Thursday, 27 March 2008

David Villa goal against Italy..... sublime!

A fantastic goal by David Villa and a second great win in a row for Spain, following up their 1-0 victory against France with a win against the world champions Italy by the same scoreline. They're looking good the Spaniards, but will they yet again fail to perform at the next major championships, Euro 2008.....??

Monday, 24 March 2008

Lookalike: Andy Roddick & Seann William Scott

Friday, 21 March 2008

Lookalike: Justine Henin-Hardenne & Haley Joel Osment

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Ping Pong at its very best

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Lookalike: Ryan Sidebottom & Roger Daltrey

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Lookalike (Football managers week): Steve McClaren and Viktor Yushchenko

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Lookalike (Football managers week): Lawrie Sanchez and Theo Paphitis

Friday, 14 March 2008

Lookalike (Football managers week): Gareth Southgate and James Blunt

Thursday, 13 March 2008

He's (still) got jungle fever...

It's a sad day when a former international sports star introduces themself first and foremost as a ex-winner on a celebrity game show. This is exactly what happened on last night's "Sports Relief Does The Apprentice" when Phil Tufnell referred to himself on the phone as "Phil Tufnell, King of the Jungle"!

Let's be clear, he'll never be know as "The King of Spin". However, he did still play over 40 tests for England and 20 one day internationals, taking 140 wickets wickets in the process.

I mean that's got to be worth something Phil, surely?! Better than likening yourself to a chimpanzee anyway. My bet is that it will be Tuffers who gets hit for six by Sir Alan on tomorrow's sports relief final.

Incredible football skills or just another viral...?

Lookalike (Football managers week): Graeme Souness and Randy Quaid

Cheltenham Forecast: Busy

The Cheltenham festival faces it's busiest couple of days in the competition's history, after stormy weather postponed racing on Wednesday.

The organisers of the event have their work cut out over the next two days, and have started by increasing the capacity for today by over 10,000.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Lookalike (Football managers week): Harry Redknapp and The Beast

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

The Cups They Are A-Changin…

Even if Portsmouth win the FA Cup, one senses that the general public will not mind.

Naturally this would mean the top-flight team would have derailed the dreams of national glory for one of the three Championship sides competing in the upcoming semi finals. Yet there is a likability and internationality about Redknapp Snr's team.

The sizes of all four clubs involved in this stage of the competition and the fact that none of the top four remain, reminds us that the FA Cup is indeed unique.

Arsenal and Liverpool arguably do not have strong enough squads to land all three 'major' trophies – the Premier League, the Champions League and the FA Cup. Chelsea and Manchester United on the other hand are capable of winning all three as well as the League Cup. Just a glance at the names that comprise the midfield of the Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge squads highlights their versatility and strength in depth: Fletcher, Hargreaves, Nani, Anderson, Park, Ronaldo, Scholes, Carrick, Giggs.....Cole, Essien, Lampard, Makalele, Malouda, Mikel Obi, Sidwell, Smith and Wright-Phillips.

How refreshing then it is that none of these players will feature in this year's FA cup semi finals. How different. Money cannot buy success, as Mr. Abramovich is beginning to realise. Mourinho knew how to make the most of players at his disposal and his motivational ability and winning mentality permeated through his team. The clubs in this year's Cup should thank Mr. Abramovich for his part in Mourinho's 'mutual' departure.

The only criticism of this year's event, which has been pervasive in the media, particularly on Match of the Day and Sky Sports discussion panels, is the fact that these semi finalists will taste Wembley before the final itself. 'The Road to Wembley' should be renamed 'The Shortcut to Wembley'. However, maybe this year it is fitting. The chance of playing their semi finals at Wembley is a richly deserved opportunity for all three championship sides. Such a situation has taken decades to materialise and the odds suggest it may be a long time before it happens again.

Although it dampens the magic and the romance, this writer foresees a deserved victory for Portsmouth. It is the culmination of several years of excellent management, a solid infrastructure, regular player acquisitions and team building, solidarity and confidence.

Fratton Park boasts an exciting array of African talent (more on this theme to come on this blog in the near future) that is underpinned by a blend of English veterans and rising stars. David James resembles a good bottle of wine that can only improve with age whilst Sol Campbell uses each game to remind us why Wenger signed him at Arsenal and why he was chosen in the 2002 World Cup tournament team, even though England only reached the quarterfinal. Then there is the schizophrenic Glen Johnson whose length of hair has a positive correlation with his quality of play (the longer it is, the better he plays). Capello must surely see he deserves another chance in the senior squad.

However, do not confuse admiration for Portsmouth with a bias for Premier league teams. Should Cardiff, WBA, or Barnsley succeed, it will be a memorable moment in FA Cup folklore.

