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My A-Z of Sport 2011!
Member Name: thedevilinme
Advantages: Boring year
Disadvantages: 2012 will rock!
Well, it's that time of the year, and the next one, to talk about the last one, my A-Z of 2011 in the sporting world, tapping this out an ideal cure for my hangover. As I don't get paid for rates or posting this please go easy on me. ..
A is for Amir Khan
The problem with Amir is his dual nationality and so he doesn't know who he really is and so not getting the support of the country, stuck away on Sky TV in the middle of the night not helping that PR. He wants to be more British than Pakistani yet surrounds himself with British Pakistanis in his corner, even though most of his travelling fans are white working-class men. Those fans didn't vote for him in the Sports personality awards though, Amir finishing bottom of the final ten with just 6,182 votes, 1.40% of the final vote last week.
This race relations exercise is as ambiguous as his performances in the ring and he has already lost some big fights in his career, two belts gone this autumn. He just doesn't have the brutal side the likes of Nigel Benn had that you need in his weight division when things get rough, too much of a stylist and not enough of an animal for me. Amir! Rub your head in his face or slap the back of his head if he gets to close son! Do what you need to win.
B is for Balotelli
When black British footballers get in trouble these days it usually involves dodgy women in Northern hotel rooms and nearly always unfounded sexual assault accusations, young ladies trying to make a few quid through kiss and tells and entrapment. Of 19 accusations of rape against Premiership players not one has been prosecuted in the last ten years. But with Mario it normally involves him trying to blow up those same hotel rooms with fireworks or parking his latest supercar in it. He is fabulous for the game and really enjoying the role as the class clown. The latest story was he was dressed up as Santa on Christmas Eve and handing out twenty pound notes in Manchester town centre, giving some homeless chap a grand. We love this guy and as long as he steers clear of the blondes in the usual haunts this fun and games will continue now he has to outdo himself each stunt.
C is for Cavendish
The BBC Sports Personality of the Year went to Mark Cavendish, somehow winning the prize with 49% of the vote for having zero personality and competing in a sport with zero credibility, the most drug riddled sport on the planet for me, but clinching for being the first Brit since 1965 to win the World Road Race Cycling Championships Rainbow Jersey and the first Brit ever to capture the Tour de France Green Jersey for sprint points, a double unprecedented in British cycling history. Ten of the last twenty Tour Winners have gone on to fail drug tests and one of the few sports you need to take drugs to actually finish the course, let lone win anything.
The BBC event has basically become a betting coup as online votes dictate the early favorite and so all the gamblers lump on the early leader and back it up with their vote on the same website and it becomes a self for filling prophecy, beautifully executed last year by jockey Tony McCoy's followers, McCoy finally winning last year after doing likewise in the Grand National.
D is for Darren Clarke
The boorish drunken womanizer was painted in the Dulux color of 'nostalgia and sentimentality' as he became the oldest Brit to win the British Open at 42 years young, capturing most of the nation's heart who believed that nice guy guff. He hasn't won much over the years because he didn't work on his game and although talented he has never done the work to be great like Tiger did. A great win though and the first for a Brit in The open since Paul Laurie's freak win in 1999. You won't see much more from Clarke as his game will collapse now.
E is for Eurostar
In Gary Neville's somewhat groveling United tome Christian Ronaldo admitted he left Old Trafford because he didn't like the cold and the local nightlife. Since he has arrived at Madrid he has scored 60 goals in 60 matches, incredible stuff, up there with Messi. United miss his pace and Berbatov has clearly slowed the team down, why Sir Alex is looking to offload the Bulgarian and bring in a playmaker like Schneider to ping passes to Rooney and Hernandez, like Xavi and co do on the continent. I wasn't the biggest fan of Ronaldo because he was so selfish but boy we could do with him back.
F is for Formula Bore
F1 was very very dull, Sebastian Vettel the new Schumacher and running away with it by a thousand points. The highlight of the year was a frustrated Lewis Hamilton repeatedly ramming Alonso's poor old Ferrari bitch Phillipa Massa off the track every race as Jensen Buttons stock rose and shrewdly kept racing all season to secure second spot, earning a big new deal as the tacit number one. Its all about politics in F1 and Button is the David Cameron of the sport.
