GUARDIAN – 10 favourite things this week: the best sports journalism from around the web

Featuring the burdened walk of Tiger Woods, a year that lasted 21 seconds and the rules of a successful Fantasy Football teamThanks for all your comments and suggestions on our last blog. Here are a few highlights from this week.The article of the weekThe Burdened WalkCharles P. Pierce watched Tiger Woods at the US PGA championship last weekend for Grantland and had a peculiar realisation. The World No1 remains a great golfer, but he is now comparable to the rest of us: “I remembered that, once, he had looked as though he walked on air. He had looked as though his feet never touched the ground. He had looked as though his club managed to strike the ball perfectly within a private reality. Even his divots had looked cleanly cut as they sailed through the clear air. You could have used one of them for a welcome mat. Once upon a time, I remembered, Tiger Woods had looked as though he played golf in a self-contained universe that he carried around with him. I remembered all this as I crouched behind the green on the 13th hole of the Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York, on Sunday afternoon, and watched Tiger Woods, who was standing in the shade a little ways down the fairway and rotating his upper body to the left and to the right, stretching his back muscles. Jesus, I thought to myself, that’s something I do.” Other stories we like1) A matter of life and deathBefore investing £20 in Red or Dead, the new book about Bill Shankly by The Damned United author David Peace, read this damning review by Simon Kuper in the Financial Times: “Peace has taken 700 pages to depict a saint. Someone should have stopped him. No first novelist could have got this book published but Peace has become too big to edit.” For an alternative view, here is Mark Lawson’s review for the Guardian.2) The women who changed American sports foreverThis Daily Beast article by Eleanor Clift explores the lives of the women featured in the ESPN documentary Let Them Wear Towels, about the first female sport reporters in the US. Theirs was a rocky path. They were banned from the dressing rooms, where men walked around naked and stories were broken. After a legal suit, women were granted more access, but at a cost. Lisa Olson, who covered the New England Patriots for the Boston Herald, was subjected to what she called “mind rape”. She ended up fleeing to Australia. Others forced their way through and things have improved, but they remain women in a man’s world. 3) Denis Suárez: sad indictment of City’s academic failingsWhy was Roberto Mancini sacked by Manchester City? Because he couldn’t handle Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli. Perhaps, but he also struggled to manage Denis Suárez, who has played 23 minutes of senior football for City since they paid £850,000 for him two years ago. The Spain youth international was voted the club’s young player of the year in 2012 and has attracted interest from Barcelona, but Mancini never promoted him to the senior team. According to Will Forsyth, writing here in the Lovely Left Foot blog, Mancini’s reluctance to play young players was a source of great frustration to Txiki Begiristain, the club’s director of football. Begiristain and City CEO Ferran Soriano are hoping Suárez will stay at the club and enjoy a more profitable career under Manuel Pellegrini.4) Predicting 2014’s major winnersIf this year’s roll of Major winners has taught us anything, it should be to avoid trying to pick next year’s. Not so, says fearless Will Tidey of ESPN, who has chosen his winners already. He reckons Adam Scott will retain the Masters, Phil Micklelson will win the US Open, Tiger Woods will pick up Claret Jug at The Open and Jason Day will land his first major at the US PGA. It’s all a bit ridiculous, but quite fun nevertheless. 