The Plymouth County Fairgrounds are the host site this week for the 41st annual National Traditional Country Music Association’s convention.The music festival’s coordinator, Robert Everhart, says old time country and gospel music is being performed from morning into the nighttime in Le Mars:Audio Playerhttp://kscj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/COUNTRY.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC………every day. ;06Everhart says the annual traditional country music festival attracts fans and performers from around the globe:Audio Playerhttp://kscj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/COUNTRY2.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC……..from Newfoundland. :16The music festival coordinator says the traditional old country music sound carries a common theme with gospel music:Audio Playerhttp://kscj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/COUNTRY3.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC………..church without walls. :12The festival continues through Sunday in Le Mars.
AUTHORITIES HAVE CONFIRMED THAT A HOUSE FIRE AT 417 ROSS STREET EARLY LAST TUESDAY WAS DELIBERATELY SET.SIOUX CITY FIRE OFFICIALS SAY THE INCIDENT IS BEING INVESTIGATED BY THE SIOUX CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT AS A CRIMINAL ACT.THE TWO-STORY, SINGLE FAMILY HOME WAS VACANT AT THE TIME OF THE FIRE.ALL THAT WAS INSIDE WERE SOME TOOLS, AS THE OWNERS WERE IN THE PROCESS OF FIXING UP THE RENTAL PROPERTY.THE HOME HAS BEEN RED-TAGGED BY CITY OFFICIALS.NO ARRESTS HAVE BEEN MADE YET REGARDING THIS CASE.ANYONE WITH INFORMATION REGARDING THE FIRE ARE ASKED TO CONTACT THE SIOUX CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT AT 279-6440.
Mercy Medical Center will have a new look and name going forward.Mercy Health Network officially changed its name Friday and unveiled a new brand to be known as MercyOne.Beth Hughes is C-E-O of Sioux City’s MercyOne:Audio Playerhttp://kscj.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/MERCY1.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC……..care of our patients. ;26MercyOne has 18 owned and joint venture medical centers and hospitals, as well as more than 420 clinics and related care facilities employing over 20,000 workers:Audio Playerhttp://kscj.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/MERCY2.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC……..the state. :11Previously, the system’s facilities were represented by dozens of different brand names and logos.
An Iowa House committee will not advance a bill about the crime of fetal homicide that defines personhood as starting at conception.It means the bill is tabled for the remainder of the 2019 legislative session and not eligible for debate.The bill, which passed the Iowa Senate last week, would have increased the criminal penalty for a person who “causes the death of an unborn person” without consent from the mother.Republican House judiciary Chairman Steven Holt of Denison says with a Friday deadline looming for a committee vote on the bill, House members didn’t have enough time to get answers to all their questions.Audio Playerhttp://kscj.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/HOLT.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC…….term ‘unborn person. :10Holt supports the bill and he says lawmakers may consider it next year.Opponents say the proposal could provide the path to a ban on abortion.………………..
N’Golo Kanté Kante ruled out of France’s final World Cup qualifier with thigh injury Joe Wright Last updated 2 years ago 18:44 10/8/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images France France v Belarus Crystal Palace v Chelsea Chelsea Premier League WC Qualification Europe Didier Deschamps is unsure over the extent of the Chelsea midfielder’s injury but ruled him out of Tuesday’s game against Belarus N’Golo Kante will miss France’s final World Cup qualifier against Belarus on Tuesday after sustaining a thigh injury.The Chelsea midfielder was forced off in the first half of Saturday’s 1-0 win in Bulgaria with what appeared to be a hamstring problem.Italy 11/2 to beat Albania 2-0 Article continues below Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. Head coach Didier Deschamps is unsure of the severity of the injury but will certainly not risk him at Stade de France.”No, I can’t count on him for the next game,” he told a news conference. “When you go out with a muscular issue… it’s something behind his thigh.”France went ahead with just three minutes gone through Blaise Matuidi but struggled to assert their dominance after Kante’s departure and Deschamps felt the balance in the side was damaged when the 26-year-old limped off.”N’Golo had a crucial part to play, obviously,” he said. “After N’Golo’s injury, Adrien Rabiot came on in the same role, maybe not with the same quality as N’Golo.”N’Golo’s injury perhaps disturbed us. It’s not something against Adrien, but just the fact that we found ourselves short of strikers after N’Golo came off.”The news is a concern for Chelsea ahead of a packed run of fixtures throughout October.The Premier League champions travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday before resuming their Champions League campaign with a home game against Roma next week.Antonio Conte’s side then play three more matches in the space of a week, against Watford and Bournemouth in the league and Everton in the EFL Cup.Striker Alvaro Morata is also nursing a hamstring injury and midfielder Danny Drinkwater has yet to make his first appearance since signing from Leicester City due to a calf problem.
