News, Culture & Society

SPORTS AGENDA: Cornelius Lysaght uses his whip on BBC boss after controversial departure in April

Cornelius Lysaght has admirably kept his counsel since his controversial departure from BBC Radio 5 Live in April.

However, the much-respected former racing correspondent could hold back no longer when director of radio and music James Purnell announced his own exit last week. 

Former Labour MP Purnell was widely viewed as the senior power responsible for the culling of quality, experienced journalists (including Lysaght) as part of the broadcaster’s neurotic drive to target a youth audience.

Cornelius Lysaght kept his counsel since his controversial departure from BBC Radio 5 Live

In a spectacular Twitter assassination, Lysaght said he doubted anyone at the Beeb was ‘vaguely sorry’ to see him go, before referencing the former PM Tony Blair protégé’s role in a failed coup against Gordon Brown, the shrinking of his constituency’s majority when he took over and the doctoring of a photo showing him outside a hospital during a visit when he was, in fact, not there.

‘Hate is too big a word for me but his talentless contribution to BBC is surely regretted by many,’ added Lysaght for good measure.

Whether a change of direction following Purnell’s departure ensues remains to be seen. 

Some believe the 50-year-old, who is going to the University of Arts London, decided to leave after failing to land the Director General role, which was always an unlikely prospect given his political past.

Much fawning from the cycling press over the performance of Team Ineos’s Tao Geoghegan Hart, who won the Giro d’Italia, and the input of general manager Sir Dave Brailsford.

Anyone would think that there was not an ongoing medical tribunal involving former medic Dr Richard Freeman which is painting, at best, a murky picture of the culture and practices of Ineos forebears Team Sky, along with British Cycling.

Last week, we heard the revelation from ex-doctor David Hulse that he feared new protocols on intravenous recovery and intravenous hydration — written up by Freeman — could lead to breaches of the World Anti-Doping Code.

Indeed, Hulse left a short time later. So now we have the delivery of banned testosterone, issues with three laptops and concerns over potential rule breaches — all on Brailsford’s watch. Still, as long as Ineos do well…

There has been much fawning after Team Ineos's Tao Geoghegan Hart won the Giro d'Italia

There has been much fawning after Team Ineos’s Tao Geoghegan Hart won the Giro d’Italia

The nervous noises over the Spanish-led takeover of Wigan Athletic continue to get louder. Earlier this month, a number of staff at the League One club were informed they had two choices. 

The first was a 30 per cent pay cut. The second was redundancy. These are people whose salaries make up a fraction of the wage bill. 

The latest concerns have been flagged to the EFL who have already been made aware of other potential issues. Other groups continue to watch with interest.

The nervous noises over the Spanish-led takeover of Wigan Athletic continue to get louder

The nervous noises over the Spanish-led takeover of Wigan Athletic continue to get louder

Les Reed is due to exit his role as FA technical director next year but he continues to play a key role in post-Brexit negotiations with the Premier League. 

Reed and the FA have been keen to lower the number of foreign players permitted from 17 to 23 in a 25-man squad.

Interesting, then, that in a 2016 interview while at Southampton, Reed stated: ‘If we were to introduce quotas and dampen it down a bit to give English players more opportunity, we might be taking that opportunity to develop away from them’.

Les Reed is due to exit his role as FA technical director next year but is still playing a key role

Les Reed is due to exit his role as FA technical director next year but is still playing a key role

Lots to digest from Manchester United’s figures last week, with focus rightly placed on the impact of Covid and the staggering rise in the club’s debt. 

What went largely under the radar, however, was the continued expansion of the organisation’s staff levels. In 2004, 504 people worked for United. That figure now stands at 1,000.

Meanwhile, one of those 1,000 appears to have made a favourable impression on one of United’s stars. Juan Mata addressed an all-club meeting last week, and participated in a Q and A. 

The Spaniard was asked who he had missed most from the club during football’s suspension. Would it be one of his teammates or his manager? 

No. Mata answered almost instantly that Kath Phipps, the long-serving receptionist at United’s Carrington training ground, was the person who he had been looking forward to seeing the most when they returned.

Manchester United's Juan Mata addressed an all-club meeting and participated in a Q and A

Manchester United’s Juan Mata addressed an all-club meeting and participated in a Q and A

Danny Welbeck had to get Watford’s approval before sealing his free transfer to Brighton. 

Part of his termination deal at Vicarage Road required him to get Watford’s approval before joining his next club. 

The diligent Hornets were happy to let him make the move rather than any of their Championship rivals.

Danny Welbeck had to get Watford's approval before sealing his free transfer to Brighton

Danny Welbeck had to get Watford’s approval before sealing his free transfer to Brighton

Michael Vaughan appears to be a conflicted man when it comes to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

As this column reported, the former England cricket captain was given a dressing down for a breach of bubble protocol at Old Trafford, missed day one of a Test after being forced to follow protocols after a trip to Northern Ireland and was absent for more than half of a T20 fixture as he was stuck in the Ageas Bowl car park awaiting his test result.

Given the above, the fact that he described a story that the chief medical officer said 90 per cent supported strong restrictions by the state as ‘utter rubbish’, posted a picture of a Spitfire and claimed he would like to turn the clocks back to 1940 when the country had b******s and posted a message that ‘I’m still wondering why we can’t make medicine for a virus that can be killed by sanitiser or soap’, one might think he is not particularly concerned over the virus.

None of the above, however, stopped him from retweeting a post from the hair restoration clinic, which he co-owns with Ryan Giggs, promoting its ability to offer private, Government-approved testing (for a fee, of course).

Michael Vaughan appears to be a conflicted man when it comes to the Covid-19 pandemic

Michael Vaughan appears to be a conflicted man when it comes to the Covid-19 pandemic

Former BBC man Richard Conway is clearly not afraid of taking on challenging projects in his new role as spin doctor. 

Fresh from the controversial Qatar World Cup, the ex-sports news correspondent is managing the comms for the ownership of both Manchester United and Liverpool over Project Big Picture. 

He was approached on an ad hoc basis after the story leaked, following his work with Liverpool in the run-up to the Club World Cup last December.

One reporter last week contacted Keegan Hirst, who in 2015 became the first rugby league player to come out as gay, for an interview. 

However, they were left stunned when the ex-Wakefield prop’s agent told them it would cost £10,000 for the privilege.

Keegan Hirst's gent told them it would cost £10,000 for the privilege of interviewing him

Keegan Hirst’s gent told them it would cost £10,000 for the privilege of interviewing him

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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