5) Seven steps to a successful Fantasy Football teamFootball Weekly is back, we’re nearly finished with our pre-season previews and the European leagues are up and running. The only thing that remains to be done before the Premier League season begins is for you to select your Fantasy Football team. Thankfully Paul Fennessy of The Score is here with seven tips on constructing a team. 6) Anthony Perosh’s year lasted 21 secondsThe average working year in Britain lasts for 1,647 hours, but as pointed out in Fightland, MMA fighter Anthony Perosh has spent only 21 seconds in the ring in the last 12 months. Should Perosh be asking himself some hard questions: “What defines an athlete? At a certain point doesn’t Perosh’s situation become an existential issue? How does a man define himself in this world as one thing when he has done that one thing for 21 seconds over the last year? Not because he was injured or suspended for drug use or in jail, but because of the very nature of the sport he’s in?”7) Hull City are no longer being rebranded by stealthIan King, the creator of the football website 200%, is worth reading on any topic. When detailing the change of culture taking place at Hull City “Tigers”, he jumps up to the must-read category. 8) Before the internet, there were the Complete HandbooksEvery week we pick 10 items, and every week it is a struggle to feature the New York Times only once. This week their standout piece, by Pete Croatto, is about Zander Hollander, the 90-year-old sportswriter who pieced together 300 brick-sized yearbooks in his 45-year career. At the end of every day, Hollander would pour himself a scotch and tuck into a packet of peanuts. How the trade has changed. 9) Membership has its privilegesLast week NBC published a spoof video about Coach Ted Lasso, who had been given the job of managing Spurs but didn’t know a thing about football. This week the network have taken a step closer to their Premier League broadcasting debut by publishing a guide to picking a team. Joe Posnanski is explaining football culture to a new audience, but in some ways he sounds no wiser than Lasso. Here is his explanation of the FA Cup: “An awesome, sprawling, absurd and wonderful March Madness kind of tournament that includes pretty much every soccer team in England including a few guys who happen to play for the pub around the corner. That’s not a joke. More than 750 teams compete in the FA Cup. And they all play in this mad scramble of a tournament that will sometimes end up with a collection of plumbers and construction workers playing Liverpool. It’s a free-for-all.” This is his take on the league structure: “Premier League: The top league in England. That’s easy. Football League Championship: The second division – the easiest baseball comparison is that it is kind of like Class AAA, only it’s TEAMS that get promoted and relegated, not players. Why a second division would be called ‘Championship’ is, well, yeah a bit baffling. League One: Third division. Yeah, I know. League Two: Fourth division.”Posnanski visited Wembley on Sunday to watch the Community Shield. He seems to have enjoyed it: “Manchester United won 2-0 on two goals by Robin Van Persie* and the scene afterward was like something you might see at the end of the Super Bowl. There were streamers shot on the field. The players all went up to the royal box to collect medals, and then they stayed on the field to celebrate, and then they gave Manchester United’s new manager David Moyes this gigantic gold plate roughly the size of a queen-sized bed. *Though Van Persie scored both goals, it was another Manchester United player – Michael Carrick – who was named Man of the Match. Carrick, I’m told, “controlled the midfield.” So, yeah, I don’t understand soccer very well yet. And here was the best part: The game was UTTERLY MEANINGLESS. It was an exhibition.”At the end of reading this article, you will wonder who is more mad: football fans or the people who find the game confusing.And one more for charity…This week on the Guardian Sport Network1) Ashes 2013: fourth Test report cards2) Seven sporting partnerships of the 1980s3) County cricket: the week’s final over4) Will PSG retain their Ligue 1 title after a turbulent summer?5) How many boxers turn Olympic golds into pro titles?Debate the articles and share your own suggestions belowUS sportsAustralia sportGolfTiger WoodsUS PGAUS PGA 2013LiverpoolManchester CityBaseballPaul © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

