Fired up Theo Walcott on yet another rollercoaster season at Arsenal
Bringing you closer to the UEFA Champions League
Photos featured are from the UEFA Champions League Trophy Handover captured by competition winner Andy Roberts on the new HTC One.
Your gallery brought to life
Issue 302, April 26 2013 Radar 05 Picture perfect The best sporting snaps from the Sony World Photography Awards
06 The day of reckoning... ... is on the way for Football League clubs up and down the country. We tell you who’s up and who’s down
08 Flashback Martin Keown recalls giving it big ones in Ruud van Nistelrooy’s face oFeatures this coming week
Theo Walcott Arsenal’s flying winger on Wenger, responsibility and his desire for success with the Gunners
27 German football
Cover image: Jon Enoch, www.jonenoch.com. This page: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images, Joern Pollex/Bongarts/Getty Images, SSPL/Getty Images
Fairly priced tickets, an electric atmosphere on the terraces and European progress. We ask how the Bundesliga has got it so right
33 Ghosts of the Crucible With the World Championship well under way, we revisit some defining moments from the home of snooker
37 The British and Irish Lions
Warren Gatland has some big decisions to make come Tuesday – we run through his options
52 Kit We wrap our head around Nike’s Free 5.0 flexible barefoot shoe – it can wrap around almost anything
54 Gadgets Samsung’s heroic NX300 camera has our speedy sense tingling
56 Grooming A pretty freaky collection of which the Thin White Duke would approve
60 Games Prowl Moscow maiming mutants in Metro: Last Light, or use your own spine as a sword in Soul Sacrifice | April 26 2013 | 03
WingS FOr All TASTES.
THE TASTE OF crAnbErry, limE Or bluEbErry. THE EFFEcT OF rEd bull.
p06 – Who’s on the up, who’s going down – our Football League cheat sheet p06 – Lions DNA: we pick apart previous squads by nationality p08 – Martin Keown recalls the Battle of Old Trafford
Adam Pretty/Getty Images, Ryan Pierse/Getty Images, Fernando Borges
Chasing the perfect picture E
ver wondered what it would be like to take part in an Olympic 100m final? The picture above, from London 2012, is an accurate depiction of how it would go for most of us – the world’s top sprinters racing away while you struggle out of the blocks. Taken by Australian snapper Adam Pretty, it is one of several shortlisted in the sport category at the Sony World Photography Awards, the winners of which were announced last night. All entries – including our pick of three other shortlisted snaps, to your right – will be on display at Somerset House until May 12. Download the free Sport iPad app for more shortlisted images from last night’s awards
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| April 26 2013 | 05
Win or bust
Cardiff (1st, 85 points) were confirmed as champions last weekend, and Hull will join them (2nd, 78) if they can match Watford’s result this weekend. Brighton (4th, 69) can secure their place in the playoffs this weekend with a win, as can Crystal Palace (5th, 67) and Bolton (6th, 66) if results go their way – and Palace have a game in hand on Tuesday. Leicester (7th, 65) and Nottingham Forest (8th, 64) are waiting to pounce if any of that trio slip up (and play each other next weekend).
Bournemouth (1st, 82 points) are already up and will seal the title with a win at Tranmere, or if Doncaster (2nd, 81) fail to win their automaticpromotion/playoffs decider away at Brentford (3rd, 79) – a game that will decide the fate of the other automatic spot. The loser of that game will join Yeovil, Swindon and Sheffield United in the playoffs, with only the order to be determined on the last day.
Gillingham (1st, 83 points) were confirmed as champions last weekend, and barring a 28-goal swing, Port Vale (2nd, 77) have joined them – which leaves Rotherham (3rd, 76) and Cheltenham (4th, 74) to battle it out for the third automatic promotion spot. In the playoffs, meanwhile, eighth-placed Chesterfield are out of the running, so the losing ‘-ham’ will join Burton Albion (5th, 73), Northampton (6th, 70) and Bradford (7th, 68).
Bristol City (24th, 41 points) are down, but any two from 10 teams could join them. Peterborough, Wolves and Barnsley (21st, 22nd and 23rd, all on (51) are the trio in the most imminent danger, and all face must-win home games this weekend. But anyone up to Ipswich (14th, 57 points) can still be dragged in to the mire. In fact, with two games to go, only three sides in the Championship are not – in theory – in the running to go either up or down.
Of the bottom four, only Scunthorpe (21st, 45) can escape the drop – they need to win against fifth-placed Swindon and hope Carlisle beat Colchester (20th, 48), with a three-goal swing to make up as well. Bury and Hartlepool are already down, along with Portsmouth – whose 10 point deduction will be applied now, leaving them bottom of the table but with a fresh start next year.
It’s don’t-lose-or-bust, as six of the seven relegation candidates control their own destiny. Torquay and Plymouth just need to avoid heavy defeats, while York (20th, 52) are in more peril because of their goal difference (-11). A draw with Dagenham (21st, 51) will secure safety. That fixture means AFC Wimbledon (23rd, 50) and Barnet (22nd, 51) will be safe if they win at home to Fleetwood and away at Northampton respectively. Aldershot (24th, 48) need a miracle.
Look of the Lions Scotland – 14% (5)
Scotland – 8% (3)
Ireland - 11% (4)
Ireland – 16% (6)
ll eyes will be on Lions head coach Warren Gatland this Tuesday, as he announces the band of merry men he’s set to take to Australia in the summer. And, with Wales having won the Six Nations, the boys from across the Severn are set to dominate the final teamsheet (for our thoughts on who’s going to make the squad, turn to page 37).
Not that it should be any surprise. We’ve taken a look at the make-up of the four Lions squads since the game went professional in 1995*, and it’s clear that the Celtic influence is growing by the tour – with 12 Welsh and Irish players in 1997 rising to a dominating 27 in 2009. Will the Irish and Welsh boys dominate again? All will be revealed on Tuesday.
Scotland – 7% (3)
Scotland – 5% (2)
Ireland – 24% (11)
Ireland – 38% (14)
Wales - 23% (8) Wales – 27% (10)
Wales – 22% (10) Wales – 35% (13)
England - 52% (18) England – 49% (18)
England – 47% (21) England – 22% (8)
1997 (total players / 35)
06 | April 26 2013 |
2001 (total players / 37)
2005 (total players / 44)
2009 (total players / 37)
All pictures Getty Images
*Stats are from the initial squad, not accounting for injuries and withdrawals
hings come to a head in the Football League this weekend, with the final (okay, in the Championship, penultimate) round of fixtures. With much to be decided. Here’s our cheat sheet...
As remembered by Martin Keown
Arsenal play Manchester United this weekend, almost 10 years on from the infamous ‘Battle of Old Trafford’ – a 0-0 draw that descended into ugly scenes after Ruud van Nistelrooy crashed a last-minute penalty against the bar. The miss particularly delighted Arsenal stalwart Martin Keown, who memorably screamed in the Dutchman’s face like an irate baboon. After the game, five Arsenal and two United players were fined. Cautiously, we asked Keown to reminisce... “Looking back, you do wonder... it was such a long time ago and it does seem like someone else reacting in that way. We obviously got carried away with the situation. Patrick Vieira, our catalyst and leader, had been sent off – and van Nistelrooy was linked to that, which I think created a hostility toward him. I’m not saying that was acceptable, but it was why we reacted in the way that we did.
08 | April 26 2013 |
Martin Keown goes ape
“There had been a few previous bits and pieces. Van Nistelrooy wasn’t a shrinking violet in any way. He was difficult to read; at times very strong and very physical, yet at others he would collapse like a pack of cards. So it was hard to get the balance right when you were playing against him. “It was a defining moment, because we went unbeaten for the whole season. I think you know the gravity of the situation – it was even being discussed in the House of Commons; I’m on every TV newsreel, so you start to realise the impact that it’s had. All we were trying to do was win a football match. We were a very good team and it’s a shame, really, that people still want to talk about that. “On a football pitch, I think there is a chemical change that takes place. With testosterone, you’re fired up – sometimes you can cross the line. But you know you’ve got to be fired up to win football matches.
Around that period, if you bumped into a Man Utd fan, you got a very silly reaction. It did seem to change me in the eyes of their fans, as much as it did in the eyes of Arsenal fans. “The next time I saw him [van Nistelrooy], I just simply shook hands with him and got on with it. I didn’t hold any bitterness towards anybody, and I didn’t expect anybody to have a problem with me. I saw it in a sort of professional manner, and I wasn’t holding any grudges. “I don’t regret it, I don’t think we can regret anything. People might have been looking for me to be the senior statesman I was at that point. Maybe it troubled one or two of the directors, but they certainly knew one thing: I had Arsenal pumping through my veins.” ESPN has live and exclusive coverage of Newcastle United v Liverpool on Saturday April 27 from 4.30pm. For details, visit www.espn.co.uk/tv
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SEPTEMBER 21 2003 Manchester United 0-0 Arsenal
Radar Editor’s letter Eats, shoots and leaves: will Liverpool stick by Suarez? www.sport-magazine.co.uk @sportmaguk facebook.com/sportmagazine
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Will he stay or go?
