Sunday, October 9, 2011

Johnson's failure is complete

I fear this may well be my last post, so many thanks for your kind messages all.

And it gives me no pleasure whatsoever to say "I told you so", it really doesnt, but, err, I told you so.

I have been beating the same drum ever since MJ was appointed, not through any forensic recruitment process, but by the power of the media and by a governing body at the beginning of its frightening decline to where it is now. Leaderless, ruderless, shambolic and embarrassing. It makes the ECB and FA look like model sporting bodies. There can be no bigger insult when these corrupt charlatans seem better organised than the RFU.

If you have the time, have a quick read at my older rugby related posts. I have always said Johnson should never have got the England coaching job. I laugh at his media cheerleaders now brazenly copying my precise points, some months after I raised them. As ever, the blogs are way, way ahead of the MSM.

Paul Ackford's piece in the paper yesterday was good, but he said nothing I didnt say before the RWC even started. Johnson has been badly, woefully found out. Weak, thoughtless, schizophrenic selection, and a rigid, inflexible gameplan leading to watching an England team some 4 years after he took charge that apeared never to have played with each other. And in some cases (step forward Tuilagi etc.), they hadnt.

I have offered forensic analysis on why these selections were so poor in my previous posts. EVERY one was bang on. Moody injured, Sheridan out, Lawes inexperienced, Youngs massively out of form, Cueto slow, Easter fat... shall I go on?

My point is not to rub this in. I'd love to have been proven wrong if it meant England doing well, but I was extremely confident I would not be. And if this simple blogger can perfectly anticipate the problems Johnson's selections were going to create, how could neither he, on 350k a year, nor his massive support staff not spot it as well? (and frankly those in the MSM).

I will not even touch on the media's handling of the England team in NZ. It was as inevitable as it was disgraceful. But to summarise, the narrative was set well before the RWC started. That is because like me, they knew this England team was crap. And it is very easy to beat a crap team around the head with bogus inflated stories about "dwarf throwing" and having a hug with an old girlfriend.

Our pisspoor footballers are the easy target, because they are universally thick and not very good, so stupid stories around major tournaments are easy to write. But for rugby it is harder - the England rugby team is usually good and editors cant be commissioning daily attack pieces on a winning team. But with this rugby team going down as one of the worst in modern RWC memory, the narrative was set and followed through to the letter by the mandarins in the MSM, like that entirely discredited idiot Mick Cleary in the Telegraph. They'll be plenty more bullshit "analysis" pieces by lame hacks before the month is up on how England's supposed "bad behaviour" was the cause of the team's poor performance, mark my words.

But back to the pitch. A few beers in Queenstown has nothing, NOTHING to do with this lamentable performance.

It is down to the RFU and Johnson being unqualified for the job. 4 years, FOUR YEARS Johnson had to develop a squad worthy of the name. And he sticks with proven liabilities like Easter and Moody. Then he wonders why our penalty count is so huge.

I wont repeat all the other areas where Johnson got it so painfully wrong. Its all there on the record for those of you who have the time and inclination to read. This disgraceful England RWC performance (and the media's reporting of the England side) was as predictable as it was lamentable. And heads must roll as a result.

But what to do?

The RFU needs top to bottom overhaul. Getting Francis Baron (regular readers will know I am a supporter) back is only a sticking plaster for a broken leg. It needs a strong, senior corporate leader. Someone with outstanding commercial credentials, some rugby knowledge, a track record of success, transparency and managing cultural change. Someone to get back respect to what was once the leading governing body in UK sports. Step forward for example Ian Coull, former CEO of SEGRO (or Slough Estates) who would provide the RFU with immediate respect and commercial savvy. I've no idea if he would want the job, but this is the calibre of CEO the RFU must attract.

Next, sadly Rob Andrew has to go. I have never called for his departure before (it was merely the lazy refrain of people who didnt know what he did), but he is now part of the problem, not the solution and he has been hiding too long. He no longer has the respect of the playing group nor clearly management. He is simply part of a failed bureacracy.

Needless to say, Martyn Thomas has to go. Culture comes from the top and Martyn has destroyed the RFU, treating the sport like his own personal play thing, selectively briefing journalists and riding roughshod over good corporate governance. Without Baron to manage him, Thomas has lost all control.

Get the media right. Firstly, the RFU needs to be much more transparent with the rugby writers. They need to be given greater access to senior individuals on a regular basis.

BUT, the relationship with the media needs to be tightened up and formalised. No more adhoc briefings, no more endless fireside chats with players during tournaments (I could write a separate piece on media around tournaments and media going forward for the RFU, but I'll save that). And primarily, the instigation of proper media protocols. The on-going internal sniping and filtering of information has been poisonous. It must stop. And the RFU needs to do a much better job of highlighting its successes - club participation, coaching qualifications, charity work etc etc. The RFY does lots good and all we hear about is how rank Martyn Thomas is.

On the playing side, well clearly Johnson has to go. He must not have his contract renewed. That the media are writing "players stand by Johnson" or worse making stories up like "Johnson gets only partial support" (in the Independent) sadly just shows the depths to which a journo will stoop to get his 750 words. As if a player will bad mouth his coach in public. Christ almighty what planet do journos live on?

No, Johnson's departure will be welcomed by players who clearly were not able to play for him in the way he could get players to play for him when he was actually on the field. We need a new coach, not necessarily a decorated player, but one with a solid coaching pedigree, the respect of the players and a proven club coaching track record. And he MUST BE ENGLISH (I fear the RFU in its current state will ask that idiot Jake White or even worse that former Aussie coach, to do the job). How about Jim Mallander?

They must get rid of that shower of assistant coaches who have ransacked the England team. The Leicester clique who unforgivably have retained their jobs despite this litany of failure. Wells, Smith - they MUST GO. They have brought nothing but failure to the party.

And finally, as I know I have gone on long enough, a new selection committee must be formed. One with a proper remit of watching, assessing, tracking and evaluating players, not by how much they can lift in the gym (though this is clearly important), but by how they play the game. The selection committee would look to identify partnerships (like how about a centre partnership that actually plays in their club positions and was not thrown together in panic a week befotre the start of the RWC). The committee would also ensure it knew the players well off the field. They need to know what makes them tick. Could they hack it at international level, or will they flake out in the first half of a quarter final against a pathetically weak French side? This selection committee would need to report regularly to the England coaching team and the RFU CEO. It is a formal position, not one that can be done over a few beers in the Wandsworth Ship Inn.

None of the above is rocket science is it. But it does not happen now. And I have not even touched on the relationship with the clubs. Maybe there is time for another post...

Hey ho.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Martin Johnson - the chickens are coming home to roost

For Martin Johnson, the end of this world cup cannot come soon enough. For he simply needs to be put out of his misery and England desperately need a new coaching team that has a vague inkling about what it is doing.

The Argentina game was a shambles. A predictable disgrace and the blame can be firmly placed at the foot of Johnson and his useless staff.

As always, let me start by saying Johnson was a great player. Arguably our finest. And a wonderful, inspirational captain. But as I have already said and explained in previous blogs, being a great player does not make you a great coach. Johnson has been badly, badly found out. Heads must toll at the RFU for choosing Johnson. No question they bowed to media pressure and the likes of the morons in the MSM like Stephen Jones, Chris Foy and Mick Cleary.

Johnson had zero, ZERO coaching experience. How on EARTH he was deemed to qualify for the highest coaching role in the land is anyone's guess. But picked he was. And he was given the brief to build a side capable of winning the world cup.

Well I'm sorry, but Johnson has failed miserably. And the Argentina game encapsulates exactly why.

His stated captain, Lewis Moody was not even on the pitch - he was injured, as any follower of the game will know. Moody for all his many strengths, is injury prone and will never, ever last a world cup. He should never have made the squad and making him captain was a foolish error.

