At the BBC quiz show Meaningless a few years ago, participants were asked to mention the 10 oldest football clubs in the world still play matches.
An expert guy answered Notts County correctly, much to the surprise of the rest of his team. However, no one plundered to Worksop Town, & # 39; the world's fourth oldest club and was founded in 1861, a year earlier than County.
Ever Worksop was revealed as a correct answer, along with Sheffield F C – & # 39; the world's oldest club – there was a bewilderment on the face of the participants.
& # 39; Worksop? Where is that? one asked, while two others questioned the club's existence.
Perhaps that should not have been a surprise given that Worksop & # 39; s greatest achievement is still considered to be keeping Tottenham on a 0-0 draw on White Hart Lane in the first round of the FA Cup in 1923.
Since the mid-1970s, they have spent most of their time in steps seven and eight of the English football pyramid.
But for the 400 or so who regularly turn up on Sandy Lane, the site of the club in the former mining town are the Tigers they live for. It would then be a & # 39; tragedy & # 39; are, as club historian John Stocks says, if Worksop would fold.
But that remains a possibility if no money is collected by the end of this week after financial mismanagement, which only recently came to light and is now being investigated by the police, the club left £ 60,000 in debt .
Half of it was paid by Peter Whitehead, the owner of Sandy Lane, who nts to take control of the club to help them move to a new era. Another £ 24,000 has been raised by supporters and benefactors in just over two weeks.
Whitehead & # 39; s eight-year-old grandson Oliver, who heard his grandfather and club president Keith Ilett talk about the club's fight, cycled 80 laps on the ground, which amounts to 18.61 miles. That earned £ 4,000.
& # 39; I got a lump in my throat & # 39 ;, says Whitehead. & # 39; For his thinking at that age. Wow, it was just fantastic, I shiver now because I am so proud of what he did. & # 39;
Whitehead says the club would be long gone without Ilett, adding: & # 39; The answer was great. We received a £ 5,000 donation from someone in Spain who viewed Worksop. He saw that we were going to perish, so he just landed and just gave me a check for £ 5,000. Then there is Chris Waddle, who played for us in 1990, he said he will help.
& # 39; It tells you something about the club when someone like him tells me: "I played in Marseille, I played in Newcastle, I played for England "but" I still get it here ", Ilett points to his heart for emphasis.
The pressure to win over Worksop was evident on Saturday for a mid-table Northern Premier League Division One South East collision with Sutton Coldfield.
Shaun Taylor, a 45-year-old fan, shuffles to the front of a row that has formed at the Clubhouse End to donate £ 100 to the President & # 39; s Fund, which will be named on a plaque that will honor those who have pledged to save the club. "It was a no-brainer," he says. & # 39; The money is a bit tight, but it's a good thing and I don't want Worksop to go to hell. This club means everything to me. & # 39;
On the field it is a fairly even match to start with. Strong gusts of wind make a typical direct style difficult, much to the annoyance of an old boy in the full Main Stand. & # 39; Grab it on deck, city! & # 39; he cries.
& # 39; Bloody hell boys, come on, & # 39; follows soon, much to the delight of 31-year-old manager Kyle Jordan when he is presented with a pint after the game. & # 39; Ha, the old boys, & # 39; Jordan laughs. & # 39; It is never good enough. If we win 4-0, it should be 6-0, but I think it's great because it's football. Then you turn that around with the fans who are always behind the goal and they sing no matter what. & # 39;
It is from behind the goal that Richard Nelson and his son Aaron see that Worksop grants the sole purpose of the game, but then enjoy continued pressure in the Sutton Coldfield area after visitors drop to 10 men after James Mutton's resignation for a stamp on Matt Sykes.
The odds come and go, but Worksop cannot find an equalizer. & # 39; The result does not matter & # 39 ;, Nelson says. & # 39; The only thing that matters is whether this club is still here next week. & # 39;
How to Donate to Help Save Worksop Town
On February 10, the club issued a statement on their website that featured President Mr Keith Ilett said "had approached Mr. Peter Whitehead, who owns the lease with Sandy Lane soccer field, to ask if he would be kind enough to take over the club as president".
