I am kind of haunted by certain words and the two racenames I’ve most had to conjure with are The Cesarewitch and The Preakness at Pimlico. Indeed Pimlico also, I knew of this race before I knew that the film Passport to Pimilico was about a real place in London. I’ve looked up the origins of Cesarewitch but never Preakness as who wants to be disillusioned by some mundane explanation. Continue reading
S’Alex goes. Chelsea will have a new gaffer. Man City might opt for a manager who does not view falling out with the squad as an advantage. Arsenal might spend money. Everton might lose their skipper. Liverpool surely will do well to keep Suárez and to get a Lampardian season out of Gerrard again – 9 goals 9 assists 36 games. Spurs can only improve if they keep Bale with a post considered 2 goals a season over Adebayor albeit the remains of David Villa wrongly bought by Barcelona surely won’t happen.
Interesting times but the tug of cheque books between United and Chelsea for Mourinho might be moot if a) anyone at Old Trafford knows anything about football b) fans at Old Trafford don’t like their triumphs soiled in advance and puss covered after – Schadenfreude addicts are for Mourinho c) without the realisation that Madrid will want 17 Million buy out. Most true football fans will be glad if he does not come. Fans of media and soap opera will cry in their Foster’s.
Goodbye S’Alex the top man and one who improved with age unlike the Broken One.
Chris Froome showed he is the most exciting British cyclist yesterday. As the commentators pined away that Porte’s slipping back left Froome isolated he just rode off the front. No dramatic acceleration he rode off joined the breakaway rider and pumped 47 seconds into a bickering Peleton. This was not Wiggins setting a tempo or indeed having Froome set one for him and knowing he’d win the time trial this was a racer.
Hopefully Froome has learned to temper his efforts but he is still a pure racer. In last year’s Vuelta faced with Spanish cyclists knowing there was as much chance of a doping clamp down as the sun not rising Froome launched attack after attack only to fold. Sure he was fighting an unequal fight and not in the best of condition but it looked stupid at times.
Clearly he goes to le Tour as the favourite with a team of Wiggins, Porte, Henao and others but at some point on the steeper climbs he will have to race with Nibali and they with the extra half pint boys.
Froome is introverted and without Wiggins humour and wit so he may never be as big a star. He is also already heading to 30 without the Olympic Gold Medals. However another few years and a Tour win and he could become our greatest Tour cyclist.
Apparently with FA v Suárez v Terry v Hazard and v Suárez an independent panel was appointed. They are created not when there may be charges but when the FA wants to have a longer ban than 3 games! This in the Terry case neatly got around essentially over turning a legal verdict by a body of fatuous time servers and opportunists.
The idea they are independent not subject to public opinion is also shit. After Hazard had kicked the ball and injured a little scumbag when it was clear where the public and football was heading, Hazard should have given the shit a proper old fashioned shoeing. They could be grateful that Hazard had accepted a 3 game ban even.
Essentially by appointing the panel the FA are setting the minimum bar at 3 games and conviction – with the sentence dependent on What The Paper’s Say. The panel is not appointed by ACAS or the UN nor is it anonymous to the FA – they would surely want a veto hence vetoing independence even if a 3rd party appoints it. Its set-up is clearly corrupt as to outcome and the people who sit on it hardly drawn at random like a jury.
FA justice is specious justice. Suárez should have got a ban but so should Sturridge, Ageuro and MacManaman yet the FA have done nothing. One would think they only respond to headlines and media events.
The conceit that British Racing is drug free was exposed by the finding of 11 steroid dosed horses at part of the Godolphin stable. This was not a sophisticated operation like the Lance Armstrong US Postal in fact quite the opposite but Godolphin has run horses here for at least 10+ years.
That no attempt was made at concealment and the suggestion the trainer did not know there was anything wrong shows how little random out of season drug testing there is. That the UK conceit at US stables use of race-day medication is merely a largely semantic debate since without enforcement the only difference is race-day – like National Hunt fans who poke at the greater fatalities of US Dirt over Turf Flat or Synth racing then claim the Grand National is unfairly targeted.
