Archive for the ‘Sport’ Category

I’m writing this post as it’s something that has started to bug me during the Olympics and it will come across as a rant, but so be it.

Team GB covers the nations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and you would think that the population within those nations would fully support the Great Britain side, and on the whole you would be correct. The majority of populations have got behind the team but their are a minority of small minded and petty people out there who won’t support them as they are not England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

I’ve seen it from people in all the four nations and it’s just pathetic. The media doesn’t help either. After Great Britain secured a famous 1-0 victory against Brazil in the women’s football the commentator interviewed Kim Little and said the following..

You are the only footballer in both the men’s and the women’s team to represent Scotland. How do you feel about that?

Little replied with a simple comment but one that is so true.

I’m not here representing Scotland, I’m representing the whole of Great Britain

And that’s a fantastic reply. While some people are possess an inferiority complex whichever of the four nations they are from, the athletes and the majority of the British population are intelligent enough to realise that during these games we are all as one. We aren’t English, Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish… We are British.

For those who still hold firm against this notion, please go and grow up. Thank you.

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Fabrice Muamba who is currently fighting for his life.

By now there have probably been countless posts/news articles dedicate to what happened last night in a football (soccer to those of you across the Atlantic) match between Tottenham Hotspur and Bolton Wanderers at White Hard Lane. This post isn’t going to be about what happened to the player (although I will summarize in a second for those who might be unaware), but about what happened around it.

For those who may not have seen or heard what happened. Patrice Muamba is a 23-year-old player who plays for Bolton Wanderers. At the 41 minute mark the player was seen to just collapse and was seen to be just lying face down on the ground. It was revealed that he had a heart attack on the pitch and had to beĀ resuscitated. It also took two hours to get his heart started again. As of the time of writing this, he is currently in a critical situation and could still go either way. My prayers are with him right now.

Like I said however, this isn’t about what happened to him. I didn’t see what happened live, the first I heard about it was on Twitter last night. I did however catch an eight minute clip of the incident and the aftermath on YouTube before it got pulled, I’m guessing by ESPN. What I saw was humanity shine through.

Firstly players from both sides realised the severity of the situation and called on the physio and medic teams of both sides. During this you saw players praying into the heavens, others having to be consoled. There’s no doubt in my mind that the speed in which the medics came on, has given him every chance of survival.

Bolton Wanderers were the away team on this night so their fans were in the minority, but every shot of the crowd showed supporters of both sides with they heads in their hands. A stadium full of 36,000 was largely quiet. Anyone who tried to mock Muamba was quickly told to shut up. When Bolton’s manager was given permission to run on to the pitch to check on his player the stadium erupted into a round of applause. The eerie silence was broken every now and again by the entire crowd chanting Muamba’s name. As he was stretchered off the pitch, he was given a standing ovation from every one, and loud applause broke out when the referee, Howard Webb abandoned the match. When the match was called off altogether after 41 minutes, the supporters of both sides applauded and once again chanted Muamba’s name.

I only saw this on YouTube today and just watching the outpouring on that clip was enough to send shivers down my spine. The way it quickly dawned on everyone that this wasn’t a standard injury. That this was something extremely serious. All over the footballing world, here in England, Spain and elsewhere. Players from every club have sent messages, have tweeted their support of Muamba. His Twitter account has jumped from 6,000 to around 90,000 in just 18 hours. At the Wolverhampton Wanderers – Manchester United game today, players and fans stood for a 30 second round of applause. Gary Cahill of Chelsea scored a goal and revealed a t-shirt saying “Pray 4 Muamba”.

Bolton were due to play Aston Villa on Tuesday, but Bolton requested that the patch got postponed. Aston Villa released a statement saying the following.

“The thoughts and prayers of Aston Villa Football Club are withĀ Fabrice MuambaĀ and his family,” read the statement.

“Our thoughts also extend to his teammates, the management staff and all atĀ Bolton WanderersFootball Club at this terrible time.

“The Club, without hesitation, has agreed to Bolton’s request to postpone our Barclay’s Premier League game scheduled for Tuesday atĀ Villa Park.

“We also wish to thank our supporters for their expressions of sympathy and support for the Muamba family and all at Bolton Wanderers.”