Mr. Whitehead has agreed to do so as long as the fans collect £ 30,000 at the end of the month. The statement goes on to help from everyone & # 39; who takes care of their club to do what they can & # 39; and Peter Whitehead has confirmed that a & # 39; official plaque, recognizing the names of those individuals and companies who come forward to help the club, will be placed in the clubhouse when he takes over. Each person would also receive a club membership pass, which entitles you to certain benefits on the spot. & # 39;
If you want to donate, click here to find the JustGiving page with the aim of raising £ 30,000 to save Worksop Town FC.
Former Celtic defender Jackie McNamara & # 39; making progress but facing a long road to recovery & # 39; after a brain operation
- Jackie McNamara collapsed outside his home and was in a critical condition
- He underwent a brain operation and made progress in his recovery
- The McNamara family said: & # 39; We are so grateful for all the care he has received & # 39;
Jackie McNamara & # 39; making progress & # 39 ; but still sees faces a long way to recovery, the former daughter of the Celtic and Scotland defender Erin has announced.
The 46-year-old was rushed to Hull Royal Infirmary earlier this month after he collapsed outside his home in York.
At the time it was said that he was in a & # 39; critical but stable state & # 39; , where former Hoops teammate John Hartson reported that he had a bleeding in the brain.
Now the McNamara family has issued an update on his condition, thanking congratulations for their support.
Erin on Twitter said Erin: “Thanks for the continued support for my father, the past week has been so overwhelming for us as a family.
& # 39; He is making progress, but he still has a long way to recovery. We are so grateful for all the care he has received and remain positive. & # 39;
Celtic boss Neil Lennon admitted that he & # 39; destroyed & was left behind by the fate of his former colleague.
Speaking after the news of McNamara & # 39; s collapse broke, he said: & # 39; Jackie is a strong guy, a great guy and a suitable boy for someone his age.
He has been fit all his life, so I hope and pray that he will get through OK. & # 39;
At the time, Hartson also wrote on Twitter: & # 39; Worried sick for my former teammate and good friend Jackie McNamara, who fell at home on Saturday with bleeding in the brain. My thoughts are with his wife Samantha and the children. & # 39;
The former manager of Dundee United, Partick Thistle and York – who also played for Dunfermline, Wolves, Aberdeen and Falkirk – has worked as a player agent and advised Dunfermline through his sports management company.
McNamara recently opened a sports bar in Fuengirola, Spain, with Simon Donnelly, his former Celtic teammate and management assistant and close friend.
His father, Jackie McNamara Snr, played for Hibernian and Celtic.
The walk from the 18th green to the Riviera clubhouse includes negotiating a formidable slope for a man in good health, late standing recovering from a serious heart condition with a bag of more than 50 pounds.
Fortunately, Mark Fulcher – known to everyone as Fooch – has reached the top with a broad smile, despite the fact that his employer, Francesco Molinari, had just missed the cut. "It just feels so good to be back," he said.
Fooch had a gilded career during the tour for ladies such as Laura Davies and Alison Nicholas, before collaborating with Justin Rose in 2008 In the following decade, the two Englishmen became brothers when Rose established himself as one of the best in the world.
OFFER OF THE WEEK
& I certainly found it motivating to see Cam and Marc win. The last thing I want is to think about the old man who stays behind … So now it's up to Jason, right? & # 39;
Are we witnessing a highly anticipated Australian wave revival, as Adam Scott suggested on Sunday? There have been six events this year on the PGA Tour and three of them have been won by Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman and Scott during the Genesis Invitational. Former World No. 1 Jason Day lets the side down, isn't it?
When Fooch was diagnosed with his heart problem, splitting his sternum and replacing his mitral valve, Rose naturally said he would wait.
The surgeon, an avid golfer, told Fooch that the recovery would take nine months. Fooch circled the Masters last year – just three months after the operation.