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He may be one of the best players on the planet, but Luis Suarez is also a liability
L Editor-in-chief Simon Caney @simoncaney
Few players are in his class: without him this season, Liverpool would have been in a right mess. A wonderful old club – whose fans can, on occasion, still generate the best atmosphere in the Premier League – would have been scrabbling around hoping for nothing better than mid-table mediocrity. But it’s precisely because Liverpool are such a famous club, the world over, that Suarez’s future must be called into question. Clearly he forgets that he is being watched by millions. In fact, as the red mist descended, I suspect he forgot he was even on a football pitch. It was shocking to watch: an assault taking place in front of our very eyes. That said, I don’t for one minute buy this idea that thousands of children started biting their classmates during Monday’s lunchtime game of headers and volleys. While I do think footballers need to remember they are role models, all children over the age of three know that biting people earns a spell on the naughty step. If any of them are using the Suarez Defence
in front of the head teacher, then that’s more because they just don’t know right from wrong. Liverpool acted swiftly, remembering the mistakes they made the last time Suarez was in the spotlight. Whether or not, when the dust has settled, they decide it’s worth sticking with him, only time will tell.
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Meanwhile, along the M62, the remarkable Sir Alex Ferguson notches up yet another Premier League title. I’ve said already this season that I don’t think this is a vintage Manchester United team by a long chalk. But, as their rivals went backwards, they kept on winning games. The acid test comes in Europe, though, where even die-hard Stretford Enders knew this year would be a bridge too far. It sounds daft, but Fergie needs to spend some serious cash this summer. It’s a shame for Nick Bitel, the new chair of Sport England, that his appointment is clouded in such controversy. Baroness Grey-Thompson, a national treasure if ever there was one, said she was “disappointed” not to get the role, but that appears to be a very diplomatic understatement. Whatever has happened behind the scenes, the Government has handled this one badly.
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uis Suarez is some footballer: absolutely terriﬁc to watch. He’s also oﬀ his rocker: a danger to himself and damaging for football as a whole. The question now – not just for Liverpool, but for any of us who love football – is this: are those two things mutually exclusive?
Flats on Friday
It’s like this…
David Lyttleton, EMPICS Sport
’d like to be the last person to congratulate Manchester United on their Premier League success, and here are 20 reasons why this lifelong City fan is delighted they’ve won the title this year:
How I miss the joys of a French pelting
his weekend I am presented with a real problem, and I remain unsure how to deal with it. Approaching my retirement, Mrs F would lie in bed and dream of rugbyless weekends, of having me back around the place and – more realistically – of handing over the children come 6am on Saturday. Instead, what has actually happened is that I work around 50 weekends of the year, as well as spending Monday to Friday pretending I can use the computer on my office desk. Free time is minimal – and when I do get some, I am obliged to use it constructively. This means, sadly, that soldering my backside to the sofa and watching reruns of Top Gear and Schwarzenegger movies is not on the menu. I have no work booked in this weekend, so I am required to be a good bloke for two whole days. Actually, in the interests of accuracy, this is a three-day job. Family Flatman are going away to a hotel. Now, I have a huge issue with paying stupid money to stay in a room less than two hours from my house, in which I also pay to live. At least let’s go to a different country... but that’s a personal problem and my therapist says I shouldn’t write about that; he thinks weeping as I type isn’t healthy. He’s vegetarian though, so I take all his advice with a pinch of salt. Laddishness forgotten, it will be a lovely time. However, I will be missing two of the most exciting rugby matches of the season. Saracens will take on the Toulon galacticos, and that will be mega.
12 | April 26 2013 |
But, in terms of armchair value, Clermont’s clash with Munster is the one. There are some wonderful places to play rugby this side of the Channel – and Munster’s Thomond Park is, in my opinion, the very best of all. As much as it pains me to say it, though, the big French clubs are where it’s at for atmosphere. They just get it. If you have never seen the pre-match ‘Pilou Pilou’ chant at Toulon, or heard the drums and seen the flares at Perpignan, then seriously, find a way. The aggression is magnificent, and I am certain it inspires the players to raise their game a notch. I recall popping down to Agen for a pre-season friendly, running out to a packed house and being pelted with coins, batteries and even fruit as we took the field. The crowd were wild, and it was a bloody warm-up game! But their passion inspired the team, and the match turned into what would have been an 80-minute brawl, had the referee not called it off after 60. Leaving the field with a gashed head, a black eye and a badly broken hand, all I felt was relief. Scrapping is knackering. But I will never forget that atmosphere. This match is being played at the wonderful Stade de la Mosson in Montpellier, and it will be bouncing. There is no tougher mission in European rugby right now than beating Clermont, never mind beating them in France. But if there’s one team that can do it, it’s Munster. This is a massive, massive game, and while it’s on I will be changing nappies and singing nursery rhymes. Somebody help me. @davidflatman
1. After so much Mancunian dominance recently, it’s great to see a team from just outside the city finally winning something. 2. The bandwagon jumpers can go back to Old Trafford – for 12 months at least. 3. Well done Giggsy. One of City’s most successful junior team products. 4. Prawn sandwiches at Old Trafford now face a 20 per cent price hike. 5. No more complacency for City and Chelsea. It’s chequebook time. Or, in the case of Arsenal, Sainsbury’s Active Kids voucher time. 6. The gentlemen of the press, having been force-fed humble pie last season, can now bring it back up all over Ferguson and United. 7. The £24m and £200,000-a-week wages United spent on Robin van Persie to win the title sets the bar for future panic buys at Old Trafford. 8. The urge to win back the title has left them with a one-man team built around an injury-prone 29-year-old. 9. The open-top parade of the trophy (sets off from Surbiton at 9am) will bring an end-of-season boost to the Manchester tourist industry.
10. The post-match wit and wisdom of the millionaire socialist knight of the realm Sir Alex Ferguson… 11. “This has knocked 10 years off me!” That makes him 61, just a year younger than Bob Paisley when he won the European Cup for a third time. 12. “Rafael will end up being compared to Gary Neville.” Lucky boy. 13. “David De Gea has developed fantastically well.” Fergie’s on a roll now. 14. United can recycle the ‘Champions’ merchandise they ordered last year. An important consideration because… 15. Unemployment is a terrible thing, and this title win might temporarily keep the wolf from the door at a club with enormous debts. 16. Ferguson might change his mind about retiring in the summer of 2014. 17. Apparently, van Persie’s second against Villa was the ‘Goal of the century’. 18. “Phil Jones can become one of our best ever players.” You’ve got to hand it to the old boy, what a punchline! 19. The arrogance United had to keep buried last year will be back for all to see and despise. 20. It will be all the sweeter winning it back next year. @billborrows
Sidebottom, Timperley Big Shorts FC Blimey! There are two films currently being made about Frank Sidebottom. One has Michael Fassbender in the title role (really), while the other needs some cash to get past the finish line. Go to beingfrankmovie.com to make this happen. Fantastic.
Frozen in time
14 | April 26 2013 |
It’s a sobering thought that several of the Man Utd fans clamouring to get a sight of Sir Alex Ferguson in this image were not even born when the great man took the reins at Old Trafford (that said, nor were some of the players). He’ll still be there when they’re drawing their old-age pensions too, winning titles aged 109. Probably. | 15
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Meet and greet
Signed, Sealed, delivered Theo WalcoTT speaks exclusively To sporT abouT conTracT sagas, The boss and Why heâ€™ll never forgeT his firsT day as an arsenal player photography by jon enoch
18 | April 26 2013 |
“ When I fIrst Walked Into the arsenal dressIng room, I Was absolutely.. Well, I Was cackIng myself, basIcally.” Theo Walcott smiles as he remembers what it’s like to be 16 years old and thrust into a world in which Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Robert Pires are no longer the players you watch wide-eyed from afar – but your teammates. “I looked around and saw guys like Jens [Lehmann], Thierry, Ljungberg, Pires, Bergkamp, Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole – all people who have won things,” he remembers. “That whole era is a bit different to the one now.” It’s a refreshingly candid appraisal of how things have changed at the club a >
Theo Walcott self-confessed “tiny, baby-faced” Walcott joined from Southampton in January 2006. He, too, is very different from the excitable, eager-to-please teenager determined his future lay at Arsenal, despite reported interest from Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham. The 24-year-old Walcott is one who speaks with the belief of a man who has been knocked down numerous times during his Arsenal career – and always bounced back. On the day Sport meets him in the pleasant surrounds of the Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire – a 20-minute drive from the home he shares with his fiancée Melanie Slade – Walcott has spent a tough morning with the Arsenal fitness coach, preparing his body to bounce back once more, this time from injury. “It was probably a wake-up call – maybe I was getting slightly tired,” he says of the groin strain that put him out of action for slightly more than three weeks before returning in the 3-1 win over Norwich a fortnight ago.
THE DOTTED LINE
Young gun: Walcott makes his debut for Arsenal as a substitute for Freddie Ljungberg in August 2006
One thing he’s not apologising for, however, is his form on the pitch so far this season. “Personally, I’m very happy with everything I’ve contributed,” he says. “It was difficult at the start, having to deal with all the contract stuff that was going on, and I was obviously on the bench for about 10 games in a row. But once I was given the chance, I knew I just had to make sure I played well. “I think I have 14 assists and 18 goals so far, which is the best season I’ve had – and
“IT DID gET frusTraTINg. I DIDN’T waNT IT TO bE abOuT jusT mE aND THE cONTracT aLL THE TImE – IT’s abOuT THE TEam” that’s with not starting so many games. I think I played 50-odd [it was 57] games last year, and I’m not even close to that this season [with 42 so far], so overall I’m fairly pleased with that side of things.” It was towards the end of last season when Walcott seemed to be at his very best – a patch of form that served only to heighten the lengthy will he/won’t he speculation over his contract at Arsenal. Although he insists: “The contract side of it was never really on 20 | April 26 2013 |
my mind until about two or three weeks before it was actually resolved.” That didn’t stop Walcott being quizzed about the contract in every post-match interview he gave in the weeks leading up to January 18 2013, or ‘signing day’. And in every one, he gave the same calm, considered response that essentially amounted to: it’s not done yet. I want to stay. It’s a complicated process. “It did get frustrating,” he admits now. “Because I didn’t want it to be about just me and the contract all the time – it’s about the team. If I’d scored, I would get asked about the contract instead of reflecting on the actual game.”
fILLINg THE VOID
While some players get itchy feet if they’re at the same club for longer than a couple of years, Walcott is someone who clearly prefers stability in his professional life – and his home life, too. The Arsenal forward has been with fiancée Melanie since he was 15 years old, with the pair set to marry this summer. “I’m lucky to have Mel,” he says when recalling how the contract saga played heavily upon his mind earlier this season. “Because I could just go home and discuss everything with her if I needed to. She was great through it all. She keeps me relaxed by helping me to forget about the football at times, so I can just be at home with her and the dogs and switch off – that was what I wanted. “Don’t get me wrong – she knows her stuff on football, too. She’s a trained sports physio, so that side of it is great for me. >
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As Walcott speaks, he relentlessly stirs sugar into a frothy cappuccino. “Sorry,” he says, suddenly aware of the racket he’s making with the tiny teaspoon. “I stir my sugar a lot.” It’s the fourth apology Sport has had from the Arsenal man in the 10 minutes that have passed since his arrival, following those he’s already issued for being 15 minutes late, for wanting 10 minutes with his barber before our photoshoot, and for only bringing one choice of jumper.
