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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

Sport

Allardyce optimistic Sigurdsson will be back before end of season

March 15 2018

Everton manager Sam Allardyce is optimistic club-record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson will be back before the end of the season.The club suggested in a statement on Wednesday the Iceland midfielder’s knee injury would sideline him for six to eight weeks.However, Alladyce was unhappy with that estimation.“Someone gave out the wrong statement. It can be less than that. Whoever gave that statement out is going to get a b********g today – so well done,” said the Toffees boss.“You cannot predict a length of injury in its entirety because you have people who heal quicker. Obviously Gylfi’s recovery time could be shorter than we might expect.“Medics and specialists give a conservative view and you try to beat that and try to get Gylfi back as soon as you can.“We have a highly-qualified medical staff and equipment to try to speed up any injury and I always felt it the wrong thing to do to tag an injury for its time limits because people recover quicker than others.“You want to avoid setbacks so they don’t react that time and if you can get it before then you have perhaps done well.“For me it is how is it in the next two weeks? When you sustain an injury immediately after there is a settling down period and then it is how quickly the player recovers.“Gylfi’s motivation is obviously to get back playing for us and playing for Iceland in the World Cup.”Sigurdsson’s absence offers a potential vacancy in the number 10 role, which could be filled by Wayne Rooney, Tom Davies or even forgotten man Davy Klaassen.The Holland international made his first Premier League appearance since September as a late substitute in last weekend’s win over Brighton.Asked whether it offered the Dutchman a chance Allardyce said: “It may do.“It’s been a struggle for Davy since he arrived but when he gets an opportunity and if he gets an opportunity hopefully he will shine and show what he achieved at Ajax.”Allardyce has spoken to Klaassen, whose deadline day move to Napoli collapsed at the last minute, a number of times about the difficulties he has had since arriving in the summer for £23.6million.“It’s not just Davy who has struggled in his first season in the Premier League,” he said.“The first year can be the very hardest and once they’ve had their first season under their belt the season after they know what it’s all about and they felt the disappointment of not performing to the level they wanted to.“There is an ongoing pressure on every player brought to a club – especially with today’s prices the expectation starts right from the beginning and that is sometimes difficult to produce your best performances.”Allardyce was spotted at Manchester United’s midweek Champions League match with Sevilla, whose midfielder Steven Nzonzi has been linked with a reunion with the Toffees boss having signed him at former club Blackburn.Asked about his trip to Old Trafford, Allardyce said: “I went to watch a couple of players from Seville.”

