Tag Archives: News

UEFA Cup Final Build-Up: Pictures from Manchester (or how silly this post now seems…)

This post, covering the build-up to the UEFA Cup Final, came before all the bottles were thrown, a lot of windows were smashed and police officers were kicked and punched. Some of these pictures have now taken on a dark (yet, perhaps, darkly comic…) irony. I must say that on experiencing the atmosphere yesterday afternoon, it was a joy — thrilling, exhilarating, in fact. It was jovial, affable, and trouble that occurred later on didn’t seem that likely.

Still, when you’ve got tens of thousands of litres of alcohol, being served since 10am, seeping through the veins of almost 200,000 people (I wondered whether the 100k estimate was actually rather conservative), it seemed kind of inevitable that something would happen. The failure of the big screen in Piccadilly Gardens seemed to act as a trigger, although speculation doesn’t really help.

Manchester, from 1.30pm to 5.00pm

If Manchester was ‘mad’ in the late eighties and early nineties, then I have no idea what it could be described as today. The city’s unrecognisable — a sight of constant blue.

In excess of 100,000 Rangers fans (and a few Russians…) are readying themselves for tonight’s UEFA Cup final at the City of Manchester Stadium, with Rangers hoping to win their first European trophy since the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972.

For Zenit, with former Rangers manager Dick Advocaat at the helm, this is their first outing in a European final after dismantling a Bayern Munich side that is arguably the best since the likes of Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Gerd Muller played together in the late seventies. On that fact alone, Zenit have to be considered favourites.

I couldn’t resist having a look, camera in hand, at what the atmosphere was like. Currently, Manchester is a proud, memorable image of fans savouring a European final.

If you wish to use any of these photos on your website or if you have any enquiries, then please email thesightisinend@googlemail.comthanks!

David.

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Filed under Football, Manchester, News, Rangers, Russia, Scotland, Soccer, Sport, UEFA, UEFA Cup, Zenit St. Petersburg

Trescothick retires from international cricket

It’s eerie how things can develop. After writing about the plight of Marcus Trescothick on here a few days ago, it seems that his “stress-related illness” has finally beaten him, and he has announced his retirement from international cricket.

“I have tried on numerous occasions to make it back to the international stage and it has proved a lot more difficult than I expected,” he told the Somerset website. “I want to extend my playing career for as long as possible and I no longer want to put myself through the questions and demands that go with trying to return to the England team.”

Judging from a disasterous (if somewhat exciting…) start to the final Test in Napier, his absence makes you wonder what impact it could have on the Test side. Pietersen, much discussed for adopting a “mature” batting style recently, went back to his old self. Without doing so, England could have lost the game before lunch.

Anyway, that’s irrelevant. As conceded in the previous post, all that matters is if he gets better. Hopefully he will, and Somerset will reap the benefits, as well as Tresco himself. He will be remembered as perhaps the most consistent batsman England have had over the last decade, with an average of 43.79 from his 76 Tests.

David.

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Filed under Cricket, ECB, England, Marcus Trescothick, News, Somerset, Sport

The plight of Trescothick casts light on the smokescreen of sport

Marcus Trescothick is still unwell. He has just pulled out of the UAE tour with Somerset “to be with his family” according to Somerset’s chief executive Richard Gould. 

This is the third time Trescothick’s euphemistic “stress-related illness” has come to light concerning tours abroad, with Trescothick coming home during England’s tour of India in 2006. He later returned for England’s tours of Pakistan and Sri Lanka, but then ruled himself out of  the ICC Champions Trophy in India. 

He later dealt a major blow to England’s efforts in retaining the Ashes by breaking down and returning home after two warm-up games. 

Last season he broke the thousand run barrier for Somerset, which included an innings of 284 against Northants last May. 

For England, he averages 43.79 in his 76 Tests with a career best 219 against South Africa at the Oval in 2003. 