Theo Walcott And she has her own dream team, so she knows what she’s doing. Is she beating me? Nah – she’s probably about mid-table. She did have me in her team, but when I got injured she took me out. I hope she’s put me back in now...” With his immediate future at Arsenal now secure, Walcott has been able to fully focus on the team – and that growing space in the club’s trophy cabinet. While plenty has changed at the club since his arrival in 2006 (including the departures of messrs Henry, Bergkamp, Cole et al), that abyss has not. Indeed, it speaks volumes that our abiding memory from Sport’s previous interview with Walcott in August 2008 is the emphasis he placed on the players’ determination to turn Arsenal into a winning club once again. So, are they getting any closer? “I think this year we probably had the chance to win something,” he sighs. “We had Blackburn at home in the FA Cup and that’s... that wouldn’t normally happen. I think nine times out of 10 we’d win that, but Blackburn
“you can see the players want it more because they want to prove people wrong. we’re still a top-four team” just wanted it more and you’ve got to give credit to them. “But, for me, we need to be having a bit more of a go at the league, definitely. We want to compete, and we can do it. You saw when everyone was against us we had a great result like the one at Bayern – winning 2-0 away from home, and then doing the same at Swansea. So we can do it; it’s in us. We just haven’t been at that consistent level to do it at times. We did need a little kick up the backside to get us back on track. But, lately, I think we’ve worked harder as a unit. We’ve kept more clean sheets, everyone is in their positions and there’s more communication. I think you can see that the players want it a bit more because they want to prove people wrong. We want to show that we’re still a top-four team. Next year, though, we want to be right up there.” The desire is there, as strong as it always has been. But, as Walcott’s early memories of the Arsenal dressing room suggest, the players come and go. The departure of a certain Dutchman last summer was something that was widely predicted to have a devastating impact on the club, and Walcott is honest in his assessment that “when you lose someone like Robin [van Persie] > 22 | April 26 2013 |
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“PEOPLE THINk THE BOSS dOESN’T LET LOOSE, BuT HE caN – juST IN a caLm way. wE uNdErSTaNd HOw mucH IT mEaNS” – one of your best players – it’s obviously difficult to replace the amount of goals he scored and what he did for the team. “But we’ve coped with it quite well. Everyone is sharing the goal load, and we haven’t relied on one player all the time. We’re in a similar situation to last year, really, when we finished third, only a point ahead of Tottenham [on 69 points] and with Newcastle and Chelsea not far behind [on 65 and 64, respectively]. It has been an up-and-down season, though. We’ve lost a few games at home that you wouldn’t have thought we would, but it’s still in our own hands. And we do tend to end the season quite well. We’re not looking at fourth, we’re looking at third – that’s definitely a realistic aim.
BELIEVING IN THE BOSS
Walcott’s spell on the sidelines at the start of this month meant he was left suffering with Arsenal’s supporters when the team threatened to let things slip on the pitch. “Ah, the West Brom game was horrible,” he cringes. “I was listening to it on the radio and now I know just how Mel feels when she’s watching it at home, because I was biting my nails with nerves. When we went down to 10 men and then they got a goal back, I thought: ‘This is going to be horrible for the last 20 minutes.’” 24 | April 26 2013 |
Having been guided by manager Arsène Wenger for more than seven years, Walcott knows only too well what the Frenchman’s reaction would have been had their 2-0 lead at the Hawthorns been squandered. This has been the Arsenal manager’s most difficult campaign so far – one that has looked at times as though it might be reaching a gloomy conclusion. But Walcott insists the players should not hide behind the boss when it comes to the team’s failings: “He always puts it back on himself and protects the team, but us players know that we’re the ones who go out there and play – we do the job.
“He obviously puts his message and tactics across at training, but if we don’t do the job on a weekend, it can’t be down to the manager. We need to step up ourselves and not always let the manager take the blame.” Not that Wenger lets his players off the hook entirely when they underperform. “He definitely lets us know the following day, that’s for sure,” nods Walcott seriously. “There’s been a couple of those this year. People think he doesn’t let loose, but he can – just in quite a calm way. We all understand how much it means to him, as well as to us, and how much belief he has in us. That should be enough to spur us on to do it for him.” Indeed, it was Wenger’s belief in the talents of a 16-year-old Walcott that led to his first signature on an Arsenal contract. So how does the England international compare the player he is now to the young winger who ‘cacked himself’ walking into the Arsenal dressing room? “I’d say I definitely take a bit more responsibility now – for encouraging the younger players and, if nothing’s happening in a game, for trying to make something happen out of nowhere. “The technical side of my game’s changed, too. The last three years have been my best in terms of goals, so I know I can score – I just want to do it more. I enjoy playing up top.” While Walcott’s journey has not been without its bumps and scenic diversions, it is one from which young arrivals at the club can take heart. “They can relate to me a bit easier because I’m younger,” he explains. “So I just tell them to believe in themselves. They also need to have a good attitude and want to work hard to improve. “But, like my dad always told me, you have to enjoy it. You don’t want to have too much pressure on you at that age – and, if you’re playing for Arsenal as a teenager, you’re definitely a very good player. Although when Sol Campbell cleaned me out in my very first training session, I definitely had a moment thinking: ‘What have I got myself into here?’” Walcott now knows exactly what he got himself into. But he also knows that if he is to emulate the players he remembers from his first day at Arsenal – the winners – he has to keep on bouncing back from those knocks. Sarah Shephard @sarahsportmag
waLcOTT aNd THE uNdErwEar BaNdITS It might sound like the name of one of Walcott’s kids’ books (T.J. and the Hat-trick, T.J. and the Cup Run, etc) but the underwear bandits actually played a big role in Walcott’s early playing career – at Southampton’s academy. There he shared a room with Spurs winger Gareth Bale (“he’s a big joker”) – the pair of them would play a game involving putting a pair of pants on their head and running into
someone else’s room to batter them with pillows. “We’d call ourselves the underwear bandits,” Walcott explains. “I have no idea where it came from, but if you were in your room watching a film and someone burst in with their boxers on their head, you knew you were in trouble. Sometimes it wasn’t even pillows – it was shoes and stuff like that. Luckily I was always quite quick, so I tended to get away with it.”
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images, 2005 Rex Features. Theo’s hair styled by Jhamal John
NATURE NEEDS HEROES
German Football A Study
As two German teams try to reach the final of the Champions League next week, Sport investigates the rise of the Bundesliga and asks what it can teach the Premier League Download the free Sport iPad app from the Apple Newsstand
Unfortunately for the majority of the capacity crowd, they’ve also conceded five, and Claudio Pizarro scores for the Bundesliga champions straight from the kick-off to put the polish on a 6-1 rout. It’s the kind of frightening Munich display that has happened so regularly this season that the news has a special name for it: “another Bayern-Gala”. Despite the score, there are no signs of any Hannover 96 fans leaving early, and the thousands of ‘ultras’ packed into the vast ‘safe standing’ terrace in the North Stand have been drinking beer, waving flags and singing for the entire game. From afar, both home and away terraces seem to move as single entities, bouncing and dancing and drumming – and directed in the Hannover end by a special PA system installed for the ultras by the club. “It’s a different world,” says Hannover defender Johan Djourou, the focus of upcoming documentary Djourou in Germany. The Swiss international is on loan from Arsenal, and thus used to a rather quieter matchday atmosphere. “The fans here are just unbelievable – they keep singing the whole way through, even if they lose. You get that in some grounds in England, but here it’s everywhere.” The experience is an eye-opening one for us, too. The simple pleasure of being able to drink alcohol in one’s seat, banned in England for 28 years, is vastly preferable to hastily downing warm lager from a plastic bottle on the concourse at half time. It’s a superior fan experience in almost every way, from the atmosphere to free train travel – and very different to England, where the clubs’ main motive for interacting with their fans often seems to be purely financial. Tickets for the visit of Bayern Munich started at just €13 (about £12), making it easy to see why the Bundesliga is the best-attended football league in the world, with average attendances of more than 40,000. Hannover’s manager Mirko Slomka tells us the Bundesliga is a “premium product”; as we sip cold beer in the German sunshine, we’re very much inclined to agree.
