Category Archives: Sports

World Cup: View from the Primark WAGs

I like to think of myself and my friends as WAGS. After all, we too stand by our men throughout the football season, allowing them to wear nasty nylon football shirts, and talk about football at every given opportunity. The difference may be that their Prada is our Primark and their Ferraris our Fiestas, but basically we are the same.

No doubt Colleen and the other WAGs are breathing a sigh of relief, just as we are, that England have made it through to the next round. Personally I am relieved as I did not relish the prospect of removing the numerous flags festooned across the front of my house, while my husband sank into a depression so bad that only a few pints with his equally depressed mates would shake it off. So the house can stay looking like the headquarters of the British Red Cross at least for the next few days, and the Macho Grill Master 5000 barbeque he bought, whilst still full of optimism that “this is our year” won’t be covered up and relegated to the back of the shed just yet.

Now, I’m not saying it’s only men who enjoy the beautiful game. Plenty of women do as well and so they should: it’s exciting, it’s entertaining and they all swap shirts at the end. But when your husband and sons (of which I have 5) are mad football fans it does have an impact on your life, especially when it’s the World Cup. Our social life has to revolve around the extremely confusing World Cup chart on the kitchen wall so I don’t accidentally arrange a family get-together with my elderly aunts the day England play Germany. Hence when all the lads come round with their WAGs, us girls watch half the match, then leave them shouting at the telly (apparently their 90 year old granny could have netted that one), then we go and sit in the garden among the half eaten burgers, the smouldering Grill Master 5000 and talk girl talk. Like which Italian player was the fittest during the line up, and other important things in life. Also when England are losing or drawing or even winning (but only by one goal because it could still go either way!) we have to escape in case all our blokes spontaneously combust at the same time.

The match is then followed by a post match analysis of who played well or who played like their 90 year old granny (honestly, one minute she could score a sitter, the next she is being compared to the worst player of the game… give granny a break) The next rounds are impossible for anyone other than a die hard footie fan to work out. Almost as confusing as the offside rule. For example if Germany beat Ghana they go through as long as there is a three goal difference and if Accrington Stanley beat Italy then Spain get into the finals and play Manchester United… something like that… but at the end of the day (see I do know some football lingo) it’s only a game. Don’t tell him I said that.

Posted by The Lovely Nicola


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World Cup: The perfect football song

In a few hours’ time, the England football team could possibly be packing their designer luggage and heading for the airport, as yet again World Cup dreams lie shattered to miserable pieces.

Or it could all be glorious. There’s still hope. And the perfect soundtrack to the particular type of brittle, dewy-eyed hope that swells up in English breasts every four years is World In Motion, the 1990 World Cup song by New Order.

Hope springs from the very start of that song, with Kenneth Wolstenholme reprising his legendary “They think it’s all over… it is now!” commentary from the 1966 final. Spirits duly raised by the memory of Bobby Moore lifting the trophy, the song’s intro leads us, via standard New Order beats and keyboards to a lyric full of commentator cliches about creating space and expressing yourself.

“Expressing yourself,” eh? It makes football sound all creative and arty and beautiful. And then there’s the chorus: Love’s got the world in motion. That’s right – love. It’s not a World Cup, it’s the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, all peace, love and understanding. It ought to sound silly, but at the time it sounded perfect – optimistic, positive and even a little bit sexy. And it still does.

In case we get too carried away, John Barnes appears to prove that not all black men can rap. Even so, there’s something quite mesmerising about the way he delivers his lines with a kind of ponderous rhythmicality, and he’s Barnesy so we love him anyway.

Then it all culminates in the team joining in with “We’re playing for England – Eng-er-land!” and the cute line “Arrivederci it’s one on one,” as a little nod to the host nation, Italy.

There we have it. The perfect football song from yet another year when it was all so elusively within England’s reach.

