Beer Flows Again In England’s Pubs After Lifting Of COVID-19 Restrictions

Customers leave with pints of beer for takeaway at The Ten Bells pub in east London on June 27, 2020. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP
Customers leave with pints of beer for takeaway at The Ten Bells pub in east London on June 27, 2020. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

Some of the beer may be stale from sitting in kegs for over three months, but Britons were still eager to sip it as England reopened its beloved pubs as part of the next stage of easing the coronavirus lockdown.

“Gorgeous,” sighed Andrew Slawinski at a pub in northern London, echoing a sentiment possibly felt across the nation which shuttered its bars, cafes and restaurants in late March.

The government is trying to tease its key hospitality sector back to life on what has been touted as “Super Saturday”, with restaurants finally allowed to open their doors to customers again and barbers and hairdressers also able to get their clippers out.

Prince William got into the spirit of things, and was photographed visiting a pub in eastern England, but dutifully using hand sanitiser from a wall-mounted dispenser first.

The Spectator magazine warned against the dangers of drinking stale beer in pubs that were all shut in a hurry, suggesting that a pint actually might taste better on Sunday.

And Rishi Sunak, the finance minister, urged Britons to “eat out to help out”, pointing out that pubs and restaurants often employed younger people entering the jobs market for the first time.

“This is really about social justice,” said Sunak.

But safety was still at the front of many people’s mind and fear that social distancing measures could be forgotten as alcohol blood levels rise later in the evening.

“I’m no killjoy,” said Health Secretary Matt Hancock, “but the virus can still kill”.

‘Total chaos’

The first nationwide closure of pubs since the Great Plague of 1665 has contributed to a record slump in beer sales and compounded existing financial difficulties in the sector.

But takings could be up nearly 75 percent to £210 million ($262 million, 233 million euros) this weekend, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research, a think-tank.

It predicted 6.5 million customers — 1.5 million more than a usual weekend.

The British Beer and Pub Association said it hoped 80 percent of England’s 28,000 pubs could open but it could take 12 months or more for trade to return to normal.

“If 10 percent of them are profitable, that will be a surprise to us,” said chief executive Emma McClarkin, warning up to 18,000 drinking establishments were at risk of closure by the year end.

Some pubs are adopting a wait-and-see approach, as several surveys indicated many people were hesitant about mixing in larger groups.

In Newcastle, northeast England, where pubs are normally packed at weekends, just one in three city-centre pubs, bars and restaurants will be open, the local council said.

“We are genuinely concerned that this could be a day of total chaos for the pub trade,” the owners of the popular Tyne Bar on the city’s Quayside said in a tweet.

“We’ve decided it’s not worth the risk.”

Government guidelines insist on “minimum contact” between staff and customers, with table service only. Drinkers will also have to give contact details in case of any outbreak.

Britain has had some 44,000 deaths in the outbreak — the third-highest in the world — and concern remains about a second spike of infections as the lockdown is eased.

Pubs in Northern Ireland opened on Friday. A partial reopening is slated for July 13 in Wales and July 15 in Scotland.

Don’t blow it!

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called for the public to use common sense. “My message is, let’s not blow this now, folks,” he told LBC radio on Friday.

And he defended a weekend reopening, dismissing fears of raucous New Year’s Eve-style celebrations to mark the end of lockdown.

Health secretary Hancock told The Daily Mail that he would have a pint with his brother but would otherwise have a quiet night, describing how the crisis made him rethink his entire approach to life.

“People I admire and respect have died. Friends. I got off lightly,” he said in the sombre interview.

The hospitality industry and the emergency services have also warned the public not to overdo it.

Brian Booth, chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation representing rank-and-file officers, said alcohol-fuelled crime and added pressure on overstretched health services.

Local accident and emergency departments were “akin to a circus full of drunken clowns” before the outbreak. “We do not need this once again,” he added.

 

AFP

UK Govt Under Pressure To Lift Cricket COVID-19 Ban

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in central London on June 24, 2020, to attend Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs)a at the House of Commons – ˜ (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP)

 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was told “England is not England without cricket” by one of his own Conservative MPs on Thursday as the British government came under renewed pressure to lift a ban on recreational cricket during the coronavirus pandemic.