Netherlands Netherlands join England, Germany and Spain in top Nations League division Chris Myson Last updated 2 years ago 18:49 10/11/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Netherlands England Sweden WC Qualification Europe France Germany Spain Iceland and Croatia will also join Europe’s biggest footballing countries in the top division of UEFA’s new international competition England, France, Germany and Spain are among the 12 teams confirmed as participants in the top division of the new UEFA Nations League competition.France 11/2 to win WCPortugal, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Iceland and Croatia are also in League A. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. The inclusion of Netherlands, who make the cut despite failing to qualify for Euro 2016 and the upcoming World Cup, may come as a surprise, the line-ups having been decided according to teams’ position in the UEFA coefficient rankings as of October 11.League B contains Austria, Wales, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine, the Republic of Ireland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic and Turkey.Scotland, Norway, Greece and Serbia are among 15 countries in League C, while the 16-team League D includes minnows like Liechtenstein, San Marino and Gibraltar, along with sides such as Belarus and Macedonia. League Teams A Germany, Portugal, Belgium, Spain, France, England, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Iceland, Croatia, Netherlands B Austria, Wales, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine, Republic of Ireland, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Northern Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Turkey C Hungary, Romania, Scotland, Slovenia, Greece, Serbia, Albania, Norway, Montenegro, Israel, Bulgaria, Finland, Cyprus, Estonia, Lithuania D Azerbaijan, Macedonia, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, Latvia, Faroe Islands, Luxembourg, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Liechtenstein, Malta, Andorra, Kosovo, San Marino, Gibraltar Each league will see the teams split into separate groups, with Leagues A and B splitting into four groups of three teams.At the end of the first Nations League, teams will be promoted and relegated from each division.Winners will be crowed at the Nations League finals in June 2019, while there is also a route to Euro 2020 available for the top-ranked teams in each of the four leagues who do not qualify for the competition through the regular qualifying groups.The draw for specific groups in the Nations League, which will largely replace international friendlies, will be made on January 24, with the first games taking place next September.
MLS Media Microscope: MLS TV ratings experience slight uptick in 2017 Seth Vertelney 00:55 11/16/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Vincent Carchietta MLS In an industry that is struggling to retain viewers, the league is encouraged by its growth in recent seasons Major League Soccer’s television ratings still don’t exactly leap off the page.In comparison with North America’s other four major professional sports leagues, MLS lags far behind the NFL, MLB and the NBA in average viewership, and trails the NHL by a more modest amount.But while MLS is lacking in terms of raw figures, it does have one accomplishment in recent season to hang its hat on: growth. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player In an industry that’s rapidly hemorrhaging viewers from broadcast to digital platforms – or sometimes just losing them entirely, MLS saw its overall TV ratings increase, if only modestly, in the 2017 season.Here’s a look at the numbers for the 2017 MLS regular season on the league’s three U.S. television partners:ESPN: Viewership on ESPN and ESPN2 combined was slightly down in 2017. MLS matches on ESPN and ESPN2 averaged 272,000 viewers in 2017, compared to 274,000 in 2016.Fox: Fox and Fox Sports 1 combined to average a five percent increase in viewership in 2017 (236,000 average viewers in 2017 versus 224,000 in 2016).Univision: The league’s Spanish-language partner showed a five percent growth on numbers from matches on Univision and UniMas combined (265,000 in 2017 versus 252,000 in 2016).Overall, the 2017 MLS regular season delivered 26.3 million gross viewers across all U.S. networks, up four percent versus 2016.Again, these numbers in and of themselves are nothing to write home about. But MLS is a unique case in the professional sports TV landscape, with many other North American leagues losing viewers year-over-year.The NHL, which is the major North American league closest to MLS in terms of viewership, averaged 467,000 viewers across NBC and NBCSN last season. That figure is roughly double what MLS games bring in, but it was also down seven percent from the previous season.The NHL isn’t the only league to see a decline in its viewership. The NBA experienced a similar drop last season, and the NFL continues to make headlines with its TV numbers dropping over the last two seasons after a decade of seemingly unstoppable increases. “We have year-over-year growth. That’s not a story that everyone in the industry is able to tell right now,” MLS senior vice president of media Seth Bacon told Goal.