Well as week-ends go that was quite eventful if you’re a Brit and enjoy sport. Now we have a reputation for being gallant losers or just losers on the world sporting stage. But after the Olympics and Bradley Wiggins winning the Tour de France and our amazing come-back victory in the Ryder Cup and some brilliant individual golfing achievements recently by Rose and McDowell, we are turning into world beaters. Blimey. And then this week-end we only went and topped everything by delivering a fantastic series win by the Lions in Australia on Saturday morning, later on Chris Froome donned the yellow jersey and then, oh my lord, yesterday afternoon we only went and won Wimbledon with Andy Murray. The title that’s evaded us even longer than the World Cup. What’s happening? Where are the Australians and Americans, Russians, Germans and other sporting giants on the world stage? Bloody nowhere. Continue reading
I have been accused of being a bit of a professional northern, wearing my up north cloak when it suits, then reverting to urbane London-lifer/Italian medallion man the rest of the time. Well isn’t that what we all do if truth be told ie fit in as seemlessly as possible into your surroundings? It’s not like I bang on about how wonderful life is in Barnsley like Michael Parkinson or talk faux scouse like Cilla Black whilst both have spent the last 40 years living in leafy Surrey. I’m the first person to sing the praises of a place but also to point out its idiosyncracies and downsides. Look at my last posting if you want proof!
Well it has been a tough time on the sports front for England fans of late but just as things seem darkest along comes not just a fantastic win but an absolute mullering of the Aussies in the second Test in their own back-garden. The baggy greens are in disarray and there’s a national call to re-instate the podgy one. Ho, ho, ho. No wonder Ponting looks haunted. Oh it’s good to be a proud Englishman sometimes because let’s face it we get so many disappointments thrown at us (usually self-inflicted) and we have to take our pleasure when we can. Our cricketers are playing brilliantly and whilst one victory doesn’t signal an Ashes series win, being 1 up is verrry satisfying as my good friend Ben demonstrates below. Enjoy!
Well not only is the year drawing to a close but so is the first decade of the 21st century. It doesn’t seem like 10 years since we were at Geoff and Maureen’s Millenium night party smiling at the thought of all those New Labour ligggers queuing up to get into the Dome. On a personal basis it’s been quite a time for us; we saw two daughters happily married and welcomed two great grandsons into the family, we lost Carol’s mum and Terry from my family as well as several friends sadly but also experienced living in Italy after leaving BT following more than 30 years with the company. Some great memories but I was thinking about some of the sporting highlights in the last decade.
Well I’ve so many things to write about and seemingly no time in recent weeks to get some postings done. So I’ve decided to have another splurge of pre-Xmas blogging. A couple of years ago I did 50 postings in the month of December which was great fun but I hardly saw my wife and family. I’m not going to attempt to do that many again but I will try and catch up a bit; maybe one a day is a bit more realistic. The first subject up is Tiger Woods. Wo ho what a story eh. The golden boy, the paragon of virtue, the world’s most iconic sportsman, the greatest golfer there has ever been, the highest earner in world sport, the untouchable Tiger is…banging cocktail waitresses and his car into a tree and a fire hydrant (unable to choose between a wood and an iron no doubt) whilst being clubbed by his irate missus. Such fun.
We had friends round yesterday for a late and lazy lunch. I haven’t drunk as much wine in ages and today I’ve felt pretty jaded to be honest. But first thing this morning I checked out the BBC sport website to find out how things worked out at the Open. I was rather hoping to find that Ross Fisher had won it and had had to miss the presentation ceremony to dash to be at his wife’s side as she was about to have a baby. It would have made for some great headlines – ‘Birth of an Open Champion’ and all that. And if Fisher hadn’t won it then I would have been almost as happy to see fellow Englishman Lee Westwood win his first Open. But if truth be told I was kind of hoping to read that Tom Watson had defied sporting logic to win his 6th Open at the age of 59.
Well it’s already been one heck of a weekend for sport; Adebayor’s got his dream move to Manchester City as Mark Hughes continues to build a team around the talents of a galaxy of exceptionally sulky strikers. He might have just the 10 (!) at his disposal but surely it’s only a matter of time before Thierry Henry joins the sour puss Gorton gang. Meanwhile down at Lord’s the England cricket team are terrorising the mighty Australians at the tourists’ spiritual home and banker fixture. And for the second Test in a row they’ve managed to really piss off spikey Aussie captain Ricky Ponting, providing a delicious added bonus. And finally at the Open in Turnberry Tom Watson defies the years to lead the field going into the final day. Can he become the oldest winner ever of the old claret jug… well we shall see but his demeanour and performance on the first 3 days – particularly some of those outrageous long range putts – has been a joy to watch. But not nearly as much as seeing Woods, Poulter and Montgomerie all miss the cut and storm off in a triple salko strop. Ah the sporting hissy fit. I thought we’d lost it when the pouty master signed for Real pain in the arse Madrid but the sporting gods have been kind to us. Sulky days are back again. Whose bottom lip quiver makes your day?
Well it’s one of those top weekends and a bit for sport; the kind to drive wives and girlfriends nuts. First up we’ve got the first test between the Lions and the dirty cheating Springboks. Could be a bruising encounter. Then it’s the final of the T20 competitions with the England women’s team shaming their male peers by actually making the final. Think I’ll be rooting for Sri Lanka in the men’s final v Pakistan because of that dreadful attack on their team bus just a few weeks ago. Royal Ascot comes to a conclusion, not that I have much interest. Then it’s the British Grand Prix tomorrow, possibly the last to be held at Silverstone. Win this one and Britain’s Jenson Button’s would probably have the world title sown up. There’s also the US Open which is being played out in a weather system not untypical of one that settles over Manchester from April to March. That probably means a win for some obscure American therefore. And finally it’s the start of Wimbledon on Monday with the not very likeable Andrew Murray probably having his best shot at winning the elusive men’s title for we Brits, following Nadal’s withdrawal. A good chance then for home favourites to do well – which probably means I’ve put a hex on them all now. But even though we’re spending hours on the road this week-end travelling up to N Wales to see old friends A&M, I’ll still be intrigued by all the action. Come on you Brits (and Sri Lankans).
ps Well as British success goes that was a pretty rubbish weekend. Only the fantastic women’s cricket team managed to salvage some pride for the home nation. And somehow Man Utd also managed to lose another world class scorer over the weekend despite offering a 5 year deal at £120k pw and meeting the transfer asking price of £25.5m. Apparently it was ‘too little, too late’. Sigh. It sort of makes me wish that I supported teams and individuals with absolutely no hope of international sporting success (eg Wales and Craig Bellamy) just to keep expectations in check……. only joking Snowdonians.