Paul MacInnes

Author's details

Name: Paul MacInnes
Date registered: May 15, 2015
URL: http://www.theguardian.com/football/championship

Latest posts

  1. Anthony Joshua wise to Vladimir Klitschko’s attempts to unsettle him | Paul MacInnes — April 24, 2017
  2. Anthony Joshua a model of calm as storm clouds gather above Wembley — April 22, 2017
  3. Anthony Joshua rates Tyson Fury a bigger fight than Klitschko showdown — April 19, 2017
  4. Premier League launch major fight back against illegal streaming — March 29, 2017
  5. Crystal Palace and Sam Allardyce see best of Liverpool reject Mamadou Sakho — March 5, 2017

Author's posts listings

Apr 24

Anthony Joshua wise to Vladimir Klitschko’s attempts to unsettle him | Paul MacInnes

In the week of Wembley showdown British heavyweight’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, says he has ‘never seen someone as calm going into a fight like this’

In Anthony Joshua’s short career as a boxer he has answered the questions asked of him. In fact, in his 18 fights as a professional he has cleared most hurdles with ease. But his worldwide prime‑time heavyweight title bout with Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday will provide obstacles of a kind he has never met before.

At his training camp in Sheffield Joshua acknowledges there are any number of challenges awaiting him when he steps out at Wembley – and not simply in the towering form of the deposed great Klitschko.

Related: Wladimir Klitschko says he and Joshua have sent out ‘great message’ for boxing

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/apr/24/anthony-joshua-have-to-stay-level-headed-even-when-want-to-lose-head-wladimir-klitschko

Apr 22

Anthony Joshua a model of calm as storm clouds gather above Wembley

A low-key training base in Sheffield houses a fighter preserving his aggression before Saturday’s WBA title fight against Wladimir Klitschko

At first glance the EIS in Sheffield is just like any other leisure centre. There are mums escorting soggy-haired kids from the pool, couples getting lost looking for the badminton courts, wilting sandwiches for sale at the cafe. No one would guess that upstairs, behind the basketball courts, is the training camp for a world heavyweight champion.

Anthony Joshua has chosen the English Institute of Sport as his base before Saturday’s superfight with Wladimir Klitschko and, no, it’s not just a leisure centre. The EIS is also a high-performance centre for Team GB, where athletes from sports including diving and paralympic table tennis, as well as boxing, are coached and monitored. But that is not to say that the place is flash. In the boxing gym there are four rings, scuffed and bearing faded London 2012 logos. There is a basic gym set, the centrepiece of which is a massive tractor tyre. There are health and safety messages everywhere.

Related: Anthony Joshua: ‘Being a boxer you have to be a man of the people’

Related: Wladimir Klitschko: ‘This may sound arrogant, but I am like Mount Everest’

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/apr/22/anthony-joshua-wba-wladimir-klitschko

Apr 19

Anthony Joshua rates Tyson Fury a bigger fight than Klitschko showdown

• ‘When he returns I’m sure I’ll still be here,’ says former Olympic champion
• Joshua and Klitschko vying for the WBA title vacated by Fury

Anthony Joshua believes Tyson Fury would provide him with his biggest fight as the countdown to his Wembley title bout with Wladimir Klitschko enters its final 10 days.

Related: Wladimir Klitschko: ‘This may sound arrogant, but I am like Mount Everest’

Related: Anthony Joshua: ‘Being a boxer you have to be a man of the people’

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/apr/19/anthony-joshua-tyson-fury-wladimir-klitschko-world-title

Mar 29

Premier League launch major fight back against illegal streaming

• As official TV audiences decline the Premier League is taking action
• Police forces across the UK and abroad collaborating with ISPs

The Premier League has launched its biggest crackdown on piracy with a series of moves to combat illegal streaming, in light of fears that widespread availability of new consumer-friendly devices could fatally undermine its business model.