“[TV numbers going] up in this day and age is something that we’re very proud of and very bullish on because we’ve done a lot of work with our partners internally at the league to make sure that every year we have the story of continued growth.”That growth can be attributed to any number of factors, but a major reason overall MLS TV ratings have increased every year since 2014 is that matches are simply available to more people now than ever before.For example, in 2015 there were just eight MLS matches broadcast on ESPN, with 26 games on the less-distributed ESPN2. In 2016 and 2017, though, those numbers flipped, with a large majority of ESPN’s MLS matches now broadcast on its flagship network.Last season, Fox began showing games on its broadcast network for the first time, with four matches on over-the-air Fox. That trend continued with five matches in 2017 and will likely carry over to 2018 as well.And Univision broadcasted six matches on its over-the-air channel in 2017, when it had only featured games on its cable networks in recent seasons.Shifting matches to channels with higher distribution has been key for MLS in recent seasons, and Bacon, who joined the league in 2014, has been given credit for helping get broadcast partners on board with this change.“We’re continuing to be very smart and data-driven with how we build our schedule,” Bacon said. “Making sure that we’re looking at the right lead-in opportunities, the right programming windows, the right marketing opportunities, where the right audiences will be.”There have been some successes in recent seasons, but how will MLS ensure its numbers continue to grow in 2018?It’s a World Cup year, which has the potential to bring huge viewership totals if MLS can utilize its Fox partnership to schedule World Cup-MLS doubleheaders.“There will be more Fox broadcast events next year, and we’re hoping to take advantage of some World Cup lead-ins,” Bacon said. “There’s a lot of opportunity for us to schedule in a very smart way and that will hopefully continue to build the audience.”Of course, there is one big caveat for MLS next summer: For the first time since the league existed, the U.S. won’t be at the World Cup.Recent World Cups have provided a boost for MLS, but will the absence of the U.S. stifle that potential growth next summer? Bacon remains optimistic.“The World Cup is the most relevant soccer tournament in the world, we know it’s going to be a huge event,” Bacon said.“Onward for us and we think it’s going to be a great year because more people are going to be talking about the sport of soccer in the United States and Canada.”
Real Madrid Real Madrid notch largest European away win in 39 years Goal Last updated 1 year ago 06:13 11/22/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(1) Getty Images Real Madrid UEFA Champions League APOEL v Real Madrid APOEL Zinedine Zidane’s men made easy work of APOEL on Tuesday, led by Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid’s 6-0 victory at APOEL on Tuesday night was their largest away win in the Champions League/European Cup since 1978.Zinedine Zidane’s men steamrolled the Cypriot side behind doubles from Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo, clinching a berth in the Champions League round of 16. Dabblebet’s CL odds here Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player The win marked the largest European margin of victory away since the Blancos defeated Luxembourg side Progres Niedercorn 7-0 in September 1978.6+ – Real Madrid have registered their biggest away win in Champions League/European Cup since September 1978 (7-0 vs Progrès Niedercorn). Steamroller. pic.twitter.com/OkHHEKjUys— OptaJose (@OptaJose) November 21, 2017The two-time defending Champions League winners will have to settle for second place in their group, however, with Tottenham’s 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund securing top spot in Group H.
