Sport eh

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…

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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.

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ireland snare trapattoni

So after more than 3 months of searching the Irish Football Association have captured Giovanni Trapattoni as the next manager of the Republic of Ireland’s national football team. There was a lot of sniggering behind hands around the appointments of the completely untried Steve Staunton and Brian Kerr before him but the doubts proved valid. Now they’ve appointed someone with huge experience and you can feel the shock waves over here in sleepy Buckingham.

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2018 dream team

It’s great news that England is going to bid for the 2018 football World Cup. There was unseemly haste today to close the door on a UK bid which I think was a bit sad given the quality of the stadia and fan support in Scotland and Wales. But at last our sporting associations and the Gov are starting to believe in the benefits of such major events coming to the UK. First benefit – we wouldn’t have to qualify (and indirectly that would justify the FA’s decision to appoint McClaren as team manger). But jokes aside it is a good thing even though it will be extremely tough to win the decision with expected competition from Australia (the best ever-hosted Olympics under their belt), China (amazing stadia and proven Olympics -maybe!), Russia (huge resources and surely their turn to host something big), US (always put on a good revenue-delivering show and football still needs to establish a foothold post Beckham), Neths/Belgium joint bid (the perfect location for such a description!). Continue reading

Steve McLaren’s new album

Well I thought I’d do a tribute album from the dead man walking at the FA. I couldn’t think of any songs entitled ‘He’s so f**king’ useless or ‘Get rid of him please Brian’ but thought these might be appropriate:

Tracks

1. Should I stay or should I go?

2. Go now

3. Help!

4. Everybody hurts

5. God only knows

6. Under pressure

7. Substitute

8. Money for nothing

9. No more heroes

10. Fool on the hill

11. Another one bites the dust

Feel free to suggest more biting titles. Who’d make a good manager to do a track-list for? Mourinho’s theme song (You’re so vain) is a bit obvious. What about Wenger?

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owen & heskey eh

Great performance last night I thought from England and a superb win for Scotland in France. Sacre bleu that’s two demoralising losses for les bleus in a week. Now the French know what it’s like to be an England supporter. Not that I’m crowing because as we all know it could all go horribly wrong for both the England footie and rugby sides yet. Sad reverses for the lads in green and didn’t Bellamy’s Wales do brilliantly (I still think he’s a prick) but it’s all a bit late I guess.

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england play well shock

I was at friends yesterday watching England’s disappointing opening match in the rugby WC against the USA and so missed the vitally important Group qualifier football match between England and Israel which the heads of programming at ITV and BBC had scheduled at precisely the same time. What is the point of that? I cannot be the only person in the world interested in both events. Pricks.

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england calls up dad’s army

Well I’ve heard it all now. Following the embarrassing recalls of those old stalwarts Beckham, Campbell and James, McClaren’s really gone and done it for me now by recalling probably the least ineffective forward from recent times, Emile Heskey, who last played in the Euro Champs in 2004. So there we are a new beginning and direction from the Sven era and he’s resorting to picking not just the same team that Sven selected but now he’s going back to the guys Sven rejected years ago because they weren’t good enough at international level. As I said previously, Tom Finney’s a fabulous ex-international who’s currently got a window in his diary – come on Steve give the lad a shout. He used to be a bloody demon on that right wing and he could probably sort out that new bathroom too Steve through his plumbing business.

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