During a debate in Parliament, Peter Bone MP urged Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the House of Commons, to “persuade the chief umpire (Johnson) to stroll across from Number 10 next week” and announce the amateur game can resume.

International cricket is set to get underway for the first time since lockdown when England face the West Indies in a three-Test series starting at Southampton on July 8.

But the amateur game remains mothballed, with professional county cricket delayed until at least August 1.

Earlier this week, while announcing a lifting of lockdown restrictions on pubs and restaurants, Johnson said club cricket could not resume because the ball is a “natural vector of disease”.

But with social tennis and golf currently allowed, his comments were labelled “utter nonsense” by former England captain Michael Vaughan.

Many British politicians have been cricket lovers.

Clement Attlee, Labour’s Prime Minister in the years immediately after the Second World War had an agency ticker machine installed at 10 Downing Street so he could receive the county scores.

Alec Douglas-Home, briefly Prime Minister in the 1960s, played 10 first-class matches in the 1920s.

READ ALSO: UN Urges ‘Moratorium’ On Facial Recognition Tech Use In Protests

Meanwhile, another Conservative Prime Minister and cricket enthusiast, John Major, during a speech to rally support for his position of keeping Britain in the European Union in 1993, said that “fifty years from now, Britain will still be the country of long shadows on county (cricket) grounds, warm beer, invincible green suburbs (and) dog lovers”.

Bone, the MP for Wellingborough, central England, appeared to tap into that spirit on Thursday when he recalled visiting his local cricket club last weekend.

He said he had “heard the ripple of applause from the boundary and the occasional shouts of “owzat?'” before realising he was imagining it.

Bone added: “Up and down the country thousands and thousands of men and women and boys and girls are desperate to play competitive cricket.

“England is not England without cricket.

“Leader, would you persuade the chief umpire to stroll across from Number 10 next week and make a statement in this House that play can resume?”

Somerset supporter Rees-Mogg replied that few MPs missed cricket as much as he did.

“All my tickets to go to watch various Test matches across the course of the year, my visits to Taunton (Somerset’s headquarters), have all had to be cancelled,” he said.

“And worst still, there was a chance that Somerset might win the County Championship for the first time in its history.”

Rees-Mogg agreed the absence of cricket was a “real loss” but added “we have to be as safe as we possibly can be”.

AFP

England To Reopen Cinemas And Galleries In July

(FILES) In this handout file photo taken and released on April 29, 2020 by 10 Downing Street, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson is seen recording a video message for Captain Tom Moore’s 100th birthday, inside 10 Downing Street in central London.  Pippa FOWLES / AFP.

 

Cinemas, museums, and galleries in England will reopen on July 4 in the next phase of easing the coronavirus lockdown, the government said Monday, as infection and death rates continued to slow.

Venues will be asked to introduce social distancing measures including one-way systems, spaced queuing, increased ventilation, and pre-booked tickets, a Downing Street source said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will unveil the changes in a statement to parliament on Tuesday, and say whether hairdressers, places of worship, pubs, and restaurants will also be allowed to open.

He will also announce the outcome of a review into the rule that people stay two metres apart, which the hospitality industry and many lawmakers want cut to one metre, saying it is impractical and unnecessary.

Britain’s coronavirus outbreak has been the deadliest in Europe, but stay-at-home orders imposed in late March are slowly being eased as infection rates fall.

The death toll among people who tested positive for COVID-19 rose by 15 to 42,647 on Sunday, the lowest daily increase since March 15, although there is always a lag in reported deaths over the weekend.

Separate official data including suspected coronavirus deaths puts the toll at 51,804 to June 5.

A total of 958 people tested positive in the 24 hours to Monday morning, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock said only one in 1,700 people now had the virus, down from one in 400 a month ago.

“All of those figures are coming down and pointing in the right direction,” he told a daily media briefing on Monday.

“It shows that while there’s still much to do, we are clearly making progress.”

Some of the youngest children have already gone back to school and non-essential shops have reopened.

