John Terry and a Parallel Universe

There were a couple half decent articles in The Sun the other week. It happens every couple of years. The first one, by a Jane Moore, was entitled, ‘What does JT say about Britain?’ 3/2/10 It starts out with an attention grabbing paragraph: ‘Alicia Douvall is the psychologically damaged cosmetic addict who ricochets from one shallow sexual liaison to another.

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Simon Jenkins- Bourgeois Londoner.

I love to read Simon Jenkins on the question of the much hyped Olympic legacy. Jenkins has from the very start consistently decried the mega stadium approach in favour of something more down to earth. I seem to recall his plea that we use our existing venues rather than create shiny new white elephants. On this I wholeheartedly applaud him. But his latest piece in the London Evening Standard  ‘Spend Olympic Money On Making London Beautiful’ 2/2/10, ( a newspaper now owned incidentally, lock, stock and barrel, by an ex KGB officer and now billionaire Russian Oligarch), is off the mark, though I do believe his intentions were honourable.

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Londongrad: The Inside Story of the Oligarchs

Londongrad: The Inside Story of the Oligarchs, Mark Hollingsworth & Stewart Lansley, 2009, Harper Collins. Book Review Londongrad is a jaw dropping read. If it was wrapped up into a James Bond film you would pass it off as unbelievable fiction – just a bit of fun. But this is not fiction, this is the real thing and it certainly is not fun; Russian gangster capitalism spilling out onto the streets of London, complete with lethal poisonings, exploding helicopters and shadowy KGB/FSB units tracking down oligarchs that refuse to play ball with the Russian government.

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Whether or not it is absolutely true, I used to delight in telling my history students that there was only one race - the Human race, and that we humans all descended from Africa. It seemed the best way to cut through their inherited tribal allegiances whether those allegiances be based on skin colour, geographic place of origin or the most facile of all tribalisms - that of religion.

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Bring Back the Hard Bats

A slightly surreal interview with Barry Hearn appeared in The Guardian recently (5/01/10 Anna Kessel) which caught my imagination not just for what he had to say about sports promotion but also for the sheer energy and enthusiasm of the man.

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The Curious Case of Matthew Syed

Matt Syed is most definitely becoming a positive force in sports journalism. From right in the belly of the beast, Syed is regularly producing thought provoking editorials which, along with the long established excellence of Simon Barnes, now makes The Times the most thoughtful sports pages on offer.

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Try as they might, Lord Coe and his team are struggling like mad to present a convincing case for a genuine Olympic legacy from London 2012. Matters were made worse when one of their own, a one Sir Steve Redgrave, broke ranks and offered a stinging attack on the government’s short-termism. Redgrave does not mince his words.

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Tiger Woods and the Morality Brigades.

There is little doubt that Mr Woods had set himself up for an almighty fall. By playing the all American, clean living family man, his philandering ways were certain to trip him up big-time sooner or later. That day has now come. His squeaky-clean image is in tatters.

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As soon as I heard the title I rushed out to buy it. A mistake. What promised to be a definitive text on the soiling of ‘The Beautiful Game’ proved to be just an amusing and cleverly written collection of anecdotes, personal hobby-horses and cheap gossip, all of which lets the real culprits right off the hook.

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While FIFA Fiddles the Planet Burns

First a confession. I am genuinely and unequivocally looking forward to the World Cup in South Africa. I’d be a bigger hypocrite than usual if I tried to deny it. A whole month of football mania slap bang on top of the climax to the current Premier League and UEFA Championships.

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Boom and Bust in Dubai

If there was ever any doubt that the fortunes of professional sport were increasingly tied in to the general fortunes of the world economy, last week’s financial news from Dubai should settle those doubts once and for all.

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Knocking the LTA has almost become a sport in itself. It’s an easy target of course. In reality they are probably no less effective than most of the other governing bodies in this country but they do have considerably more resources at their disposal than most of their sporting colleagues, and that is the rub. Whereas their colleagues can cry poverty the LTA cannot.

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Sport: Does It Even Matter? (Editorial)

There are approximately six and a half billion of us humans on planet Earth. Of those, one billion of us go hungry every day with some 14 million children dying every year through lack of food and clean drinking water. That’s equivalent to nearly three holocausts every year, or 770 million children who have starved to death since I’ve been alive. Of course these figures only include children. The statistics are far more damning if we were to include adults.

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Why Matthew Syed is Wrong The Times 11/11/09

 Matthew Syed has produced a beautifully crafted article on the global dimensions of football, the so called, ‘the beautiful game’, but in the process has made a fundamental mistake. Syed writes, ‘When future historians look back at the age of globalisation, it is not the Americanisation of the planet’s culture that will amaze them most, nor the pervading presence of brands such as Coca Cola and Nike. No, it is the global conquest of football’.

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LAUNCH OF WEB SITE-REPLY TO JON@SPORTINGPOLEMICS.COM

Sport, as in life, is riddled with contradictions, the most basic being that between the joy of participation and the individual human desire to win.

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Cheating Neanderthals

In the space of just a couple of weeks three articles appeared in the press devoted entirely to the subject of cheating. I should add as a point of clarification, that we are talking both sport and the company boardrooms; the inner citadels of the banking world and the committee rooms of parliament. In short, humans seem to be genetically programmed to lie and cheat if it means we can get one step ahead of our competitors.

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