Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Ryder Cup 1987

Although Europe's 1985 victory had provided many with the evidence that the balance of world golfing power was shifting, there was still one final hurdle left to overcome - winning the Ryder Cup in America. Sixty years of hurt doesn't even come close to describing the fortunes of visiting Ryder Cup teams to the land of the free (the newly released You Win Again by the Bee Gees would have been an appropriate team song before 1987). Europe had come painfully close to ending their American hoodoo in 1983, just a single point separating the teams after three days of intense golf. Led by Tony Jacklin once more, many felt that the time had arrived for Europe to finally conquer their Everest. Jacklin was certainly optimistic about Europe's prospects: "I have been coming to America for 20 years and this is the first time I have arrived believing that we really, really can win."

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Good and bad of TV sport in the 80s

I think it was about two years ago when I realised that I was turning into a grumpy old man. My daughter started moaning that there was nothing to watch on TV, which led to me to turn to her and start a sentence with the dreaded words "When I was your age...". The line of my argument that day, was that she didn't know just how different it was when I were a lad, with just three channels to choose from (pre-1982), no dedicated channels for kids, and that she didn't have a dad who, once he discovered the beauty of a remote control, has rarely since relinquished control of it. At least my dad liked his sport though, allowing us to watch hours of the stuff through the 1980s. But sport on TV in the 1980s was a different beast to the coverage we are fed in the modern era, so much so that if you tried telling the youth of today how it was back in the day, then I think they'd look at us as if we were aliens. So this blog is an attempt to rewind the VHS cassette, and highlight the best and worst bits of following sport on TV in the 1980s.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

1985: NatWest Trophy Final

If you're a reader of a certain age, then I'm sure you can remember a time when the end of season one-day final at Lord's was a special occasion in the domestic cricket season. Tickets would be sold out for the final weeks in advance (as I found out to my cost when trying to see Northants v Warwickshire in 1995), and every match seemed to go down to the wire in the gloaming of St. John's Wood. Of course, this wasn't always the case, but the beauty of writing this blog is that it allows me to remember my sporting childhood in a more favourable light than maybe was the case. However, in the heyday of the 80s, the NatWest final (or Gillette if you're even older than me), was a must see event, and the 1985 final between Essex and Nottinghamshire would join the hall of fame of classic finals.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

1984: England v Finland

As Roy Hodgson prepares this week for his first World Cup qualifier against Moldova, my mind inevitably drifted back to the 1980s, and the equivalent scenario facing Bobby Robson. At least Hodgson has not been in the job for long enough to earn the kind of reputation that Robson had gained after England's failed 1984 European Championship campaign. To say that Robson's stock was low at the time, was a bit like saying England's fans liked the odd beer and squabble - in other words, a blatant understatement. Therefore, failure to qualify for the 1986 World Cup was plainly not
an option.