On Monday, Hancock announced plans to ease restrictions on 2.2 million people in England classed as clinically extremely vulnerable.

They had been asked to avoid all social contact, but from July 6 will be allowed to meet outside in groups as big as six from July 6.

From August 1 the entire “shielding” programme will be paused, although officials warned it could be restarted if the outbreak worsens in the winter.

 

AFP

Crowds, Queues As English Shops Reopen Post-Lockdown

Customers, some wearing face masks or coverings as a precaution against COVID-19, queue outside Selfridges department store on Oxford Street in London on June 15, 2020 as some non-essential retailers reopen from their coronavirus shutdown. – Various stores and outdoor attractions in England are set to open Monday for the first time in nearly three months, as the government continues to ease its coronavirus lockdown. Glyn KIRK / AFP.

 

Large queues formed outside shops across England on Monday as they opened their doors to customers for the first time in nearly three months after coronavirus lockdown measures were eased.

In London, crowds congregated outside the Nike store on Oxford Street, while Primark clothing stores in major cities such as Birmingham and Liverpool also saw long lines.

“I’m happy to be able to shop again after all this time,” said Precious, an 18-year-old student.

Visitors also returned to zoos and safari parks, places of worship were open again for private prayers, and some secondary school pupils returned to the classroom.

In the capital, commuters were forced to cover their faces on public transport network, while budget airline easyJet took off again for its first flights in 11 weeks.

Britain’s government has adopted a cautious approach to reopening but hopes that retail spending will boost the economy, with predictions of a recession looming.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak acknowledged anxieties, after a recent survey suggested just 40 percent of people were comfortable about going back into stores.

READ ALSO: Norway Suspends Virus-Tracing App After Privacy Concerns

“It’s a slightly different experience,” he said on Sunday. “But it is a safe environment and we should all be able to go out knowing that we should be able to shop in confidence.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, touring a shopping centre in east London on Sunday, said people should “shop, and shop with confidence”.

– Trainers and clothes –

All sites are having to comply with social distancing rules, which require people to keep at least two metres (six feet) apart, and wear face coverings when indoors.

Stickers reminding people of the rules to keep apart have been placed on pavements, footpaths widened, and streets cleaned.

Inside stores, layouts have been reconfigured to keep people apart, including restrictions on using changing rooms.

Masks and hand sanitiser have been made available, perspex screens put up at tills, and many outlets have insisted on no cash, to help reduce the risk of close-contact transmission.

Thelma Brennan, 60, emerged from Primark on Oxford Street laden with bags of summer clothes for her grandchildren.

“It’s fine. You have to queue,” she said but once inside, “you can circulate”.

But Alexander Hoyte, 31, said he was not happy at having to wait in such a large crowd to buy a new pair of Nike trainers — and they were sold out of his size.

“After so long being in lockdown, you allow people to queue, anyone can catch the virus like that,” he added.

Shops in Northern Ireland reopened on Friday. The devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales have not yet decided when to follow suit.

The non-essential retail sector employs some 1.3 million people and contributes £46.6 billion ($58.4 billion, 52 billion euros) to the British economy every year.

But last week, official data showed the economy shrank by a fifth in size because of stay-at-home measures imposed on March 23.

– Two-metre rule –

Nearly 42,000 people have died after testing positive for COVID-19 in Britain, a number third only to the United States and Brazil in the global pandemic.

But the toll is coming down, and on Sunday the government reported only 36 deaths in 24 hours — the lowest total since March 21.

Getting Britain back on track is seen as vital for Johnson and his government, which has been repeatedly criticised for its handling of the outbreak.

The phased reopening in England started with outdoor markets and car showrooms earlier this month, and some younger children returned to school.

Pubs, bars and restaurants are expected to reopen from July 4.

Ministers have faced criticism for failing to ensure that all primary school children return before the summer break in July, and pressure about relaxing the two-metre rule.

Business leaders want the distance reduced in line with other countries.

Johnson said the situation would be kept under review but said he did not want to jeopardise gains made in tackling the virus.

