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Live Reporting

Steve Canavan and Phil Dawkes

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Thank you and goodnight

    That is all from Sportsday for today.

    There will be no Sportsday tomorrow or on the 25th, but we will return after Christmas.

    Many thanks for following and also for your many contributions.

  2. Get Involved


    Your reaction to Louis van Gaal's Manchester United press conference, which saw him walk out after criticising the media speculation surrounding his future...

    Derek Steel: Totally agree with Wenger and LVG. Time for the media to take a good long look at itself in the mirror.  

    Aham: Really surprised by LVG's reaction. Speculations are part of the game, ask Pellegrini!

    Alan Simon: United spent a fortune but already out of the Champions League and looking iffy for next year. Speculation totally justified.  

  3. Mo's cousin joins Southend

    Younis Farah, cousin of double Olympic and world champion athlete Mo, has signed a two-year development scholarship with League One club Southend United.

    The 16-year-old left-back made his under-18s debut in a recent match against Gillingham.

    "You can certainly see that athletics runs in the family when you see him up and down the wing," said academy manager Ricky Duncan.  

    Younis Farah
  4. LVG walks out of news conference


    Figures from football have been reacting to Louis van Gaal walking out of his press conference earlier today...

  5. Keswick tribute to Howe


    Ex-Arsenal and West Brom player and manager Don Howe has died today, aged 80.

    Gunners chairman Sir Chips Keswick has given this tribute... 

    "We were aware Don had been enduring a long battle with illness but it was still a shock to learn the news about someone who was loved by so many people at the club, and who had such a remarkable influence as a player, coach and manager here. 

    "Don possessed a marvellous ability to get the very best out of players with his coaching techniques and provide them with the perfect preparation for matches. He was the very best at what he did - and he did it with us, at Arsenal, for decade after decade. 

    "He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him and his name will live on in the history books as one of the most influential footballing figures in the history of the club." 

    Don Howe
  6. Get Involved


    Your reaction to Louis van Gaal's Manchester United press conference, which saw him walk out after criticising the media speculation surrounding his future...

    Lewis Chard: As soon as Mourinho is fired everyone has now moved on to the next manager...   

    Steve Howes: Utd fans celebrated & joined the press in their attacks on all things CFC from coach to players but don't seem to like it back.

    Robin Thomas: Fair play to LVG. About time someone stood up to the press and all of their 'sources'.  

  7. Don Howe dies


    More now on the sad news about Don Howe, who died today aged 80. Two of his ex-colleagues have been talking to BBC Radio 5 live about him...

    Former Arsenal player and manager George Graham: "Don was the day-to-day coach with the team with Bertie Mee as manager. We won the double (in 1971) and that was due to the organisation of Don. he was a lovely man. Quiet in company but he could lose his temper as well. certainly one of the best coaches I have worked for."

    Former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson: "He was a fine player but truly he was one of the greatest coaches ever in football. He was innovative and for us as a club he was instrumental and inspirational. He made us believe as a team. He should be remembered forever for his contribution to coaching in England."

    Don Howe
  8. 'Moyes was quicker'


    ESPN football journalist John Brewin suggests Louis van Gaal has a worthy rival for shortest press conference as Manchester United boss...

  9. Wanyama going nowhere


    Southampton have had to put up with other clubs taking their best players for a few seasons now. But it appears as though Saints boss Ronald Koeman has had enough. When asked about the rumours linking midfielder Victor Wanyama with a move away, the Dutchman had this to say to his suitors...

    "They can prepare whatever they like to prepare. Don't spend time trying to buy a player from Southampton because it's impossible."

    When asked if he believes rival clubs have attempted to make their interest in Wanyama known through unofficial means, he added: "It's possible. We know that because it's the same every time.

    "They talk about players from Southampton because we have some good players and there is always interest in players.

    "We know what we like to do and how we like to do our business. That means in January nobody will leave Southampton."

    Victor Wanyama
  10. From India to Scotland...


    Image caption: Chris Dagnall in action for Leyton Orient earlier this year

    Hibernian have agreed to sign Chris Dagnall on loan from Indian side Kerala Blasters for the rest of the season, subject to international clearance.

    The 29-year-old English forward has scored over 120 goals in his senior career and joined Kerala from Leyton Orient earlier this year.

    He has previously played for Tranmere Rovers, Rochdale, Scunthorpe, Barnsley, Bradford City and Coventry City.

    "I'm very excited to be joining the club," Dagnall told the Hibs website.

  11. Don Howe has died


    More now on the sad news that former Arsenal and West Brom full-back Don Howe has died, aged 80. 

    Howe won 23 caps for England and was in the backroom staff of managers Ron Greenwood, Sir Bobby Robson and Terry Venables. 

    He is also remembered for managing both the Gunners and the Baggies, as well as QPR and Turkish giants Galatasaray. 

    Football Association chairman Greg Dyke said: "It is terribly sad news and our thoughts are with Don's family at this time." 

    Don Howe
  12. 'Where's my apology?'


    BBC football pundit John Hartson says Louis van Gaal is not the only one who deserves an apology from the press.

    We give this tweet a solid 7, John.

  13. Robshaw would 'support' new captain

    Rugby Union

    Image caption: Going out?

    Chris Robshaw will offer his support to his successor if relieved of the England captaincy as he concentrates on securing his place in Eddie Jones' team.

    The Harlequins flanker is expected to be stripped of the leadership duties for the forthcoming Six Nations with Dylan Hartley favourite to take over.

    "I'm not sure what will happen with the captaincy, that's down to Eddie. If Eddie continues with me as captain I'd be hugely honoured," Robshaw said.

    "If he decides to go to someone else then I'd respect that decision and fully back the person who comes in.

    "As a player you want to be part of that team and my mentality is to first and foremost make sure I'm part of that team. That has to be the focus."

