Who turned Villa, one of England’s biggest clubs, into a laughing stock?

first_imgWhen Alex Ferguson took over Manchester United in 1986, Aston Villa boasted a more impressive honours list than the Red Devils.Fergie won his first league title seven years later, narrowly pipping Villa to top spot in the inaugural Premier League season.Two decades later, Ferguson retired with Villa just a speck in the rearview mirror of United, newly crowned champions yet again.While the Red Devils fortunes have declined considerably since the Scot called it a day in 2013, their position looks extremely rosy when compared with the place Villa now find themselves occupying.Rock bottom after 26 games, almost certain to be relegated for the first time since 1987 and concerned that the downward spiral that’s gripped Villa Park this decade could get even worse in the Football League.But who is to blame? Villa fans certainly have their opinions, and our friends at Copa 90 spoke to a selection of diehard Villans to canvass opinion – see what they had to say in the video above, and share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.last_img read more

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Transporation manager Jeff urged to settle L.A.

first_img“I think she was treated rather shabbily,” said Councilwoman Jan Perry, who said she would support a settlement if Jeff wanted one. “She was very clear that she understood she was an at-will employee. But I don’t think it is necessary to disrespect a person.” Villaraigosa would not comment on the negotiations or a possible agreement. But a settlement would avoid a potentially divisive hearing and continue a string of payouts for African-American managers who have left quietly. Former Animal Services General Manager Guerdon Stuckey was fired by Villaraigosa. He appealed to the City Council, which negotiated a $50,000 contract under which Stuckey wrote a 32-page report on how to deal with pet overpopulation. Former Community Development Department General Manager Clifford Graves resigned last year and was given a $25,000 contract to write two reports totaling 13 pages on the department’s policy challenges and organization options. And former Emergency Preparedness Department General Manager Ellis Stanley retired last month – at the nudging of the mayor, some City Hall insiders said – and was given a four-month, $60,000 contract to write a report on issues important to the incoming general manager, Jim Featherstone, who had already served as an assistant general manager in the department. Villaraigosa’s office wouldn’t say whether officials tried to make a similar deal with Jeff. Her appeal letter said she was offered one month’s severance pay in exchange for her resignation. “Ms. Jeff, who was understandably shocked by the threat of termination, repeatedly asked the mayor’s representatives for an explanation of the mayor’s reasons,” Jeff’s attorney wrote in her appeal letter. “No reason was given. Mr. (Thomas) Saenz (the mayor’s attorney) cryptically told her that he would provide information to her in a `private meeting’ if, and only if, she resigned and signed the release of all claims contained in the severance agreement.” But Villaraigosa’s office has said Jeff was warned that her management of DOT was deficient and after less than a year on the job, the Mayor’s Office encouraged her to seek communications and leadership training. African-American employee groups are closely following Jeff’s termination and how the mayor and council choose to resolve it. “Gloria Jeff is like a symbol of the disappearance of African-American leadership on the management level,” said Cora Jackson-Fossett, president of the Los Angeles Association of Black Personnel. “If you’re replacing one African-American with another African-American, there’s no net gain. That’s a concern.” Six black managers have left during Villaraigosa’s tenure, and he has appointed six black managers. There are a total of nine African-American managers in city departments. Still, Jeff’s firing has struck a chord with some Villaraigosa supporters in the black community. Pastor C. Dennis Williams of Ward AME Church – where Jeff is a member – said Villaraigosa spoke during the Sunday service earlier this year and praised Jeff, saying she was doing a great job for the city. “I think people are upset, bewildered and discouraged because Ward has been one of his major supporters,” Williams said. “Then to fire someone in our congregation without a clue is a little disingenuous with the whole congregation.” Under the City Charter, the mayor has the right to remove general managers at will. Managers can appeal to the council, which can reinstate the fired employee with 10 votes by the 15-member council. The council could offer a contract to Jeff in exchange for dropping her appeal or claim. The council can approve up to $100,000 without mayoral approval. kerry.cavanaugh@dailynews.com (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Two weeks after Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa abruptly fired Department of Transportation General Manager Gloria Jeff, some city leaders are trying to negotiate a settlement to persuade Jeff to drop her appeal and avoid a high-profile, racially charged hearing over her termination. Villaraigosa has been criticized by African-Americans for his handling of Jeff’s firing – namely giving her an immediate ultimatum to resign or be fired, with no explanation, after he personally recruited her from Michigan. Jeff hired an attorney, rallied the support of African-American groups and has appealed her firing to the City Council. While some council members said they would not support a payout for Jeff, Councilmen Bernard Parks and Herb Wesson initiated settlement discussions this week between the city attorney and Jeff’s attorney. last_img
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Trojans suddenly in a rare position