Fan power A product it may be, yet clubs don’t treat the fans like customers. That can be explained by one simple difference between German and English football, says Raphael Honigstein, German football correspondent at The Guardian. “Supporters wield real power because they control most of the clubs indirectly in the membership model,” he tells us. Unlike in England, where fan ownership is used as a financial defibrillator for teams in trouble, in the Bundesliga it is mandatory. The 50+1 rule means that 51 per cent of each club must be owned by members – the exception being if a club has an association of 20 years or more with a particular company, such as Wolfsburg with Volkswagen. Fan protests go beyond booing and banners (although there is plenty of that, too), as Honigstein explains: “You cannot have the club ignore the fans because they will vote you out at the next election. You have to listen to them. “This is very much the German model,” he continues, on the subject of heavily subsidised ticket prices. “It’s capitalism, but always with a social element. The clubs are very careful to try to be seen as inclusive, and they charge less than the real market value for fans who need to have that > | April 26 2013 | 27
Boris Streubel/Bongarts/Getty Images
Beer at your seat, £12 tickets, and the best fans in Europe Have we died and gone to football heaven?
here are six minutes to go at the AWDArena in Hannover, and the home team has just scored against Bayern Munich.
German Football A Study
A Spanish situation Borussia Dortmund have broken through in the past few years, but it’s generally difficult for German clubs to regularly challenge Munich, the country’s biggest and most successful club. Because they have the most fans and regular Champions League cash, Bayern have been able to secure players (and managers) that other German clubs can only dream of. Honigstein tells us that many in Germany fear a ‘Spanish situation’ – a Munich and Dortmund duopoly akin to that of Barcelona and Real Madrid in La Liga. “The problem is that the ‘second tier’ don’t even seem competitive enough to beat these teams,” he explains. “None of them can really trouble Bayern.” Certainly, the way Bayern brushed aside Europa League-chasing Hannover – on their way to what will surely be a record points haul – suggests the Bundesliga could be heading that way. Djourou says it will be very tough for anyone to challenge Bayern Munich’s domestic dominance when we speak to him after that defeat. “They are way on top at the moment,” he admits. “In the German league, there is a massive difference between them and the other teams. That wasn’t even a full-strength team. This team has the potential to rule for a couple more years – and they are only going to buy more players because they are so attractive after getting to the [Champions League] semi finals two years in a row.” Of course, German clubs have been fan-owned for years, so why the sudden progress in Europe? “The quality overall has definitely improved, simply because there are better players coming through,” says Honigstein. “That’s really the underlying factor in all of this. The Bundesliga has so many good players that it’s easier for teams to play football, and they don’t have to rely on imports.” The emergence of bright young talents like Toni Kroos, Marco Reus and Thomas Müller has a lot to do with changes implemented by the German FA after the country’s disastrous performance at Euro 2000. 28 | April 26 2013 |
Thomas Müller (left) is just one star graduate of the German youth system
“By the end of the 2010-11 season, more than half of the players in the Bundesliga were German academy graduates” German clubs have invested more than €650m in youth development since the overhaul, which focused on creating a system of youth academies around the country and demanding clubs that want to play in the Bundesliga invest in an academy. By the end of the 2010-11 season, more than half of the players in the league were German academy graduates.
Young guns “We’ve had 12 years of professional and expensive youth developments, and the kids who were six to eight at the time are our new generation of players,” says Honigstein. As in Spain, technical ability is valued over strength and power, says Norbert Düwel, assistant coach at Hannover and a former scout for Manchester United. “We Germans have always been very fit and had a good mentality, so in the past few years technique has had more priority,” he explains. “They’ve brought in special programmes for youth players, and I think the technical ability is better now. I watched youth games in England, and was impressed by their power. They are strong, but a lot of players have a deficit in their technical ability.” Inspired by Germany, the English FA has taken belated steps to correct this deficit, with the opening of the St George’s Park National Football Centre and an overhaul of the academy system. But that won’t suffice without an attitude change, says Honigstein. “It’s important you have a culture in which these players will be played,” he says. “That’s much easier for a league like the Bundesliga, which is controlled by Germans, with mostly German managers. That creates an environment where the promotion of your homegrown players is considered very important. Take the Premier League as an example: what is the motivation of a coach at Chelsea to promote English
players when given the option to bring in a superstar during the next transfer window?” What’s more, German prospects are more likely to fulfil their potential compared with their English counterparts, says Djourou: “Maybe in other countries, young players leave too early because they don’t have the chance to play for their team. You might have young players who are good prospects, but don’t always achieve what they hoped. The players Germany has, it seems, all achieve what is planned for them.” A new generation of players is emerging, helping clubs beyond Munich overcome fiscal constraints to make their mark in Europe. With Pep Guardiola – one of the game’s most sought after managers – at Munich from next season, the Bundesliga is “an attractive proposition” for players and fans, believes Djourou. The FA is taking stumbling steps towards its own youth revolution, but the real lesson for the Premier League comes from the stands. The atmosphere that so impressed us is normal for German grounds, Honigstein tells us. He adds, a bit cruelly, that this is “how it used to be not too long ago in England”. Somewhere, between the banning of terraces and the formation of the Premier League, English fans seem to have lost their power; as a result their national game is an expensive plaything, while their protests are ignored. The Premier League attracts the biggest names and the most attention, but the electric atmosphere and community feel of the Bundesliga offers a tantalising glimpse of what we’ve lost... something to mull over the next time you pay £50 to sit in relative silence at the Emirates. Amit Katwala @amitkatwala Tune into TRACE Sports (Sky channel 442) to watch an exclusive six-part series, Djourou in Germany, starting on Friday May 17 at 9.25pm – trace.tv Download the free Sport iPad app from the Apple Newsstand
Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images
kind of protection because they add the noise, and the real passion.” Not everyone agrees on the merits of fan power. Hannover president Martin Kind was the only dissenting vote when the 36 clubs that comprise the Bundesliga’s two divisions were asked if they wanted to retain the 50+1 rule back in 2010. He argued that it hampers the ability of German teams to compete on the international stage, because it’s not possible to get an injection of cash from rich owners such as those enjoyed by Manchester City or Chelsea. “This is not a club, it’s a business,” says Dirk Köster, the club’s communications director. “We’re talking about big money, and it needs a stable foundation.” It is tough, says Köster, for clubs to raise the funds for rapid expansion or improvement. By way of example, he tells us that when Hannover’s AWD-Arena was redeveloped ahead of the 2006 World Cup, everything was built to the minimum specifications required by FIFA to save money – and the club had to continue playing at the stadium during construction. “It takes years to get to the point where you can compete with teams that can grow overnight, or have had success internationally,” says Honigstein. “All the things that make the Bundesliga great for the local fans don’t always act as a conduit to having competitive teams in Europe. You have to be very patient; it takes a long time for the club to be competitive with other teams in Europe.”
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World Snooker Championship
Ghosts of the Crucible For gentleman of a certain age, the World Snooker Championship will always mean late nights in front of the television, unfinished homework, the assured commentary of Ted Lowe and Clive Everton, and the click of the balls as characters from Cliff ‘The Grinder’ Thorburn through to Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins chased one of the biggest prizes in sport over 17 days of increasingly intense competition. The glory days of the 1980s and ´90s may have ebbed away, and today’s players might not be front-page news, subject to accusations of cocaine addiction (Kirk Stevens) or crossdressing (Tony Knowles), but this year Sheffield has seen the return of Ronnie ‘The Rocket’ O’Sullivan and the tournament carries a prize fund of more than £1m. Tickets are reported to have sold out in record time. Everton believes the intimacy of The Crucible is key to this. “There are only 980 seats and you feel that you can almost touch the players,” he says. “The atmosphere is hard to describe, but it is special and communicates itself to those watching on television. It has changed so little over the years that it’s like you’re in the presence of the ghosts of the past.” Ghosts like these…
More than 18.5 million tuned in to watch Dennis Taylor (aka ’him with the funny specs’) take on defending champ Steve Davis in 1985 – still a post-midnight record for any channel in the UK. Nobody expected to be up at that time – least of all Taylor, as Davis raced into an 8-0 lead. The fightback brought the scores to 11-11, 15-15 and 17-17 without the Northern Irishman ever leading. He went out for a brandy to steady his nerves before the final frame, saw Davis overcut the final black to leave it over the pocket, and became the world champion with his next shot. ”It was like winning four world titles rolled into one,” he has said since. Good job really, because he never won it again.
‘Bring me my baby’ 1982 The late Margaret Thatcher had just sent the task force to Argentina, but Alex Higgins needed the limelight – so that was that. It was him versus the world, as usual, but this time in the establishment form of Ray Reardon, a veteran of six finals and six titles. With the game tied at 15-15, Reardon thought: ”I was back in charge of the operation… but when [Higgins] got back out on that table, he was sizzling.” At 17-15 up, Higgins potted a difficult black, the crowd went wild and the title was his. An emotional Higgins reached out for his wife and daughter. ”That moment just had everything,” said TV critic Jim Shelley later. ”Punk rock meets The Waltons.”
The 150/1 outsider 1986 Joe Johnson was a top-16 player going into the 1986 championship, but had never won a game at the Crucible. He was playing the year after the fire at Bradford City and, as a fan of the club, wore a T-shirt with the slogan ’Bradford’s Bouncing Back’. He overcame Terry Griffiths in a quarter final in which he knocked in four tons, giving him all the confidence he needed. With Johnson leading 3-1 in the final against Steve Davis, Everton intoned: ”People may already be beginning to think the unthinkable.” They were. Davis was mentally exhausted and Johnson went on to win 18-12, the crowd cheering down every colour of the final frame. ”It was crazy,” he reflects. ”I’d gone from a nobody to a celebrity overnight. I was on every TV programme going. I never got a minute to practise.” >
| April 26 2013 | 33
World Snooker Championship
After his 10-5 first-round defeat to Steve James in 1990, and an estimated 27 shots of vodka to the good, Alex Higgins refused to leave his seat at the Crucible. Then, having assaulted an official, he attended a rambling, shambolic press conference – during which he denounced professional snooker as corrupt, and quit while referencing former Tory minister Cecil Parkinson, the stomach lining of a cow, the iniquities of a two-tier education system, children from Amsterdam and a catchphrase associated with comedy double act Cannon and Ball. It wasn’t the end, but it was well past the beginning of the end.