"That was my ego talking," he says now. & # 39; I came to the eighth hole with the masters and wondered: & # 39; What the hell am I doing? & # 39; I really had no idea how serious the operation was and it depressed my relationship with Justin. & # 39;
After Augusta, Fooch stepped away properly for a wiser period. Rose, in turn, made the difficult decision to continue and appointed Henrik Stenson's old caddy, Gareth Lord, as Fooch's replacement.
& # 39; Clearly bittersweet to me, as you can imagine, & # 39; says Fooch, who greets from Bedford but now lives in Florida. "But at the end of the day I had more than 11 great years with Justin, so I am grateful for all the memories.
"There were times last summer when I thought I would never come back. I would never complain, not after the career I had, but you still want to contribute. It's in the blood. When Frankie called last October, I told him to make sure I was ready in January, and I am so grateful. It is a huge opportunity with a great player. & # 39;
Fooch thinks he is about 80 percent fit. "The chest and heart are amazing and now it's a matter of getting my caddy legs back," he said. "With the masters, I want to be more than 90 percent fit and Frankie to get his form back."
As far as his old employer is concerned, the split was not easy for both men, but they went further – and Rose did not rule out a reunion.
& # 39; It was Fooch's decision to leave, he could see it going the wrong way, & # 39; Rose said.
I still care for him deeply, though. He will always be one of my dearest friends and it is absolutely strange to see him next to another player. But the future is long and we will see what happens. & # 39;
A chief executive, Fooch. Not only Rose, but the legion of other players, fellow caddies and officials standing in line to welcome him back, testified. US Open must follow sublime Riviera the tournament organizer Tiger Woods. Another factor was the £ 7 million prize fund.
However, most of the time it was about the sublime Riviera, and a perfect example of how you & # 39; s the world's best can test without stretching a course up to 9,000 yards.
Thank goodness the weather was playing ball, which led to a line-up that invited three days before playing on the brink of Sunday's final round. It emphasized that solid and fast should be the three most important words in the course configuration lexicon, not rough jobs, because there was hardly anything at Riviera.
It left us on Sunday with a leaderboard filled with all kinds of different players, from fantastic ball-attackers Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy to short-hitting putting wizards such as Matt Kuchar.
Let's hope the United States Golf Association – organizers of the US Open – paid attention. This was a classic US Open in everything but the name. If I attend a better regular tour event this year, I will be pleasantly surprised.
So, Storm Dennis, let's see what you have. That is what a guy seems to say when he arrives in an Ebbsfleet United shirt with short sleeves and two fingers sticking to the elements.
The Swanscombe End of the Kuflink Stadium – the only standing area without a roof – has five people in it, and two of them are stewards.
Sportsmail stands opposite and watches as a man drops his KitKat wrap and then pursues in vain.
Another woman, who is present with her husband, has difficulty searching for words in her puzzle book because the wind keeps turning the page.
You sit and pinch your muscles in an attempt to defeat the chill while goalkicks get out of the game and free kickers follow the ball when it goes for a walk.
One of only three National League games to survive Saturday's weather, this is football in the eye of the storm. The positive side, apparently, is the sale of bobble hats that have stung in the club shop.
At some point I wonder if I could get away with an Ebbsfleet raincoat on cost.
a big game at the bottom of the table. The hosts are 23rd, Chorley visitors 24th.
& # 39; Are you from the Daily Mail? & # 39; Phil asks the fan in the bar before the kick-off. "Here's what you need to print: a photo of the s *** emoji, an equal sign, then a photo of the Ebbsfleet badge."
Phil, his partner informs me, is a pessimist, but there has not been much to shout about lately. Their last outing saw them lose at home to the seventh grade outfit Royston Town in the FA Trophy.
Last week, a protagonist, Myles Weston, had canceled his contract. Two days later he joined National League relegation rivals Dagenham & Redbridge. The owner of Ebbsfleet is a billionaire, but there have been problems, including late payment of wages. Dr.
