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    Scunthorpe 3 Grimsby 0: Eisa and Loft claim derby bragging rights as Iron move five points clear of rivals and drop zone

    SCUNTHORPE eased the pressure on boss Neil Cox as they thumped Grimsby in the 60th North Lincolnshire derby.
    Abo Eisa and Ryan Loft lifted Iron five points above their rivals in the League Two drop zone and ensured a miserable return for former manager Paul Hurst in the Mariners dug-out.

    Abo Eisa helped himself to a double as Scunthorpe thumped GrimsbyCredit: Rex Features

    Cox, who was given the dreaded vote of confidence last week after five defeats in six, said: “I thought we were by far the best side and we were more hungry and had more desire for it.
    “We let them off the hook a little bit today and we could have had five or six. It was a brilliant performance.”
    Iron came flying out the traps but failed to get a shot on target until the 14th-minute.
    But Sudanese star Eisa made sure his free-kick was worth the wait as he unleashed a curling rocket from 20 yards into the top corner.

    They doubled their lead moments before the break as Grimsby failed to clear Alex Gilliead’s cross and Ryan Loft managed to nudge the ball agonisingly over the line from close-range.
    Things could have got worse for the visitors in the dying seconds but keeper James McKeown kept his team in it with a brilliant save to deny Devarn Green when clean through.
    Hurst made a triple change with Luke Spokes, Danny Rose and George Williams on for the second period.
    Spokes mustered a grass cutter straight at Mark Howard while James Hanson scuffed a chance as they attempted a comeback.

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    Eisa broke the deadlock with a brilliant free-kick from 20 yardsCredit: Rex Features

    Neil Cox’s Irons are now five points above their rivals and the drop zoneCredit: Rex Features

    Scunthorpe defender Manny Onariase, who was brilliant at the back throughout, headed narrowly over up the other end before Grimsby’s hopes were ended by Eisa with 25 minutes to go.
    The 25-year-old beat the offside trap to race clear to seal his double and his sixth of the season.
    He was denied a hat-trick late on as McKeown got down well to deny him, but that was not enough to stop him from taking the headlines.
    Hurst, who has yet to taste victory in his second stint in charge since replacing Ian Holloway last month, said: “We didn’t deserve anything and Scunthorpe deserved it.
    “That pains me to say with it being a derby and I told the players they were lucky the fans weren’t here. I’m embarrassed.”

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    Cardiff parachute McCarthy in to save season as former boss Warnock takes swipe at ‘disrespectful’ Harris after sacking

    MICK McCarthy has been parachuted in to save Cardiff’s season.
    The former Republic of Ireland boss will take charge until the end of the campaign after the Bluebirds sacked Neil Harris following a run of six straight defeats.

    Mick McCarthy is taking over Cardiff until the end of the seasonCredit: Reuters

    McCarthy said: “I’m delighted to be here. I’m thrilled by the opportunity.
    “I want to get the club back to winning games and I want to get smiles back on the players’ faces. If we do that, then we’ll get smiles back on the fans’ faces.
    “We’ve got a good squad of players and I’m looking forward to getting down to work.”
    Harris paid the price for Cardiff’s shocking form with the Welsh side in 15th place in the Championship.

    They reached the play-offs under Harris’ guidance last season.
    Cardiff believe the experience of McCarthy, 61, will steady the ship before they look to make a long-term appointment this summer but the appointment is unpopular with their fans.
    Cardiff defender Bamba, who won’t play for McCarthy after being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, said: “At this level, we all know experience is massive. He knows the league very well.
    “He’s proved at this level he can be very good. We need someone who can come in and put a smile back on our faces and give confidence.

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    “At the moment, you can see clearly that the whole team is low on confidence. He’s got experience and if he got the job then hopefully he can come in and change results.”
    McCarthy, who has also managed Sunderland, Wolves and Ipswich, has a big job on his hands to improve a Cardiff squad devoid of confidence.
    He left Cypriot side Apoel earlier this month.
    McCarthy will be backed in the January transfer window if he feels he needs new players despite cash-strapped Cardiff’s limited resources.
    Harris left Cardiff with immediate effect on Thursday and less than 24 hours after a 1-0 home defeat by QPR which proved to be the final straw for owner Vincent Tan.
    And Harris’ predecessor Neil Warnock rubbed salt in the wound after his departure.
    Warnock guided Cardiff to the Premier League in 2018, but wasn’t happy at Harris’ comments when he took the job.
    Warnock said: “I didn’t say too much while Neil was there, but I thought one or two of the comments he made when he first got the job were a little bit detrimental to me – ‘I’ve got to change the mindsets of these players, they’ve been used to playing one particular way’.
    “What’s that? Winning? There’s nothing wrong with that. I thought it was a bit disrespectful, if I’m honest. Mick is a big mate of mine, he’ll enjoy it. He’s come back from Cyprus, had six weeks holiday there, and now he’s in a good place in Wales, I hope. That’s not bad.
    “Cardiff was very good for me because Cardiff were in a mess when I went there and we ended up going to the Premier League with a team that nobody thought could do.
    “I’ve got great, great memories there.” 