Plenty more time, Paul 2003
The ladies were divided between the rival charms of Higgins and Cliff Thorburn – some went for the vulnerable bad boy, others the dashing antebellum dandy. Fans of the latter still remember his 147 maximum clearance in 1983 against Terry Griffiths almost as fondly as his slightly-too-tight trousers. It started with a fluke, but from such unpromising beginnings Thorburn chased down the reds and colours as the other game – featuring fellow Canadian Bill Werbeniuk – stopped play to watch the unfolding drama. A long pot on the yellow at 120 (a shot worth £18,000 in terms of prize money in its own right) was the key, and the rest followed. ”Good luck, mate,” said commentator Jack Karnehm as Thorburn eyed up the black. No need.
34 | April 26 2013 |
That’s how Everton described the 1999 semi final between Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O’Sullivan. If this was a fight, it would have been a heavyweight bloodbath between a sublimely talented young shaver and a determined old stager, with haymakers landing every round (there were eight century breaks in the 17-13 match, four apiece). As with the Rumble in the Jungle, experience won out; Hendry went on to claim his seventh world title, but O’Sullivan had served notice that there was a new kid on the block. And, several years on, like George Foreman but without the Lean Mean Grilling Machine, The Rocket made another comeback. Bill Borrows @billborrows
Adrian Murrell/Allsport, SSPL/Manchester Daily Express, Duncan Raban/Empics, Tom Shaw/Getty Images, Adam Davy/Empics
‘Snooker from the gods’ 1999
Of course, as Higgins demonstrated, some of the most poignant action takes place away from the table. On this occasion it was the press conference after Paul Hunter, nicknamed the ‘Beckham of the Baize’, had lost his 2003 semi final to Ken Doherty despite taking a 15-9 overnight lead. Perhaps best known for a revitalising sex session with his girlfriend during a break at the 2001 Masters tournament, the universally popular Hunter was crestfallen in Sheffield, but putting on a brave face. ”The feeling in the room was that he was on the brink of big things,” remembers Everton. ”Of course, that wasn’t to be.” Hunter died of stomach cancer three years later, aged just 27.
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HERE COMES THE PRIDE
Rugby Union The British and Irish Lions
With the British and Irish Lions squad for Australia named on Tuesday, we look at the nailed-on options and the tough decisions facing coach Warren Gatland – with a little help from Sky Sports’ expert pundits
You’re probably going to get bored of these words, but the Welsh boys are nailed on. Leigh Halfpenny is “fearless under the high ball, fast at the counter attack and has a siege gun of a boot”, according to Sky Sports’ Dewi Morris. And it’s hard to argue. Bar injury, Halfpenny is the Lions full back, leaving Stuart Hogg and Rob Kearney to fight it out for the second spot, unless Warren Gatland chooses to take both and utilise one of them on the wing. That’s because George North and Alex Cuthbert – “a one-man wrecking ball and a man who knows where the line is”, as Morris respectively describes them – might be guarantees, but elsewhere there is a shortage of world-class wingers. Sky’s Paul Wallace thinks Tommy Bowe “might still break in to the back three” after his timely return from injury, while Chris Ashton is in fine form for Saracens. A Lions ’bolter’ is more likely than Ashton, though, so Christian Wade will be watching Tuesday’s press conference with interest, while Sky’s Ieuan Evans thinks Simon Zebo “would bring something different to the party, with pace and a strong left boot to match the Australians”.
The Test combination is the big question mark here, with a quartet of centres all but guaranteed a spot on the plane. Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies rediscovered their spark as the Six Nations went on – “their defensive link-up could be key to the Lions”, according to Ieuan Evans – while Roberts’
Paul Wallace sums this one up nicely when he says “the half-backs are the one obvious selection, as long as [Jonny] Sexton gets some game time.” Mike Phillips and Sexton are those obvious selections, with Ben Youngs the all-but-guaranteed second nine, not least after his barnstorming solo try against Bath last weekend. The choices for Gatland come after that, with Danny Care, Greig Laidlaw and Conor Murray the front runners. Care offers pace and tenacity to challenge Australia’s Will Genia, while Laidlaw offers a reliable boot and control of the pack. Murray is the intriguing one: he is similar to Phillips, but his understanding of Sexton from their time with Ireland stands him in good stead, as does the way he asked questions of Harlequins in Europe. At fly half, Gatland has been hinting at a preference for taking two, which leaves Jonny Wilkinson a likely no-go. Owen Farrell’s Heineken Cup match-up against Wilkinson this weekend could go a long way to making Gatland’s mind up, but Dan Biggar is surely in the running after leading Wales to Six Nations victory. For now, Farrell is the more likely. >
All pictures Getty Images
combination with Brian O’Driscoll in 2009 means the Irishman should have a spot on the plane, albeit without the captaincy. The fourth spot goes to the man Dewi Morris calls “our very own Jonah Lomu” in Manu Tuilagi, whose power and pace also offers an option out wide if needed. If Gatland plumps for a fifth centre, the options are less clear, with a variety of choices to pick from. James Hook’s versatility is an option (offering cover at 10), while Brad Barritt’s solidity provides decent back-up to the power of Roberts.
Half a chance (clockwise): Mike Phillips, Ben Youngs and Jonny Sexton
Roar ambition (clockwise): Leigh Halfpenny, Stuart Hogg and Simon Zebo
Manu Tuilagi | April 26 2013 | 37
Rugby Union The British and Irish Lions
This is arguably the toughest selection call across the squad, and those Welsh boys are – again – the only ones with a guaranteed spot. The question is: how many of them do you take? Sam Warburton roared back into action after a poor opening to the Six Nations and looks set to take the tour captaincy, while Toby Faletau and Justin Tipuric are guaranteed Lions as well. But what about Ryan Jones? Elsewhere, Dewi Morris tips “the ball carrier of excellence” that is Sean O’Brien; Paul Wallace thinks “Jamie Heaslip’s form will improve once he steps up a level and is free to play without the captaincy”, and that “Tom Wood is a great lineout player whose work at the breakdown has him in the trio”. As for the more leftfield selections, Tom Croft is surely on the plane after his recent performances for Leicester. Meanwhile, Kelly Brown’s Six Nations displays for Scotland were nothing short of gigantic in a defensive masterclass, and Peter O’Mahony shone in a poor Ireland team throughout the tournament. As with Murray, a big weekend awaits the Munster man down in France. And we haven’t even mentioned Chris Robshaw!
After all the talk of England’s dynamic duo during the Six Nations, it’s the tried and tested faces of Paul O’Connell, Ian Evans and Alun Wyn Jones that look like the second-row guarantees in Gatland’s squad. As Dewi Morris says: “Would Australia want
While our pundits each went with a different combination for their front rows, the same names continue to pop up – with Cian Healy, Adam Jones, Dan Cole and Gethin Jenkins the four definites either side of hookers Richard Hibbard, Rory Best and Tom Youngs. Healy offers “a workrate that’s second to none, and has set the benchmark”, according to Ieuan Evans, while Dewi Morris believes the call between Jones and Cole is “too close to call, with Cole’s extra pace around the field possibly giving him a slight edge”. The fifth prop, and possibly a sixth if Gatland so wishes, is likely to come from north of the border, with Euan Murray the ever-solid option (when the game is on a Saturday). Mako Vunipola might be in with a shout as the unpredictable option, but it’s more likely that Ryan Grant – or even Andrew Sheridan – would get the call for the sixth slot.
ThE PuNDiTS’ TEamS The Lions are playing Australia in the first Test tomorrow – so what’s your team? That’s the question we put to four of Sky Sports’ experts
38 | April 26 2013 |
The entire Lions Tour is live on Sky Sports HD, beginning June 1
O’Connell in their side? Yes! He’s an outstanding leader and dominates the middle position.” Ieuan Evans, too, points out that the duo “played together in the Lions before, and Jones added an edge to Wales in the Six Nations”. Yet again, it’s the back-up selections that will have Gatland scratching his head, with Geoff Parling pushing for inclusion after his consistency in the Six Nations. Jim Hamilton and Richie Gray showed what they can add in terms of the power that could disrupt the Aussie pack, while there’s also the option of Tom Croft and Ryan Jones going to cover the second row.
01. gethin jenkins 02. RichaRd hibbaRd 03. dan cole 04. paul o’connell 05. ian evans 06. sean o’bRien 07. sam waRbuRton 08. toby faletau 09. mike phillips 10. jonny sexton 11. geoRge noRth 12. bRian o’dRiscoll 13. manu tuilagi 14. alex cuthbeRt 15. leigh halfpenny
01. cian healy 02. RichaRd hibbaRd 03. adam jones 04. alun wyn jones 05. paul o’connell 06. tom cRoft 07. sam waRbuRton 08. sean o’bRien 09. mike phillips 10. jonny sexton 11. simon zebo 12. jamie RobeRts 13. jonathan davies 14. geoRge noRth 15. leigh halfpenny
01. andRew sheRidan 02. RichaRd hibbaRd 03. adam jones 04. nathan hines 05. paul o’connell 06. tom wood 07. sam waRbuRton 08. jamie heaslip 09. mike phillips 10. jonny sexton 11. geoRge noRth 12. jamie RobeRts 13. bRian o’dRiscoll 14. alex cuthbeRt 15. leigh halfpenny
01. cian healy 02. tom youngs 03. adam jones 04. paul o’connell 05. joe launchbuRy 06. sam waRbuRton 07. justin tipuRic 08. jamie heaslip 09. mike phillips 10. jonny sexton 11. geoRge noRth 12. bRian o’dRiscoll 13. jonathan davies 14. alex cuthbeRt 15. leigh halfpenny
BriNgiNg yoU CLosEr to thE UEFA ChAmpioNs LEAgUE
o competition throws up magic moments more regularly than the UEFA Champions League.
