RIP England’s RWC

Now no-one is prouder than me of what the England rugby union team have achieved in the last 20 years. After all it was at the RWC in South Africa in 1995 that I first did the original deal to cement our company’s (then Cellnet, now O2) significant relationship with the England team. And it has survived to this day, long after I left of course.

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sorry chuck

It sounds very Lancashire but actually it’s an apology to Chuck Berry for plagiarising the wonderful lyrics to one of his greatest songs, Johnny B Goode, the sentiments of which are far dirtier than most people realise. But the song seems to be being played all over the media as a kind of hymn to Johnny Wilkinson aching for him to do something brilliant again tonight. I’ve just been to the shops to buy some bread and milk and bumped into the guy who used to cut my hair. He was already unbelievably excited (at 8.30 in the morning!) about the prospects tonight, as indeed was the lady behind the till. In seconds the whole shop joined in the chat and everyone was saying stuff like ‘Johnny can do it’ and ‘come on Johnny’. So here’s to you Mr Wilkinson:

(Final verse)

His mother told him ‘some day you will be a man’

And you will be the leader of a big old band

Of brothers wearing the white and the rose

Looking to you to drop the killer goals

Then we’ll know your name will be in lights

Singing Johnny be good tonight

Go, go

Go Johnny go

Go, go

Go Johnny go

Go, go

Johnny be your brilliant best!

Sentimental nonsense I know but I can’t think of anything sensible to write any longer. Swing low, aim true, sing hard and cry God for Johnny, England and St George. Come on England. Leave those Boks reeling and a-rocking.

p p

world champions…maybe

There’s a realistic chance that after this weekend we’ll have two more World Champions from this country; the England rugby team of course and Lewis Hamilton representing the UK in the F1 Championship. All they have to do respectively is a) beat the team who beat them 36-0 in the pool stage and absolutely mullahed them in two tests before the RWC and b) just beat the two best drivers in the world with more experience than himself. Easy. Continue reading

big sporting weekend revisited

Well the England fellahs managed to do it yesterday against Samoa (is it really pronounced saar-moa? everywhere bar in Lancashire!). I missed the match – travelling up north to visit C’s mum with my lovely daughters. They let me listen to final scores, bless them, but for most of the journey it was Motown or chat. I caught the score and a summary and have been reading all about it all this morning. Seems like a much better performance, still flawed and slightly unbalanced especially in midfield, but a decent victory against tough opponents. Tonga will be equally challenging but at least England are getting better. It’s a bit of a bugger to wait until the actual RWC pool matches to start looking for the optimum combination mind. Still one game to go before the going gets seriously tough to find the right mix and level of confidence. Can they do it and surprise us all by getting to the semis where anything could happen? It’s a big ask. Continue reading

a big weekend for sport

Normal service was resumed in the RWC last night I guess with France’s win over Ireland. At least England aren’t the only lacklustre team in the tournament. Ireland can still qualify for the QF’s but I wouldn’t put the house on them doing it. I think they might struggle against the Argies. But what of England? They ought to beat Samoa but they’re probably the last team you’d want to play against when confidence and spirit is low. It could be a bruising encounter but time for our key guys to stand up and be counted. No problems on that score with the England’s women’s team who have been brilliant at the Women’s Football World Cup pasting Argentina and drawing against the mighty Germans. Next match up against WC holders USA. Come on you girls. And finally the most mouth-watering contest of the week-end, Man U versus the Avram-led Russia FC. Can’t wait. Let’s hope it’s a special one.