Anyone reading the sports pages over the last few months would have seen an increasing plethora of negative sports stories that mostly revolve around greed and corruption, occasionally simply cheating.
Today we learned that a salary of 3 million pounds and the ideal job is not enough for Sam Allardyce, who not only displayed simple greed in the search of another 400,000£ but also a curious mixture of arrogance and stupidity. He has of course left the FA tonight “by mutual consent”. Unfortunately one suspects that this is not even the tip of the iceberg. Money flows in football, well at least in the premiership and greed seems close behind. The Leicester owner left the ground via a helicopter on the pitch tonight. There is simply too much money there and clearly even more amounts of temptation. Maybe the most worrying thing is the arrogance to presume that he would get away with this. Rumours have been rife for many years about managers, agents and owners involved in various illegal money-making ventures. Little or nothing was proven by various investigations. Yet we know from this summer that corruption is also rife in UEFA and FIFA. Again the common denominator is the money. Match fixing has reared an ugly head in football and cricket increasingly and again money is the temptation. Cycling and athletics have had scandals of their own, also tangentially related to money but involving simple cheating and potentially “bending the rules”. Doping has been discovered for many years but increasingly so recently, leading to Russia essentially being banned from the Rio olympics. We know what we know but we also imagine there is much that we do not know. There has been probable abuse of TUEs where legal medications are prescribed for reasons that may be dubious and certainly some believe to be invented.
Sport is fun and exciting and fans go to football games in the dark and rain because they support their team and believe each team will try their utmost to win. If fans lose their faith in the simple matter of honesty then sport is dead. Fans also may imagine things when unexpected results are seen. A win by Bangladesh over another senior test playing nation may be regarded as suspicious as opposed to celebrated. Own goals will be looked at as potentially deliberate. The fun will have gone and when fans leave the sport then the money will go too. The rules in sport are there for a reason and not simply historical. They are there to provide fairness in competition and the rules agents and clubs must abide by are there equally to provide fairness.
It is not just the ridiculously huge sums of money paid to the players, especially in football, but the equally ridiculous sums paid by SKY and BT Sports. This leads also inadvertently to a betting culture where sport is played not simply to see who wins, but to see who can win the most money (by being in the Champions League for example), but where the same sport is flaunted at home to the “spectators” who are enticed to bet on any parameter that can be measured in a game. Half-time adverts on TV are predominantly related to betting usually showing happy smiling faces of those who win. I have yet to see an advert showing what happens when betting gets out of control and ruins a life or a family.
So the simple pleasure of competing and winning gets diluted by the financial returns that overlay the event. Excessive betting is another factor killing the morals of sport. Players are regularly convicted of betting on games, from which they are prohibited to do so. Joey Barton this week has been accused of that crime. This is very separate to match-fixing but again synonymous with the greed for money which is attainable.
Things must change. The effects of money on the various sports, football in particular, must be significantly reduced. The term Greed Creed can be applied almost at will. Sam Allardyce is a symptom of the problem which may be far more widespread than we realise. I have little doubt that anything will happen but this should be a turning point when sport looks at itself and realises that it is the sport that matters, not the money.
They look like they are asking for passport photos to be done and posing. Surpringly calm and no hissing at me for comeing quite close to them. Taken with a 100mm Canon EF Macro lens.
Not so many people know that Painshill Park has an excellent vineyard that has been making wine and more recently sparkling wine having been restored in 1992 but was in its prime from 1740-1812.
Two and a half acres were replanted with the Pinot Noir cultivar planted by Hon. Charles Hamilton in the 18th century, plus Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc hybrids – to reproduce Hamilton’s Painshill Sparkling Wine including a sparkling Rose. The first full crop of wine was harvested back in 1998. The wine can be purchased from the shop at Painshill Park.
2016 has been an interesting year for grape growing and should there be a decent rainfall in the next few weeks will lead to a good harvest, but as you can see the grapes currently as of September 2016 are not yet ready for picking with some considerable variation in grape size.
Lets start with the game. This was not a classic at all. The first half was low tempo and there were serious indications that 0-0 might suit this game. The second half revolved around Brentford essentially giving three goals away. The first and most important one was an error by josh McCeachran giving the ball away and Wolves run 65 yards and score. The second one Daniel Bentley will be dissapointed not to have a free kick, and the last one when Brentford were chasing an equaliser was a typical last minute breakaway goal. This was never a 3-1 game and in fact 1-1 might have been a fair reflection of the play. Brentford were not at their best today and the midfield contributed little either creatively nor goal wise. The Brentford goal however was a beauty, a shot from Kalkai that was unstoppable. Wolves were not that great and seemed to be auditioning to be a mid-table side. The crowd of 20,000 contained 631 Bees who made a decent amount of noise.
The referee was abysmal. all 20,000 spectators were agreed on that one. He failed to see a clear Wolves handball in the penalty area that I saw from maybe 75 yards away. The linesman too. I despair about officials these days.