first_imgSay hello to the Gutty Little … Trojans? Oregon is favored by three points to defeat USC in Eugene on Saturday, and USC as the underdog isn’t just unusual, it’s downright exotic. USC has been favored to win each of its last 57 games. And usually favored to stomp. Perhaps no team in college football history consistently generated such lopsided betting lines as Pete Carroll’s teams have, going back to 2003. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Two national championships during that span, about 30 weeks ranked No. 1 and 33 victories by 20 or more points will do that for you. This season, the Trojans have been favored to win by 46 (Idaho), 91/2 (Nebraska), 25 (Washington State), 201/2 (Washington), 41 (Stanford), 21 (Arizona) and 171/2 (Notre Dame). The popular perception for almost five years has been clear: USC is significantly better than most everyone. And that can get old, not to mention burdensome, as you take everybody’s best shot while trying to ignore that you’re supposed to win just by showing up. It also generates backlash when you don’t win by enough. Witness USC’s retrograde movement in the polls two weeks ago after defeating Arizona “only” 20-13. All that favoritism is flattering, but it can leave you in awkward situations. When you’re the Big Bad Wolves of college football, it’s hard to go all Little Red Riding Hood in your game preparation. “Gee, Oregon, what big offense you have!” If we know anything about football coaches, it’s that they love-love-love it when “people” expect them to lose a game. It puts another hammer into the motivational toolbox. Or do players shouting “no one thought we could win!” and “we shocked the world!” sound like novelties to you? Carroll feigned ignorance Tuesday regarding his team’s underdog status vs. the mighty Ducks. “That means absolutely nothing to me,” he said. “I never noticed it. If you didn’t bring it up, I wouldn’t even know.” That is the politically correct answer for a college football coach, given the NCAA’s legitimate horror at the evils of gambling. But we rather doubt someone as astute as Carroll hadn’t heard that his Supermen have turned into Underdogs. The last time USC was a clear-cut ‘dog? The 2003 opener at Auburn, when the Tigers were were 3-4-point favorites (USC won, 23-0). The only quasi-asterisk in USC’s 57 games since is last January’s Rose Bowl, in which Michigan opened as a slight favorite … only to see many gaming establishments shift the line to “pick-em” status by game time or even install USC as a slight favorite – by one point, day of game, according to online tout SBG Global. And the last time USC was an underdog in a Pac-10 game? Have to go all the way back to the last game of the 2001 regular season, Carroll’s first, when UCLA was a three-point favorite. That was 46 Pac-10 games ago, and USC won, 27-0. The gaming aspects of this don’t matter inside the program, and shouldn’t. Betting on football games is illegal outside casinos. But the perceptions DO matter, and the Oregon line says this: The wise guys who bet football believe USC will lose Saturday. And that has to be liberating, maybe even fun, for Carroll & Co., perennial overdogs. Terrell Thomas, USC’s fifth-year senior cornerback, said the Trojans aren’t miffed that Oregon is favored. “We like it,” he said. “The rest of the season is all about respect for us. As a team, how do you want to be perceived? We want that respect that ‘SC still is that great team.” You don’t have to be Dale Carnegie to see the motivational possibilities. “Hey, kids, time to prove we still matter.” After extolling Oregon’s virtues at length Tuesday, Carroll said, “We’re pumped up.” Nothing like underdog status to get the competitive juices flowing. paul.oberjuerge@sbsun.com160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Navy ends skid at Notre Dame