AFP

England Reopens Some Schools As Debate Rages About Lockdown Ease

Members of the public keep a 2-metre social distance as they queue in the car park to enter an Ikea store in Warrington, northwest England as it re-opens its doors following the easing of the lockdown restrictions during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic on June 1, 2020. – Paul ELLIS / AFP.

 

Schools partially reopened in England on Monday and the most vulnerable were allowed to venture outdoors, despite warnings that the world’s second worst-hit country was moving too quickly out of its coronavirus lockdown.

A death toll that now officially stands at 38,489 has piled political pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson — still basking in the glory of a thumping December election win when the pandemic reached UK shores.

Johnson spent much of the past week stamping out a scandal sparked by his chief adviser’s decision to drive to a picturesque castle with his family while everyone was under orders to limit outdoor exercise to an hour a day.

The furore over Brexit architect Dominic Cummings appears to have abated but concern about Johnson’s handling of the crisis remains.

His public support last week suffered the sharpest fall for a Conservative party leader in 10 years before recovering slightly in a poll published Monday.

– ‘Spreading too fast’ –

Johnson has set out a timeline that allows two million younger children to return to school on Monday and older ones on June 15.

But a survey conducted by the National Foundation for Educational Research found that primary school leaders expect about half the families to keep their children home.

The government is also allowing those most at risk of suffering serious consequences from the virus to spend time outdoors for the first time in two months.

READ ALSO: Philippines Capital Reopens Despite Rise In COVID-19 Cases

“I do not underestimate just how difficult it has been for you,” Johnson told the 2.2 million Britons who fall into the extreme risk category.

The UK government has also been encouraged by the positive experience of other European countries that have started to return to something resembling the old way of life.

But critics argue that the so-called R rate of transmission — estimated nationally at between 0.7 and 0.9 — was still dangerously close to the 1.0 figure above which the virus’s spread grows.

Parks and beaches were filled across England for the second successive weekend in what has been one of the driest springs in over 100 years.

Several members of the government’s scientific advisory group have warned that restrictions were being lifted prematurely.

“COVID-19 spreading too fast to lift lockdown in England,” scientific advisor Jeremy Farrar said on Twitter.

Minister Alok Sharma told the BBC on Monday that the “scientific advice does differ” but the overall view from the official body advising the government was that “we must do this cautiously”.

The group has more than 50 members and disagreements are to be expected — although public criticism of the government’s policies from its own advisers is relatively rare.

– Hurting the poor –

The scientists are not the only ones to express concern.

London’s Metropolitan Police Federation chair Ken Marsh said current rules such as those allowing people to gather in groups of six in England — but not sit on each other’s deckchairs — were unenforceable.

“I don’t think the public are taking much notice of what is laid down in front of them,” Marsh told The Daily Telegraph,

“They are doing it how they want to do it.”

National Education Union co-leader Mary Bousted said the government has had to revise its school reopening guidance 41 times since mid-May.

There were “things they had forgotten, things they didn’t know, and things they got wrong (and that) had to be added in”, Bousted told Sky News.

The schools will only start reopening in England because each of Britain’s four nations follows its own health guidelines.

Scotland is waiting until August and Northern Ireland is eyeing September, while Wales is still making up its mind.

Communities minister Robert Jenrick argued a return to school was essential because a lack of classes and lunch provision was hitting disadvantaged families especially hard.

AFP

English Women’s Football Season Declared Over Amid Pandemic

(FILES) This file photo taken on June 01, 2017 shows Paris Saint-Germain’s French defender Laura Georges (L) receiving a yellow card from referee Bibiana Steinhaus during the UEFA Women’s Champions League final football match between Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain at the Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, south Wales, on June 1, 2017. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

 

The 2019/20 season in the top two tiers of English women’s football was called to an end on Monday by the Football Association (FA), but no decision has yet been made on how final standings will be decided.

“The FA Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship Board has today confirmed the decision to end the 2019/20 season,” the FA said in a statement.

“The FA Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship Board has been in regular consultation with clubs and key stakeholders from across both leagues to identify the most suitable and appropriate way to conclude the 2019/20 season, and to give clubs and players the clarity and support they need at this time.”

