Matti Nykänen, the Flying Finn who fell so far, so fast | Andy Bull

16-02-2019 The ski-jumper, who won five Olympic medals, had an otherworldly talent but not the sense, or support, he needed to cope with the fame it won himMatti Nykänen used to fly so far, so fast that it felt as if he would never come down. When the Finn broke the world ski jump record for the fifth, and final, time at Planica in 1985 he was moving so quickly that the cameraman struggled to track him through the air.Watching the footage you wonder if he might disappear into the yonder off the far side of the screen. In those days, the mid-1980s, Nykänen was the best ski jumper in the world and almost unbeatable. The records were the least of it. He won five world titles, five Olympic medals, including three golds in one Games, and four World Cups. Continue reading...

David Squires on … Chelsea's humiliation at Manchester City

16-02-2019 Our resident cartoonist on Maurizio Sarri’s dismay, Mike Dean and a man trying to wear trousers as a jumperTake a look through David’s archive of cartoons Continue reading...

Laura Muir records third fastest indoor mile at Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix

16-02-2019 Laura Muir sets the third fastest indoor mile of all time, smashing the British record in the process, at the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix.

'It's not subtle, it's loud' - Altrincham chairman on LGBT+ rainbow shirts

16-02-2019 Altrincham FC chairman Bill Waterson says the rainbow shirts that are to be worn in the home game against Bradford Park Avenue are a "loud" message that "homophobia has no place in football".

Dyed beards and lucky stones: Crazy Gang lives on at AFC Wimbledon | Barry Glendenning

16-02-2019 The successors to the 1988 FA Cup-winning side have revealed the unusual practices they hope will help them beat MillwallWhile his teammate Scott Wagstaff sits in the home dressing room at Kingsmeadow getting his bushy ginger beard dyed bright blue and yellow, the AFC Wimbledon midfielder Anthony Wordsworth is in the President’s Lounge telling reporters about his lucky stones. The original FA Cup-winning Crazy Gang may have been uprooted and moved to Milton Keynes many moons ago, but at the fan-owned phoenix club which replaced it there is still an apparent undercurrent of madness.Quiet and unassuming, Wordsworth is anything but deranged, although at one point he teetered on the brink. As a Southend player, he suffered the trauma of losing his beloved older brother, Steven, to a heart attack, a bereavement that led to a slump in form and eventually left him without a club. Picked up by Wimbledon, he is looking forward to an FA Cup fifth-round tie against Millwall on Saturday following his side’s demolition of West Ham. Continue reading...

'I'm always at risk' of being sacked by Chelsea, says Sarri after humiliation at Man City – video

16-02-2019 Maurizio Sarri feels he is 'always at risk' of being sacked by Chelsea after watching them succumb to their heaviest defeat in almost 28 years.The pressure intensified on the Italian after Sergio Agüero's 11th Premier League hat-trick, Raheem Sterling's double and Ilkay Gundogan's goal wrapped up an incredible 6-0 win for Manchester City. Sarri made an encouraging start to his tenure. Chelsea were unbeaten after their first 12 top-flight matches under him but the Blues have faded out of title contention and face a battle to finish in the top four. Agüero hits hat-trick in Chelsea’s humiliation by Manchester City Continue reading...

Was Infantino just too busy to get involved in freeing Hakeem al-Araibi? | Marina Hyde

16-02-2019 Fifa has a new human rights policy, yet its president appears to have been too caught up with other things to help out a footballer jailed under false pretencesTo the Middle East, where Fifa’s brilliant plan to bring peace via the medium of football continues apace. Last month, Qatar’s extraordinary win in the Asian Cup was noisily welcomed by Fifa, presumably as retrospective justification for its decision to award the tiny Gulf state the 2022 World Cup. And in some of the regional countries currently blockading Qatar, the headlines on news coverage of the final show just how close the whole peace-dream is to becoming a reality. Which is to say, not very close, if they still can’t mention the match winner in a match report. As the UAE’s Gulf News had it: “Japan come up short in Asian Cup final.” That said, it did have two articles about the final. The headline on the other was: “The Samurai’s extra confidence caused their loss.” Related: Privileged sport officials willing to sacrifice Hakeem al-Araibi's life should be expunged | Craig Foster Continue reading...

Sir Alex Ferguson to manage Man Utd in Champions League 20th anniversary repeat

16-02-2019 Legendary former boss Sir Alex Ferguson will take charge of a Manchester United XI in a 20th anniversary repeat of their Champions League final win over Bayern Munich.

Premiership’s bottom side Newcastle lacking sense of direction in Bath defeat

16-02-2019 • Bath 30-13 Newcastle• Hosts score four tries in comfortable victoryNewcastle’s hold on the bottom position in the table is becoming securer by the match, but there was little suggestion in their fourth consecutive league defeat that they were preoccupied by a fear of going down. Premiership Rugby clubs wants an immediate end to relegation while allowing the Championship champions this season to be promoted, as long as they are London Irish, to make it 13 at the top. Unlucky for some.This match for a long time offered a snapshot of what life in the Premiership could be like if the trapdoor closed. It meandered, a confusion of poor passes, unforced mistakes and poor decisions, as if the two teams were at the end of the season and looking forward to a summer break. The Falcons enjoyed a spell of possession but lacked a sense of direction. Continue reading...

How Swansea City went from model club to desperate cautionary tale | Stuart James

16-02-2019 Chaotic transfer dealings and incompetence at the top have put the club into a nosedive with no obvious source of salvationAs the clock ticked down on transfer deadline day last month, and chaos reigned behind the scenes at Swansea City, Connor Roberts tweeted a gif showing Milhouse, a character from The Simpsons, throwing a frisbee to himself in the park. The Wales international removed the post not long afterwards but the inference was clear: Swansea’s players were feeling every bit as disillusioned as the supporters.Swansea were doing what Swansea now have a reputation for doing on deadline day – shifting everything they possibly can. The same happened last August, when four players departed in the final 24 hours of business. On that occasion it was the turn of the top scorer, Oli McBurnie, to post a soon-to-be-deleted message on Twitter expressing his bemusement. Continue reading...