The very fact that you’ve probably never heard of me or thousands like me, who toil away building our respective sporting clubs to varying degrees of success, says a great deal about our national sporting media and by extension, the nature of our commodity driven society. Small local sports clubs with their loyal, dedicated administrators simply do not bring in the mega bucks. Premier League Football is the only real show in town; the gladiatorial contests of our times, and virtually everything else plays second fiddle. Tennis, cricket, golf and rugby have their annual jamborees. F1 and horse racing are always there by virtue of big money backing.  Boxing gets a look in if a British boxer is involved. All other sports must content themselves with a four year outing at the Olympics if indeed they are lucky enough to be even considered an Olympic sport. Even those few sports that do capture the brief attention of the national media are only showcased at their elite level. Community football is no more successful than the pack of so called ‘minority sports’ in grabbing the media lime light. The soap opera that is the English Premier League has become as much a national obsession as the other TV soap operas. It’s not surprising but it’s damn frustrating. Even my paper of choice, The Guardian, is totally dismissive of community sports and you would think that they might have a slightly better perspective on these things. Ironically, The Times and The Telegraph are marginally better at reporting the grassroots stuff. It’s a funny old world.
So where was I? Yes, I was about to establish my credentials in the UK sporting world because the media moguls have taken a conspiratorial decision to relegate me and my club to total obscurity. Actually, that is complete nonsense. No such conscious decision was ever made. The unseeing hand of the ‘free’ capitalist market made the decision based on the undisputable statistics that table tennis in the UK does not put bums on seats nor does it attract major sponsors. The growing economic clout of China may have something to say about that in the future, but as it stands at present, ping pong is a non starter in terms of our media and corporate moguls. So the fact that I may well be a contender for the most successful British domestic sporting manager of all time, eclipsing even the greats, Shankly, Fergusen, Wenger et al., counts for nothing. In a managerial career roughly spanning that of Sir Alex, I helped take a two-bit, once a week, after-school ping pong club to British League Champions for no less than ten consecutive years.            

 Recognition was slim pickings indeed. Even my own Governing Body seemed reluctant to shout about the achievement, the possible motives for which are outlined in graphic detail in my self published book; ‘The Meaning of Success’. The national media totally blanked this sporting achievement, with the half exception of the Daily Express, who once ran a full page article about the club some fifteen years ago during the early days of the club’s rise to prominence.

The nearest we came to national recognition was to be awarded UK CCPR Sports Club of the Year  in 2008, but that was more in recognition of our huge community programme rather than our sporting prowess on the table. And lets be honest, who on planet Earth has heard of the CCPR? (Some arcane body loosely attached to the Football Pools and The Foundation for Sports and the Arts, grandiosely calling itself, The Central Council for Physical Recreation and acting as an umbrella organisation for the governing bodies of sport in England)

One of the motivations behind this website is to attempt to redress the balance. I have this gut feeling that there is a gigantic wall of frustration amongst grassroot sporting enthusiasts about the state of affairs within the sporting media in the UK and I would not be surprised if, given the chance, a virtual avalanche of criticism descends from many quarters.

Who can name the current squash, badminton or table tennis champion of Britain? Who knows the champion hockey, netball or baseball club in this country? Which is the most successful athletics club in the UK? Where does British martial arts fit in to the world rankings? How is the development of basketball going in this country? And so on…..

The point is clear. Grassroots, community sports adds massively to the national social fabric but  rarely registers on the national media because it does not make money for our corporate masters. The result: chronic under-funding and anonymity. Sporting Polemics has fired the first shot in what it promises  to be a long war of attrition. 2012 promised us a sporting legacy and we are going to make damn sure we get one!

Last Updated ( Monday, 29 October 2012 12:26 )