Archive for the ‘Sport’ Category

The Arrogant Classes

marlon_kingThe frequency at which professional footballers feature in the non-sports pages of our daily papers is increasing at a significant pace. Their propensity for bad behaviour has become legendary and the latest footballer to fall victim to his own arrogance is Marlon King who has been jailed for 18 months after being found guilty of sexual assault and causing actual bodily harm.

Throughout the court case King demonstrated his arrogance towards everyone around him by continuously claiming it was a case of mistaken identity even though the evidence against him was overwhelming and included an eye witness statement from his own football coach. Perhaps he had convinced himself he is innocent, unfortunately for him the jury decided otherwise.

King is not the first league footballer to be charged with a violent crime and will not be the last. We now seem to have a class of player who have been so indulged by their clubs, the companies who sign them up for sponsorship contracts and the coterie of individuals who leach off them they believe they hold some privileged position that puts them above everyone else. We and the great game of football suffers as a result of their arrogance. Its time the big clubs acted to end this woeful situation.


The Business Of Football

Cristiano_RonaldoProfessional football has long ceased to be a sport, its now a business where money buys success and individuals can earn far more than their real value to the beautiful game. Having transferred to Real Madrid for £80 million, Cristiano Ronaldo has said he will prove he is worth every penny. If he were to score five goals in every match then one might just consider he is getting close to proving his point. But the game is not like that.

Football is a team game, no single player can win a game; they can take a lead role and score the winning goal, but without the rest of the team working with them they would not be able to achieve that success. Ronaldo can only be successful if the whole team out plays the opposition. His comments show how arrogant professional footballers have become, more interested in there cash than team silverware. The big clubs are equally responsible by pandering to these egos by spending huge sums chasing dream players.

The result of all this spending is paid by the supporters who now have to spend a considerable sum to see their team play each week, not that its their team any more, most are owned by the banks and financiers who invest in the teams in the hope competition success will bring them wealth. The FA has also been party to the increased dependence on high financial by the way it has milked the TV rights. The failure of
Sentana has put some Scottish League clubs at risk of bankruptcy. Perhaps the time is approaching when someone will realise the football bubble has got too big and is about to burst.

Hillsborough – Public Duty or Public Bribe

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith wants all the reports on the Hillsborough Disaster made public ten years before the 30 year rule on disclosure would apply. As the 20th anniversary has just passed one wonders if this was a response to the many calls for true justice for those who were killed or a way of diverting attention from all the problems that have dogged her over the past few months.

Hillsborough was one of those disasters that need never of happened. Although a stupid decision, made to avoid a potential skirmish, resulted in 96 deaths, many of them children, the people responsible were those who took the decision on how ticket sales were to be handled for the FA Cup Semi-final. If far more care had been taken in organising the event the tragedy could have been avoided.

The Coroner put very strict limits on his inquiry and the police blamed the supporters for all the problems and did not admit to any complicity in the event. Lets hope all the facts will come into the open and those who were responsible stand up and take responsibility. It might just set an example for our Home Secretary to reflect on in the light of her own failings instead of complaining ‘its because I’m a woman’.

Days Of The Board And Skate

Back in the 1950s life for kids was a lot less complex, it was also a lot less affluent. We did not have the money to buy lots of toys so had to improvise and use our imagination to turn mundane objects into things of fun. We also created toys from the things around us often taking household items which would cause problems for my mother when she discovered a bed sheet missing or some cutlery bent out of shape. Occasionally a new craze would arise and the whole school would become obsessed with a new toy. We had a Yo-yo craze, a hula-hoop craze, collecting cards craze, toy car craze, the list is almost endless. Some of these crazes emanated from America and one put our lives at risk. Skateboarding started in America in the late 1950s. Even if we could have afforded to buy one they were a rare sight in the UK and certainly not available in a post war housing estate in Essex.

The answer was to improvise and try to make our own. We had roller skates that clamped onto your shoes but did not fully understand how a skateboard was constructed or worked. The solution we arrived at involved balancing a large book like a Beano Annual on the top on a single skate. You then sat on the book grabbed its sides, lifted your feet up of the floor and with a quick push headed off down a hill. By leaning left and right you had some degree of control over the direction but had to use your feet, or more precisely the heels of your shoes to act as brakes. After a few weeks the braking resulted in considerable damage to the heels of your shoes, another reason my mother used to berate our antics.

On one occasion I executed a perfect down hill run weaving in and out of pedestrians with great skill and speed. At the bottom of the hill was a T-junction where the double decker buses used to turn off the main road. As I approached the bottom of the hill and the T-junction I was so enthralled in the moment I failed to see an approaching bus that was about to turn into the side street as I reached the edge of the curb. My plan was to stay on the board and see if I could jump off the pavement and onto the road without crashing. Fortunately the bus driver saw what was about to happen and sounded his horn. The sudden noise made me jump and I tumbled to a stop just as the front wheel of the bus passed within a few inches. My board and skate days were over.

Hey Babe, Light My Candle

Kevin Pietersen’s wick is obviously getting very dry and uncomfortable and needs to be dipped a few times to restore its vigour . Having been touring for eleven weeks with the English cricket team he is feeling home sick. His wife has been unable to fly over to see him for a conjugal visit or three as she has been involved with the dancing on ice programme on ITV and is now the touring around the country with the show. Perhaps we should start a ‘Get Kevin Pietersen Laid’ fund to help relieve his problem.

What a wimp, if you are an international cricket star, or any sort of sports star, you should be able to cope with a bit of time away from home. What about the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, they are there for a lot longer than eleven weeks. Even the married couples who are both serving in the same place have to sleep in separate barracks.

Our cricket team has not done very well since the last ashes victory. The squabbles, disorganisation and poor performance are indicative of a bunch of people too interested in their own lives than the noble art of leather on willow. What Pietersen needs to do is stiffen his upper lip and forget about any other parts of his body.