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Superfan Julia Kmiecik, 92, dies and Wisla Krakow will leave her seat empty in her memory – The Sun


POLISH top flight club Wisla Krakow have left a touching tribute to their superfan that tragically recently passed away.

Julia Kmiecik became a club icon for her unwavering and loyal support over an incredible 51 year period.

 Julia Kmiecik was a Wisla Krakow megafan

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Julia Kmiecik was a Wisla Krakow megafanCredit: [email protected]
 Tributes will remain on her seat at Wisla's stadium

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Tributes will remain on her seat at Wisla’s stadiumCredit: [email protected]

Her dedication was frequently recognised by the club and she was much beloved by her fellow supporters.

So when she recently passed away at the age of 92, tributes came flooding in for the loyal supporter.

But it didn’t stop there.

Having sat in the same seat for years, Wisla decided to lay out a scarf where she sat.

And they announced that the seat will always remain hers, and that nobody else will ever sit there.

Many Wisla fans posted heartfelt tributes on social media.

One labelled her as an: “Outstanding example to every fan in Poland”.

And sadly it’s not been a good season at all for Wisla.

Having lost 7-0 at Legia Warsaw in October, the Polish side find themselves bottom of the Ekstraklasa after 18 games.

And the last win that Kmiecik got to watch her beloved team pick up was a 4-2 triumph over Zaglebie all the way back in August.

But the poor results didn’t waver her commitment to the cause, as her love for the club transcended results on the pitch, and she will be greatly missed.

Frank Lampard is sure that John Terry will receive an amazing reception from Chelsea fans when he returns to Stamford Bridge





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Sooners head to final four after winning Big 12 in overtime thriller


TODD SAELHOF

Postmedia Network

Jalen Hurts is headed back to the final four.

The Alabama Crimson Tide are not.

And neither are the Baylor Bears after Hurts and the Oklahoma Sooners beat them in the Big 12 Championship Game — a 30-23 overtime thriller Saturday at Jerry’s World in Arlington, Texas.

“These are hard to win,” Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley told reporters post-game. We found a lot of ways to win football games. We certainly did today.”

Hurts agreed.

“People act like it’s supposed to be easy,” Hurts told reporters post-game. “It’s not supposed to be easy. Winning championships is hard.”

With this hard-fought win, the Sooners are most likely headed to the final four but have to await official word from the College Football Playoff selection committee, which is slated to announce the post-season combatants Sunday (noon ET, TSN2).

“I hope they see the Big 12 champions,” Riley told reporters post-game. “They’ve got a job to do — I get that. We’ve had a job to do as a team, which was continue to improve through the year, trust the things that we could and ultimately win the Big 12 championship. We’ve done that.”

Hurts has been the major reason why.

While Baylor has shown remarkable resilience in rebounding and rebuilding from a program-debilitating sexual assault scandal a few years back, Hurts rebuilt his college career with Oklahoma after losing his starter’s job with Alabama in the second half of the national championship game in 2018.

The dynamic QB used the transfer portal last summer to join Riley’s squad, and his subsequent stellar play has made him a likely Heisman Trophy finalist.

“I’m blessed to be where my feet are,” added Hurts, who’s now headed to his fourth straight College Football Playoff, while ‘Bama missed out with two-losses during the regular season. “How crazy it is to be here after starting as a true freshman for (Alabama) and winning the SEC championship and going to the national championship to be a Big 12 champion?”

The answer was in his performance Saturday, throwing 17-of-24 for 287 yards — teaming up with superstar receiver CeeDee Lamb on 173 of them — and running for another 38.

“I wrote a note to (Lamb) before the game, and I handed it to him when I shake everybody’s hand,” Hurts told Fox post-game. “I told him, ‘I said it’s time to let the dog off the leash and he’s loose. Yes, sir. Yes, sir.”
It didn’t help Baylor that it lost its dual-threat QB, Charlie Brewer, to an early-game injury and was forced to turn to its two backups.

Nonetheless, the never-say-die Bears rebounded from two 10-point leads built up by Oklahoma.
Redshirt freshman QB Gerry Bohanon proved ineffective for Baylor after an early TD throw, bringing on true freshman QB Jacob Zeno, who hit for two long majors to force OT.

But Hurts found Lamb and Rhamondre Stevenson rumbled for the five-yard TD to put Oklahoma up after its possession in overtime.

Then the Sooners defence slammed the door on Zeno and the Baylor offence to score the victory for the conference crown and — likely — the fourth and final berth in the CFP.

Well-deserved, for sure.

“There’s a narrative out there that the SEC is a different animal,” Hurts told reporters. “But the Big 12 is tough.”

It’s Oklahoma’s fifth-straight Big 12 crown.