It’s unlikely Trescothick will ever return to the international set up unless he somehow gets better. This is worrying for England judging from some of the sub-standard batting performances in New Zealand so far, as well as the numerous poor performances we’ve seen in previous series since the Ashes tour of Australia. 

Of course, Trescothick’s mental wellbeing is all that matters, as duly noted by Paul Collingwood:

“It’s just really sad,” he said. “We just need to get him right, for his own sake really. We can be very selfish and ask whether he will ever play for England again, but it doesn’t really matter because we need to get him right.”

Trescothick is an example of the mental torment that can inflict sportsmen. The man who can hold it together in the most mentally taxing of sports, struggles to do so off it. It holds a strange, tragic poignancy. 

He shows that sportsmen, who look dominant and act as examples of human endeavour and hard-work, are actually vulnerable people (as shown through countless examples — too many to name here).

It’s something that needs to be remembered a lot more, especially with the amount of money that sport as an industry is now built upon. It’s so easy to forget now-a-days. 

His illness also shows how sport can mask reality. There is a separation of the two worlds but when they blur, it’s almost post-modern. You get trapped into this world of sport where reality seems to be put aside, yet it can be thrown right back at you at any time; by tragedy, incident, or your side’s victory/defeat.

When sport transcends that barrier between the two, that’s where it holds its power. But it’s dangerous, for crossing it can also make sport feel irrelevant, and mere escapism. Tresco is an example of the other, as shown by Collingwood’s comments.     

I hope he gets better soon. He should be known as the sportsman that can transcend the barrier through success, not because he suffers from that “stress-related illness”. 

David.  

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Filed under Comment, Cricket, England, Marcus Trescothick, News, Paul Collingwood, Somerset, Sport

We support Ground for a Pound

Apologies once again for the lack of posts over the last two weeks — it’s really beginning to get to me, actually. However, that will hopefully change within the next few days.

This is a quick one for you all. My home-town club Stockport County (although I’ll plainly admit that I’m a United fan, but I’ve been going to a lot of County games this season after a gap of a few years…) have launched an innovative and quirky way to try and raise £1 million and therefore begin the process of buying Edgeley Park back from Cheshire Sport, the double-glazing magnate Brian Kennedy’s sporting arm and owners of Sale Sharks.

County are one of the few clubs that are essentially owned by the fans, and Cheshire Sport have given the fans’ trust eight years to raise the £4.5 million needed to buy the 100+ year old ground back.

Anyway, the scheme is called Ground for a Pound and all it asks you is to buy a pixel of Edgeley Park (and some of the houses surrounding the ground…) for £1 sterling, in order to contribute towards the needed £1 million. After only being online for three days, the demand has been fantastic and it’s getting some decent press as well, notably in The Times and on Sky Sports. 

So, your quid could really help towards getting the ground back, and cementing the future of Stockport County.

Or buy a few pixels at once or maybe even one a week – up to you. If you want to advertise your business, website etc, then it’s cheap advertising for you, too, as all pixels act as a link.

And hey! Once they’ve raise the million, you could have your pixel selected and have the opportunity to name one of the stands!

‘The Sight is in End’ End – I dream… 

Go on!

www.groundforapound.com

David.

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Filed under Barclays Premier League, Edgeley Park, England, English Premier League, Football, Football League, Guinness Premiership, News, Rugby Union, Sale Sharks, Soccer

Eduardo leg break: Wenger retracts Taylor comments

“It was a highly emotional afternoon and we were all shocked by the injury to Eduardo,” he said. “On reflection, I feel that my comments about Martin Taylor were excessive. I said what I did immediately after the game, in the heat of the moment.”

(From Arsenal.com).