Abdulla Al-Humaidi is a busy man with other companies.
He is the financial support of the London Resort – the £ 3.5 billion theme park in the area that aims to be the British equivalent of Disneyland, which will be opened in 2024.
Well, it's definitely a roller coaster ride as a fan of Ebbsfleet.
This week, the club appointed a new president, Damian Irvine, who revealed pre-match that his priority is to restore trust between staff, supporters and owners.
What they could not afford was a defeat from below-the-table Chorley. In total, 712 souls have defied the conditions to take an afternoon of windy football.
At 0-0 in the 51st minute, Marcus Carver of the visitors failed to take advantage of a poor back pass from Jack King. The attacker, perhaps embarrassed by his mistake, is wounded.
In response, an Ebbsfleet fan, smothered in red clothes, pulls a miniature brass trumpet out of his pocket, puts it on his lips and makes the sound of an ambulance siren.
Then comes a song from & # 39; We are going to score like this. And they do that. A cross from Frankie Sutherland, a goal from King. & # 39; We stay up, & # 39; is the next. Chorley scored a penalty in the 87th minute. Goalkeeper David Gregory stumbles over Alex Kiwomya and the fans get out of their hiding place to try to postpone Alex Newby.
They stand behind the target, in the rain, in all kinds of forms. Newby & # 39; s spot kick is saved and Gregory runs full time into the crowd to celebrate.
He is the hero. Amid the chaos, a guy takes a blow where the sun is not shining and has to be helped back to his seat by a grinning steward.
That supporter will tell you that the battle was worth it, just like the rest of the Ebbsfleet fan base who risked losing their sense of looking at their team.
For the hosts, this afternoon was wet but beautiful, tense but great. Five points out of safety, and with 12 games to go, the prospect of survival suddenly does not seem so ridiculous.
The celebrations in full time said it all. Even Storm Dennis could not rain on this parade.
One story, two different versions of events. In what may be a first, Leeds press officer James Mooney was accused of inappropriate behavior in the Elland Road tunnel during the tranquility of the recent home game against Millwall.
Now it can be revealed that the FA, which subsequently handed out a ban on one game, say that Mooney referee Darren approached England as he walked to the field for the second half, with Leeds losing 2-0.
In their written reasons, the FA adds that Mooney tried to show the astonished official recordings of his phone that he believed the ball had gone out of play before England awarded Millwall a penalty.
England described Mooney as & # 39; aggressive in its way & # 39; and the officials politely reminded him that we cannot see images & # 39 ;.
In his program notes for Saturday's victory over Bristol City, director Angus Kinnear Mooney – who strongly denied acting aggressively – and director of football Victor Orta, also forbidden, was denied by the FA on the naughty step because he had the guts to constructively return to the referee during the break, adding that he & # 39; bewildered & # 39; the pair was accused.
LIVERPOOL FOR SPECIAL TROPHY, THEY MUST REMAIN UNBEATED
The Premier League remains on the cutting edge – the old line & # 39; we do not trade in hypotheticals & # 39; roll out – but it is understood informal discussions have taken place about handing Liverpool a golden trophy if they go undefeated this season.
Arsenal & # 39; s Invincibles received one after 2003-04. It is a smaller version of the Premier League trophy, but with gold replacing the silver and vice versa, and their W-D-L record engraved on the base. The Premier League will make an announcement at the end of the season.
ANTONIO CRASH SITE FINALLY FOR REPAIRS
Sports diary is pleased to report that repairs to the wall and the stone barn where a West Ham snowman has been plowed are finally on their way.
Michail Antonio hit the wall – and the headlines – on Christmas Day after losing control of his Lamborghini in South London. The winger was in a suit and witnesses say he told them the outfit was blocking his view.
BEARDSLEY SHOW SHUNNED
An evening with Peter Beardsley in Newcastle was canceled due to poor ticket sales – but a show that gives pleasure to the embarrassed former England star is on its way to two sold out dates.