    Image caption: Coming in?
  14. Don Howe dies


    An England international, Don Howe also played for and managed Arsenal. He joined them initially from West Brom as a player before moving into coaching with the club following his retirement in 1966. He would subsequently manage both West Brom and Turkish side Galatasaray before managing the Gunners from 1983 to 1986.

  15. Don Howe dies


    Howe, who was 80, played for West Brom, Arsenal and England and managed his two former clubs, as well as Galatasaray and QPR, and coached England for a long spell under Bobby Robson.

  16. Get Involved


    Your reaction to Louis van Gaal's Manchester United press conference, which saw him walk out after criticising the media speculation surrounding his future...

    Francis Edwards: Goes to show the disaster this league is becoming. Gossip never ever turns out to be true and it is hurting people's lives.  

    Ben Knowles: I remember United fans calling for SAF to be sacked when we weren't winning every week - media should ignore fickle fans.

    Yousuf Ali: That wrestling tag team match between Journalists and managers is way overdue.  

  17. Van Gaal video


    In case you don't know what we are talking about with reference to Louis van Gaal, have a watch here as he walks of his weekly news conference after blaming the media for "creating something that is not good", following speculation he could be sacked.  

    Louis van Gaal
  18. Focus on LVG


  19. Get Involved


    Combining two of today's Sportsday themes in one, here is Lee's poem on Louis van Gaal...

  20. Van Gaal walks out


    "Louis van Gaal was in an angry mood from the moment he took his seat in the media room at the club's training ground in Carrington."

    Read more about the brief news conference here.

    Louis van Gaal
  21. Get Involved


    Your reaction to Louis van Gaal's Manchester United press conference, which saw him walk out after criticising the media speculation surrounding his future...

    Rory Taylor: LVG may be wrong bloke but Fergie wouldn't have survived his early years with today's media. Which should make people think.

    Karmadrome: Don't understand the disrespect of Man U's LVG. How can anyone question a manager who can guide United to the Europa League?

    Desmond Oguda: LVG just did a Mourinho-esque presser. English journos have been used to such this season. Won't do him any good though.

  22. Swansea news conference

    Swansea v West Brom (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    Alan Curtis: "Part of the equation would be if we were to win a couple of games then probably the need is not so great, but if we lost a few more games then that pushes for a quicker decision on somebody."

    Chairman Huw Jenkins has already held talks with the former Argentina Boss Marcelo Bielsa but Sheffield Wednesday manager Carlos Carvalhal is the latest name to be linked with the post.

    Image caption: Marcelo Bielsa, linked with the Swansea job

    "I know that Sheffield Wednesday have picked up a little bit," said Curtis.

    "I know he's got a good reputation, I'm not sure if he's been linked to our job. I guess it's another name to Google."

  23. Swansea news conference

    Swansea v West Brom (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    Swansea go into the Boxing Day game at home to West Brom with just one win in their last 13 Premier League games and inside the bottom three, two points from safety.

    But Curtis is confident they can turn things around.

    "We probably feel aggrieved a little bit that we are in this position," the caretaker boss said. "We feel as if we should be a top-half side.

    "When you look at the quality of the players we've got, lots of them are internationals.

    "It's just been a realisation in the last couple of weeks just how good the players are, and that's why they are international footballers. That's why I feel really confident that we will get out of trouble."

  24. 'There's the old Louis'


    Dutch football journalist Elko Born says Louis van Gaal has previous for press conference antics...

  25. Poetry Corner



    And given what's just occurred at Old Trafford, maybe this poem from an understanding Sportsday reader will cheer Louis van Gaal up a bit.

    Sean: Lots of the fans and media, Used to call it a disgrace, But Louis the Red Devil manager, Will get us a Champions League space.

    Feeling better now Louis?

  26. Get Involved


    Your reaction to Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal walking out of his press conference...

    Max Downton: Complete sympathy for Van Gaal - our media is a relentless joke with no punchline.

    Joe Wedgwood: Good for Van Gaal! Utd fans should be proud to have boss who'll stand his own. Disgusting treatment by media AND fans of late!

    Kishore Mukherjee: That reaction from LVG was no less then the media deserved for a blatant lack of respect he and others are given daily.  

  27. Swansea news conference

    Swansea v West Brom (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    Not quite as dramatic over at Swansea, but fairly interesting stuff nonetheless.

    Alan Curtis says he's happy to carry on as Swansea City caretaker manager "for as long as it takes" and that "there's no real news" on the club's search for a new boss.

    He's set to be in charge for both of the Swans Christmas fixtures against West Brom and Crystal Palace following the sacking of Garry Monk, and could even still be at the helm for the trip to Manchester United on 2 January and the FA Cup third round tie at Oxford.


    "I'm quite happy to carry on," Curtis said. "It is important that we appoint somebody sooner rather than later but the important thing is that it's the right man.

    "I'll carry on for as long as it takes. If it means just for the game on the weekend or if it means a little bit further we're all prepared to do exactly what it takes to make sure the club continues to show the improvement on the field and pick up some points as well."

  28. Manchester United news conference

    Stoke v Man Utd (Sat, 12:45 GMT)

    And here is Louis van Gaal's parting shot before calmly getting up and walking out of the news conference...

    "You have to stick by the facts and when I get calls off Alex Ferguson and David Gill and Ed Woodward because you are creating something what is not good and not being the facts. Now I have to answer questions. I don't think I want to do it. I am focused on Stoke City and help my players, I wish you a merry Christmas and maybe a happy new year when I see you. Enjoy the wine and a mince pie. Goodbye."

  29. Manchester United news conference

    Stoke v Man Utd (Sat, 12:45 GMT)

    It is clear Louis van Gaal had one particular subject on his mind throughout the news conference - namely, the nature of the speculation surrounding his position and his treatment by the media...

