Thursday, 30 August 2012

1983 US Open: Jo Durie

There are certain sporting events of the past that I'm not sure will ever happen again in my lifetime: England winning the football World Cup; a Scotsman winning the 100m Olympic final; a team going through a whole season of top flight football undefeated. Of course, these things could occur in the next 60 years or so, but in my opinion they are highly unlikely.

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

1980s commentary moments

A slight change of format this week. No dedicated blog on the one event, as I doff my cap slightly to the Guardian's excellent Joy of Six column, and pick my six favourite commentary moments of the 1980s (although, unlike the Joy of Six, this is my definitive top six). There are a few that I've had to cut from my final list, and these may turn up one day in a volume two blog, but for now please enjoy my pick of the 80s. They are in no particular order, but I simply had to start with this one first....

Thursday, 16 August 2012

1988-89: First Division opening day

Football, whether we like it or not, is now a multi-million pound business. Personally, I'm not totally sure who I should blame for this: Sky, the introduction of the Premier League, Gazza and all his tears, Euro 96, the list goes on. However, there were times in the 70s and early to mid-80s where football was dieing a slow and painful death, as hooliganism along with poor grounds and facilities led to a steady decline in crowd attendances.

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.