McCANN RETIRES

Bolton midfielder Gavin McCann has said that he will be retiring from professional football after failing to recover from the injury. McCann, formerly of Everton, Sunderland and Aston Villa, will now take up a coaching role assisting the youth set up at the Bolton academy.

McCann said: “Unfortunately I’ve had to call it a day.

“There are times now when my ankle is sore and aches, and further down the line I will need another operation.”

McCann made a total of 363 appearances at club level and won one one cap for England in a friendly against Spain at Villa Park in 2001.

He last featured for Bolton in the 4-2 defeat by Arsenal at the Emirates on 20 January 2010, and underwent surgery on his injured ankle soon after.

CARRICK EXTENDS CONTRACT

Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick has put pen to paper on a new Three-year contract extension that will keep him at Old Trafford till 2014.

The 29-year-old England international joined United from Tottenham Hotspur in 2006 and has played more than 200 games for the Old Trafford club.

Carrick built his reputation as an excellent passer of the ball but this season he has mainly been deployed in a more defensive midfield holding role.

“I am delighted Michael has signed a new contract,” manager Alex Ferguson said in a statement. “He has been outstanding since joining us. He is a true professional and it’s great he has committed his future to the club.”

DAVIES JOIN BORO

Stoke City player Andrew Davies has joined Middlesbrough on loan till the end of the season. The 26-year-old began his career with the Teessiders and made his initial debut for the club in a 3-1 League Cup defeat by Ipswich in November 2002.

Southampton signed the defender in October 2007 for £1m, where he stayed for one season before moving to Stoke on a free transfer in August 2008.

Davies goes straight into the squad for Saturday’s trip to Millwall.

SANTANDER WANT ZIGIC

Racing Santander are keen on signing Birmingham striker Nikola Zigic in this transfer window. The 30-year-old, who joined Blues from Valencia in May, has already had two spells with Racing in his career.

Racing have just been taken over by Indian businessman Ahsan Ali Syed and would appear to have funds available.

However, McLeish denied the deal would only be done if he can sign Rubin Kazan striker Obafemi Martins.

KUSZCZAK AIMING FOR NO.1 SPOT

Tomasz Kuszczak has said that he is aiming to be the Manchester United number one. The Poland international is currently deputising for Edwin van der Sar, who has missed the last three matches with flu.

United have been linked with several goalkeepers but Kuszczak, 28, believes he should be made number one when Van der Sar, 40, decides to step down.

“I do not want this to sound arrogant but I think I am good enough,” he said.

United have also been linked to the EPL‘s Brad Friedel.

BLACKPOOL’S FIXTURE CONCERN

Blackpool fixture pile-up is a cause of concern for the Premier League. The promoted club is the only one in the top-flight without undersoil heating and it’s likely that the Premier League may now make installing such a system a requirement of playing in the division. At present, perhaps surprisingly, it is not.

Blackpool have already lost two fixtures to the weather, and given that both are against Champions League clubs — Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur — it has complicated the process of rescheduling the games in February and March. Blackpool are scheduled to play United on Jan 25.

The Premier League’s anxiety will grow should Blackpool’s next two home matches — against Llanelli on Boxing Day and Birmingham City on Jan 4 – also be called off.

HOLLOWAY HAPPY WITH THE WIN

Blackpool boss Ian Holloway has said that he is extremely happy with the club’s win over Stoke city. “To come to a place that is so hard to win at was a fantastic display. This is as good as we have been,” he said. “Even Lionel Messi couldn’t have done any better.”

DJ Campbell’s scored the only goal of the game to move the Seasiders up to 10th on a total of 22 points.

“Someone had us down for only 10 after 38 games,” reflected Holloway. “Bit of a laughing stock we were going to be.”

Blackpool now have four away wins – a total only bettered by Premier League leaders Chelsea and Man Utd.

STOKE CITY AND MANCHESTER CITY DRAW

Stoke city pulled off a injury time equaliser to secure draw with Manchester city. Two minutes into added time, Etherington collected a back-heel from Tuncay and fired in low from 12 yards.

Nine minutes earlier, Micah Richards seemed to have given City what had looked like an unlikely victory when he finished well after a superb turn.

The www.soccerkits.com website pointed out that Manchester City are now five points behind table toppers Manchester United.

However, on a day that Sir Alex Ferguson’s side smashed seven past Blackburn, it is clear from City’s mediocre display here that the gap between the two neighbours is greater than that represented by mere points.

ESPANYOL WIN STADIUM AWARD

The new home of Real Club Deportivo (RCD) Espanyol Football Club in Barcelona, Spain, has won first prize for the best sporting facility worldwide in 2010, in a competition organised by the Guinness group.

Arup participated in the structural design and fire protection of this stadium during the project phase, in close collaboration with the architects Reid Fenwick Associates and Gasulla & Associates. Located in the city of Cornellá, Barcelona, the new Espanyol stadium has a capacity to hold 45,000 spectators, and various commercial and sports facilities, such as a library and a hotel.

Officially inaugurated on 2 August 2009, the stadium is conceived as an element of creation of new infrastructures and interrelation among the citizens, following the criteria of new stadiums in Europe, with the inclusion of a recreational centre for all the family and several equipments beyond the sportive facilities.

The stadium is composed of two areas; the stands and the ring that surrounds them. The facility has a clear and strong design, with definite geometrics, and a facade conceived as a flying and translucent curtain with the club colours, which get illuminated at night.

The Arup Madrid structures team was in charge of the structural design of both stands and foundations, and the roof, which were designed in reinforced concrete and steel respectively. One of the most interesting aspects of the design is the shape of the roof – totally flat and with large lights between columns of up to 200m. With the aim of achieving the best visibility, the design of the stadium has considered the position of the spectators, situating them as close as possible to the playing field.

NEW STADIUM IN BRISTOL

The Honorary President of the Football League Lord Brian Mawhinney has given his public support to a campaign to stop the site of Bristol’s potential World Cup stadium from being registered as a “town green”.

Lord Mawhinney is also Chairman of the England 2018 Technical Bid Panel, which is the organisation behind the selection of the 16 English host city stadiums, and Bristol’s development plans were a lynch pin in the city’s successful candidacy.

Ashton Vale is a 42-acre site in South Bristol that was granted permission for a £92 million stadium and neighbouring wetlands and wildlife area by Bristol City Council in February this year, following a three-year application process.

However, in May the Council received an independent planning inspector’s report recommending that the area – half of which is a former landfill site – be given special designation as a town green.

The report was invoked by a small number of residents who live nearby and are against the stadium plans.

Lord Mawhinney signed the petition supporting the campaign “A City United” in front of the home crowd at Ashton Gate during the half-time interval of the City game against Queen’s Park Rangers on Friday evening.

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