Andrew Sheridan has been injured for months. Yet he was picked and EXACTLY as The Chairman predicted (see earlier blogs), he is now on the first flight home. I feel sorry for the bloke. He is clearly a good lad and when firing (which sadly is never enough) is a good player (though again as I have oft stated he will always be found out by technically superior props who do not give away significant strength). Sheridan's departure is a terrible indictmet of Johnson's clueless selection policy. When this commentator can quite clearly accurately predict Sheridan would not last a world cup, how can the man in charge on 350k? He needs to take responsibility for his actions.

The starting winger for the England game was a player who never plays there. One assumes he knows how to play the position, but at London Irish, Armitage playes full back, and very occasionally OC. I know this. Why doesn't Johnson? He picked a player playing out of position.

Our starting openside, arguably the most critical position on the pitch, was a player who does not play there for his club. Haskell playes blindside or No. 8 for Stade. This is simple fact. Yet Johnson, due to his rank attempt at selection, didnt have a specialist openside to call on. Not even Moody is a specialist openside for god's sake. So Johnson has selected a squad in which there is not one specialist openeside flanker. And he still draws his salary?

I have not got the energy to moan about the centre partnership again, but just to remind people, Johnson cobbled this together 2 weeks ago in pure desperation. An ageing slow Tindall asked to play out of position (is there a theme emerging here perchance?) next to a Samoan 20 year old with 20 first class games under his belt.

Is this acceptable to you? This is pre-schoolboy stuff - asking the big lad to play OC in the hope he may scare some of the opposition. Its embarrassing. This is international rugby where opposition players to not scare easily. We need an IC centre who can pass and an OC who has a teeny bit of experience and who preferably doesnt want to play for a different country. Should Tindall get injured, who replaces him? A kiwi reject who is even slower and even less creative. Hape is nowhere near, NOWHERE NEAR international class. Johnson furiously defending the player was really about defending himself wasnt it? Johnson has been badly caught out.

A lot of people keep shouting at the Chairman to come up with solutions - to pick his own team.

"Come on then Mr Chairman - who would you pick?" they scream from behind their keyboards.

But they fundamentally and embarrassingly miss the point. I am not paid 350k a year to do it. I have not been coaching England for 3 years, tasked with finding a suitable combination in the centre to help england achieve something. And its not about what I think. I am criticising Johnson's inept coaching and even worse, strategically redundant selection policy.

Some of the Chairman's readers say it is not Johnson's job to create centres out of nowhere. Of course its not you DOLTS. Johnson's job is to find the right combinations and develop them at the international level, ideally more than 2 weeks ahead of a world cup.

ANY premiership player is capable of playing international rugby. This is a simple fact. Johnson's job is to find the right combination - one which works together, players who complement each other. I can't say who they are at the moment, can I? I have not ben tasked for 3 years with finding this combination. Johnson should have done this 2 years ago. But he didnt. He ended up panicking due to his own incompetence and picking a player out of position and a 20 year old Samoan.

I have used cricket as a good example of a proper selection strategy. The cricket selectors are now getting the consistency needed for international selection. Some england payers have dodgy county records. But the selectors see through bare statistics to find combinations that work. Its a science. Johnson just thought he could roll up and look menacing and suddenly England would win a game. Well its a bit more complciated isnt Mart? His arrogance offends me. He should never have taken the job and he is being found out. But he couldnt turn down the wage could he? I dont blame him.

How about the second rows? Lawes is a youth. His losing his head v Argentina was predictable - again I blame Johnson. Second rows need real depth of experience. An ability to read the game and take the right action at the right time. They dont need to be kneeing players on the head. They also, I would argue, need to be sure of their place in their club side. Louis Deacon? Please.

I'd like to see a winger who is fast. Call me old fashioned but that is my first requirement for a wing. It seems to work well for every other country. By picking Cueto and leaving Simpson Daniel, Sharples, Benjamin and former bloody Lion Monye at home shows the rank incompetence of the man. Watching Cueto play, having to cut inside every time is frankly dispiriting.

I like my SHs to be able to pass without taking 2 steps. Johnson appears not to mind, so he picked Care.

I like my back rows to be fit. So he picked Nick Easter, who isnt, unless it escaped your notice.

The Argentina game was an embarrassmsnt. The Argies are not the team they were 4 years ago and are missing some of their best players, while others are clearly ageing. Yet time and time again, England were slow to the breakdown, gave away silly penalties, offered NOTHING in the backs and nothing going forward. They were confused, slow, a rabble. They looked like they had just been put together, which given Johnons haphazard selection policy, they basically had.

It is too painful to watch. Of course England will beat Romania, Georgia and Scotland. Its not hard is it. Even this England shambles will get past these minnows. But come the knock out rounds and England's total ineptitude under this god-awful coach will be fully exposed.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Some thoughts on New Zealand and the World Cup

I have long given the kiwis grief. Which is odd really. I love the country. I have many kiwi mates. A beautiful place with, in the main, friendly people. A country which punches above its weight and which despite its youth (my house is many many years older than New Zealand) deservedly has real national pride.


I cannot stand their arrogant attitude to rugby. Their sense of entitlement. The ridiculous posturing of their players and the rank and hateful attitude of their rugby fans. Their picking and choosing of pacific island players but offering no support in return.

Ask any former pro where they hate touring most and it will be New Zealand, for the relentless hostile attitude towards the mother country and the myopic rugby fans littering the otherwise deserted country. Their ability to apparently cheat at will with offsides and forward passes and a desire to win at all costs which clearly affects the integrity of the game in New Zealand and its officials. Yes, I am saying New Zealand officials cheat (step forward the hateful, belongs in jail Steve Walsh).

Mostly, I can never, EVER forgive the whole kiwi attitde towards the Lions and the quite deliberate taking out of BOD by that hired goon Tana Umaga. The most hateful incident in the history of the game. In fact, just thinking of that game now and the whole tour, gives me heart palpitations. The kiwis need the Lions more than the Lions need the kiwis. But the Lions were faced with hate, aggression and bare faced foul play at every turn. The whole tour was a disgrace for which New Zealand rugby will forever be held in my contempt.

And I have not even started on the bloody "haka" yet.

I simply dont have the energy to write about it. It has already been all over the bloody UK press. We cant get away from it. This grotesque macabre dance, with less cultutral credibility than a Morris Dance. A sponsored choreographed insult to both the teams which are forced, yes forced by IRB regulations to stand and watch 20 grown men shout and spit in their faces, and to the culture it claims to represent.

The pure spine tingling arrogance of the kiwis who insist on the opposing team standing there compliant while they are screamed at and dont let them do anything in return, lest they sulk and go and do the pointless dance in the underground carpark of the stadium, to a blank wall, thereby rendering the entire thing even more pointless than it was before.

The haka is an abomination. A fully paid up creation of the Addidas brand. Souped up by Wayne Shelford and refined further by McCaw, a second generation kiwi with as much Maori blood as me. Laced in bogus myth and politically corect Maori mumbo jumbo, the haka is an irrelevant insult to the history of New Zealand. And the morons like the monosyllabic Nonu, seeking to find insult in even the most benign of responses to the haka personify the problem.

The kiwis have been given a sense of entitlement in the game that no other team in no other sport can match. And the haka is the worst of it. This nonsense that it is part of the game is patently untrue. Its only been around in its current form for a matter of years. Check youtube for how it used to look before Shelford go hold of it. Its not traditional. Its a waste of time. A tourist trap gone global. When Brian Moore writes he enjoyed the "challenge" or whatever crap he comes up with, he writes it out of fear of offending. How can anyone enjoy being shouted at? Its farcial. It makes Rugby look like a joke.

"Ah yes Chairman, but its all part of the theatre of sport"

No its not. If rugby has to rely on a bunch of preening buffoons like Piri Weepu screaming for 5 minutes while his colleagues kneel down holding their forearm (bizarre) before the start of an international match, then the game really is in trouble. Frankly we should just knock it on the head.

"well its standard in schools - they do it before all school matches and everything Chairman"

This is also a lie. Hakas have been introduced at school level in the past 5 years. It was never done before it became this giant it has become under the current Kiwi leadership. A combination of superb marketing and the overwhelming political correctness of the kiwis, hand wringing and desperate not to offend. Can you imagine anything more ridiculous? Watching pre-pubescent kiddies doing a haka before a game of football? This is what happens now, all in the name of political correctness.

