Thursday, 31 December 2015

The Top 10 PoC Moments of 2015

By Shane Thomas

The world of sport is a space where many great PoC stories can be found. Here's 10 of the best we saw in 2015:

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Jonah Lomu: Rugby Union's Great Decoder

By Shane Thomas

Sunday, 18th June 1995. I am 11 years old.

Having recently become a fan of rugby union, I am sitting on the rug in the front room of my home in Streatham, excitedly awaiting the upcoming World Cup semi-final between New Zealand and England. Despite the All Blacks going into the game as favourites, I was enthused at the prospect of an England victory.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

The Politics Of Sport - The English Football Hero

By Shane Thomas

"I do love his [Jamie Vardy's] story – in 2012 he was playing for Fleetwood Town in the Conference, so far he’s the leading scorer in the Premier League this season... As football itself becomes more and more predictable; as the unraveling of the powers-that-be who have profited from the game at the expense of the game; a story like Vardy’s is great."

"Wait, sorry. I forgot. It doesn’t matter what any footballer does off the pitch as long as he performs on it. How silly of me."

Monday, 9 November 2015

Moeen The Muggins

By Shane Thomas

As England suffered an expected series defeat to Pakistan, one of the many subplots to come from the postmortem was the injudicious selection of Moeen Ali to open the batting alongside Alastair Cook, despite having never played in such a specialist position before. It was a disastrous choice, as Moeen only scored 84 runs in the series, with his batting travails possibly affecting his bowling.

Monday, 12 October 2015

England Need To Leave Their Complacency At Home

By Shane Thomas

In early 2012, the England men's cricket team was in a pretty good place. They soundly beat Australia a year previous to retain the Ashes, and then followed that up by thumping India 4-0 to become the world's best ranked Test side. They had assumed the mantle of the sport's playground bullies, and travelled to the United Arab Emirates to continue in this vein.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

The Diary Of A Pessimistic Arsenal Fan - Winter Is Coming

By Shane Thomas

One would think I've missed the boat for a doleful piece on Arsenal. After all, the time for pessimistic sentiments should have been in the aftermath of their dismal showing in defeat to Olympiacos last Tuesday. Now the bulk of Arsenal's players go into the international break on the back of thumping Manchester United 3-0. All is rosy in the Emirates garden again. What could there possibly be to worry about?

Sunday, 4 October 2015

England's Children Taught Their Harshest Lesson

By Shane Thomas

I imagine it's always a thorny issue for a parent when their child hits a stage of near adulthood. One has to take care not to stifle their path to independence, but must also be cognisant of not giving them so much autonomy that they're not yet ready to handle.

It's a difficult balancing act[1], and is a task that Stuart Lancaster can probably relate too. When he goes through the futile but inevitable process of recounting what went wrong against Australia, and this entire World Cup campaign, he'll wonder if his players were the sporting equivalent of a group of adolescents, unable to be trusted to stay home on their own.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

(A Belated) World Athletics Championships Review

By Shane Thomas

There were many significant stories to come from the World Athletics Championship in Beijing. So, let's have a look at some:

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Creeping Dread

By Shane Thomas

Dread is one of the most ghastly of emotions, due to it being not only debilitating, but persistent. Unlike fury, arrogance, or maybe even jealously, dread lingers. It feels like it has no end in sight. It's like being hunted by a Weeping Angel.

The dread in this case is of the more trivial kind, but still significant enough to worry any athletics fan, as the World Athletics Championships have just begun. The main event of the competition - as is often the case - is the men's 100 metres, with the final taking place on Sunday.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Premier League 2015/16 - The Top Four

By Shane Thomas

Is it me, or does the gap between Premier League seasons feel smaller each year? Regardless, we're back again, so let's have a close look at the probable top 4 come next May:

Saturday, 25 July 2015

The Politics Of Sport - Why Do They Keep Getting Away With It?

By Shane Thomas

The point of a verdict in an inquiry, investigation, or legal proceedings is to act as a full stop. To clear the fog of questions surrounding an issue, remove the anxiety of indecision, and let us breathe because we now know where we stand.

