EPL

Former England and Man Utd goalkeeper Ben Foster retires despite Newcastle offer

By Sports Desk September 15, 2022

Former England and Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Foster has announced his retirement from football despite an offer from Newcastle United.

The 39-year-old goalkeeper made the announcement via YouTube where he has become a sensation with The Cycling GK.

Foster's career, which dates back to 2000, ends after playing for clubs including Manchester United, West Brom, Birmingham City and, most recently, Watford. He managed eight caps for England, including being part of their 2014 World Cup squad.

"I've got an announcement to make, it's a big one. The time has finally come for me to announce my retirement," Foster said.

"I know for a fact if I'd have gone there I'd have had an amazing time, the lads would have been absolutely brilliant and I'd have buzzed off the stadium, the fans, all that kind of stuff, but the overriding sinking feeling was 'I don't want to do this.'"

Foster revealed he had been offered a deal by Newcastle in light of Karl Darlow's injury as understudy to Nick Pope, but opted to hang up the gloves for family reasons.

"I was just eating my dinner and I thought 'no, I’m not doing it'," he said.

"I've got to be happy and comfortable and I wouldn’t be able to do that so far away from my family. It would kill me.

"If I'm in an apartment in Newcastle away from my family by myself, I don't think people can understand, that's really hard to do. Especially at the age I am and everything I've got going on."

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    Newcastle have launched a new initiative which will allow deaf supporters to “feel” the atmosphere of games at St James’ Park.

    The Premier League club have brought out a new haptic replica shirt which, when worn at matches, will vibrate in response to crowd noises.

    The technology, which utilises microphones placed around the ground, will be used for the first time as the Magpies host Tottenham in the Premier League on Saturday.

    It is a world first in sport but similar systems have been used successfully in other areas of entertainment, particularly classical music concerts.

    Former Newcastle midfielder Rob Lee, who is an ambassador for the project, told the PA news agency: “It’s very difficult as someone who can hear to imagine what it’s like going to a game when you’re deaf.

    “Football is an experience of sound really. It’s the crowd cheering, singing songs. When I was playing, you’d run out at St James’ Park and the hairs on the back of your neck would stand up.

    “For these guys to be able to experience that through feel is amazing. It’s great technology.”

    The shirts have numerous sensors integrated throughout the garment, with each responding in different ways to the different sounds captured by the microphones.

    The noises are transformed into digital signals by specialised software and then transmitted wirelessly to the shirts, creating a tactile sensory experience for the wearer.

    Newcastle sponsor Sela, the Saudi events company, has been the driving force behind the initiative as part of its “Unsilence the Crowd” campaign.

    To mark the system’s launch, Sela has gifted its sponsorship rights for the Spurs game – including its logo space on the front of the shirt – to the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) charity.

    The system will be available at all Newcastle home matches from then onwards.

    Lee, who made 381 appearances for the Magpies between 1992 and 2002, said: “St James’ Park is an amazing stadium. It’s always full, the atmosphere is always electric.

    “Ask any player what’s their favourite ground. I guarantee St James’ will be in the top three because of the atmosphere, because of the sound.

    “If we can get that experience out to the deaf and the hard-of-hearing, then it can only be a good thing.

    “I think it’ll be a showstopper and every club should get it.”

  • Emma Hayes recites poetry following ‘irresponsible’ call from Jonas Eidevall Emma Hayes recites poetry following ‘irresponsible’ call from Jonas Eidevall

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    Eidevall’s Arsenal defeated Hayes’ Chelsea 1-0 earlier this month in the Continental Cup final but the result was overshadowed by a spat between the two managers.

    Hayes took exception to a touchline altercation between Eidevall and Chelsea’s Erin Cuthbert and appeared to push the Arsenal boss after the match.

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    Hayes’ response – when asked whether she would change her comments – was to read a line from Robert Frost’s poem Choose Something Like a Star: “When at times the mob is swayed to carry praise or blame too far, we may choose something like a star, to stay our minds on and be staid.”

    Neither manager offered an apology, with Eidevall saying he was “very happy” with the way he conducted himself, while Hayes described a conversation with her young son about responding to aggression.

    “My son said to me after the game, ‘Mummy, when you push someone in school you’re asked to go and take time out’,” she told reporters.

    “And I said to him, ‘You know what darling, you can’t meet aggression with aggression. All you can do is tell the teacher’. I thought it was a really good conversation to have with my son.”

    Pressed further, Hayes indicated she regretted her reaction, saying: “I’ve had a fantastic break, I’ve already explained an important analogy that I shared with my son and the lessons learned and my focus is on moving forward and I’ve had time to look at my star.

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    On Eidevall’s branding of her as “irresponsible”, Hayes said simply: “I don’t have an opinion on it.”

    There appears no prospect of clear-the-air talks between the pair any time soon, with Hayes, who will not face any sanction for the push, adding: “We don’t play Arsenal, we don’t have each other’s telephone numbers, we’d have no reason to do that.

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    Eidevall revealed, meanwhile, that Frida Maanum, who collapsed during the cup final in worrying scenes, could return in next weekend’s match against Leicester.

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    It was a different story last season, with Newcastle able to clinch Champions League qualification and they finished 11 points ahead of Tottenham, but it has failed to translate into a period of dominance for Eddie Howe’s Saudi-backed club.

    The challenge of competing on four fronts has contributed towards injuries decimating the eighth-placed Magpies, which has often led to Postecoglou citing them as an example over why a top-four finish should not be seen as a guarantee for progression in the long run.

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    Postecoglou did not feel any need to watch that fixture back but he did reflect on the importance of the 4-1 victory over Newcastle in December.

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    “I think it was important in context of the results,” Postecoglou acknowledged.

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    Spurs will remain without Richarlison (knee) for the lunchtime kick-off, but the Brazil forward is expected to be fit for the derby meeting with Arsenal later this month.

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