Monday, 20 May 2013

1989 French Open: Chang v Lendl

Any British tennis enthusiasts reading this piece can probably tell you a thing or two about Grand Slam droughts. Andy Murray's success at the US Open in September 2012, ended 76-years of British hurt in the male game, so we can be forgiven for a lack of sympathy when another nation experiences what they perceive as a dry period in the sport. In 1989, America had gone a whopping five years without seeing one of their finest men lift a Grand Slam trophy, which in terms of a country with such a proud tennis history, was an age.

Monday, 13 May 2013

1986: England v New Zealand First Test

I am always thankful that I discovered cricket in 1985. As an English boy, the Ashes triumph of that year was the ideal introduction to the sport, more of a Graham Thorpe debut rather than an Andy Lloyd. From this point onwards, I would sit in front of the television on summer mornings, eagerly waiting for the first few click-clicks of the Soul Limbo theme tune, before Peter West or Tony Lewis would appear, and that would be me sorted for the rest of the day. Had my induction occurred a year either side though, I cannot be 100% sure that my commitment would have been quite so high; the 5-0 thrashing at the hand of the West Indies in 1984 was understandable, but 1986 was downright depressing.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

1984/85 FA Cup final

This piece follows on from my previous blogs on the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth rounds and semi-finals of the 1984/85 FA Cup, which you can view here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

May 1985 was not a particularly pleasant period for English football. On Saturday May 11, what had originally been a day of celebration turned into tragedy at Bradford, as 56 people lost their lives in the horrific fire that swept through the Main Stand at Valley Parade. As the nation heard of the horror at Bradford, news also started to drift through of crowd violence at St Andrews, with Birmingham and Leeds fans involved in running battles. 

Sadly, during the trouble inside the ground, a wall collapsed, killing a 15-year-old boy, and dragging the name of the sport through the mud once more. It was within this climate of angst that the build-up to the 1985 FA Cup final played out, a nation of football fans hoping that the showpiece event could maybe paper over the gaping chasms within the structure of the game at the time.