Molineux is a decent ground and the fans/stewards a friendly bunch. The cost of 30£ though was at the steep end, though not as much as the 43£ being charged today by Sheffield Wednesday. The ground is on the edge of town and essentially in the University campus area, surrounded by university buildings and flats. An ASDA completes the splendour. This is a real city ground. Parking is easy enough and £5 will buy you a parking space in one of the local car wash sites and decent travel advice would be to enter the city via the M54 so taking the long way round. The club strive to keep their young fans happy and there was a small fair ongoing in the car park area of the ground which contained amongst other things the smallest Nando’s in the world. Other unusual sights included a barbers shop as part of the ground. Does any other club have a barbers shop integral in the ground?
Inside the ground it is clear that this ground has and can accommodate premiership football. Four decent size stands and away fans are unusually given the lower tier of one the stands that run pitchside, so get a decent view. My only quibble is the huge area between the pitch and the stand that allowed a large wide grass strip where stewards sat on chairs, or in one mans case, slept in his chair.
So a good day out, little pricey but a ground well worth seeing. Lastly 21 Bet might want to have a re-think about both the odds and the plaeys they lay odds against. I almost choked on the prospect that the odds of forst scorer were equal almost for Hogan, who was playing, and Hoffmann who was not even on the bench. Curiouser and curiouser.
Over the last few days something strange has been happening. The media generally and Sky TV has been eulogising over the climax to the season that results in three counties entering the last of their 16 games with the possibility of being champions. At the bottom end of the table one of three counties will achieve relegation. Sky has also at the last minute decided to televise the key game Middlesex v Yorkshire. All this is quite unusual. The norm is a few words in newspapers with the scores. Has there been a sea change? Sadly not.
The reality is that county cricket is a 4 day game played often in front of only hundreds of spectators. Most of them termed members essentially but buy a season ticket. Most of the games are played midweek when younger folks work and the average age of spectators is realistically over 40 and sometimes over 60. The cost of county cricket is also growing. The memberships cost around £200-250 and cover the 8 home matches and seasonally a variable number of limited overs games but not the lucrative T20. This contrasts with a season ticket cost for Championship football of around £350. A days ticket costs around 15-20£ and at some venues parking adds to that. At Arundel for example which is almost inaccessible without a car, parking is 10£ for non-members.
There are rafts of problems and reasons why grounds are invariably empty other than cost. The weather often does play havoc with games turning them into lotteries with many days play lost. Umpires take the players off for minimal bad light. This irritates spectators who have little other option than to sit there . Food options in many grounds are limited and expensive.
The cricket quality is often poor and sometimes not reaching good club standard. Many games do not last anything like 4 days. Inept batting collapses are the norm in division two and seen too often in division one. The best players do not play as ECB often dictates they cannot even when not playing for their counties. Cricket fans tuning into Sky would have noted that arguably Yorkshire’s best cricketers, Bairstow and Root , were not playing for ludicrous reasons. Many counties keep young players for up to 5-10 years before deeming them not good enough. This results in a slow and poor throughput of potentially the really good youngsters out there. Bad performances seem tolerated for too long again resulting in poor cricket. One needs only to look at the batting this season for Sussex for these points to be clear. Some players don’t seem to want or be able to put in strong county performances when having been on the fringe or discarded by England.
Cricket by its very nature played over 4 days can sometimes be a boring and abrasive game. Watching 90 overs at 3 runs an over is rarely thrilling. But it is part of the game.
What should we do ? These are my suggestions and based partly on my personal reasons for hardly watching Sussex even as a member.
These things may not be enough to salvage countycricket but they will help.
Let’s return to Middlesex v Yorkshire. What have we seen? The ECB refusing to sanction Root and Bairstow to play. Crazy. A Yorkshire spinner Rashid asking not to play for barely credible reasons as a professional sportsman. At the most exciting moment of the game in the afternoon time when Yorkshire required a single run to effectively maintain their chance of winning the title , the umpires took the players off for bad light. Goodness. Some fairly poor batting from both sides with a few exceptions. Some dreadful fielding with over 10 dropped catches in 2-3 days. A ground that was mostly empty devoid of hardly any atmosphere excepting the MCC members in the pavilion who did turn out in numbers.
Images sometime convey more power and meaning when in black and white. Whether this is a random thing or a feeling that one is being transported back to another century I am unsure.
Godalming were doomed from the first 5 minutes when they were 3-0 down and it was always how many goals were Carshalton going to score. In truth the teams were classes apart. Not many teams could have lived with the free flowing football and the movement displayed last night. The finishing was sublime. There will be far better match reports than this but this was a game to really enjoy and wonder how far this team can go.
Clearly 10-0 victory says it all really. No sendings off, no goalkeeper injuries, just ten good goals. to their credit Godalming kept going till the end and a few minutes before the end looked certain to score but even then the Carshalton defence were battling away to keep a clean sheet and cleared the ball off the line.
The fans enjoyed this game however the Godalming manager looked downcast all game and resigned this morning.