Wednesday, 19 December 2012
Wednesday, 12 December 2012
England didn't have much time to lick their wounds after their crushing defeat in the first Test at Bombay. Just two days later, the same XI - except for Vic Marks replacing Pat Pocock - won the first one day international at Pune, causing the home fans to show their disgust by hurling objects on to the field, almost causing a postponement in the process.
Amongst the mayhem, another century from a rejuvenated Mike Gatting led England home, justifying Gower's decision to install the Middlesex man as his vice-captain at the start of the tour. A drawn match in Bombay against North Zone, with a decent return of 3/29 by Richard Ellison in the first innings, and a century from Tim Robinson, gave England slight cause for optimism as the second Test at Delhi neared. On and off the field though, not all was well.
Monday, 10 December 2012
"Once, this show was the flagship TV event of the sporting year, a straightforward retrospective clips-fest. In recent years, however, it has been meddled with, overhauled and modernised to the extent that it has become barely watchable." These are not my words, but they might as well be, as they neatly sum up my feelings on the once great BBC Sports Personality of The Year show (or the Sports Review of the Year as it was once known).
David Stubbs of the Guardian wrote this accurate preview prior to the 2011 programme, and his description provided me with some reassurance that it wasn't just me who felt this way. This blog naturally steers me to waffling on about how great a decade the 80s were, often avoiding some painful truths in the shape of Thatcher, mass unemployment, football violence, and the impending threat of a nuclear war. Surely though when it comes to the Sports Personality of The Year, I can't be accused of being completely biased towards my childhood years?
Tuesday, 4 December 2012
Monday, 26 November 2012
Wednesday, 21 November 2012
Monday, 12 November 2012
Tuesday, 6 November 2012
Tuesday, 30 October 2012
Wednesday, 24 October 2012
Wednesday, 17 October 2012
In less than a year England had gone from Ashes winners to a shambles, replaced David Gower as skipper with Mike Gatting, seen their star all-rounder (Ian Botham) banned for 63 days in the summer for puffing on the funny fags, and used 25 players in the process, as England's selectors tried hopelessly to come up with a winning solution.
Little wonder then that when the 1986-87 Ashes tour began, Martin Johnson, writing for The Independent stated that "There are only three things wrong with the English team - they can't bat, they can't bowl, and they can't field." Some felt that was being a little kind.
Wednesday, 10 October 2012
Thursday, 4 October 2012
Tuesday, 25 September 2012
Thursday, 20 September 2012
Thursday, 13 September 2012
Thursday, 6 September 2012
Thursday, 30 August 2012
However, anything is possible. What about a British female tennis player progressing to the semi-finals of a grand slam singles tournament? Hopefully this should happen before my innings is over, and Laura Robson's recent form is encouraging, but it is a full 29 years since a British female has reached the last four of a grand slam singles tournament. As the US Open began earlier this week, I decided to cast my mind back to Jo Durie's fine run to the semi-finals of the 1983 event, an achievement that appears to grow and grow as the years roll on.
Thursday, 23 August 2012
Thursday, 16 August 2012
Rock bottom had to be reached, and in 1985 it arrived in the shape of Bradford (an accident waiting to happen) and Heysel (a sadly inevitable consequence of the "English disease"). As English football spent the rest of the eighties taking a good long look inwardly, gradually, bit by bit, the game in this country started to get it's house in order.
By the end of the 80s it was becoming apparent that football was beginning to turn a corner, as clubs started to splash the cash and television began to get their hands on the beautiful game.
Tuesday, 31 July 2012
It wasn't always this way though, as the 1985 series proves. A three-page cricket special in the Daily Express on the morning of the first test, and coverage starting at 10:55am (five minutes build-up!) was as far as the Ashes hype stretched to in Thatcher's Britain.
Wednesday, 25 July 2012
As Lord Sebastian Newbold Coe appeared on television yet again the other day, a thought occurred to me: How many people only know this man for his role as chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, rather than that of a world-class athlete? Holder of numerous world records in his running career, twice Olympic champion, and still a British record holder in two distances (800 and 1000 metres), Coe quite rightly sits proudly amongst the Olympic heroes of our nation, and should be celebrated accordingly.
Beating Steve Ovett in the 1500m at the Moscow games was spectacular enough, but the back story to his repeat performance in Los Angeles is even more remarkable. If it wasn't for a very favourable selectorial decision going in his favour, the whole tale would have been over before it began.
Wednesday, 18 July 2012
As the Open Championship returns to Lytham in 2012, it is impossible not to think of Seve, and all that he achieved there. As this blog specialises in 1980s sporting events, it is obvious that Seve's 1988 Open triumph will be the focus of this piece, and not his first major win in 1979 on the same course. It is hard to write about your heroes, but here goes....
Wednesday, 11 July 2012
Thursday, 5 July 2012
Thursday, 28 June 2012
Thursday, 21 June 2012
Not all British heavyweight clashes are as naff, classless and tacky as Haye-Chisora. In relatively recent years, I can recall a couple of 'Battle of Britain' bouts that I was genuinely excited about: Lewis v Mason, and Lewis v Bruno. But before these fights, there was another in 1987 that was just as eagerly anticipated, between 25-year-old Frank Bruno and the much travelled 37-year-old Joe Bugner.
It was a fight that wasn't supposed to happen, a fight that saw one promoter take his first steps into the boxing world, and one which would provide Bruno with the chance to silence his critics, temporarily at least.
Wednesday, 13 June 2012
Thursday, 7 June 2012
Thursday, 31 May 2012
However, he wasn't particularly into county cricket, thus allowing me to make this seismic decision on my own. Growing up in Milton Keynes didn't really give me a great amount of choice, as Buckinghamshire were not, and still are not, a first-class county. My selection was obvious: Northamptonshire.
The first couple of years of my new found devotion were fairly uneventful. And then came 1987. A year so exciting, but ultimately crushing, full of highs and lows aplenty, thrills and spills, and any other good/bad adjectives that you can think to use (elation/deflation, ecstasy/despair, Larkins and Lamb/Love and Hadlee, are some off the top of my head). The kind of year that one can now look on with even a hint of fondness, even though at the time it seemed that it wouldn't be possible to ever watch cricket again.
Thursday, 24 May 2012
Thursday, 17 May 2012
The worst thing about this state of affairs is that there seems to be no warning about this transformation, which is as scary as it sounds. For a sportsman, once invincible in his arena, this realisation must be the most startling of wake-up calls, a reminder that time waits for no man. Even when that man was one Francis Morgan Ayodélé Thompson.
Thursday, 10 May 2012
And then there is the English summer of 1988. Never mind the second summer of love, to us English cricket fans 1988 will always be the summer of four captains.
Thursday, 3 May 2012
Thursday, 26 April 2012
As Nick Hornby concluded in Fever Pitch: "That Arsenal team – full of cliques and overpaid, over-the-hill stars – would never be bad enough to go down, but never good enough to win anything, and the stasis made you want to scream with frustration." Precisely.