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  • Drogba: I’m here for business

    first_imgJose Mourinho and Didier Drogba have warned the Premier League the striker’s Chelsea return is not a sentimental move. Press Association His 34 goals in European competition is a Chelsea record, as are his nine strikes in nine cup finals, and f ormer Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher hailed Drogba’s aptitude for the big occasion. “Looks like Drogba is back,” he wrote on Twitter. “Loved our battles, best big game player I can remember.” Much of the reaction to the move centred around Drogba’s extraordinary record against Arsenal. He scored 13 times in 14 appearances against the Gunners, with his goals crucial in securing 15 Premier League points, progress in the 2007 League Cup and the 2009 FA Cup and victory in the 2005 Community Shield. Broadcaster and Arsenal fan Piers Morgan wrote on Twitter: “Oh no. He’s back,” adding “King @ThierryHenry – we need you back. Urgent.” Both posts concluded “#Drogba”. “Didier’s coming because he’s one of the best strikers in Europe,” said Mourinho, himself in his second spell with the club, who originally signed the Ivory Coast international for £24million in 2004. “I know his personality very well and I know if he comes back he’s not protected by history or what he’s done for this club previously. “He is coming with the mentality to make more history.” Drogba, Chelsea’s fourth-highest goalscorer of all time with 157 goals in 341 appearances, cemented his place in club history by scoring first the equaliser and then the winning shoot-out penalty as they beat Bayern Munich in the 2012 Champions League final. And he said of his return: “It was an easy decision – I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to work with Jose again. “Everyone knows the special relationship I have with this club and it has always felt like home to me. “My desire to win is still the same and I look forward to the opportunity to help this team. I’m excited for this next chapter of my career.” Drogba’s first spell at Stamford Bridge, spanning eight years, produced three Barclays Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups and the prized victory over Bayern. The Blues favourite returned to Stamford Bridge on Friday on a one-year deal after leaving in 2012 for stints at Shanghai Shenhua and Galatasaray. He may be 36 years old but Drogba insists he is coming back to contribute to the club’s trophy ambitions – a sentiment echoed by manager Mourinho. last_img read more