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Filed under Arsenal FC, Arsene Wenger, Barclays Premier League, Birmingham City, Eduardo, Football, Martin Taylor, News, Soccer, Sport

FA now against Premier League plan

The Premier League’s plan on taking the league global is falling apart at the seams. The FA have now come out against the plan and, as alluded to on The Sight is in End, the potential damage to newly-(re)formed relationships with federations and the possible effect it could have on their World Cup bid have been deciding factors.
In a statement, they said:
“The Football Association has worked extremely hard for several years to improve our relationships and standing with Fifa and Uefa.”

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Chambers avoids the selection loophole, and embarrasses his fellow athletes

Dwain Chambers has been selected for the GB athletics squad for the World Indoor Championships in Valencia.

It is of course controversial, and UK Athletics chief Niels de Vos (I will have to try and remain impartial here, as de Vos was chief executive of Sale Sharks and Stockport County under the banner of Cheshire Sports, the sporting arm of multi-millionaire Brian Kennedy. Their decision making severely impacted on the way County was run and arguably endangered the club. Anyway…) was all but demanding the selection committee to activate a loophole in the selection process to avoid selecting him.

The loophole, which allows the selection committee to choice another athlete in “exceptional circumstances” mainly relating to performance, value judgements or stone-cold belief, was last used in 1983 when a struggling Coe managed to usurp Peter Elliott, who initially won 1500m Olympic trial, only to have his place given to the Olympic champion Coe.

In the end, it was a decision that paid off for Great Britain and for Coe; but it impacted on Elliott who, while having a place for the 800m, had to go through an unfamiliar routine of two qualifying races prior to the final. In the end, he succumbed to injury and was unable to run for gold.

Chambers’ selection was begrudging. The statement released by the selection committee is far from complimentary:

“Taking him to the World Indoors deprives young, upwardly mobile committed athletes of this key development opportunity.

“Our World Class Performance Programme is focused on achievement at Olympic and World level. On this basis, it is extremely frustrating to leave young athletes at home; eligible for Beijing, in possession of the qualifying standard and committed to ongoing participation in a drug-free sport.

In contrast, we have to take an individual whose sudden return, especially when considered against his previous actions and comments, suggests that he may be using the whole process for his own ends.

“Unfortunately, the committee felt that the selection criteria pertaining to the winner of the trials, coupled with the manner of Dwain’s performance, left them no room to take any other decision.

“We wish all the selected athletes well at the event, but will certainly explore ways in which future selections can be made to match the true ‘spirit’ of our sport.”

I don’t think Chambers will need any more inspiration after reading that. Chambers beat the rest of the field, and therefore he has the right to go — former drugs cheat or not. No other athlete was good enough, and that’s the end of the matter. He has carried out his sentence, has realised that he was a product of corruption and not a cause, and can do nothing else except, in his words, “let the legs do the talking.”

And I think that’s another reason for the animosity to Chambers. He has just walked back into the sport after flirting with American Football, and beat the rest of the field who train day in, day out.

He exposed the rest of the athletes as not being good enough, and not matching his ability minus chemical assistance. In essence, he showed up the other athletes royally, and they (UK Athletics, Steve Cram et.al) do not like it. Indeed, it was refreshing to hear 2nd place Simeon Williamson supporting Chambers.

Chambers obviously is good enough, and it’s time he proved it without science’s help.

David.

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Filed under Athletics, Comment, Dwain Chambers, IAAF, News, Seb Coe, Sport

Going global, but not to Acapulco…yet? Premier League consider ‘international round’

The inevitable has happened. After the Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants successfully (ruined Wembley’s pitch, some would say…) brought the NFL over here, the Premier League have announced that they are considering an ‘international round’ of fixtures. Although why mention ‘consider’ is anyone’s guess. To announce they’re considering it seems like a euphemism. All twenty Premier League clubs have agreed to the proposal.

The Premier League season would be extended to 39 games, could involve extra travelling for already exhausted players, and adds an extra air of gravitas to a league that is now going truly global.