    Neil Warnock guided Cardiff to promotion in 2018Credit: Getty

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    Michael Duff’s Cheltenham were ‘pants’ until they went commando and now have Man City in their line of fire in FA Cup

    RAHEEM STERLING and Manchester City had better be on a war footing when they travel to Cheltenham.
    For their League Two FA Cup fourth-round opponents have been getting battle tips and endurance training from former Royal Marine Commandos.

    Raheem Sterling crawls through muddy water during a Royal Marines endurance test with Ben Williams, who is now working with Cheltenham

    Ironically Afghanistan veteran Ben Williams, who has been working with the Robins for the last two years, put City stars Sterling, Kyle Walker, John Stones and England through their paces ahead of their highly- successful 2018 World Cup run to the semi-finals.
    And he said: “I liked Raheem a lot because he’s a great professional – but Pep Guardiola and the City lads must beware because little old Cheltenham are up for a fight.”
    When Cheltenham boss Michael Duff called in the Marines for help he and the team were in a hole.
    Burnley legend Duff – who won three promotions to the Premier League at Turf Moor in eight years there as a player – acted on a recommendation from his former Clarets team-mate Tom Heaton.

    The now Aston Villa keeper had been part of that England squad that spent a weekend with Royal Marines Commandos at their base in Devon.
    Duff said: “I’d just taken over at Cheltenham and we’d lost five and drawn three of my first eight games – and not many managers survive much longer with that record.
    “There was no culture at the club. Everyone had their own agenda and standard.
    “I lost count of the times I told players to clean their boots before training.

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    “And don’t ask why but footballers nowadays like taking a shower wearing their pants – but our lads would then just leave them lying around in the showers for the kit-man. I told them, ‘It’s not his job to clean them. He’s here to provide you a kit.’
    “I wanted the team to show humility, talk and treat the cleaner the same way they would the chairman and have one common goal like we had at Burnley.”
    Duff knows all about the use of learning military values as his dad John served in the Royal Air Force for FIFTY years – 37 in service and 13 as a civilian. That earned him an MBE for service to the services.
    He said: “My upbringing gave me identical core values shared by the Marines but I needed someone else to deliver that message as the players would have thought then, ‘You talk a good game but can’t even win matches.’
    “Footballers buy into the Marines because they believe they have a similar personality and environment – a load of alpha males thinking they must prove how strong they are. But that’s nonsense.
    “The commando thing is the same as the team thing in football – it’s bigger than any individual.”

    I wanted the team to show humility, talk and treat the cleaner the same way they would the chairman, and have one common goal like we had at Burnley.”
    Michael Duff, Cheltenham boss

    Former commando Williams and his fellow soldiers impressed Heaton after they taught Gareth Southgate’s men key survival, leadership and team skills.
    Williams said: “They spent two nights with us sleeping in bivvy tents, learning how to survive on rations and being put through gruelling endurance tests.
    “Some hadn’t camped out before so it was a unique situation for a lot of them.
    “We put them through a course which was two miles of tunnels, bogs and submerged water features before a four-mile run back to camp.
    “When Jermain Defoe got to the ‘sheep dip’ – a two or three metre tunnel completely under water – he didn’t want to do it. He wasn’t being dismissive, it was sheer fear.
    “But he finally went through it and when he came out the other side he was so overwhelmed with happiness of his achievement.
    “Raheem Sterling was another player who impressed me. He was quiet and reserved – but you could see he was embracing everything we did and was taking in everything.

