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Alex Ferguson's wines expected to score with buyers - Christie's

By Michael Roddy LONDON (Reuters) - To take his mind off the pressure of "the beautiful game", retired Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson collected vintage wines that will be sold at auction starting in Hong Kong in May, Christie's said on Wednesday. The collection of about 5,000 bottles assembled by one of soccer's most successful managers will be sold along with memorabilia signed by Ferguson and has a pre-sale estimated value of 3 million pounds ($5 million), the auction house said.

Football: Aston Villa suspend backroom pair

Aston Villa announced on Tuesday they had suspended assistant manager Ian Culverhouse and head of football operations Gary Karsa, without providing further explanation. "The club can confirm that Gordon Cowans and Shay Given have been temporarily promoted to assist manager Paul Lambert and his first-team coaching staff," read a statement on the club website. "The club can also confirm in response to media speculation that Ian Culverhouse and Gary Karsa have been suspended pending an internal investigation."

Football: Ireland signs three-year Stoke deal

Irish midfielder Stephen Ireland has signed a new three-year contract with Stoke City, the Premier League club announced on Tuesday. The 27-year-old joined Stoke on loan from Aston Villa last year and after making the deal permanent in January, he has now committed himself to the Britannia Stadium until 2017. Ireland's career dipped after he joined Villa in 2010, but he has been revitalised under Stoke manager Mark Hughes, with whom he previously worked at Manchester City.

Football: Gerrard eyes defining moment as Liverpool chase title

As Steven Gerrard soaked up the sunshine in the quiet Merseyside suburb of Formby on Monday, it was hard to imagine that just 24 hours earlier the unassuming man in the James Dean T-shirt had stoked up an emotional whirlwind which looks set to sweep Liverpool to their first league title in 24 years.

Football: Leicester edge closer to second tier title

Leicester moved a step closer to clinching the Championship title after a 1-1 draw against Reading on Monday. Nigel Pearson's side had assured themselves of promotion to the Premier League last weekend and they remain on course to go up as champions thanks to a battling display at the Madejski Stadium. The Foxes are now seven points clear of second-placed Burnley with four games left, while sixth placed Reading hold the final play-off berth ahead of Brighton and Ipswich on goal difference.

Football: Wenger calls on Arsenal to make final push

Arsene Wenger has called on his Arsenal stars to use the momentum from their FA Cup semi-final victory to regain their place in the Premier League's top four. Wenger's side host West Ham on Tuesday looking to move back above Everton in the race to qualify for the Champions League. Everton leapfrogged the Gunners into fourth spot with their win at Sunderland on Saturday and hold a two-point lead over Arsenal with five matches remaining.

Football: Bruce reveals skipper's blast fired Cup win

Hull City manager Steve Bruce revealed a half-time blast from captain Curtis Davies inspired a thrilling 5-3 win over Sheffield United that booked his club's first FA Cup final appearance. Bruce's side were in danger of suffering a humiliating defeat in Sunday's semi-final at Wembley after a woeful first half display left them trailing 2-1 against the League One underdogs. The former Manchester United defender was set to give his players a major rollicking at the interval, but before he even got started Davies took the words right out of his mouth.

Football: Saints to make most of nine lives, says manager

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright says there is a belief amongst his squad that this could be his side's year after they made history by booking a first ever Scottish Cup final appearance. The Saint boss watched as his side completed a superb second half comeback as they came from a goal down at half-time to defeat Aberdeen 2-1 in their semi-final at Ibrox.

Football: Liverpool tribute to Hillsborough dead

Liverpool's Anfield stadium will witness emotionally charged scenes on Sunday when it marks the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster before their Premier League game with Manchester City. In tribute to the 96 Liverpool fans who died in the stadium tragedy, kick-offs in matches across England have been moved back by seven minutes this weekend. The supporters were killed after a crush during an FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium on April 15, 1989, which caused play to be halted in the sixth minute.

Football: Arteta hopes Arsenal boosted by Cup win

Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal's dramatic FA Cup semi-final victory over Wigan can provide a springboard to save his club's season. Arsene Wenger's side survived a scare against the holders, equalising eight minutes from full-time through Per Mertesacker before finally winning 4-2 on penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra time at Wembley. Gunners goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski was the hero in Saturday's shoot-out, with his two saves from Gary Caldwell and Jack Collison while Arsenal converted all four of their spot-kicks.
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