The Premier League are walking a fine tight-rope. Many fans complain that ticket prices are still too high, yet clubs have provisionally agreed to take the game away from them, rather than trying to take it closer to fans. As Mihir Bose, the BBC sports editor so rightfully put it, “it’s chance for the Premier League to showcase its product around the world.”

Don’t forget, though, that the Premier League have actually flirted with this idea for a very long time. The Premier League Asia Cup must now be officially viewed as a yearly experiment to gauge the popularity of the English game abroad. It’s obvious the Premier League were happy with the results.

This move shows the power of the new batch of Premier League owners. American investors like the Glazers, Hicks and Gillette, want to see a return on their investment as soon as possible. By taking their franchises (a term that I think we’ll need to get used to as time progresses…) global, it makes it more likely that this will happen sooner.

But what this also shows is how powerful other nations have become to the future of English top-flight football. By taking the game abroad, the Premier League assures its survival for time to come. It can bank on continued TV deals at mesmurising costs, and will definitely ensure that it gets the best players in the world from Asia, the Middle East and North America — the three big continents where Premier League football is most popular.

I’m sure we’ll have much more to say on the matter in due course.

Imagine if relegation fights or championship battles were eventually decided in a city thousands of miles away, though? It doesn’t bear thinking about.

David.

   

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Filed under Barclays Premier League, BBC, Comment, England, English Premier League, FA, FIFA, Football, NFL, Soccer, Sport

D-DAY FOR TRANSFERS: LIVE!!!

THE LATEST NEWS ON THIS, THE FINAL DAY OF THE WINTER TRANSFER WINDOW, IS THAT NOTHING HAS YET HAPPENED FOR PREMIER LEAGUE CLUBS.

AND ANTHONY ELDING STILL REMAINS AT STOCKPORT.

STAY TUNED FOR ANY RAPID DEVELOPMENTS ON THIS CRUCIAL DAY.

STOP PRESS! I OBVIOUSLY MISSED JAMIE’S IMMENSELY IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT RIQUELME! FAST PACED IS THE 31ST!

And, it’s also my birthday.

Update: 15.38pm

Jari Litmanen has gone to Fulham from Malmo on loan; Roy Carroll has left Rangers (and the slim chance of getting a sport of European football this season) for Derby County for an undisclosed fee, and Man City’s Ousmane Dabo has joined Lazio for an undisclosed fee, too.

THE THIRTY-SIX YEAR OLD LITMANEN TO LEAD THE FIGHTBACK FOR FULHAM. God, and I was actually quite optimistic for them when they grabbed Hodgson.

Saying that, Hodgson’s shrewd when he wants to be, and would have seen Litmanen’s capabilities after managing Finland. Malmo and Hodgson must still be on good terms as well, and the loan makes sense for Malmo as the Swedish season doesn’t start until April. Still, Litmanen has only managed ten games for them since 2006. It’ll be interesting to see whether the gamble pays off for Hodgson and Fulham.

Update: 11.45 pm

Oh! Not long now! And blow me down! Anthony Elding’s only signed for LEEDS UNITED! That came out of the blue! And the man that usually causes most of the speculation around this time in Jermaine Defoe has actually moved! To Portsmouth! Oh, this is intense! Whether it’ll outweigh the £12m Middlesbrough have paid for Brazilian Afonso Alves is yet to be revealed. Exclamation marks!!!

David.

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Filed under England, English Premier League, FA, Football, Fulham, Leeds United, Middlesbrough, Portsmouth, Soccer, Stockport County, Tottenham Hotspur, Transfers

In a nutshell

Here it is – the nutterdom of transfer deadline day summed up to perfection. Taken from the BBC’s transfer deadline day live text commentary :

“Juan Roman Riquelme has just arrived at John Lennon airport to be met by Everton chief exec Keith Wyness.”

Expect more like this over the coming hours.

Jamie.

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Filed under Barclays Premier League, England, English Premier League, Everton, FA, Football, Football League, News, Sport, Transfers