Beardsley has a seven-month ban on all football activities after an independent FA commission found him guilty of racist abuse of young black players when Newcastle's # 23; Under 23s coach.
That has not stopped the 59-year-old arrangers from ing-talk-in dates and he was scheduled to appear in Newcastle's City Hall alongside ex-Magpies striker Mick Quinn on January 30. Sports Agenda understands that was canceled after only a handful of tickets were sold. Quinn appeared the next night in front of a sold-out audience in a local boys' club.
And Beardsley might be a little fake to hear that the Athletico Mince podcast – organized by comedians Bob Mortimer and Andy Dawson – is going to the Tyne Theater in Newcastle next month. The show owes its name in part to impressions by Beardsley.
DARRAGH MacANTHONY DRAWS IRE FOR CARABAO CUP TICKET STUNT
Eyebrows were raised at the EFL when Peterborough President Darragh MacAnthony brutally used his tickets for the Carabao Cup final to get more followers of social media to attract.
The owner of Posh posted a video on YouTube in which the competition was launched and showed viewers that his position as a club owner meant that he received tickets for all kinds of competitions and that they had to follow him on YouTube and Twitter to to join
& # 39; You can call me a media whore if you want, & # 39; he said. & # 39; The whole idea of this is to get my subscriber account over 6,000 on YouTube. & # 39;
The EFL contacted MacAnthony to ensure that land safety regulations would be met and that winners would be screened to ensure that they were not subject to stadium bans.
BEEB LET NIKE PAIR FROM THE SOFT SHOE SHUFFLE
The BBC sometimes does not help itself. During the Indoor Grand Prix in Glasgow, presenter Gabby Logan introduced two of their analysts to talk about the controversial Nike shoes that have prompted World Athletics to introduce new guidelines. The two chosen?
Nike Ambassadors Paula Radcliffe and Steve Cram. What followed was as pro-Nike as you might think. Logan pointed to the link, but why on earth did they not talk to ex-athletes or coaches without Nike connections, such as the genuine former coach of Jessica Ennis-Hill, Toni Minichiello?
PLANNED ASSISTANCE HELP AWKWARD MOMENT
There was an awkward moment at the Indoor Grand Prix athletics in Glasgow when attendees were asked to applaud the memory of former Australian agent, BBC broadcaster and team manager Maurie Plant, who died last month at the age of 66.
Plant was a popular figure in the sport. He was also banned from pressurizing a young athlete to provide a urine sample in 1986 for another athlete who would test positive for doping a year later. An investigation by the Australian government in 1989 forbade Plant to lead athletes.
It is unlikely that the vast majority of the 3000 people who were asked to applaud in the Emirates Arena would know this.
FESTIVAL OF FACIAL HAIR PLANNED FOR RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD CUP
The Rugby League World Cup 2021 promises to be a festival of facial hair, with organizers who almost want to partner with the charity organization Movember of men.
The autumn tournament in England will be the first world championship with an official charity partner, with top players such as the English player Gareth Widdop and captain Boyd Cordner from Australia. mustaches for the competition.
Movember will work with the Rugby League Cares charity to provide thousands of mental health fitness workshops to thousands of players, coaches, and staff in a mental health fitness charter announced by the Duke of Sussex at Buckingham Palace.
By the end of the tournament, 2,000 volunteers, 60 staff members and 900 participants from the 16 participating teams received face-to-face mental fitness awareness training.
Contributors : Kieran Gill, Craig Hope and Riath Al-Samarrai
Tiger Roll takes encouraging first step towards Grand National by finishing fifth in Boyne Hurdle in Navan
- Tiger Roll was just pipped for fourth place in the Boyne Hurdle in Navan
- Gelding strives to join Red Rum as a triple winner of the Grand National
- Tiger Roll only returned on January 1 to the training after he had undergone an operation
Against Marcus Townend for MailOnline
Tiger Roll has taken an encouraging first step on the road to the road to the Randox Heath Grand National when just piped for fourth place in the Boyne Hurdle in Navan.
