Early Doors

Mersey beat-down

Early Doors

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A bad week for Merseyside has got worse after Everton had their plans for a new stadium turned down by the government.

On top of losing 3-2 at Hull, despite Kamil Zayatte's best efforts, the Toffees were told that their proposal for a 50,000-seater ground in Kirkby has been refused because it would breach local retail competition policy.

Everton's plans to have a 15,000 square metre Tesco megastore as part of the site, and communities secretary John Denham believes that will severely damage local businesses.

The news may come as a relief to some Everton fan, especially those who remember the Normid supermarket that was built into one corner of Bolton's old Burnden Park ground.

Besides, even if they did not sell the naming rights to the new ground, what travelling supporter would not refer to their visit to the blue half of Liverpool as a trip to Tesco Towers?

However, the news does mean that the issue of a groundshare with neighbours and Europa League rivals Liverpool will come up again.

Although both sides will stubbornly refuse to consider it as an option for as long as possible, the continued stalling of Liverpool's own project and their already precarious financial situation - more so now they are out of the Champions League - make it hard to ignore. But while Hicks and Gillett remain in charge it's hard to imagine anything progressing.

If this weekend's Merseyside derby needed any added spice, here it is.  

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There was a real feeling of after the Lord Mayor's Show in the Champions League last night. Quite literally, it was almost two weeks ago now.

Chelsea came out 1-0 winners in their clash at Porto, while Manchester United sent out the kids to entertain Besiktas, who made themselves at home by claiming a 1-0 win of their own.

It was United's first home defeat in the competition in 23 games, but the fact it came once they had already qualified and fielded a youthful side only highlights how impressive a run that was.

As much as the match commentator was insistent that "Sir Alex will still want this wrapped up tonight", if he was that worried about sealing top spot before their final match against Wolfsburg then he would not have been playing Federico Macheda.

At least there will be something riding on the final group match for one English side, and there is the great potential for Fergie to look very foolish for underestimating the German champions should they lose to Wolfsburg.

The United performance was decent to a certain degree, firing in 26 shots but finding no way past that guy from The Mummy. However the two highlights were - as always - the goalkeeper coming up for a corner at the end, and Patrice Evra being denied a clear penalty.

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STAT OF THE DAY: Since joining the club in August 2008, Hull defender Kamil Zayatte has scored four goals for the Tigers and four against them.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Now we have a final in Turin. We have to play to win because it really makes no sense to play for a draw there. That could be fatal. I think it is better if the team plays to win from the start. So we will only have one direction and that will be going towards Juventus' goal. Full power." - That there is fighting talk from Bayern Munich chief Uli Hoeness. Juventus need a point at home to Bayern in a fortnight's time to qualify after they were beaten 2-0 by Bordeaux and Bayern beat Maccabi Haifa 1-0.

FOREIGN VIEW: Former Brazil striker Romario came out of retirement to play 22 minutes for his late father's favourite team America-RJ and lift the Rio de Janeiro state second division title.

The 43-year-old Romario, who retired in 2008 and became America's sporting director this year, came on as a substitute in the second half of America's 2-0 win over Artsul.

The former Barcelona striker was unable to improve on his career goals tally, which he has claimed to be over 1000, but he did a lap of honour with the trophy.

"I had the chance to play in several teams, I wore the most important shirt in the football universe which is that of the Brazil national team, but today this is a very different emotion to all those," he said on the edge of the pitch before his appearance.

COMING UP: Football-wise, there's not much happening apart from three Coppa Italia matches, but in the tennis Andy Murray plays Fernando Verdasco in his final round robin match at the ATP World Tour finals at 1415, with Roger Federer taking on Juan Martin del Potro at 2045. Follow them both LIVE right here.

And you can follow Real Madrid v Milan LIVE this evening - that's Real Madrid v Armani Jeans Milano in Euroleague basketball, obviously.

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