Thursday, 19 September 2019

Book review: Tony Knowles - Heart Breaks

“He broke a million hearts on and off the table.” The words of Phoenix Club owner Brian Potter, as he opened his new Tony Knowles suite, were funny because they were true. So accurate in fact, that the title of Gareth McGinley’s new book on the snooker star of the 1980s is spot on.

Friday, 13 September 2019

1989 Ashes: An A to Z of humiliation

Failing to regain the Ashes in 2019 hurt, but nothing can compare to the 1989 series that provided an A to Z of humiliation.

They may have been billed as the worst Australian team to tour England, yet in David Boon the tourists at least had a drinker to contend with the best.  Reportedly drinking fifty-two cans of lager on the flight over, Boon had to be carried off the plane. 

Monday, 19 August 2019

1985 Ashes: Wayne Phillips

Nothing could separate the teams going into the fifth Test of the six-match 1985 Ashes series at Edgbaston. England’s win at Headingley had been countered by Australia triumphing at Lord’s, and a flat pitch at Trent Bridge, and bad weather at Old Trafford, meant that England were in desperate need of a win.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

1987 World Athletics Championships: Fatima Whitbread

Before 1986, major championships had not been kind to Fatima Whitbread. Defeated with the final javelin throw of the 1983 World Championships by Tiina Lillak, there was more heartbreak to come at the hand of British rival Tessa Sanderson. Defeats at the 1984 Olympics and 1986 Commonwealth Games led inevitably to the bridesmaid tag being mentioned ad nauseum.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

1987 Wimbledon: Boris Becker v Peter Doohan

Before 1987, the only pain Boris Becker had suffered at Wimbledon was during his third-round match against Bill Scanlon. Stretchered off court two after tearing ankle ligaments, the 16-year-old German exited the tournament in agonising circumstances.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

1983 French Open: Jo Durie

The past is indeed a foreign country. Before Johanna Konta’s exploits, the last British woman to reach a French Open semi-final was Jo Durie in 1983. Around that time, Manchester City had just been relegated, Brighton almost won the FA Cup, Aberdeen lifted a European trophy, and a female Prime Minister was about to increase her majority in the UK election.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

1984 UEFA Cup: Tony Parks

Sport has a habit of creating heroes from the ranks of the previously unknown. In football, one such example was the tale of Nigel Spink. A 23-year-old goalkeeper, who had previously only played one game for Aston Villa, played a significant role in their 1982 European Cup triumph. Two years later, another young English keeper would take centre stage in a European final.