Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

September 9, 2004

High time Becks packed his bags

Filed under: EURO 2004 — Ivan @ 6:43 am

The News Review:

* ESPNsoccernet – World Cup – Sven expects Beckham to start
* Determination to see Irish through
* UEFA Champions League Group E
* High time Becks packed his bags
* Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan
* Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan
* Neighbors clash in Piraeus Campaign begins in Sarajevo
* Culture & Lifestyle | 09.07.2004 Greeks Won’t Prevent…
* Morrison has hidden agenda
* German Soccer | 09.09.2004 Confident Germany Hold Brazil in Friendly…
* Inside Soccer: Balance of power shifting in Europe
* Makelele hints over France future
* Vieira sent off in France victory
* Scots need full marks – Fletcher
* Button out to repel invaders
* Big boys bounce back in World Cup qualifiers
* Speed fired-up for England showdown
* BBC SPORT | Football | Internationals | World Cup round-up
* William Hill raises virtual roulette stake
* Time to heal the wounds

ESPNsoccernet – World Cup – Sven expects Beckham to start
go.com – Sep 7, 2004
‘Steve Gerrard has claimed England are under ‘massive’ pressure to win tomorrow evening, but Eriksson was adamant his team would remain optimistic. ‘I should be very surprised if we had one footballer thinking like that (about defeat). ‘They are not afraid of losing, I don’t think so, I hope not. Of course I think they can win. ‘I think the team spirit is as strong as Euro 2004. The group is very solid, very confident [but] disappointed after the second half on Saturday. ‘Eriksson also reiterated he was not feeling the pressure and did not fear the sack should his team not perform in Katowice, although he conceded the possibility of him being axed grows larger the longer he remains in charge.

Determination to see Irish through
eleven-a-side.com – Sep 8, 2004
The Irish manager has not named his side yet, but is unlikely to make two many changes, although he has a decision to make as to who will fill the left back position after John O?Shea was ruled out through injury. The position looks likely to go to either Hearts defender Alan Maybury or Liverpool?s Steve Finnan. Despite performing poorly in the Euro 2004 group stages that saw them lose their three matches, Switzerland are not a bad side and their 6-0 defeat of the Faroe Islands last Saturday showed what they re capable of. Indeed the Faroe Islands might be regarded as the whipping boys of the group but their biggest defeat in the Euro 2004 qualifiers was a 3-1 defeat away to Germany. The one bright spot the Swiss had in Euro 2004 was the arrival of 18-year-old Johan Vonlanthen who scored a hat trick against the Faroes last weekend and the PSV Eindhoven striker will take some watching by the Irish defence. Their main danger man is Hakan Yakin who despite not being fully fit when the sides met eleven months ran the game from the middle of the park and it will be an interesting tussle between himself and Keane. Switzerland are expected to adopt a 4-3-1-2 formation for tonight?s clash, while Ireland will stick with their tried and tested 4-4-2 leaving the match wide open for both sides to attack.

UEFA Champions League Group E
go.com – Sep 9, 2004
An influential member of the Czech Under 21 side which won the European title back in 2002, his game is based on his deft touch on the ball, excellent vision and no little stamina. At his best operating in an attacking role wide on the left but can also play through the middle. Was not included in the Czech squad for Euro 2004 but has been called up by national coach Karel Bruckner for the qualifying campaign for World Cup 2006. The Coach – Itzhak SchumPana fans have mixed feelings about their Israeli boss. Some regard him as a hero for leading the Athenian club to their first Greek league title in nine years; others are highly critical, slamming him for repeatedly using players out of position and his defensive tactics. Besides steering Maccabi Haifa to the 2002-03 Champions League, the 56-year-old has also coached Hapoel Kfar Saba, Hapoel Haifa, Beitar Tel Aviv and the Israeli Olympic team, as well as serving as an assistant with the national team. A former star midfielder for Israel, he won 53 caps for his country between 1969 and 1981, notably taking part in the 1970 World Cup finals and the 1976 Olympics Games in Montreal.