    "I want to say, only, that I have tried to lift the confidence of my players and have done everything this week - meetings, a Christmas lunch, a speech - and I feel the warmth and support of everybody in Carrington. I didn't feel that in the media. I can imagine that you can write about that subject. We are not in a good position but four weeks ago we were first and in four weeks we can be again."

  30. Manchester United news conference

    Stoke v Man Utd (Sat, 12:45 GMT)

    Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal lasted less than five minutes before walking out of the news conference. He answered three questions, although his answers were all on a similar theme. Here is part one...

    "Has anybody in this room not a feeling to apologise to me? Nobody has that feeling? That, I was wondering. I think I was already sacked, I have read. My colleague [replacement] was here already. 

    "What do you think happens with my wife, or kids or grandchildren. Or the fans of Manchester United? Or my friends? They have called me. A lot of times. And also Arsene Wenger is saying something about that. Do you think I want to talk with the media now? Only because of the Premier League rule, I have to talk with you. I see that when I say something you use my words in your context."

  31. Manchester United news conference

    Stoke v Man Utd (Sat, 12:45 GMT)

    David Ornstein

    BBC Sport

    "Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has walked out of his news conference after just eight minutes. I asked the first question and there were then a couple more from the broadcast media before he got up and left."

  32. Manchester United news conference

    Stoke v Man Utd (Sat, 12:45 GMT)

    You might want to stay tuned for a pretty dramatic Manchester United news conference. It would appear Louis van Gaal has brought it to an abrupt end...

  33. Poetry Corner


    Keep your festive sporting ditties coming please...

    Jordan Rosamond: Out with Rodgers, in with Klopp, jubilation for the kop. Mourinho faulters, gets the chop, as Chelsea head towards the drop 

    Ever considered a career in poetry Jordan?

  34. Quiet in here


    The world number five isn't going to make many new friends today...

  35. New manager imminent


  36. Manchester United news conference

    Stoke v Man Utd (Sat, 12:45 GMT)

    Louis van Gaal is speaking to MUTV ahead of his press conference (due to start around 16:00 GMT). He has been asked about the injury situation at the club and given this response...

    "It's more or less the same, so there is no difference. Only that, for example, Phil Jones has played 90 minutes and had no reaction so that’s a good signal.

    "I think Matteo Darmian shall come [back] next week and then maybe already against Chelsea. We have to see that but, of course, we have injuries that take a long time for example Shaw, Valencia and Rojo and you cannot change that."  

  37. Morgan set to return home?

    Matthew Morgan

    Wales international Matthew Morgan is to leave Bristol at the end of the season.

    The 23-year-old fly-half, who has been linked with Cardiff Blues, believes a move gives him the best chance of adding to his five caps.

    "We can't fault a young man in wanting to play international rugby," said Bristol director of rugby Andy Robinson.

  38. Mourinho back to Madrid?


    There has been a lot of noise about former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho stepping in to the (apparently) soon to be vacant manager post at Manchester United. But, if the Daily Mail are to be believed, 'The Special One' could be set for another big club.

    The paper reports that Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has tentatively sounded out directors and influential club members over the possibility of getting in ahead of United and bringing Jose Mourinho back to the Bernabeu, where he managed from 2010-2013.

    Jose Mourinho
  39. Sporting birthdays

    Leicester City are the talk of the Premier League at the moment so it seems only right to lead of our list today's sporting birthdays with one of their players. So, a very happy birthday to Jeff Schlupp, who was born on this day in 1992.

    Other sporting folk celebrating their birthday today include Spain's World Cup and European Championship-winning manager Vicente del Bosque, who was born in 1950, former Scotland forward Kenny Miller (1979), ex-France back, now president of the French tennis federation, Jean Gachassin (1941) and former WBA and IBF featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa (1981).

    Jeff Schlupp
  40. Fit-again Fox-Pitt appears in video


    William Fox-Pitt has posted a Christmas video message on YouTube - the first time he has been seen since a serious accident in mid-October.

    In the video, he thanks everyone for their support and - after he is filmed riding a horse - says it’s his first time back in the saddle since the accident.


    Fox-Pitt, 46, was placed in an induced coma after falling from Reinstated at the World Young Horse Championships in Lion D'Angers on 17 October 

  41. Sunderland news conference

    Man City v Sunderland (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    Juliette Ferrington

    BBC Sport

    And back to Sunderland...

    Sam Allardyce also discussed the topic of Jeremain Lens, who was quoted this week saying he may have to leave the club in January after failing to break into the first XI.

    "He is back in the squad, trained with the team today. He has been through our disciplinary process, it's finished with and on we move," said Allardyce.

    "'If he comes to me and tells me what club are going to buy him then we'll probably look at it and maybe come to a mutual agreement."

    And Allardyce admits he's looking to add two new faces in January with Younes Kaboul out for a number of weeks with a hamstring injury.

  42. Poetry corner


    Keep your festive poems coming please...

    Mark Sapsford: Good King Arsene Wenger smiled as we beat Man City. Now the title's on again, and that's my Christmas ditty

    Ben: One season wonder? You must be insane. Think he'll keep scoring? He's called Harry Kane!

    Yusuf: From bottom of the league to top of the table, this Leicester love story is better than Mary n Joseph in a stable.

  43. Sunderland news conference

    Man City v Sunderland (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    Juliette Ferrington

    BBC Sport

    Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce was irate with the Premier League for switching their midweek game at Swansea back 24 hours to Wednesday, 13 January.

    "It's hugely disappointing but I think I will cover that nearer the game," he said. "I will produce the evidence on why Richard Scudamore is totally wrong in this decision, and I mean totally wrong. I'll explain exactly my dissatisfaction with that decision.