Football has had its rough spells, occasionally in some parts of the globe it has its violence. Fans chant abuse at others supports, mock tragedies that have happened in the past. Players suffer racism, yet it is times like this. When a simple of game football becomesĀ irrelevant, and you see not just rival supporters, but even those who have no links to either side or the players, officials all the way up to the president of FIFA and even people who have no interest in football, all unite in one voice, it shows that at times the true power of humanity shines through.

This post was prepared on Sunday whilst the 4th Test between England and India was still ongoing.

Cricket has always been my number 1 sport. In a country where Football (Soccer for those of you who are misguided), dominates the roost, I’ve always been more interested in Cricket. It started because of my granddad. Every summer without fail he would have the test match on BBC. From an England fan point of a view it was rarely enjoyable watching as winning was as rare to us as intelligence is to Jedward. Despite this I still found myself enthralled and not with the 1 day game or now the 20/20 game, but with test cricket, the 5 day game. To quite a few people a test match is boring “oh it’s on for 5 days how tedious”, but for me it was, and still is the pinnacle of cricket. To achieve on the test stage far outweighs any achievements in the shorter versions of the game.

I remember we would have a batting line up of Atherton, Stewart, Hick, Thorpe, and supported with a bowling attack of Cork, Gough, Malcolm and Tufnell. Whilst these guys were great to watch and Atherton could stay put longer than Stonehenge they rarely turned heads, rarely got the pulses racing and well to be honest, rarely won. The bottom was reached in 1999, when after a defeat at home to New Zealand, England found themselves at the very bottom of the test rankings. English cricket was deemed to be in disarray, fans would boo their own captain, and the England national team couldn’t had been a happy camp to be in.

They say responsibility in anything must come from the top, and luckily enough the ECB realised this and went to work. They ploughed money into the county game, into improving the coaches, into improving the England setup. Bringing in Duncan Fletcher was, dare I say the catalyst for what was to come. Fletcher insisted that the core England players be given central contracts (this means that the national board pays them and not their country clubs). This decision proved to be pivotal as it allowed players time to rest, it allowed the coaches to prepare them the best they could.

In 2004 the fruit of all the hard work was beginning to show on the field, or so we thought. 2004-2005 is now seen as the “false dawn” of England’s rise. After victory over the West Indies in 2004, England then went and defeated Australia in 2005, to reclaim the Ashes for the first time since 1987 if I remember correctly.

The 2005 Ashes series was amazing to watch, so much passion, so much tension. The first test was pretty much a one-sided show but the 2nd test will go down in history as one of the greatest tests of all time. It had everything, great batting, ferocious bowling, heroic displays (Freddie), and then the most tense finish I’ve ever witnessed in a test match. Australia came within 3 runs of winning the test match. THREE runs. One smack over the boundary and Australia would’ve been 2-0 up and it would’ve been pretty safe to say that the series would’ve been over, but it wasn’t to be and England won to level the series 1-1 and eventually went on to win the Ashes by 2-1.

So I can hear you all saying “well this sounds good so how can this be a “false dawn?””. The answer to that is quite simple. The England team basically imploded on itself. Michael Vaughan was injured so Andrew Flintoff captained England for the Ashes in Australia. The result? We got thumped 5-0 (A whitewash). Shortly after Michael Vaughan stepped down as captain and then the coach, Duncan Fletcher left. In came Peter Moores as coach and Kevin Pietersen as captain, needless to say that didn’t see eye to eye and England continued to spiral down, resulting in a 51 all out score in the West Indies.

Two strong figures were needed to grabbed England by the scruff of the neck and pull them up, and two strong figures they got in the form of Andy Flower (coach) and Andrew Strauss (captain). If there was any justice in the world you would be able to look up the phrase “calmness personified” and there would be a picture of Strauss. Flower and Strauss managed to turn England from a divided team, into a united front. When we regained the Ashes in 2009, people didn’t get carried away like they did in 2005. They kept their feet firmly on the ground and this was rewarded during the Ashes tour of 2009/2010. What happened was that England not only defeated Australia in their own back yard but absolutely demolished them. A 3-1 victory involving THREE innings defeats including an amazing score line of 517/1. There has been a series victory against Sri Lanka in 2011 and England are on the verge of what will hopefully be a 4-0 thrashing of the former number 1 side (India).

The future is bright for the England national team and hopefully we can stay at the top for the foreseeable future (South Africa might have something to say about that). After a long time of being thrashed by anyone who could hold a cricket bat or throw a cricket ball, it’s a nice place to be.