at Ladbrokes this morning alone.
One gambler laid out £1,000 that Mourinho will succeed Sir Alex as manager.
A spokesman for Ladbrokes said today: We’ve had a bet every second and there’s no sign of it slowing down any time soon.’
WHO WILL REPLACE THE MOST SUCCESSFUL MANAGER IN BRITISH HISTORY?
DAVID MOYES (ODDS: 1/8): A persistent contender, who shares Ferguson’s Scottish working-class roots.
Moyes has plenty of admirers at Old Trafford due to the work he has done at Everton and his preference for the passing style United favour.
Speculation has been intense of late that he is in his last season at Goodison Park, but has no real experience at the very highest level.
Successor? Everton’s manager David Moyes and Manchester United’s assistant manager Mike Phelan
JOSE MOURINHO (ODDS: 4/1): Many had believed it was all but a done deal that the Real Madrid boss would return to Chelsea at the end of the season.
But the Portuguese, while clearly hinting he is keen to manage in England once again, has never explicitly mentioned his old club.
Despite a lukewarm endorsement from United legend Sir Bobby Charlton, Mourinho is the one man guaranteed not to be overwhelmed by taking on the challenge of following Ferguson.
OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER (ODDS: 25/1): A host of former United players have been linked with the job in the past yet all have fallen by the wayside.
Legend: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrating scoring the winning goal for Manchester United during the European Champions League Final against Bayern Munich in 1999 could replace Sir Alex
The latest is Solskjaer, who has made a successful start to his managerial career at Molde. He lacks experience, though, and will benefit from Ferguson remaining at the club as a director.
JURGEN KLOPP (ODDS: 20/1): The Borussia Dortmund boss has made a big impression during his club’s impressive run to the Champions League final.
With a style of football that seems tailor-made for the English football and an at-times eccentric manner in his post-match interviews, he would be an intriguing addition to the Premier League.
LAURENT BLANC (ODDS: 50/1): Blanc had a brief stint with the Red Devils at the end of his career, so knows the club well.
Caught the eye as manager of Bordeaux, where he won the French league title, then stabilised a France team that collapsed into chaos at the last World Cup before stepping down following their quarter-final loss to Spain at Euro 2012.
FERGIE’S FIVE FINEST SIGNINGS WHO TOOK UNITED TO THE TOP OF EUROPE
Top of the stoppers: Peter Schmeichel
Peter Schmeichel (signed from Brondby, 1991)
Widely regarded as the greatest goalkeeper in Premier League history, the Dane’s heroic efforts provided clean sheets aplenty and the security at the back which was so key to United’s success throughout the 1990s. Schmeichel, recruited for around £500,000, knew how to intimidate opposition strikers by making optimum use of his frame and at times appeared just as fearful for his defenders, who would frequently receive a rollicking from him. Capped eight glorious years with the club by skippering United – in the absence of the suspended Roy Keane – in the 1999 Champions League final as Ferguson’s men secured the treble.
Eric Cantona (signed from Leeds, 1992)
Cantona’s five-year spell at United will never be forgotten. The Frenchman, who cost Ferguson just over £1million, gave the club’s fans many a moment to savour on the pitch with his dazzling skills, which helped the Red Devils to a haul of four Premier League titles and two FA Cups. But what perhaps cemented his iconic status was the way he played the part of the tortured genius. The most infamous instance of his short temper was the kung-fu kick he aimed at a Crystal Palace supporter and he made philosophical comments afterwards about seagulls following a trawler. It was somewhat appropriate that he exited early leaving the crowd wanting more, retiring aged 30 in 1997.
Driving force: Roy Keane
Roy Keane (signed from Nottingham Forest, 1993)
The£3.75million Ferguson paid Forest for Keane was a British transfer record at the time, but there is little question that he got value for money. In 12 years of service, the Irish midfielder was United’s engine room and driving force as they dominated English football through the 1990s and into the next decade. He also led them to the 1999 Champions League final, only to miss the game through suspension. Keane succeeded Cantona as captain and was just as combustible a character, if not more so. But it was that edge on the field that so endeared him to United fans and made him the player everyone else wanted in their team.
