Archive for August, 2013


Ross Barkley's impressive start to the season has earned him a surprisingly rapid elevation to the senior England squad (Image | Liverpool Echo)

Ross Barkley’s impressive start to the season has earned him a surprisingly rapid elevation to the senior England squad (Image | Liverpool Echo)

After my commanding performance in central midfield during game 3 of our works tournament last month (my first two efforts were poor), I was contacted by a man named Roy who asked if I wanted to appear in the Scotland friendly. He didn’t use the word “desperate”, but the tone of his voice was telling. Unfortunately, I was unavailable due to a family dinner.

The above may not be entirely true, but if England’s selection policy continues to develop along its current trajectory, I won’t be letting go of my phone any time soon.

Continue reading

Dramatic finale for the Essex Spartans

In an emotional and dramatic climax to the Essex Spartans‘ disappointing 2013 season, head coach Marc Saunders stepped down after their ninth defeat this year at home to the Bedfordshire Blue Raiders.

Guidance | Former Philhadelphia Eagles star Cecil Martin flanks two Essex Spartans players. (Image | Emma Webb)

Guidance | Former Philadelphia Eagles star Cecil Martin poses with two Essex Spartans players. (Image | Emma Webb)

The team were also visited by Sky Sports analyst and former Philadelphia Eagles fullback Cecil Martin, fresh off the plane from running youth camps and football clinics across the continent.

The Spartans struggled from the off this year, with some moments of great game play but no visible results for their efforts.

Continue reading

The Premier League season begins tomorrow, but there will be no Sir Alex Ferguson in sight. Perhaps some journalists, pundits, and fans will be reminded of the late comic, Spike Milligan, who used to end many of his comedy sketches by staring at the camera and asking: “What are we going to do now?”

Winning start | New Manchester United manager David Moyes has already won a trophy, but the real battle is about to begin. (Image | Daily Telegraph)

Winning start | New Manchester United manager David Moyes has already won a trophy, but the real battle is about to begin. (Image | Daily Telegraph)

Fergie may be gone, but the Premier League juggernaut continues, and it appears that the race for the 2013/14 title will be between three clubs: Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United.

United are used to approaching the season under intense scrutiny, but this this time the pressure is different, for other clubs will see the Red Devils as a kingdom without a strong leader.

Continue reading

Stuart Broad is congratulated by his England team-mates as his six wickets help England win another Ashes series (Image | Action)

Stuart Broad is congratulated by his England team-mates as his six wickets help England win another Ashes series (Image | Action)

The 2013 Ashes Series (mark 1) has not always been a display of two world-leading teams giving each other their best shot. There has been inconsistency of umpiring, sub-par batting aplenty and the occasional, inevitable washout.

What this series has had throughout, however, is drama. It was punctuated in characteristic style at Durham this weekend by the stoic Ian Bell, unarguably the outstanding performer of the series thus far.

Continue reading

Who will replace Mark Webber at Red Bull?

As Formula 1 takes its traditional summer break, one of the key talking points within the media and the paddock is the question of who will replace Mark Webber at Red Bull Racing.

Departing | Australian driver Mark Webber is to retire from Formula 1 at the end of the season. (Image | GT Spirit)

Departing | Australian driver Mark Webber is to retire from Formula 1 at the end of the season. (Image | GT Spirit)

The team’s hierarchy will use this three-week break to discuss which driver they believe to be the best appointment once the Australian leaves to race for Porsche next season, in the classic Le Mans 24 Hour race.

Before the last outing in Hungary, the two leading candidates for the seat were Lotus’ Kimi Räikkönen and Daniel Ricciardo, of Red Bull’s sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso.

Continue reading

The World Championships in Athletics that follow an Olympic Games can often have the feeling of “going into the office the morning after the work Christmas party”. A bit of a let down following the thrill of the main event.

Expectation | As at the 2012 London Olympic Games, all eyes will be on Mo Farah, the main hope for British glory. (Image | Daily Express)

Expectation | As at the 2012 London Olympic Games, all eyes will be on Mo Farah, the main hope for British glory. (Image | Daily Express)

All the effort that went into the preparation for the London 2012 Olympic Games can drain an athlete, both physically and psychologically. Where do you go once you have climbed Mount Everest?

For the world’s premier track and field athletes, they head to Moscow for the 2013 World Championships. From a British perspective, this is not a meet to be anticipated with a great deal of confidence.

Of the trio that brought us that magic hour last summer, Jessica Ennis-Hill is absent with injury, while Greg Rutherford has suffered injury problems, and struggled for form all year. Only Mo Farah heads to Moscow looking like a potential world champion in waiting.

Continue reading

Lewis Hamilton cruised to victory from pole at the Hungaroring to record his first victory for Mercedes since his switch from McLaren at the end of last season, writes James Oliver.

Relief | Lewis Hamilton holds the winner's trophy aloft after his first race victory for Mercedes. (Image | The Telegraph)

Relief | Lewis Hamilton holds the winner’s trophy aloft after his first race victory for Mercedes. (Image | The Telegraph)

His victory, beating Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel into second and third respectively, was Hamilton’s fourth at the track and all the more impressive considering Mercedes’ history with high rear tyre degradation in soaring temperatures.

The lack of this on Hamilton’s rears enabled the Briton to drive in his normal style without having to nurse the tyres, as has been the case throughout the Formula 1 World Championship this year.

Continue reading

I love the Olympic Stadium: the sheer majesty of the arena, and the fact that Britain has something approaching its very own sporting citadel. It stands as proof positive that the country is capable of building high-profile arenas on time, and on budget, after the shambles that was, and is, Wembley Stadium.

Full house | A year on from the London 2012 Olympic Games, the Olympic Stadium remains a special place. (Image | CBBC)

Full house | A year on from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Olympic Stadium remains a truly special place, but one fraught with problems and contradictions. (Image | CBBC)

I love the sense of reverence you can feel from people as they make their way to the stadium. An intangible feeling of being part of something that is bigger than themselves.

I love the piquant aroma of positivity that seems to emerge from the place, like a perfume counter, making all that are in it feel a little more optimistic about life.

Continue reading