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Summary

  1. Anger over cuts to rail services from Staffordshire stations
  2. Children playing with lighters' leave home 'uninhabitable' after blaze
  3. Swan 'covered in petrol' rescued from lake
  4. Stoke City sign Dutch defender on five-year deal for £7m
  5. Updates on Friday 11 August 2017

Live Reporting

By Allen Cook

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Severe accident: M6 Staffordshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Staffordshire northbound severe accident, between J12 for A5 and J13 for A449.

M6 Staffordshire - Three lanes closed on M6 northbound between J12, A5 (Gailey) and J13, A449 (Stafford South), because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe accident: M6 Cheshire southbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Cheshire southbound severe accident, between J16 for A500 Crewe and J15 for A500.

M6 Cheshire - One lane closed and queuing traffic on M6 southbound between J16, A500 (Crewe) and J15, A500 (Stoke-On-Trent), because of an accident involving two cars.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

BBC Athletics commentators Steve Cram and Brendan Foster

Mark Lawrenson takes on BBC athletics commentators Brendan Foster and Steve Cram on the opening weekend of the Premier League season.

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Leicestershire cash machine raid

Police say there is a "distinctive focus" along the Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire border.

Read more

Severe disruption: M6 Staffordshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Staffordshire northbound severe disruption, between J12 for A5 and J13 for A449.

M6 Staffordshire - Heavy traffic and one lane closed on M6 northbound between J12, A5 (Gailey) and J13, A449 (Stafford South), because of a broken down vehicle.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

'I lost half my bodyweight in 12 months'
Emma Halford, 31, used to weigh more than 15st. Now she's turned her life around and wants to help others.
Football

Adebayo Akinfenwa scores twice for Wycombe as they take all three points at Port Vale in League Two.

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Everton 1-0 Stoke: Mark Hughes says Rooney was the difference
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes says his side matched Everton despite their summer spending but Wayne Rooney was the difference, scoring the winner in a 1-0 defeat.
Rooney

Alex Bysouth

BBC Sport

Wayne Rooney says it was a "special moment" to mark his top-flight return to Everton by scoring the winner against Stoke.

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Everton 1-0 Stoke: Special moment to score winning goal - Wayne Rooney
Everton striker Wayne Rooney says it was a special moment to score the winner at Goodison Park - his 199th goal in the Premier League.
Abel Hernandez

Hull win for the first time in the Championship under new manager Leonid Slutsky as Abel Hernandez scores a hat-trick.

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Everton 1-0 Stoke: Wayne Rooney different class - Ronald Koeman
Everton boss Ronald Koeman says Wayne Rooney was a different class following the striker's winning goal against Stoke.
Frank Nouble

Crewe Alexandra earn a draw with Newport County despite having defender Perry Ng sent off after 17 minutes.

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Mark Hughes' best bits

Mark Hughes is an early contender for most facially animated manager of the year judging by these images from Goodison today. Has a way to go before he can usurp a certain German manager though.

Mark Hughes
Getty Images
Mark Hughes
Reuters
Mark Hughes
AFP
Mark Hughes
PA

Everton 1-0 Stoke

Everton's Wayne Rooney has touched the ball more times in his own penalty area than Stoke's yet the former Manchester United forward's goal still separates the sides at Goodison Park.

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Severe disruption: M6 Staffordshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Staffordshire northbound severe disruption, at J15 for A500.

M6 Staffordshire - M6 lane closed on exit slip road northbound at J15, A500 (Stoke-On-Trent), because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: M6 West Midlands northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 West Midlands northbound severe disruption, between J10 for A454 and J11 for A460.

M6 West Midlands - One lane closed on M6 northbound between J10, A454 (Wolverhampton) and J11, A460 (Cannock), because of a broken down vehicle. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Good and bad PL kits

Man Utd v Southampton
Getty Images

To mark the Premier League's 25th anniversary we take a look at 10 of the most extraordinary kits of that era.

Some are good, some are bad, some look like a sixth-former designed them in MS Paint, but each tells its own story.

For most that is of the culture and fashion of the times, but there are also nods to history and of course the influence of sponsors and owners.

Head here to see the kits. You may need to put on some sunglasses first.

Premier League predictor

Premier League predictor
BBC

BBC Sport's Premier League Predictor game is back - and this season you can take on pundit Mark Lawrenson.

More than 200,000 people played last season, and you can register to take part now - it takes less than a minute to get set up.