first_imgNotre Dame (1-8) cut the lead to two on a 5-yard TD run by Travis Thomas. But after a pass interference call gave Notre Dame a second chance at the 2-point conversion, defensive lineman Michael Walsh and linebacker Irv Spencer tackled Thomas well short of the end zone on the final play. “Honestly, this win hasn’t even hit me yet,” linebacker Matt Wimsatt said. “I can’t wait to talk to everybody back home. This is definitely bigger than just one football game.” For Notre Dame, it was its school-record fifth straight home loss, another low point in a season of lows. Weis said the 43-game winning streak had no meaning to him or the team. “They’re worried about here and now. These kids are 17. You think they’re worrying about 43 years?” he said. “To be honest, I don’t even know what the streak was at before it ended,” linebacker Joe Brockington said. Weis said the home losing streak was much more important to the players. It also is the first time the Irish have lost five at home in one season. Notre Dame did have its best game offensively, rushing for 235 yards, nearly doubling its season output, and James Aldridge ran for 125 yards. It wasn’t enough. The Irish, who did little to slow Navy’s option offense, held the Midshipmen to three-and-out late in the fourth quarter with the score tied at 28. Greg Veteto had the first punt of the game, and Tom Zbikowski returned it 32 yards to the Navy 38. The Irish drove to the 24, but on fourth-and-8 Weis decided to go for it rather than attempt a field goal. Chris Kuhar-Pitters, who earlier returned a fumble 16 yards for a touchdown, sacked Evan Sharpley with 45 seconds left. It was the fourth sack for Navy, which entered the game with five. Notre Dame, which hadn’t scored more than 20 points this season, led, 21-14, at halftime, the first halftime lead for the Irish. Kuhar-Pitters came up with his big play early in the fourth quarter. Sharpley dropped back to pass and was wrapped up by nose guard Nate Frazier and defensive end Michael Walsh knocked the ball loose. Kuhar-Pitters scooped up the loose ball and rumbled into the end zone.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre Navy finally beat Notre Dame, 46-44, in triple overtime on Saturday, ending the Fighting Irish’s NCAA-record winning streak against the Midshipmen at 43 games. “It’s a big win for our program. It’s a big win for the academy,” Navy coach Paul Johnson said. “I’m happy I don’t have to answer anything else about the streak every time we play.” Roger Staubach was quarterback for the Midshipmen in 1963 when they beat Notre Dame, 35-14. Since then, the Irish have had their way – that is until Saturday. Seven times during the streak the Midshipmen had chances to win in the fourth quarter, only to be thwarted by bad luck, questionable calls or big plays by the Irish. A few times Saturday it looked as though the win would elude them again. But this time it was the Midshipmen who managed to make the decisive plays. Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada threw a 25-yard TD pass to Reggie Campbell on the first play of the third overtime, then found him again for the 2-point conversion. BREAKTHROUGH: Midshipmen snap a 43-game losing streak to the Fighting Irish. By Tom Coyne The Associated Press SOUTH BEND, Ind. – It’s over. After 44 years and three overtimes. last_img read more

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SETTING UP BANKS ‘COULD HELP SAVE RURAL POST OFFICES’ – TD

first_imgIndependent TD Thomas Pringle is supporting movies for post offices to provide basic bank accounts at all its branches – helping many of the outlets to survive.A member of the Joint Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture, Deputy Pringle an IPU presentation to the committee on the need for the Financial Inclusion Strategy to include the Post Office network in the roll out of the Basic Payment Account.The Basic Payment Account is a means to ensure that everyone has access to a basic bank account. Said the Donegal politician: “With the Department of Social Protection intending to move to a direct payment method into bank accounts the Basic Payment Account operated through the Post Office network will give many financially excluded people access to an account that will continue to allow them to access their social welfare payment through their local post office.“Studies in the UK have shown that the lack of a bank account can cost people up to £1,000 per year in extra costs. The Department of Finance are piloting the implementation of the basic bank account at the minute and the Post Office is the perfect way to roll out this account.”He said that more than 17% of people in Ireland do not have a bank account and the government have decided to look at providing a basic account for citizens.Many people do not trust the banks and may not want an account or have easy access to banks. The Post Office is a trusted part of most communities and can provide the basic account in a way that will provide the easiest access for everyone and continue to allow people to get their payments in their local post office, said Pringle. He added: “This proposal would also help to ensure the continued operation of many rural post offices by growing the services that they can provide. The IPU have also proposed that the post office could provide car tax, draft the register of electors and take other local authority payments. The committee decided to call in the relevant departmental officials to ensure that the proposal is given serious consideration.” SETTING UP BANKS ‘COULD HELP SAVE RURAL POST OFFICES’ – TD was last modified: February 15th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:An PostDeputy Thomas Pringlelast_img read more