High time Becks packed his bags
manchesteronline.co.uk – Sep 9, 2004
And with United boys Alan Smith and Wayne Rooney quickly developing their embryonic careers, and City’s Shaun Wright-Phillips starting to look like a player with real international potential, the two “Madrilenos” should beware. It is the new kids on the block who are driving this England team forward towards the next World Cup. Iit was the 18-year-old Wayne Rooney at Euro 2004 and last night it was Jermaine Defoe, Wayne Bridge, Ashley Cole and Ledley King who made the biggest impression. In the run-up to the match Owen, probably unwittingly, likened himself and Beckham to Alan Shearer and Tony Adams, who appeared to be immune from the manager’s axe in the 90s. It may not have been a clever move, because it has focused attention even more sharply on the performances of England’s two biggest names. The criticism of Beckham after the game in Austria was crazy. He did not play that badly, in fact there were signs of the old Beckham, but once the two Austrian goals had gone in, he became a natural scapegoat… Iit was the 18-year-old Wayne Rooney at Euro 2004 and last night it was Jermaine Defoe, Wayne Bridge, Ashley Cole and Ledley King who made the biggest impression. In the run-up to the match Owen, probably unwittingly, likened himself and Beckham to Alan Shearer and Tony Adams, who appeared to be immune from the manager’s axe in the 90s. It may not have been a clever move, because it has focused attention even more sharply on the performances of England’s two biggest names. The criticism of Beckham after the game in Austria was crazy. He did not play that badly, in fact there were signs of the old Beckham, but once the two Austrian goals had gone in, he became a natural scapegoat. Such is the nature of superstardom. But the old Beckham, the one Manchester United fans remember, would have reacted to such stinging grapeshot with a display of defiance and class in Poland.

Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan
Daily Times – Sep 8, 2004
The two soccer heavyweights have not met since Brazil beat Germany 2-0 in the 2002 World Cup final and Klinsmann knows Wednesday?s match will be no ordinary contest. ?That fixture is a classic and every single player will be particularly motivated,? said the former Germany striker, who made his international debut and also won his 100th cap against Brazil. However, neither Klinsmann nor team manager Oliver Bierhoff regard the match in Berlin?s newly renovated Olympic stadium as a chance for revenge. For both it will be a first step on a path which, they hope, will lead the German team back to the same arena for the 2006 World Cup final. ?We want to know where the team stands 21 months before the 2006 World Cup, which is so important for German football,? said Bierhoff, like Klinsmann a former Germany forward… For both it will be a first step on a path which, they hope, will lead the German team back to the same arena for the 2006 World Cup final. ?We want to know where the team stands 21 months before the 2006 World Cup, which is so important for German football,? said Bierhoff, like Klinsmann a former Germany forward. Klinsmann, who took over from Rudi Voeller in the wake of Germany?s shock group stage exit from Euro 2004, presided over a 3-1 friendly win over Austria in Vienna in his first game in charge last month. Sport?s elite: Although they went on to hold England to a draw in a World Cup qualifier, Austria do not belong to the sport?s elite and Wednesday?s match against the ultimate soccer power will be far more relevant. Germany have not beaten a top team since a 1-0 victory over England at Wembley in October 2000, losing eight and drawing one of their nine games against prestigious opponents since. The three-times world and European champions still have potential and have a record of bouncing back from frustrating spells but on their current form it seems unlikely they will trouble Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and company. Klinsmann, who should opt for a starting line-up similar to the ones Voeller picked during the disappointing Euro 2004 campaign, urged his men to at least show initiative.

Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan
Daily Times – Sep 7, 2004
Poom will make his landmark 100th appearance for Estonia in their World Cup Group Three qualifier against Portugal, the country where efforts of other emerging countries at Euro 2004 persuaded him that he could fulfil his dream of playing at a World Cup or European Championship. In an interview with Reuters, Poom said: ?There is still a long way to go before we reach the finals of a major tournament but we have to look forward positively and we must be encouraged by Latvia and Greece. ?Like Estonia, our neighbours Latvia is also a young country but they showed what can be achieved by reaching the finals of Euro 2004 and Greece emphasised anything is possible by winning the competition despite being big outsiders. If we put lots of hard work in, believe in ourselves and also enjoy a bit of luck we could do something. We have a lot of catching up to do but we have to aim high… ?Latvia and Russia are also in our group which adds extra spice because they?re our neighbours but it?s very encouraging that we?ve made a good start to the campaign. ? Need more: He added: ?The problems we have in Estonia are a lack of facilities. There are not enough training facilities which is sad because more and more children want to play football. The facilities have not gone hand in hand with the rising interest in the sport and we still need more qualified coaches although that situation is improving. The colder climate is also a big factor because Estonia is not like England where you can play football all year round. ? Poom, 32, who stands 6ft 4in (1. 95 metres), started his career with Flora Tallinn and after a spell in Switzerland with FC Wil had a brief period at Portsmouth before moving to Derby County.

