SPORTS AGENDA: Sir Ian Botham was drinking throughout his final day at Sky... and no wonder Anton Ferdinand is a fan of Ben Godfrey

Daily Mail

Daily Mail

Author 2019-09-23 01:03:00

During his playing career, Sir Ian Botham could never be accused of exiting without a bang - and it would appear that he has taken that proud tradition from the cricket field to the studio.

Insiders at Sky have disclosed that the England legend took a last-day-at-school approach to his final day in the gig.

Botham, dressed in a floral shirt and shorts, is said to have started on gin and tonic before later switching to his own Chardonnay ahead of his farewell from the Oval commentary box.


Sir Ian Botham (left) and David Gower enjoy a glass of wine at the end of their last day at Sky

Unlike colleague and former England team-mate David Gower, who made clear his displeasure at being moved on, Botham was happy to make his exit. 

‘I retired - my time was up,’ he explained to Sports Agenda. ‘I told them it was time for me to go. David Gower is a mate but his departure is not my problem.’

Botham was similarly forthright on the decision to knight Geoffrey Boycott. ‘For what?’ he asked. ‘Doing his job. I got my mine for charity work. Does being Theresa May’s idol justify it?’

County cricketers who are chosen to play in The Hundred next year will have to repay some of their salary (estimated at 12.5% per cent) to their counties. Those who have agents will also have to fork out to them for both contracts.

Sources say that the payments are in return for periods of absence while the players are away from their clubs.

The EFL have angered Premier League clubs by attempting to charge them to provide commentary for their Carabao Cup ties this week against EFL sides. Some, like Watford (who play Coventry) have decided not to bother.

A host of other top flight clubs, including both Manchester sides, Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea now have a decision to make.

The EFL say that they have little option other than to ask for the cash. Matches between EFL clubs will be provided for existing subscribers to their iFollow service. 


The EFL are attempting to charge clubs to provide commentary for their Carabao Cup ties

You might consider talkSPORT, who have the rights for England’s tour of South Africa this winner, as a natural next stop for Gower. 

However, insiders at the broadcaster have said that while the batsman, who is looking for work and who has joked about selling the Big Issue, was considered, they have taken a different path.

The gushing praise for Norwich defender Ben Godfrey from Anton Ferdinand on Sky Sports News recently raised a few knowing smiles from those of a cynical persuasion. 

Why? Because it just so happens that Godfrey is represented by New Era Global Sports, for whom Ferdinand’s brother Rio acts as an adviser.


Norwich midfielder Ben Godfrey is represented by New Era Global Sports

A bruising International Tennis Federation (ITF) presidential election will come to a close in Lisbon on Friday with the smart money on current incumbent Dave Haggerty to win another term.

American Haggerty has come under fierce attack from rival Dave Miley and the Irishman’s British-based PR firm but insiders say the main challenge is now expected to come from Indian ITF board member Anil Khanna, a man who resigned as treasurer of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee in 2010 in the wake of allegations his son’s firm secured contracts for laying synthetic courts at the tennis stadium.

While Miley’s camp believe they can pick up votes in the later rounds, Haggerty is now the hot favourite among many in tennis circles to remain in post.


Dave Haggerty (R) is looking likely to win another term at this Friday's ITF presidential election

It is safe to say that Crystal Palace victories at Manchester United have been a rare event in recent times, with the Eagles’ last win before last month coming in 1989.

No surprises, then, that Palace chairman Steve Parish was a little too exuberant with his celebrations for the liking of some of the punters sat close to the directors’ box during their 2-1 victory- so much so that words were exchanged and a steward was sent in to have a polite word.

Eyebrows have been raised among a number of black former footballers at the backing Peter Beardsley’s solicitors say he had from former team-mates Andrew Cole, Les Ferdinand and John Barnes.

The view among some is that Newcastle Under 23s coach Beardsley, found by an independent FA panel to have called one black player ‘a monkey’ and subsequently suspended, should have been lambasted, and not supported.


Peter Beardsley has been banned from football for 32 weeks for racist and abusive language

Netflix and Amazon are battling it out for the rights to make a documentary about the 2021 British and Irish Lions Tour to South Africa. 

Neither of the streaming services are bidding for the live rights to the Lions Tour, which remain on the market with Sky Sports again expected to win the package, but both are eager to expand their sports documentary content following recent successful forays into football.

The classic Living with Lions documentary about the 1997 tour to South Africa is available on Amazon, although that is not thought to be a factor in the bidding process.


Netflix and Amazon want to make a documentary about the 2021 British and Irish Lions Tour

Former Kent and Derbyshire cricketer James Graham-Brown has built a reputation as a fine playwright under the name of Dougie Blaxland following works on the sad demise of England cricketer Colin Milburn and the jailing of Chris Lewis for drug smuggling which went on tour earlier this year.

Now, Graham-Brown has switched his attention to football in the shape of a powerful drama on Laurie Cunningham, the West Bromwich Albion star of the late 1970s and member of the famous Three Degrees who became the first Englishman to play for Real Madrid.

Getting the Third Degree, commissioned by Kick It Out to recognise its 25th anniversary, starts its tour of the country at Bristol’s Wardrobe Theatre on October 22

Contributors: Matt Hughes, Sami Mokbel and Jack Gaughan


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