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COMPETITION: WIN A MAKEOVER FOR YOUR MOTHER WITH PATRICK GILDEA HAIRDRESSING

first_imgWould you like to let your Mother know how special she is this Mother’s day? We would love to help! We are delighted to give one Donegal Daily Reader a fantastic opportunity to win a luxurious makeover worth €250 for their Mother this Mother’s day.This is the perfect time to show your mother just how important she is and what better way than to treat her to a day that she will never forget at Patrick Gildea’s “Centre of Excellence”. We promise that this experience will make her look and feel like a star, we will treat her to an in-depth consultation where we will decide together on a look that is totally tailored to her; including a luxurious personalised Wella treatment that will take care of any problem areas, resulting in beautiful nourished hair from root to tip.Doesn’t this sound like something she would love? Just imagine the look on her face when you present her with this fantastic experience. We know that this will make her day and is something that she will love you for forever!We have made it easy for you to enter, simply go to http://www.patrickgildea.ie/win-free-makeover/ and complete steps 1 and 2 to enter.   COMPETITION: WIN A MAKEOVER FOR YOUR MOTHER WITH PATRICK GILDEA HAIRDRESSING was last modified: March 10th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:competitiondonegalDonegal DailyMother’s DayPatrick Gildea Hairdressinglast_img read more

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Why Pep Guardiola wants ‘one of the top midfielders in Europe’ for Man City

first_img1 Ilkay Gundogan is linked with a move to the Premier League Football stats analysts WhoScored.com analyse a rumoured Manchester City target…When Manchester City announced that Pep Guardiola would succeed Manuel Pellegrini as manager in the summer, the gossip columns wildly speculated who the Spaniard would look to bring to the Etihad Stadium. Reports suggested Guardiola had a bottomless transfer war chest with which to strengthen the playing squad and while that may still be a possibility, he’s unlikely to spend every penny in the kitty in one summer.The defence is supposedly one of the key areas Guardiola wants to strengthen, but it’s in the middle of the park where the first signing has supposedly been made. Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan has been strongly linked with a move to City in recent weeks and recent reports suggest a deal is close to completion. A WhoScored.com rating of 7.43 is among the best in the Bundesliga this season and it’s no shock that City top a lengthy list of potential suitors for the 25-year-old.Indeed, the Manchester club are believed to have won the race to secure his services, with Guardiola keen on bringing the Germany international to England as a replacement for Yaya Toure. The powerhouse Ivorian is expected to depart City this summer, with Guardiola touted to cash in on the midfielder for the second time in his short managerial career having sold the 32-year-old to the Citizens back in 2010 while Barcelona manager.Gundogan has clearly been earmarked as his replacement for City, with the 25-year-old providing a similar thrust and driving force from deep to help link the defence and attack. Indeed, only two players have a better success rate than Gundogan (68.4%) of those to attempt 50 or more dribbles in the Bundesliga this season, reinforcing his statistically calculated WhoScored.com strength of ‘dribbling’.Given teams often deploy a 4-2-3-1 formation in England’s top tier, the need for a deep-lying runner from midfield alongside a ball winner is essential and Gundogan has proven how capable a performer he is when he gains a head of steam, charging forward with the ball to help open up the opposition. However, he is not one to unnecessarily bring the ball upfield, with Gundogan knowledgeable enough to know when to pass on possession when it’s needed.Only three players are playing more passes per Bundesliga game than Gundogan (80.9) this season, with the midfielder amassing a commendable success rate of 87.8%. With the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva expected to be operating ahead of him for City, his impressive ball retaining quality will help the team break forward and for Gundogan to supply the ammunition for the club’s impressive array of attacking talent to maximise.Meanwhile, only Arsenal (56.3%) are averaging more possession than City (55.4%) in the Premier League this season and it’s widely expected that Guardiola will implement a similar possession-based game when he takes over the Etihad Stadium reins this summer. Gundogan’s ability to pick out a teammate with consummate ease will help City maintain pressure on the opposition, all the while ensuring opponents can’t forge goalscoring opportunities.After over a year sidelined with a back problem, Gundogan made an impressive return to full fitness for Dortmund and has once again established himself as one of the top midfielders in Europe. If – as expected – City secure Gundogan’s services in the summer transfer window, they’ll have landed themselves the ideal replacement for Toure, whose days are supposedly numbered at the Etihad Stadium.For more stats on Ilkay Gundogan, click here to view his WhoScored.com player pagelast_img read more

