Cash-starved football clubs beneath the Premier League hoping for some financial help from the top flight have been told: Don’t hold your breath. The bleak warning not to expect much help from the moneyed clubs at the top of the food chain has come from Premier League chief executive Richard Masters. Newport County and other clubs in League Two have been running on empty since the lockdown in March, while even Championship clubs such as Cardiff City and Swansea City have been left contemplating very tough times ahead.
Last week, Connah’s Quay Nomads were crowned new Welsh champions thanks to their performances on the field. Now, argues Matthew Burgess, they are quickly starting to behave like champions, off the field, too. If ever Andy Morrison’s Connah’s Quay side wanted to make a statement of intent following their first ever league title, the signing of Aeron Edwards direct from rivals The New Saints certainly did the trick. Just a week after being awarded the Cymru Premier title, the Nomads declared the off-season open - bolstering their already strong squad whilst simultaneously depleting their closest rivals in the process.
Ryan Giggs has said he wants Wales to try and play in a similar style to runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool when international football resumes. The Wales manager has been forced to revise all his plans for 2020 with the postponement of the European Championship finals and the scrapping of all his team’s warm-up fixtures for the tournament. But with football due to return behind closed doors on June 17, Giggs is turning his attention to the lead-in to next summer and the evolving playing style he would like his young team to develop.
It’s seven years since Wales inflicted their record winning margin over England – the 30-3 hammering that moved Andy Farrell to declare the visitors’ dressing room was the quietest he had ever known. Richard Hibbard was in the noisiest, as he recalls to Graham Thomas ahead of tonight’s re-showing on S4C. Richard Hibbard recalls looking up at the clock at what he thought was the midway point of the first half of Wales v England, the Six Nations title decider in 2013. It said 12 minutes had gone.
New Dragons recruit Jonah Holmes knows better than most the risks that rugby players will face when they are permitted to go back to training after lockdown. The Wales international can’t wait to meet up with his new team mates at Rodney Parade after securing a move from Leicester, but returning to a safe environment is the key after seeing what happened to his brother is critical. A doctor working on the front line of the NHS in the intensive care unit at Royal Bolton Hospital, Raphael Holmes was struck down with pneumonia and forced to self-isolate for two weeks. That forced his brother, Jonah, to also go into lockdown.
The Celtic Dragons have encouraged their fans to donate their ticket money to the club, rather than seek refunds following the cancellation of the Vitality Netball Superleague season. The club state the cash would go towards attempting to secure the continuation of top level netball in Wales. In a statement on their website following the decision by England Netball – the Superleague owners – to end the 2020 competition, the Cardiff-based Dragons say supporters can either claim refunds or make a donation to the franchise by not claiming.
Vicky Thornley has vowed to keep fit on her static bike at home after the road crash in which she suffered a broken elbow. The Welsh rower was hurt in an accident while out cycling last week and needed surgery on her right arm. Thornley, who is preparing for her third Olympic Games appearance in next year’s postponed event, was out on her bike near Reading with training partner Richard Egington when she hit the tarmac.
Aled Davies can take his rugby to new heights according to his new boss at Saracens, Mark McCall. The Wales scrum-half has left the Ospreys to join the London club, even though they have just been relegated from the Gallagher Premiership. The move will mean a halt to Davies’s Wales career as he was won 20 caps – 40 less than the 60 required to be eligible for national selection if a player is based outside of the four Welsh regions.
Fans in both football and rugby should be helping run their sports, according to a report from a leading think tank. Both sports should seek the influence of supporters groups in plotting the way ahead for a sustainable and responsible future, according to Onward and their new publication. The report, called A Sporting Chance, focuses on how professional football below Premier League level, cricket and the two codes of rugby are coping during the coronavirus pandemic.
Don’t panic was the message given by Wayne Pivac after Wales’ opening Six Nations defeat in Dublin. It’s a response shared by Geraint Powell, who says Rome wasn’t built in a day even if the Italians were demolished in one previous afternoon. This being Welsh rugby - where so many fans... Read More
Warren Gatland is back next week – for one night only – when he takes charge of the Barbarians against Wales. For Geraint Powell, Gatland’s final farewell should focus minds on what the New Zealander believes is still flawed within Welsh rugby. The Gats is gone. Long live the Gats!... Read More
The World Cup Final Will Be Heavy Duty . . . With Wales and New Zealand Feeling The Weight Of Regret
The World Cup is over for Wales and the tournament is down to the final two. Geraint Powell’s money is on England to overcome South Africa, but he still questions whether a different tactical approach from Wales might have got them to Saturday’s showpiece. We always know what is coming... Read More
The story so far . . . Geraint Powell says the four best teams have reached the semi-finals of the World Cup, with Wales and England both capable of upsetting the odds and with the belief to do so. We entered this tournament with many believing this was the most... Read More
How The Irish Provinces Moulded History With Modernity To Leave The Welsh Regions Trailing So Far Behind
As the Welsh regions rake through the ashes of another European campaign where all four got burned, envious glances are again aimed over the Irish Sea. Geraint Powell isn’t the only one turning green as he considers how Irish rugby has left the Welsh domestic game so far behind. Older... Read More
The Principality Premiership . . . Messed Up, Mangled And Mulitated, But Still Providing Festive Spice
The Boxing Day derbies at Guinness Pro14 level may have gone – dispersed elsewhere for the benefit of TV – so why not get your December 26th fix by heading towards Aberavon v Neath? It’s always a feisty derby and one of a number of local dust-ups that Geraint Powell... Read More