    Raheem Sterling emerges from the notorious “sheep dip” tunnel

    England players get briefed during their weekend with the Royal Marines

    Michael Duff’s dad John was in the RAF for 50 years and picked up an MBE for his services to the services at Buckingham Palace
    “While I’ve never seen anyone as fast as Kyle Walker. He shot past us at one point and I just thought, ‘Wow.’
    “John Stones was a nice enough lad and it’s great to see him doing well now.
    “It’s about putting yourself into those situations that are difficult but when you get through it you maximise your potential afterwards.
    “You see a bit more to yourself and that is what we really did with them and that is what we’ve gone on to do with sport.
    “It’s about instilling into players the commando mindset – how does a Royal Marine think and then apply it to football.
    “We work on what are your values, how do you increase resilience and personal drive and what you do in the shadows away from the pitch and training ground matters most.”
    The Cheltenham team went on a similar camp but first of all they were given a motivational speech by Williams and fellow former soldier Antony Thompson.

    Cheltenham players and staff go into the woods for their commando training
    Former corporal Williams himself battled drug addiction and suicidal thoughts before turning his life around by joining the Marines, where he learnt valuable lessons about belonging, leadership and success.
    And he revealed what he told the Cheltenham players in that first meeting.
    He said: “They were staring at relegation and Duffy was facing the sack.
    “I told them in a powerful talk, ‘You can hit promotion standard, you can hit top four.’
    “We had to set standards and values. I told them, ‘It’s not an individual thing, it’s a Cheltenham thing.’
    “People laughed at me and said, ‘This is little old Cheltenham, it’s not going to happen.’
    “But then there was a turning of the wheel situation and they started to enforce what was said between themselves.
    “We’ve been down a few times, done some virtual calls and they’ve been on our commando experience.
    “If they continue doing what they’re doing they might be in contention for winning the league.”

    Michael Duff celebrates his third promotion to the Premier League with Burnley after they went up as champions in 2016
    Duff now believes he has a perfect environment for Cheltenham to be successful.
    One of the messages drummed into the players has been “check your ego” – which is the importance of playing as a team, training as a team and leaving any ego at home.
    Duff said: “Sean Dyche has that sort of environment at Burnley. Even if they signed a wrong ’un, that person wouldn’t be able to affect the group because no-one would pivot towards that person because they’re so focussed on the common goal.”
    Duff believes Cheltenham can pull off what would be one of the FA Cup’s biggest upsets by beating a team 72 places above them in English football’s pecking order.
    The former centre-back was in the Northern Ireland team that stunned Spain 3-2 in the Euro 2008 qualifier after a David Healy hat-trick.

    As a manager Michael Duff has built a good environment at Cheltenham
    He said: “The City game is a free hit for us. We know we’ll have to be compact and not have much of the ball.
    “To this day no-one can explain how we beat a Spain team packed with superstars that went on to win those Euros and then the next two major tournaments.
    “That proved anything is possible.”
    And Williams believes in the seemingly impossible too.
    He said: “Of course they can beat Manchester City. Marines never go into a battle thinking they’re going to get killed by the enemy. The Cheltenham players have that commando mindset.”
    BEN WILLIAMS has written a great book called Commando Mindset, which documents his life before, during and after the Marines. It is published by Penguin and available from all good book outlets.

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    Derby winger Jordon Ibe opens up on depression battle as he reveals he’s in a ‘dark place’

    DERBY winger Jordon Ibe revealed he is ‘in a dark place’ and is battling depression.
    The former Liverpool winger posted a statement on his Instagram and apologised to his fans around the world.

    Jordon Ibe said he is in a dark place as he battles depressionCredit: Rex Features

    The former Liverpool man revealed his struggles in an Instagram statement

    The 25-year-old has played for the Rams just once this season – a three minute cameo against Stoke in December.
    Ibe faced an internal disciplinary investigation at the Midlands club in the same month.
    And it appears the midfielder has been struggling with personal issues.
    In a statement posted on his Instagram story, Ibe said: “I want to apologise to all my fans around the world.

    “I find myself in a dark place due to suffering from depression.
    “It’s no scheme for the media or to have my name in your mouths, I just find things hard truly.
    “I appreciate all the love and messages from everyone.
    “Times are hard in general due to this pandemic. I have the full support from my family and Derby County Football Club.

    “I will fix myself and this situation which I’m 100 per cent committed to.
    “Not only for my family, close friends or my beautiful daughter but for me.
    “Much love to every single person. Jordon Ibe.”
    Ibe joined Derby on a free transfer from Bournemouth at the end of last season and signed a two-year deal.
    He was banned from driving and fined £7,500 last March after smashing his £130k Bentley into a cafe before fleeing the scene.
    And in May he revealed he was in rehab for his mental health following the incident.

