A general look at the sporting scene over the Festive season (events until and including 1 January)
• Blackburn gate-crashed Sir Alex Ferguson’s 70th birthday party by winning 3-2 at Old Trafford and 24 hours later rivals City lost 1-0 at improving Sunderland.
• John Terry, captaining Chelsea for the 400th time, saw Didier Drogba’s 150th goal for ‘creeking’ Londoners count for nothing as Aston Villa won 3-1.
• Robin van Persie struck Arsenal’s winner v QPR (1-0) but fell one short of Alan Shearer’s record of 36 PL goals in a calendar year, yet still set a Gunners’ yearly record.
In fact. The ‘Flying Dutchman’ netted 48 times in all competitions in 2011 – only Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) scored more.
• Craig Bellamy scored twice as Liverpool beat Newcastle 3-1 to claim their first home PL win since October. It was Newcastle’s 800th away League defeat ever.
• CL leaders Southampton suffered their first home defeat in 25 games, beaten by Bristol City and in League Two, Crawley’s Tyrone Barnett scored against Barnet.
• After beating Rangers 1-0, Celtic went into 2012 as SPL leaders.
• Thierry Henry has rejoined Arsenal on a two-month loan deal.
• The first game for Northern Ireland’s new boss Michael O’Neill is a friendly against Norway next month, followed by the 2014 WC qualifiers.
• Ex-Chelsea chief Carlo Ancelotti is Paris St Germain’s new manager.
• “Gareth Bale is not for sale” said Spurs boss Harry Redknapp. “If he was, only Real Madrid, Barcelona or Manchester City could afford him at £60m.”
• The 2012 transfer window is now open – so watch out for some big moves, with Gary Cahill and possibly Drogba moving on.
• Africa’s Cup of Nations starts soon with many PL players in action.
• A dossier revealing Luis Suarez’s racist remarks made towards Manchester United’s Patrice Evra, has been released by the FA who banned the Uruguayan for eight matches and fined him £40,000.
• Sachin Tendulkar is still chasing his 100th international century. He’s been stuck on ten months. • Sri Lanka ended a run of 15 Test Matches without a victory by winning in South Africa for the first time ever.
• Harlequins are seven points clear at the top of Rugby’s Aviva Premiership.
• England’s RU coach Andy Farrell said: “I’m confident we’ll have a successful Six Nations despite a horrid World Cup.”
• Andy Murray’s new coach is the legendary tennis ace Ivan Lendl. • After the Australian Open in Melbourne (16-29 Jan) Rafael Nadal will not play tennis until March. “I’m having treatment for a shoulder injury” said the Spaniard.
• Recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honour’s List were golfers Darren Clarke OBE & Rory McIlroy MBE, ex-F1 driver Nigel Mansell CBE, Taekwondo ace Sarah Stevenson MBE, rugby stars Chris Patterson MBE & Martyn Williams MBE, cricket umpire Dicky Bird OBE, horse trainer Peter Walwyn MBE, boxing coach Frank O’Sullivan MBE, former Aston Villa Chairman, Doug Ellis, a Sir, and commentator Stuart Hall, OBE.
• And by the way, the Summer Olympics start in 204 days time Footnote: The FA Cup 3rd round this weekend features these intriguing ties: Liverpool-Oldham tomorrow; Fleetwood-Blackpool, Spurs-Cheltenham, Everton-Tamworth, Bristol Rovers-Aston Villa, MK Dons-QPR, Gillingham-Stoke & Birmingham-Wolves on Saturday; the Manchester derby & Peterborough-Sunderland on Sunday and Arsenal-Leeds, Monday. There’ll be at least one upset!
QUESTION ANSWERED: Ron Fisher (Vera) asked: Who has scored most Test runs for England?
Answer: Graham Gooch 8,900; Alec Stewart hit 8,463, David Gower 8,231 and Geoff Boycott 8,114.
Sachin Tendulkar has amassed a record 15,285.
Did You Know? Formed in 1890, Scotland’s top Division has been dominated by Rangers (54 wins) and Celtic (42).
The last club to win the SPL, other than the Old Firm, was Aberdeen in 1985, managed by Alex Ferguson.
Real Madrid lead Barcelona 31-21 in La Liga triumphs; Juventus (27) have won most Serie ‘A’ titles; Bayern Munich have gained 22 Bundesliga crowns and Manchester United have been PL/FL champions a record 19 times.