YEARLY ARCHIVE: 2009
Tiger Woods and the Morality Brigades
There is little doubt that Mr Tiger Woods has set himself up for an almighty fall. By playing the all American, clean living family man, his philandering ways were certain to trip him up big-time sooner or later. That day has now come. His squeaky-clean image is in tatters. Some sponsors are deserting him.
50 people who fouled up football
As soon as I heard the title I rushed out to buy it. A mistake. What promised to be a definitive text on the soiling of The Beautiful Game proved to be just an amusing and cleverly written collection of anecdotes, personal hobby-horses and cheap gossip, all of which lets the real culprits right off the hook.
While FIFA Fiddles the Planet Burns
First a confession. I am genuinely and unequivocally looking forward to the World Cup in South Africa. I’d be a bigger hypocrite than usual if I tried to deny it. A whole month of football mania slap bang on top of the climax to the current Premier League and UEFA Championships. What joy.
Boom and Bust in Dubai
If there was ever any doubt that the fortunes of professional sport were increasingly tied in to the general fortunes of the world economy, last week’s financial news from Dubai should settle those doubts once and for all. ‘Dubai’s attempt to become a financial and entertainment metropolis…
Sport – Does It Even Matter?
One billion of us go hungry every day with some 14 million children dying every year through lack of food and clean drinking water. Thats equivalent to nearly three holocausts every year, or 770 million children who have starved to death since I’ve been alive. Of course these figures only include children.
Why Matthew Syed is Wrong
Matthew Syed’s article, the so called, the beautiful game, makes a fundamental mistake. Syed writes, When future historians look back at the age of globalisation, it is not the Americanisation of the planets culture that will amaze them most, nor the pervading presence of brands such as Coca Cola and Nike.
Launch of Website
Sport, as in life, is riddled with contradictions, the most basic being that between the joy of participation and the individual human desire to win. As sport has become increasingly professionalized that desire to win has been bound up with the prospect of great wealth. But with great wealth comes ugly greed.
The BNP and Sport
What is certain, is that nobody from our respectable political classes is owning up to being responsible for the one million people being on the housing waiting list or the millions of young people who have been denied the chance of an apprenticeship or any type of meaningful work.
Neil Harman writes in The Times of the LTA, ‘Mediocrity in leadership, mediocrity in playing strength, mediocrity in coaching, the first murmurs of a grassroots uprising. Such is the disturbing landscape that confronts British tennis” Andy Murray confirms this; ‘We are where we deserve to be.”
Football Old Farts
We’ve seen where it leads in the financial world. ‘Light touch regulation’, the catch phrase for the Blair/Brown Labour administration, has seen the so called Masters of the Universe plunder us mere mortals for all they could, and in the process very nearly bringing the entire rotten edifice crashing to the ground.
Humans seem to be genetically programmed to lie and cheat if it means we can get one step ahead of our competitors. ‘Social morality, individual conscience and the rule of law are in there somewhere, but they invariably seem to play second fiddle when status and fortune are on the table.
Chelsea Child Poachers
‘Beware Child Poachers’, screams the Daily Mail. The day before the same paper was content with the single word, ‘Thieves!’. ‘English Prints All Over Stolen Goods.’ The Sun ran with the same headline as The Mail and followed it up with, ‘Justice At Last – You’ve had this coming to you Chelsea.’
Bloodgate – A Sporting Tale for the 21st Century.
Here is a classic Shakespearean tale of the heroic but fatally flawed protagonist who is destined to fall from grace, set against the backdrop of turbulent and uncertain times. Dean Richards, better known to his adoring public as Deano, is that man.
Knocking the LTA
Knocking the LTA has almost become a sport in itself. It’s an easy target of course. In reality they are probably no less effective than most of the other governing bodies in this country but they do have considerably more resources at their disposal than most of their sporting colleagues, and that is the rub.
The Dialectics of Sport
Cheating, match fixing, drug taking, ruthless commercialism and of course the ugly local tribalism and national triumphalism. Yet, sport simultaneously offers the opportunity of individual personal growth, local community cohesion and on the international stage, improved global harmony.
Come On – Be A Sport, Linda Whitney, London Evening Standard
Sport is growing as an industry and consequently so are the number and range of jobs involved in sport. Whitney talks about receptionists, catering and leisure centre instructors starting at around 13,000 and then working your way up the ladder to managerial positions in marketing or design on 50,000 plus.
John Terry, bent horse racing, and other sporting delights
On the one hand there was Bobby Robson who was universally acclaimed by all sections of the media as an all round decent guy who combined a huge dollop of sporting success with the demeanour of a working class gentleman. On the other hand there was John Terry…
I did absentmindedly visit a greyhound evening once in a country town in Australia a few decades ago, and the only two things I can remember is of getting quickly bored and a feeling that an element of animal cruelty was somehow involved, though on this second point I remain open-minded.
Old School Tie – David Conn on English Cricket
A useful piece by David Conn in the Guardian shows how English cricket is still rooted in the public school mentality of the past two centuries. Seven of the current English Ashes squad can boast ‘independent school status’ and the attempts of the ECB to widen the appeal of cricket are far from certain to succeed.