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    Newport keeper Tom King’s astonishing 105-yard goal confirmed as world record after he beats ex-team-mate’s effort

    TOM KING admitted his new-found status as a world record holder is beyond his wildest dreams.
    The Newport goalkeeper scored straight from a goal kick in his side’s 1-1 League Two draw at Cheltenham on Tuesday.

    Newport keeper Tom King launches the goal kick which sent him into the record booksCredit: Sky Sports

    King celebrates the 105-yard strikeCredit: Alamy Live News

    Guinness World Record ™️Newport County goalkeeper Tom King’s 105-yard goal against Cheltenham has been confirmed as a @GWR for the longest goal scored in a competitive football matchpic.twitter.com/0WjiENqVvk
    — Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 21, 2021

    King’s strike has been officially confirmed by Guinness World Records as the longest goal ever scored in a competitive match. It came from 96.01 metres (105 yards).
    The previous record was held by King’s former Portsmouth team-mate Asmir Begovic who scored from 91.9 m (100.50 yds) for Stoke against Southampton in 2013.
    King revealed he’d rub Begovic’s nose in it after making history.
    He said: “I’m obviously absolutely delighted because it’s not something I intentionally set out to do.

    “I’m sure it will be talked about for a long time to come.
    “I’m proud and I’m sure my family will be extremely proud too. I’ll have to drop Asmir a message to send my commiserations, but in all honesty it’s different territory for me because I never dreamt of being in the books you get for Christmas every year.
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    “Hopefully I might actually read it if I get one for Christmas this year. I’m delighted and hopefully no one beats it for a long time now so I can show my grandkids!” 

    Asmir Begovic congratulated after his 100-yard goal for Stoke against Southampton in 2013 – the previous record holderCredit: Action Images – Reuters
    King joked he’d need a goal bonus in his next contract after his strike.
    He said: “I’ve got a clean-sheet bonus but no goal bonus. My agent texted me after the game so I’ll have to ask him to get me one!
     “The goal wasn’t expected or something I was going for but it is something we practise.
    “We do go a bit longer sometimes and we noticed the wind early in the warm-up.

    “It took a lucky bounce and landed over the goalkeeper.
    “I didn’t celebrate too much — it’s the goalkeeper’s union.
    “I even apologised to him (Cheltenham keeper Josh Griffiths) after the game and said sorry. I’ve not meant it and if he’d done the same to me then I’d hope he would have apologised — the bounce was unbelievably lucky.”

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    Watch Newport goalkeeper Tom King score outrageous wind-assisted goal kick which lobs rival against Cheltenham

    NEWPORT COUNTY goalkeeper Tom King scored an outrageous wind-assisted goal-kick against Cheltenham Town on Tuesday night.
    King launched the ball forward from his own six-yard box and – thanks to a huge gust of wind and a wicked bounce – saw it nestle in his opposite number Joshua Griffith’s net.

    Newport County goalkeeper Tom King scored from a goal-kick on Tuesday nightCredit: Alamy Live News

    A huge gust of wind carried the ball miles up the pitch

    And the devastating bounce caught opposite number Joshua Griffiths off guard

    The freak moment came after just 12 minutes and put the Welsh side ahead at Whaddon Road.
    Cheltenham eventually equalised through Matty Blair deep into first-half stoppage time and the game finished 1-1.
    The draw saw Newport move up a place to second in League Two with Cheltenham staying sixth.
    But fan focus after the game was on the one-in-a-million strike from King.

    One called Alan said: “Didn’t even celebrate. Proper goalkeepers’ union respect.”
    Jordan tweeted: “That’s mad! Didn’t even look like he kicked it that hard.
    “Good tekkers, the bounce was mad as well.”
    Nick joked: “Couldn’t hear anyone shouting ‘watch the bounce!'”

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    Didn’t even celebrate. Proper goalkeepers union respect 👏👏
    — Alan Leah (@alan_leah) January 19, 2021

    Elsewhere, Cheltenham host Manchester City in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday.
    And City fans have delved into their pockets to help raise £20,000 for the Gloucestershire side.
    Cheltenham Town supporters’ group, 1887 Red Army, has set up a campaign on Crowdfunder in an effort to help the club.
    The group are aiming to rake in £20,000 in ‘virtual tickets’ for the FA Cup clash at the empty Jonny-Rocks Stadium – likely to be picked for TV coverage.
    And Man City fans have chipped in, as well as Cheltenham fans, to help the struggling side.
    Already, over £19,000 has been raised for the Robins’ cause.