Neighbors clash in Piraeus Campaign begins in Sarajevo
Turkish Daily News – Turkish Daily News (subscription) – Sep 8, 2004
For perhaps the first time since the World Cup finals of 2002, Turkey goes in as the underdog despite that Greek defeat in Tirana. We all know the history. Turkey failed to qualify for Euro 2004 while Greece emerged from that competition this summer as the surprise champion. We all know, too, how that championship was achieved. German coach Otto Rehhagel has forged a Greek team which tackles tigerishly at the back, allows opponents minimal space in midfield and pressurizes them into errors at the back. Above all it is a team whose members work tirelessly and unselfishly for one another, a case of the whole being infinitely greater than a rather scrappy selection of parts. Defensive
But it is essentially a defensive team, one which achieves results less by playing well itself than by preventing the opposition from doing so… Service
Provided, of course, that he receives any service from midfield. In that sector, Greek captain Theo Zagorakis, the official player of the tournament at Euro 2004, will doubtless have gained great encouragement from watching the way Georgia managed to disrupt Turkey’s movement, mainly by playing tight on Emre Belozoglu. Emre needed support which he did not receive and Ersun Yanal has to address this problem. Surely the coach has to consider starting in-form Trabzonspor man Gokdeniz Karadeniz and playing him inside rather than wide on the right. Yanal also has his problems at the back where Turkey continues to show amazing vulnerability against high balls. With keeper Rustu Recber still nowhere near his best after returning to Fenerbahce from a wretched year with Barcelona, that vulnerability could prove fatal especially with the likes of the dangerous Angelos Charisteas playing up front for Greece. In such a high pressure game, Yanal might go for experience in defense by recalling Galatasaray veteran Bulent Korkmaz, provided Bulent has recovered from the illness which kept him out against Georgia.

Culture & Lifestyle | 09.07.2004 Greeks Won’t Prevent…
Deutsche Welle – Sep 7, 2004
One of the main obstacles between Otto Rehhagel and the job many other international coaches are avoiding like the plague was removed on Thursday when the Greek Football Federation announced that it would not force the country’s Euro 2004-winning coach to honor his contract, thus paving the way for “Rehakles” to take the reigns of the German team — if he chooses to. Greek football president Vassilis Gagatsis was quoted as saying that, although Rehhagel’s contract does not expire until after the 2006 World Cup in Germany, King Otto — just one of the terms of endearment he’s known by in Greece — could relinquish his Greek throne under certain circumstances. “In case the coach cites personal reasons and wants to disrupt his cooperation with us, we can’t keep him willy-nilly,” Gagatsis was quoted on the website of radio station Flash. “In such a case we must discuss it with him and see what can be done. I can’t rule out anything,” he said.

Morrison has hidden agenda
eleven-a-side.com – Sep 7, 2004
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Morrison has hidden agenda
September 7, 2004
The hostility between the Republic of Ireland and Switzerland has intensified ahead of their World Cup qualifier in Basel on Wednesday evening after Clinton Morrison accused Swiss striker Alex Frei of racial abuse. Morrison alleges that Frei made the comments to the Birmingham City striker during the sides meeting in Basel last October that the Swiss won 2-0 to send them to Euro 2004. The Swiss have won the last two meetings between the teams and Brian Kerr’s side are determined not to lose a third match, while Morrison believes the only way to hit back at the remarks is to win the match. Frei is suspended for tomorrow’s clash after he received a three-match ban for spitting at England midfielder Steven Gerard during Euro 2004 and Morrison is disappointed not to get the chance to come against the striker again. “We owe them one and, hopefully, we can take the form we showed against Cyprus forward and get another win,” said Morrison. “Alex Frei misses our game does he? Well I am a bit disappointed because he made a remark to me in the game, which I owe him one for.