The cost involved in providing testing kits to complete the season was a major hurdle for even the top level of the women’s game to overcome.

Manchester City led the Super League when the season was called to a halt in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, Chelsea would be crowned champions if the points-per-game formula applied in several men’s leagues across Europe is applied.

The Blues were just a point behind City at the top of the table and had played one games less.

At the other end of the division, Liverpool could be relegated as they ended the season bottom of the 12-team league.

Brighton and former England manager Hope Powell believes Liverpool should be saved from the drop by the possibility to extend the league to 13 teams next season.

Aston Villa finished the season six points clear at the top of the Championship.

“For me personally, (the preferred outcome is) points-per-game with no relegation,” said Powell, whose side finished the season in ninth.

“It would be hugely unfair to relegate a team when the season hasn’t been able to be played out through nobody’s fault. The most important thing, for me personally, is not to relegate.”

City and Chelsea would qualify for next season’s Champions League based on points-per-game.

“The FA Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship Board has discussed various recommendations which will be sent to The FA Board to determine the most appropriate sporting outcome for the 2019/20 season,” the FA’s statement continued.

“This will include identifying the entries for the 2020/21 UEFA Women’s Champions League, which would be based on sporting merit.”

British Government Eyes Mid-June Premier League Return

File photo of an empty stadium.  PHOTO: Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Britain’s Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is hopeful the Premier League can resume by mid-June despite concerns raised by players and coaches over the need for an extended period of training before matches restart.

Premier League clubs are meeting on Monday to sign off on protocols that will allow a return to training this week, whilst maintaining social distancing guidelines.

The last top-flight match in England was on March 9 and Newcastle manager Steve Bruce said on Sunday his players could “fall down like a pack of cards” with injuries if matches return before the end of June.

England international Raheem Sterling also expressed his concern at a quick turnaround between a resumption of training and playing matches.

The Premier League have reportedly been aiming for a return on June 12.

Dowden insisted public safety remained the priority, but is also hoping a restart is only around a month away.

“I had some very constructive discussions on Thursday with the FA, the EFL (English Football League) and the Premier League,” Dowden told Sky News on Monday.

“We are working hard with them to try and get it back, aiming for mid-June, but the number one test is public safety.

“They, like a lot of other sports we’re looking at returning behind closed doors, have met with Public Health England several times to look at the safety.

“If we can sort that out then we will look to resume by mid-June. We’re making good progress.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told parliament last week that the return of sport on TV would “provide a much-needed boost to national morale”.

The resumption of Germany’s Bundesliga over the weekend has raised expectations that the Premier League can follow suit despite the drastically different scale of the health crisis in both countries.

In the UK, the government’s official rolling tally of fatalities is nearing 35,000 compared to just under 8,000 in Germany.

Nevertheless, the Bundesliga is proving a test case for the Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’.

English clubs who resisted a proposal for the remaining 92 matches of the campaign to be played at neutral venues will have been heartened that there were no significant problems with supporters turning up near stadiums in Germany for the restart.

If the protocols are passed in Monday’s meeting, Premier League players can return to non-contact training later in the week.

However, former Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro warned of the risks being taken with players’ health without yet knowing the consequences COVID-19 could have on athletes.

“We simply do not know how the virus affects athletes,” said Dr. Carneiro.

“From my experience, football does not have a culture of embracing and observing medical governance which, now more than ever, is required to ensure compliance.

“Not only in the short-term, but in the medium and long term, when fatigue with the new protocols sets in.”

AFP

Amid Coronavirus Lockdown, England’s National League Plays On

UK To Boost African Partnership With £30m

 

With the rest of European football locked down in response to the coronavirus, England’s fifth-tier National League provided a controversial respite for fans looking to satisfy their craving for sport on Saturday.

The growing threat of the deadly pandemic forced the Premier League, the Championship, League One and League Two to suspend play on Friday until at least April 3.

But, unlike elsewhere across the world, large gatherings in public are yet to be officially banned by the British government.

So, in the grassroots of the English game, there were still matches being played as the fifth division decided their fixtures would go ahead, for this weekend at least.

