Thursday, 16 September 2010

More Old News...

Well. What started out as a great morning sports-wise after watching Arsenal purring around the Emirates like a Rolls Royce last night, with the additional excitement of a big plate of fried chicken in front of me (what an evening!), has turned into an afternoon of semi-mourning with the news that Andrew Flintoff is retiring from all forms of cricket. Now, I have my issues with Fred, not least of which is him living as a tax exile in Dubai, which is where, let's not forget Peter Ebdon lives, for Christ's sake! Snooker's own policeman! You can do better than that, surely, Fred? What do you do - meet up once a month for a game of golf and discuss your tax saving quotient? Maybe once a week email Geoffrey Boycott on Jersey and laugh at how little he is saving each year compared to you boys? But taking that one factor into account as well as having an agent called "Chubby", wearing ridiculous diamond studs and embarking on a shameless friendship with James Corden, last summer at Lord's when he bowled it looked like he was playing a different game to Broad and Anderson - that is how unplayable he was. He made the Australian batsmen look like they'd never faced anything like it. And that look he gave each time he ended his follow through! Almost in the crease with the batsman, looking at him like he wasn't even deserving of a fully fledged insult. Just the look. Like he didn't really understand what the batsman thought he was doing there. He was great that day, and I almost forgave the diamond studs and dinners with Piers Morgan. Almost.
I think more sad than Fred's retirement, which, let's face it, has been coming all year, is that this really feels like the end for a certain type of cricketer - the big, drunk fast bowlers. And the unkempt genius batsmen. The gloriously amateurish fielders that made cricket great. Now it's all hair gel, trion bracelets, wedding ring necklaces, and nicknames ending in "Y". Well groomed footballer types that accidentally find themselves playing cricket.

Jesus. Bring back the drunks.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Ifs And Buts...

So, looking like a solid start to the season by the Arsenal but I always have high hopes until about November, when a couple of sloppy and terribly unjust defeats to the likes of (in the old days anyway) Bolton or Hull would have me as depressed as the weather. But I know this season is going to be different. I know it. The new signings look really good, just the sort of players we needed, and from a human point of view I am glad that Wenger didn't buy a keeper. I would love it if the narrative of Almunia's time at Arsenal had a Mad Jens ending, with him turning great over the course of a season, and everyone loving him. Yeah, maybe. A real shame about yet another injury to Robin. He's a great player, but I worry that his career is never going to match his talent due to the injuries. He looks great in that number 10 shirt as well. Anyway, here's to that Autumnal feeling of hopeful expectation. Maybe this year it will last beyond fireworks night. Maybe even beyond Christmas... yeah, maybe.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Old news, but I had to have my say...

I had a good couple of emails with a friend today who is a sportswriter, discussing the spot fixing and how hypocritical some of the reaction has been. It doesn't take a genius to work out how cricketers are going to line up politically on the whole, and I suppose the dubious bombast of idiots like Darren Gough and Michael Vaughan is as depressingly predictable as the fact that this has happened to Pakistan.
There has been some balance to some articles I have seen written on the whole situation, but what I can't understand is how people can react with such vitriol to these things? Where is people's empathy? I know that some ex-pros must have more insight than anyone into the whys and wherefores of how these things work, but surely they can see that it is the gluttony and greed that have permeated the game on every level that is the root cause of all this, not some isolated cultural marker in Pakistani culture. The fact is that those players just can't sell their arses to whatever cheap deodorant company comes dangling a cheque in front of them this month. Or peddle their inane dronings daily on the world's most drivel filled radio station. Where was this uproar at Stanford? Or Modi? It's too easy to sit here in a culture of comfort and start passing judgement from some standpoint of sporting integrity. The moral vacuum in all sport is what enables all this, and that should be remembered by everyone who goes out looking for Pakistani scapegoats.