GUARDIAN – Ashley Williams has been made captain of Swansea in sign he could stay

• Defender linked with Arsenal and Liverpool• Garry Monk hands over the armbandAshley Williams has been made captain of Swansea in a clear sign that he could stay at the club.Williams has been linked with a move to Arsenal or Liverpool but today the long-serving Swansea defender Garry Monk has confirmed he is stepping down as team captain, with the armband being passed to his fellow centre-half.Monk, who joined the Swans in 2004 and became skipper in 2006, made just 15 appearances last season.The 34-year-old is to retain the club captaincy, but the 28-year-old Williams – out of the side for only one Premier League game last term – will lead the team on the field now, even when the pair are playing together.Monk told “It’s a personal decision from myself. The way I look at being a captain, you should consistently be on the pitch.”Ash has been consistent on the pitch over a number of years. I’ve said a few times I’ve not played as much as I would have liked, but I’ve still contributed in a number of games.”But, overall, I feel the team captain should be someone who is on there as a figure of continuity. Ash is that.”He has worn the armband when I’ve not played, so I felt it was the right thing to do to let him lead the team out even when I was playing.”Obviously, if the manager [Michael Laudrup] says anything different then we would listen to him. But I will remain as club captain. To have been captain of this team and club is one of my proudest achievements.”My duties as club captain on the pitch, in the changing rooms and in the community will remain.”Even when I haven’t got the armband on when I’m playing, I’ll still be a leader on the pitch.”Swansea CityArsenalLiverpoolPremier © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

GUARDIAN – Liverpool confirm wish to redevelop Anfield and not move to new stadium

• Local council announce plans for regeneration of local area• ‘This is step one but this is a significant moment’ – Ian AyreLiverpool have moved a step closer to redeveloping Anfield after formally confirming their preference is to remain at their existing home and not build a new stadium in Stanley Park.Symbolically, on the day of Fenway Sports Group’s two-year anniversary of buying the club, a definitive way forward in relation to the long-running ground issue was identified by managing director Ian Ayre.Liverpool City Council have announced extensive plans for a regeneration of the Anfield area having secured a £25m grant with a housing association set to also invest heavily.On the back of that, the club plan to push ahead with proposals to extend and improve their only home since 1892.”Today represents a huge step forward for the Anfield area. Everyone at the football club knows the importance of today,” said Ayre. “We welcome the opportunity to be part of this partnership – we want to thank Joe Anderson (mayor of Liverpool) and the council for the time and the support they’ve given us to help make the right decision.”LFC celebrated its 120th year in 2012 at Anfield and there is no doubt Anfield is the spiritual home of the club – our preference was always to remain at Anfield. This is a major step forward for the football club, but more importantly the residents.Ayre added: “This is step one as there is land to acquire, plans to be approved etc, but this is a significant moment. Questions about capacity and cost are not for today – not until we have certainty.”Redevelopment is likely to see major improvements to, and extensions of, the Main Stand and the Anfield Road end, although that is all subject to planning permission, which has been made possible by the regeneration plans to clear some streets close to the ground, and the support of homeowners and the community.However, redevelopment is entirely dependent on being able to get the necessary permissions to carry out the work the club want – which means a new-build on Stanley Park cannot be conclusively ruled out until those have been secured.One of the main reasons a new stadium did not fit the bill was the financial aspect. The club would have spent upwards of £300m and yet increased match-day capacity by only around 15,000.Ayre always maintained that even with a naming rights deal, a new stadium did not make good financial sense and that is why they always leaned towards a redevelopment of Anfield.FSG have a history of updating historic old stadiums, as they did a similar thing at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, and they will now look to do the same on Merseyside.”Over the last two years one of the things that we’ve had to do, and was important to do, was analyse the detail of what works, what doesn’t work, what the economical situation is for either solution,” Ayre told Liverpool’s official website. “If you build a new stadium, for example, one of the big challenges is that you don’t get 60,000 new seats in a new stadium, you only get the difference [with the existing capacity]. That makes it very difficult to make it viable because the cost of building such a big new stadium doesn’t work economically, particularly in this market.”The work we’ve done on that showed us that as long as we could find the right solution to stay at Anfield, and get through the barriers and hurdles that we needed, we would have to find the best long-term solution for the club that had sustainability and worked economically.”Added to that is the fact that I’d say it was very much the preference for our fans, the majority of our fans, and certainly for all of us. We’ve had some of the greatest triumphs in our history here, so it makes sense if there’s a right solution that this is the place we should continue to play our football.”I know a proposition of staying at Anfield has been looked at before, but fundamentally the difference is that for the first time ever all of the relevant parties are coming together for a common initiative, and that common initiative is not for the needs of the football club but actually the needs of the community.” © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds