The Sport Matrix: Friday 22 March 2013


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The Independent Online

Poyet turns down £1.5m chance to keep Reading up

The Brighton manager Gus Poyet last night turned down the offer to take over at Reading, and a £1.5m bonus if he kept them in the Premier League, to stay at the Championship club and push for promotion.

The former Chelsea and Tottenham midfielder had met with Reading owner Anton Zingarevich and director of football Nicky Hammond and given the go-ahead for contract negotiations to start. However, after a day of pondering the move and analysing the two squads' relative merits he decided to stay at Brighton, just outside the play-off places on goal difference.

Poyet, above, was unhappy about the prospect of having a relegation against his name and was by no means certain that he could keep Reading, seven points from safety, in the Premier League. By the time he pulled out, the deal was far enough down the road that a £2.5m compensation package had been agreed between the two clubs.

Poyet was Reading's first choice and it is unclear who they will move for next. The former Southampton manager Nigel Adkins has been suggested but Eamonn Dolan could stay on until the end of the season.

Woods stays on trail of No 1 ranking

Tiger Woods' pursuit of the world No 1 ranking began well at Bay Hill with an opening 69. Rory McIlroy elected not to play, so inviting Woods to regain the top spot for the first since October 2010. MORE

Cook dismisses KP mismanagement

Alastair Cook denied England have mismanaged Kevin Pietersen's knee injury. He said: "It's important now we don't jump to too many conclusions. He goes home and gets to see the specialist, and sees exactly what's wrong with him." MORE

Hamilton upbeat for Malaysian GP

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton says he can improve on his fifth-place finish in Australia in Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix. "I really think we can go a lot better than we did," he said. "I feel positive about the car, and really positive about the team." MORE

Zaha stars as England U21s win

Wilfried Zaha scored his first goal for England Under-21s as they beat Romania 3-0. Jack Robinson and Nathan Delfouneso also scored in the warm-up game, as they look ahead to this summer's European Championship in Israel. MORE

Mancini receives City chief's backing

The Manchester City chief executive, Ferran Soriano, has made his first public comment on the work of manager Roberto Mancini. Soriano declared that Mancini is "a champion" and that "it is not easy to win back any league, especially the Premier League". MORE

Caldwell hopes for Scottish revival

Scotland captain Gary Caldwell hopes the side can spark a revival starting against Wales tonight. "Scottish football is probably at an all-time low, just in the leagues and with the national team not doing very well," said the 30-year-old defender. "It is important we do well." MORE

Dyke set to become new FA chairman

Greg Dyke, the former director general of the BBC, is set to replace David Bernstein as chairman of the Football Association. But Dyke's succession is not guaranteed – it has to be passed this summer by the FA Council whose approval cannot be relied upon. MORE

Ferdinand faces uncertain future

Rio Ferdinand's England future is in doubt after opting to fly to Qatar to work as a television pundit, having pulled out of tonight's qualifier against San Marino. England manager Roy Hodgson said he would have to "wait and see" whether he would pick Ferdinand again. MORE

The new Warne?

The Pakistan-born leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed is catching the eye as well as taking wickets Down Under, and is close to Australian citizenship. There is even talk of a late run at the Ashes. MORE