"well opposing teams need to face the challenge"

What drivel. Sing your anthem and kick off. Play rugby. Dont waste my time having to watch grown men prance about doing throat slit gestures or sticking out their tongues like a gurning 1980s clubber. Its not a challenge. Its a one way street, as demanded by the kiwis. Do as they say, or they'll run off and sulk.

And yet. And yet...

Despite all this, I can safely say the kiwis will win the world cup and they damn well deserve to. They are the best team by MILES. As the every excellent Brendan Gallagher in the Telegraph today reports, there are 45 kiwi players in the world cup, NOT in the NZ side. That is incredible for a nation of over 4 million people. About the same population as that cesspit of hate, Birmingham.

The kiwis are frighteningly good. They (and I simply do not undersand how this is the case) are bigger, stronger, faster, fitter than every other country. How do they do this? How do they consistently produce this extraordinary convyer belt of outrageous talent? I've been to NZ many times. Auckland is deserted. There is no one there. A few teeny tiny Chinese students learning English. Where on earth do all the rugby players live?

This is a tiny country, which has proved to be the best team in the game every year. A combination of bad luck and poor decision making has cost them the last 4 world cups, but it wont happen again. I dont buy this whole "chokers" tag which the Aussies have unwisely attached to them (by the bloody sports minister no less!). They are just too good. And much as I am already dreading the final, when we are sure to see hundreds of maori folk in fancy dress prancing round the pitch doing hakas, the kiwis will deserve to win this tournament and I will offer them my congratulations.

Monday, August 29, 2011

GB Athletics - Heads simply must roll

Halfway through the world championships, and what a thoroughly disgraceful performance by the lamentable british contingent.

There is a cultural problem with GB athletes, which for me at least, is symptomatic (and symbolic) of a much wider british cultural malaise. The performances of the British athletes at these championships has been an utter disgrace. They should have funding pulled and given to those who do give a monkeys.

Let me start with that lanky weed Martyn Rooney. This is the idiot who refuses to take off those ridiculous shades every time he runs, no matter how stupid it makes him look. A runner who at his best is good at European level and can get under 45 seconds. Well last night, he jogged over the line in over 46. He GAVE UP. That is club level. It is a disgrace he is paid for this dirge. He was flown, at MY expense to Korea only to serve up that. A shambolic, careless performance. Cut him.

But this is really just scratching the surface. Poor old Dwain Chambers falls victim to the ridiculous one strike and you are out rule. Lisa Dobriskey fails dismally. Mo Farah, for whom I have a lot of time as he has clearly improved dramatically in the past year, sadly showed why he will never, ever win a global gold medal. There will always, always, be someone with a faster kick than him.

I can go on. The utterly ridiculous Christine Ohurougu. Save us the waterworks Christine. You are a disgrace. That false start was pathetic, and possibly planned. Ohurougu's 2007-8 performances are starting to look very, very shady indeed. She cannot now even break 53 seconds. She has no place on an international running track. I am sick of the sight of her frankly, dragging her heavy legs around the track and almost coming to a standstill at 350 metres. Jesus - I assume she manages to complete the odd 400m in training? There is always, always an excuse. Some random "injury" or other. She should be put out to graze as there is no way, NO WAY, she will get into an Olympic final. Cut her.

Its not that these athletes do not win gold medals. That really would be harsh. Its that they have failed to get even close to their PBs. At a major championship, there is simply no excuse for that. These people should go out and get a proper job and stop scrounging off the national lottery. If they are unable to show improvement or potential, then why should they receive funding of any sort? The list of national lottery scroungers in the GB team is vast, and captained by Ohurougu.

Marlon Devonsih will never, ever be able to reach a world final. He is not even close to breaking 10 seconds. So get rid of him. Holly Bleasdale didnt even record a height in the pole vault. And then we have Lee Connell, that weirdo Scotch woman, who lollops around the track like a shire horse. Sorry, but she is plain rubbish.

Like so many of the ageing GB team, she is going through the motions. Enjoying the life of the athlete, with foreign training camps, glamorous venues and the fact they dont need to go to an office every day, but failing to meet their side of the bargain - improve. Connell is using her funding as a get out clause from real life and it simply must stop. We all know, she will never, ever make a global final. In fact, Connell wont even make a euro/commonwealth final. Yet there she is in a GB tracksuit having a wail of a time and no doubt looking forward to getting pissed in the Olympic village next year.

GB athletics needs a top to bottom overhaul. The huge acerage of deadwood needs to be chopped, so funding and training facilities can be focused on those with the will and talent not to abuse it. Step forward the wonderful Jessica Ennis.

An absolute disgrace.

UPDATE: Oh no. Now Ennis has caught the bug. A shambolic performance in the javelin. I am crushed.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A farcical England Rugby squad

So Johnson has finally selected his squad. Regular readers will know my general thoughts on the quality, or lack thereof, in this dismal squad. It is laughably bad. The worst world cup squad in living memory. A squad devoid of a basic backbone, of speed, of flair, creativity and one creaking at the seams due to patently unready members. For all this, I blame Martin Johnson, who is now sinking into the mire of his own arrogance and incompetence.

Before I attract the ire of too many readers, I have no personal axe to grind with the man. What a wonderful player he was, but the qualities he brought as a player are simply not translating into the coaching world. Of course we know he was patently unqualified for the job and was ultimately selected by the media while the RFU itself was disintegrating.

Johnson's qualities as a player were a single-mindedness, refusal to compromise, a one track approach to the game.

It is precisely these same qualities that has lead him to get himself into the shithole he now finds himself. A refusal to compromise has lead him to sticking with the beyond useless Hape and Tindall. The same single mindedness means he picks liablities like Moody and Sheridan. And his one track approach to the game means no place for true high quality players like Simpson Daniel.

His strengths as a player are his weaknesses as a coach. It is as simple as that.

A fit and firing Youngs, Moody and Sheridan will of course get into the England first team. But they are not fit. As sure as night follows day, Moody will get injured in the first game and will be fit again if England make the semis. Sheridan, as I have oft stated, the most delicate man mountain in the world game will never, ever last a world cup, let alone a full game.

But Youngs' selection is even more disgraceful. The bloke has not played a minutes' rugby in months. He is recovering from shoulder surgery. His form dropped dramatically before he was operated on. And for this, he makes the England team? Johnson needs his head examined. It is a disgrace that Youngs has been selected for the RWC squad in his current state.

The squad is full of players picked on hope. MJ hopes Moody will be fit. He hopes Youngs will recover. He hopes that yob Tuilagi (it sticks in my throat to see him playing for England) will suddenly develop into a world class centre at the age of 20, one season in to his premiership career. He hopes, somehow that Hape/Tindall will be able to strong more than one pass together and Cueto may find his way to the line.

This reliance on hope shows Johnson has failed. He has failed to develop a squad worth the name. He has failed to pick the right players and failed to find a midfield capable of finding the tryline.

This litancy of failure is sadly symbolic of the decline of rugby lead by its spineless governing body. The sooner we have a clear out in the post world cup inevitable disaster, the better.

I am dreading the Ireland game.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Shanaze Reade wins a race!

So, a week or so after finding yet more excuses for failing to win a race, despite being the most lavishly funded female bike rider in the world ("err, my pedal slipped"), the ever lovely "Shanaze" Reade has actually won a race - the Olympic test event in London. Well done Shazza.

She then has the temerity to moan about the track. As usual, our Shaz appears to have forgotten her manners, innit.

But honestly. BMX? BMX? Is this a joke. If I wanted to watch a bunch of tattooed/teenage yobbos ride their push bikes round a field or up a small hill, I'd go to any council estate in our hellhole country. That BMX is deemed an Olympic sport, while a game such as squash is not, is not just absurd and ridiculous, it is offensive.