    That’s mad! Didn’t even look like he kicked it that hard. Good tekkers, the bounce was mad as well
    — J Alex (@JordanAM1988) January 19, 2021

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    Premier League, FA and football authorities hold first serious all-party meeting to combat wave of vile online abuse

    FOOTBALL authorities have held their first serious all-party meeting with social media giants to combat online hate as Anton Ferdinand demanded they be held to account.
    Anti-racism leaders Kick It Out convened the gathering of the game’s senior organisations.

    Kick It Out chairman Sanjay Bhandari has described the ‘culture of impunity’ behind online hateCredit: PA:Press Association

    Former Premier League defender Anton Ferdinand addressed today’s meetingCredit: PA:Press Association

    Facebook and Twitter were invited to the talk alongside the Premier League, PFA, FA, EFL and LMA.
    Former West Ham defender Ferdinand told the meeting: “As footballers we are held accountable for our actions all the time – why aren’t the people that are sending abuse, and the social media platforms, held to account too?
    “I had no escape from being racially abused, whether that was on the streets or social media.
    “The ripple effect the abuse had on me and my family, I wouldn’t want anyone else to experience that.”

    The social media companies agreed to take steps to ensure a zero tolerance policy on online hate and abuse.
    As part of a set of “common principles” the parties confirmed that “discrimination, hate and abuse towards those who play, support or work in the game is totally unacceptable”.
    That includes “real-world consequences” for those who use online platforms to spread abuse with the determination to make perpetrators be “accountable for their actions”.
    Outside bodies involved were UK Football Policing Unit, Women in Football, Crown Prosecution Service, Home Office and Sky, with further meetings to be held every two months.

    Online discriminatory abuse is unacceptable and tackling this issue must be a priority for football and social media companies.
    Richard MastersPremier League Chief Exec

    Kick it Out chairman Sanjay Bhandari said: “Online hate thrives because there is a culture of impunity.
    “People feel free to say what they want because they are confident there will be no consequences. That must change.”
    Prem chief executive Richard Masters added: “Online discriminatory abuse is unacceptable and tackling this issue must be a priority for football and social media companies.
    “Sadly, there are too many instances of footballers and their families receiving horrific discriminatory messages and nobody should have to deal with this.
    “The Premier League welcomes this initiative as a means of persuading social media companies to remove offensive material swiftly and help the Premier League and law enforcement bodies identify perpetrators.”
    Twitter and Facebook appear to recognise their responsibilities.

    Between June and September last year were able to find 95% of the hate speech content and removed it before anyone reported it.
    Jerry NewmanFacebook

    Facebook’s Jerry Newman said: “We don’t want racism or any type of hate speech on Facebook or Instagram.
    “Over the last few years, we’ve tripled the size of our safety and security team and between June and September last year were able to find 95 per cent of the hate speech content and removed it before anyone reported it. We won’t stop there.”
    Katy Minshall of Twitter added: “Racist behaviour has no place on Twitter and we strongly condemn it.
    “We continue to collaborate closely with our partners in football to identify ways to tackle this issue collectively.”

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    Cardiff ace Josh Murphy at centre of transfer tug-of-war with Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday and Derby keen

    JOSH MURPHY is at the centre of a three-way transfer battle fromNottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday and Derby.
    The Cardiff winger, 25, is out of favour under Bluebirds boss Neil Harris.

    Josh Murphy is at the centre of a three-way transfer battleCredit: Getty Images

    Murphy has not started for the Welsh side in the Championship since the 1-0 league defeat by Coventry last November.
    And the trio of Cardiff’s rivals in the second tier have expressed an interest in taking the wide man on loan this month.
    Forest and Wednesday could be ahead of Wayne Rooney’s Derby in the chase as the Rams are currently struggling to pay the wages of their players although an imminent takeover of the club could change that.
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    Murphy, whose twin brother Jacob plays for Newcastle, cost Cardiff £11million from Norwich back in the summer of 2018.
    He has made 15 appearances in all competitions this season but mainly as a substitute.
    Cardiff are 16th in the Championship and closer to the relegation places than play-off spots.

    Harris’ side have lost four games in a row since Christmas – including an FA Cup third round defeat at Nottingham Forest.

    They face relegation-threatened QPR in their next Championship clash on Wednesday. More