Cristiano Ronaldo (signed from Sporting Lisbon, 2003)
Megastar: Cristiano Ronaldo
Ferguson signed a teenage Ronaldo for £12.24million and it looked as if he may have paid over the odds for little more than a showboater in the early days of the Portuguese forward’s United career. He soon showed his game was not just about stepovers, though, developing into one of the world’s most potent players. Ronaldo scored an incredible total of 42 goals for the club in the 2007-08 season as the Red Devils won the Champions League. Although his exit to Real Madrid a year later was a blow, the world record £80million fee he commanded softened it considerably.
Edwin van der Sar (signed from Fulham, 2005)
Van der Sar was 34 when he arrived at Old Trafford for an undisclosed fee, but the Dutch goalkeeper was in no way a fading force. It soon became apparent that Ferguson had finally found the solution in a position which had been a problem for United since Schmeichel’s departure, as Van der Sar’s reliable hands helped the team achieve a new period of success. He broke a multitude of records with his clean sheets in the 2008-09 season and finally retired from football in 2011, having won four Premier League titles and the Champions League with the Red Devils.
From the Mail Online
Derek’s death clinches it for BBC
The death of Derek Branning, played by Jamie Foreman, helped to propel EastEnders …
Evil Derek Branning’s last gasp helped EastEnders retain its traditional spot at the top of the Christmas Day ratings as the BBC dominated festive viewing once again.
The main channels’ period ratings hits Call The Midwife and Downton Abbey tied with an average audience of 7.3 million viewers, although ITV1’s Downton was 1.3 million down on the previous year.
Overnight figures show EastEnders pulled in an average 9.4 million viewers for the climactic episode last night in which fearsome Branning, played by Jamie Foreman, keeled over and died from a heart attack. ITV’s Coronation Street was runner-up with 8.8 million.
Many had expected the period blockbusters – which have performed well on Sunday evenings – to lead the field, but soaps were still the strongest force. However viewing figures were down for many shows, with EastEnders slipping half a million on 2011 and the show’s ratings were thought to be the lowest for Christmas Day for a decade.
Call The Midwife drew its smallest audience since launching earlier this year, and Doctor Who, on 7.6 million viewers, also had an average audience 1.3 million fewer than in 2011.
However the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special was up 300,000 year on year to 7.8 million viewers.
The Queen’s Christmas message was seen by 36,000 people in 3D on the BBC’s HD channel – the first time it has been broadcast in that format – although 6.3 million saw it on BBC1 and 2.2 million saw it on ITV1.
BBC1 had seven of the top ten programmes, while ITV1 (which includes viewers for its +1 catch-up channel) accounted for the other three. And BBC1 took 31.7% of the audience from 6pm to 10.30pm – when many of the biggest shows are broadcast – with ITV1 landing 26.9%.
However when "consolidated" figures are totted up – taking account of time-shift viewing – they often tell a very different story. Last year Downton drew 8.6 million on the day but including catch-up viewing, the figures shot up.
Bolt: I want to do the long jump
Usain Bolt confirmed his place as one of the greatest sprinters in history by defending both 100m and 200m gold medals at London 2012.
And with both world records already his, it seems there are no worlds left to conquer in sprinting for the 26-year-old – so he is turning to a new event.
Bolt has confirmed that he wants to put his energies into the long jump – an event in which Carl Lewis, the last man to retain the 100m Olympic title – excelled.
But Bolt’s coach Glen Mills wants his man to aim instead at taking on the 400m.
"My coach wants me to do 400 metres, I want to try long jump," Bolt told Sky News.
"I could always try to aim for the records again, so there’s different things — but after the season we’ll decide what we want to do and work on that next season."
Bolt has also publicly stated that he has dreams of playing football for Manchester United or playing cricket in Australia’s Big Bash League.
But he is still keen to try and defend his sprint crowns one more time, confirming that he is intending to compete again in the next Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
"Definitely I will be there, as long as I’m fit and I’m ready," he said. "It’ll be a little bit harder but I’m looking forward to it."