The streaming of live football through the internet, bypassing companies such as Sky who have paid for the broadcast rights, has long been a problem for the game’s governing bodies. What was once a minority activity, available only to those with digital skills and knowledge of the more shadowy parts of the internet, has in the past few years become mainstream. Estimates at the number of piracy-enabled devices in the UK, either apps or so‑called ‘Kodi boxes’, reach the hundreds of thousands.

Related: The Fiver | For the good of us all, it is imperative that Argentina improve

Related: Vauxhall to end sponsorship deal with England and other home nations

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/mar/29/premier-league-illegal-streaming-tv-audiences

Mar 05

Crystal Palace and Sam Allardyce see best of Liverpool reject Mamadou Sakho

• Defender impressed in Palace’s 2-0 win at West Bromwich Albion
• Allardyce says he has been ‘exceptionally good’ in early games for Palace

“I mean, he’s a flamboyant character. You can see it from his hair alone.” Sam Allardyce was back in wisecracking mode after his side’s impressive away win at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday. The subject of his affectionate mockery was the strapping 6ft defender with a lemon squiggle on his head, Mamadou Sakho.

The centre-half joined Palace in January with minimal fanfare. On loan from Liverpool until the end of the season, Sakho had in Allardyce’s words been “frozen out” of Anfield. His Uefa charge for consuming a banned fat-burning substance was ultimately dropped but, when Sakho turned up late for a club meeting during Liverpool’s pre-season tour of America and then a recovery session, it seemed to be the last straw for Jürgen Klopp. The defender was forced to train with the under-23s and did not feature for the senior side all season.

Related: Crystal Palace defeat West Brom as Sam Allardyce’s side get physical

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/mar/05/mamadou-sakho-crystal-palace-liverpool-west-bromwich-allardyce

Mar 02

West Ham turned down Chinese offers for Andy Carroll, says Slaven Bilic

• Bilic says Chinese Super League clubs ‘fell in love with Andy’
• Optimistic striker will be fit to face Chelsea on Monday

Slaven Bilic has confirmed that West Ham United dismissed offers from the Chinese Super League for Andy Carroll, claiming manager and player “didn’t talk about it at all”.

Reports had linked Carroll, 28, with a move to the far east during their winter window, which closed this week. But Bilic said the club had no interest in selling one of its ‘best players’ and also denied the club had authorised an agent to broker a move. He went on to say that the striker is in contention for a return to the Hammers side in next Monday’s Premier League encounter with Chelsea.

Related: Barnstorming Andy Carroll finds the form to end his England exile | Barney Ronay

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/mar/02/west-ham-andy-carroll-slaven-bilic-chinese-super-league

Feb 22

Pie-gate leaves nasty smell – and it’s football’s links with betting industry | Paul MacInnes

This season 11 of Premier League’s 20 teams have shirts sponsored by betting companies – is it healthy the gambling industry is so deeply embedded in our national sport?

Wayne Shaw has made a fool out of himself. In fulfilling the terms of Sun Bet’s promotional punt – roly-poly goalie to eat pie during FA Cup tie – the Sutton United reserve made it seem like he was either breaking rules on gambling or moonlighting in marketing for a bookmaker. Neither is a good look. He damaged by association the club he loves and they were well within their rights to ask him to resign.

The furore over “Pie-gate” has as much of a whiff about it as the stunt that went before, and the smell is not the glorious one of beef, gravy and undercooked pastry. It is of companies promoting their own commercial interest, most obviously Rupert Murdoch’s Sun, which has lent its brand to Sun Bets, a joint venture with an Australian gambling firm that was the brainchild of one Rebekah Brooks. It is of confected outrage at perceived po-faced sense-of-humour losses (the usual suspects are involved here and they rhyme with Fierce Organ). It’s the sound of the Twitterati showing their solidarity with the ordinary 24-stone blokes in the stand.