And as for Shanaze, I am sick of the site of her. She is pathetic. She falls apart at the first sign of pressure and competition. There is no way she will win gold in the Olympics, if she even manages to reach the final of this ridiculous sport, where if you are first going into the first corner you win. Every single time (go on, watch it). Its scandalous she gets the exposure she does, for being a serial under achiever in a ludicrous "sport", while proper sportsmen (like squash players for example, or kayakers etc.) scrabble around trying to get sponsorship.

What a farce.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Chairman knows best VI

I hate to say it, but 2 days after the Chairman's diatride over the disintegration of English society, yobbos smashed various city centres to smithereens making off with a nice plasma TV. A few days after my rant at the rancid quality of England rugby, they were thoroughly humiliated by a very, very mediocre Welsh team. Admittedly, my call on Stuart Broad has goen badly wrong, but this does not change the fact that...

the Chairman knows best.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Martin Johnson is hopeless

Time for some plain speaking. English rugby is a farce. And Martin Johnson simply must be held accountable. Not for all of it mind. That lies at the foot of the hateful Premiership Rugby, the governing body of the premier league and its vain self interest, and the rudderless RFU, which Chairman regular readers will know all about.

MJ's remit is the England team. And he has pointedly failed since his entirely bogus appointment. Make no mistake, Johnson was hired not by the RFU, but by the media. And now for the media the chickens are coming home to roost. MJ had no qualifications whatsover to be appointed coach of England. NONE. Apart from being a world cup winner and having a "brooding presence" or whatever tired cliche the hacks choose to use on any given day. Since he has come in, England have regressed. They are a worse side than the one he inherited. This is simple fact that no amount of comments like "ooh, Toby Flood is a great fly half and controls the game" changes.

As I have oft stated, I do have a certain amount of sympathy. Rugby as a game in England is swimming against the tide. The tide of relentles health & safety dogma, pikey lazy scared parents who don't want little jimmy (or whatever ghastly monicker the hopeless child has been lumped with) hurting himself (but are quite prepared to watch him loot the local JD Sports no doubt) and a vacuous crippled generation of cowardly layabouts who are too chicken shit to play a contact sport. Meaning the pool of players goes down all the time. Again, simple fact.

The Premiership Rugby (like the FA) is complicit in the destruction of the game. PRL cares noting for the national game, spitting into the face of the RFU which has done all it can to provide a basis for national achievement. Like football, rugby now suffers from an ever dwindling England qualified player base as the country is flooded with cheap foreign imports (where have we heard that before!) and tight budgets mean no youth player development worth the name.

But none of this, NONE of this, excuses that lamentable performance against Wales.

Wales! This is a country with even more problems than England. A bloated tired pointless nation state, addicted to its neighbours forever generous teet. And all England gets in return is hate. A simple thank you would suffice welshies, rather than the oh so predictable false fury and rage which seems to great any England team playing there.

But we should thank Wales who thoroughly deserved to beat their much bigger, better funded neighbours. England were shown up by what they are: a team with no verve, no skills, no ability to score tries whatsoever. Just imagine, IMAGINE, if England were playing those humourless kiwis... A massacre is far too polite a word. It would be total capitulation.

And Johnson MUST be held accountable. All this drivel in the media about his "silence" after the game as if that was supposed to magically make Hape have a slightly more convincing case to be playing international rugby union, or excuses Cueto from being in the national side. Its laughable. This isnt Leicester in 1995, when a few angry words from Johnson might have mobilised a couple of players. These are highly rewarded professional athletes and they are being lead by a donkey.

But if you can indulge me for 5 minutes, I would like to be a bit more forensic about the performance and the players. I should note that nothing I say below is unusual and its nothing personal (apart from with Armitage, who is a well known cock of the highest order). The chat boards on the Telegraph website are all in total agreement. Yet, the one person who matters is watching not just a different game, but it seems a different sport.

In no particular order, I would like to kick off with Danny Care. This bloke is by some distance the worst SH I have ever seen in and England shirt, possibly ever. I am shaking my head in disbelief just thinking about it. He is diabolical. His pass is slow and weak. He cannot pass without taking 2 steps first (this used to be coached out of a SH at the age of 7). He single handedly slows down an entire game by waiting for forwards to arrive, looking around before deciding what to do. Care is the fulcrum for this pathetic England team. Why is he not told to work QUICK ball? Why does he think that it is a good idea to wait to release the ball to let the opposition defence organise? This is pre-schoolboy stuff. Its no good moaning about Stephen Jones on twitter Danny Boy. You are key to the problem. What chance does Flood or Hape have playing outside you? By the time the ball arrives the opposition could have played a game of chess.

Flood? Flood? Is this really the best England can produce at FH? It simply beggars belief. He still looks like the schoolboy who has got lost and suddenly found himslef playing international rugby. How did this happen? Physcally he is tiny. He is remarkably slow for a small lad. His kicking from hand abysmal at this level and his place kicking average at best. His distribution slow and without vision. His tackling weak. He is as far away from test standard rugby as Arwel Thomas was all those years ago. And at least he was quick. Flood's selection is as damning indictment of the quality of English rugby as anything else I can think of.

"Hape". I dont want to focus on his nationality but I have to. He is not English. He is a kiwi. Complete with comedy kiwi accent and comedy kiwi tattoos. He is a mercenary. Rugby is about pride and passion (and courage). Hape has none of those things. He openly wears his kiwi identity as some perverse badge of honour. This is a bloke not good enough to play union in NZ. Yet he now lines up with the red rose on his chest? His presence offends me. When he faces the ridiculous dance the kiwis do, what will he be thinking? It's lamentable. But not as lamentable as his rugby. Big and strong? Certainly. But slow. He has nothing, NOTHING going forward. This was equally true at Bath as well. His selection is entirely without merit. Its no good MJ sticking up for him and coming out with cryptic bullshit like "he does things you dont see". This is inexcusable. Hape has no place on an international rugby field. How can MJ be the only one on the western hemisphere who seems not to notice this? With Hape at IC, england will be starved of scoring opportunities. This is not a matter of opinion. This is a statement of fact.

Tindall? I mean honestly. How on earth is he still playing international rugby? I refuse to believe his heart is in it any more to be honest, now he's bagged a bloody priness. Money worries over for Mike. He needs some cash he can pop off to Hello magazine and flog some pics of their beastly future sprog. After all, he tried to sell the wedding pics didnt he (I give it 3 years).

Tindally seems, amazingly, to be dining off his 2001-3 performances. Which let us not forget, came while he played outside a certain Will Greenwood, who did know how to play. Just as most the useless bone idle pikey England football players seem good playing for their ghastly clubs alongside really talent imports, so Tindall looked good alongside Greenwood. Now outside Hape, Tindall is utterly exposed as an ageing, slow lump with truly terrible hands. If the ball magically reaches Tindall after the age it takes to get from Care, Flood and Hape, then the move will almost certainly come to an end.

But he might have to pass to Mark Cueto... honestly. How on earth is he still in the side. He cant believe it himself can he? There was much written about that lean scoring patch he found himself in while Ashton was scoring for fun at club and international level. Yet no one seemed to ask the obvious question. Why is Ashton scoring tries while Cueto isnt? All sort of excuses were found for him and Cueto himself remained bullish. But it was all nonsense. He didnt score tries becasue he is far far too slow for a wing and isnt very good. Its not rocket science is it. The stats are revealing. Why did MJ not stop for a moment and think: "hmm, maybe Cueto just isnt very good". It is simply not good enough. Johnson is like a rabbit in the headlights.

I regret the same can be said of Bannahan. A big guy, but size is not enough at the highest level. Bannahan has been repeatedly exposed at the top level. He should go back to club rugby and bully the smaller chaps there. I like him. I like the obvious pride he takes in representing his country and his pride in his pilot grandfather. But I am fierecely proud of my grandfather who fought in WWII and I dont pretend I should be selected (though the Chairman is available for selection).

