SPORTS AGENDA: Ben Stokes' stage tour gets off to a false start…


Ben Stokes’ stage debut has been called off. The England Test captain and ‘Bazball’ hero launched the series The Icons and was due to appear live in Newcastle and Manchester on Thursday and Saturday respectively.

Stokes had gone on talkSPORT to preview the mini-tour, which was meant to see him in conversation with former Love Island star and professional boxer Josh Denzel.

The audience were promised that the lid would be lifted on England’s ‘incredible transformation’ since Stokes teamed up with Brendon McCullum, with Sportsmail columnist David Lloyd joining Stokes and Denzel on stage at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall.

However, both events have been cancelled, with ticket-buyers refunded.

Ben Stokes' stage career was stopped before it got going after he had to cancel his shows

Ben Stokes’ stage career was stopped before it got going after he had to cancel his shows 

Eton are unlikely to face punishment after they played football matches last weekend, despite the Queen’s death. The school was rumbled when opponents Rossall put photographs of the games on their Twitter account, before hastily removing them.

Eton claimed the fixtures were ‘friendlies’ and ‘trials’, so were not outlawed by the FA’s ban on games. That explanation, taken at face value, is likely to have done the trick, Sportsmail understands.

Much has been made of the Queen’s love of various sports but one of the more remarkable stories to emerge involves Manchester United’s 1999 Treble.

On the night of the Champions League final against Bayern Munich, the Queen was at the state opening of the new Welsh Assembly in Cardiff.

During the banquet she was being updated on the score by Tony Blair and is said to have let out an audible ‘Whoopee’ when the PM leaned over to inform her United had snatched a dramatic, late 2-1 victory.

The tale will feature in updated copies of Matt Dickinson’s entertaining new book 1999: Manchester United, the Treble and All That, about United’s unprecedented season of success.

The Queen was happy to hear the news of Man Utd's Champions League win of 1999

The Queen was happy to hear the news of Man Utd’s Champions League win of 1999 

Canada dodge kit shambles at World Cup

Nike’s new England men’s football kits have received a lukewarm reception, with the home jersey — complete with an ugly splash of different shades of blue on the traditional white — subject to widespread derision. And it is not only England. 

Other nations have reacted with horror at what their players will be wearing at the World Cup, with Portugal’s half red, half green effort coming in for particular stick.

It would appear, then, that Canada have dodged a bullet. The underdogs mounted a stunning campaign to reach the finals which appears to have caught many — including Nike — by surprise and they will have to stick with their current shirt.

Kits were designed 18 months in advance, at a time when Canada’s presence in Qatar was very much a long shot.

The new England kit from Nike was leaked last week and spilt opinion among the fans

The new England kit from Nike was leaked last week and spilt opinion among the fans 

Another insightful yarn comes from the Queen’s passion for horseracing, where trainers and jockeys have been recalling her encyclopaedic knowledge of the sport.

However, two-time Derby-winning trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam remembers his encounters with the monarch for very different, although equally remarkable reasons.

The Newmarket trainer first won the Derby with Dr Devious in 1992 and recalled what happened when he went up to the Royal Box to be congratulated by the Queen.

He said: ‘It was very hot and I was sweating profusely, so when she asked if I’d like a glass of champagne, I said I’d love a cold beer. They sent out for a beer and when it came back it was boiling. She asked me why I wasn’t drinking it, and I said, ‘It’s very warm, ma’am’.’

Imagine Chapple-Hyam’s surprise, then, when after winning the Derby 15 years later with Authorized in June 2007, the Queen not only remembered their encounter but also his drink of choice.

In an interview earlier this year, he revealed: ‘I did a quick chat with Clare Balding, then went up to meet the Queen. This time, fair play to her, she said, ‘I know what you want, Peter — a nice, cold beer’, and they had one waiting for me! How good was that?’

Jockey Peter Chapple-Hyam remembers fondly the time The Queen had a beer waiting for him

Jockey Peter Chapple-Hyam remembers fondly the time The Queen had a beer waiting for him

Wolves’ video to announce the signing of Diego Costa, which featured the former Chelsea striker holding a growling pack of wolves on a leash, went down well with fans. 

The release of the clip, which Agenda understands was set for September 8, was delayed until the following Monday due to the Queen’s death.

Wolves went all out in a announce video to reveal the signing of new striker Diego Costa

Wolves went all out in a announce video to reveal the signing of new striker Diego Costa 

Given they exist to find drugs cheats and out them to the public, it seems preposterous that UK Anti-Doping are advertising for a ‘part-time’ director of communications.

The drug-busters, who say they are ‘on a mission to clean sport’ in the job description, are looking for someone to join their senior management team.

It would appear, however, that mission is only in play for 22 hours a week, the time the successful applicant would be expected to work.

That has triggered disbelief across the sporting world with some wondering whether UKAD, who employ a full-time head of comms, can be taken seriously.

Jamie Carragher was an interested observer at Oldham’s National League game against Eastleigh on Saturday. 

The former Liverpool player and current Sky pundit attended Boundary Park to watch his son, James, who made a decent start in a 3-2 victory following his loan move from Wigan.

The club expect to announce a new manager on Tuesday, after John Sheridan bowed out with a win in the final game of his sixth spell in charge.

Jamie Carragher was spotted watching Oldham's game against Eastleigh on Saturday

Jamie Carragher was spotted watching Oldham’s game against Eastleigh on Saturday 

Those who forced the MCC special general meeting over the cancelling of the Eton v Harrow match and the Varsity game at Lord’s asked the club to put back the date — September 27 — by a week so as to hold off campaigning during the period of mourning for the Queen.

MCC refused, telling them the views of both sides have been sent to members and no further campaigning is necessary. The executive said it needs to concentrate on preparations for next year’s home Ashes series. 

MCC say they cancelled activities in the ‘immediacy’ of the passing of the Queen, who was Patron of the club for 70 years, and added that given the SGM was eight days following the mourning period they did not feel a change necessary.

When the world was reeling from news about apparent Russian war crimes in recaptured Izyum, the International Olympic Committee saw fit to mount a PR offensive to encourage the sports community to find ways of welcoming back Russian athletes and teams into international competition.

Their clumsy-at-best argument was that young Russian athletes are not responsible for the actions of their political leaders and should not be punished. The IOC even pointed out the integrity of world-class competition is suffering without Russians competing.

The points were made in three calls to IOC members, national Olympic committees and international federations, raising fears of full Russian inclusion at Paris 2024.


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