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Leicester ready to battle Arsenal and Tottenham for star striker Alvaro Morata

first_img1 Alvaro Morata in action for Juventus Leicester City have joined Arsenal and Tottenham in the hunt for Juventus star Alvaro Morata.The Spaniard has been linked with a move away from the Italian champions this summer and clubs are on red alert.?Real Madrid have the option to buy the 23-year-old back from Juventus, while Arsenal have been chasing the striker for two years.However, according to Corriere dello Sport, Leicester are now considering an audacious move for Morata.The Foxes will be on the hunt for a striker in the summer with Andrej Kramaric expected to leave the club.Morata would previously have been out of Leicester’s reach, but the fact that the Midlands club can now offer Champions League football makes a deal more likely.last_img

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Peter Crouch compensated by Tottenham following White Hart Lane exit

first_imgStriker Peter Crouch reluctantly left Tottenham for Stoke five years ago after his accountant got a transfer deadline day text saying he was no longer in the first-team squad and would “sit out” two years, a judge has heard.Crouch said his contract was being ended nearly two years early and asked to be recompensed – and Spurs agreed to pay, Judge Jonathan Richards was told.Midfielder Wilson Palacios left Spurs for Stoke at around the same time and was also given a contract termination payment, the judge heard.Judge Richards had been asked to analyse a dispute on whether income tax was due on payments made to players.Detail has emerged in a written ruling on the case following a tax tribunal hearing in London.Tax officials said payments should be classed as “earnings” and subject to income tax.Spurs’ bosses disagreed, saying payments were “compensation” for early termination of contracts not “earnings”.The judge ruled in Spurs’ favour.Palacios was given £1.5million, the judge’s ruling showed.No figures for payments given to Crouch were revealed.The judge said Spurs had viewed Crouch as “more demanding” than Palacios and better represented. 1 Peter Crouch signed for Stoke five years ago last_img read more

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Developer’s funding ability at issue

first_imgSAN FERNANDO – At least two members of the City Council are raising questions about a developer’s ability to complete three proposed projects in downtown San Fernando after he failed to pay for environmental-review work. But developer Enrique Fainchtein said he will make the outstanding payment of $45,000 today. He is obligated to pay for most of the environmental impact report for the project. “Here’s the problem: We’re in the middle of an EIR … and the guy may end up sticking us with the bill if he doesn’t have the money here,” said Councilman Steve Veras, a longtime opponent of the project. The projects Fainchtein has drawn up for downtown San Fernando could bring hundreds of residents to the area, where he proposes nearly 200 condo units on city-owned parking lots within a four-block radius. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champBut the proposals have run into opposition from business owners who say they are not a good fit for the area. One project at Brand Boulevard and Celis Street would have 88 to 98 residential units and 7,500 to 16,000 square feet of retail space. Another project would put 87 residential units and 26,000 square feet of retail at Brand Boulevard and Truman Street. A third project would put a five-story parking structure with ground-floor retail at Truman Street and San Fernando Mission Boulevard. Veras said nearby business owners worry that the projects could take away too much parking, and the new parking structure could be too far from some businesses in the city’s outdoor mall. Juana Cuiriz, chief executive officer of the San Fernando Mall Association, said the area needs attractions such as a small bowling alley – not condos. She said there is little in the city for new residents to do. “These young couples – what are they going to do in San Fernando after they go home?” she said. “They’re going to go out of the city to look for that movie theater, for that restaurant.” City Councilwoman Maribel De La Torre said she is concerned about Fainchtein’s ability to finish what he starts. “There’s just a lot of issues with respect to this developer,” she said. The City Council is awaiting the results of the EIR, and it has not given the projects final approval. Fainchtein said he will have the financing in place to finish the projects, but said that when he made the proposals he did not expect to pay for an EIR. Fainchtein also said he will pay the taxes needed to reinstate his corporate license with the state for his company, Wilshire Ventures Corp. The license was suspended, but Fainchtein said it was because of an accounting problem.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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