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Bryan Robson returned as manager to West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday, the club where he began his illustrious playing career. The former England captain has signed a 12-month rolling contract at the struggling Premiership club after succeeding Gary Megson. Robson, who won 90 England caps including 65 as captain, began his career with Albion before joining Manchester United for £1.5m in 1981.

The 47-year-old faces the difficult task of maintaining the club's Premiership status - the team is currently in 17th place. "I am just delighted to be back involved with Albion," said Robson. "The feedback I have had is that the fans have been right behind me to get this position and I just hope we can get off to a good start to boost everyone's confidence," he added.

Robson's will be in charge for Sunday's home clash with Middlesbrough, the club where he spent seven years as manager with mixed fortunes. Boro experienced promotion to the Premiership and relegation during his spell in charge, and the disappointment of losing three cup finals. Last season Robson had a five-month spell as manager of cash-strapped Bradford City, but was unable to prevent the troubled club from being relegated to League One.

Nigel Pearson, the former Middlesbrough and Sheffield Wednesday defender, has been appointed Robson's assistant manager after leaving his post as England Under-20 coach. Pearson was Middlesbrough captain during Robson's reign at the Riverside Stadium.

* Premier League Southampton crashed 5-2 at second division Watford while Tottenham Hotspur gave new manager Martin Jol the perfect start with a 3-0 win at Burnley in the Carling Cup fourth round action on Tuesday night. Arsenal's youngsters joined their north London rivals in the quarter-finals after a battling 3-1 win over Everton at Highbury while fellow Premier League side Portsmouth overcame second division Cardiff City 2-0 at Ninian Park. Southampton's embarrassing collapse at Vicarage Road increases the pressure on under-fire manager Steve Wigley after just one victory in 12 league games this season.

* Emlyn Hughes, the former England and Liverpool captain, has died of a brain tumour at the age of 57. Nicknamed "Crazy Horse" for his energetic playing style and boundless enthusiasm for the sport, Hughes played for Liverpool during its glory days in the 1970s. He helped the club to its first European Cup triumph in 1977 and then again the following year, as well as winning two Uefa Cups, four league titles and one FA Cup during his time at Anfield. Hughes also captained England 23 times and won 62 senior international caps. His only regret was that his career coincided with the leanest period in England's history and he never appeared at a major tournament.

His first club was Blackpool, but he was quickly bought for £65,000 by Liverpool's legendary manager Bill Shankly. When Shankly retired, Hughes used to visit him every day after training but he did not enjoy the same relationship with Bob Paisley, Shankly's successor, and in 1979 was sold to Wolves after 650 appearances for the Reds. He went on to complete a clean sweep of club trophies by winning the League Cup with Wolves, and was later awarded an OBE for services to sport.

* The Grand National has replaced one sponsor in the drinks industry for another. John Smith's, the beer brand owned by Scottish & Newcastle, will put its name to the steeplechase for at least the next three years, succeeding Martell Cognac.

Scottish & Newcastle and the Aintree racecourse have agreed a three-year multi-million pound agreement with an option to extend for a further three years. The first John Smith's Grand National meeting will take place from April 7-9.

Tim Seager, UK marketing director of Scottish & Newcastle, said: "We are delighted to add the Grand National, a major worldwide sporting event, to our existing racing sponsorship programme. This agreement means so much more than simply attaching our logo to an event; we have made a long-term commitment that will see the John Smith's Grand National, and racing in general, brought to life in pubs, clubs, supermarkets and off-licences, in a way that other brands have done with football."

* Nine of the 10 Formula One teams have intervened to ensure there will be a British grand prix at Silverstone next year. Only Ferrari was absent from a meeting at a Heathrow hotel on Tuesday, at which the teams agreed a financial formula with F1 promoter Bernie Ecclestone.

It provides for the teams themselves to cover some of the costs of staging the event at the Northamptonshire circuit after the British Racing Drivers Club, its owner, was unable to reach a deal with Mr Ecclestone. Alex Hooton, the BRDC's chief executive, said the club had yet to receive a formal offer but that it would be "seriously considered."

* Cian O'Connor, the Republic of Ireland's Olympic showjumping champion, could lose his country's only gold medal from the Athens Games after a second blood sample from his horse tested positive for banned substances. Waterford Crystal was found to have traces of banned drugs in its first urine sample. Further controversy followed last month when part of the second sample was stolen from a laboratory at Newmarket. But the blood part of the sample remained intact and was tested at a top US equestrian laboratory in New York.

O'Connor confirmed on Tuesday night that the B sample had tested positive for two banned substances. He has protested his innocence throughout the affair.

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