Footballer describes losing his partner Rebecca Ellison as most difficult period of his life but says he was moved by outpouring of compassion

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• Middlesbrough have beaten Norwich twice this season
• Rehabilitation of Sébastien Bassong has been crucial to Norwich
Alex Neil preparing for play-off final like any other game Continue reading...







Hull City can avoid relegation only if they beat the team their manager, Steve Bruce, used to play for, Manchester United, and the side he supported as a child, Newcastle, drop points
I’d rather be in Hull’s shoes than Newcastle, says Kevin Kilbane Continue reading...







The defender Miguel Britos was sent off for head-butting an opponent as Napoli lost 3-1 at the champions, Juventus, on Saturday, all but extinguishing their hopes of Champions League football next season.

Napoli can now qualify only if Lazio lose to AS Roma in their derby on Monday and Napoli then beat Lazio in their final game. Their defeat also meant that second-placed Roma qualify at least for the Champions League preliminary rounds.

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Middlesbrough fans put a good luck charm in Wembley’s arch when it was built, but the team will not be relying on fortune in the Championship play-off final against Norwich
Norwich 0-1 Middlesbrough

When Wembley’s arch was erected over the stadium in 2004, the steelworkers from Middlesbrough stuffed Boro shirts inside the hollows at the highest point before welding it shut. It is a romantic idea, at least to those from Teesside, that the club’s badge will forever hover high over the pitch, perhaps bringing luck to those in red below. If Middlesbrough are able to overcome Norwich in the Championship final play-off on Monday, there will be a few of those workers celebrating on the terraces who will believe they have played their part.

Football fans, and indeed footballers, are a superstitious bunch and who can blame them? The margins between victory and defeat are often so small, especially in a single game in which the rewards are so large – win and a place in the Premier League awaits.

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