Related: Give the poor Sutton goalie a break: this was pie-eating, not match-fixing | Anthony Clavane

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/feb/22/gambling-wayne-shaw-sutton-united-pie

Feb 17

Lincoln City and Sutton United look to take the chance of a lifetime| Paul MacInnes

Two clubs have the chance to be the first non-leaguers since 1914 to reach the quarter-finals of the FA CupAs Lincoln City travel to Burnley and Sutton United host Arsenal this weekend they will be making history. They are the first pair of non-le…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/17/lincoln-city-sutton-united-look-to-take-chance-lifetime

Feb 14

Arsenal must face down the shadow of history to topple Bayern Munich | Paul MacInnes

The Gunners have played Bayern Munich six times in the past five seasons and the German team’s wins have given Wednesday’s fixture a Groundhog Day feel

Groundhog Day, besides being an overrated comedy starring Bill Murray, is the most famous act of rodent meteorology in the world. Dependent on the behaviour of a solitary member of the marmot family, residents of the US state of Pennsylvania hope to divine whether their spring will be early or late. If the groundhog emerges from its burrow and the skies are cloudy, spring will be early. If the sun is out, however, then spring will be late as the hog will retreat to its hole, frightened by its own shadow.

So when pundits say Bayern Munich versus Arsenal in the Champions League is groundhog day, it works on more than one level. Yes, it is a fixture that has been played out six times in the past five seasons, but also it provides (yet another) test of Arsenal’s mental character. Will they emerge confidently or take fright at their own shadow? Experience certainly suggests one outcome over the other but hope springs eternal.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/14/arsenal-bayern-munich-champions-league-arsene-wenger

Jan 26

Wycombe’s Luke O’Nien: Juggling a tennis ball makes your touch really sensitive | Paul MacInnes

Midfielder O’Nien’s ball-juggling skills have gone viral but he will take a more traditional approach against Tottenham in the FA Cup fourth round

The video of Wycombe Wanderers watching their name come out of the hat to play Tottenham in the FA Cup is quite something. Sitting in a conference room the players, half of them glued to their phones, let out an “ooooh” when Spurs’ number is called out. When Martin Keown announces the opposition will be Wycombe they, to use the technical term, go totally tonto.

“You saw the reaction,” says the Wycombe midfielder Luke O’Nien of the clip. “Everybody’s looking forward to the game. Spurs are a great team to watch, their manager has a real influence on the way they play. I always try to learn from players and Mousa Dembélé is one I like to watch. He’s a very strong midfielder. Hopefully I’ll be ready when he comes around.” He pauses, then adds: “I hope to put in a good performance.”

Related: FA Cup roundup: Adebayo Akinfenwa’s late winner breaks Stourbridge hearts

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jan/26/wycombe-wanderers-luke-onien-juggling-tennis-ball

Jan 26

‘It was one man and his dog’ – the day just 3,036 watched a Premier League match | Paul MacInnes

Wimbledon’s home game against Everton on this day in 1993 garnered the lowest attendance in Premier League history – but those who were there saw a game to remember

They used to say of the 1960s that if you could remember them, you weren’t there. The same principle also applies to Wimbledon’s home game against Everton on 26 January, 1993. The reason, however, is nothing to do with intoxication or spiritual awakening. It’s because there was barely anyone there to remember it in the first place. The match boasted a crowd of just 3,036, the smallest in Premier League history.

Come the end of the 1992-3 season Wimbledon would finish above Everton, one point and one place higher in 12th position. The men from Goodison Park won this midweek encounter 3-1 though. A brace from Tony Cottee was followed by an Ian Snodin strike while a looping John Fashanu header pulled one back for the Dons. It was cold, the Selhurst Park pitch was awful and there was an 18-man ruckus towards the end. It’s necessary to note all this because you weren’t there.

Related: Underdog eat underdog: the victims of football’s greatest fairytale | Oliver Bullough

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/jan/26/premier-league-lowest-attendance-wimbledon-everton

Jan 19

Crystal Palace move for Arsenal’s Carl Jenkinson collapses over personal terms

• Watford and West Brom also interested in defender, who is keen to leave
• Arsène Wenger says Premier League title race is at ‘moment of truth’

Crystal Palace’s search for recruits has been frustrated after they failed to agree personal terms with the Arsenal full-back Carl Jenkinson following lengthy talks with the player and his representative.