The Gordon Elliott-trained gelding haunts history at Aintree on April 4 when he tries to join the legendary Red Rum as the triple winner of Britain's biggest steeplechase.
I left the race since Magic of Light defeated in the Grand National 2019 and did not return until January 1 after surgery to remove a bone chip from his knee in November, expectations were modest in Tiger Roll that started 9-1 in a race he had won 12 months earlier.
Elliott said: & Keith said he galloped the penultimate one. He thought he was going to win, but he took a blow and then drove him hands and heels to the line.
& # 39; I would have been very happy if he had defeated one or two houses. I thought that many pluses had to be taken out of the race. & # 39;
Tiger Roll, which was struck 14 ¼ lengths and whose presence is the normal presence at his doubled local course, is 5-1 favorite at Ladbrokes for the Grand National in which he top weight will wear as 11th 10 pounds.
He is 13-8 to win the Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival next month for the third time. That is the direct target of Tiger Roll and if he wins, it will be a fifth success at the festival.
Elliott will follow his usual routine of bringing Tiger Roll to Cheltenham for the warm up of the Cross Country course in the next two weeks.
Meanwhile, two-time champion Flat jockey Paul Hanagan is confronted with a lengthy spell on the sidelines after breaking his T6 whirl in fall in Newcastle on Saturday night.
Liverpool expands Anfield with Premier League leaders increasing capacity to 61,000 through £ 60m Anfield Road redevelopment by summer 2022
Liverpool hope to start work on their redevelopment of £ 60 million Anfield Road by the end of the year, with completion scheduled for the summer of 2022.
The second phase of the public consultation, which reflects minor changes to the original proposals – the most important are the re-routing of the road instead of permanent closure – started on Wednesday.
If everything goes according to plan, a building permit will be issued this spring, with work to start in the last months of the year.
& # 39; Our plan is to start a planning process in March through April and expect a schedule in the late summer, & # 39; Andy Hughes told chief operating officer PA.
& # 39; Assuming that according to plan that could start construction by the end of this year and lead us to completion in the summer of 2022.
& # 39; Many things can happen on that trip and even a small change to the planning application can delay us. & # 39;
More than 800 responses were received from the first public consultation, with 93 percent supporting the plans, although opposing the closure of Anfield Road forced a reconsideration that the club has now housed.
As expected to some extent there was some negative feedback about the road closure, it is clearly a problem for some of the locals, "Hughes added.
"We have completed a lot of the design work and the internals in the building, but we" we have looked long and hard at the space needed and we have succeeded in finding a solution where we are just ground floor of the building have shrunk enough to divert the road around the back of the Anfield Road booth without going to Stanley Park.
& # 39; They are not significant costs. & # 39;
Liverpool plans to self-finance the construction through existing financing options, as opposed to the refurbishment of the Main Stand which received £ 110 million loan from Owne rs Fenway Sports Group.
The proposed renovation of the Anfield Road position, which will add 5,200 general access seats and 1,800 for hospitality and bring the total capacity of the land to around 61,000, shows some similarities with the previous redevelopment in terms of the methods used.
Since the introduction of general safe seating on rails has not yet been transposed into legislation, the issue remains a hypothetical issue that the club will only consider if it is transposed into law, carefully taking into account the views of families of victims and fans of Hillsborough.
The plan is to keep the entire state of the project open to prevent loss of income on match days.
& # 39; It was very complicated for the main stand, we built at the back and over the top and have the match days just about the way they were and we are pretty sure we can follow the same process for the expansion of Anfield Road & # 39 ;, says Hughes.
& # 39; We look at minimal sitting loss on competition days, hopefully virtually nothing. & # 39;
Liverpool challenged Chelsea after receiving less than the standard 15 percent card allocation for their FA Cup fifth round draw next month.
The club receives 658 tickets less than expected, but Chelsea, referring to safety advisory group advice, says the decision is final.