Borussia Dortmund’s amazing comeback against Malaga in the quarter finals was just the latest in a long line of incredible drama – from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stealing victory from Bayern Munich in 1999 to the cool way Didier Drogba sealed a penalty shootout victory (also over Bayern Munich) with his last kick in a Chelsea shirt.
The new HTC One, official smartphone of the UEFA Champions League, is perfectly designed for capturing such special scenes. Instead of still snapshots that just sit stationary in a smartphone gallery, the HTC One comes with HTC Zoe™, an innovative way of bringing your pictures to life. HTC Zoe™ lets you shoot high-res photos that come to life in three-second snippets – when you press the shutter button in Zoe mode, the HTC One will capture up to 20 photos, and a threesecond HD video. The capturing process starts a second before you’ve even pressed the button, and you can even share individual frames from the video. All the pictures you’ve taken are stored in the brand new Living Gallery, which transforms the traditional (but quite dull) photo gallery of still images into a moving memory wall. More memories will undoubtedly be made at the UEFA Champions League Final at Wembley next month, and one lucky fan was selected from thousands of entries to document the handover of the coveted trophy using HTC Zoe™. Competition winner Andy Roberts followed the cup as it travelled from Stamford Bridge to Whitehall, where it was officially transferred to the care of the City of London ahead of the Final. In his role as HTC photographer for the day, he captured the emotions of the general public as they interacted with the trophy, and he’ll be on hand again at the UEFA Champions League Final, capturing all the drama and action as it unfolds. Because it captures three seconds of video and 20 high-resolution photos instead of just one snap, HTC Zoe™ is the perfect tool for recording memories and bringing magic moments to life. After all, a lot can happen in three seconds: just ask Chelsea or Manchester United.
thE UEFA ChAmpioNs LEAgUE trophy hANdovEr, BroUght to LiFE By htC ZoE™ Competition winner Andy Roberts followed the trophy as it travelled through the city (with the women’s equivalent) and used HTC Zoe™ to capture the delight of any Londoners lucky enough to glimpse it.
7 Days OUR PICK OF THE ACTION FROM THE SPORTING WEEK AHEAD
APR 26-MAY 2 HIGHLIGHTS » Football: Premier League Preview » p42 » UFC: Jon Jones v Chael Sonnen » p44 » Boxing: Amir Khan v Julio Diaz » p46 » Rugby League: Widnes v Wakefield » p48 » County Cricket: Somerset v Warwickshire » p48
Saturday RUgBy Union | HeineKen CUP Semi FinAL: CLeRmont v mUnSteR | StADe De LA moSSon, montPeLLieR | SKy SPoRtS 1 5Pm
Not everything in rugby right now is about the
– something they showed in abundance in their
confidence. Conor Murray, Peter O'Mahony and
quarter-final showdown with Montpellier.
Simon Zebo are the men looking to make a late
In the second semi final on Sunday, Saracens
surge into Gatland's thinking, while another huge
welcome Toulon to Twickenham (Sky Sports 1, 3pm),
performance from Paul O'Connell (winning the
with Owen Farrell, Jonny Wilkinson, Chris Ashton
lineout, above) could have those captaincy odds
and Mako Vunipola just four of the names with
shortening again. Expect a classic Munster
Australia on the brain. Sarries play a tight game and
performance like we saw in west London a few
will look to starve the French side of possession, but
weeks ago, with power up front and a close
in Steffon Armitage and that man Jonny, the visitors
pick-and-drive game to set up Ronan O'Gara's boot.
boast one player who can pilfer ball at will and
The French sides, though, have upped their game
another who can score points from almost anywhere.
Lions – but this weekend's Heineken Cup semis
in Europe this season, and the men in yellow are
definitely have a Gatland twang to them, with the
favourites to lift the trophy for a reason. Sitiveni
like this. When it comes to investment, though, the
New Zealander set to name his squad on Tuesday.
Sivivatu and Wesley Fofana are the ones to watch
French team still takes some beating. Anything other
Munster are flying after their quarter-final win over
with the ball in hand, but it's Clermont's ability to
than an all-French final will mean someone has done
Harlequins, and head to the all-conquering Clermont
stand up to Munster's pack that will decide this game
something spectacular to catch Mr Gatland's eye.
40 | April 26 2013 |
Saracens' recent investment has all been for games
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Stu Forster/Getty Images
Charge of the Lions brigade
Auvergne (unbeaten at home for 59 games) with
saturday wigan v tottenham | dw stadium | 3Pm
The title race is over but the Premier League keeps on giving, with the ﬁght for fourth heating up and a decent scrap between sides trying to beat the drop sunday arsenal v manchester united | emirates stadium | sky sPorts 1 4Pm
WIgan won five of their last six games to save their Premier League lives last season. With matches against Manchester City and Arsenal to come after Saturday’s against a Tottenham side with plenty to play for, they might struggle to repeat that – although the Latics have won their last two at the DW and beaten Spurs once already this season. The Londoners have been impressive on the road, though – only Man Utd have won more away games.
monday aston villa v sunderland | villa Park sky sPorts 1 8Pm
It might be game over at the top of the table, but Arsene
in the past three meetings between these sides (once for
By the time these teams meet on
Wenger should surrender his ‘Professor’ moniker if he
United) and – as Arsenal fans know all too well – is the
Monday, the lie of the land in the
thinks that means Alex Ferguson’s team will give Arsenal
league’s top scorer.
bottom half of the table will be a
an easier ride than usual on Sunday. The Scot was still
The Gunners will be without one of their main goal
little clearer. It’s two wins from three
wiping celebratory bubbles from his chin after Monday’s
threats this season – Olivier Giroud misses out after he
for new Mackems boss Paolo Di
victory when he said: “If we get to 96 points I’d be
was sent off against Fulham. His absence might pave the
Canio, so they have the momentum,
delighted... that would be a fantastic season.” Hic.
way for our cover star Theo Walcott to get a taste of the
but Villa have been pretty solid
action up front, unless Wenger feels Lukas Podolski or
when playing teams around them in
of their remaining games, starting at the Emirates on
Gervinho (somewhat less likely) are more deserving.
the table of late. Wins against Stoke,
Sunday, where Danny Welbeck scored a late winner in
Defeat for Arsenal could see them drop behind
That record haul would require United to win all four
Reading and QPR in their previous
their 2-1 win last season. But it’s Robin van Persie who is
Tottenham and Chelsea (if both win) in the race for fourth,
six games have given Paul Lambert
the man most likely to bring an end to Arsenal’s run of six
but more painful than that will be the guard of honour
belief that he can keep the Villans
league games without defeat. The Dutchman has scored
Arsenal might be obliged to give their visitors.
in the top flight.
42 | April 26 2013 |
SATURDAY everton v fulham | goodison park | 3pm
SATURDAY southampton v west brom | st mary’s | 3pm
SATURDAY stoke v norwich | the britannia | 3pm
The respective home and away
Fulham have never won a game
Unbeaten in their last six matches,
Norwich have conceded the lowest
form of these teams suggests a
at Goodison Park in the Premier
Southampton have also kept three
proportion of goals from set-
predictable result. Roberto
League – an FA Cup win in 1975 was
clean sheets during that time. It’s
pieces in the league this season
Mancini’s side has been beaten only
the last time they were victorious
a far cry from the start of their
(10 per cent, excluding penalties).
once at home this season, while
there. And, with the Toffees almost
Premier League campaign, when
Stoke are at the other end of the
West Ham have won only once away
unbeatable at home this term (they
they conceded 24 goals in their first
scale, having let in 46 per cent
this year. But City’s late collapse
have lost once), it’s a statistic that’s
eight (winning once). It was in their
of their goals from set pieces
against Tottenham last weekend –
unlikely to change. Martin Jol is
10th game that they were beaten
(including one from Norwich to give
despite going into the match as the
without Steve Sidwell (again) after
2-0 by a West Brom team with five
them a 1-0 win at Carrow Road in
team that had conceded the fewest
the midfielder’s second red card in
wins from their first 10. The Baggies’
November). On the other hand, 57
second-half goals in the league this
as many games against Arsenal. The
form has dipped in the second half
per cent of Stoke’s goals have also
season – suggests that, with their
previous one came during Fulham’s
of the season though, leaving Saints
come from set-pieces (before they
title gone, so has their mojo.
last league win, on April 1.
as the form team here.
played QPR last weekend).