American Reunion Irish premiere: Jedward’s brother Kevin accompanies twins and Tara Reid | Mail Online
Meet Kevin… Jedward’s older brother! Rarely-seen sibling accompanies the twins (and Tara Reid) to American Reunion Irish premiere
By Sarah Bull
His brothers are arguably the one of the world’s most famous set of twins – with their wacky behaviour and trademarked quiffs setting them apart from their peers.
And while he doesn’t have the same blonde hair as his siblings, Jedward’s older brother Kevin decided to follow in their dubious style footsteps last night as he joined the pair on the red carpet at the Irish premiere of the latest American Pie offering – American Reunion.
The similarity between Kevin and his brothers was clear to see, with the redhead even sporting the same slicked down hairstyle as his siblings.
Family affair: Jedward’s older brother Kevin accompanied the twins on the red carpet at the Irish premiere of American Reunion in Dublin last night
Heading home: Kevin was seen following along as Edward and Tara left the afterparty
Law student Kevin, 21, also wore the same black suit, skinny maroon tie and black patent shoes as his brothers as the trio posed up with one of the film’s stars Tara Reid on the red carpet.
And while the ensemble may have been slightly different from his usual student attire, Kevin should perhaps be grateful that his younger brothers had decided to leave their usual garish outfits at home for the evening.
Understated: John and Edward ditched their quiffs for the occasion as they posed up with Tara on the red carpet
Here today, gone tomorrow: Jedward sported quiffs at the LA premiere last month
The 20-year-olds are more notorious for their ridiculous styling – which has seen them in red satin suit for their Eurovision performance and trainers with angel wings – even opted for ties this evening.
The brothers were clearly excited about the Tinseltown starts descending on their home turf, tweeting: ‘Everyone we are so excited about coming to the savoy cinema in Dublin with @TaraReid it will be awesOme can’t wait to see everyone =:)’
Centre of attention: Even Jedward’s hair couldn’t detract from Jennifer Coolidge’s bust
The gang: Seann William Scott and Eugene Levy take a trip from Hollywood to the Savoy Cinema in Dublin
Meanwhile, Tara – who struck up a friendship with the duo on Celebrity Big Brother UK – wrote: ‘So excited to see @planetjedward at @AmericanPie #AmericanReunion premiere tonight in dublin!’
Tara, 36, looked striking by opting for a simple yet elegant floor-length gown which oozed glamour.
However, as ever, Jennifer Coolidge – aka Stifler’s mum – threatened to steal the show once again.
My Car? hunk still looked undeniably handsome despite his grey beard.
Say hello to mummy: Seann plays Jennifer’s son in the comedy franchise
The 48-year-old squeezed her voluptuous silhouette into a curve-hugging black cocktail dress with lace detail on the sleeves, with her ample bosom trying to break free.
On-screen son Seann William Scott put in an appearance too, looking a little older than his 35 years.
Demure: Tara looked striking in simply yet elegant Hollywood glamour
Protagonist Jason Biggs was notably absent, enjoying a European leg of promotion with Chris Klein.
The actor, famed for his role of Jim Levenstein in the comedy series, was seen dining alfresco with Chris, co-star Mena Suvari and celebrity stylist David Stanwell while they were sent to Rome.
The castmates have been split up over the last few weeks of world touring to cover more locations.
European break: Jason Biggs and Chris Klein missed the premiere as they were in Rome
When in Rome… Jason can be seen with Chris, Mena Suvari and celebrity stylist David Stanwell
Viewers ‘spot newsreader sleeping’ on BBC Breakfast
By Ben Skipper
For years presenters of early morning TV shows have talked about their early starts and yet they never show signs of tiredness… until now anyway.
At around 8:30am on Friday morning ‘BBC Breakfast’ cut to their BBC News Channel counterparts only to see newsreader Simon McCoy seemingly sleeping at his desk.
Viewers spotted him with his head resting on his arms, with many taking to Twitter afterwards to point out the gaffe.
One tweeter called Neil Tam-I’m, said: "LOL at Simon McCoy being caught napping during a live bulletin!”