Much is made of Foden, but he really does fancy himself a bit doesn't he with that ridiculous pop star girlfriend, tight t-shirts and poxy youtube videos. Does'nt he wear jackets with the sleeves rolled up for god's sake? But as to his rugby, the boy is nowhere near, nowhere NEAR as good as he thinks he is and he is nowhere near as good as the idiots in the MSM claim he is. He's ok.

But before the ball gets to the backs, it has to get out the back of the scrum. And to do this, it needs to filter through the fat legs of Nick Easter. Now, I like Nick Easter and I hear from very well placed sources he is a good bloke. But being a good bloke does not make him a good rugby player. Otherwise the Chairman would be on his 100th cap by now. Like Flood, Easter's selection is damning indictment of the quality of England number 8s. Isn't it just depressing? Look back at history. Richards, Teague, Dallaglio etc. Easter would not get a look in. Easter is a relic of the amateur age. He is out of shape. How this has passed the highly paid fitness bods at Pennyhill Park I do not know, but looking at him in a tight England jersey is a disgrace. He is carrying weight. Compare him to the back rows of any major rugby power and it becomes embarrassing. Easter is fat, slow and his attitude is, shall we say, on the lax side. I want my number 8 to be an enforcer. If the kiwi back row comes out fists flying, Easter will be on the other side of the pitch, mark my words. He's as hard as a jelly. As an aside (and not that I endorse teh tedious punch throwing of the saffas and Argies), when did you last see Easter get into a scrap?

Now. In Cole, Thompson and Sheridan, England have an acceptable front row. But they don't do they (go with me here)? For despite his size and obvious strength (though he was taken apart by Hayman), Sheridan appears to be as delicate as a little teeny bird. He gets injured at the drop of a hat. And then when he gets injured (say, he cuts his toe nail), he then seems to get some life threatening disease. Never have a I seen such a man mountain with such a delicate proposition. The simple truth is Sheridan will never, ever last an entire world cup, as he will get injured. There is no doubt about this. So why select him? Corbisiero is ok, but hardly in the mould of classic frightening england front rowers. Hartley flatters to deceive. Louis Deacon has been around for years and is nothing more than a club player. Lawes is young and desperately over rated. Tom Wood was badly found out again.

I have run out of energy now.

Its all very well trying to find excuses for MJ. I have read a few. But player selection is HIS job. And he was pointedly failed to find an England midfield which is even club level. While he continues to pick old, slow players in the backs and out of shape players in the forwards. This is simply unnacceptable. I find it offensive having to watch Easter huff and puff around the field, and watch Cueto cut inside as he has no pace.

It personally offends me to watch the desperate quality Englans rugby has been reduced to. And I place much of the blame at the foot of MJ.

To make matters worse, after yet another disgraceful performance, what does MJ and his squad do? Bugger off for a week's holiday. Yep, that is sure to help the backline strong more than 2 passes together.

The whole thing is truly depressing. Almost as depressing as the fact Stuart Broad thinks he is a world beater having bounced out a few bored Indians.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

New Zealand rugby - an apology of sorts

New Zealand is in many ways a wonderful country. Majestic countryside and a tough, resilient, proud people. But their attitude to their national game really does it no favours.

Let's take a quick look at the NRU.

The New Zealand Rugby Union is a truly hateful governing body. A body so self obsessed, so utterly addicted to providing its own national team with every advantage its own actions have resulted in deliberate destruction of the game on its tiny powerless neighbouring islands which have provided so many of its best players.

Let us make no mistake. The Kiwi rugby union is so myopic, biased, relentlessly self interested it makes the worst premiership football clubs look like charitable youth development trusts. Despite what many might argue is its reponsibilities to its small neighbours, the last thing the NRU wants is a successful pacific islands game. Because should that happen, then the lure of the "All Blacks" (the first and last time I use that riciculous moniker which frankly I find offensive Ma'a Nonu you gormless buffoon) will fall dramatically, and suddenly the likes of Joe Rocokoko might not want to represent the country which pillages the best island players for its own personal use.

The NRU has actively worked to suppress the island game. It has stolen players, with the lure of a private education and a poxy house for his family. It refuses to play internationals on the islands. It has done NOTHING to advance the game in the pacific islands. Christ, England has done more than the useless selfish kiwis.

And lets not even get started on the humourless way they play the game and their utter lack of grace in victory or defeat. The chest thumping arrogance which makes the French seem decidedly modest. And I simply dont have the room to start on the most absurd element of kiwi rugbty, the haka. A ritual so fake, so inane, so steeped in bogus heritage and false propaganda, so utterly ridiculous I struggle to watch it now without bursting into laughter. I just wish they would do it in the underground carpark every game.

No. My post today (and there will be more on the "haka" and the humourless kiwis as the RWC approaches) is to apologise. For while we all know the have plucked the best pacific islanders to play rugby for NZ for years and years, it seems the current squad are all fair dinkum kiwis. Let's look where they were born shall we?

Mils Muliaina, Salesi, Western Samoa
Cory Jane, Wellington NZ
Conrad Smith, Taranaki NZ
Ma'a Nonu, Wellington NZ
Zac Guildford, Greytown NZ
Dan Carter, Southbridge NZ
Jimmy Cowan, Gore NZ
Wyatt Crockett, Christchurch NZ
Andrew Hore, Dunedin NZ
Ben Franks, Melbourne Aus
Sam Whitelock, Palmerston North
Ali Williams, Auckland NZ
Jerome Kaino, Tutuila American Somoa
Richie McCaw (capt), Oamaru NZ
Adam Thomson, Christchurch NZ
Corey Flynn, Invercargill NZ
John Afoa, Auckland NZ
Jarrad Hoeata, Tauranga NZ
Liam Messam, Blenheim NZ
Piri Weepu, Lower Hutt NZ
Colin Slade, Christchurch NZ
Sonny Bill Williams, Auckland NZ
Sitiveni Sivivatu, Suva Fiji

So really its just Muliaina, Sivivatu and Kaino. Given the fact most the England squad are either South Africans on their gap year or kiwis who were not good enough to get a club game in their home country, this is pretty good.

So well done New Zealand. You have actually managed to put out a side which comes from New Zealand. I shall not criticise them on this basis again.

This does not change the fact The Chairman will support anyone, ANYONE against New Zealand. I was far happier when France beat NZ in the QF of the last world cup than when England beat the Aussies. No team in the world, even the ghastly Aussie cricket sides under Waugh and Ponting wind me up as much as the New Zealand rugby team. The unique combination of the sanctimony, charmlessness, arrogance and total humourlessness (is that a word?) of ths team is a global marvel.

Given the fact England are so bad its amusing, I shall wear my gold jersey with pride should the Aussies reach the final. Go Australia! Who'd have thunk I'd ever say that hey?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Manu Tuilagi, and the deeply depressing England rugby squad

Just musing on the likely starting XV at the RWC in a couple of months, it struck me what a dire state the game finds itself in in England at the moment. The quality of the squad is simply lamentable. All this talk of "bolters" and the ridiculous Tuilagi, inter alia, is a smokescreen for the raw truth: England rugby has gone backwards by some distance since 2003. Clearly the RFU shambles is not ideal, but this does not explain the decay in the game.

For the Chairman at least, it is symbolic of the decay of our once great nation, which is now a sorry, self loathing, lazy, feeble, embarrassing, weak, pathetic excuse for a nation state. A country full of bone idle dole scroungers and those with no right whatsoever to be living there. A country seemingly ashamed of its past and with no pride in its future. A failed country, run by failed leaders, with failed agendas.

Which brings me to Tuilagi. This bloke is a Samoan. He is as English as I am Fijian. I have nothing against him due to his nationality, but let's not pretend he is anything other than a Samoan shall we?. Lest we forget, he should not even be in the country at all, but a few strings were pulled and he merrily stays - a classic example of the utter shambles our borders have become. But how grateful is Tuilagi for our accommodation? It appears he is not in the least bit thankful to his adoptive nation. Why, just 6 weeks ago, off he pops to get a ghastly sleeve tattoo, to "celebrate his Samaoness".

