Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013: A Sad Farewell

By Shane Thomas

As Jacques Kallis left the Kingsmead field for the final time as a batsman on Sunday, the home crowd acclaimed a man who will surely go down as one of the finest South African cricketers of all time[1]. Ending his career with another well-crafted century - his 45th Test hundred - it would be natural for one to resort to the warm blanket of reverie, and look back over an auspicious career.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Politics Of Sport - The Face

By Shane Thomas

2012 was a memorable year in British sport. At the forefront of that was Jessica Ennis-Hill[1], who managed to deal with the intense pressure of being billed as the face of the 2012 London Olympics, to win gold in the heptathlon to the delight of a rapturous home crowd.

Friday, 1 November 2013

The Politics Of Sport: The Race Conversation

By Shane Thomas

Roy Hodgson, the England manager. A racist? Personally I don't think he is. My thoughts are much in simpatico with journalist, Natasha Henry, who tweeted more eloquently than anyone else that I've heard on this issue.

Monday, 30 September 2013

The Politics Of Sport - Good Immigrants

By Shane Thomas

Immigration may seem a peculiar topic when talking about sport, but it's something that has sprung to mind since Mo Farah has become one of Britain's most beloved sporting stars over the past couple of years.

Friday, 16 August 2013

The Three Horse Race

By Shane Thomas

NOTE: Please bear in mind, that the predictions in this piece may change, and are based on the squads on the respective teams as of 13th August.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

The Hangover's On Its Way For Team GB.

By Shane Thomas

The World Championships that follow an Olympic Games can often have that "going into the office the morning after the work Xmas party" feel about it. All the effort that went into the preparation for the London 2012 Olympics can drain an athlete, both physically and psychologically. After all, where do you go once you've climbed Everest?

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Graham Murray (1955-2013)

By Jonathan Wilkinson

Graham Murray (1955-2013)

Graham Murray's Leeds Rhinos team were my first Leeds team. My first experience of going to matches might have been in 1997, but it wasn't till the following two years that I truly fell for both the game and the team. So it was with great sadness that I find myself trying to write about the man who started it all following his death from a second heart attack at the weekend.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Well Done, Andy. Never Change.

By Shane Thomas

So then, it happened. 77 years, and Britain finally produced a player to win the Wimbledon singles title... ahem.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Not A Looker? So What. Bravo Marion!

By Shane Thomas

The women's game in tennis can struggle to get a substantive amount of attention. Having to deal with the lack of great rivalries compared to the women's game in the past, the incomparable brilliance currently seen in the men's game (especially when Britain has its first male champion for 77 years), as well as the pervasive sexism that still exists in society, it looked as if this year's Wimbledon women's final may end up an eminently forgettable affair.

Friday, 7 June 2013

The Premier League Team Of The Season 2012/13

By Shane Thomas

Quite simple post, this. With the Premier League season now over, here's my team of the season (with a few honourable mentions):

* - denotes my player of the season

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Mourinho and Chelsea: The Perfect Match

By Shane Thomas

So, it's official. A special one returns. It bears stating that Jose Mourinho's first press conference in England is alongside Bob Geldof's, "Give me the money!" in terms of memorably misquoted utterances. Despite what the press would have you believe, Mourinho never dubbed himself, "The Special One." He dubbed himself, "A special one."

Thursday, 30 May 2013

The Politics Of Sport: Shaun Tuck's Islamophobia - Over To You, FA

By Shane Thomas

I had no plans to pen another post so soon after my last one, but the tragic recent events in Woolwich have put paid to that. So how does a violent murder connect with the world of sport?

Saturday, 25 May 2013

The Politics of Sport: Sergio a Symptom of Golf's Bigger Problem

By Shane Thomas

Seasoned golf followers have been long aware of the enmity between Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods. The antipathy between the two men recently became common knowledge during The Players Championship at Sawgrass. During the third round, Garcia accused Woods of inciting the crowd to make noise, putting off the Spaniard during one of his shots.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

The Window of Opportunity

By Shane Thomas

Two Tuesdays ago, Wigan were leading Swansea 2-1 in a key game in their battle to avoid relegation. In the second-half, James McCarthur, on as a substitute, missed a great chance to secure the win. The commentary team speculated whether Wigan would come to rue that miss.

Wigan went on to lose 3-2.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson, Bloody Hell.

By Shane Thomas

Well, come on. There's only one sporting story worth talking about right now. This is probably newspaper piece/blog post #1,564 that's sure to be written about Sir Alex Ferguson over the next week or so. I confess that I'm still processing my thoughts as I'm writing, so apologies if this reads as a bit of an unfocused ramble.