Hirving Lozano Lozano showing superstar potential for high-flying PSV Peter McVitie Last updated 1 year ago 16:00 11/25/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty PSV Excelsior v PSV Excelsior Eredivisie Opinion The 22-year-old has made an immediate impact in Netherlands for a side sitting clear at the top of the Eredivisie PSV knew they were getting something special when they lured Hirving Lozano to Eindhoven, but no one expected such an electrifying start from the 22-year-old.Even those who had witnessed Mexico’s most promising attacker blossom in his homeland with Pachuca were shocked.PSV -1 4/5 v Excelsior Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player “He has been extraordinary, even above the expectations we had,” his former side’s sporting director, Marco Garces, told Marca this month. “We always knew that Hirving was a great player, he had everything to prove it in Europe, but the scoring ability that he has shown is above what he showed here. It fills us with pride.”After knocking back Manchester City to secure immediate first-team football in his first voyage to Europe, the winger quickly emerged as the Eredivisie’s star player and has been nominated for the CONCACAF Player of the Year award after finishing runner-up last time.It took just eight league matches for him to reach a tally of nine goals and three assists and Dutch pundits are already caught up in the excitement of speculating the price a superpower will have to pay to get him after just one season. TV show Studio Voetbal started the estimates at €70 million.Man City are said to still be interested, and Arsenal have reportedly highlighted him as a potential successor to Alexis Sanchez.Just a few months into his six-year contract, however, Lozano has settled with his family in Netherlands and is just getting started with a team that has taken a surprise hold of first place in the Dutch top flight.Phillip Cocu’s side have collected 33 points from 12 matches, scoring an incredible 38 goals, and Lozano has been a big inspiration.His pace, skill and directness make him a devastating threat, but his neat passes make him useful in building quick attacks and opening chances for others.”Making and creating something, that is of course his greatest quality,” Cocu said in October. “He is still a young player and busy learning all facets of European football.“It’s great to work with him and he has so much quality that he can make a difference.”As Lozano shines amid a flourishing attack, PSV have emerged as a favourite for the Eredivisie title.After last season’s third-place finish, some big summer departures and an early elimination from Europe, a tough campaign was expected for Cocu’s team.Instead, they are on form reminiscent of the Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnadum-led side that lifted the crown in 2014-15 and again have an attack that is proving difficult to contain for Dutch defences.They are eight points clear of main rivals Ajax and 14 ahead of reigning champions Feyenoord, who have won just one of their last nine games in all competitions.A 2-0 loss at Heerenveen in week four has been the only negative for them, but they recovered with a 1-0 win over Feyenoord. A 7-1 trouncing of Utrecht followed and they scored at least three in each of the next five before scraping to last week’s victory at fourth-placed PEC Zwolle.Not focused on dominating possession, instead, quick, fluid attacks are central to PSV and they have the right attackers to make it work.Joint-top of the Eredivisie goal chart with Lozano, Jurgen Locadia is again a vital player after falling in and out of the team in recent years and a lengthy injury spell last term. The PSV academy graduate is dangerous as he lingers in the box, and although he is capable of fabulous goals, his tendency to shoot from distance is frustratingly wasteful.On his third loan spell at the Philips Stadion, Marco van Ginkel has been vital for their attack. The midfielder steams towards opponents’ boxes and picks out team-mates while continuing to chip in with goals – already netting seven this term.Uruguayan attacker Gaston Pereiro and Steven Bergwijn are key in supplying chances to Locadia and Lozano, while Luuk de Jong has become useful again despite his ongoing struggles in front of goal as he helps link the attack together.Their record of 13 goals conceded is a good one at this stage, and Cocu has settled on his ideal back four, while Jorrit Hendrix is impressing at the base of the midfield, but teams like Heerenveen, Feyenoord and PEC have been able to put them under pressure.PSV can be exploited, but Feyenoord showed clear defensive weaknesses last term and stayed top of the table all season.Issues await Cocu’s side, however, as a few injuries will force him to call upon talented but untested youngsters that may struggle to click with their fast attacks.A few slip ups will prove costly as Ajax are showing signs of stabilising after some early wobbles under Marcel Keizer. Like PSV, they are already out of Europe and have a strong enough squad to build on last week’s 8-0 win over NAC Breda. Last year’s Eredivisie and Europa League runners-up need to get either Kasper Dolberg or Klaas-Jan Huntelaar firing regularly up front and improve their pressing, but they will likely pull closer to the frontrunners soon.PSV still have a lot to prove in their bid for the Eredivisie title as they await Ajax to push them further, but with Lozano, Locadia and Co. impressing, they are showing real credentials a third of the way into the campaign.