Again, I have no problem with this, but why the hell is he representing England? Play for Samoa you yob, not England. If you are so proud of your heritage, great. But don’t insult us by having a Samoan flag on your arm, then put on the red rose of England and pretend you care about representing the country. Why has Johnson (who is become increasingly ridiculous himself) selecting this idiot? His assault, for that is what it was, on Chris Ashton was all you need to know about this violent pest. I want him nowhere near the England side thank you very much. There are plenty of fine outside centres in England who might actually give a flying rod about representing the country, rather than have it almost literally spat back in our face.

James Simpson Daniel for example. By some very clear distance the best back in England. Not just by a bit. By some clear distance. Quick, great hands, vision, eye for the line, perfectly acceptable in defence. And English. But no. Johnson drops him and selects this Tuilagi, and lest we forget, a bloke who could not even get a club game in New Zealand (or France for that matter), "Ricky" Flutey. Flutey isn’t English. He's a kiwi.

And so is the absurdly monikered "Shonatayne Hape". He's also a kiwi, with a comedy kiwi accent "good as gold eh sweet as bro I just want to smish them eh" etc and the standard comedy kiwi tattoos. Botha? Have you seen this bloke? He is a humourless saffa on a gap year living in a bedsit in Ealing Broadway isn’t he? How the hell did this bloke end up starting a test for England? He clearly cannot believe it himself can he? He walks around Pennyhill Park wondering what the hell happened. He only came to England to work in a pub in Earl’s Court and now he is running out at rugby HQ. I am at a loss for words at this point. Botha? hahaha. It is a DISGRACE he has been picked ahead of the multitude of hard working premiership players. A DISGRACE. And he is not even bloody english.

You thought the list stopped there didn’t you? How about Fourie? Stevens?I am sick of it. These players are not english and should not be representing our country.

I know some of my Aussie readership may remind the Chairman of the England cricket side. “Ah, but Chairman, the cricket side is full of south Africans”. Well this does not exercise me in the same way. KP, as I have often been on record saying, is English, whatever the bitter cricket writers in the Daily Telegraph may think. His mum is from Lancashire and only moved to SA after she got married. KP moved to England when he was 19. Strauss was born in SA to English parents. Prior spent about 20 minutes in SA as a young child. Let's all just calm down shall we? Or I might bring up the Aussie athletics or tennis teams. [NB. I don't defend the selection of Trott. The bloke is a sociopath and not English.]

For the record, I will not support England if Johnson selects any of the above mentioned players. It is beyond the pale. They can lose to anyone for all I care, if I have to watch Tuilagi pretend to know the words to God Save The Queen. (Does he? Let's watch tomorrow).

With the above in mind, here is my XV:

1. Cole
2. Hartley
3. Sheridan (assuming he can actually walk and hasn’t grazed his ear)
4. Laws
5. Palmer
6. Croft
7. Moody (c)
8. Easter
9. Youngs
10. Wilko
11. Monye
12. Tindall (how lame we are still picking this bloke? But I WILL NOT HAVE Flutey or "Happy" in my team.
13. Armitage (yes, at outside centre)
14. Ashton
15. Foden

Am I happy with this team? No, I am not. It’s useless. Weakness in every position. No enforcer. No skills in the centres. A glaring weakness at loosehead as Sheridan gets injured at the drop of the hat. Croft’s form is ludicrous. Moody is not a cleanskin openside. Monye is positionally naive. Foden is a bit of a cock, while Ashton steals hubcaps. Easter is not a serious rugby player. Tindall is old and slow. Armitage is not a specialist OC.

It's all very embarrassing frankly. I have been dreading this RWC for 4 years. Those pesky kiwis, ("oooh, England wearing black shirt disrespects our heritage etc etc" YAWN), who seem to find “disrespect” at the drop of a hat, will walk it. And good luck to them. I am sure they will celebrate it in the same joyless manner they celebrate their annual winning of the tri nations.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Vicky Pendleton knuckles down...

The ever lovely Vicky is one of the Chairman's most frequently mentioned athletes.

I admire her ability and the fact of course she has won Olympic Gold. I also like that fact she clearly winds up that simply ghastly "big boned" Aussie Anna Meares.

Indeed, while I am on Meares, the woman is borderline insane. Never in my life have I seen any sportsperson so utterly obsessed with one competitor. Vicky can take or leave Meares. Clearly she is not impressed with her. She does after all appear to be an entirely bitter, one dimensional buffoon. And what I also suspect bothers Vicky is that Meares appears to spend every waking moment, and no doubt in her sleep too, thinking, talking, obsessing about our Vicky. It is bizarre. And unsettling for Vicky, who seems a peaceful, unconfrontational soul.

Go on, check yourself. Meares has not done one interview, NOT ONE, without talking about Vicky. Just yesteday she was on the box again, talking about how pleased she was she "got one over Victoria Pendelton". She said this before the fact she also won a world championship gold. It is truly bizarre and does go some way to explaining why Vicky seems to give Meares a wide berth.

But... as regulae readers will know, it is my view that Vicky has rather taken her eye off the ball. She is a classic case of the British athelete getting gold at the Olympics (not that that is a long list of course) and then watching her career go downhill for the next 3 years.

I lie awake wondering why this is. It happens so often. Olympic Gold (hooray) and British athletes just seem to forget entirely what got them there and fall into the hateful trap of lame D-list english celerbity. It smacks of a culture of defeat and a lack of expectation. It enfuriates me. Why is it only England that suffers this? When an Aussie wins gold, it seems to motivate them more (though to be fair, Steph Rice, bless her, is a classic exception to the rule) In England, it is licence to get pissed for 3 years.

Well Vicky made a lame stab at carrying on, but she has fallen well down the pecking order, even within the British team. Meares clearly has her number while isnt there some vast Chinese girl who now beats her too?

Vicky, like so many before her, did a few FHM shoots (why cant Jessica Eniss do one hey? Come on FHM, get that chequebook out), flogged some cereal or other and just larked about, wasting her talent and the huge funding from the lottery and Sky she is still taking. I have long offered her my advice - get dowh the gym love and start working again.

Well today, in an interview in the Daily Failygraph, she did just that. She has now stated she is going off radar for a year to get herself into shape.

I am thrilled by this, not because I think she will win gold. I don't. The Aussies are going to win every cycling gold as I have already predicted, purely to annoy the host country at the Olympics, but at least if gives Vicky a fighting chance of beating Meares once more.

And if truth be told, of every single event at the Olympics, save for perhaps the British rowing 4 beating those pesky kiwis, there is no other event I will be watching more closely. Should Vicky beat Meares in the Olympics, I will be happy, even if that is the only gold we win.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Stuart Broad, KP and the idiocy of the MSM

Just over a week ago, the MSM had finally caught up with the Chairman. Clearly Stuart Broad, that tall, lanky blonde beanpole young shaver-me-lad, as popular with the ladies as he is with opening batsmen, was not up to test cricket.

Or any cricket for that matter, but I'll come on to that.

And now, one good game later, Broad is suddenly world class? God, its just laughable. He has one good game against a bunch of bored, under-prepared Indians and he is a world beater? If it was not so offensive it would be laughable.

Becasue make no mistake. Broad's selection for England in 2007 was a national scandal. And his continued presence in the test side is a constant thorn in the Chairman's side.

I have nothing personal against the boy, though I admit I don't warm to him. Apart from when he squared up to that ghastly bogan sleeve tattooed yob "Mitchell" Johnson for which he deserves praise (don't you just wish that moron would disappear?), Broad's conduct on the cricket field is simply unnacceptable. His poxy snarling, while not in the Johnson mould of total ineptitude, is lame. His habit of appealing while running backwards towards the batsman is plain rude and his habit of scuffing the ground if a decision does not go his way, just plain adolescent.

Broad was selected by an inept ECB selection committee on the back of 4 good T20 games for Notts. This, lest we forget, is the same selection panel who thought Darren Pattinson should open the bowling for the test side, and who thought Tredwell was a test player. He was selected, because the panel "liked the look of him".