SECOND & LONG
No. 5 Utah (11-2) blew its chance to shine on the big stage Friday night — and along with it lost what might be its best shot ever to make the final four. Utah got steamrolled early in a 37-15 drop to No. 13 Oregon (11-2) in the Pac-12 finale in Santa Clara, Calif. Oregon played its best game of the season, building a 20-0 halftime lead and getting 208 rushing yards game-long from CJ Verdell to slice apart a vaunted Utah defence. The decision gives Oregon its third conference title and sends it to the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, while Utah misses out on a golden opportunity to make the CFP. A win by Utah coupled with Georgia’s loss to LSU would have put Utah into the playoff … Anybody still doubting No. 2 LSU (13-0) after the SEC championship game isn’t paying attention. Heisman frontrunner Joe Burrow shredded arguably the country’s best defence for 349 yards and four TDs through the air in a 37-10 takedown of No. 4 Georgia (11-2). Saturday’s result should push LSU to No. 1 in the final CFP rankings, while Georgia misses out on a return to the final four. UGA had the inside track but needed the victory in Atlanta. LSU is just too good, though. “Just so proud of my football team and my coaching staff,” LSU head coach Ed Orgeron told CBS post-game. “But we said tonight, ‘This is not our final destination.’ Wherever they tell us to play next, we’re going to be ready.” … No. 1 Ohio State (13-0) took it on the chin early but rallied to dump No. 8 Wisconsin (10-3) 34-21 for the Big Ten title in Indianapolis late Saturday … Nothing wrong with the defending champs, as No. 3 Clemson (13-0) destroyed No. 23 Virginia (9-4) 62-17 in the ACC finale in Charlotte, N.C., to become the first team ever to win a fifth-straight conference championship game.

THIRD & GOAL
Give No. 17 Memphis (12-1) a conference crown and the Group of Five’s New Year’s Day berth in the Cotton Bowl after a 29-24 defeat Saturday of No. 20 Cincinnati (10-3) in the ACC finale. A six-yard TD pass from QB Brady White to Antonio Gibson with 74 seconds remaining proved to be the difference from host Memphis in what was a rematch from last week’s regular-season wrap-up. Now, Memphis awaits its official invitation to the Cotton Bowl … Same teams, same result, as No. 21 Appalachian State (12-1) topped Louisiana-Lafayette (10-3) for the second straight Sun Belt championship game. Saturday’s final in Boone, N.C., saw App State hold on for a 45-38 victory in a game during which it never trailed … No. 19 Boise State (12-1) topped Hawaii (9-5) 31-10 in the Mountain West Championship Game, getting bend-but-don’t break defence on the blue carpet Saturday in Boise … The MAC finale saw Miami-Ohio (8-5) upset Central Michigan (8-5) 26-21 Saturday in Detroit.

FOURTH & INCHES
Lane Kiffin is climbing the college football coaching ranks again, as he’ll join Ole Miss as the head coach fresh off Saturday’s Conference USA title take with Florida Atlantic. FAU (10-3) dominated UAB (9-4) in the conference finale in Boca Raton, Fla., with UAB allowing season highs in points and yards allowed (585) … Watch for Memphis head coach Mike Norvell to be named sidelines boss of Florida State on Sunday … Penn State likes what James Franklin’s done, going 55-23 during his tenure so far, inking the head man to another six seasons. It’s believed to be a contract worth $5.3 million per year plus bonuses.



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John Terry sends message to Chelsea star Mateo Kovacic after crushing his hand


The former Chelsea skipper doesn’t know his own strength! (Picture: Amazon Prime Video)

John Terry has cheekily apologised to Mateo Kovacic after the Chelsea midfielder was left wincing in pain following a very powerful handshake from the Aston Villa assistant.

The former Blues skipper was in the opposition dugout at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night as goals from Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount secured a 2-1 victory for the hosts.

Terry was given a warm reception on his return to a club where he spent 22 years as a player, with fans staying behind to chant his name after the full-time whistle.

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Kovacic will certainly remember the night, with Terry having left his mark on the Croatian as he went to shake hands with the Villa assistant after the match.

The Chelsea midfielder grimaced as he grabbed hands with Terry, shaking his hand in pain as he walked down the tunnel, while Terry held out his hand as an apology as he walked off.

Chelsea uploaded the clip on Instagram and tagged their former skipper, writing: ‘Easy on the handshake, John!’

He obviously found it very amusing, replying with both a laughing face emoji and flexing arm emoji, as well as tagging Kovacic and writing, ‘Sorry mate’.

After almost pulling off Kovacic’s hand, Terry enjoyed a touching moment on the Stamford Bridge pitch as fans applauded a legend of the club, though he admitted it was rather surreal to be back.

Asked about his emotional return to Stamford Bridge, he told ChelseaTV: ‘Really strange actually, obviously being back for the first time since I stopped playing. A great reception from the supporters.

‘It’s a difficult one, because obviously we lost the game and you don’t want to go out but I needed to show my appreciation and the fans done that at the end of the game as well, which was amazing for me.

‘So really humbled to be back and get the reception after a couple of years, so big thank you to all the supporters that sung my name today.’

MORE: Jose Mourinho reacts to Chelsea transfer ban being lifted ahead of January window

MORE: John Terry raves about Chelsea youngsters after Stamford Bridge return

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Aubameyang hits back as match heads into final minutes – latest commentary and updates – The Sun


ARSENAL are facing Norwich in Freddie Ljungberg’s first game in temporary charge.