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

International

England manager Sam Allardyce sacked after corruption scandal

September 27 2016

England manager Sam Allardyce has been sacked, it has just been announced. Sam Allardyce was facing a fight to survive in his dream job after being filmed by the Daily Telegraph as part of its investigation into alleged corruption in football. Videos released by the Telegraph show 61-year-old Allardyce appearing to make a variety of indiscreet and controversial comments to undercover reporters posing as businessmen, and the broadsheet newspaper has agreed to share more detailed findings with the FA. While Allardyce is seen talking in unguarded and potentially damaging fashion about his predecessor Roy Hodgson, former assistant manager Gary Neville and his selection policy involving individuals, the most serious issues appear to be his apparent willingness to pursue a £400,000 deal to address investors in the Far East and his views on the outlawed practice of third-party ownership. "We will release to the FA the relevant transcripts of our investigation into football corruption," a Telegraph statement read. "These run to many hundreds of pages so will take some time to collate." The contents of the transcripts involving Allardyce will be a matter of pressing interest to the likes of FA chairman Greg Clarke and chief executive Martin Glenn, who were reported to be holding emergency meetings at Wembley throughout Tuesday. Board member David Gill, part of the three-man panel that selected Allardyce as Roy Hodgson's successor alongside Glenn and technical director Dan Ashworth, was pictured at the national stadium but there was no confirmed sighting of Allardyce, who is based at St George's Park in Staffordshire. The former Bolton, West Ham and Sunderland boss left his home in Bolton shortly before 7am without comment but 12 hours later had yet to emerge in public. The FA has yet to make any official statement, but Press Association Sport understands a sacking outcome would not come as a big surprise to some in the England dressing room. The Telegraph's video seemingly shows Allardyce discussing a lucrative deal to act as a "keynote speaker" for overseas investment groups, with a caveat that he would "have to run it past the powers that be". The England manager was filmed offering an account of how to circumvent third-party ownership regulations, saying it was "not a problem" to get around FA rules which stop third parties "owning" football players' economic rights. The controversial practice was banned by the FA in 2008 over concerns it compromised the integrity of the game, as the third party could profit whenever a player was sold. He added an unnamed group had been "doing it for years" and "you can still get around it", suggesting they employ the player's agents to compensate for the fact they are no longer allowed to profit from each transfer directly. "You get a percentage of the player's agent's fee that the agent pays to you, the company, because he's done that new deal at the club again or they sell him on, and you're not getting a part of the transfer fee any more, because you can't do that," Allardyce says. "But, you get - because of the size of the contracts now, the contract will be worth 30, 40million, at 10 per cent and you've done a deal with the agent where you're getting five per cent of the agent's fee, which is massive for doing about two hours' work." The footage makes for uncomfortable viewing and former England striker Gary Lineker posted on Twitter: "Biggest issue for Sam Allardyce is advising on getting around 3rd party rules. As well, of course, as very poor judgement." The principles and standards of behaviour set out by the FA in its England DNA philosophy, a plan built with the aim of creating winning England teams, has four key components: pride, excellence, collaboration and integrity. Under the integrity header, it says: "We strive for the highest standards on and off the field. Nothing less is acceptable." Allardyce is reported to have been filmed discussing the gambling habits of the country's current or former senior internationals, the chances of players lining up for England, Hodgson's assistant Gary Neville, Prince Harry and the Duke of Cambridge. The meeting with the undercover reporters also saw Allardyce appear to be filmed questioning predecessor Hodgson's decisions at Euro 2016, at times calling him "Woy" - a word used in a headline in 2012 that the FA called "unacceptable" and relating to the former England manager's rhotacism. On his employers, the FA, the video seems to show the England boss saying "they're all about making money", but are not the richest football association in the world as "they stupidly spent £870million on Wembley, so they are still paying that debt off"'. New information released by the Telegraph on Tuesday claims Allardyce also complained about the United Kingdom's tax system, taking aim at HM Revenue and Customs. The England boss was reported to have said: "The most corrupt business in our country would be what? You'll be shocked when I tell you this - HMRC." Allardyce, who led Sunderland to Premier League survival last season, was appointed England manager on July 22 after what the FA called a "comprehensive and structured process". His England reign got off to a winning start earlier this month with a 1-0 World Cup qualifying win in Slovakia. Further qualifiers follow at home to Malta on October 8 and in Slovenia three days later.

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

Readers' letters

February 11: Is political obstinacy the barrier to taking a sensible line on power generation?