Well I like the look of Jessica Ennis, but that does not mean I want her taking the new ball at Headingly. Broad's selection made a mockery of honest toilers in the county game. Those who took 60-odd wickets at 29 in the season, yet could not even get a sniff of recognition as they did not have a dad who won the ashes in Australia.

I am not accusing the ECB of nepotsim here to be fair. Just rank incompetence.

Which brings us to the present. Broad has somehow kept his position in the England team in all forms of the game, despite offering nothing. He is by some distance the worst new ball bowler in top tier test cricket. His average of 35 is weak, and on a downward spiral. He has consistantly failed to deliver. Which all makes the glowing coverage he received last week unforgivable. One good game does not a player make. Otherwise Ed Giddins would still be playing test cricket. Broad must be dropped, but just as with other school pets, he has now cemented his place for the next 15 years.

which brings me to KP...

Regular readers know I like the man. He deserves our respect and indeed thanks for engineering the removal of that utter dribbling monkey Peter Moores. He has played with courage. He left SA as a teenager to prove hinmself in county cricket. He started his international career in the bitter bearpit of humourless south africa and shone. Despite what our Aussie cousins say, he is english. He is certainly more english than the entire Australian tennis squad is Australian. (NB. I won't defend that sociopath Trott. That boy is as saffa as it gets). I Like KP.

BUT.. that does not mean he merits his place in the england side. Because he quite clearly does not.

I have often argued about his Ashes tour. My point being he averaged 60, but take away his flukey Adelaide inings, he averaged 27. His supporters then say, "aaaah, but he DID get 227 so your argument is irrelevant", thereby entirely missing the point.

A test numebr 4 cannot scratch around for 6-10 innnigs then get a big score. He needs to deliver more. He needs to hold onto his wicket for dear life, not wonder down the wicket and take a wild swing. KP is not respnsible enough to be playing international cricket. And no double ton he scored against the village under-prepared, bored Indian bowling attack at Lords will change that.

I will happily go on record and predict he will scracth aroudn for the rest of the series. He always does. And he will give away 4 overthrows at least once a test (he always does). But now he has his one biggie in the bag, he will dine off it for months, flatterng to deceive, wafting blindly at tempters outside off stump.

KP is a walking wicket. He should not be playing test cricket.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The RFU is a pale shadow of its former self

The Chairman has struggled to get too exercised about many issues recently, though a few things have caught his eye.

The continued brilliance of Mark Cavendish, in my opinion, England's only true world class sportsman. I don't say that lightly. I look at the likes of Ben Ainslie, Alastair Cook, Nick Matthew, Phillips Idowu et al, but really none of them come close to matching Cav's once in a generation genius. He wins despite the quite blatant bias of the Frog officials and the outrageous defensive tactics of his opposition. As to Wiggins, The Chairman is unconvinced. You can talk about form all you like, but I can't help thinking his fourth placed 2 years ago was a massive fluke. Get back to the track son, and work out a way to beat the pre-pubescent Aussies.

The on-going absurdity of the selection of Stuart Broad in the England cricket team, more of which in another post when I can muster the energy. But let's quickly mention Broad should NEVER have been picked in the first placd all those years ago. He was picked on the back of 3 good T20 games for Notts. It's embarrassing. It's a damning indictment of the ECB's selection policy which lest we forget also lead to the selection of Darren Pattinson, a low grade club player from Australia, to bowl his filth for an England test side. An England TEST side. Sweet jesus, its just pathetic.

And as for football, christ alive. Where to even begin. As ever, this hateful, grotesque "sport" never fails to disappoint in the close season, as tired hacks desperately try to fill their 350 words on any inane drivel. Who cares where Tevez is going? The bloke is a sociopath. An argentinian pikey who will play for whoever pays him the most. He couldn't give a flying rod about his beastly little sprogs. Again, I simply don't have the energy for another post about football. I loath it. I wish the whole game would disappear.

So to rugby. The Chairman's second love. I am watching the disintegration of the RFU, and the game, with a wide-eyed detached bemusement. Make no mistake, the RFU was the cream of the world's sporting governing bodies. It had the right balance of commercial acumen, dedication to the grass roots and player development, both personal and professional, while doing everything it could to manage the tedious, aggressive, adolescent tantrums of the increasingly cocky premiership run by the truely ghastly Mark McCafferty.

Francis Baron ruled the roost like a Victorian dad. Yes he had his faults. He was arrogant, aloof, loved the hierarchy and privilege that came with the position, a real change from running some poxy travel company. He had an Aston Martin DB7 with a personalised number plate which he drive to the office. He failed completely to build any relationships with the media who still fail to credit him with the superb job he did.

But he took over a failing sport and turned it into a powerful, successful game. He skillfully oversaw the advent of professionalism. He re-built Twickenham, made the game profitable when it was struggling, overhauled the England team. He brokered a highly complex agreement with the clubs over the future of the game. He did it all.

And in 3 short months, it came crashing down.

How on earth did this happen? How did a smooth running ship turn into this embarrassment? Christ, the RFU is starting to look as stupid as the FA, that seething, infested pit of self interest, corruption, incompetence and hate. This is the question the media are are struggling to get a grip on.

So The Chairman will have a go.

It's cos Baron left and Steele was appointed.

All this crap about Steele being a rugby man. What a joke. He is a middle manager got lucky. And he was brutally found out.

The RFU requires a set of skills meaning there is no hiding place. Steele got the job and thought he could hide. He was badly wrong. Here, his decisions actually impacted people. He came in and flung his pipsqueak weight around with ill-thought out management bollox. Ruthlessly dismantling a system developed over years under Baron.

This idiot simply did not have a clue. In trying to establish himself he messed the whole place up. And poor old Martyn Thomas was caught like a rabbit in the headlights. For years, Thomas had quietly watched Baron expertly manage the huge number of self interest groups and grade A tossers like Clive Woodward. Thomas had trust in Baron and let him get on with it. Suddenly Steele is coming in and mesing with everything and Thomas simply did not know what to do. He panicked. He looked for help from the Board but they too had'nt had to deal with this crap before. Baron had shielded the whole organisation from it.

Finally the Board realised Steele was so out of his depth, it made him look like Michael Owen at Real Madrid, they got shot of him. And we are left in the shambles we see today. This whole media narrative over the Performance Director role is just bollox. Steele's problems were far bigger than pissing around with a job description.

Let's not forget, this was the bloke who thought it appropriate to make his own daughter a mascot at a Twickers international, thus depriving any number of considerably more deserving kids the chance to meet their heroes. As I have often stated, this should have set the alarm bells ringing. But it perfectly illustrates the total obliviousness of Steele and his lefty, middle maangement ilk.

So now we have a mess with Blackett about to go, Thomas interim CEO etc etc.

Its pathetic. Just get a grip. The RFU needs to appoint a heavyweight CEO with commercial acumen. Not a weasel like Steele. This is the RFU for god's sake. There will be no shortage of highly credible candidates. They don't need to have managed some poxy rugby club before and even less a pointless national lottery funded excuse for a sporting body. Get a heavyweight CEO with PLC experience.

Appoint a performance director. Not Woodward. The bloke is a megalomaniac. If they appoint him, the media narrative will be all about him and how he doesn't "get on with the old farts" or whatever nonsense they come up with next. This is the RFU. There will be plenty of high calibre alternatives.

Take back control of the media narrative. Get the right people in place and clearly explain the strategy and roles/responsibilities. The media never understood what Rob Andrew's role was. This cannot happen again. When an organisation is opaque, it means something is wrong. There needs to be total transparency. Once this is achieved, there should be no need for the RFU to be in the press. The RFU is not the story, at least it shouldn't be.

Steele made the RFU the story. The next man needs to ensure this does not happen again.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tennis isn't a sport, it's a game

Yesterday, the Chairman, having despaired at England's useless bowling attack (Stuart Broad? Is this a joke? The bloke is just terrible. It's an absolute scandal he is playing international cricket) decided to cast his eye over Wimbledon. And Lo! The mighty Nadal was playing.