    "We are the ones that have been wronged.'"

    Sam Allardyce
  44. 'Really disappointed'


    Bowler Liam Plunkett is clearly gutted not to have made either the England one-day or Twenty20 squads for the tour to South Africa.

  45. An Owl to a Swan?



    Carlos Carvalhal is boss of Sheffield Wednesday. But there's lots of speculation that he might be wanted by Swansea.

    Asked about that during a press conference today, the Owls gaffer gave a standard reply, saying: "I can't talk about rumours".

    Carvalhal went on to say that it was no surprise to be linked to the Swansea job because of how well his team are playing.

  46. Poetry corner


    We asked for your Christmas poems and here's the first. Take a bow Ian Mac.

    'Stoke score three, we score two.

    Louis watcha gonna do?

    With a nic-nac paddywhack give a dog a bone,

    LVG is heading home'

  47. 'Tottenham can win the league'


    Can Tottenham win the league? Yes. Yes, they can. And manager Mauricio Pochettino agrees, although he has tried to play down any expectation...

    "Can we win the title? In football, all is possible.

    "The last 10 games are very important and it's how you arrive there to attack different objectives or achieve important things. It's important how we arrive in the last 10 games."

    He also added praise for his side - something he feels they have not had enough of in recent weeks.

    "People don't realise the effort we make and how hard our players work because we are the youngest squad in the Premier League," Pochettino said.

    "Sometimes they deserve more praise for the position they have. Maybe the team deserve more praise than we have so far."

  48. Njie injury blow


    Some delayed news from the Tottenham news conference now... Unfortunately, it is not good news for Spurs fans as striker Clinton Njie looks likely to be out for two to three months with a knee injury.

    Njie underwent surgery after sustaining the injury in Spurs' Europa League victory over Monaco two weeks ago and manager Mauricio Pochettino told reporters: "You never know because every day it's about how the knee responds but maybe two months or a little bit more [he will be out]."

    Clinton Njie
  49. Get Involved


    On the back of Alistair Mann's epic effort, send us your Christmas poems for your club - using #bbcsportsday. 

    Obviously yours will need to be 140 characters, not 400 words.

  50. What the Dickens is going on?

    Alistair Mann

    BBC MOTD commentator

    It’s Christmas Eve in Carrington and darkness has descended

    While for others long since home, their working day has ended,

    A man sits down he’s deep in thought, his coat says “LVG”

    For him so much to ponder, is it time for 4-3-3?

    People say it's crisis point, that things have all gone wrong

    He feels that he can turn it round, he’s resolute and strong.

    A career that has been glittering, in Spain and Holland too,

    But now he sits there wondering exactly what to do.

    Then suddenly a flash of light, a ghostly vision nears

    A blast of hairdryer heated air, a sagely man appears.

    “Come on son, now’s not the time to brood and moan and grieve

    Instead be sure and confident and in yourself believe.

    It’s not a time for fairytales, Scrooge or Mary Poppins

    You need a change of fortune son, for me it was Mark Robins!

    Things turned round dramatically with Giggsy, Becks and Scholes

    We didn’t deal in goalless draws, just bulging sacks of goals!

    So now’s the time to gamble son, you have your latest mission

    Remember the United way cos we’ve a strong tradition.

    The lessons from the past are clear, whenever you look back

    For us the best form of defence, attack, attack, attack!”

    With that another bang and crash, and standing in his place

    Another apparition with a most familiar face.

    Donned in stripes of red and white, he says,” The name is Hughes,

    I hear our game this weekend you can’t afford to lose!

    This fairground ride we’re sitting on it never seems to stop,

    Off went Rodgers, Advocaat and on came Sam and Klopp.

    So I’ll be waiting Saturday with Bojan and Shaqiri.”

    Then he laughed, began to fade, the atmosphere was eerie.

    There then emerged another flash and bang his face had gone

    And standing there a different man, “I am the special one.

    Only a few months ago I achieved the double,

    Then a string of bad results and boy was I in trouble!

    Instead I sit here menacing but not to poke or tease,

    But I’ve just heard Old Trafford might be going Portuguese!

    It could be me, or maybe not, just don’t fail at Britannia,

    Instead a Pep talk could be next, e Viva its España!”

    Then suddenly the Dutchman woke, it was a crazy dream,

    And United after all still remained his team.

    “Ah,” he sighed, “all these reports, they’re just a cruel joke,

    There’s no way my fate depends just on the match at Stoke.”

    ……….or does it?

  51. Cech mate


    And if you want to watch that Petr Cech interview...


    ...then you can do so right here.

  52. 'We have the chance to win the league'



    A little more from the interview Petr Cech has given to Football Focus (see 09:47).

    "We've been through the season with plenty of problems," the Arsenal keeper said.

    "Everything isn't going as smoothly as we would like it to. We can't avoid injuries - sometimes you have more, sometimes you have less - but we showed that even with the unlucky injuries at the moment that we manage to win games.

    "I believe we will benefit from players coming back into the team, once they are fit.

    "The season is long and anything can happen. But if we stay where we are until March or April, then we have the chance to win the league."

  53. FIS ban camera drones


    Earlier, we told you about skier Marcel Hirscher getting hit by a drone during a slalom in Italy. Well, the international ski federation is banning camera drones from its World Cup races following the incident.

    FIS men's race director Markus Waldner says that drones will be prohibited "as long as I am responsible... because they are a bad thing for safety".

    The unmanned flying object carrying a TV camera came down and shattered on the icy slope just behind Hirscher during Tuesday night's race in Madonna di Campiglio. The four-time overall champion was unhurt and continued his run, finishing second behind Norwegian winner Henrik Kristoffersen.

    The company responsible for the camera drone, sports marketing agency Infront, says in a statement "the circumstances leading to [the crash] are currently being examined".