German Soccer | 09.09.2004 Confident Germany Hold Brazil in Friendly…
Deutsche Welle – Sep 9, 2004
Germany had two chances to take the lead before halftime, but Gerald Asamoah and Philipp Lahm both shot poorly. The visitors pushed Germany in the second period with Ronaldo shooting high and wide after shaking free of newcomer Frank Fahrenhorst in one of the few opportunities in the second half. We can hold our own, says Klinsmann

Before the game, Klinsmann said it’s better to make mistakes than not to take any risks and the German side dictated the pace of the play for much of the match: “Yes we can play with them,” Klinsmann said, “and hold our own if we can keep the pace. ”

But it was anything other than a friendly match with much at stake for Germany. The three-time World Cup champions have not beaten a top-ranked team for nearly four years when they beat England 1: 0 in 2000. In addition, the Germans have received a lot of criticism since the Euro 2004 championships. But the 74,000 fans could sense the new self-confidence growing in the German side and reacted well to Germany’s game strategy of aggressive marking, risk taking, crisp offensive play and lots of running… ”

But it was anything other than a friendly match with much at stake for Germany. The three-time World Cup champions have not beaten a top-ranked team for nearly four years when they beat England 1: 0 in 2000. In addition, the Germans have received a lot of criticism since the Euro 2004 championships. But the 74,000 fans could sense the new self-confidence growing in the German side and reacted well to Germany’s game strategy of aggressive marking, risk taking, crisp offensive play and lots of running. Against a side rated number one in the world, it seemed to pay off.

Inside Soccer: Balance of power shifting in Europe
nwsource.com – Sep 7, 2004
Perhaps the shocker of the weekend was European Champion Greece falling 2-1 to Albania at Tirana. Albanian immigrants are the largest minority population in Greece and the win set off raucous celebrations. Albanian midfielder Klodian Duro was quoted as saying, “Let the world know we’re the best here,” and after the match fans paraded around with banners that read “This is not Portugal,” a reference to the Greeks’ stunning win in Euro 2004. In the Americas, the United States weathered a rough game that saw PSV Eindhoven winger DaMarcus Beasley get hacked, felled and even kicked in the face during a 2-0 win over El Salvador in Boston. But the shock of the day came in Kingston, where Jamaica lost to Panama on a last-minute goal from Julio Cesar Dely Valdes. Elsewhere, Mexico and St. Vincent were idle because of Hurricane Frances, while Canada, rebuilding under new coach Frank Yallop, proved its qualifying chances dismal after a 1-1 home draw against Honduras.

Makelele hints over France future
CNN International – Sep 9, 2004
The midfielder told some of his France team mates after their World Cup qualifier on the Faroe Islands on Wednesday that he was quitting international football, sports daily L’Equipe has reported. An ever present for Chelsea this season, Makelele did not play in the 2-0 win, so the 0-0 draw with Israel at the Stade de France last Saturday may have been his last match for his country, L’Equipe claimed. Makelele has not, however, made an official announcement about retiring. Coach Raymond Domenech will not be surprised by Makelele’s decision since he told the 31-year-old former Nantes, Celta Vigo and Real Madrid midfielder he was building for the future. Makelele was included in the squad for the qualifiers only because Arsenal’s Patrick Vieira was recovering from injury, according to L’Equipe. Vieira made his comeback against the Faroes but having been sent off his suspension against Ireland next month poses a new midfield problem… Makelele was included in the squad for the qualifiers only because Arsenal’s Patrick Vieira was recovering from injury, according to L’Equipe. Vieira made his comeback against the Faroes but having been sent off his suspension against Ireland next month poses a new midfield problem. France have lost the 1998 World Cup-winning back four of Lilian Thuram, Marcel Desailly, Laurent Blanc and Bixente Lizarazu, all but Blanc since Euro 2004, and playmaker Zinedine Zidane to international retirement. Makelele, although of the same generation, was usually a reserve for France, missing out on the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 and winning most of his 35 caps since 2002.

Vieira sent off in France victory
CNN International – Sep 8, 2004
Coach concerned"I’m concerned about what I saw today," Domenech told a news conference. "We should have showed much more will in the physical challenge. "If you are not capable of lifting your game you will find yourself in trouble. This was not a league match, this was not even a Champions League match. "This was something else. Something which is more demanding. Something which requires more will and more dedication… Walid Badir hit the winner on 74 minutes, heading home from a Yaniv Katan corner. A disappointing crowd of only 17,000 fans turned out on a night when Israel, who had been barred from hosting games due to the security situation in the region, returned "home" to Tel Aviv. Irish are heldSwitzerland and Ireland drew 1-1 in Basel as the Irish failed to avenge a defeat at the same venue last October that ended their hopes of qualifying for Euro 2004. Ireland took the lead in the ninth minute with a Clinton Morrison header but Switzerland dominated for long periods of the first half and equalised after 17 minutes with a strike from Hakan Yakin. Both sides switched to more defensive tactics in the second half and only Hakan Yakin’s long-range effort in the 68th minute, tipped over by Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given, threatened to break the deadlock.

