Many supporters have been left mystified by Kagawa’s omission, particularly given United only collected one win from their first three games. Yet Moyes is adamant there is nothing sinister going on. “But if you play for Manchester United there is always someone out there getting ready to take your jersey. It is up to you to fight and make sure you keep it.” It does not look like the Baines deal is going to be revived, although there has been some good news at United’s Aon Training Complex over the past few days with the return to training of Scotland midfielder Darren Fletcher, who has been plagued by a chronic bowel condition for over two years. “Darren Fletcher came back in on Thursday,” Moyes told reporters. “He’s a long way away from being ready and we’ll use the doctors’ and physios’ advice, but we’ll give him little bits of football and just pick him up over the coming months and see how he goes. “He was back in training on Friday and it’s great to have him around. It looks as if he’s on the road to recovery. “He’s lost a lot of weight and there’s weight to come back but the big thing is he’s back in.” Manchester United manager David Moyes insists Shinji Kagawa’s absence from the Barclays Premier League so far this season is no reflection on his ability. “There are quite a lot of players who have not featured yet,” he said. “But if you look at it most of them were late back from international duty after the Confederations Cup, then they were away for a friendly international and a long-haul flight, then they were away again for another international. “If you look at the reasons why people haven’t played it is more to do with them not being available for that to happen.” Neither does Moyes feel he has any need to speak with Patrice Evra about his attempt to sign both Leighton Baines and Fabio Coentrao on deadline day. “He (Evra) knew exactly what we were doing,” the Scot said. “I just felt we needed to make sure we had good cover for Patrice. “He has played brilliantly well but I hope we are going to have a season that is going to include 60 or 70 games. “Patrice played a big majority of the games last season but I just want to make sure if he broke down I had the right people around to help me. Press Association
Don Cossack and Faugheen were joint-winners of the Horse of the Year Award at the annual Horse Racing Ireland Awards ceremony at Leopardstown. Press Association “I’m sorry he let the side down in the Morgiana. He’s a great horse, but he flopped that day, for whatever reason,” said Ricci. “I hope he comes back the next day. We still have confidence in him. Hopefully he’ll do the business at Kempton and get back on track.” Mullins said: ” He did cut his mouth (at Punchestown), but that took a day to recover from and most horses wouldn’t feel a little cut on their mouth. I wouldn’t use that as an excuse. He’s in great order.” Don Cossack was last seen winning the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal at the end of October and is set to return to action over the Festive period. The King George VI Chase at Kempton has long been considered his likely target, but connections are not ruling out Leopardstown’s Lexus Chase. Gigginstown House Stud’s manager Eddie O’Leary said: ” Obviously we love him and let’s hope he stays lucky. It will be the King George (next), or the Lexus. Every option is open.” Mullins picked up the National Hunt Award, while Pat Smullen was the winner of the Flat Award. Smullen was keen to pay tribute to his boss Dermot Weld, and said: “I t goes without saying you can’t achieve what I’ve achieved this year without having the job I have. “This was arguably our best year together and I’m hopefully looking forward to more in the future. I have a great agent in Kevin O’Ryan and it’s a big team effort.” The Point-to-Point Award went to Enda Bolger, trainer of top-class hunter chaser On The Fringe, who completed the Cheltenham-Aintree-Punchestown treble last spring. Bolger said: “T he horse is great and obviously we’re going to try to repeat what we did last year. I’m very surprised to receive this award as there’s some great people around and I’m just honoured. I have a great horse, a great owner (JP McManus) and a great jockey (Nina Carberry).” Rising star Jonathan Burke was given the Outstanding Achievement Award. The 19-year-old jockey dedicated the award to his late mother. “I’m doing something that I love and something that I’ve dreamed of from a very young age. I’m very lucky to be in the position I’m in. I had a great grounding working for Willie Mullins, Noel Meade and Gordon Elliott. I’ve had great people round me and I’m very lucky,” he said. Legendary commentator Des Scahill won the Contribution to the Industry Award, while Leopardstown won Racecourse of the Year. Brian Kavanagh, chief executive of HRI, said: “The reputation of Irish racing and breeding is built on the achievements of the extraordinarily talented people in our industry. The HRI Awards allow us celebrate these trainers, jockeys and horses who give us so much to be proud of and I wish all our winners and nominees continued success in 2016.” For the first time in history the award was shared as voters were unable to choose between the Willie Mullins-trained Champion Hurdle winner Faugheen and Gordon Elliott’s five-time Grade One-winning chaser Don Cossack. Faugheen suffered a shock defeat at the hands of stable companion Nichols Canyon on his seasonal reappearance in last month’s Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown, but owner Rich Ricci is confident he will bounce back when defending his crown in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.