February 11 2012

Today's letters to The Courier. Sir, - I never thought I would find myself in the same camp as the awesome and awful Donald Trump, but he has got one thing right it is worrying that Scotland is depending more and more on tourism as the saviour of the economy. There is nothing wrong with tourism it has led to an enormous upsurge in the quality of restaurants, hotels, etc but it is manufacturing that is going to pay the bills, and that is going down rather than up. Westminster and Edinburgh plug green power for all it is worth, resulting in the ruination of many magnificent landscapes with pylons and windfarms in direct contrast to what is desired by the tourist industry. Many of your readers have put far better than I am able how inefficient wind power is. Much more worrying is how likely it is that we are going to run out of power altogether and become reliant on European neighbours, who have more sense than we do, for necessary imported power. Nobody in Britain is investing in new and proper power stations. We have under Scotland about a 500-year supply of coal. We also have the technology to extract cleanly electric power from this coal. Why are we not doing the sensible thing and creating thousands of jobs in extracting and using this coal and becoming a massive exporter of power? Political obstinacy? Flexible thinking, it seems, is highly regarded in every area, except where it involves a politician doing a u-turn. Robert Lightband.Clepington Court,Dundee. Rugby club finances are in robust health Sir, - I refer to the article published in The Courier on February 6, reporting Cupar Community Council's support of Howe of Fife RFC's efforts to explore the possibility of it creating clubhouse facilities at Duffus Park, Cupar. The club welcomes the community council's support of this venture. However, the comments in the article attributed to its chairman, Canon Pat McInally, as regards the club's financial integrity were wholly inaccurate. Howe of Fife RFC is not, and never has been "...just about bankrupt..." as Canon McInally was quoted as saying. To the contrary, the finances of the rugby club are in robust health with its clubhouse operation trading profitably. I am sure that neither Canon McInally, nor any of the members of the community council, would have intended to cast doubt on the club's financial well-being, but, that, unfortunately, is what the article has achieved. In these circumstances, it is important that the record be set straight in order to allay any unfounded concerns that may have been raised amongst both the club's membership and the general public. Over many years Howe of Fife RFC has built a deserved reputation as a force in developing youth rugby. The project currently under consideration is driven by the club's ambition to build on that reputation and, ultimately, if possible, to provide improved facilities for all its members, but, in particular, the youth of the club. David Harley.President,Howe of Fife RFC. Where is the evidence? Sir, - Isn't living in Scotland interesting? Despite 75% of the electorate declining to vote SNP last May and the referendum being at least two years away, Ian Angus claims in his letter (February 8) that Mr Salmond has a "mandate for independence"! As if that's not enough he has decided that those who choose not to vote in the referendum must be opposed to the union, so a vote of less than 50% for independence will give the "green light" to go ahead with negotiations. Where on earth does he get the evidence for these statements? Kenn McLeod.70 Ralston Drive,Kirkcaldy. Memories of Willie Logan Sir, - The article on the 50th anniversary of Loganair brought back memories of founder, Willie Logan. In the early 1960s my parents lived in Magdalen Yard Road, overlooking the Riverside Drive airstrip. Blazing oil drums lining the grass runway often announced the early morning arrival of Willie to inspect work on the Tay Road Bridge. I worked for a spell then at Caird's in Reform Street, and on occasions there would be a hammering on the door before opening time, as he came post-haste from Riverside looking for a quick haircut! John Crichton.6 Northampton Place,Forfar. The road is not to blame Sir, - I refer to an article you ran on the front page quite recently, Shock at speeders on the A9. As an ex-driving examiner and member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, I know the A9 having used it for years and have experienced some dreadful acts of overtaking at speeds over the limit. I certainly do not blame the road. All roads are safe without traffic. Neil G. Sinclair.St Martins, Balbeggie,Perthshire. Poor response Sir, - Further to your recent article, Windfarm response is positive, which referred to a proposal to erect a windfarm alongside the A822 tourist route between Crieff and Aberfeldy at a site above Connachan Farm, it may be illuminating to point out that the conclusions were based on only 50 responses a 1% return of the 5,000 survey questionnaires! A totally insignificant response. John Hughes.Crieff. Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to letters@thecourier.co.uk or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL. Letters should be accompanied by an address and a daytime telephone number.

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.