Scots need full marks – Fletcher
Edinburgh Evening News – Sep 8, 2004
The Manchester United midfielder watched that debacle at home and knows the importance of getting the qualification process off to a winning start. Slovenia’s 3-0 win over Moldova on Saturday took them to the top of the section and will ensure they enter tonight’s match on a high. However, Fletcher believes Scotland’s encouraging friendly performance in Spain last Friday showed the team is hungry to make an early impact. And he believes next month’s double header against Norway and Moldova also offers the opportunity to set down an early marker as they bid to make it to Germany in two years’ time… He continued: “I think this group will be very hard-fought. I don’t think Italy will run away with it and the rest of the teams are likely to pick up points. “We’re not kidding ourselves either. We know we will drop points over the course of the group but if we can get them on the board early it will do our cause the world of good. ” Fletcher was clearly irked by the criticism which followed last month’s shambolic 3-0 friendly defeat to Hungary at Hampden. He believes Vogts and his players should be judged when the real stuff starts tonight – and not on non-competitive performances. And he believes the backing of the 30,000-plus fans who will attend the National Stadium tonight will be vital.

Button out to repel invaders
Telegraph.co.uk – Sep 7, 2004
The Cross of St George will adorn his head, replacing his usual Union Jack, an increasingly outmoded expression of nationhood. Failure has been a recurring theme of the English summer. Tomorrow, Button, 24, is invited to fill the vacuum created by David Beckham, Tim Henman and Michael Vaughan. His father, John, suggested that Button’s BAR team “send the boy out light. Stick him on pole, then work everything out from there”… Stick him on pole, then work everything out from there”. If only it were that simple. Button is one of four to have started on pole this season and not won. No matter how persuasive the indicators have been on Fridays and Saturdays, Ferrari have ridiculed them on Sundays. BAR have in their locker a number of developments this weekend that offer the promise of improved performance. The temptation to go with them at their home grand prix may prove hard to resist.

Big boys bounce back in World Cup qualifiers
abc.net.au – Sep 9, 2004
European champions Greece, though, served up another poor performance in a 0-0 draw against Turkey in Pireaus following their 2-1 defeat by Albania on Saturday, leaving them with one point out of six in Group Two. Portugal, who hosted Euro 2004 and lost in the final to Greece, maintained their excellent start to the qualifiers with a 4-0 drubbing of Estonia in Leiria – with all four goals coming in the last 15 minutes. Neighbours Spain, starting their qualifying campaign, looked out of sorts though, only managing a 1-1 draw in Bosnia in Group Seven after being outplayed for most of the match. Slovakia were the biggest winners of the night, beating Liechtenstein 7-0, while Romania maintained their perfect start in Group One by taking another positive step on the way to the finals in Germany in 2006 with a 5-1 win over little Andorra – their third win in three matches. However, the Netherlands, in the same group and playing their first competitive match under new coach Marco van Basten, served notice of their intentions with a 2-0 win over the Czech Republic in Amsterdam. Pierre van Hooijdonk scored both goals to avenge Holland’s 3-2 defeat to the Czechs at Euro 2004… Croatia won 1-0 in Gothenburg to take pole position in Group Eight with six points from two matches, with Darijo Srna scoring the only goal midway through the second half. France, held to a 0-0 draw by Israel in their opening Group Four match in Paris on Saturday, did not play all that well but did enough to beat the Faroe Islands 2-0 in Torshavn thanks to goals from Ludovic Giuly and Djibril Cisse, a ninth minute substitute for the injured Louis Saha. Saha was not the only English-based Frenchman who failed to finish, with skipper Patrick Vieira sent off in the second half after picking up a second yellow card for diving. It was the first time Vieira had been sent off for his country, but the 10th time in his senior career after nine dismissals with Arsenal since January 1998. Italy also won away to make it six points out of six, after a 1-0 victory in Moldova. Alessandro Del Piero scored the only goal of the game after 32 minutes – his first for Italy in over a year to put Italy top of Group Five. There were also wins for Finland, who won 2-0 in Armenia in Group One, Lithuania, who beat San Marino 4-0 in Group Seven and Ukraine, who won 2-1 in Kazakhstan in Group Two, the home country’s first competitive match as members of the European confederation UEFA after switching from the Asian zone two years ago.