By Clifton RossGEORGETOWN’S woeful performance continued in Round 3 yesterday, as they were hammered for the third consecutive time in the League. Lower Corentyne pacer Niall Smith scythed through their batting for a meagre 104 to win by 7 wickets.Luck at the GCC ground, Bourda, seems to be with the visitors this season as the home team were blown away in the 37th over. Smith, the right-arm speedster seemed to be clocking high-speeds as he bagged 6-41 in 9 overs.Batting first proved to be wrong as it turned out to be another dismal batting outing with the experienced home team succumbing to Smith’s lethal spell. He removed the likes of ;Joshua Persaud (0), captain Leon Johnson (0) and all-rounders Chris Barnwell (11) and top-scorer Steven Jacobs (19).For the second match at Bourda, Barnwell was unlucky to be given out to poor umpiring, a botched lbw decision which attracted mixed reactions on and off the field.Apart from Barnwell’s misfortune, Georgetown were hapless from the start, being reduced to 55-7 with half the allotted overs left. Smith left no stone unturned as his pace and movement ruffled the feathers of the Georgetown batsmen.The 25-year-old Berbician pacer forced opener Raymond Perez to retire hurt following a stiff blow to the ribs, while a few others in the line-up were also peppered with a barrage of short balls.Jacobs hit a few sixes while Barnwell looked set for a good score, following his recent lean run but after they fell, the rest of the side eventually wilted.As a result, the Berbice side cruised to their target reaching 105 for 3 in 28.4 overs. The shepherd was again veteran middle-order batsman Johnathan Foo who stroked four fours in his unbeaten 42.Foo followed up his fifty from a few games ago to play a subtle innings mixed with aggression and maturity to see his side safely over the ropes.National youth player Kevlon Anderson hit three fours in his 35 to aid Foo in the chase as the home bowlers toiled and struggled. Spinner Steven Sankar grabbed 2-27 with support from Windies Youth spinner Ashmead Nedd who chipped in with 1-17.Openers Junior Sinclair (10) and Maxie Dejonge (13), set the tone with some positive strokes as they both reached double figures. Lower Corentyne endured a few hiccups as they reached 98-3, following the removal of the openers by Sankar and Nedd respectively.Foo and Seon Hetymer (2*) then saw off the bowlers without any further bumps, to easily hunt down the mediocre target with wickets and overs to spare.
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersWho runs L.A.? For much of the Lakers’ and the Clippers’ cohabitation here, there hasn’t been much substance to the question. But starting Tuesday, when the two teams face each other to kick off the season, that will become one of the most interesting storylines of the season, with data points that will play out in nationally televised duels on the court.The conversation has never felt more relevant to Los Angeles than it does right now. And that might just be enough of a foothold for the Clippers to matter in a town whose basketball soul has long been defined by the stars and championships of the Lakers.“It feels like an opportunity,” said Gillian Zucker, the Clippers’ president of business operations, “but also a responsibility.”The Clippers aren’t taking direct aim at the Lakers in their marketing, but there certainly feels like a lot of subtext. Last season, they adopted the slogan, “L.A. Our Way,” and this week introduced this season’s “City Edition” jersey, featuring Old English script meant to evoke a connection to L.A. street art. They plan to give away “Hustle Over Hype” shirts for the season opener – against the Lakers.It’s not a surprise, given how hard it’s been to be a Clipper in a city that rolls out the red carpet for Lakers. Years of losing and poor management by former owner Donald Sterling tested even the most devoted Clippers employees. It didn’t help that the crosstown team always set the bar high, from “Showtime” to Shaq-and-Kobe. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Brian Sieman, the Clippers’ longtime radio voice who is moving to TV this year, remembered being in Minneapolis the day the Lakers traded for Pau Gasol in 2008 – a move that spurred three consecutive NBA Finals trips and two more championships. He remembered commiserating with longtime play-by-play man Ralph Lawler, wondering if their time would ever come.“Ralph and I were like, ‘We’re never gonna get it right, man. We’ll never have that,’” Sieman said. “And now we’re that team at the trade deadline, where they’re like, ‘Your team just continues to hit grand slams.’ And it feels like it’s sustainable. … It’s such a fun turnaround to see. Now it’s eternal hope, eternal optimism.”Doc Rivers joked that he has a mind to design a shirt for fans who want to clamber onto the bandwagon – “I’m a Laker fan, but …” – based on what he’s heard from strangers around town. Previously, being the coach of the Clippers was often a short walk to the end of the plank with lots of losses and a tiny paycheck. These days, it’s a more upbeat path.“I hear that a lot, the ‘but’ part,” he said, “and that’s a good thing.”So far, the machinations of the Clippers seem far off the Lakers’ radar. The players and coaches aren’t keen to stoke the fires of any tangible crosstown rivalry, real or imagined.“That’s up to you guys to hype up the Clippers-Lakers rivalry thing,” said All-Star big man Anthony Davis, the Lakers’ key offseason addition. “We’re here to play basketball, and I’m sure they are as well. They have a great team, a great coach, great organization, but for us it’s all about getting better each time we step on the floor.”The biggest acknowledgment any Lakers player has made toward the Clippers came from LeBron James himself. Apparently shaking off any lingering disappointment about missing out on Leonard as a teammate, he suggested that local fans were being granted a rare opportunity to see him and Davis one night, and Leonard and George the next.“Everyone talking about the big winners of the summertime: is it the Nets? The Clippers? The Lakers?” he said. “It’s actually Staples Center. … The city of Los Angeles should be very proud of what is going on.”There’s a case that what’s good for the Clippers’ business is good for the Lakers’ as well. For as much as they’re pitted against each other, the teams are strange bedfellows – sharing a building in a revenue-sharing league. A narrative of two contenders facing off in the same city is more compelling than a little brother continually getting steamrolled.But it wouldn’t be genuine to say that any of these issues are weighing on minds within the Lakers’ organization. They want to win the four regular-season meetings, two of which will be nationally televised, this season. Beyond that, the Lakers say they have no marketing strategies, branding concerns or other community outreach events specifically geared to keep the Clippers from encroaching on their fanbase. As an organization, the Lakers are more likely to view the Boston Celtics as their true legacy rivals than the other in-town team.Tim Harris, the team’s president of business operations, says one of Jerry Buss’ key tenets in all of his sports teams dealings was that any league is only as strong as its weakest team.“I don’t believe you can do addition by subtraction,” Harris said. “If anybody in this building is spending their days trying to make a way so the Clippers don’t succeed, then we’re not doing our job. … We need to spend our time worried about growth.”The Clippers contend they’re not even targeting the same fans.Three years into Steve Ballmer’s ownership, they surveyed more than 100,000 people, asking stakeholder groups including fans, sponsors, players, alumni, media and focus groups (including one identified as “haters”) to share their feelings about the Clipper brand.“And what we were left with, was everybody saw us exactly the same,” Zucker said. “The Clippers were the underdogs, the grinders, we had to try a little harder and we had to be experts in blocking out the noise as people were saying we would never be great.“It was that research that led us to a clear, concise vision of who we were, and a real mandate from Steve to all of us that we would be disciplined in turning those words into actions.”Their marketing reflects what they like to call “blacktop” fans, those who don’t fit the Southern California stereotypes.“There’s a velvet-ropes-and-paparazzi side of L.A.,” Zucker said. “But when we think of L.A., we think of the brave, creative entrepreneurs and innovators who have always been a part of the fabric of this city.”For all the great teams they’ve put on the court over the years, a Lakers game has always been as much a social event as an athletic contest – a place to see and be seen. Denzel Washington sat courtside for the Lakers’ first preseason game at Staples Center last week when James and Davis didn’t even play.It would be hard to build an organic replica of the effervescent celebrity-laden atmosphere. And the Clippers aren’t trying. Their hope is to appeal to the blue-collar fan, one who can relate to the hounding defense of Patrick Beverley, or the willful smoothness of Lou Williams.Going forward, the Clippers are focused on a different kind of fan: the young ones.Everything in the past that weighs the Clippers down – losing seasons, historic draft whiffs, penny-pinching, the dark cloud of Sterling – won’t have the same residue for future generations as it does