By Chris Thorpe Cuevas World Snooker Championship Draw:

John Higgins v Matthew Stevens
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Liu Chuang
Ryan Day v Michael Judge
Ding Junhui v Marco Fu
Stephen Hendry v Mark Allen
Stephen Lee v Joe Swail
Graeme Dott v Joe Perry
Ken Doherty v Liang Wenbo
Shaun Murphy v Dave Harold
Ali Carter v Barry Hawkins
Mark Selby v Mark King
Mark Williams v Mark Davis
Peter Ebdon v Jamie Cope
Neil Robertson v Nigel Bond
Stephen Maguire v Anthony Hamilton
Steve Davis v Stuart Bingham

The tournament, which takes place at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, will begin on the 19th April and will run through until the 5th May.

Mascarenhas heads for India

Dimitri Mascarenhas has succumbed to the the big bucks and joined a star studded cast of international cricketers, including the likes of Australia's Ricky Ponting and South Africa's Graeme Smith, by signing up for the Indian Premier League with Jaipur. He becomes the first England player to do so, costing the Jaipur side £50,000 at the most recent player auction.

One has to wonder if this will open the floodgates for other English players to follow suit, although having said that would any of them really be that appealing right now?! Kevin Pietersen is the one big name that organisers and fans of the IPL would love to see playing in the league. However, he recently ruled himself out, claiming that the money wouldn't tempt him..... well that remains to be seen.

The real losers here are going to be the counties and their fans. With the massively superior financial benefits of playing abroad in India, county sides are not going to be able to compete, and the County cricket scene risks becoming a graveyard for has been stars, much like the American soccer league (MLS).

Lookalike (Football managers week): Steve Bruce and Jay Leno

Monday, 10 March 2008

At the end of the day it's just another footballing cliché...

The English premier league is a breeding ground for sporting clichés. Time after time in interviews you hear the phrases "It's a game of two halves" and "We gave 110%". Well quite frankly, if you put the same amount of effort into trying not to sound like a broken record all the time, football viewing would be a much more enjoyable experience for all.

It is like there's a set script for answering questions from the media in this country, with players and managers seemingly terrified of thinking for themselves. The league is crying out for more José Mourinhos..... even just one!

It's not only on the pitch that you hear these clichés spouted out from all directions. Match of the day is in my opinion an excellent TV show, not helped by amateur pundits such as Alan Shearer continuously quoting from the Big Book of Sporting Clichés. Echoing the views of the editor of, I would like to see Shearer back at St James' park. Not as a player mind you. His Oxbow lake of a hairline is testament to the fact that his playing days are far behind him, but as a coach I do feel he could have an impact at a club so desperate for a hero as Newcastle United.

Go on Alan - Come and join the party. It's a big ask and a potential banana skin, and we all know there are no easy games in football. But with a good old fashioned centre forward such as yourself at the helm, and by simply taking each game as it comes... I'm sure you can turn it around!

Fee-Fie-Foe-Fum... I smell an upset

In an incredible weekend of FA cup action the giant killers were out in force, setting up a semi-final round involving 3 Championship clubs and only one Premiership representative (and not one you might have thought). People all around the country will be kicking themselves they didn't put that bet on, but then again who could have really predicted it?!

The real hero story from the quarter-finals has to be the relegation threatened Barnsley knocking out last year's champions the mighty (rich) Chelsea, showing that money can't buy you love. Having said that, the financial boost they'll get from reaching the next round will certainly put a few smiles on the faces of the players (and perhaps a few new cars in the Oakwell Stadium car park).

Cardiff City did very well to knock out the not-so-mighty Middlesborough, and will be pleased to have drawn Barnsley in the semis. Similarly Barnsley will be happy to have been drawn against Cardiff, not least their on loan goalkeeper Luke Steele who had they drawn West Brom would have been prevented from playing against his parent club.

Although West Brom have turned out some excellent performances in the past few rounds of the cup, they will do very well to get passed Portsmouth, whose manager Harry Redknapp will be rubbing his hands together at the prospect of becoming the first English manager in over 10 years to lift the FA cup.

Gretna prepare for administration

Gretna Football Club are preparing to move into administration after a halt in funding from their owner Brooks Mileson who is unwell.

Mileson became the owner of Gretna FC in 2003, and his funding has helped them achieve unprecedented success in recent years. However, due to his poor health, he is no longer in a position to continue supporting the club financially, and Gretna are now destined for relegation, currently sitting bottom of the Scottish Premier league table with a 10 point penalty looming.

Following a meeting last Friday 7th March, the club directors passed a resolution to place the club into administration. A 'formal notice of intention' was filed in the Court of Session in Edinburgh this morning (Monday 10th March).