Although National League games at Barrow, Boreham Wood, Bromley, Woking and Yeovil were eventually postponed due to COVID-19 fears, nearly 5,000 fans watched Notts County beat Eastleigh 4-0 on Saturday.

However, the decision to keep playing has been divisive, with Eastleigh manager Ben Strevens accusing the National League of greed.

“The reason National League games went ahead and the EFL games didn’t go ahead and the Premier League games didn’t go ahead is because whoever sits on the board of the National League cared about money. Simple as that,” he said.

“I looked around today and there’s stewards that are older. They’re the ones that are most at risk from this virus.

“There’s no way whatsoever these games should have been played.”

National League chief executive Michael Tattersall refused to be drawn into a war of words, saying: “It’s not really a time for having an argument, it’s a time for reflecting on what’s happening in our society.

“We’re going to put out our own statement thanking everybody for their efforts and sending everybody who is suffering from the virus or self-isolating all our best wishes.”

The mood was calmer at Halifax as 2,154 fans saw the promotion-chasing Yorkshire club beaten 1-0 by Ebbsfleet.

Halifax fan Gary Pell, 56, spoke to AFP from the Three Pigeons pub, where supporters gathered before the match.

“It’s a bit surreal,” he said. “We were looking at the fixture list and every country in Europe has its fixtures as postponed or cancelled.

“It’s really strange seeing the National League games and a couple of other leagues still on.”

In a bid to capitalise on the lack of games elsewhere, Halifax let fans of Premier League and Football League clubs into The Shay for just £10 if they could prove they were season-ticket holders.

Two Manchester City fans, who would have been watching their team play Burnley but for the postponements, told AFP they wanted to take in a match to get their football fix.

One Ebbsfleet fan posed in a face mask and rubber gloves in the pub, but more in jest than for safety.

No other supporters were seen in protective masks, while a sign in one stand reminded fans to wash their hands.

Pell said his fellow supporters were doing their best to keep calm about the global health crisis.

“I think there is a bit of pragmatism. We’re taking note of the advice but there’s also a sense of ‘keep calm and carry on,” he said.

“If it carries on they will be under pressure to ramp up precautions. I think the next few weeks are going to be key.”

The possibility of cancelling the season has been raised in some quarters.

That prospect could be financially disastrous for clubs lower down the pyramid.

Fifth tier Dagenham’s managing director Steve Thompson, whose team’s trip to Woking was cancelled, agrees with the concern: “Yes, depending on how long it went on. Potentially, some clubs are not going to survive this.

“We’re talking £10 million to £20 million just to support the National League clubs over three or four months.”

England World Cup Winner Martin Peters Dies At 76

(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 30, 1966 England’s forward Martin Peters (16), followed by his teammate Roger Hunt, celebrates after scoring during the World Cup final on July 30, 1966, at Wembley stadium in London. STRINGER / AFP

 

 

Martin Peters, who scored England’s second goal in the 1966 World Cup final against West Germany, has died aged 76 following a long battle against Alzheimer’s disease.

Peters, whose death was announced by former club West Ham, was part of the Hammers trio of captain Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat-trick in the 4-2 victory at Wembley, for England’s only World Cup triumph.

Hurst described Peters as “one of the all-time greats”.

“On behalf of everyone at West Ham United, we would like to express our deep sadness at the tragic loss of Martin Peters, one of the greatest figures in the 125-year history of our club,” a statement from the Premier League club said.

“Martin represented everything that we hold dear to our heart at West Ham United — a local boy who progressed through the academy ranks, played football with class, skill and determination, and provided out supporters with a host of magical memories over the years.

“The fact that he went on to achieve the pinnacle of the beautiful game by winning the World Cup, along with his West Ham team-mates Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst, is of course a constant source of pride for our football club and something that will never, ever be forgotten.

“It has been tremendously sad to hear of the health battles Martin had faced in recent years. But he faced them with the same courage and dignity that he showed on the pitch throughout his long and illustrious career.

“The word ‘legend’ is used all too freely nowadays. But Martin Peters is a true legend. A legend of West Ham United. A legend of World football. And his contribution to our club and our game will never, ever be forgotten.”