G is for Golf
Tiger Woods demise after his rather unfair slaughter by the media (like none of Tigers fellow pro's aren't sleeping around and smoking weed....) has empowered the Brit's to dominate the world rankings, three in the top four, Luke Donald the first to win both the European and American order of Merit tables. Admittedly he has done that by not wining a Major but he is the top money man and so we have to respect that, Rory Mcilroy the real star this year, and a Major winner and major loser too, winning the US Open by as many shots on the back nine as he lost the US masters. For far too long the American tour guys were happy to pick up the big cheque's on the AGT for top ten finishes and so had no need to push their game to challenge Tiger. Faldo changed all that and his prodigies believe they can do what he did and win six Majors. Lump on Westwood to win one in 2012 at 7-1 guys!
H is for the Haymaker!
David Haye is a top fighter and surprisingly smart and telegenic for a heavyweight, his mouth as fast as his fist and so talking himself into a big money fight with the champ in the summer. Ok he lost but he put his hands up and took it on the chin (although doing that during the fight was perhaps not a good idea) and said fair enough I was beaten by the better man and let's do it again sometime. Admittedly Klitschko's tactic of treading on Haye's toe to win the fight made David look a bit of a wally but it was an atmospheric fight and so great telly. The value of his trash talk could be seen in the pubs of Britain that summer Saturday night, not this packed out for a big fight since the days of Benn and Eubank, one of the best nights of the year.
Haye's pretend retirement talk all year sets up a much anticipated big fight with Vladimir's brother and the pubs will be packed again. Haye knows the game. Exploit boxing as much as boxing will exploit you. Let's hope the warm up fight for the Haymaker is indeed with David Cameron.
I is for Indian cricket
India have collapsed in test cricket, as simple as, T20 and the IPL what the players are interested in now. They only kept pushing in test cricket in the last couple of years out of respect for the old legends trying to keep the honor of playing test cricket alive and damaging the team in the process by playing on. Poor old Tendulker is having the blame loaded on to his soldiers with this distraction of the 100th international century to carry the test team as the younger players take the millions from the IPL. Even Australia are looking on for the same whitewash the all-conquering England pulled of against India in the summer, which shows just how bothered they have become about test cricket. With Sri-Lankan international players not receiving any wages at all since August and Pakistan cricket on the floor the days of the test series are numbered.
J is Judd Trump
The cocky and cute Trump is riding the Barry Hearn wave that is sweeping away the old guard of snooker and letting the young take over the game, Trump winning the UK championship and making last years world championship final. Ronnie O'Sullivan is old news and the wonder kid saw him off in York as the match fixing stories of old that nearly destroyed the game are buried with the senior pros from the last generation. They don't want to be away from their families and refusing to play ten to fifteen tournaments a year for ranking points to maintain their places in the top 16 and yet expect to be treated with reverence for what they did ten years ago. They are clearly involved in some sort of work to rule over the last year by their poor performance in the big events and that is letting in the young single guys to take over the tour, the way it should be. Trump at 4-1 for the Masters this moth has to be worth a fiver!
K is for Kuarto Star
His stable mate Denman retired and so most thought Kuarto should do the same as he lined up for the King George on Boxing Day, the FA Cup final of steeplechase racing, chasing an unprecedented fifth title in his eleventh year, his main challenger, Long Run, not even born when Kuarto won his first of 16 grade one races. Denman was always his pacemaker over the years and the two horses traded big victories because of, the trainer keen on tactics. But I knew Kuarto would fly without the distraction of the failing Denman and so yours truly lumped on, and indeed he did come in, loping around Kempton on perfect ground for an extraordinary victory, this horse up on the rostrum with Red Rum and Arkle in the all-time greats. With horses like Big Bucks winning his 16th straight race going off at 1-4 last month on and Frankel around it has been amazing racing season in the UK.
L is for Loud mouth Swann
Our Graeme has been all over the press yet again this year and now calling for the abolishment of the 50 over game, not exactly what South East Asia cricket wants to hear, let alone the England management. His England wicket tally is falling and the word is from the dressing room that one or two of his comments have riled the more conservative lads in the dressing room. Graeme is an ex Northants player and I k now him to speak to as we are both from Northampton and I write about Northants' in the local rag and he has always been like this but sometimes you need to reign it in mate, as do I. When a guy due to speak at the Northant's club dinner phoned in sick our Graeme did a whole hour of stand up comedy at short notice to sub. He wasn't that funny and only 22 at the time but that confidence breeds hubris and he is living up to his boasts. He is very Ian Botham, minus the punch ups, Darren Gough knocking him spark out on their first England tour together.