Posted by PLA

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Eddie Iz Running: lovely, crazy marathon man

Normally I sigh and roll my eyes when someone sets themselves up for a crazy, audience-seeking ultra-endurance activity. Especially when it gets hung on a noble ‘for charity’ peg when it’s really all about the person wanting attention and affirmation. But when it’s Eddie Izzard, it’s seems different somehow. He seems such a lovely man. But it’s still a nutty thing to do to be sure. Forty-three marathons in 51 days, running around Britain, carrying the flag of each country that he’s running through? Not something even a skilled, experienced runner would undertake if they had half a brain.

And he is none of these. He’s not experienced runner at all. He has a mere five and half weeks of preparation, during which time he is helped by Olympic sports trainer, Professor Greg Whyte, who tells us it takes the body three weeks to recover from one marathon. How can a forty-seven year old self-confessed unconditioned comedian cope with such a tough challenge with virtually no rest?

Not easily is the answer. Eddie has flat feet and numerous old injuries. It’s relentless, and he suffers terrible pain, struggling daily with blisters that risk getting infected. He is told that there is a risk of his nipples falling off from so much constant chafing,  ‘I’ll get joggers dick,’ he jokes, ‘when it will all drop off’. Continue reading


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Winter Olympics: Ski Cross

As someone who hankers after a bit of skiing now and again it’s odd that TV skiing should leave me cold, so to speak.

The commentators also have a hard time of it – what can you really say as yet another indistinguishable lycra figure hurtles down the side of a mountain?

What we’re all really waiting for are the spectacular crashes, when we can watch someone tumbling like a rag doll across acres of white, safe in the knowledge that 99.9% of the time they’ll be fine.  Send down another one!

And that’s where Ski Cross, the only new medalling event at the winter Olympics, comes into its own.  With four skiers racing together down the slope, it’s basically a mass pile up waiting to happen.  Continue reading

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Wimbledon: Don’t mess with my schedule


Unlike Pauseliveaction, I don’t hate tennis. I can peacefully co-exist with sport of any kind, so long as it doesn’t mess with me. Which is why Sky Sport, Setanta (as was) or any other channel dedicated to those who enjoy sweaty competitiveness in any form have their place in the world. They are most welcome to it, I can navigate the day without ever seeing a ball thrown, kicked or batted in anger.

But Wimbledon messes big time with my regular TV viewing. Bloody smug upper-class elitist English toffery.  And Sue Barker in more ghastly pastels. Nothing sexy to see here. Even the strawberries look limp. My choice of programme is rarely admirable or heroic but I do so enjoy looking forward to things and hate it when the BBC1/2 schedule person decides, when Andy ‘mardy-arse’ Murray is in full sweat and something has to give, tedious Crimewatch gets supremacy over the Super-sizers. Off it goes, bumped with nary a ‘sorry, but due to the tennis, **** will now be shown next week. As if it wasn’t bad enough that constant re-runs of Michael Jacksonspecials had already lost me Doc Martin last week. Yes I know it was a repeat. It’s soothing predictability I like in the world. Sue Perkins and Giles Coren making smart-arse comments, getting a bit pissed and looking nauseous makes my day, as does (and even I find this inexplicable) Martin Clunes and the woman from Tenko exchanging verbal barbs. Andy Murray may have added an impressive six-pack to his lanky Scottish frame, but I’d still rather watch Sue and Giles drinking one in the name of historical veracity.

[posted by Inkface]


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Wimbledon: Wake up, darling, the ball just hit someone on the head!

a-ballTV critic and all-round genius Jim Shelley has been having a pop at the BBC’s coverage of Wimbledon, and at tennis in general. “What a staid, stuck-up, sport tennis is,” he says.

Yes it is. It’s the sort of thing that brings my latent class warrior come storming out of its middle-class coverings. What I hate the most is how tennis is so boring that anything out of the norm is greeted by a storm of total hilarity. The other day the ball bounced off the back wall thing and dropped on a line judge’s head. “WHOA!” went the crowd, who promptly went into hysterics. How amusing! It’s exactly the kind of laughing-at-a-feeble-in-joke that you get at the Last Night of the Proms, but at least there’s usually some decent music to listen to in between times. Tennis is… just pointless.


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