So the area of the country where I was raised in the NW corner of the UK between the rivers Ribble and the Lune with the river Wyre bisecting the land, is in the news today. It’s the area known as the Fylde and my home town is Poulton-le-Fylde sitting slap bang in the middle of this flat agricultural area. It’s a Doomsday Book-referenced village meaning, I believe, the town by the pool (river) in the field. We ended up with a lovely Norman-based name but it could have been something mundanely Anglo-Saxon like Wyrhampton, which sounds like the place where Sam Allardyce spent his youth. Continue reading
So after more than 10 years writing Pasta Paulie it’s probably about time I tried something new. With the move to the Big Apple it seemed appropriate to start a new blog and I’m humbled to say it’s a sensitive and poignant account of our stay in the US entitled A Fat Bald Bloke Takes on New York. Click on it to find your way there.
PP will be back soon as. Ciao amici
FBP nee PP
Well it’s been a big week for sport hasn’t it? And another decent week for Brits; Hamilton won the Hungarian Grand Prix and overtook his team-mate Rosberg in the race for the F1 Drivers’ title. Johanna Konta won her first big WTA title and the biggest by any British woman in 30 years after defeating Venus Williams in a nerve-shredding three-set final in the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, US. She has a ranking in the women’s top ten rankings in sight. After Murray’s successes it’s good to see a British tennis woman doing well at long last. The England cricket team trounced Pakistan in the 2nd test to square the series and Joe Root had a simply masterful match hitting 325 runs in all. Bloody brilliant. Finally Chris Froome won his 3rd Tour de France title after dominating the race with some scintiallating rides and tactics. Watching it was just great…
Froome’s effort was superhuman, he is a phenomenom. But the thing that was equally impressive about his victory was the team ethic. The support from his Sky team mates to ensure he won the title was just amazing. They were self-less, committed, dominating, super strong and tactically superb. I’ve got to think that the Team Sky general manager Sir Dave Brailsford is possibly the best team manager in British sport at the moment. In a few short years he has taken the British cycling team and the Sky team to unprecedented success through astute strategic thinking, smart selection policy, brilliant appointments, a desire to embrace cutting edge technology and inspired leadership creating an unbelievable team spirit.
It got me wondering whether Brailsford wasn’t the man to take on the England football job. Especially since I in recent times the FA have tried the passionate local but inadequate one (Keegan), the exotic foreign but still inadequate one (Eriksson), the eye-wateringly expensive foreign but ultimately boring and inadequate one (Capello), back to the dour pragmatic Yerkshire one who tantalisingly won a League cup Final with Middlesbrough but unsurprisingly proved hopelessly inadequate, then an old bloke with a speech impediment whose biggest claim to fame was that he didn’t get sacked by Fulham FC. But when it came major international tournament performance his record was played 3, all abjectly. But he was paid over £15m by the FA for his mangificent achievements.
So with so much selection success you’d expect the FA would go for a guy like Brailsford wouldn’t you? You know… incredibly smart, articulate, well-connected, forward-thinking, persuasive, believable, inspiring with great man-management skills. Instead they plumped for Big Sam Allardyce. Sigh. Now some would say he fits the bill in many respects with his early adoption of pro-zone data and technology support and his tactical acumen, super confidence in his own abilities and his self-declared motivational skills. Plus of course he was recommended to the FA by Sir Alex Ferguson. It got me thinking…Sir Alex was very happy to put him forward for the plum England job but didn’t feel he would be up for the job at Man United. Umm funny that. Instead Sralex recommended David Moyes for the Man U role and we all know how that ended. About as badly as Roy’s performance.
So England get a guy who’s never taken a team down but who’s been sacked by such major teams as Blackburn, NUFC and West Ham for producing dull, defensive, don’t lose football. He was even sacked by the disgraced Chairman of dear old Blackpool FC whilst Owen Oyston was still in his prison cell serving time for rape. Such class.
But I’m sure the FA feel confident they’ve got the right man. After all any guy who has managed Bolton can surely feel confident about coming up against shoddy teams like Germany, Italy, France, Argentina, Holland, Spain, Brazil, Portugal, and footballing giants like Iceland, Greenland and Rockall.
But if the decision by the FA was lacking in boldness, what can you say about the IOC’s decision not to make a strong statement and ban the entire Russian team from the Olympics and Paralympics in the light of the damning evidence of state-sponsored doping transgressions. Instead they passed on the decision to individual sports federations like a bunch of timid girls. It’s a frigging outrageous. Why are they so scared of Putin? It’s a disgraceful way to end a great week of sport.
It sounds like the name of a great salsa band or a new Man United defender. But Rio trailers is actually more prosaic; it’s a posting about two new film trailers for the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games produced by the BBC and C4 respectively. I’ve only seen one twice and the other once and I’m spell-bound. No doubt I’ll be sick of them before the events but from this perspective they look fantastic.
I know you probably think that commenting critically on TV presenters is a bit of a hobby horse of mine but following Chris Evans’ resignation I got to thinking about other tv front men/women who should do the decent thing and head off back to hospital radio or wherever they came from.
Well this is a companion piece to the recent posting about England’s ignominious exit from the European Championships. Following that predictable debacle we’d become honorary supporters of the Italian team (it should be Wales but alone in my family I’m finding it hard to be generous to a nation who just dislike the English so much). We were baby-sitting our beautiful elder two grandsons last night and had everything in place (wine) as the Italians faced up to the mighty Germany. It was a tense match with both sides cancelling each other out in the first half. The second half was more exciting with goals from either side. Would extra time allow Italy to show themselves as Germany’s bogey team yet again?
Well we had another couple of weeks over in Italy recently to get some more work done on the place. I mean on our house there, of course, not us fixing up the parlous state of the sunny peninsular in the Med. Though I must confess it sometimes feels like you’re having to do the two things, particularly when it comes to resolving issues with the Italian utility companies. But this time we were fortunate to not have any such problems. Our only difficulties arose when confronting desk and reception staff at various stops along the journey…