Britain suffers blow after drop in world ranking, meaning they can only choose six men's teams for men's race at UCI World Championships
- Yorkshire is the host of the UCI Road World Championships from September 22
- Britain can only choose a six-member team for the men's road race
- They would have been allowed eight but were set to fall out of the world's top 10
Britain's chances of success in the road race for Gentlemen at the UCI World Championships in Yorkshire next month may have suffered a serious setback due to a premature decline in the Nation's official ranking that will limit them to six instead of eight riders.
On Monday, the UCI website is still Britain in 10th place, with the top 10 teams able to compete with eight riders on September 29.
But Sportsmail understands two good performances from Michael Morkov, including fifth place in last weekend's European race Road Race Championships, Denmark will be moved up to 10th place for a Great Britain team that will now be forced to cut two riders out of his plans.
The UCI rules state that although the top 10 teams have eight riders, the teams running on the 11th to the 20th six riders with that number falling to four for the ranked countries 21 to 30
With the position so precarious and the United Kingdom organizing their first UCI World Cycling Championships since 1982, it raises the question whether Britain played a strong enough team among the Europeans.
Chris Lawless was the highest finisher in the 13th, with Mark Cavendish next to the line in the 31st.
& # 39; Getting stronger every day! & # 39 ;: Luis Suarez, the star of Barcelona, continues his path to recovery while giving thumbs up while practicing a wounded knee with a striker on the sidelines for four months
- Luis Suarez is continuing his path to recovery by strengthening his injured knee
- The attacker was excluded four months after an operation last month
- Suarez posted an update of his rehabilitation on Instagram page on Tuesday
The attacker was excluded four months after surgery on his right knee last month.
But Suarez posted an update of his rehabilitation on his Instagram page .
In addition to a photo of him exercising his knee and giving a thumbs up, Suarez wrote: & # 39; Keep moving forward, getting stronger every day! & # 39;
Barcelona was looking for a striker during the transfer window of January to try the void left by Suarez for the rest of the season.
The Catalan giants were linked to Valencia forward Rodrigo and Cedric Bakambu of Beijing Guoan, but movements could not come true.
Barcelona currently stands three points behind LaLiga leaders and rivals Real Madrid.
Quique Setiens side view Athletic Bilbao in the quarterfinals of Copa del Rey on Thursday.
The last time the Open took place at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland George VI was on the throne and Winston Churchill was soon to
In the years since 1951, there were times when the fortunes of Portrush diminished the town and its mighty golf course so much that it simply became another forgotten dot on the neglected coast of Antrim, and in particular at the height of the problems.
But look at it now, at the end of a terribly long way back to glory and the return of the Open next week. In the regenerated idyll by the sea, the painters were busy finalizing last week and the streets were being cleaned three times a week. Portrush has always been the kind of city where people say hello to you when you walk by, but now it is with a clear sense of pride.
As for the golf course, you never forget the first time you see it, while the road north of Belfast sweeps around the corner and there it lies before you, like something from a dream book. That's the interest, the 215,000 tickets sold out in minutes, with thousands of business guests happily paying £ 900 every day.
It is an extraordinary story, how Portrush returned to Chandelier and the Open to the location that is the scenic equivalent of Pebble Beach. It starts with the arrival in January 1985 of a new secretary who was not the Brigadier General who normally got the job but – whisper it – a 26-year-old woman.
"When I went to work, we were in the midst of problems, the middle of an economic downturn, the number of members fell and the clubhouse fell," says Wilma Erskine.
& # 39; We & # 39; d hadn't stepped up since the great Joe Carr won the amateur championship in 1960, with little prospect of that change. & # 39;
A step forward was taken in 1993 when the amateur returned. "The R&A were impressed, then we received the Senior Open from 1995 to 1999," continues Erskine.
& # 39; In that first year, Brian Barnes and his father-in-law Max Faulkner, who won the Open at Portrush, came to see 68 years ago. Arnold Palmer and Gary Player arrived, the weather was friendly, the TV pictures showed our amazing views, the press wrote about us and we were back on the map.