Lord of the Rings, Andrew Anthony
Andrew Anthony has produced a thought provoking assessment of Lord Sebastian Newbold Coe, Knight of the British Empire, twice Olympic 1,5000m winner, former Tory MP and advisor to William Hague, and current Chairman of the London Organising Committee of the 2012 Olympic Games. That’s quite a title.
The Damned United
If there are any of you out there in the blogsphere who have not yet seen this little gem, I can say without the slightest reservation that in all departments; acting, production and direction, this is a must see film classic.
Cloud of Suspicion, Anna Kessel in the Guardian
We all like fairytales. They brighten up the all too often grim business of life. We know what we are buying into but the alternative of a world without fantasy is too cold to contemplate. So every four years when world records are broken at the Olympic Games or at the world championships of each sport…
Sport As The New Religion
The world is coming together. Not in some utopian sense that I imagined in my communist youth. Nor is it coming together willingly, enthusiastically or in any sense, in a planned way. But coming together it surely is albeit kicking and screaming like a child being forced to go to school for the first time.
Britain’s Tennis Superbrats
We are at the Lawn Tennis Association junior tennis tour, where cheating and rows have become so commonplace that the former British No 1, Annabel Croft, has withdrawn her 15 year-old daughter from the tour and the former world No 5, Jo Durie, has said she wouldn’t be surprised if someone was knifed at a tournament.
Kelly is a true Brit
The vile abuse that Collins refers to derived from a one Andrew Brons, a leading light in the British National Party, who we learn, chalked up nearly 10% of the vote in the Yorkshire and Humber Region, thus earning this arch racist Europhobe a lucrative seat as an MEP.
Keane: The Autobiography
Roy Keane’s Autobiography is a great read. Whether that is down to the journalistic skill of the ghost writer, Eamon Dunphy, or simply that Keane has a great story to tell, is not clear. Either way I felt somewhat mesmerised by his footballing life and I can only hope there is a volume two to come.
Has football now lost touch with reality? James Olley, Evening Standard
Finally a mainstream newspaper has dared to say what most sane people already surely think. £80 million for one footballer when vast sectors of the world’s population are hovering on the edge of subsistence is surely a football obscenity too far. J
Tony Blair’s Sporting intervention: The Gimmick goes International
From the man who gave us an illegal war in Iraq under the false pretext of weapons of mass destruction and resulting in an estimated half a million Iraqi deaths, comes ‘Beyond Sport’, one of those slick Tony Blair initiatives for, ‘promoting sport as a tool for social development and conflict resolution.’
Professional Football – Will the Bubble Burst?
Four interrelated stories concerning the financial state of English football suggest that English professional football may be heading the same way as the British banks. Are we talking millions? No, billions. David Conn of the Guardian estimates the English Premier League has accumulated over £3 billion worth of debts.
Football’s tribal terrace chanting
If ever there was a sporting intractable, a conundrum outside of the realm of rational thinking, it is the question of football terrace chanting. Sometimes warm and amusing but more often, outright insulting. By definition they have to be. Who could imagine terrace chanting without that nasty sting in the tail?
The Catalan club will be proudly wearing the Unicef name emblazoned on the front of its shirts, a symbol of moral standing, while United will have the AIG logo, the ultimate symbol of reckless financial speculation, a company now existing only thanks to a massive US Government bailout.
More Than Just A Game: Football v Apartheid by Chuck Korr and Marvin Close
The amazing story of how prisoners on South Africa’s Robben Island, organised firstly a football league and later an entire prison Olympics in the face of the most severe brutality.
The Meaning of Sport by Simon Barnes
Anything that falls under the umbrella of the Murdoch media empire is sure to be tainted. Then there was the distinct whiff of Oxbridge about the opening few chapters complete as they were with clever literary references and a liberal sprinkling of Latin, French and German phrases.
What sport tells us about life, By Ed Smith
The first couple of chapters set the tone of what is to follow with Smith setting out his philosophical stall very much in the manner of Barnes. Sport, Smith tells us, appeals equally to two apparently contradictory world views. First, the notion of a golden age of true heroes from which we have gradually declined.
Foul Play – What’s Wrong With Sport by Joe Humphreys
When I stumbled on the book that put it all in some kind of perspective you can imagine my heartfelt joy. I was no longer alone in my torment. At least one other human soul had come to the conclusion that something was seriously rotten at the heart of our new global religion.
Olympic Legacy – What a Joke!
I started day-dreaming about the legacy idea way back in the year 1999 when the then Blair Government was pontificating about a Millennium legacy. I dreamed of a National walking and cycling track that linked all the major population centres with all our wonderful national parks and our delightful seaside towns.
Your Charity Makes Me Sick
It is as if we have returned to the 19th century where a handful of deserving waifs get a philanthropic handout from generous wealthy do-gooders much like that described in a Dickens novel. The whole process is totally random. One school might get a charitable boost, another will miss out.
The Chelsea Syndrome
I can recall clear enough the day my sister and her boyfriend returned home from a football match armed with a gigantic glossy poster of Chelsea Football Club. You know the type. The whole squad including the coaches, the reserves, the backroom staff and the management neatly arranged in three rows…
You don’t know me!
The very fact that you’ve probably never heard of me or thousands like me, who toil away building our respective sporting clubs to varying degrees of success, says a great deal about our national sporting media and by extension, the nature of our commodity driven society.