Lookalike (Football managers week): Avram Grant and Bela Lugosi (Dracula)

Friday, 7 March 2008

Trent Bridge Named In Pre-Olympic Guide

Trent Bridge was today named as one of the top East Midlands sporting venues to be included in London’s 2012 Pre-Olympic Games Training Camp Guide.

The Guide will be published at the Beijing Games and will give teams and individual athletes a great selection of venues from which they can choose to prepare for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Guide will be circulated to all National Olympic and Paralympic Committees, who will then decide where to base themselves or to send athletes to prepare and acclimatise for London 2012.

Said Notts Chief Executive Derek Brewer: “It is excellent news that Trent Bridge has been included in the Guide and we look forward to playing a part in the exciting build-up to London 2012.

“That’s an event which will captivate the UK like never before and we are very anxious to be a part of it.

“Bearing in mind that the archery competition in 2012 will be held at Lord’s Cricket Ground, we recognised some time ago that there was obvious potential to stage pre-event competitions at Trent Bridge.

“It is no secret that we have already held discussions with local and national archery organisations to check the feasibility, and now that we have officially been named in the Guide we will be looking to take things forward.”

Facilities in the East Midlands Guide range from well known major sporting hubs, universities and schools, and community and sports specific facilities.

Said Jeff Moore, Chief Executive of East Midlands Development Agency: “We are delighted that many of our regional facilities will be included in the Guide.

“We can offer venues right across the East Midlands from world renowned, iconic venues such as Trent Bridge through to fantastic community facilities such as Braunstone Leisure Centre in Leicester. In Loughborough University we are proud to have one of the very best sports training facilities in the world.

“We see the hosting of teams as a real opportunity to bring the Games to the people of the East Midlands and we know we have a range of sites that will be attractive to competing nations.”

World First For 888.Com World Snooker Championship Draw

Fans around the world will have the chance to watch live as the World Snooker Championship draw is broadcast online for the first time ever at 13.00 GMT on Tuesday, March 11th on

The webcast, live from Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre, will begin with pre-Draw build up at 12.30, culminating with the Draw at 13.00. Snooker fans around the globe will also be the first to hear reactions to the Draw from current World Snooker Champion John Higgins, as well as two-times ranking event winner Neil Robertson. The players will also entertain fans with a special snooker exhibition. World Champion John Higgins said: “March 11th will be a special day in snooker history as it is the first time that snooker fans all around the world will be able to watch the Draw live. Snooker is a global game and this can only help to broaden the fan base for snooker and the World Snooker Championship”.

The Draw will pit the 16 top seeds at random against the 16 players who battle through the final qualifying round, which takes place from March 7th to 10th at the English Institute of Sport – Sheffield.

The World Snooker Championship itself runs from April 19th to May 5th at the Crucible Theatre.

Lookalike: Dennis Rodman & A Gnu

Thursday, 6 March 2008

London Wasps Statement Regarding Danny Cipriani

London Wasps are very disappointed to hear that Danny Cipriani has been withdrawn from the England team to face Scotland in the RBS 6 Nations this weekend.

Cipriani, who was photographed outside a London nightclub at approximately 12.20am last night, will not travel to Scotland with the England team, and as a result Wasps Director of Rugby Ian McGeechan has confirmed that he will consider Cipriani for selection in Wasps team to face Harlequins in the Guinness Premiership at Adams Park on Sunday.

Said McGeechan: “We are hugely disappointed with the decision to withdraw Danny from the England team, and similarly disappointed for Danny himself.”

“Danny was pictured outside a nightclub last night, where he had gone in to see a friend. He did not stay inside the nightclub for any length of time and he was not drinking. He was at worst naïve in his actions, but no more than that. Given the circumstances, a measured response to his actions was required and I think this is a very harsh decision.

“Danny will return to club training tomorrow, and as we are currently selecting the Wasps team to face Harlequins in the Guinness Premiership on Sunday, we will be considering Danny in our selection for that game.”


Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Cancun Makes Boxing History

Cancun will make history on Saturday March 8th when they host ‘The World Heavyweight Boxing Championship’ in the Cancun Bullring. It will be the first time a high profile Sporting event of this nature has taken place in Mexico.

Boxing legends Oleg Maskaev from Kazakhstan and Samuel Peter from Nigeria will be topping the bill when they meet in the ring for the main fight. Also enthralling the crowd will be fighting competitors; John Ruiz and Jameel Mccline, Juan Diaz and Nate Campbell and Jose Luis Castillo and Timothy Bradley.

Tickets range in price from US$10 to US$2000 and it is anticipated that it will be a ‘sell out’. Once the show is over visitors can enjoy everything Cancun has to offer.

24 Hours Of Live TV Coverage Secured for Silverstone Classic

Motors TV commit to full two-day broadcast across the UK and Europe for 2008 and 2009

European satellite broadcaster Motors TV have enthusiastically committed to a 2-year minimum arrangement to broadcast live the Silverstone Classic during the main event race days, which this year are Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 July.