for those who grew up knowing the franchise as a punchline to a bad joke.Between the new stars and a plan to build their own state-of-the-art arena in Inglewood, there’s an opportunity to reshape the brand under Ballmer, who bought the team for $2 billion in 2014.Their community outreach efforts – such as donating $10 million to renovate public basketball courts throughout the city, or helping fund free eye tests and eyeglasses for children in L.A. Unified, Long Beach and Inglewood schools – have altruistic intentions. They also add a shine to the Clippers name and contribute to building a reputation among young fans as a team that’s both active in the community and worth rooting for.Adding homegrown talent like Leonard and George, who already have shown a willingness to connect to the local fanbase, adds gravitas to those initiatives.“I think that’s really what we’re doing to capture the hearts and minds in L.A. that draws them into feeling a connection to the Clippers,” Zucker said. “You see it in the work we’re doing in the community, and it’s not about words – although we do have a lot of words we attached to it, it’s really about the actions that back that up.”So far, any shots the teams have taken against each other seem to be friendly fire. While ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that Beverley went out of his way to find James and Davis at a Las Vegas restaurant to taunt the Lakers after the news broke that Leonard and George were joining the Clippers, the rhetoric has been tight-lipped.Danny Green, a former teammate of Leonard in San Antonio and Toronto, said he’s kept up with his new “rival” via text, but trash talk hasn’t really surfaced yet with both so new to their franchises.“I’m very new to this,” Green said. “The crosstown thing for me is not there yet.”Historically, not much has prevented the rivalry from being somewhat congenial. The two teams have never met in the playoffs, and typically when one has been good, the other has been subpar. The Clippers’ Lob City era – up until now the most successful stretch in franchise history – was contrasted by Lakers teams that didn’t make the playoffs.Whatever happens during the season, Sieman hopes that L.A. fans, regardless of affiliation, can pull for the Clippers to come out from under the eclipse of their more accomplished neighbor.“I love Laker fans, they’re awesome,” he said. “I just love NBA fandom. But when the day comes – and it’s not ‘if’ anymore – when that day comes, if you can’t say, ‘You know what, Clipper fans, good for you,’ then something’s wrong with you.”For as much as the Lakers and Clippers might stress that they’re running different races, their milestones in each are the same: championships.The Lakers know their standard is to add to their collection of the 16 NBA title banners that already hang in Staples Center. As General Manager Rob Pelinka said after executing the trade for Davis: “For us, anything short of a championship is not success.”The Clippers similarly understand that they’ll never be true peers of their neighbors unless they hang a banner themselves. Rivers was asked in February – as the Clippers were positioning themselves for their seventh postseason appearance in eight years and the Lakers were starting to slip – how the “other” L.A. team can permanently maintain its fanbase.The answer had nothing to do with marketing strategies, with adding stars, or with undermining a rival. It was much more simple.“By winning. That’s the only way,” Rivers said. “It really is. And someday being the winner. That’s when you really get them.” LOS ANGELES — The embrace of home, for Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, sounded curiously like rejection.For Leonard, it happened at the Coliseum: As his image flashed over the video screen at a Rams home game, the freshly minted champion and franchise star of the Clippers was showered with boos. George, a native of Palmdale, got similar treatment last month attending an MMA event – jeered in the very city he requested a trade to get to.This is, after all, still a purple and gold town. Even though the Clippers just enjoyed their fifth appearance in the playoffs during the Lakers’ six-year postseason drought, there’s never been much of a rivalry in terms of popularity. The Lakers still dominate local airwaves, revenue and raw fan totals. A Kobe Bryant jersey is forever in vogue.That might not change anytime soon, but if ever there was an opening for the Clippers to finally try to punch upward, this is it. The “other team” in L.A. just added two stars, both Southern California natives, to an established core of pesky, blue-collar role players. It’s a good place to start for a franchise that has rarely had many positive narratives to nurture.