Speed fired-up for England showdown
go.com – Sep 9, 2004
And their misery is compounded by the loss of Robbie Savage for three gamesafter the first red card of his life in the dramatic 2-2 draw with the nine-manIrish in front of 63,000 in Cardiff. Speed accepts Wales are under intense pressure now to get something from theOctober 9 clash with England. He said: ‘It is not a disaster but it means we must pick up points on theroad in October against England and Poland. ‘If we don’t people will say we are out of it, it has put more pressure on usand we only have ourselves to blame. ‘But we are looking forward to going to play England because we can’t performany worse than in the last two games. ‘It’s England and we have nothing to lose there so let’s go for it. ‘The game against the Irish hinged on the red card for Savage following theclash with Michael Hughes, who was also sent off… ‘He was angry because of the tackle because it could have broken his leg. ‘Wales boss Mark Hughes must address a situation where his side have failed todeliver in crucial big matches over the recent months. When Euro 2004 qualification was up for grabs they lost badly in Italy andwere beaten twice by Serbia while they also performed badly in their previousMillennium Stadium match when Russia beat them in the play-offs. They also find it impossible to win the second of double headers, this beingthe sixth time they have failed on that front. Hughes was equally upset by the tackle on Savage. ‘It was horrendous and whythe referee sent him off I have no idea. That completely changed the game, youprepare to try to see things coming but you do not expect that.

BBC SPORT | Football | Internationals | World Cup round-up
BBC News – Sep 8, 2004
Two goals from Pierre Van Hooijdonk, one in each half, were enough to see off the Czechs in Amsterdam. Romania stayed at the top of the group with a 100% record after breezing to a 5-1 victory over lowly Andorra. Florin Cernat put Romania on their way in the first minute, and two goals each from Daniel Pancu and Marius Niculae completed the job, although Marc Pujol’s penalty gave Andorra a consolation goal. Finland were not stretched as they secured a 2-0 win over Armenia, with the goals coming from Birmingham’s Mikael Forssell and Aleksei Eremenko Jr… Romania stayed at the top of the group with a 100% record after breezing to a 5-1 victory over lowly Andorra. Florin Cernat put Romania on their way in the first minute, and two goals each from Daniel Pancu and Marius Niculae completed the job, although Marc Pujol’s penalty gave Andorra a consolation goal. Finland were not stretched as they secured a 2-0 win over Armenia, with the goals coming from Birmingham’s Mikael Forssell and Aleksei Eremenko Jr. Group Two

European champions Greece continued their low-key start to their World Cup qualification campaign with a 0-0 draw against Turkey. An injury-time goal from Ruslan Rotan saved Ukraine’s blushes against Kazakhstan, securing a 2-1 win for a side missing star striker Andriy Shevchenko. And Georgia continued their encouraging start to qualification with a 2-0 win against Albania. Group Three

Portugal were held for 75 minutes by Estonia before cutting free with four goals in 15 minutes for a 4-0 win.

William Hill raises virtual roulette stake
Guardian Unlimited – Sep 7, 2004
In May the company said it would have 4,000 of the touch-screen terminals by the summer and did not “expect this number to vary significantly” by the end of the year. Analysts had questioned whether the bookmaker could sustain recent surges in gross win – the amount lost by punters – once the group had stopped installing the lucrative roulette machines… He cited “normal variations in UK horse racing results” for the decline in growth. Race meetings at Goodwood and York were singled out by Mr Harding as among the more disappointing events for bookmakers over the summer. A surprise Greek victory at Euro 2004, meanwhile, provided modest gains. William Hill floated two years ago, at 225p a share, when it had no roulette machines in its betting shops. Since a machine installation programme began, pre-tax profits have jumped by about two-thirds and the share price has more than doubled, taking William Hill into the FTSE 100 in April this year. Investor concern about the sustainability of this kind of growth was heightened in June when Mr Harding sold almost his entire holding, raising more than £5m in order to pay a divorce settlement. Some analysts recommended investors to “follow the leader”.

Time to heal the wounds
BBC News – Sep 9, 2004
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