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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England lose, shock

 

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So just when you thought your country was having a bad day, we went and topped it with a bloody display against Iceland in the Euro Championships which was abject. No that’s not strong enough. Over the years, watching England at major Championships since 1966 (with the exception of 1970 and 1996) has been utterly disappointing and depressing. But Monday’s performance was just the worst ever. It was shameful. And the Welsh football team were filmed laughing at us in celebration. Yes mocking from Wales, who last graced a major tournament when Perry Como had a hit with Magic Moments ie back in the Middle Ages.

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Prisoner cell block CH

Well the handcuffs are out of the box and it can’t be long before they are slipped around the fat chubby wrists of Sepp Blatter. The FBI are already out for him and his corrupt trough-snuffling cronies but it was his native Swiss authorities who turned up at his office on Friday to seize evidence from his plush Zurich office and announced later that he was being investigated for ‘criminal mismanagement’ and ‘misappropriation’ of funds. At bloody last.

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unbelievable tekkers

So it’s not earth-shattering news to announce that the very top footballers earn fortunes these days. If it takes me say an hour to write this posting (for fun of course), in the same time Wayne Rooney will have earned about £1800 from Man Utd. That’s the rate at which a salary of £300,000 per week gets drawn down. And that’s just the club money. Add to this his endorsements, sponsorship deals, image rights earnings, online gaming fees, social media earnings and investments and the figures are multiplied several times. So he’s probably earning closer to £10,000 every 60 minutes of the day that passes.

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Grandsons eh

Well today I went to watch my eldest grandson S play for his academy team against Barnet FC. It was a lovely morning if a bit cool and it was a proper lads get together with his other Grandad BB there and his young brother G and my son-in-law St there too of course. I haven’t been for a while to watch him and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Life of Ryan

Giggs

 

I caught that documentary the other night on the 4-match spell Ryan Giggs had as interim player-manager following the late season sacking of David Moyes at Manchester United earlier this year. If you can recall there was a lot of media and pundit/player commentary at the time saying that the board at Man U should award the permanent job to Giggs and pass the club baton on ‘within house’ having seen the external candidate (and Sir Alex’s personal choice as his replacement) fail abysmally. After all he was the Premiership’s most decorated player, scorer of over 150 goals and a real one-club player having appeared for ManU almost 1000 times over the last 22 seasons. It’s hard to dispute the logic of the argument. Then I watched the film…

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Come on Blatter, do the decent thing for once

I’ve a solution to the problem Sepp Blatter has been facing for some years – how to end his tenure as President of FIFA on a high note, respected around the world for his courageous convictions. It’s to look at what happened yesterday with the shocking shooting down of the Malaysian airline over Ukraine and to make some important decisions:

–  to accept all the evidence that the civilian airline was taken out of the skies by an SA11 Buk missile supplied by the Russian regime to a trigger-happy bunch of pro-Russian separatists, thinking they were targetting a Ukrainian airforce transport aircraft (similar to the one they shot down last week), and who were in open telephone contact with their Russian military advisors at the time.

–  further accept that Russia is fighting a proxy war against another sovereign state and annexing territory just as Hitler did in the Sudetenland in the prelude to WW2.

–  recognise that the families and loved ones of the 298 innocent people who were killed in the atrocity included some 80 children and a number of mad keen football fans, following their teams’ pre-season progress, deserve to know that their deaths weren’t simply tragic but also resulted in some significant change.

–  question for the first time whether awarding major footballing tournaments to developing countries and the financial burden it imposes on countries like Ukraine (co-holder of the 2102 Euro Championships), South Africa (2010 WC) and Brazil (2014 WC) actually benefits the country or weakens and de-stabilises it, as seems to be the case for sure in the Ukraine.

–  make the obvious conclusion, on behalf of the world-wide football family, that as Russia is acting aggressively and against international law, FIFA should withdraw its grant to host the 2018 WC. Instead FIFA should invite the other bidding countries; England, Belgium-Neths and Portugal-Spain 3 months to submit a new tender document to host the tournament at minimal additional expenditure and based on plans utilising, optimally, existing stadia and current and already planned infrastructure. Winner to be determined within a further 3 month period by a new panel of 6 FIFA delegates and 6 respected external candidates.

–  ignore any threats from Russia on boycotts of future tournaments and hope that FIFA’s actions help, in some small way, to bring an end to Putin’s vile regime.

–  make a just decision that the bidding process for the 2022 WC was almost certainly flawed and compromised by corrupt practices, and that the final bidders should be re-invited to make a fresh submission for the tournament within a 6 month period with a pledge to make a final decision on the best bid within a further 3 months by the same panel.

–  plan future events around a rotating series of well-established centres eg EU states, N America, and the Far East with S America, Africa, Middle East being the prefered venues for under 21/Masters tournaments.

Then Mr Blatter you will go down as a fine, just and decent administrator. Are you up for it Sepp?

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