Motors TV broadcasts to 9 million homes across the UK and a further 5.5 million homes across Europe and the agreement represents a major achievement for the new event organisers. The entire race programme, starting at 9am each day, will receive continuous live coverage, with the exception of a 90-minute slot on Sunday afternoon when the DTM race from the Nurburgring will be shown. Races that are run during that break in the live coverage will be broadcast later that afternoon.

“The Silverstone Classic is a truly international event and as a pan European TV broadcaster Motors TV is the perfect partner,” said Silverstone Classic Event Director Roger Etcell. “The Classic is a very colourful festival and with an action packed three day schedule both on and off the track Motors TV quickly recognised the benefits of a live broadcast during the two race days. We are extremely excited about this development and for all of the advantages the live coverage will bring to the event as we work to improve and enhance the Silverstone Classic over the coming years.”

“Entering a partnership with the Silverstone Classic was an easy decision to make”, added Motors TV Head of Programming & Acquisitions Frédéric Viger, “it is a unique event, and bears a very special historic flavor. As soon as we started discussions with Roger Etcell it became evident that we had to show the full event LIVE, therefore we’ll be able to offer our viewers not only the racing, but also the atmosphere between the races which, I believe, is a major part of the event. Furthermore being a partner of such a big meeting is fully in line with our will of strengthening our links with British Motorsports”

Event Background:

The annual Silverstone Classic festival will be organised and promoted by Motion Works UK Limited (MWUK) on behalf of CAE (Silverstone) Limited, the company recently licensed by Silverstone to stage the event for the next five years.

The annual Silverstone Classic is a celebration of motor racing across all decades from the 1920s to the 1990s on a current FIA approved circuit and is not totally historic as it also invites more contemporary races such as Group C, Saloons and late Formula One cars to be raced and seen in their appropriate surroundings. Classic Car Owner Clubs from across the UK and overseas play an important supporting role in recent years with 4,000 cars expected this year. The event Auction remains an important landmark and features such as the Scarf & Goggles meeting area, art & photo galleries, period air displays, funfairs, themed catering, will be retained and enhanced, with new attractions being added over the next few years.

A new event website at is currently under development and is due for launch in the first week of March.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Book Published To Celebrate 100 Years Of The Marathon Distance

As the 2008 London Marathon celebrates the centenary of the marathon distance of 26 miles and 385 yards, a standard now accepted worldwide, here is the story of how that bizarre distance was set and how events surrounding three of the competitors who made the biggest headlines in the 1908 Olympics have defined the sport ever since.

Written by John Bryant, who is a long-time marathon runner and who has helped develop the London Marathon for over 25 years, it will be launched at Marathon House on March 26th and published by John Blake Publishing on March 27th.

Published to coincide with the 2008 London Marathon
and to celebrate 100 years of ‘The Distance’


The true story of the first modern marathon

As Sebastian Coe writes in his Foreword:

‘In the finest traditions of Chariots of Fire, John Bryant’s book vividly recreates one of the most dramatic days and events in sport – the 1908 Olympic Games Marathon in London, an epic contest which, along with the intense rivalries, idealism, controversies and spectacle of the Games shaped the evolution of modern sporting culture …. documented in a way that will inspire future generations.’

THE MARATHON MAKERS is a must-read for runners, armchair sports-fans and anyone who values inspiration.

John Bryant is a long-time marathon runner. He has worked as a Fleet Street journalist since 1971 and was most recently Editor-in-Chief of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph. He is the author of 3:59.4 – The Quest to Break the 4 Minute Mile and London Marathon – The History of the Greatest Race on Earth.

His passionate interest in sport and physical endeavour – both as a writer and a top-class competitor – led to his involvement in the London Marathon, which he has tirelessly promoted, helped develop and competed in for over 25 years. At one point in his marathoning career, he was hit by a car while training and had to fight his way back to running after being left in a wheelchair with a warning that he would never race again.

A lifelong athlete and Oxford Blue, John coached Olympic athlete Zola Budd and is a veteran of marathons around the world. He was a long-time captain of the world’s oldest cross-country club, the Thames Hare and Hounds, and a former county champion.

He is married with two children and lives in Surrey and Dorset.


To be published in hardback by John Blake Publishing on March 27 at £14.99.

To be launched at a reception hosted by David Bedford at Marathon House on March 26.

The London Marathon takes place on Sunday April 13.

2008 marks the centenary of the marathon distance of 26 miles and 385 yards.

John Bryant is a long-time marathon runner. At one point in his marathoning career, he was hit by a car while training and had to fight his way back to running after being left in a wheelchair with a warning that he would never race

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Lookalike: Brad Friedel and Hellboy

Lookalike: Wayne Rooney & Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Shrek & Donkey