SATURDAY newcastle v liverpool | st james’ park espn 5.30pm
SUnDAY reading v qpr | madejski stadium | sky sports 1 1.30pm
SUnDAY chelsea v swansea | stamford bridge | 3pm
PRemieR LeAgUe TAbLe W D
34 27 3
33 20 8
14 14 6
13 12 9
13 6 14
10 12 11
10 West Ham
34 10 10 14
12 Southampton 34
9 12 13
8 14 12
9 10 15
Assuming Luis Suarez is unlikely to
Nigel Adkins’ reign at Reading
Having failed to beat Swansea on
be available on Saturday, Liverpool
hasn’t gone to plan, with the Royals
their three previous meetings this
34 10 7 34
8 10 16
will be without the player who
having lost three of the four games
season, Chelsea will be wary of their
17 Aston Villa
secured them a point against
under his tenure. Harry Redknapp –
visit on Sunday. It will be the Blues’
Newcastle at Anfield in November.
who will likely accompany him on
ninth game in April, and comes
4 12 18
Beaten 2-0 by the Magpies at St
the drop down to the Championship
sandwiched in between their Europa
James’ Park last year, when Alan
– hasn’t fared much better, winning
League semi-final ties with Basel,
Pardew’s side was aiming for
four of his 21 games in charge of
testing Rafa Benitez’s squad to its
Europe, Liverpool need a win this
QPR . Neither man will want to go
limit. But Swansea are without a win
time if they’re to keep the pressure
down as the Premier League’s
since March 2; their longest winless
on Everton (who they play next
bottom side, so Sunday’s game is
streak since joining the Premier
week). Newcastle, meanwhile, are
about playing for pride. Although
League last term. For Chelsea, then,
now simply aiming for survival.
points are still handy too, obviously.
fourth time could be the charm.
Javier Hernandez has the best mins/ goals rate of any player in Premier League history (minimum 10 goals)
Download the free Sport iPad app from the Apple Newsstand | 43
All pictures Getty Images
SATURDAY manchester city v west ham etihad stadium | sky sports 2 12.45pm
7 Days Saturday UFC 159 | Jon Jones v Chael sonnen | PrUdential Center, new Jersey | esPn 1aM
“I’m not here to badmouth him, I’m here to defeat him” On Saturday night, UFC light-
Pound-for-pound number one
heavyweight champ Jon ‘Bones’
“I’d like to be recognised as the
Jones takes on motormouth Chael
best fighter in the world one day,
‘The American Gangster’ Sonnen.
but I also understand that I have a
We talk to Jones about an intriguing
lot of time to achieve that goal. I’m
fight and his future goals.
25 years old, injury free, positive, very motivated and determined.
I have a lot of time left to break
“It’s going to be a great fight
records. I would consider myself
because Chael Sonnen is a really
top three with Anderson [Silva] and
good fighter. He’s a southpaw,
which is something that I haven’t fought against too much. That adds
an interesting dynamic. Everything
“It’s very important. It’s why I tweet
is different: the angles I’ll have to
every day and try to stay in contact
use, the shots I’ll have to defend
and communicate with fans. A lot
against, the shots I’ll have to put
of fighters don’t care about social
on him. It will be interesting for the
media, but I’m pretty big on [the
fans to see how I stack up against
idea of] social media. It’s not for me
such an aggressive, wrestling-
– it’s for the people who look up to
me and respect me. It’s my way of giving something back, by staying
Sonnen as challenger
in touch with them. I think that
“I don’t think he is the next
entertaining the fans is equally as
deserving contender, but I think the
important as winning fights.”
fans appreciate this fight. Chael has a pretty huge following. He’s top
Becoming a global superstar
four when it comes to pay-per-view
“To help play a major role in
draws – and when you get two guys
bringing the UFC to a mainstream,
[who are] top four, when it comes to
gigantic level and become the star
PPV sales there is going to be a lot
athlete – that’s a great dream of
of fan interest. I think it breaks the
mine. I think it should be the dream
whole martial arts honour code a
of every athlete: to not only be a
little bit – but for the entertainment
champion in their field, but to be a
factor, it’s going to be a big fight.”
star and something bigger than
Sonnen as trash talker
It drives me, motivates me, and I am
“Chael’s a politician, and the job
seeking to be that guy in the future.
of a politician is to make people
Getting into some acting would be
believe in their product. He’s selling
cool, too. I see Randy Couture and
the Chael Sonnen brand in a great
Rampage [Jackson] getting these
way – that’s why he has such a huge
A-level movies. I think I have a
following. I’m not surprised that he
little charisma and am fair-looking.
has been able to brainwash so
I think I could do that with the right
many people. When I talk, I just try
opportunity, the right guidance
to tell the truth. I try not to waste
and the right training.”
my energy yapping on about
Martin Potter @theboxingbrain
foolishness and rubbish. I don’t
44 | April 26 2013 |
have anything terrible to say about
UFC 159: Jones v Sonnen on
Sonnen. I’m not here to badmouth
Saturday April 27, programming
him, I’m here to defeat him.”
starts from 1am on ESPN
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Jim Kemper/Zuffa LLC
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7 Days Saturday Boxing | Amir KhAn v Julio DiAz | motorpoint ArenA, SheffielD | BoxnAtion 7pm
Three British boxers at different stages of their careers have key fights on Saturday, with Amir Khan’s homecoming fight against Julio Diaz topping the bill in Sheffield. Diaz is a tough Mexican who will look to test Khan’s suspect mandible, but he’s 33 and was at his best at lightweight several years ago. A draw with unbeaten US prospect Shawn Porter in his last bout shows Diaz isn’t washed up, but the tide is coming in fast: he’s lost three of his last eight fights. Khan boxed with speed and precision against Carlos Molina in December, but trainer Virgil Hunter will know it’s defensive lessons that need drumming into his charge’s head. Diaz should be a stepping stone to a late 2013 superfight, but we’ve been here before with Khan – these stepping stones can be slippery. Audley Harrison is on the undercard, fresh from his latest Prize Fighter resurrection and taking on American ‘Bronze Bomber’ Deontay Wilder. The 6ft 7ins Wilder can look awkward and gangly, and a skilled southpaw like Harrison could – in theory – give him fits. That theory collapses like, well, Harrison himself when you take into account Wilder’s punching power. The Tuscaloosa banger has 27 knockout wins in 27 fights. You don’t need us to tell you how this one ends.
We have more reason to be optimistic for Olympic bronze-medallist Anthony Ogogo, who makes his pro debut on the card. The charismatic 24-year-old is understandably being matched easily in his first bout, but given his amateur pedigree, he will hope to progress quickly in the paid ranks.
Friday horSe rAcing | rABoBAnK chAmpion hurDle | puncheStown | At the rAceS 5.30pm
The curtain is close to being drawn on a vintage
The nine-year-old has been beaten only once in
On Saturday, meanwhile, Sandown hosts a card
season of jumps racing, but today offers one final
his last 13 starts, in the 2012 Champion Hurdle –
famous for its combination of both flat and jumps
chance to see one of the stars of the campaign
but his conqueror that day, Rock On Ruby, will be
racing. The big race is the bet365 Gold Cup Chase
in action. Hurricane Fly (above) became only the
lining up to take him on once more here. The
(Channel 4, 3.50pm), featuring a bunch of Grand
second horse in history to reclaim the Champion
forecast quicker ground would be in the latter’s
National also-rans bidding for compensation. If
Hurdle crown at Cheltenham last month, and will
favour, but the Fly has looked at his very best this
the ground is good, though, keep an eye out for
bid for a fourth consecutive Rabobank Champion
season and should prove mighty tough to beat
the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Galaxy Rock – he is
Hurdle at Punchestown this evening (Friday).
under regular big-race jockey Ruby Walsh.
lightly raced this season and stays very well.
46 | April 26 2013 |
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Jeff Gross/Getty Images, Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
The final hurdle
7 Days Friday ruGby LeaGue | super LeaGue: WiDnes vikinGs v WakefieLD trinity WiLDCats | stobart staDium | sky sports 2 8pm
Friday > CriCket | County Championship Division 1: somerset v WarWiCkshire | County GrounD, taunton | sky sports 1 11.05am
Bears on the rampage
The top two teams from last year’s County Championship meet at Taunton in this early-season clash, but it is Warwickshire, the
defending champions, who have made the more convincing start to the new campaign. The Bears endured a frustrating start to their title defence, rain washing out their opening fixture against Derbyshire – but they took out their frustrations on Durham at Edgbaston last week, England Lions bowler Chris Wright starring with 6/31 in the second innings of his team’s 318-run rout. Somerset have been less impressive, following up an opening defeat to Durham with a draw away at Surrey. Overseas batsman Alviro Petersen (pictured) starred with 258 runs in the latter match, and looks key to his side’s hopes on his home debut here. With early pace-setters Middlesex not in action this weekend, this fixture represents an opportunity for one of these two to build momentum towards another title challenge.
Vikings seek higher ground As the Super League approaches its
their own cup tie against Championship
halfway point, thoughts inevitably turn to
One new boys Hemel Stags, running out
the end-of-season playoffs. And Friday
66-6 winners. They have lost three in a row
night’s live game features two sides in the
in the league, but rested most of their back
lower half of the table who retain hopes of
line last weekend and head for the Stobart
making the hallowed top eight: Widnes
Stadium with a fully fit squad that can
Vikings and Wakefield Wildcats.
trouble any team. Tim Smith and Paul Sykes are a great half-back combination, while
table, go into this game on the back of an
wing Ben Cockayne’s form in the early part
unconvincing 42-28 Challenge Cup victory
of the season earned him a place in the
over Championship club Doncaster last
England squad. The Wildcats have plenty of
weekend. The Vikings lost at struggling
talent at their disposal, then, but the artificial
Castleford on their last Super League
pitch at Widnes could just tip the balance in
outing, so need to find some form if they are
favour of the home side.
to move up the table. Speculation continues
The weekend’s other live action sees
to swirl around Gareth Hock (pictured,
Salford City Reds host Castleford Tigers
making the tackle), who is on a season-long
(Saturday 6.45pm, Sky Sports 3) in a
loan from Wigan – the forward is being
basement battle between the league’s
targeted by Australian club Parramatta
bottom two teams. Despite Salford owner
Eels, but his loss would be a huge blow.