Of course this is unfair to tar a whole sport and I know the trainers of the two I own a share in would not do this to their charges. If I felt the trainers of mine were cheats like al Zarooni and Henderson I would not have anything to do with them. However this case does illustrate any sophistry would clearly allow people to cheat without much fear of detection.
Our equine athletes are by and large doted on and looked after. Both my syndicates are dotty about our moderate charges. Yet our affection is nothing compared to the care and attention the lads and lasses devote to them.
The BHA are on notice more random tests in and out of season if only to protect the sport and horses we love so much.
Racism, simulation, handball, biting….. what to do? A Cantona but pick someone under 15? Ball boys but they’ve been done. No Suárez next offense needs to be big enough to really surprise and cause offense.
Indeed it says much for Suárez that whilst breathing hatred down the phone at Carragher and Sturridge’s attempt to end a career I was pissing myself laughing at Suárez. As offensive as he is on the pitch the career ending tackle is the worse crime and his actions as much self harm as anything else. For instance Carragher trolled Chelsea players after Kevin Friend who cannot be far off being blind enough to get a Guide Dog missed the shocker by Sturridge and everything else.
At most clubs Suárez would be clearly the biggest wanker but at Liverpool it’s a competition.
The best thing I can say about S’Alex is that what I would have considered his weaknesses 10 years ago are now his strengths. He rotates better than anyone. Deciding games in advance which team he will play whereas Mancini seems to go game by game. His rigid 442 of the 90s is now anything but. Even Ronaldo’s leaving was dignified and negotiated.
Andy Dunn of the Mirror opined this was the worst title winning United side and compared it unfavourably to the ’99 team. Yet it already has more points in a stronger division than then. The ’99 team did get 90 points in 2000 but was outclassed by Madrid. Yet this year’s incarnation was at least a better Madrid’s equal as acknowledged by Jose Mourinho.
That someone who came up in the culture of most of our pundits can have adapted after his original planned retirement and built a modern team flexible and able to lose any player for a period is commendable. Clearly Queiroz tenure seems to have been a turning point but equally one only has to listen to Gary Neville to know the game is respected and understood better at Old Trafford than almost anywhere. That players are bought for the team not because they have flashy skills.
It may seem that sometimes ordinary or young players are over paid for and yes one can detect a whiff of corruption or paying off in deals like Bebe. However the likes of Carrick, Valencia and others make up the deepest and most flexible squad in the division.
To stay relevant beyond his 40s was beyond Clough. In his own way Ferguson is at least the equal of the man of 3 statues and with considerably more longevity.
The only happy part of Millwall’s disgrace is it means there is no chance of the dreck being in Europe. It would truly be a Bonfire of the UK’s vanity on race that they should travel abroad and spit in the conceit that we are somehow less racist than another national tenancy.
I nearly had an argument about the conceit the UK was least likely to vote fascist in Europe. I would say it was because people were sheep who read newspapers and tolerated a biased media – biased to conformity and the main parties. The row came about when I asked what di Canio had done that David Cameron or Ed Miliband or Gordon Brown had not with their crass calls to Britishness? Indeed the race to the bottom on race merely says we do not vote for openly racist parties not non racist parties. Who would claim Tory or Labour are non racist given their current leadership and rhetoric? Male dominated to boot.
Indeed di Canio’s main error was to full pad out quite how stupid a position he supports. Unlike the garbage from Westminister who expect us to take that meaning with nods and winks about Britishness. Indeed I defy most countries in Europe to have such an open bigot as Phil Woolas as Immigration minister.
The question for the media currently lathering up over di Canio’s personal opinions is this why would you hold the Sunderland manager to greater account than the Swindon manager or indeed the Immigration minister and last 2 prime ministers?