    You can watch video of the drone crash here.

    Marcel Hirscher almost hit by a drone
  54. Northern Ireland announce warm-up


    Northern Ireland will take on Slovenia in a Belfast friendly in March as part of their Euro 2016 preparations.

    The game at Windsor Park on Monday, 28 March will be the second of two friendlies that month.

    Slovenia were beaten in the Euro 2016 play-offs by Ukraine, who are among Northern Ireland's group opponents in France.

    "Slovenia are a great choice. While they lost 2-0 in Ukraine they drew 1-1 at home and played well. They're a good side," said NI boss Michael O'Neill.

  55. O'Neill set for new deal


    Michael O'Neill is riding on the crest of a wave at the moment after leading Northern Ireland to Euro 2016 qualification, their first major tournament in 30 years, and was named coach of the year at the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year show.

    And he expects to put pen to paper on a new four-year deal as Northern Ireland manager in the coming weeks.

    "We're well down the line, discussions have been very positive to date," he told the Belfast Telegraph. "I don't envisage everything being signed and sealed before Christmas but we haven't hit any stumbling blocks yet. I'd imagine it'll come to a conclusion some time in the New Year."

    Michael O'Neill is thrown in the air by Northern Ireland players
  56. 'Get in the hole!'


    Barack Obama. Now there's a cool man. Not content with being the leader of the free world and hanging out surviving in the wild with Bear Grylls, he's also pretty handy with a golf club in his hands.

    Checks out this video of the 44th US President sinking a 40-foot chip from the fringes of the 18th green at the Mid-Pacific Country Club. Like a true politician, he saves his best stuff for the cameras.

    Barack Obama celebrates chipping in
  57. Wenger backs LVG


    Louis van Gaal getting sacked. Jose Mourinho replacing him. It is the rumour that is taking over the back pages at the moment (and we're not helping by continually referring to it here). However, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has spoken out for LVG...

    When asked about the rumours, Wenger responded: "I do not want to go in a world of speculation. I personally have a huge respect for Louis van Gaal and I think what is going on there is disrespectful. 

    "This guy has worked for 30 years in football and has delivered unbelievable quality of work. I think it is a bit disrespectful what is going on there.

    "Of course he deserves more time."

    Arsene Wenger
  58. Manchester City news conference

    Man City v Sunderland (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    Manuel Pellegrini also says that striker Sergio Aguero is working towards full fitness and is unlikely to play 90 minutes against Sunderland, or in the two games after that (heads up for fantasy football players).

    He was also asked about the title race, to which he responded: "The important thing is to be involved near the top of the table at the end of January. You never win the title in December."

  59. Manchester City news conference

    Man City v Sunderland (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    The pre-match Premier League news conferences continue to come thick and fast. Next up is Manchester City. And Manuel Pellegrini has some injury news, which is sure to be a boost after their defeat at Arsenal on Monday...

    "The injury situation is better. Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta and Fernando are all fit and training normally," he says, before adding: "We’ll see the starting XI on Saturday - I have not decided on the team for the game yet. Only Samir Nasri is not fit."

  60. Middlesex sign McCullum


    Good news for Middlesex fans! Brendon McCullum has agreed to play for the club in next summer’s NatWest T20 Blast and the Royal London One-Day Cup. 

    Big-hitting McCullum announced his retirement from international cricket this week and he will be available to play for Middlesex from the moment his commitments at the Indian Premier League finish through to 25 June.

    Brendon McCullum
  61. 'The matter is closed'



    Bolton assistant manager Steve Walford says Neil Lennon is "very sorry" after Wanderers cleared him to stay on as manager following an internal investigation.

    It follows allegations made about Lennon's private life in a Sunday newspaper.

    "The situation with the manager now has been cleared up regarding the staff and the players; he's spoken to them and they're all behind him," Walford said.

    "He's obviously down and very sorry for his actions. I've known Neil a long time and he'll bounce back, no danger.

    "The players and the club are all behind him now. As far as I'm concerned, I think the matter's closed." 

  62. Chelsea news conference

    Chelsea v Watford (Sat, 12: 45 GMT)

    He's certainly a good talker, is Guus. He looks as if he's enjoying this exchange with reporters. Give it a few weeks and that will all change...

    This press conference is coming to a close now.

    "Two more questions now," says Chelsea's press officer.

    First is about the fans, the second about the youth team and giving more youngsters a chance.

    "I want to analyse them and then we will decide," the boss says. "First I must be convinced of their quality, so at the moment it is a little too eagerly to say. But if they show they are competitive I am not against using them."

    A reporter jumps in with a cheeky last question about his future. Guus doesn't look happy. He gives it short shrift, and that's it. He's off.

    Well then Chelsea fans, what did you make of those comments?

  63. Chelsea news conference

    Chelsea v Watford (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink on staying at Chelsea beyond this season: "What we said was 'Let's go to May'. Then we will see."

    On the Chelsea fans: "I hope the fans will support the team, as they did briefly during the last game. The fans must also think and express themselves about the recent past. The team has to take the initiative. What I know of Chelsea is that the fans back up the team, but the team has to show it first."

  64. Chelsea news conference

    Chelsea v Watford (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    Hiddink, dressed, by the way, in a very shiny looking Chelsea tracksuit and trademark round specs, is asked about the form of Eden Hazard.

    "He had a terrific season last year and it is normal that you get a little bit of a setback after that," Hiddink says.

    "I think he can be a key player as captain of a national team for Belgium. And he can be a key player here .

    "It's the same with him, he has to be eager to perform."

  65. Chelsea news conference

    Chelsea v Watford (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink: "It is a different group of players [to when he was at Chelsea last]. The players at that time were also big players and were leaders.We now have big players but it is difficult to compare."