Jenkinson, who has a solitary cap for England gained in 2012, has made only five appearances this season – one in the Premier League – having fallen behind Héctor Bellerín and Gabriel Paulista, and had been keen to revive his career away from the Emirates Stadium. A fee of around £7m was agreed this week, with Arsène Wenger confirming on Thursday that the move was “basically down to him to find an agreement” with Palace.

Related: Emmanuel Adebayor: ‘I have a bad reputation in England and I don’t know why’

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jan/19/arsenal-arsene-wenger-premier-league-title-moment-of-truth

Jan 16

Lincoln going for gold in lucrative FA Cup replay with Ipswich

After a draw at Portman Road, Lincoln City take on Ipswich Town in a third round replay, a match eagerly anticipated by the non-league club’s ‘gold members’

There is more than one thing that makes Lincoln City an unusual football club. First there is their crest, a 14th-century grotesque – an imp who once caused havoc in Lincoln Cathedral (until it was turned to stone, so legend has it, by an angel hiding in a book). There is the fact that their manager, Danny Cowley, employs his brother, Nicky, as his assistant. Then, to top it off, there are the “gold members”, VIP fans who pay a standing order to have a say in the club’s direction.

In the past 10 days Lincoln have attracted attention for another unlikely occurrence, their intrepid FA Cup performance at Portman Road. The National League side twice took the lead against Championship Ipswich and looked set to cause the upset of the third round until Tom Lawrence’s low shot from distance in the 86th minute snatched a 2-2 draw and forced a replay. Now it is the Imps against the Tractor Boys at Sincil Bank and the game is a sell-out.

Related: Tom Lawrence’s strikes spare Ipswich and deny superior Lincoln a shock

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jan/16/lincoln-city-fa-cup-replay-with-ipswich

Jan 07

Plymouth hoping FA Cup trip to Liverpool will help league campaign

Money-spinning visit to Anfield should help strengthen squad and boost morale as high-flying Pilgrims make progress in League One

It will not be the most important game in Plymouth Argyle’s history. That was the 3-2 victory over Swansea in April 1953 that sealed fourth place in what is now the Championship, Argyle’s highest league finish. Or perhaps it was in 1973 when Pelé came to Home Park with Santos, and lost. This is not even their most important modern fixture, given that last summer Argyle reached the League Two play-off final. But, still, Liverpool at Anfield in the third round of the FA Cup? You’re not going to forget it, are you?

So how does a Pilgrim approach this big match, the glamour tie, a potential Cup upset? David Fox knows better than most. He played against Liverpool for Norwich City who snatched a Premier League draw back in 2011. Now anchoring Plymouth’s midfield alongside Graham Carey, Fox knows that Anfield can be a different experience altogether. “We played in the early evening under the lights and it was the best atmosphere I’ve experienced,” the 33-year-old says. “When the Kop are singing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, well you can see it on the telly but when you’re out there on the pitch … wow.”

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jan/07/plymouth-liverpool-fa-cup-preview

Jan 05

West Ham’s Slaven Bilic relishes FA Cup duel with shaky Manchester City

• Bilic says pressing of Pep Guardiola’s team has dented their confidence
• West Ham manager goes into Friday’s Cup tie with ‘big ambitions’

Opponents have worked out how to play against Manchester City and Pep Guardiola’s side are “not that confident any more” said Slaven Bilic, whose West Ham United side play them in the FA Cup at the London Stadium on Friday night.

Related: West Ham’s Slaven Bilic still in hunt for Jermain Defoe despite rejected bid

Related: West Ham’s Sofiane Feghouli has red card against Manchester United rescinded

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jan/05/west-ham-slaven-bilic-fa-cup-manchester-city-pep-guardiola