If you played last season's version, you will have automatically been entered into the new game, along with any leagues you were involved in.

Head here to take part

How well do you know the new boys?

New Premier League signing
Getty Images
That's Florian Lejeune, or is it Kiko Femenia...?

The cash has been splashed by Premier League clubs this summer yet there are bound to be plenty of names - and faces - you don't recognise when the season starts this weekend.

Some, like Wayne Rooney, you know all about. But what about Antonio Rudiger, Mohamed Salah and Florian Lejeune?

Head here to take the quiz

Premier League at 25: Facts and figures

Premier League at 25: Facts and figures
BBC

Thirteen players from outside the UK and Ireland, a crowd of 20,699 at Chelsea, defeats for Manchester United and Arsenal, wins for Coventry City and Sheffield United.

The Premier League landscape looks very different to the one on the opening weekend a quarter of a century ago, which also featured Oldham Athletic and Wimbledon.

After 9,746 games and 25,769 goals involving 47 teams across 25 memorable years, BBC Sport crunches the numbers and brings you the story of England's top-flight in facts and figures.

Head here to read the piece

Who will finish where?

Phil McNulty

BBC Sport chief football writer

Premier League predictions
BBC

It is that time of the year again and the most contentious pre-season task of all - picking who will finish where in the Premier League in the 2017-18 campaign.

The big money is spent and will continue to be spent even after the season gets under way this weekend.

So here goes with the crystal ball - and with the usual safety net excuse that these placings could yet be moved around by some more heavy lifting in the transfer markets before the end of August.

Read the full piece

Severe disruption: A50 Staffordshire both ways

BBC News Travel

A50 Staffordshire both ways severe disruption, between A500 D Road and A5007 Victoria Place Fenton Heron Cross.

A50 Staffordshire - A50 in Stoke-On-Trent closed in both directions between Sideway Roundabout and Heron Cross, because of a police incident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: M6 Staffordshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Staffordshire northbound severe disruption, between J12 for A5 and J13 for A449.

M6 Staffordshire - Heavy traffic on M6 northbound between J12, A5 (Gailey) and J13, A449 (Stafford South), because of an earlier broken down vehicle. All lanes have been re-opened.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: M6 Cheshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M6 Cheshire northbound severe disruption, between J16 for A500 Crewe and J17 for A534 Sandbach.

M6 Cheshire - One lane blocked and slow traffic on M6 northbound between J16, A500 (Crewe) and J17, A534 (Sandbach), because of a broken down vehicle. In the roadworks area.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Our live coverage across the day

We'll be back with our usual mix of news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Monday, but keep an eye out here for more updates this evening.

On Midland Today from 18:30: Stoke City prepare for kick-off

Dan Pallett

BBC Midlands Today Sport

On Midlands Today this evening, we'll be looking at Stoke City's chances in the Premier League as they prepare to kick-off their season at Everton.

Stoke City logo
BBC

A number of fans of the Potters have been voicing concerns over what they see as the Potters' relative lack of big money signings this summer.

But will that mean a tough season for Stoke? We'll be looking at their chances from 18:30 on BBC One.

Rail line closure for fortnight in £100m electrification

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Train passengers are facing disruption between Rugeley and Walsall over the next fortnight.

London Midland says the Chase line is being electrified by Network Rail in a £100m project.

London Midland train
BBC

From Sunday for a fortnight, they'll be carrying out foundation work.

It means the line will be closed between Rugeley Trent Valley and Tame Bridge Parkway for the first week and then between Rugeley Trent Valley and Walsall in the second week, with replacement buses instead.

Your say: Plans target town centre regeneration

Facebook

Many of you pitched in with your thoughts on new plans which aim to regenerate Newcastle-under-Lyme town centre.

The borough council says a planning application's been submitted with the proposals for the Ryecroft area including new retail units and parking.

Centre of Newcastle-under-Lyme town centre
BBC

On the BBC Radio Stoke Facebook page, Jamie Taylor wrote: "I think it will be great for the town. The town at the moment is dead, unless you want a coffee there's nothing worth going down for anymore."

Elaine Shepherd posted: "The cost of parking is the main issue in Newcastle-under-Lyme, not what it looks like."

Mary Fitzmaurice added: "Seems to be destroying a lovely market town with all its history. Not sure what they trying to achieve?!"

While Ritchie Rich typed: "If it brings trade into the town it's got to be good . But I'm guessing there will be opposition from some traders because they don't want the competition."