    On Jose Mourinho: "If you look at his record over the years it is amazing. There were many, many titles. But nevertheless things happen in football. People take decisions that they have taken and I come on when I am asked."

    On Watford: "I have a lot of respect for Watford. they are disciplined and have strong strikers: Ighalo and Deeney. They are very dangerous."

  66. Chelsea news conference

    Chelsea v Watford (Sat, 12:45 GMT)

    Here's what Chelsea fans want to know. 'Can the team make the top four?', Hiddink is asked.

    "Mathematically it is possible," the boss says.

    "If you can add up then it is possible but this league is very strong, which has been especially proven this year with all respect to the clubs at the top - Leicester, Crystal Palace, Watford... it is amazing and refreshing.

    "It means that all the teams can kill each other."

  67. Chelsea news conference

    Chelsea v Watford (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    Hiddink says he "doesn't have a single complaint" about the players' attitude in training since he took over.

    "I want to have my own judgment about performances on the pitch and in training," he adds.

    "I don't want to have much information (about what went before). They have to show me now what they are capable of.

    "I've been working with them a couple of days, two sessions, I cannot see that players - the key players - have a lack of ambition or desire. So I cannot complain."

  68. Chelsea news conference

    Chelsea v Watford (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    Hiddink is asked to give a message to Chelsea fans.

    "No manager can guarantee three points every week but we have to show to ourselves and to the club, and especially the fans, that the team has big desire to wash away the last half a year and to go up to the next games."

  69. Chelsea news conference

    Chelsea v Watford (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    Hiddink is asked about the crowd booing some of the club's players last week, like Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard.

    "I talked to the squad yesterday and we talked about the past a little - why I am here, the reason why we are down," he says.

    "But I also told them things happen in football and I want everyone to look themselves in the mirror, for not just a second but for a long time, to see what anyone from now on can contribute to the way up.

    "I emphasized that. And not to look back too much.

    "We cannot ignore what has happened in the recent past but I have asked them to be professionals and see if they can give themselves the best of the team. So I like to look forward."

  70. Chelsea news conference

    Cheslea v Watford (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink on Didier Drogba potentially being added to his staff: "I worked with him five or six years ago. I was delighted to have such a professional in the squad. He is a legend already in this squad and outside this club. The only thing is that he is playing in Montreal at this moment."

    On potential January transfers: "Let's go into the next few games and we will see. That is always open but first I would like to get through the first few games."

  71. Chelsea news conference

    Chelsea v Watford (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    Hiddink is as eloquent as ever and talking a good game.

    He's asked about last week's game with Sunderland and how well Chelsea played.

    "I was in the stand and saw the game and they were playing in a way that showed they enjoyed it very much and sometimes they even went a bit over the top and didn't kill it off," the new boss says.

    "It was good to see how they can play. the quality is there."

  72. Chelsea news conference

    Chelsea v Watford (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink: "I shouldn't be here halfway through the season. It means things are not going well. But anyhow, I am glad to be back. It is a few years ago I was here in a similar situation. 

    "If you look back a bit to last season when there was this year of success, then you go into next season with targets and wins, which are the same: winning the title again. It is not easy after a championship. You relax as a team and get a wake-up call. It is not easy to say that I am here and the problem is solved."

  73. Taking a risk

    Formula 1/ Retail

    F1 driver Romain Grosjean is clearly a brave man. Doesn't he know that, statistically, today is the busiest day of the year in supermarkets?

  74. Chelsea news conference

    Chelsea v Watford (Sat, 12:45 GMT)

    No Guus Hiddink yet but we have the next best thing. A shot of his empty chair. Great isn't it? Think of it as an early Christmas present from us to you.

    Chelsea TV
  75. Favourite Christmas memories


    Kevin Laister: Favourite Christmas football memory. Grimsby beating Derby County away on boxing day. Guiseley away this year!

    Andrew Banks: I remember Roque Santa Cruz celebrating his hat-trick away at Wigan.


    Sam Lockwood: Boxing Day game for Cambridge against Braintree at Braintree. Poor weather and poor pitch. Still managed to win 3-1.

  76. Chelsea news conference

    Chelsea v Watford (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    There is one empty chair and a mob of journalists at Chelsea right now.

    They're waiting for Guus Hiddink, the man replacing Jose Mourinho, well, at least until the end of the season.

    Fret ye not, we are poised to bring you full coverage of the press conference. It's due to start any minute now...

  77. Jones stays with Quins

    Rugby Union


    British and Irish Lion Adam Jones has re-signed for Harlequins.

    Jones, one of the most recognisable front row forwards in the game, who won 95 caps for Wales, first joined Quins after retiring from international rugby and has made six appearances for the club so far.

    “Since Adam arrived over the summer, his impact on the group cannot be understated," said Harlequins director of rugby Conor O’Shea.

    "He is still a competitor who wants to win things and we are delighted he has committed for another year.” 

    As for Jones himself, he said: “I’m chuffed to bits to have re-signed for such a prestigious club. I’m really enjoying my rugby here." 

  78. Liverpool agree Grujic fee


    Jurgen Klopp has made his first significant move in the transfer market as Liverpool boss. The Reds have agreed a £5.1m deal to buy Red Star Belgrade's Marko Grujic. The 19-year-old midfielder will stay with Red Star until the summer and join Liverpool for next season.

    Marko Grujic
  79. Cheer up


    Just found this pic in our library, possibly the saddest Christmas snap we've seen.

    Sad Manchester United Santa kid

    Does this sum up the feelings of Man United fans everywhere?

    Louis van Gaal is talking to the media at 15:30 GMT don't forget. We'll bring it to you.

  80. Close-up of the wicket

    South Africa v England (Boxing Day)

    Not long to go till the first Test between England and South Africa and our colleagues at TMS are clearly getting excited.