Sleeping newsreader McCoy took to Twitter himself to laugh off the incident. He joked to one user: “I was not asleep! Had just been told The Queen wanted me to cover her NEXT visit…”
He later said it was “a long desk head-banging that wasn’t meant to be picked up in the BBC1 opt!!”
It’s not the first time Simon McCoy has made the headlines with his strange antics. In 2009 he was caught doing push-ups at his desk and a year later the BBC had to apologise after a weatherman was caught on camera making a rude gesture at McCoy.
Bravery of young mother who stayed by her horse’s side for three hours after getting trapped in mud ‘like quicksand’ | Mail Online
Race against the tide: Bravery of young mother who stayed by her horse’s side for THREE HOURS after getting trapped in mud ‘like quicksand’
This was the terrifying moment a brave young mother battled to keep her beloved horse calm as sea water closed in on the animal after he became trapped in mud ‘like quicksand’.
Exhausted and mud-splattered, Nicole Graham clung to her trapped horse Astro for three hours keeping his head high in a race against the tide.
The 78-stone show horse had sunk into quagmire-like mud and was facing the prospect of drowning as the water rose around them.
‘Like quicksand’: Both Miss Graham and her horse were stuck up to their waists in the mud as the tide was closing in
Desperation: Nicole Graham comforts her 18-year-old show horse Astro after he gets stuck in coastal mud
Swallowed up: Astro was stuck fast and Miss Graham’s efforts to pull him free only resulted in herself sinking deeper into the quagmire
Miss Graham had been out on an afternoon ride with her daughter along the coast near Geelong, south of Melbourne, when 18-year-old Astro suddenly sank into the mud.
Before she could shout a warning, the smaller horse her daughter Paris was riding was also partially swallowed up by the mud.
After dragging herself through the mire, Miss Graham helped her daughter and the other horse on to firmer ground.
However, Astro was stuck fast and her efforts to pull him free only resulted in herself sinking deeper into the quagmire.
To the rescue: Vet Stacey Sullivan prepares to sedate Astro in a bid to get him out safely
Tidal terror: The brave mother tries to keep the horse calm as rescuers work how out to free the animal
Emotional: Miss Graham said it was heartbreaking to see her horse so exhausted and struggling
As Paris ran to their car and phoned for help, Miss Graham stayed at her horse’s side. She courageously clung on to his neck, terrified that he would not be freed before the tide came in.
After three ‘terrifying’ hours, rescuers managed to pull Astro and Miss Graham from the mud.
Miss Graham, who owns more than 10 horses and runs an equine dentistry business, told the Geelong Advertiser how a peaceful afternoon’s ride had turned to terror.
She said: ‘It was terrifying. It was also heartbreaking to see my horse exhausted and struggling.
Race against the tide: The water is seen getting closer to the horse as the group battles to free him
Stuck fast: Rescuers look for ways to free the stricken horse as time is slowly running out for him
Pulled free: Astro is dragged from the mud with the aid of a farmer’s tractor
‘We went straight down and under. There was mud everywhere and every time I moved it sucked me back down. It wouldn’t let us go.’
After ensuring her daughter and her horse were safe, she returned to Astro and prayed that rescuers would arrive before the tide engulfed the horse.
She added: ‘I’ve been riding here for 20 years and never had a drama. I’ve never seen any signs and didn’t realise it was so boggy.
‘When I saw the dust from the rescue trucks I was so relieved. I was starting to get overwhelmed.’
Fire lieutenant Roger Buckle, who was among a team of helpers, said: ‘It was like a quicksand.’
Fire crews worked with a local farmer, who provided a tractor, and a veterinary team. The firemen used hoses and a winch, but none of this equipment was successful.
Sedated and exhausted: Astro collapses on the ground after he is pulled free of the mud, to the relief of rescuers
Saved: Vet Stacey Sullivan helps Astro to his feet as the effects of the sedation wear off
A local helicopter was put on standby as a last resort at pulling Astro from the mud.
The combined rescue effort paid off. With minutes to spare before the water reached him, Astro – who had been sedated by vet Stacey Sullivan – was dragged from the mud with the aid of the farmer’s tractor.