Primera División One-club man! Messi’s contract finally banishes Barcelona’s Neymar demons Ben Hayward Last updated 1 year ago 22:33 11/25/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(25) Getty Images Primera División Valencia v Barcelona Valencia Barcelona Opinion The Argentine is staying at Barcelona until 2021 after the official photograph was finally taken on Saturday, marking a happy ending to a tough year There is only one crisis in Catalunya now. While the political situation in the region remains tense after the declaration of independence from Spain, FC Barcelona’s problems appear to be in the past. And Lionel Messi’s new contract has rounded off what has been a great second half of 2017 for the Blaugrana.There was doom and gloom when Barca missed out on La Liga to Real Madrid last season and saw their Champions League hopes ended with a second successive quarter-final exit as Luis Enrique left the club.Messi hat-trick 13/2 v Valencia Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player And that was only the start. In a turbulent transfer window, Barca not only failed to bring in top target Marco Verratti, but also lost Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain in a move that shocked the football world.Then came the Supercopa series against Madrid in August and a 5-1 aggregate defeat made Gerard Pique admit: “For the first time in my time here, they are superior.” And after the 2-0 loss at the Santiago Bernabeu, a bombshell: Messi’s signature was still missing from the contract agreement Barca had announced amid much fanfare in July.President Josep Maria Bartomeu, who survived a censure motion (or vote of no confidence) brought forward by former candidate Agusti Benedito in September, tried to reassure fans that everything was in order and said the official photo would be taken as soon as the opportunity arose.Weeks went by, however, and there was still no news. And despite the constant claims from the Blaugrana that the deal was done, supporters were worried that Messi could walk away for free in 2018 (when his previous agreement was due to expire) and start negotiations with interested clubs in January.On the pitch, meanwhile, Ernesto Valverde has set about building a Barca team very much in his image, with Messi at the forefront. Somewhat against the odds, the Catalan club lead La Liga handsomely after 12 matches, having won 11 matches and drawn the other, and top their group in the Champions League.Not only are they unbeaten, but Barca have conceded only five times all season – the same amount they had let in over two games against Real Madrid in the Spanish Supercopa. And Messi has led from the front, with 16 goals from 19 games and 12 from 12 in La Liga.The Argentine picked up the Golden Shoe award on Friday for finishing as Europe’s leading goalscorer in 2016-17, with no questions about his contract allowed by the event organisers.But on Saturday, Barca confirmed (again) that it is all agreed and, this time, signed as well. “FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi signed on Saturday morning a new contract that will keep the Argentine superstar at the club through the 2020-21 season,” the Blaugrana said in a statement.His release clause rises to a whopping €700 million, meaning he is now set to see out the rest of his career at Camp Nou after winning 30 trophies and scoring 523 goals in his 14 seasons. Bartomeu wrote on Twitter: “We are in luck with the Barca players. We continue to enjoy the best player in the history of football.”And Messi said: “I’m happy to stay linked to the club. I always said this was my home and I’m happy to continue here.”After a few difficult months in the middle of the year, everything is rosy again now at Barcelona and Messi’s renewal is the best possible end to a successful second part of the year for the Catalan club. Now, the fans will hope he can help them to triumph again both at home and in Europe.
A harrowing home defeat by Tottenham on Sunday left Chelsea eight points adrift of the Champions League qualification places with seven matches to play. Although the meagre consolation of the Europa League awaits, next season would be the second in three spent outside Europe’s premier club competition. So what could be the ramifications?Finances will take a hitFailure to qualify for the Champions League will affect income, even with the sums generated through Premier League media rights. The club’s most recent financial figures, covering a 2016-17 campaign spent out of Europe altogether, serve as a gauge. They show revenues rose by £32m, yet that was less than half the increase recorded by Manchester United (£82m), Arsenal (£72m) and Manchester City (£66m), who were competing in the Champions League. Match-day incomes fell 6% to £66m and, although the Europa League awaits, those games will not attract the same glitz, glamour or gates. A club who made £193m between 2012 and 2017 from playing in Europe will inevitably suffer another downturn. Share via Email Pochettino used to bow to Chelsea but now Tottenham dictate the terms Listen Share on WhatsApp There will be an impact on retaining key players and the current staffChelsea retained their best players after the trauma of 2015-16 but, two years down the line, concerns centre on their Belgians. Thibaut Courtois enters the last 12 months of his contract in July and, although talks are scheduled to resume in the summer, a goalkeeper consistently linked with a return to Spain may not be quite as keen to re-sign if the immediate future comes without the perk of Champions League football. Eden Hazard’s deal does not expire until 2020, with Chelsea