Unai Emery paid the price for the Gunners worst run since 1992 and was given the boot on Friday, giving Highbury legend Freddie just two days to work some magic.

Norwich have beaten Man City here this season and ended a long winless run last weekend at Everton.

Follow live updates from Carrow Road below…

  • Live score: Norwich 2 Arsenal 2 (Pukki 21′ Cantwell 45′; Aubameyang 29′ 57′)
  • Start time: 2pm
  • Venue: Carrow Road, Norwich
  • TV/Live stream: Sky Sports PL & Main Event/Sky Go and NOW TV
  • Norwich XI: Krul, Aarons, Zimmermann, Godfrey, Byram, Trybull, Amadou, McLean, Cantwell, Hernandez, Pukki.
  • Arsenal XI: Leno, Chambers, Mustafi, David Luiz, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Willock, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette.





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With coach Khari Jones signed, Als turn their attention to GM search


Now that Khari Jones is returning as the Alouettes’ head coach — the two sides reached agreement on a three-year deal during Grey Cup week in Calgary, the Montreal Gazette has learned — and until the team’s ownership situation is settled, the next order of business will be hiring a general manager.

It would be easy for the Als to hire someone with experience. Should the Canadian Football League team go that route, the three leading candidates could be Eric Tillman, Brendan Taman and Danny Maciocia.

Tillman has experience with British Columbia, Toronto, the Ottawa Renegades, Saskatchewan, Edmonton and, most recently, Hamilton. He has won three Grey Cups and, at the very least, deserves to be interviewed by president Patrick Boivin.

Taman, currently out of football, was the GM at both Winnipeg and Saskatchewan, while Maciocia is a former Edmonton GM and head coach. Now the coach at Université de Montréal, Maciocia has led the Carabins to three Vanier Cup appearances, and one title, since 2014. The Carabins lost Saturday’s championship game to the University of Calgary.


Montreal Alouettes head coach Khari Jones smiles during practice in Montreal on Nov. 8, 2019.

John Mahoney /

Montreal Gazette

But it’s also possible Boivin and the organization will think outside the box and hire someone with vast CFL experience, but who has never been a GM.

It shouldn’t be forgotten Boivin has enlisted the services of Wally Buono, the former B.C. GM and head coach, in an advisory role. Buono will probably recommend former colleagues Neil McEvoy and/or Geroy Simon — perhaps a combination of the two — for the job.

Those two seemingly would work well with Jones — a key component in this scenario, because the Als have hired a coach before the GM — who came to Montreal after being the Lions’ offensive coordinator.

McEvoy, the Lions’ director of football operations, has held that position five years, but has been with the organization for 24. He handles many of the daily football operations activities, including player contracts, training camp and travel logistics and scouting preparation. He also plays a key role in the evaluation of Canadian talent for the CFL draft.

Simon, the former standout receiver, is the Lions’ director of Canadian scouting and draft coordinator. He has spent five seasons in football operations and, in 2018, said he was ready to become a GM.

Two members of the Grey Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers also deserve consideration.

Danny McManus is the Bombers’ assistant GM and director of U.S. scouting. A former CFL quarterback for 17 seasons, McManus has been with Winnipeg since December 2013.

He scours the U.S. for talent while working closely with GM Kyle Walters in helping shape the roster and the team’s negotiation list. McManus also organizes the team’s free-agent tryout camps held throughout the U.S. during the winter.

Before joining the Bombers, McManus worked as a scout with Hamilton from 2009-13. He originally was hired as a regional scout before becoming the Tiger-Cats’ head U.S. scout. He was an offensive assistant coach with the team in 2008.

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Ted Goveia also serves as an assistant GM with Winnipeg along with being the team’s director of player personnel. He has been with the Bombers for six years. He held the same role with Toronto between 2010-13.

Ottawa assistant GM Jeremy Snyder and Jean-Marc Edmé, the Redblacks’ director of player personnel, both spent time with the Als.

Snyder joined the Redblacks in March 2013 as the director of football administration along with serving as a pro and college scout. He was promoted to assistant GM in May 2017.

He began his CFL career with the Als in 2010, working under former GM Jim Popp as a scouting assistant. He became a full-time employee the following season, assuming many key roles in the team’s scouting department. Snyder also has NFL experience with the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles.

Edmé, meanwhile, spent eight years with the Als under Popp, where his duties included scouting university and pro players. He also served as a defensive assistant under former head coach Marc Trestman.

Edmé has spent 13 seasons in the CFL, including the last four with Ottawa. He joined the Redblacks in January 2016 as the player personnel coordinator before being promoted to the director of player personnel. He’s also bilingual.

The Als’ GM position, however, won’t be for everyone. Normally, the manager is hired first and his responsibility is to find a coach with whom he can work. Because the Als have gone about this unconventionally, any potential GM will want to know how the power will be divided and who will answer to whom. If the GM doesn’t have full autonomy, that could eliminate many potential candidates.

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