SPORTS AGENDA: England’s poor form is a blessing in disguise for Gareth Southgate


While England’s miserable form in June caused much angst, Gareth Southgate privately believes it may have been a blessing in disguise. 

The manager is looking refreshed following a family holiday to Portugal. 

And it feels like the double defeats at the hands of Hungary and draws against Germany and Italy in an underwhelming Nations League campaign may have lowered the sky-high expectation before England head to Qatar for the World Cup in November.

England suffered double defeats at the hands of Hungary and drew against Germany and Italy

Gareth Southgate believes their poor form may have lowered World Cup expectations

Gareth Southgate believes their poor form may have lowered World Cup expectations

Football’s ‘sleazebuster’ lifts the lid 

Senior figures across football may be nervously waiting for the publication of a book by the Football Association’s former ‘sleazebuster’, Graham Bean. Bean There…Done That is out at the end of this month and will be serialised in this newspaper.

An insight into football’s ‘murkiest episodes’ is promised by former Barnsley detective Bean, who was the FA’s first compliance officer. Agenda can disclose that the lid has indeed been lifted on some salacious tales.

One that caught the eye was a frank exchange of views with outlandish former Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino over a bungled transfer during Bean’s four-month period as a consultant at the Yorkshire club. 

Cellino attempted to lay the blame at Bean’s door, which resulted in the former FA man launching himself across a table to deliver a frank, expletive-laden response.

Graham Bean had a heated exchange with Leeds United owner Masssimo Celino (pictured)

Graham Bean had a heated exchange with Leeds United owner Masssimo Celino (pictured)

British clubs in action after Queen’s death 

It will be interesting to see how British clubs playing home matches in European competitions this week mark the Queen’s death. 

Liverpool, Rangers, Chelsea and Manchester City are in Champions League action while Arsenal play in the Europa League. It is understood that UEFA are prepared to permit requests for a minute’s silence, should clubs ask for it.

Liverpool are among the clubs back in action mid-week following the death of the Queen

Liverpool are among the clubs back in action mid-week following the death of the Queen

Saturday Test was NOT first time God Save the King was sang 

Contrary to popular belief, Saturday at the Test was not the first time God Save the King had been played at a sporting event since 1952. 

On Thursday, around 90 minutes after news of the Queen’s passing was published, Great Britain took on Italy at the basketball European Championship in Assago, Milan. A 30-second silence was then followed by both national anthems.

England's cricket players were not the first to sing 'God Save the King' since the Queen's death

England’s cricket players were not the first to sing ‘God Save the King’ since the Queen’s death

Stockley Park makes uncontroversial review call 

No matches this weekend meant no officials at Stockley Park. In a review call that will draw no criticism, bosses decided to distribute 35 healthy meals, drinks and snacks that were waiting for those who work there to the York Road project, a homelessness charity that supports those in Woking and the surrounding area.

MCC rebuked for trampling history

The 212 members who forced a special general meeting of the MCC in a bid to reinstate the controversially axed Eton v Harrow and Oxford v Cambridge matches at Lord’s have written to other members to outline their position and request their support ahead of the summit later this month.

The letter states that the MCC’s decision ‘trampled over the history and traditions of Lord’s’ and adds, ‘by failing to consult and engage with members beforehand, it was also arbitrary, undemocratic and hence disrespectful to all members’.

There is also mention of colostomy-gate, which saw chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown disciplined when he was caught on microphone at an annual meeting joking about members having to empty their colostomy bags during a break.

‘This disrespect was further to be seen in the attitude of the club’s chairman towards older members, with his comment about colostomy bags at this year’s AGM,’ the letter states.

Tranmere directors go into wrestling 

Tranmere directors Martyn Best and Lee McAteer have followed the lead of Fulham’s Tony Khan by buying a wrestling firm. 

The pair purchased Progress in late 2021 and are looking to revitalise their product with a host of new wrestlers featuring alongside long-standing performers. 

Current stars include ‘Big Damo’, who was an active performer in WWE a couple of years ago, and former GB boxer Anthony Ogogo, who will be featuring in their London show next weekend.

Fulham's Tony Khan (left) invested into American wrestling company All Elite Wrestling

Fulham’s Tony Khan (left) invested into American wrestling company All Elite Wrestling

Tributes pour into the BOA over Queen

Tributes have been pouring in to the British Olympic Association, of whom the Queen was a patron and remains the only person to have opened two Olympic Games. 

Her daughter, Princess Anne, is an active member of the BOA’s board and an International Olympic Committee member, attending meetings throughout the year. The BOA’s partners in Saint-Germain-en-Laye — the Paris suburb that will house Team GB’s preparation camp ahead of the 2024 Games — have announced a road in the city will be named in Queen Elizabeth’s honour.

Boxing may be REMOVED from Olympics 

Team GB can normally rely on a substantial haul of medals from their boxers but that may end soon. The prospect of boxing being removed from the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles has come ever closer since the much-troubled International Boxing Association (IBA) decided to take on the IOC in a public relations war.

The IOC have already replaced the IBA from running boxing at the 2024 Olympics over governance, refereeing/judging and financial issues. Recently, the IOC wrote to the IBA outlining further concerns and the potential of excluding the sport from the Olympics.

Insiders believe the IOC are keen to see the back of the IBA’s controversial Russian president, Umar Kremlev. However, he is likely to win a re-run of the presidential election and has decided to attack the IOC through an Olympic news website with whom the IBA have had a commercial relationship. History tells us it never ends well for any organisation who take on the IOC.

Anthony Joshua is among the British athletes to earn a medal in boxing in the Olympics

Anthony Joshua is among the British athletes to earn a medal in boxing in the Olympics

Disciplinary action dropped after journalist’s comments on Lineker 

Agenda can reveal that the BBC opened disciplinary proceedings against senior journalist Neil Henderson, who had the audacity to question Gary Lineker on Twitter. Henderson responded to the BBC golden boy’s tweet which read: ‘As a politician how could you ever, under any circumstances, bring yourself to vote for pumping sewage into our seas? Unfathomable!’ 

Foreign news editor Henderson asked Lineker if his contract allowed him to make such comments before the pair had a frank exchange. Much to the annoyance of many within the organisation, Henderson was ordered to apologise and was also subject to disciplinary proceedings which, thankfully, have now been dropped.

Disciplinary proceedings have been dropped against a journalist after they made comments about BBC colleague Gary Lineker

Disciplinary proceedings have been dropped against a journalist after they made comments about BBC colleague Gary Lineker