He is funny though and does great impressions. On the team bus to Ireland last year, after the PR guy requested that all UK citizens on the bus only need bring photo ID to get into Ireland, Swann chirped up from the back seat and responded in his clipped Andy Flower accent with :'that means the other half of the team will have to bring their passports'.
M - Manchester United
It was an impressive title win for Sir Alex in 2011 as he has finally saw off Chelsea and Abromovich's billions; three Champions league Finals in four to go with. That Russian Rubble challenge has passed now and it's up to Manchester City to carry it on with the sheckle, especially against Barcelona. After United were on the canvas in October for that nine count against City with that astonishing 6-1 defeat they have got up off the floor and won the next five rounds with great body work, experience telling, however many billions of oil money City have to buy those judges cards, drawing level at the half-way point with their best ever start to a season as the two throw up their spinnakers as they go around the buoy well clear. Bale and Van Persie could keep the other London clubs in it until May but a big move is on for both and so will ultimately scupper them, silly money dross Torres and Carrell dumping Liverpool and Chelsea on the reef.
N is for the 'N' word
Suarez was found guilty of calling Evra a small Negro and John Terry is alleged to have called Anton Ferdinand a big black so-and-so. Suarez is out for 8 games, a ludicrously over-the-top FA sanction and made a scapegoat for the FA's inaction over racism in the game, whilst the Chelsea captain faces the Rossers and by all-accounts far less of a sanction if he is nicked. Now, call me a cynic, but Suarez getting a two month ban means Terry being passed over to the law by the FA means he may not get half that for the same offence, the England National team captain getting of with a slapped wrist so nota racist, right? After all there are no witnesses, other than this mystery chap in the crowd who started this. I have no doubts John Terry was capable of saying those words and this goes on all the time in the game but you feel all concerned, black players and white, FA execs and the Players Union, are embarrassed more than anything and just want this to go away as it damages the sport and so their sponsors and huge wages. Terry's club manager, Andres Villas Boas, has feebly deflected the pressure off JT on to poor Frank Lampard by unfairly dropping him, Frank a guy in good form and always gives 100% for his boys and Chelsea. With nine black players in the Chelsea squad AVB needs harmony to save his job, as do the FA to expunge any suggestion of racism in the game.
O is for Oz are rubbish once again
England smashed Australia out of sight Down Under to win the Ashes for the third time in four series with some phenomenal batting from Cook and co, the bowlers not too bad either. Every England player is strong now and the bench not far off. The true test will be to win in places like India and Sri-Lanka with two spinners and so minus a batsman, the five bowler's coach Flower hates to deploy.
Cook was sensational this year with one-thousand runs and two double hundreds, twenty test tons in total now, sure to threaten a lot of test records in the next ten years. Australia, on the other hand, refused to retire Ricky Ponting and waited too long to promote the new captain up. Their seam bowling is average and the spin bowling pretty dire, almost impossible to replace McGrath and Warne. It will take at least ten years for them to get back on top.
P is for Pakistan cricket
Finally the cheating b*stards were banged up, ironically the deed done by the News of the World, public enemy number one. Bit international cricket is secretly angry for catching them as they employ anti-corruption teams to do exactly the opposite to keep the integrity of the game, an integrity that slips away if you keep uncovering, or , indeed, covering up that cricket corruption. The new ECB anticorruption unit shifted the pressure off Pakistan to get them fully back in the fold by suggesting English county cricket posted the biggest threat to match and spot-fixing in the game, an unfair and lazy slur. Yes spot-fixing probably goes on a bit but it doesn't dictate results as it does in the Sub-continent.
Mervyn Westerfield of Essex County Cricket Club, one of a very few number of British Caribbean players in the English game these days, faces a court trial next week for spot-fixing, believed to have been enticed in by Pakistan spinner Danish Kaneria and some sub-continent fixers. If the ECB and players union don't legally and tacitly support this guy he may blow the gaff and reveal all. It will be an interesting trial, especially as England play Pakistan in the Middle-East during the trial.