Watch: Natural confetti company doubles production to meet demand

A Shropshire company which grows flowers to turn into natural confetti says it has had to double its production this year, because of rising demand.

Ashley Corrigan from Shropshire Petals, which is based near Newport, says it's been helped by wedding venues banning paper-confetti, to reduce the amount of cleaning-up afterwards.

Natural confetti maker doubles harvest to meet demand

Football: Stoke confirm Muniesa loan to Girona FC

Matt Sandoz

Stoke City commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Stoke City have confirmed Marc Muniesa has joined Girona FC in Spain.

Marc Muniesa
Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The club has wished him the "very best of luck", saying it's a season-long loan.

Muniesa's tweeted to say "Stoke will always be in my heart", thanking the fans and saying he's "a Potter for life".

Nelson Roberts and Sloth

Premier League predictions by BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra DJs Charlie Sloth, Adele Roberts, Trevor Nelson, Nick Bright and Chris Stark on the season's opening weekend.

Read more

The weather forecast for this weekend

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

After a mix of sunshine and some outbreaks of rain today, here's how tonight and the weekend is looking across the West Midlands.

Keep yourself updated with the latest forecasts on the BBC Weather website.

Rebecca Wood

West Midlands Trains: Direct links to London dwindle for Stoke-on-Trent

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

The loss of a direct train service between Stoke-on-Trent and London means the city just has one direct rail link to the capital left.

Under West Midlands Trains Ltd, which from December takes over the franchise currently run by London Midland, services from Crewe to London Euston will not stop at stations including Stoke-on-Trent, Stone, Kidsgrove and Alsager.

Passengers at Stoke-on-Trent's railway station
BBC

The Department for Transport's today confirmed that the current timetable will continue until December 2018 when the changes will be brought in.

It means, after that, the sole direct service from Stoke-on-Trent to London will be run by Virgin Trains.

As posters on the BBC Radio Stoke Facebook page have also pointed out, the city also won't have a direct link via the new planned high-speed rail line, HS2, as Crewe was instead picked as the staging post between Birmingham and Manchester.

Bridge to be shut for strengthening work

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

Work to strengthen a bridge in Burton for lorries is due to start on 29 August and take up to three months to complete.

The county council says £6.1m is being spent on St Peter's Bridge and will also go on improving Burton Bridge in the New Year.

St Peter's Bridge
Staffordshire County Council

As well as the strengthening work, they're also waterproofing and resurfacing the crossing.

The council says it'll mean St Peter's Bridge is shut both ways until the end of November.

Football: Crewe 'won't stand in way' of Cooper transfer

Graham McGarry

Crewe Alexandra commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Crewe Alexandra manager David Artell has told BBC Radio Stoke that he wouldn't be surprised if clubs try to sign George Cooper before the transfer window shuts.

George Cooper
crewealex.net

The 20-year-old has started the season well and was watched by a host of scouts on Wednesday night as the Alex played Bolton Wanderers.

George is a great player. We've had chats, he understands where he is in his development. He's a great kid and if he carries on playing like he's playing then you never know. I certainly wouldn't stand in his way if somebody came in and made an acceptable bid to the football club, but that hasn't happened as yet."

David ArtellCrewe Alexandra manager

Football: Stoke 'looking to bring in more players'

BBC Sport

Having already brought in several new players this summer, Stoke City manager Mark Hughes is hoping more will arrive.

Mark Hughes
Getty Images

It comes as the club announced the signing of Bruno Martins Indi.

We are still looking to bring in more players to freshen up the squad. I'm aware we've lost a bit of experience in the dressing room but we've still got good players here who can step up to leadership roles."

Mark HughesStoke City manager

BBC Weather Watcher photos: Grindon and Hednesford

BBC Weather Watchers

Our BBC Weather Watchers regularly upload photos of the weather where they are but it's not just about shots of the sky.

These two have come today from users Videoman in Grindon and Thornhill Watch in Hednesford:

Grindon
Videoman
Hednesford
Thornhill Watch

Severe disruption: M42 Leicestershire southbound

BBC News Travel

M42 Leicestershire southbound severe disruption, between J11 for A42 and J10 for A5.

M42 Leicestershire - Heavy traffic on M42 southbound between J11, A42 (Burton Upon Trent) and J10, A5 (Tamworth), because of earlier vehicle tyre change. All lanes have been re-opened.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time