apparently willing to offer him the most lucrative terms in their history, but he seems intent on waiting to see if Real Madrid’s long-standing interest crystallises into a firm offer.Squad strengthening may be harderChelsea thrived in the summer of 2016, prising N’Golo Kanté from Leicester, with David Luiz and Marcos Alonso also added, so they have strengthened without the Champions League factor in the recent past. Theirs is a relatively young setup and hardly in need of a radical overhaul, which is just as well because recruitment would be a challenge. They have spent relatively heavily in recent windows, for all Conte’s complaints, albeit with money recouped for players such as Diego Costa and Nemanja Matic. The problem has arguably been the reluctance to secure stellar arrivals – Conte was after established pedigree – and the size of the revamp instigated in each window, with so many ins and outs. The senior squad hardly feels significantly deeper than it did two years ago. This will be a shorter summer window, crammed largely into the post‑World Cup period, which will bring its own complications to be confronted at present without a technical director. Marina Granovskaia has held informal talks with prospective candidates to replace Michael Emenalo but the club do not appear certain quite what the role will entail. Whether that lack of clarity proves a hindrance remains to be seen. Share on Pinterest Antonio Conte Chelsea Topics Spurs end Stamford Bridge curse as Manchester City close on title – Football Weekly Read more features Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Champions League Share on Messenger More pertinently perhaps, so will the club’s reputationIn October Chelsea’s commercial director, Chris Townsend, targeted doubling revenues to more than £650m over the next seven to 10 years “to be a top-four or -five club in Europe [by revenues], rather than ranked eighth”. The aim was to increase the number of sponsors from 12 to between 30 and 35 premium brands, plans considered highly ambitious in a market where clubs such as Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid boast a significant head start. It would, according to Townsend, “allow Chelsea to invest more in players”. Yet will prospective sponsors find Chelsea as attractive without the Champions League? At a time when Roman Abramovich is hoping to push through a £1bn redevelopment of Stamford Bridge, a scheme likely to require significant outside investment, the suspicion that Chelsea have regressed into a club who flit in and out of Europe’s elite competition would be damaging.Will the pursuit of a new head coach be affected?The chances of Antonio Conte remaining next season were remote even if the team achieved a top‑four finish, given his relationship with the hierarchy has long since fractured beyond repair. The Italian was plucked from his national association by a club apparently on their knees but the worry remains that the recruitment of an elite successor may be hampered without Champions League football. Certainly any faint hopes of luring Mauricio Pochettino across the capital would have to be abandoned. Luis Enrique might not be overly concerned at life outside the European elite in the short term but his contract at the Camp Nou in his previous position is understood to have been worth far more than Conte’s £9.5m a season. Thomas Tuchel is apparently not under consideration, though other young coaches may come into the hierarchy’s thinking. A club who go through two-season managerial cycles may have to sell a long-term project to prospective candidates. Share on Facebook Reuse this content
Wimbledon 2018 Serena Williams into Wimbledon final to set up chance of 24th major title Twitter … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share via Email Reuse this content features Tennis Pinterest John Isner celebrates winning his quarter-final against Milos Raonic. Photograph: Ben Curtis/AP Share on Messenger Read more Share on LinkedIn John Isner will play no-Trumps but a lot of aces in his first Wimbledon semi-final on Friday as, despite a cheeky invitation this week from the flagpole-tall American, the president and the first lady will be having afternoon tea with the Queen at Windsor Castle at about the time Big John puts his umpteenth free point past Kevin Anderson.Isner, at 33 and 6ft 8in, has played the most consistent tennis of his life over the first 10 days of this tournament and declared after beating Milos Raonic in the quarter-finals on Wednesday: “It’s by far the best grand slam I’ve ever played in my career, and I’ve been playing for 11 years. From my very first practice … I knew I was in a good spot. Physically I’ve felt awesome.” Share on WhatsApp Since you’re here… Support The Guardian Wimbledon Rafael Nadal Not only has he cracked 161 aces, more than anyone else and 48 ahead of Anderson, who is no slouch with ball in hand, but he has topped the tournament table for accuracy, landing 405 of 535 first serves in the box, conceded only seven break points and saved them all, way above the average of 64%, and has won all his 95 service games. That is scarily good, especially with the ball arriving at the other end at up to 144mph.While Trump would have been a distraction in the royal box – especially if the wind were to cut through his hair spray – the 15,000 sunbathers on Centre Court instead have a double bill of Isner and Anderson at 1pm, followed by the main course, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.It is fair to say the first semi-final will feature less subtlety than the second. Neither Isner nor the 6ft 8in South African (who lives in