  81. £200m takeover talks begin


    Phil McNulty

    BBC Sport chief football writer


    Everton are in talks with a United States-led consortium about a potential £200m takeover at Goodison Park.

    The group, fronted by former San Diego Padres baseball team owner John Jay Moores and fellow entrepreneur Charles Noell, have been in discussions with Toffees owner Bill Kenwright in recent months.

    Moores and Noell, who were previously interested in investing in Swansea City, have now turned their attention to Everton.

    As revealed by The Times, negotiations will continue over the next few weeks, when the consortium is expected to perform due diligence on the club’s accounts.

    Everton declined to comment on the latest interest, but there have been several parties pondering a deal to buy the Premier League outfit this year.

  82. Palace 'excellent to watch' - Howe

    Eddie Howe

    Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has declared himself a big fan of Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew ahead of the Boxing Day meeting between their sides at the Vitality Stadium.

    "I have got a lot of time for Crystal Palace and Alan Pardew," 38-year-old Howe told BBC Radio Solent.

    "The way they have played this season, they have been excellent to watch. They are a very attacking side with some very good players."

  83. Favourite Christmas memories


    Ken Willox: The furthest I travelled on Boxing day was Aberdeen to Birmingham for the Spurs v Villa game a few years ago.

    Wowzers Ken, that, my friend, is serious commitment.

    Richard Todd: Ramsgate's finest darts player Kirk Shepherd "Young Gun" reaching Final of 2009 PDC World Champs magnificent achievement.


    Jack Lennon-French: If reports are right, Van Gaal is a bit like my advent calender....only got one day left.

  84. Bankier hangs up her racquet



    Scottish doubles specialist Imogen Bankier has announced her retirement from international badminton.

    The 28-year-old was one of only four British players to compete at the London 2012 Olympics, playing mixed doubles alongside Chris Adcock.

    Prior to that she won World Championship silver with Adcock in London in 2011 and she went on to win Commonwealth Games bronze with Robert Blair in her native Glasgow last year.

  85. 'If they do a deal, they do a deal'



    West Brom expect further January interest from Spurs about Berahino but Pulis insisted the frontman - who scored 20 goals last season - must knuckle down if he stays.

    "How long have we got until the window opens? I am going to be talking about the same old, same old, same old all the time," said Pulis, who, as you can tell of, was probably getting a bit cheesed off at this point.

    "f Tottenham come in and they do the deal, they do the deal. If they don't come in Saido has got to get his head down and recognise and realise he has got to work hard, get in our team and start scoring goals again.

    "I'm not going to tell Daniel Levy (Tottenham chairman) what to do and I'm not going to tell Jeremy (Peace, West Brom chairman), if he doesn't want to sell, what to do."

  86. Berahino set for recall



    A little more from Tony Pulis' press conference, held earlier on ahead of the Baggies Boxing Day clash at Swansea.

    The gaffer says striker Saido Berahino is in line for a recall.

    "We have got a tough Christmas period so the players will be played," he said.

    "Given the way he has trained in the last couple of days, given the opportunity, hopefully he can show what he can do.

    "We have two games in three days so we would definitely rotate the squad. We will start with players at Swansea which we won't start with against Newcastle (on 28 December). We will certainly rotate the side."

  87. 'I can win more majors' - Woods



    Tiger Woods - normally a man for whom a smile often seems a struggle - is back in upbeat mood and expecting to win major championships over the next decade.

    He had back surgery for the second time in 18 months in September and talked about retirement earlier this month.

    Now the former world number one, who turns 40 next week, hopes to play competitively again early in 2016.

    "Where do I see myself in the next five to 10 years? I am still playing golf at the highest level, winning tournaments and majors," he wrote on his website.

  88. Favourite Christmas memories


    Rugbyfans: Beating the Scarlets 60-17 in a Christmas local derby game

    Paul Garrett: When the Portland Timbers came from nowhere to take the 2015 MLS Cup.

    Mike Bradley: going to my first ever football match at Colchester United's Layer Road with my dad, uncle and grandad.

    Aw, lovely MIke. And here's a pic to remind you of the place.

    Colchester have now, of course, relocated to a shiny new ground with the very catchy moniker, the Colchester Community Stadium.

  89. Carry on playing lads



    Coventry will continue playing at the Ricoh Arena until at least 2018.

    Premiership club Wasps and the League One side announced in a joint statement that Ricoh Arena operators, Arena Coventry Limited, had extended the current licence agreement with the football club until the end of the 2017-18 season.

    The statement said it allowed both clubs to "plan ahead with certainty over the next two-and-a-half years."

  90. The men to face South Africa


    Those England one-day and Twenty20 squads in full...

    ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (Middlesex, capt), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), Chris Jordan (Sussex), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Jason Roy (Surrey), Ben Stokes (Durham), James Taylor (Nottinghamshire), Reece Topley (Hampshire), David Willey (Yorkshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire).

    T20 squad: Eoin Morgan (Middlesex, capt), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Sam Billings (Kent), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), Chris Jordan (Sussex), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Jason Roy (Surrey), Ben Stokes (Durham), Reece Topley (Hampshire), David Willey (Yorkshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), James Vince (Hampshire).

  91. Finn and Stokes get the nod



    Bowler Steven Finn and all-rounder Ben Stokes have been named in England's 15-man squads for the one-day and Twenty20 series against South Africa.

    Both players are also in the Test squad with Finn, 26, returning after a foot injury, while 24-year-old Stokes has recovered from a shoulder injury.

    The five-match ODI series will start on 3 February, with the first of three T20s on 17 February.

  92. Toney to answer SOS call?



    Newcastle have recalled striker Ivan Toney from his loan spell at League One Barnsley as they await news on Papiss Cisse's groin injury.

