Here it is, the first post in a new blog. And it’s just to tell you what’s coming up because if you want to know why I’ve popped up here, then you need to click on ‘About This Blog’.
Christmas and early new year is a perennially busy time in sport. For footie fans, the Christmas and New Year programme is swiftly followed by the FA Cup 3rd Round… surely the best day in the English football calendar (unless you’re Bury and have just been chuckled out, of course. Don’t get me started about excessive punishments for minor administration issues).
Football, though, is in danger of eating itself. Never mind the wages and all that mullarky (though they are plainly obscene) worry much more about the on and off field behaviour of players and managers and begin to wonder when people will start saying ‘enough’ in big numbers and turn away. It would be a tragedy.
Football is a peerless spectacle when played with skill and spirit. But it is nauseating when played with no respect for players or officials; and where the most common sight is an incandescent player practically vomiting his rage at an official despite being guilty, and very often when in no position to have an opinion. Grow up. Be men (in men’s football). Have some dignity. Some pride in your performance. Take responsibility for your actions and those of your team mates.
This year we’ve been treated to why the Aussies are still the world’s number one cricket team and why it is that the job only just begins when you win something big. Like the Ashes.
Still, two tests to come and despite the fact that the urn is lost, pride and revenge are massive motivators. This time, there will be no such thing as a dead rubber, I can assure you. But is it time to be able to appeal desicions as a batsman in the same way you can in some tennis events? Now this wouldn’t necessarily have saved England losing the ashes but Andrew Strauss’s last three dismissals were all not out. I think we’d be looking at 2-0, not 3-0 if he hadn’t been out so early on the last day of the second test.
The PDC World Championship of Darts kicked off this week and it is simply marvellous to watch from the players walking through the crowd to the final dart that is sunk in double top. And to all those who think it merely a pub game. Try it. Really try it. From the right distance away too. See how small that treble twenty bed looks? Now get all three of your darts in it. Regularly. And even if you don’t, get them very, very close. Still laughing?
Early next year we have the start of the tennis season from Australia. Henman is still there and still dangerous (and let me get one thing straight, anyone who gets to number 4 in the world and stays in the top ten for five years plus is a player of extraordinary talent who should be respected utterly) but I do expect great things from Andy Murray. He has the game, the aggression and the coach. It’ll be his head that determines his place among the greats should he attain such status.
Six nations rugby union is coming early in 2007. What can England hope for? Well, with Brian Ashton in charge, perhaps the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned on. He has spoken of the need to get the enjoyment back into the players and that is a laudable if challenging goal. If he can do it, England are up there with the best. And if he can maintain it in the face of top class opposition, if the players still play with freedom and lack of fear, we can yet come close to retaining the world cup. But it’s hard. Remember Sven Goran Eriksson talked about much the same things when he took over England football. Didn’t last did it? We can hope, though, and that is the essence of supporting any sport.
Well, plenty of issues raised there. I’ll tackle them all in the coming weeks. If you want something discussed sooner rather than later, post a comment and I’ll get on to it. But bear with me… baby Barclay is due on 14th January. Let chaos reign.