  • Capitol catastrophe has happy ending for GSA boys’ basketball team

    first_img Latest posts by Taylor Vortherms (see all) ELLSWORTH — What do Muhammad Ali’s Olympic gold medal, Olympia Dukakis’ Oscar and the George Stevens Academy boys’ basketball team’s Gold Ball have in common?They’re not the originals.Ali lost his medal. Dukakis’ Academy Award was stolen. And GSA’s 2016 Class C state championship trophy was destroyed at the Maine State House.As has become customary for high school state champions, the GSA Eagles were invited to the Capitol on March 10.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textGSA assistant coach Matt Mattson says he received a call from the head coach, Dwayne Carter, before the trip, asking if they should bring the Gold Ball.After all, the team had been taking it everywhere. They showed it off at local schools and even dined with it at Dysart’s Restaurant and Sylvia’s Café.“I said, ‘Sure, why not?’” Mattson says. “In hindsight, that probably wasn’t a good idea.”The team was running late that Thursday morning. Carter says he hurried through the security checkpoint ahead of his players to greet their tour guide for the day.The agenda included sitting in on the Senate’s session, where the team would be recognized for its state championship. Afterward, they would pose for pictures with their Gold Ball.The Eagles followed their coach through the metal detector. Taylor Schildroth, a sophomore guard, carried the Gold Ball near the back of the line. Just Mattson and another assistant coach, Mark Ensworth, waited behind him.When it was Schildroth’s turn to walk through, a security officer told him the trophy needed to go through the X-ray scanner.Schildroth did as he was told. He placed the Gold Ball upright in the center of the conveyer belt, which Mattson estimates was less than 2 feet long.“It’s not this long conveyer belt where we just watched it,” Mattson says. “It all happened so fast.”But one second replays in Mattson’s head in slow motion — the one that would change the course of the entire day.Standing 6 or so feet behind Schildroth, Mattson watched the 15-year-old lower the trophy onto the belt. From his perspective, the Gold Ball appeared 2 inches taller than the square opening.In rapid order, the trophy touched down, Schildroth let go, and the guard pressed the button that turned on the machine.Mattson isn’t sure if the “No!” he screamed was in his head or out loud. Carter says it was out loud.Mattson lunged for the Gold Ball to tip it over on its side so that it would fit. But he says the miniature belt also operated in “turbo-speed,” allowing him no such chance.The trophy’s wide, heavy base prevented the Gold Ball from falling over when it reached the undersized hole. The top got stuck while its bottom continued forward until…Pop.The sound of snapping fiberglass silenced the corridor. Players who had already passed the checkpoint gathered around the other end of the machine. Their Gold Ball emerged through the rubber flaps in pieces.“For them, it was like a shattered dream,” Sen. Brian Langley says. “It probably felt how it would have to have lost the state championship. That’s what that ball represented.”Carter looked to Mattson, who he says appeared “white in the face.” Mattson looked to Schildroth, who he says was “horrified.”“Oh my God,” Carter recalls hearing the kids cry out. “They ruined the Gold Ball.”Unaware of the catastrophe that had just occurred, Langley waited for the team upstairs in the Senate. The players who had achieved the ultimate triumph just 12 days earlier arrived, appearing — as Langley recalls — “like kids who had just had their ice cream cone taken away.”Matt Mattson, assistant coach of the George Stevens Academy boys’ basketball team, holds the Eagles’ state championship Gold Ball after it was broken at the Maine State House on March 10. PHOTO COURTESY OF DWAYNE CARTER“You could just see how hard they had worked for that,” Langley says. “They were so proud to come and show it.”Langley says the trend of teams bringing awards to the Capitol is a recent one, so security protocol for screening Gold Balls had not yet been established.And while destroying a Gold Ball was a Statehouse first, Dick Durost, executive director of the Maine Principals Association, says the trophies do occasionally break.“It is fairly rare, although it does occur from time to time,” Durost said. “Usually the base will break or the bolts holding it together will snap off.”Five years ago, the MPA switched from ordering trophies made from a heavy, all-metal material to one that included plastic. The cost of the original Gold Balls, ordered out of a company in Rhode Island, had become prohibitive.Durost says the MPA found a better deal from a Massachusetts-based business called Dinn Bros., Inc., which cut the manufacturing price of the Gold Balls almost in half. Today, Durost says the MPA still spends more than $75,000 on trophies, plaques and medals each year.Langley, a member of the Education Committee, called Durost immediately after he learned of the trophy’s demise.“I think I have a problem, and you may be the only guy who can help me,” Durost recalls Langley saying.Awards in the style of Maine state championship Gold Balls can only be ordered through the MPA. Durost agreed to have a replacement made for the Eagles.Meanwhile, Carter remained downstairs, literally picking up the pieces. He carried the decapitated Gold Ball to the bus, attracting plenty of stares along the way.GSA coach Dwayne Carter decorated and mounted the state game ball to the base of the original trophy. PHOTO COURTESY OF MATT MATTSONCarter rejoined his team in time for Langley’s speech. In front of some 35 other senators, he discussed the Eagles’ season and their rise to the top. He then addressed the Gold Ball.“Fellow senators,” Carter recalls Langley saying. “What would be the worst thing that could happen to a state championship team being honored at the Statehouse?”Langley named a few examples of the Senate’s possible short-fallings, such as a fight over a budget or a government shutdown.“No,” he said. “It’s this team having their Gold Ball shattered.”“And then, there was this gasp,” Langley says. “If there is something every legislator understands around here, it’s high school basketball.”Langley then informed the team he had already ordered a new one. He also picked up the bill, which he says cost him a couple hundred dollars — a better alternative than running it through “bureaucratic hoops.”The day proved educational in a couple ways. Langley says the Statehouse learned that high school kids who bring in their Gold Balls “are not a real danger to the institution.” And the GSA team learned “to be careful about the hopes you pin on government.”But the most valuable takeaway from the Eagles’ visit to the Capitol was the story.Langley delivered the new Gold Ball to the team on April 1. Now, on a shelf in the school’s lobby, it sits next to the state game ball, which Carter decorated and mounted to the base of the original trophy.Carter also plans to break apart the sections of the original Gold Ball and give each player a piece.“In the end, they have a memento wherever they go,” Langley says. “As the years go on, the story will get grander and bigger.”Langley expects the tale to grow increasingly exaggerated. Eventually, the ball will have exploded, with shrapnel taking out bystanders. Mattson adds that even farther down the road, Schildroth will have saved his life by using the Gold Ball to shield Mattson from a bullet.“Regardless of what happened,” Mattson says, “it’s going to make a fantastic story for the kids.”Maine State Sens. Brian Langley of Ellsworth and Kimberley Rosen of Bucksport present the George Stevens Academy boys’ basketball team with a brand new 2016 Class C state championship Gold Ball on April 1. Langley bought the GSA Eagles a replacement trophy after security at the Maine State House accidentally destroyed the original during the team’s Statehouse visit on March 10. GEORGE STEVENS ACADEMY PHOTO Part 2: When the injury is inside your head, some “don’t get it” – July 26, 2016 Part 1: Invisible, incapacitating concussions are sidelining high school athletes – July 19, 2016 EHS names new boys’ soccer coach – July 13, 2016center_img Taylor VorthermsSports Editor at The Ellsworth AmericanTaylor Vortherms covers sports in Hancock County. The St. Louis, Missouri native recently graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism and joined The Ellsworth American in 2013. Latest Posts Biolast_img read more

  • Joseph Aidoo and Joseph Painstil win Belgian League title with Genk

    first_imgGhanaian duo of Joseph Paintsil and Joseph Aidoo received their first major titles in Europe on Sunday when they were crowned Belgian league winners with Genk.The two players started celebrating their silverware on Thursday after their Genk side wrapped up their fourth Belgian league title.This was after a 1-1 draw at Anderlecht left them four points clear at the top with one game remaining but on Sunday they received their medals for the great feat.They received their medals and the league trophy after the goalless draw game against Standard Liege.Aidoo an experienced centre-back played 33 matches for Genk this season and he is hoping his achievements will help him cement a place in Ghana’s squad at the AFCON.Paintsil, the youngster who joined the club from Hungarian giants Ferencvaros at the start of the season, played 25 matches and he is also hoping to get a place in the Black Stars AFCON squad.It is Genk’s fourth title and first since 2011Genk, who had previously won the top flight in 1999, 2002 and 2011, will play in the Champions League group stage next season. Source: Ghanasoccernetlast_img read more

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