‘It was a race against the tide and fortunately we won,’ said Lieut Buckle, who praised everyone efforts, including those of Miss Sullivan whose work in sedating Astro made it easier to pull him free.
Miss Sullivan said Astro was dehydrated but had coped well.
‘A lot of horses don’t make it and I think without the owner there the chance of survival would have been a lot lower,’ she said.
It’s all over: Miss Graham leads her horses away from the beach after the traumatic rescue
Aftermath: Astro and Miss Graham are led to safety after the drama. The vet said the horse may not have made it had it not been for the efforts of his owner.
‘It was filth and I loved it!’ Craig Revel Horwood praises Strictly star Harry Judd for his sizzling Argentine Tango that left girlfriend giving him the silent treatment
Harry Judd and Aliona Vilani set television screens on fire with their passionate Argentine Tango.
Their electric performance on Strictly Come Dancing tonight also tipped the leader board with an impressive 37 out of 40.
However, a certain young lady might not be too happy about this particular routine.
Sizzling: Harry Judd performs an electric performance with Aliona Vilani that left him top of the leader board on Strictly Come Dancing
Compromising position: Harry revealed earlier this week that girlfriend Izzy Johnston gave him the silent treatment after watching rehearsals
Earlier this week, the McFly drummer revealed girlfriend Izzy Johnston was so riled by his dirty dancing that she gave him the silent treatment.
He said: ‘When she (Izzy) came to watch us practice the tango, Aliona warned her that it was raunchy.
‘I was almost biting her neck and really getting into it to show off… On the ride home Izzy was really quiet. She was freaked out a bit. She said, "Just don’t talk to me now – speak to me in the morning."’
Passionate: Craig Revel Horwood told Harry and Aliona their performance was ‘filth’
Even hard-to-please judge Craig Revel Horwood rewarded them with a nine, saying: ‘It had authority, dominance, command, control. It was filth and I loved it!’
Bruno Tonioli doled out a generous 10, and couldn’t resists flirting and turning Harry’s cheeks red.
He said: ‘You’ve never been stronger. You’ve never been more attractive.’
Triumphant: Harry and Aliona celebrate their victory as the scores are given out
Alesha Dixon agreed and also gave top marks, while Len Wiseman was less easy to please.
Despite saying the routine was ‘very clever’ he moaned: ‘The Argentine Tango is the about mood, yes the steps were good, but it was clinical and neat.’
He also shouted at Craig, saying: ‘There was no passion you silly little sod’ before having a slice of humble pie and apologising in order to evade any viewer complaints.
Elegant: Despite not coming top of again, Chelsee Healy scored an impressive 36 for her Foxtrot with Pasha Kovalev
Chelsee Healy and parnter Pasha Kovalev matched their score of 36 from last week, but it wasn’t quite enough to catapult them to the top spot and landed them in second behind Judd and Vilani.
They looked over the moon as Alesha awarded them a 10 for their Foxtrot, saying she looked ‘elegant and graceful’, adding ‘you truly are a lady, absolutely stunning.’
Craig continued with his kinder streak, giving them a nine and revealing: ‘You’re starting to tick all my boxes, well done.’
My Fair Lady: Judges compared the Waterloo Road actress to a real life Eliza Doolittle
Bruno showered the Waterloo Road actress with praise, adding: ‘You are a gorgeous little thing, so sophisticated tonight. It really was like the soft wings of a dove. I adore you.’
Holly Valance performed incredibly with new partner Brendan Cole, after Artem Chigvintsev damaged his back with a spinal injury and had to pull out of the competition.
Dancing the Rumba, the Australian beauty looked dazzling in a pink sequined frock that no doubt helped to influence the score up to 34.
Camp extravaganza: Russel Grant and Flavia Cacace put on a glitzy performance that will no doubt save them for another week
The wow factor: Russell may not be very good technically, but the audience can’t seem to get enough of him
Alesha applauded the new pairing, saying: ‘Considering you’ve had to change partners, you have done exceptionally well. I did feel the emotion, I just think there’s so much more to come from you.’