Florida with his American wife and has applied for dual citizenship) will go gently. Anderson has served pretty well, too, though not with quite the non-stop intensity of his friend and rival.They played each other at college – still the main nursery for professional tennis in the United States – and have met 11 times on the Tour. Isner leads their head-to-head record 8-3, including their only match on grass, at Queen’s eight years ago, but most of those have been close.Anderson comes to the final Friday with the biggest possible boost after coming from two sets and match-point down to beat the eight-times champion, Roger Federer, in a heart-stopping match on No 1 Court, the Swiss’s first visit there since 2015. He will probably not want to go back.Isner and his wife are expecting their first child in September and he says: “There’s a lot of very cool things going on right now, life-changing things.” He said the only time he has played on Centre Court was during the London Olympics, and admitted: “I have no clue what that court looks like. I played Roger in 2012. I can’t really remember it.” He lost in straight sets – with a tie-break, of course.But, for all that Isner is on a high, literally and figuratively, Anderson’s win over Federer could be the key to this match. It has dramatically boosted the sometimes fragile self-belief of one of the game’s most amenable souls. It will be close – and tough on the backboards.Nadal is similarly battle-hardened after outlasting Juan Martín del Potro in the best match of the men’s draw so far, a judgment handed down from the BBC commentary box by Andy Murray.After smoothly slicing through his first four matches the five-set struggle over four hours and 47 minutes, the longest of the tournament, was probably Nadal’s perfect preparation for Djokovic, who will test his stamina and movement in entirely different ways, with swift changes of direction rather than raw power and, if it is singing, his serve. Share on Twitter Novak Djokovic It will be their 52nd meeting and, as Nadal reminded everyone, nobody in the game has such a rivalry. Djokovic leads by the single victory.“It’s always a big challenge to face Novak,” Nadal said (probably for the 51st time). “He is one of the more complex players that I’ve ever seen in our sport.”He is that – in more ways than one. Djokovic has had the air of a troubled man for most of this tournament and has been reluctant to talk about his serial flare-ups on court, against officials, fans, his box and himself.But, as he said after bawling and bashing his way past Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals, he can use that psychological energy to find an edge – yet it did not sound wholly convincing. It is true he is most dangerous when fired up but there are better ways to do that than screaming at the chair umpire or his team.Still, he has played some superb tennis this fortnight. Murray said the other day it would not surprise him if Djokovic went on to win his fourth singles title here. And he could be right. Share on Pinterest Facebook Topics Share on Facebook
Topics Share on Messenger This has been Liverpool’s most successful Premier League campaign, but it could easily not have been. According to expected points — a metric that estimates how many points a team should have earned from each game — Jürgen Klopp’s men have collected 12.6 more points than was expected from them, more than any other team this season. Datablog As if football fans needed any more drama this week, Liverpool and Manchester City will battle it out for Premier League glory on Sunday. It will be the ninth time the title has been decided on the season’s final day since the Premier League’s inception in 1992-93. City were involved in the closest finish to date in 2012, claiming their first title after two stoppage-time goals meant they pipped Manchester United on goal difference. United’s 89 points, would have been enough to secure the title in 14 other seasons.Further history will be made on Sunday: never before has a team recorded 90 points or more in the Premier League and not been crowned champions. It’s more common elsewhere in Europe – Barcelona and Real Madrid have finished second in La Liga with at least 90 points a combined seven times since 1993, and Napoli finished behind Juventus last season despite reaching 91 points. Liverpool’s sensational comeback against Barcelona in the Champions League this week showed how strong they have been at Anfield this season. A win against Wolves will extend their home unbeaten streak in the league to 40 games. Only Chelsea have a longer streak – 86 games between 2004 and 2008. City, though, have been even better. They will finish this season with the most points at home. Share on WhatsApp Liverpool Share on Twitter Liverpool and City have been embroiled in a thrilling race for most of the season, one that will remind fans on Merseyside of the last time they came this close to winning the title. With just three games left in the 2013-14 season, Liverpool held a five-point lead at the top of the table. But a Steven Gerrard slip against Chelsea and then a three-goal collapse against Crystal Palace allowed City to beat them at the last.Liverpool were reeled in this season during a six-game stretch between January and March, in which Jürgen Klopp’s side dropped eight points. That came after a 2-1 defeat by City in the first game of the new year, Liverpool’s only loss of the season. A win would have given them a 10-point lead at the top. Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook Share via Email Manchester City features Premier League Share on Pinterest Reuse this content