27/08/2012 Midlands Today


27/08/2012

The latest news, sport and weather for the Midlands.


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Good afternoon. A Midlands Lord and former Labour Transport spokesman

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is warning Virgin Trains a review of the West Coast Mainline contract

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wouldn't make any difference. FirstGroup is to take over the

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running of the line, which joins the Midlands with London and

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Scotland. As our Political Editor explains, MPs will decide if they

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should intervene when Parliament returns next week.

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The Virgin logo is due start disappearing in just over three

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months' time. The Transport Department decided Britain's

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biggest train operator, FirstGroup, should take over the line linking

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the Midlands with London, the North West and Scotland after they outbid

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Sir Richard Branson's Virgin group. One former railwayman turned

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politician believes whatever MPs may say in any Commons debate, the

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new franchise agreement is as good as being a done deal. It would

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enable the whole business to be discussed properly Richard has not

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been so far. We doubt whether the Government would at this stage

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could or would change their minds. There is talk about a judicial

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review of but there would presumably be another one if the

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government decision was reversed. Rugby in Warwickshire has seen its

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services to London much-improved during the 15 years Virgin have

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been operating them. Before the franchise deal, the town's MP urged

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the Transport Secretary to think long and hard before awarding it to

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anyone else. The service from the station is very important to my

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constituents. They commute to London on a regular basis and many

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businesses have located here. Making certain we maintain a

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regular, reliable service is very important here. FirstGroup plan to

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grow the passenger numbers on the West Coast line by 10% a year for

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each of the next ten years. Virgin considered that unrealistic. Their

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success or failure will go a long way towards proving, or disproving,

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the business case for a new system of high speed rail services linking

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the same major cities. And you can read more about what

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FirstGroup is promising for the West Coast Mail Line on Patrick's

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blog. Coventry City are searching for

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their 11th manager in 12 years following the sacking of Andy Thorn.

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The Sky Blues' chief executive says the team, now playing in League One

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are underachieving. Thorn's dismissal came just 48 hours before

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their League Cup match against Birmingham City.

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Just 10,000 supporters were at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday, to see the

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Sky Blues throw away a two goal lead, to draw at home to Bury. But

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a united front from the players wasn't enough to save Andy Thorn's

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job. The fact that we get three draws in three games... And in the

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second half, the way they gave away the position at the half time when

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we could have been 6-0 up was not acceptable. Thorn's tenure saw just

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13 wins from 60 games with relegation to the third tier of

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english football. To seasoned observers, it was the beginning of

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the end. A lot of fans we have spoken to said that if they were

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going to sack the manager, it should have been done last season,

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at the end of last season. He's had time to strengthen the squad but it

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has not -- he has not had a length of time to prove how good the squad

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might be, only three games. Thorn's sacking has been broadly welcomed.

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It was the right decision. A they are not playing very well at all.

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They have the odd game but it is not worth watching. I am a fanatic

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and all the way through, I thought he was the best manager. The club's

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widely-documented financial woes include the owners taken to court

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over unpaid rent, large player wage bills and concerns over falling

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revenues. Today, the club insisted it's financial fortunes are being

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turned around. Two of the coaches will take charge of the team for

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tomorrow's League Cup catch -- match against Birmingham here. The

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hunt for the new manager starts now. Along with it, the search for

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stability. A soldier from Shropshire who lost

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both his legs in action in Afghanistan will be among eight

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servicemen representing Team GB in the Paralympics. The games get

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underway on Wednesday. For 30-year-old Nick Beighton from

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Shrewsbury this will be his first Paralympics. He only got into a

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boat two years ago. He took up rowing after losing both his legs

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when he was injured in an explosion whilst serving with the army in

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Afghanistan. It has been such an emotional three years, from first

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to be serving in Afghanistan, to being in hospital, to crawling back

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to full health and recovery. This is their reward for that. Before

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his injuries the serving captain with the Royal Engineers had skied,

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rock-climbed and run all over the world and was adamant his injuries

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wouldn't stop his passion for sport. I set out early on with a

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determination and attitude that this was not going to change our

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approach life. And he's not the only member of the forces to have

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qualified for the games. First sportsman will be among eight

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British servicemen taking part and it is all francs to charities like

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this one. -- all thanks. Troop Aid in Solihull raises money to help

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soldiers like Nick injured in Afghanistan. It hopes the

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Paralympics will inspire others like him. It is hugely inspiring to

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all of those sports people who are dealing with their injuries at the

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moment. They will be looking at the Paralympics and thinking that is

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maybe something I can do. It is hoped that will be the lasting

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legacy of the gains. Not the most memorable of bank

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Brighter tomorrow but I cannot do much better than that. We end the

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weekend with yet more rain this evening but gradually, as the head

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through the night, that rain will ease to leave us with a brighter

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day tomorrow. This evening, the rain will peter out and push away

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to the east. The skies begin to clear. One or two showers in

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western parts by the end of the night. Temperatures at 12-15

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Celsius. Tomorrow looks like a brighter day. It should be mostly

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dry with good spells of sunshine. A small chance of catching a shower

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but the majority will remain drive. Warmer as well with those

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temperatures rising to 20 or 21 Celsius. The better weather doesn't

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