& # 39; The Americans, with their vital tourist spending, started to return. & # 39;
What else could they do next, encouraged by the signing of the Good Friday agreement in 1998? "We formed a small committee in the club and of course the Open was the dream, but it was all a bit tongue-in-cheek," says Erskine.
"We went for the Irish Open, which had not been organized in Portrush since 1947. We met Arlene Foster, who was then head of entrepreneurship and investment, and she was so helpful. She saw the good of what we could do for tourism, not just for Portrush, but for the whole of Northern Ireland. & # 39;
With the politicians on board, the Irish Open arrived in 2012, and what an event it turned out to be It flowed with rain from the start of the first round, yet people stood in line, creating an atmosphere that had to be seen to be believed, then the R&A director.
& # 39; When the Open was organized a few weeks later in Lytham, Peter got a little irritated that he kept wondering when the Open returned to Portrush & Erskine. "We had Graeme McDowell who was the US Open won, Darren Clarke the Open and Rory M Clroy, who won his majors, so the golfers from Northern Ireland also accumulated pressure.
& # 39; So Peter came along with R & A & # 39; s architect Martin Ebert, and in the first instance they could not ignore the fact that there was no place for stands around the 18th green and no place for a tent village. I will never forget when Peter came for another site visit. The weather was terrible, but he said maybe we can do this. But you may not like the idea. & # 39;
The difficult part meant closing the 17th and 18th holes of the historic Dunluce links – losing one of the course landmarks, the Big Nellie bunker to the right of the 17th fairway – and they to be replaced by two new holes cut from the less celebrated Valley Course, which runs alongside.
& # 39; As you can imagine, the proposal brought many challenges & # 39 ;, Erskine says. "Even when the changes were agreed, we had the diggers here for many years and we had to keep the members and visitors happy. But Peter was behind it when he saw that it would work. And so we were on the Open route again in 2015. & # 39;
When it was announced for 2019, Portrush itself stood out. "The course was a big batter, but now the city had something to catch up with," says local businessman Alan Simpson, who became president of the scheme responsible for revitalization.
& # 39; This is a strong independent trading city and all traders wanted to play their part.
& # 39; We have a new train station. We have received money from the communities department to paint the shop fronts. It was heart-warming to see. Portrush has always been the crown jewel of Northern Ireland.
"It was the place where people spent their first beach vacation, took their first dive into the ocean, their first ice cream, their first kiss. Now it's at its best again. Even five years ago I was worried if we could handle a week like the Open. Now I know we can do it. "
The centerpiece will be the Harbor Bar, the oldest in the city, and the place now known in golf circles as the local people of Darren. "I think the legacy is just as important to us as the week of the Open," says Matt McAlpin, whose family owns the bar plus five other restaurants in the area. "Our seasons have become longer. We not only have the golf, we are also en route where Game of Thrones was made. & # 39;
McAlpin, a former professional himself, plays a handicap of plus two at Portrush. "I have been lucky enough to have attended many golf tournaments and there is no better city to organize one," he adds.
Club Captain Robert Barry is hopeful that a successful Open can play his role in the larger image as well. "We are a small country and we are going to show what can be done if all parties come together," he says. & # 39; Of course it's great for the club and the city, there's still a & # 39; pinch & # 39; element to everything, but it's going to create & # 39; n feelgood factor for Northern Ireland as a whole, and it's important that we ride it. & # 39;
It is almost here now, the day that Erskine could never get pregnant when she walked through the door in 1985. What an incredible job this true force of nature has done. With two more all openings, but guaranteed for the next 20 years and nothing more to achieve, she will retire before the end of the year.
& I will be somewhere around that first tee on Thursday when it starts at 6:30 am – it can be a bit emotional, & she said.
& # 39; We're going to show that we are the best, right? There is a real passion for golf here in Northern Ireland. I know they are all great courses on the Open route, but where are the sea views as we have here?
& # 39; I just hope we are lucky with the weather – oh, and an Irish winner would be fun. & # 39;