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Liverpool documentary should make interesting viewing

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Steve Wilson | 10:48 UK time, Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Fly on the wall documentaries often make great viewing, but they seldom reflect well on whatever or whoever the fly is watching.

Back in the late 1960s, The Beatles invited the cameras in to watch them rehearse and record an album. The album 'Let It Be' turned out to be pretty good - but the film captured the bitter, bickering disintegration of the band before our eyes.

Years later the Football Association decided it might be a good idea to allow the cameras to record the behind-the-scenes story of England's march to the 1994 World Cup finals under the management of Graham Taylor. There was just one problem - England did not qualify.

The subsequent film almost ended Taylor's managerial career; it probably did finish that of his assistant Phil Neal, and it included the pitiful sight of Paul Gascoigne blaming a "crap ball" for a sorry performance against San Marino.

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Donetsk gears up for semi-final showdown

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Steve Wilson | 11:05 UK time, Tuesday, 26 June 2012

I am back in Donetsk for Wednesday's semi-final metting between Spain and Portugal.

Donetsk is the mining and industrial heartland of Eastern Ukraine. In Soviet times it was a centre for the manufacture of military hardware and as such was closed to foreign travellers.

I first visited Donetsk in 2000 with Arsenal, for a match against a new emerging force in Ukrainian football - the previously little-known Shakhtar.

At that time, the region still felt as far removed from Western Europe as is possible. There were two hotels in Donetsk, one was terrible and the other was worse. Arsenal brought their own food, bedding, toilet roll and cleaners; the rest of us had to make do.

We were warmly welcomed, though. I remember travelling through dimly-lit streets to Shakhtar's stadium for training the night before the match and having an orange and black Shakhtar scarf thrust into my hand by a supporter. He just wanted the name of his club to be spread abroad. He's certainly had his wish, with a 2009 Uefa Cup victory and Champions League football almost guaranteed every year.

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Italy test will set Republic up for challenges to come

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Steve Wilson | 22:00 UK time, Saturday, 16 June 2012

At Euro 2012 in Poland:

It was a fairly bedraggled look for first thing on a Friday.

As Gdansk's rush hour started to build, so dribs and drabs of Republic of Ireland fans bedecked in every kind of green-and-white fancy dress imaginable started to plan their route to Poznan.

The costumes had taken a battering in the long hours spent in the bars of the old town, and their owners' voices were harsh and hoarse after not just an hour and a half, but days of out-singing their Spanish counterparts.

The Polish TV crews loved it, relishing the opportunity to marvel at the Irish appetite for enjoyment despite a proper pounding at the hands of the Spanish.

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