Q is for Queues
The Olympic ticket sales were outrageous, Sebastian Coe a real operator. His remit was to sell them all and so he did, but don't worry about who gets what. The plebs thought he and his method would be fair, why Seb is the face of the games, and so applied for what they wanted, but got the exact opposite, the corporate's and VIP cleaning up the best seats at the best events through the same system without having to worry about lotto's. Punters who wanted athletics and boxing etc were only ever going to be given their third and fourth event choices, handball and Greco Wrestling, Seb's system ensuring the rubbish events and tickets were sold first. I suspect 80% of the tickets were already promised to the top knobs by Coe and we were all duped. Still, the money goes to the taxpayer so you have to quietly admire him and I certainly won't be 'pity the fools' who fell for it, as Mr. T once said.
R is for the Rugby World Cup!
Now you know why Capello took his players out into the middle of the South African veldt to look at disused copper mines all day, England rugby player's behavior in downtown Auckland a disgrace. We know sportsman like a drink and so when the manager puts a grand behind the bar to celebrate victories to build team spirit (the team spirit being vodka) by throwing midgets with those shots around then what do you expect? The hotel thing with the maid wasn't what it seemed though as I am privy to information that it was a set up, but the whole Mike Tindall thing was unbelievable - and that just the marriage! Ile give that another six months until the divorce, Tindall as thick as his misses. We wouldn't have made the final sober anyway but what an embarrassment they have been. Rugby Union has become more like Union, working-class and as steroid and growth hormone dependent as Rugby League is. Since the game turned pro and the wages have shot up, Rugby is no longer 'Wugby', young guys having to bulk up quick just to avoid injury.
S is for Sports Personality of the Year and sexism.
The feminist and rebel rousers were raging early on this year over the Keys and Andy Gray saga at Sky, the lad's finally caught out being rather male and disparaging about girls in the sport and the office, Sky seizing the chance to set them up and dump their lucrative deals. Gray had to sell his big house and take a job with Talk Sport, such was his fall. But the feminists were not done in 2011; moaning that there were no birds on the short list for the Sports Personality of the Year Award (which should be known as the zero personality of the year award these days). Rather childishly the BBC made all ten finalists on the 'Young Sports Personality of the Year Award female in response to prove the shortlist was indeed bias this time. The thing is women have won the big award three times in the last ten years and so there is no bias. The problem is simple: women spectators don't like or pay to support women's sport and so it's not popular with the all important sponsors and advertisers. The female media...say the 75 registered lifestyle magazines on sale here, and TV shows like Loose Women, just don't want to talk about women's sport and spend their time on sex, clothes and clutch bags because that's what gets them advertising revenue and that's what most women want to see in magazines. Young women don't want sporty muscles because they think they will lose their feminine figures and looks. If these lifestyle mag's continue to refuse to push women's sport unless they can squeeze sexy Jessica Ennis into a little black dress then what do they expect? Most women who prefer sport prefer men's sport and this is not a media or sponsors issue but participation and sex appeal one. They want to see Nadal sexy legs not some female Brighton College student kicking a football around in empty stadiums. Let's face it; if women's athletics and tennis didn't share with the men then they too would get zero serious coverage. The market always reflects demand. I quite enjoyed the Women's soccer world cup in the summer as it played the way the game should be and not at all cynical but the crowds are mostly freebies, school kids and mums and dads of the players.
T is for Tennis
Since the Federer Express got married and had kids he hasn't won a grand slam tournament, more of a Parcelforce man now. The edge has gone and Andy Murray now alongside him and edging ahead and Djokovic taking advantage of that rise and fall to draw level with Nadal. But Roger, who would lick himself he was made of chocolate, is still raking it in with his commercials and battling on to stay famous and out of the commentary box. Murray just can't quite go that extra step yet to claim a slam but reaching more finals now Federer is shot. Interestingly, Murray has been drawn against Nadal and Djokovic far more than he has the failing Federer in the big tournaments and clearly been seeded against for commercial reasons, Nadal rarely meeting Djokovic in the semi-finals to take one out of the equation at the slams for Murray.