Dr Marwan Koukash promising “significant
Sitting one place beneath their hosts, Wakefield had an altogether easier time in
48 | April 26 2013 |
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images, Ben Hoskins/Getty Images
Hosts Widnes, currently 10th in the
It is a match neither side will want to lose.
investment” in his side, this remains one for the purists only, perhaps.
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P54 Samsung’s Nx300: shoots faster than you in a pair of these shoes
Cool runnings Nike Free 5.0
You can try to escape it, but barefoot running is all the rage – and Nike are here to ease you in. Combining the flexibility of a barefoot shoe with enough cushioning to protect your feet, the Free 5.0 is a ‘barefoot for beginners’ trainer. Its flex groove outsole – made up of deep cuts along the length and width of the midsole – enhances your natural range of motion, encourages a smooth, efficient stride and helps maintain stability. It also comes in 32 different colour schemes. All you have to do now is pick one. £85 | nike.com
Puma Mobium Elite
Continuing the theme of all-new technology, Puma’s Mobium expands and contracts, along with your foot, in all directions. It has three key components that change in length, height and proportion to match your foot’s movement. Add an open-air mesh for increased comfort and breathability, and cushioning on the forefoot, and you have a pretty smart shoe. £85 | puma.co.uk 52 | April 26 2013 |
Adidas’ all-singing, all-dancing new shoe looks the business, and offers a whole new running feel (nb: sadly, it doesn’t sing or dance). Hundreds of nuggets of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU to its friends) make up a foam sole, which allows the shoe to absorb the stress of impact and instantly return to shape, meaning less energy lost and a springy feel that lasts over time. £110 | adidas.com/boost
Under Armour Charge RC II
Built for speed over long distances (bet we’ve lost a few of you already), the Charge II boasts HeatGear technology to keep your feet dry and cool in the hottest temperatures, and an upper that wicks moisture away from your foot. Tongue and toe padding, meanwhile, offers protection and an articulated flex mimics your foot movement to reduce your workload. £110 | underarmour.com
Reebok Sublite Duo Run
The Duo Run boasts two foam densities to offer a comfortable feel for your foot (softer foam on the inner sole) alongside increased responsiveness and durability (harder foam closer to the ground). Add in a padded ankle collar and you have a top trainer to rival the Boost. But which is better? There’s only one way to find out… Fight? No. Try them on, you weirdos. £60 | reebok.co.uk
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THE LENGTHS WE GO TO
21 STORES NATIONWIDE AND AT HIGHANDMIGHTY.CO.UK
oUr SPEEdy SENSE iS tiNgliNg
This week, we drag a super-fast camera, some heroic iPhone cases and a mighty morphin’ phone/tablet from their secret hideout
Samsung NX300 Camera
Sprint superstar Usain Bolt is supporting this camera, so hopefully he won’t have to borrow them from trackside photographers any more. Like the Jamaican, it’s a speedy number. Hybrid auto-focus makes zooming in on subjects quick and easy, and it can shoot almost nine frames a second. With its 20.3 megapixels, it’s sharp enough to capture even the world’s fastest man. £600 | currys.co.uk
Marvel Collector’s Edition Cases for iPhone 5
Captain America’s shield, fashioned from indestructible vibranium, would probably do a much better job of protecting your phone than Spider-Man’s Lycra onesie. Both of these are, however, made of plastic – but that doesn’t make them any less awesome. £25 | firebox.com 54 | April 26 2013 |
ASUS PadFone 2
Not to be confused with the ASUS FonePad, this is a 2-in-1 smartphone and tablet for people who want the best of both worlds. An Android phone slots into the back of a 10.1-inch screen for when you want more space to work. It even remembers and brings up what you were last doing on your phone. £599 | carphonewarehouse.co.uk
tomtom runner + Multisport Watches
The sat-nav makers have applied their GPS knowhow to a new range of watches that help measure how far you’ve run, swum or cycled and display the details in real time on an excellent graphical display. Just make sure you keep one eye on where you’re going, or it could be a short outing... £TBC | Visit sports.tomtom.com for more Download the free Sport iPad app from the Apple Newsstand
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ThAT’S PrETTy fAr OuT, MAn
Bowie’s taken over the V&A in his own psychedelic way. Become your own star man. Here’s how...
Not the only JV you’ll be hearing more from in the next fortnight, though this one is arguably more interesting. John Varvatos’ collection features his eponymous fragrance (a woody, oriental blend of spices with a hint of sweetness) alongside two ch-ch-ch-changes: the Vintage (warm heart notes of oak moss and patchouli oils) and Artisan (a citrus fusion with ﬂoral heart notes) editions. £60 each for 125ml | debenhams.co.uk from May
The body wash and lotion Molton Brown Patchouli & Saﬀron
Like Bowie, Molton Brown has been “blending with attitude” since 1973. They celebrate their 40th this month by reviving their Patchouli & Saﬀron scent in a limited-edition body wash (£18, 300ml) and body lotion (£25, 300ml). It’s unisex, too – the ambiguous Thin White Duke would approve. moltonbrown.co.uk 56 | April 26 2013 |
The toothpaste Oral-B 3D White Brilliance
For teeth shinier than one of Ziggy Stardust’s sequinned space suits, this toothpaste will, Oral-B tell us, give you visibly whiter teeth in just two weeks. It gently tackles stains, while ﬂuoride helps repair damage. We think you’ll like it. In fact we bet you do, you freaky old bastard, you. £3.49 for 75ml | boots.com
The soap Triumph & Disaster Shearer’s Soap
Has nowt to do with the former striker who ruins Match of the Day every week, and all to do with being incredibly gentle on your skin, thanks to a translucent base high in glycerin. Poppy seeds assist exfoliation, and it smells triumphantly good – will lend you prestige. £9.95 for 130g | Exclusive to mensphere.com
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Extra time Jessica Hart
58 | April 26 2013 |
ehold! The hideous face of avarice. For Sports Illustrated swimwear model Jessica Hart is a greedy, glory-hunting sports fan. She’s from Australia – a nation with a proud sporting tradition, including being silver-medallists in the historic Ashes series for the past two contests – but apparently even this glory is not enough. Since moving to the USA, the 27-year-old has become an enthusiastic follower of the Manchester United of baseball, the New York Yankees, as well as the high-ﬂying New York Knicks NBA team. Surely Hart (no relation to England goalkeeper Joe or deceased plasticine-bender Tony) should be focusing on Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash, where Aaron ‘Finchy’ Finch – bloody good rep – plies his trade? Still, we’ll forgive the Aussie faceache for her wayward loyalties. And if she fancies ﬂying over to watch a day of Ashes cricket come July, our invite is fully extended.
Avert your eyes Courtesy of Calzedonia (www.calzedonia.com) shot by Raphael Mazzucco
Games In association with
Stalk mutants in the post-apocalyptic Moscow metro system, ﬁght oﬀ zombies on a cruise ship in the Med, or whip out your own spine to slay shiny demons. It’s all in a day’s work
Ps3, Xbox, PC
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
Metro: Last Light
The sequel to 2010’s Metro 2033 is set in the ruins of post-apocalyptic Moscow, where you play as Artyom – a survivor living in the ruins of the city’s maze of underground tunnels, desperately trying to prevent an imminent civil war. Last Light stands out because it’s designed to be a more considered experience than most shooters, favouring a focus on exploring its superbly detailed environment rather
Ps3, Xbox, PC
After ﬁve years, GRID ﬁnally gets a sequel. Like the original, GRID 2 strikes a careful balance between realism and accessibility, and the story-driven career mode makes for a single-player game that’s more compelling than most. Throw in LiveRoute tracks that change every you time you race on them, and you have a wheelman’s wet dream. Released May 28 60 | April 26 2013 |
Despite its title, Blood Dragon has little in common with Far Cry 3. Gone are the natives, pirates and tropical fauna of last year’s shooter, replaced by a neon-tinged wasteland, badass dinosaurs and a healthy dose of Reagan-era comic references. What it does share with Far Cry 3 is a huge open world you’re free to explore, and a dystopian 2007 the publisher describes as “an 80s VHS vision of the future” in which you must “get the girl, kill the baddies, and save the world”. We can’t guarantee it’ll be quite as slick as the original, but it’s certainly the most outrageous game we’ve seen in some time. Released May 1
than all-out action. The shift in pace is supported by clever gameplay innovations, too, and the struggle to survive – be it by replacing your gas mask ﬁlters or sticking to the shadows to sneak past enemies when ammo is low – is just as pressing as the urge to tackle ﬁghts head-on. Indeed, ammo is also a muchneeded currency, so think twice before pumping slugs into mutants instead of ghosting silently past. Released May 17
Ps3, Xbox, PC, Wii u
Resident Evil: Revelations
Originally released to nearuniversal critical praise as a 3DS exclusive last year, Revelations has been given an HD lick of paint for home consoles. The third-person shooter, set on an abandoned cruise ship, follows the same survival horror format of earlier Resident Evil games, but with an emphasis on exploration and puzzle-solving. Released May 24
Thanks to a combat system that revolves around sacriﬁcing body parts to perform certain abilities, this PlayStation Vitaexclusive action-RPG will forever be known as ‘that game where you pull your spine out through your mouth and brandish it as a sword’. But don’t write this oﬀ as wanton violence – at its heart is a moving tale of unlikely hope. Released May 1
Persona 4 arena
The beat-’em-up genre was shaken up a couple of years ago by quirky 2D ﬁghter BlazBlue: Continuum Shift. This brawler from the same people blends beautiful animé graphics with an accessible story and unique combat. If you fancy something diﬀerent from the likes of Dead or Alive, look no further than one of Japan’s fastest-selling titles. Released May 10
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