Friday, 17 July 2015

One Last Opponent For Serena To Beat

By Shane Thomas

In The Departed - the movie that finally got Martin Scorcese an Oscar - the first words spoken are from Jack Nicholson's baleful Frank Costello: "I don't want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me", he declares in a racist opening monologue.

You may wonder what any of this has to do with Serena Williams? Well, read on...

Thursday, 16 July 2015

The Women's World Cup - 5 Key Points

By Shane Thomas

At this point, I'd wager those who consider themselves progressive football fans are beginning to forget this summer's Women's World Cup. News of transfer rumours, and scrutinising the upcoming Premier League fixtures are at the forefront of one's mind, while the vicissitudes of the 24 teams in Canada are fading - like the remnants of a fever dream a few hours after waking up. Well, allow me to prolong the fever by enumerating five key take-aways from the tournament:

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The Ashes 2015 Preview

By Shane Thomas

With the probable exception of the Summer Olympics, there's no sporting event I relish more than the Ashes. My dislike of the summer months is tempered by England versus Australia: five Test matches; a true and comprehensive examination of the cricketing strength of the two nations; cricket's oldest rivalry.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Friday, 5 June 2015

The Diary Of A Pessimistic Arsenal Fan - How Good Was Arsenal's Season?

By Shane Thomas

It's part of the post-match ritual of any final. The losing team's fans trudge off, disconsolate. The winning team's fans stay in their seats, vocalising their joy in the form of odes to the heroes of the occasion. For them, and the players, their work is done.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

The Diary Of A Pessimistic Arsenal Fan - Why The FA Cup Needs Arsenal To Lose

By Shane Thomas

This time last year, it was unbearable. The nerves. The anxiety. The knot in my stomach as kick-off drew ever closer. The desperation of ending that trophy drought. And in a manner that was as nerve-shredding as it was circuitous, Arsenal managed it; 2013/14 winners of the FA Cup.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Chelsea's Foundation Of Steel

By Shane Thomas

Remember Jose Mourinho's "little horse" press conference from last season? After beating eventual champions, Manchester City, he claimed his team were ill-equipped to make a challenge for the Premier League. The press understandably lapped up the pithy soundbite, but that wasn't the most significant utterance from the Portugese. "Next season..." he declared - continuing the equine metaphor - "...we can race."

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Floyd Mayweather is The Best in The Business. And That Makes Me Very Sad

By Shane Thomas

So, the firefighter won. We shouldn't be surprised. He always wins. Floyd Mayweather is boxing's surgeon general, and dominated his bout with Manny Pacquiao to bring the questions to an end. There can be no doubting that he's the most accomplished boxer of his era.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Why We Watch Floyd Mayweather - It's All About The One

By Shane Thomas

CONTENT NOTE: This post will contain discussion of domestic abuse.

Sometimes the anticipation of a thing matters more than the thing itself. It's no surprise that a high profile boxing match can capture the imagination like few other things in sport. It's the duel, acted out in front of us; it's Hamlet and Laertes. Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty. Achilles and Hector.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Televised Inspiration Comes At A Price

By Shane Thomas

The two events may seem unrelated, but the loss of the Open Championship on the BBC, and the latest new television deal for the Premier League both underscore what's becoming an increasingly accepted phenomenon; the enisling of televised sport from the British public.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

The FA Cup - Football's American Dream

By Shane Thomas

As the 3rd round of the FA Cup draws to a close, my thoughts have turned to the almost edacious manner of its promotion, especially by the BBC - who regained the broadcast rights from ITV.

The phrase "the magic of the cup" has become a cliche so worn, it represents a pair of jeans that have been in the washing machine so often, that the area around the crotch begins to thin.

Monday, 5 January 2015

The Politics of Sport - Four Gamechangers

By Shane Thomas

The ubiquitous nature of sport gives it a huge breadth of audience in the ongoing struggle for social justice. We saw this recently in America, with the way some athletes used their platform to reassert that #BlackLivesMatter.

Listed below are four British athletes, who could end up as lodestars for their own impact, not just on the sporting arena, but beyond it.