    Senegal international Cisse is set to miss the Christmas programme as the Magpies seek a second opinion on the damage which forced him off during  Saturday's 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.

    The Magpies signed Toney, 19, from Northampton in the summer.

  93. Van der Gouw backs Mourinho


    Would Jose Mourinho be the right man to take over at Manchester United if Louis van Gaal is sacked? Former United keeper Raimond van der Gouw certainly thinks so.

    "I saw the last game (a 2-1 home defeat by Norwich), and the players are out of confidence," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

    When asked whether Mourinho would  bring the confidence back to the team, Van der Gouw said: "I think so. The manager is always responsible, but the players will have to look at themselves. It's not the manager who is kicking the ball, they can do much better."

    Jose Mourinho
  94. Favourite Christmas memories



    Good call Chris. It happened against Watford and you can watch it here.

  95. Anderson a doubt



    Staying with cricket and a blow for England, with paceman James Anderson a doubt for the first Test against South Africa starting on 26 December.

    Anderson, England's leading wicket-taker in Tests, was sent for scans on Tuesday after suffering tightness in his right calf muscle.

    A decision on his involvement in the first Test in Durban is unlikely to be taken until Thursday.

    "It's a concern," said coach Trevor Bayliss ahead of the four-match series against the top-ranked Test side. "He hasn't been able to bowl a lot of overs on this tour. He has bowled overs, though, so whatever it is it's not a terribly bad one."

  96. Smith wins top honour



    Joe Root might be two places higher than Steve Smith in the Test rankings for top batsmen, but it is the Australia captain who has been named cricketer of the year and Test cricketer of the year by the International Cricket Council.

    He becomes the fourth Australian to lift the Sir Garfield Sobers trophy afterRicky Ponting,Mitchell Johnson and Michael Clarke.

    South Africa's AB de Villiers won the ODI cricketer of the year award for the second year in a row.

    There was an award for an Englishman... Richard Kettleborough named umpire of the year for the third time.

  97. Slaven Bilic news conference

    Aston Villa v West Ham (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    Aston Villa may be adrift at the bottom of the Premier League, but they picked up a point at Newcastle in their last game and Slaven Bilic believes they pose a significant threat to his West Ham side...

    "Every game is difficult in the Premier League and Aston Villa are struggling, but they played a good game against Newcastle last week," he said.

    "They are fighting for their lives and will have confidence from that away point. I am not expecting anything easier than Swansea, Stoke or Manchester United. They have some quality players who can hurt you."

  98. Slaven Bilic news conference

    Aston Villa v West Ham (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    West Ham boss Slaven Bilic has also been speaking to the press this morning ahead of their Boxing Day trip to Aston Villa. And he had some good news about injured midfielder Dimitri Payet...

    "It is good news that Dimitri Payet is ahead of schedule. He should train with us after Villa and is with the fitness coaches now," said Bilic. "He might be involved in the Liverpool game [on 2 January] which would be a big boost for us."

    He added: "Manuel Lanzini is progressing and will probably be available for the Southampton game. It looks like it will be the same squad as against Swansea for Villa, but we should have one or two back for Southampton." 

  99. Arsene Wenger news conference

    Southampton v Arsenal (Sat, 19:45 GMT)

    As you would expect, Arsene Wenger has played down talk of Arsenal winning the title, which grew in volume after the win over Manchester City...

    "It is much too early to say who will win the Premier League. We are only halfway," said Wenger.

    "Football is pragmatic. No-one can predict the future games. It has been a positive year and it looks like we are going the right way."

  100. Arsene Wenger news conference

    Southampton v Arsenal (Sat, 19:45 GMT)

    Here is a revealing quote from Arsene Wenger, particularly with regard to the change in style he has adopted for games against other top teams in the division...

    "Possession is not rewarded like it was before. It doesn't give you the win as much."  

  101. Arsene Wenger news conference

    Southampton v Arsenal (Sat, 19:45 GMT)

    "Bare bones" is a phrase being used regularly with Arsenal at the moment. And it doesn't look like their injury problems are clearing up just yet.

    "We have nobody coming back. It is the same players available," manager Arsene Wenger tells the press.

    Mind you, the way they've been playing of late, that shouldn't be a problem.  

  102. 'We can win the league'



    Some interesting stuff from Petr Cech, who has been talking to BBC's Football Focus show.

    He reckons Arsenal are set up to win the Premier League title this season, saying: "The squad is very strong and once we have everybody available, the manager can use every player the way he likes.

    "That will be to our advantage and we'll be able to go all the way."

    Arsene Wenger's side are two points behind leaders Leicester and have lost only once in 11 league games.

    The manager, incidentally, is about to start talking to the media ahead of their Boxing Day clash at Southampton. In fact he just has, we'll bring you what he says right now...

  103. A narrow escape


    There has been drama at an Alpine slalom race in Italy, where the defending World Cup champion Marcel Hirscher narrowly avoided being hit by a drone.

    The Austrian was on his second run when a drone carrying a camera crashed onto the slope centimetres behind him.


    "This is horrible," said Hirscher, 26. "This can never happen again. This can be a serious injury."

    Despite the incident, Hirscher finished in second place at the event, 1.25 seconds behind Norway's Henrik Kristoffersen.

  104. Christmas sport


    Right then, it's Christmas. As you might have noticed. And as this is the last Sportsday until the new year we want to know this ... What are your favourite sporting Christmas memories?


    Have you ever run into any sports people on their Christmas do? What are your best memories of watching sport over the festive period? What are you looking forward to over Christmas? What's the furthest you've travelled on Boxing Day? Or are you just a miserable so-and-so who sits at home and does nothing?

    Let us know now at #bbcsportsday ... we'll publish the best.

  105. Cardiff sign Williams