Peters, who won 67 England caps and scored 20 goals, is the fifth member of England’s World Cup-winning side to pass away after Alan Ball, Ray Wilson, Gordon Banks and Moore.

Hurst mourned the loss of Peters, hailing his old team-mate as one of England’s finest players.

– ‘All-time great’ –

“Today is a very sad day for football and for me personally. Martin Peters was one of the all-time greats and a close friend and colleague of mine for in excess of 50 years,” he tweeted.

“A fellow World cup final goalscorer and my West Ham partner for years along with Bobby Moore. RIP old friend.”

Peters came through the West Ham academy, having signed as an apprentice in 1959 and went on to help the east London club win the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965.

Renowned as the complete midfielder, Peters was good in the air, able to cross with either foot and possessed great movement.

His ability to drift into goalscoring positions unnoticed by his markers would see him nicknamed ‘The Ghost’.

He later joined Tottenham as Britain’s first £200,000 midfielder in 1970, in a deal which saw Spurs’ all-time record scorer Jimmy Greaves going in the opposite direction to West Ham.

At Spurs, he won two League Cups and the first UEFA Cup in 1972 before spells at Norwich and Sheffield United were followed by his retirement in 1981.

Tottenham said they were “extremely saddened” to hear of Peters’ death, tweeting: “The thoughts of everyone at the club are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

In 2016, it was revealed Peters had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

A statement from Peters’ family said: “A beloved husband, dad and grandad, and a kind, gentle and private man, we are devastated by his loss but so very proud of all that he achieved and comforted by the many happy memories we shared.”

A tweet from the official England account read: “We’re deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Martin Peters MBE, scorer of the Three Lions’ second goal in the 1966 World Cup final, at the age of 76. Our thoughts are with Martin’s family and friends at this difficult time.”

AFP

England To Host Italy In Euro 2020 Warm-Up

England’s forward Harry Kane (C) speaks with the referees during a temporary interruption of the Euro 2020 Group A football qualification match between Bulgaria and England due to incidents with fans, at the Vasil Levski National Stadium in Sofia on October 14, 2019. NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV / AFP

 

England will step up their preparations for the Euro 2020 finals with a friendly against Italy at Wembley in March, the Football Association announced on Monday.

Gareth Southgate’s men will face the four-time world champions on Friday, March 27 before a match four days later against Denmark, also at Wembley.

England will then travel to play Austria in Vienna on June 2 before hosting Romania on June 7 at a venue in England that has yet to be confirmed.

The Italy game is designated as “The Heads Up International” in support of the FA’s charitable partnership with Prince William’s Heads Together mental health initiative.

England will face Croatia and the Czech Republic in Group D at Euro 2020 as well as the winner of the play-off path featuring Scotland, Israel, Norway and Serbia.

All three fixtures will be played at Wembley.

Italy, European champions in 1968, have been placed in Group A at next year’s finals and will play all three of their pool games, against Turkey, Switzerland and Wales, in Rome.

AFP

Winks, Mount Net First England Goals In Kosovo Rout

England’s Harry Winks (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying Group A football match between Kosovo and England in Prishtina on November 17, 2019.
Robert ATANASOVSKI / AFP

 

England wrapped up their impressive Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a 4-0 rout of Kosovo on Sunday as maiden international goals from Harry Winks and Mason Mount ensured they will be among the top six seeds in next year’s tournament.

Gareth Southgate’s side booked their Euro 2020 berth by thrashing Montenegro 7-0 on Thursday and they finished a dominant run by dispatching Kosovo in Pristina thanks to goals from Winks, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Mount.

Although England weren’t at their best, it was a rewarding finale for the Group A winners, who clinched the high seeding that should help them avoid a tough group in the finals.

Winks’ maiden England goal, in his sixth appearance, was the key moment before second-half strikes from Kane and Rashford and Mount’s first international goal.

READ ALSO: Defending Champions Portugal Qualify For Euro 2020

With all three of their Euro 2020 group games and the semi-finals and final being played at home for England, the 2018 World Cup semi-finalists will go into the November 30 draw as one of the main contenders for the trophy.