Sport

Allardyce will not stand in Rooney’s way if he decides to leave Everton

May 11 2018

Everton manager Sam Allardyce admits Wayne Rooney’s future at the club is far from clear but he would not stand in the player’s way of a summer move to DC United.Allardyce is aware of talks between Rooney’s representatives and the Major League Soccer side but said Rooney had not yet asked to leave.DC United coach Ben Olsen has confirmed that the American franchise has an interest in the former Manchester United forward.Speaking to website TMZ, Olsen said: “The deal is not done but there is some interest from our end.”Allardyce planned to speak to the player on Friday after training and said he was comfortable with anyone who wanted to leave.“My understanding of the situation is there seems to have been some negotiation somewhere along the line,” said Allardyce.“But, as in terms of the clarity as to whether Wayne is leaving or staying, I’ll find out later today when Wayne comes in for training later on.“Wayne is a special player but if any player wants to leave they can, in my opinion. Whether they can or can’t is another matter.“The headline isn’t ‘Sam says Wayne Rooney can leave if he wants to’. If any player wants to leave they can go. I don’t want to create the headline.“But let’s put this right, Wayne Rooney has not asked to leave and neither has Wayne Rooney had any confrontation with me or been in any difficult situation in the time since I’ve been here because we are two adults and we talk.”Rooney is Everton’s top scorer this season with 11 goals, despite not finding the net since mid-December. It is understood he will not be risked in Sunday’s match against West Ham after suffering a slight knee injury in training.His role within the team has changed, often playing in midfield, and he has seen his pitch time reduced by a number of substitutions.He was visibly annoyed after being taken off in last month’s Merseyside derby but Allardyce stressed he could not give the player any assurances about his starting position next season.“How, as a manager, can you guarantee anyone to play? If they don’t play well you can’t select them and if they do play well they stay in the team, and that’s the simple fact of the matter,” said the Toffees boss.“It is up to them to put their game together on a consistent basis and those are the ones who then play every week because they keep their position in the team by what they produce.“He (Rooney) has had an impact at Everton, yes, in a difficult time for the squad and the turnaround last summer but we’ve all come through that – Wayne included.“He appears to be level-headed and is one of those players who has not got carried away with it and I think that is probably why he has done so much, and played so well and achieved so much.“I don’t think he lets the outside world influence him so, as a professional, I think he has been absolutely fantastic and his record says that.”The suggestion is Rooney is waiting to see what happens to Allardyce in the summer – with doubt remaining over whether he will stay on as manager for next season – before deciding his next move.But even with his position looking increasingly precarious, Allardyce remains defiant.“I have a contract. I have a one-year contract and until someone says to me ‘I no longer want you to fulfil that contract’ then I have a contract,” he added.Asked about planning for next season, the manager replied: “I’ve already done it.”

Motoring news

Rising repair costs and whiplash claims behind insurance rise

February 11 2017

Vehicle insurance premiums hit a record high last quarter, rising by more than five times the rate of inflation in 2016. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said that tax increases, rising repair costs and increasing costs arising from whiplash injury claims were to blame. According to the ABI’s Motor Premium Tracker - which measures the price consumers actually pay for their cover, rather than quotes - the average price for private comprehensive insurance in Q4 2016 was £462. The highest figure recorded before this was in Q2 of 2012, when the average price was £443. The Q4 figure for 2016 was up 4.9% over Q3, equating to a £22 rise in the average premium. It was also found that the average premium for all of 2016 was 9.3% higher than the average premium for 2015. ABI’s assistant director and head of motor and liability, Rob Cummings, said: “These continue to be tough times for honest motorists. They are bearing the brunt of a cocktail of rising costs associated with increasing whiplash-style claims, rising repair bills and a higher rate of insurance premium tax. “While we support the Government’s further reforms to tackle lower-value whiplash costs, it must not give with one hand and take away with the other. The sudden decision to review the discount rate has the potential to turn a drama into a crisis, with a significant cut throwing fuel on the fire in terms of premiums. “Insurers are open to a proper dialogue on how to reform the system and urge the Lord Chancellor to engage with the industry about setting a rate that is fair for both claimants and customers.” Meanwhile, the RAC has released research that suggests not indicating when turning is our number one annoyance on the roads. Well over half (58%) of the survey’s respondents said failing to indicate was the top inconsiderate behaviour. It was narrowly ahead (56%) of those who thought middle lane hogging was the greatest driving sin.

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