It is truly laughable hypocrisy that someone at the centre of Labour’s war, torture and rendition policies like David Miliband would resign in protest. His conceit must be overbearing. His was a Govt that locked up children merely for being foreign and public opinion. That wanted to intern largely foreign born or 2nd generation for 90 days.
I think it’s obvious who the obvious racists are.
3 miles 1f
There is a suggestion this race is the graveyard of horses who’ve run well at Cheltenham. However having opposed many of those who ran badly here I generally thought there were reasons to bar trends. Take Denman who never could take a tight bend and Imperial Commander who probably could not either nor back up a run. Kauto increasingly had to be fresh said his trainer before throwing him a few weeks later at this race. Continue reading
OK it’s not easy being England manager. It’s not easy dealing with ludicrous expectation and players who play for top clubs but turn out not to be that good. Nonetheless I think against Montenegro it is possible and worthwhile being positive.
Hodgson picked a team that was largely devoid of pace.
The sight of 10 in the 6 yard box allowing a header and pinball on goal shows a complete lack of leadership on the field as well even allowing Terry and Ferdinand were not available.
However the most negative was to play 2 essentially skill-less hard workers in Welbeck and Milner on the wings. This was not Madrid away where Welbeck got to be the front man to work hard. This was Blackburn away it was a game for a Chicharito to fill his boots.
This was further encumbered by only Johnson of the back 4 being any sort of footballer (seriously Roy get down on bended and get Terry and Ferdinand back so you have at least one of them). The midfield was a hotch potch with no evidence Cleverley is a good footballer. This all meant with Gerrard slowing that Rooney was the only reasonable bet to get a goal.
Worse was that this defensive muddle got pushed back with no outlet only 1 substitution was made and then after 71 minutes. In the summer facing a bunch of Spaniards in heat (sorry the heat) after Dr Fuentes’ ilk have jacked them up is that sane?
It was insane on a spring night in the Balkans never mind then.
Apparently Monty was bowling beautifully and it was better to have him than a fourth seamer as when New Zealand were on top he could bowl stock overs. Honestly you’d think from that England were struggling to be in the top tier of world cricket not New Zealand. He took 1 for 120 odd and barely looked like taking a wicket.
Commentators further suggested England should prepare turners even with Swann on the side lines and arguably the deepest crop of seamers in the world. Even as his variety of the same ball time after time was blocked back. Monty even manages to lack natural variation!
On a bouncy pitch Panesar is very good. Indeed facing Finn, Tremlett and Panesar on a bouncy might consign Australia early to the ice baths. However on 95% of test wickets he is a player for a team ranked 8 not aiming for 1.
Panesar’s selection on anything but a wicket that suits him is a negative and defensive move.
BOD is no longer green.
End of Story.
Yet the full on narrative of him going out on a sinned binned defeat is added. It’s not like he was drug banned ala Maradona. There is no shame in competing and losing your last game especially in a team game. I was there when Desert Orchid fell and ran past 20,000 of us loose to riotous applause but can’t remember Dallaglio or Johnson’s last game and have assumed Jonny Wilkinson had but apparently he is in France.
How careers end that are not blighted by disciplinary action and drug suspensions is immaterial.
Then again sin binned for rucking an Italian there are worse fates.
P.S. I don’t think the Lions should take him.
OK Arsenal have a nice easy run in to do what they did last night in Munich and put a cherry on top of a pretty flat season of no progress. It amazes me how much better they appear to people when playing from behind with nothing to lose. It’s hardly the time to judge them.
They still have promising individuals and if they could be mentally tougher maybe but its not 15 points better. The paradox is that what Wenger lauds as mental strength – comebacks when behind nothing to lose is quite the opposite. Sure it shows they care but hardly says they are ready for progress.
The other week Gareth Bale became the first Welshman to score in so many straight premier league games. Last night Barcelona became the first team to overcome a 2-0 away loss. These faux and even more ridiculous stats pad out broadcasts. Amazingly we never see any real numbers other than goal totals as of course we would not want stats that make the cries of the pundits look stupid. Continue reading