In contrast to the racist abuse that marred England’s qualifiers in Montenegro and Bulgaria, the gratitude still felt in Kosovo for the United Kingdom’s involvement in the country’s liberation, after the Kosovan war in the 1990s, was clear to see.

Before kick-off, the stadium announcer addressed the crowd with the words: “We always appreciate your support in the most difficult days. Twenty years on, we are here as equals. God bless you England.”

Kosovo supporters shouted the names of the England players and held up the flag of St George cards.

The loudest cheers were reserved for Sterling, who was back in the England team after the winger was dropped against Montenegro following his clash with Liverpool’s Joe Gomez in the canteen of England’s training base on Monday.

Sterling had England’s first sight of goal when he took Kane’s pass and made space for a stinging strike that drew a solid save from Arijanet Muric.

Kane Milestone

With footing on the Fadil Vokrri Stadium pitch proving difficult, England struggled to find their rhythm at times and Kosovo’s Milot Rashica took advantage to test Burnley keeper Nick Pope, who was making his first start.

Winks supplied the breakthrough in the 32nd minute when the Tottenham midfielder ran onto Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s pass, evaded the obligingly slow-to-react Kosovo defence and slotted home with ease.

Throughout a comfortable qualifying campaign, the main concern for Southgate has been England’s erratic defending and they were nearly exposed when Amir Rrahmani was left unmarked to head just wide early in the second half.

That shaky rearguard creaked again moments later as Rrahmani found himself in acres of space but headed woefully wide with the goal at his mercy.

England’s class told in the second half and Kane hit the post with a snap-shot from Sterling’s pass.

The same pair linked up for a milestone second goal in the 79th minute.

Sterling eased past his marker and sent in a deflected cross that England captain Kane finished off at the far post.

Kane has netted in all eight qualifiers and is the first England player for over 90 years to score 12 international goals in a calendar year.

It was also England’s 35th goal of the qualifying campaign, breaking their previous record total from the 2010 World Cup qualifiers.

There was still time for Rashford to slot home from Sterling’s pass in the 83rd minute before Mount took Kane’s delivery and coolly finished in stoppage time.

AFP

Liverpool’s Joe Gomez Suffers Sore Knee Injury

England's defender Joe Gomez warms up ahead of the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying first round Group A football match between England and Montenegro at Wembley Stadium in London on November 14, 2019. Adrian DENNIS / AFP
England’s defender Joe Gomez warms up ahead of the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying first round Group A football match between England and Montenegro at Wembley Stadium in London on November 14, 2019. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Liverpool full-back Joe Gomez’s rollercoaster week, from the high of beating Manchester City last Sunday to being booed at Wembley on Thursday, ended with him missing England’s final Euro 2020 qualifier in Kosovo due to a sore knee.

The 22-year-old — whose Liverpool team-mate Jordan Henderson also misses the trip to Kosovo with a viral infection — featured in the headlines earlier in the week after City striker Raheem Sterling confronted him at England’s training centre on Monday, the day after Liverpool’s 3-1 victory over City.

Gomez was booed when he came on as a substitute in the 7-0 mauling of Montenegro, while Henderson missed it due to a one-match ban.

Victory assured England of a place at the finals.

“Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez will miss England’s final UEFA EURO 2020 qualifier in Kosovo on Sunday,” read a statement from the Football Association (FA).

“Henderson arrived in camp with a viral infection that has not fully cleared.

“Meanwhile, his Liverpool team-mate Gomez sustained a knock to the knee in training on Friday and has not recovered sufficiently enough to travel.

“The pair have returned to their club meaning the Three Lions will head to Pristina on Saturday with a 23-man squad.”

England may have assured themselves of a place in the finals but Southgate wants a win on Sunday to ensure they are seeded in the top six.

Sterling is expected to play a role after being dropped for the Montenegro game due to the Gomez incident, for which he apologised.

Kosovo will be in the play-offs next March having progressed through the Nations League, so their dream of reaching a first major tournament finals is still alive.

 

AFP