But for me its Murrays year in 2012 as the juxtaposition of Federer's decline and Nadal's injuries and the inevitable wear and tear on Djokovic's body to maintain his incredible levels chasing the number one spot must let Murray in once over the four slams. The crazy tennis season is 11 months long with just two weeks off a year for Christmas and the guys soon in training for the Australian Open next month. The fact Murray has no problem feigning injuries to dodge ATP tournaments to be fresh for Slams is why he will win, something the other three can't do so much, Murray the first Brit to ever reach four straight Slam semi-finals. Henman didn't win one as he gave his best and it wasn't good enough whereas Murray has yet to give his best and so will win one.
U is for Usain Bolt
An unthinkable false start in the 100m in Deagu, Korea saw Usain Bolt lose his world title. The point of the one strike and your out was introduced because the TV companies demanded it so they could keep their schedules, a somewhat ironic way to lose their number one athletics revenue producer this way then. Bolt fixed things by helping the Jamaicans win the relay world record and gold back from the Americans with 37.04. This guy is the sport and so can't test positive, whether he is a cheat or not.
V is for Victory!
Its Olympic year and the pressure is on our athletes to prepare for victory and not get injured, reputations made and lost this summer for all concerned. One guy feeling the pressure is three time Olympian gold medalist Ben Ainsley. With Redgrave's record in sight our star sailor lost it at the world yachting championship and dived into the water and boarded the press boat to wave some fists, claiming the local TV crew were helping the local competitor by sending bow waves Bens way. It was a petty excuse for losing his title and the realization he may not be the man any more and so lose in Poole harbor this August.
W is for the World Athletics
Mo Farah and Dai Greene were the stars, gold each and favorite for the Olympics. I was telling people five or six years ago that Farah was the real deal and worth backing for London 2012. He runs like Seb Coe and grinds the laps out like Paul Radcliffe and our best ever middle-distance runner now after Daegu. He doest suffers like Amir Khan does as far as popularity goes and came third in the BBC Sports Personality awards with 24% of the vote although he does hide away in obscure training camps when he could be upping his presence in the sport. Why the British athletes need to go to winter warm weather training camps over Christmas for a London Olympics is somewhat confusing, unless they are taking drugs when no one is looking, of course.
X is for Xavi
The brilliant Barcelona midfielder powered them to their second Champions League win over United in three years in their third straight final. If Messi wanted the perfect guy to set up his goals then it's this guy. He has the speed and vision of a cheater and the accuracy of a laser cutting the new lens for the Hubble Telescope.
Y is for You're fired!
Carlos Tevez has effectively been fired but the power of the modern big player means he can't be. He has to be forced out by lawyers or paid off and when your manager pi**es you off then why on earth wouldn't you stay and keep taking the zillions. My understanding was that Tevez never refused to play but was unhappy about being told to warm up every game on the touch-line knowing full well he wouldn't play, effectively being humiliated by Mancini. I would feel the same if I was playing well. Is that not how Frank Lampard must feel?
Steve Keane of Blackburn is another who is refusing to go so not to forgo his compensation, the club ready to sack him for a while now but the owners not keen to pay him all that compensation, Keane knowing he is damaging the club in the process by staying. But it's the manager's recent contract extension that raises eyebrows; the new Indian owners are up to no good. The suggestion is the inexperienced Keene was signed only because he belonged to the main owner's brother's sports management company, meaning Keene would be minded to sign players from that said agency as part of the manager's contract, Christmas bonuses all around, fortunately Yakubu on those books. But the biggest problem is the Blackburn fans, who wanted him out on day one because he is not a name, the same fans who should realize they are not a big club and that why chicken farmers are buying them and not rich Arabs for no doubt nefarious means. What the fans made of that stunning win at Old Trafford is another story.
Z is for Zep Blatter
Blatter, the Swiss head of UEFA, stripped away the games sacred integrity like a gypsy on a church roof stealing lead, his bunch of thieves taking bribes for votes and voted for more bribes, selling the world cup for petrochemical dollars and bent Russian Rubbles. To discipline their leader the greedy FIFA delegates voted him in again so they could do it all again for four years. An absolute disgrace and time American Special Forces paid him a visit in one of their swanky new stealth helicopters and dump him on top of the Matterhorn in his underpants.
Summary: Uited they fall