Typically, Craig couldn’t resist a quip at Cole, adding: ‘I thought we got rid of you Brendan, but I’m pleased you’re back as I’m loving this new partnership.’
Bruno, who scored the performance with a nine, got a little hot under the collar and seemed to fumble with his words as he said: ‘You have so much sex within you!’
Cheeky: Despite being 60, Grant shows no signs of slowing down or giving a more modest performance
Robbie Savage and Ola Jordan proved to be one of the most popular couples still left in the competition, drawing the loudest cheer from the audience.
They made a small improvement of two points on last week, scoring a total of 31.
Alesha gushed: ‘You are constantly moving in the right direction. Great job!’, while Bruno told him he was ‘becoming a smooth operator’.
New partner: Holly Valance was praised for her performance with Brendan Cole, after Artem Chigvintsev pulled out due to an injury
Dramatic: Holly looked more like an ice queen on the rink as she was dragged around in her pink dress
The comedy performance of the night typically came from Russell Grant and Flavia Cacace.
They put on a camp extravaganza with their American Smooth, prancing around in gold costumes to reign in a score of 26 – two more than last week.
Len accused him of looking like ‘a giant Ferrero Rocher’, but said the performance made him laugh, Alesha added: ‘We’ve just had a snapshot of your imagination, which looks like a fun place to be.’
Defying her year: Alesha Dixon was impressed with how ‘sensational’ Anita Dobson looks for 62-years-old
Despite their low score of 20, Bruce Forsyth revealed Audley Harrison and Natalie Lowe are still his favourite.
Their Cha Cha Cha drew the worst insult of the night, as Bruno said: ‘National Rail on a Bank Holiday has better timing.’
He added: ‘At this stage, you should give us more impact. I’m sorry, as I do like you a lot.’
Agile: Even though husband Brian May was in the audience, Anita did not hold back with partner Robin Windsor
Len tried to continue the theme of the joke, quipping: ‘The only way you’re going to Wembley Arena (where the Strictly tour will take place) is on the Jubilee line.
‘Your timing was good, you had rhythm. It wasn’t your best dance, but you did your best.’
Jason Donovan looked disappointed with his comments, although did score a reasonable 35 for his Viennese Waltz with Kristina Rihanoff.
Tender: Jason Donovan put in another good performance, but the other celebrities are starting to steal his thunder
There was also a pre-recorded message from former Neighbours co-star Kylie Minogue wishing him luck and saying: ‘You still look as good as you did 20 years ago.’
While Alesha was complimentary, calling the performance ‘dramatic’, it was Craig that left Donovan down in the dumps.
Sealed with a kiss: Kylie sent Jason Donovan a good luck message, saying she thinks he still looks as good as he did 20 years ago
He said: ‘This dance could be a 10, but it’s not because your arms are letting you down, they’re wooden. You have to have shaping otherwise it will remain a poor Ballroom.’
Alex Jones made a comeback from last week’s disastrous performance that saw the netting of her dress get caught on the heel of her shoe and an impromptu collapse on the floor.
Youthful: Alex Jones called on her inner cheerleader for her fun Jive with James Jordan
Together with partner James Jordan, they kicked off the show with their Jive and managed a reasonable 31.
Len told her she was ‘blossoming, adding: ‘It could have been sharper, but it was so full of gusto. I thought it was terrific.’
Graceful: Ola Jordan looked typically stunning as she took to the dancefloor with ex-footballer Robbie Savage
Alesha said it was a ‘credible opening to the show’, while it was unclear if Bruno’s comment was a compliment or insult after saying: ‘You have the enthusiasm of a manic cheerleader.’
Anita Dobson and Robin Windsor performed the same dance as top scorers Harry and Alino, with their Argentine Tango getting 33.
Bottom of the table: Audley Harrison only scored 20 out of 40, but host Bruce Forsyth said he was his favourite
Bruno was impressed, saying: ‘You unleashed her basic instinct. Sexy mama, queen of tango!’
While Alesha was overwhelmed with how good she looks for 62, adding: ‘You totally drew me into the story and you look sensational.’
From The : | Mail Online