The unforgettable 2012 Olympics have given our nation an amazing legacy and also seem to have cured the problem (at least short-term) of a lack of youngesters participating in sport. The Games, however, have created a big dilemma – what on earth is going to happen with the stadium?
So far the suggestions have been it could host football, F1 or NFL, but everyone seems to have ignored what I think is the perfect solution – athletics! Why build a stadium with a running track and sandpits if you’re not going to use them? They say that this idea isn’t feasible but surely the greatest Games ever (not debatable) must have gone a fair way to paying it off… It should be used to host the British leg of the Diamond League every season instead of going up to Birmingham where all it does is rain. It could also play host to national championships and suchlike to give youngsters a feel of what they could be doing in the future. Also, there will be loads of people who will want to visit it having not got tickets and visit the place where Mo, Jess and Greg took us by storm so why change its purpose?
But we decide to ignore the simple solution with least hassle and try to fit a round peg in a square hole as us British not having the same normal brain structure as everyone else! Tottenham, Leyton Orient and West Ham are the football teams who have all bidded but their plans all have significant flaws! To start with, Spurs are based in an entirely different part of London so every home fixture will feel like an away game while Leyton Orient struggle to attract more than 2 fans so will bankrupt themselves and the nation! West Ham seem the best option because of the proximity but does their football deserve such a great arena?
Still, at least football is a relatively logical solution. Bernie Ecclestone finally seems to have lost it – he thinks London’s streets could play host to an F1 race with the stadium incorporated in it somewhere! That final part is so vague though – does he mean drive through the stadium itself or drive along a section of the circuit where drivers can see it for about a second? It would also mean having to close some of London’s roads, which really isn’t sensible as the they are already a nightmare (hence the Congestion Charge Bernie). By closing them all you are doing is turning more commuters into miserable and angry people. What I would like to see, though, is an F1 race with traffic still flowing through the circuit – now that would be entertainment!
And finally, even thinking about hosting NFL games in the stadium is an insult! How can a stadium that played host to some of the greatest sporting moments ever, where every athlete was participating for their nation, now be a home for a sport where nationality doesn’t exist and a player’s bank balance is the size of Luxembourg? Despite the fact that I was impressed that Boris knew what American Football was, his suggestion is rather worrying? Can he not see that this is the USA’s final step towards colonising us? Firstly, they gave us McDonalds to make us fat and slow, then it was Apple to bamboozle our poor minds and now they’re sending their ‘beefcakes’ over to finish the job!
So, Alistair Cook is the new England Test captain with the job of taking England back to the number 1 spot in the long format. But I think he has a greater job in trying to stop the team becoming the laughing stock of international cricket, where we are currently heading. This isn’t a criticism of anyone in particular but there are a number of factors that seriously need to be addressed.
The first is that England fans need to stop moaning about other teams and focus on their own. Yes, India have taken a slightly cheeky step in that they have not played any out-and-out spin bowlers in the recent warm-up match so England will be under-prepared going into the first Test, but surely that’s England’s own fault for making it so plainly obvious that they rubbish against spin? Having said that, why is it that our batsmen can make spinners such as Saeed Ajmal look like an absolute donkey one minute and then make him look like an Asian terminator the next? Just because he has a bent elbow when he bowls it doesn’t mean that he has turned into Murali overnight! And it’s not as if we don’t exploit home advantages during our summer of cricket by making maximum use of swing bowling against sides who come from countries where wind and clouds are as rare as a sunny day is over here, therefore putting them at a disadvantage. All India are trying to do is win a series against a team who they see as a massive threat, so we as fans should stop being bigger hypocrites than our government and do all we can to help our players do the impossible and actually win down in India.
England’s deficiency against spin is very worrying, however, and Kevin Pietersen has inadvertently not helped the situation in any way. In 2008 he branded India’s Yuvraj Singh a ‘piechucker,’ which is quite an insult for a spinner (I know this from personal experience having been called it a few times), yet just yesterday he took 5 wickets for an India A side against a full strength England XI, including KP. We have recalled the man, arguably the best batsman in the country, to bolster an inexperienced batting line up and he is getting out to a bowler who he reckons shouldn’t be playing Sunday League cricket – what on earth is this saying about our side? If our best player is getting out to a second-rate, part-time bowler then we are well and truly stuffed when the Test series starts in two weeks, with Ravi Ashwin and Praveen Ojha picking up 15 out of 20 New Zealand wickets not long ago. Cook needs to tell his players to keep quiet to avoid any more embarrassing situations such as this!
Finally, Cook and the selectors need to stop picking players with ridiculous names if we want to reverse our fortunes! There are so many English players whose names are also nouns and verbs – Cook, Trott, Bell, Onions, Swann… Thank God Phil Mustard isn’t in the team anymore otherwise we’d have most of the ingredients for a hot dog rather than a cricket team! Some of the names are highly appropriate though – Jonathon Trott rarely bats with any intensity while Stephen Finn can scare opponents like a great white when he feels like it, which isn’t seemingly going to be soon after he hurt his thigh over-stretching his ostrich-like legs trying to stop the ball. Even head coach Andy Flower’s name reflects his tenure in charge – he took over the team from the bottom, set some really strong foundations and made them big and strong before they have wilted away recently. And with Joe Root looking to firmly set himself at the top of the England order and Jos Buttler opening a door for himself in the middle order the trend that has spanned decades looks set to continue. In the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s Geoffrey Boycott seemed to think that running would get him nowhere except for the local A&E department so avoided it like the Plague while ‘keeper-bastman Alan Knott used to bamboozle opponents with his extravagance in front and behind the stumps. Yet England have never had any real long-term cricketing success and I think this could be why! Our players need sexy, stylish names such as AB de Villiers or Shane Watson, not Graeme Swann, if we want to dominate the world! Still, I suppose the name Pat Cummins could worse…
My first post then – it’s much more daunting than it seems! I am here to offer a light-hearted and witty insight into some sporting issues that people take way too seriously. However, although I like to think I am, many people I know would like to argue that I am in fact not witty but just very immature… Anyway I hope you all enjoy my blog and please feel free to leave constructive comments if you want, or even make suggestions as to what you may like me to talk about. First real post should be up by the end of the week!