Monday, 15 April 2013

The Politics Of Sport: A Caucasian Haven

By Shane Thomas 

This post has a couple of trigger warnings: 1) It will contain racist language, used for the purposes of reportage. 2) All of the video links embedded in this post are 'Not Safe for Work', due to both content & language. 

It's not often that I foray into the world of darts, but this story is one that shouldn't go ignored.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

The Politics Of Sport: Podium Girls in Cycling

By Shane Thomas

Fabian Cancellara won cycling's one-day Tour of Flanders last weekend. But you'd be forgiven for not having noticed this, as the story wasn't about Cancellara. In fact, it wasn't about anything that happened on the cobbled Belgian streets. 

The Politics Of Sport: A New Feature

By Shane Thomas

Regarding this blog, there's been a subject that has been pinballing around my mind for a while now. Many look to sport the same way they regard the bulk of Sylvester Stallone's filmography; as escapism. A welcome diversion from the more serious aspects of life. And it's not uncommon for people to opine that sport and politics should never mix.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Where's Your Swagger, England?

By Shane Thomas

England's 30-3 defeat to Wales in the Six Nations was a savage and dizzying one. Suffering their worst ever loss to their near neighbours, it left many pondering what's missing with this England team. Personally, I think the key ingredient is... well, a bit of swagger.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Dangerous Tackling? Blame The FA.

By Shane Thomas

Regular readers of this blog (all two of them) will know that one of my biggest bugbears in football is dangerous tackling. Even more infuriating is seeing such conduct go unpunished. So like many in football, the FA's decision not to take retrospective action against Wigan's Callum McManaman for his egregious challenge on Newcastle's Massadio Haidara left me disgusted.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Middle Ground

By Shane Thomas

There's no doubt that football is an ever-changing, amorphous construct, open to the altering of trends and demands of the game. In the Premier League, the place of the central midfielder is not immune to this.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

The Best Of British

By Shane Thomas

Britain and cycling. People old enough will remember that those two words once went together like Britain and sunshine. But ever since Chris Boardman's gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona (summer) Olympics, there has been a sporting revolution on two wheels in this country.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Three Cheers For Kobe

By Shane Thomas

The Los Angeles Lakers are currently in the middle of arguably their worst season for a generation, but there is one piece of heartening news to come from the franchise, and it is a lot more important than whether the Lakers make the NBA playoffs or not.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Africa's Footballing Exploitation

By Shane Thomas

In the opening monologue of the movie, Jerry Maguire, Tom Cruise elucidates about the bristling excitement that comes with unearthing new sporting talent. Think of the anticipation that was palpable with the arrivals of Rory McIlroy, Andrew Luck or Lewis Hamilton onto the sporting scene. But the monologue comes with a warning, "There's genius everywhere, but until they turn pro, it's like popcorn in a pan. Some pop. Some don't."

Friday, 25 January 2013

Want Gods And Superheroes? Then Stick To Fiction.

By Shane Thomas

People love stories. Particularly tales of greatness. A major reason why this summer's Olympics held Britain in such thrall was the daily accounts of athletes finding the best of themselves. We had yarns such as the woman who grabbed her last chance of glory (Katherine Grainger), the chosen one adored by her public (Jessica Ennis), or the wounded king who ruthlessly crushed those who would usurp him (Usain Bolt). This wasn't just running and jumping. These men and women are the gods of our time.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Sian Massey. An Official We Need To Focus On

By Shane Thomas

Come the end of the 2012/13 Premier League season, Chelsea's 4-0 victory over Stoke is unlikely to be a game to last long in the memory. However, the match had an occurrence that could have long-lasting ripples, and not just for football.

Monday, 14 January 2013

The Diary Of A Pessimistic Arsenal Fan - Arsenal See Red & Lose Their Heads

By Shane Thomas

The Emirates Stadium was an enraged and irate place on Sunday evening. Referee Mike Dean will likely take the majority of the headlines after dishing out two red cards, with Manchester City winning their first league game away at Arsenal since 1975.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

The Diary Of A Pessimistic Arsenal Fan - Theo And The Newly Found End Product

By Shane Thomas

It's been a while since Arsenal have been the major football story that didn't lead with the words "crisis", "transfer window" or "spending", often accompanied by the words "lack of". However, Theo Walcott's coruscating hat-trick against Newcastle not only sent the Gunners up to 5th in the Premier League table, it also brought the topic of his contract status into sharp focus.