It was during this game that I saw something I had never seen before, and it got me thinking about how tennis has degenerated into the most frustrating, pampered sport on the planet. Hence I have downgraded it to "game".

And what was it that so caught my attention?

The valiant Michael Russell, Nadal's unfortunate sacrificial lamb, actually thanked a ballboy for holding his towel. All these years of watching tennis, all over the world. Hundreds of different players. Not once, NOT ONCE, has any of these preening ponces had the plain common courtesy to thank a volunteering ballboy for holding his ghastly sweaty towel. Most point nonchelantly, demanding the towel between every point, like they are a fourteenth century monarch.

Tennis is a rubbish sport. Let's start on that frankly offensive joke that is wimmin's tennis. The standard is so lamentably bad it is ludicrous. Clijsters and Henin retired for three years to have babies. They saw how the standard was still so bad, they played a few sunday league games and promptly came back to win majors. This is just ludicrous.

Most "professional" female tennis players are simply out of shape. In fact, while you're there, let's not beat about the bush. Most of them are fat. I was watching the lovely Schiavone play that borderline psychotic wierdo Dokic last night. Dokic was shuffling round the court like a fattie doing some exercise on a Saturday afternoon in SW London. I thought it was a joke. Only Sam Stosur and Schiavone look anything like athletes. It is regrettable Sam is out, again.

How can it be possible for the highest paid female sport to tolerate this? How on EARTH can wimmin justify equal prize money? This isn't just ludicrous (yes, that word again, but this is wimmin's tennis we are talking about), it is downright offensive. Serena Williams, hardly in shape herself, can win a major and drop about 20 games, if that. Wimmin play about a quarter of the game time as the blokes, if not less, but still want equal prize money? Give me some credit.

And what is this having a rest every 2 games? I just cannot believe in 2011, professional athletes, some of the hightes paid on the planet, still want to have a blow after 2 games. No wonder fatty ladies can still succeed. They get to take a blow as soon as they run out of puff. Hahaha, it's just laughable. Tennis is a game, not a sport.

In what other sport do you see wimmin with their entire leg strapped up, like that will make a plain bit of difference? They always have some tredious tiny injury to moan about. Well get in shape then love and stop moaning. Its not just the wimmin. Andy Murray is always using his bogus ankle injury as an excuse. Novak Djokovic has often just given up, blaming some spurious injury if he cant be bothered. They're all at it. Every match someone turns up with a piece of black sellotape on his/her knee, like it makes the blindest bit of difference...

It now takes 5 minutes for most players to serve. They go through a whole tube of balls before they finally find one they deem good enough to hit. This shouldn't be allowed. Its a sport, not a "find the nicest ball" competition.

And why do players need a towel EVERY POINT? What are sweat bands for? Again, all these things have crept in over the past 10 years. It slows the game down. It negates the advantage a fit player has over her opponent. This is precisely why in the women's game, patently unfit players can stil beat those who have bothered to go for a jog. Tennis is not an aerobic test of fitness. It is a game.

Tennis has entirely degenerated into the most absurd game. The quite dismal standard of female tennis is but one problem. It keeps me awake at night wondering how the grotesquely well funded LTA fails year after year to find a British female player of any ability, though I do of course recognise this has as much to do with our bone idle female population in Britain, as it does about the rank incompetence of the sport's governing body. The same goes for the men. Henman, Murray are exceptions to the rule. We are a global laughing stock.

I'm sick of tennis. I even find myself sniggering at the irritating, smug antics of the Wimbledon crowd. I uased to defend the whole englishness of it. Now even this irritates me. Why, for example, when a player sneezes does the entire crowd burst out laughing like they've just seen a peter kay sketch about garlic bread? Why should all those D-list celebs get to go to the Royal Box? Terry Wogan sat there like the cat that got the cream, and he still didnt need to dip into the 10k he got from the BBC for presenting Children in Need did he?

Tennis isnt a sport. It's a game. And until the women's game starts treating the paying public with respect and presenting players that can run 400 metres without collapsing, and until the men stop needing to take a breather every 2 games, while towelling down their entire body or having a 10 minute internal debate about which bloody ball to hit, I shall continue treating it with the contempt it deserves.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Chairman knows best V

Steele gone.

Well done RFU.

What a total joke that bloke was. But other heads must role. Martyn Thomas is hanging by a thread. He hired that goon Steele. And the last thing the RFU needs is that egghead Woodward. More to follow.

Still, the Chairman knows best.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rugby on the slippery slope

This comment has been a long time coming. It has been clear for some time that the noble game of rugby is close to the edge. Close to morphing into that hateful, disgraceful shitpile that is football.

No one would every argue professionalism was a bad thing. It improved the game, no question. It was quite right that English players should be given the opportunity to turn professional to compete on a level playing field with arrogant kiwis who were "rugby development officers' or whatever bullshit title the kiwi government decided to give them at the time. Christ, the kiwis were pro 15 years before us Europeans followed suit.

But I am watching the degeneration of rugby, the Chairman's second love, with real sadness. Every day, it moves closer to football.

Let's start with the clubs. The RFU did its best - it implemented a salary cap, it spent months and months negotiating with the clubs for access to England players, providing ample compensation in return. But the clubs have told the RFU to fuck off. They always want more, lead by the arrogant, hateful Mark McCafferty.

Like football, we are seeing an invasion of average foreigners in the league, depriving English talent of game time. Glamour signings which achieve nothing (like football, there are the good eggs - the Phillipe Sellas and Castrogiovannis, but by god there is some shit out there).

Premier clubs pick fights daily with the RFU, and all of it hampers the national side. Like football, where the clubs hold the power and the national game is treated with disdain, the same thing is happening in rugby.

Behaviour: the old rules of respect in rugby are flying out the window. The disgraceful Tuilagi/Ashton incident still grates. This litle yob represents everything which is going wrong with the game. Same goes for that buffoon Cockerill. I am scratchng the surface here, but while Tuilagi and Foden remind me of frankly any premiership footballer, so does Cockerill remind me of aggressive bullys like that ridiculous Scotch shop steward Ferguson.

The game is rotten. Its turning into football.

The clubs think the club game is secondary to the national game. The RFU is now starting to resemble the FA under the ridiculous Steele. God how the RFU is now missing the steady hand of Baron. The players are forgetting their responsibilities. The old guard of Wilko, Moody etc are fading, only to be replaced by fuckwits like "Danny" Cipriani (whose continuing descent into obscurity is most amusing, and utterly inevitable).

Another catalyst for this post was the signing of Henson and "Willie" Mason by Toulon. I note Toulon have decided not to give that bronzed sociopath Henson a contract. Well thank god. Yet they still spends thousands on an old, out of shape ex-league player Mason, whose track record is a long series of shit.

What the hell is Toulon thinking? Do you think Wilko will be pleased about this? If he stays, it will be out pure blind loyalty, but Toulon is a shambles. It didnt even qualify for Eutrope this year. Why? Because they keep buying shit foreign players.

Deeply depressing.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Olympic Flame and that dreaded word "community"

The Chairman has been dreading the olympic games in London since the day it was decided London should bid. Yes, he's applied for some tickets. You have to don't you? I'll watch a bit of rowing and cycling, unless it becomes amply clear the Aussies will win everything, in which case I will make a sharp exit.

But the thought of the equality obsessed politically correct mandarins which dominate anything and everything in our sorry feeble excuse for a nation controlling every aspect of these games fills me with dread.

Just imagine what the opening ceremony is going to be like. Its even worse that we have to follow the truly magical, extraordinary Beijing games (god, who remembers that laughable "London Bus" joke at the closing ceremony by the way?).

The LAST thing these hippy lefties arranging the opening ceremony will want to do is celebrate anything which is geat about Britain. Our glorious history, our empire, our ownership of the seas, global trade, once magnificent armed forces, impact of our tiny nation all over the world.

No. All that will be deemed offensive and racist. We'll be left with a claasic multicultural all-inclusive shambles. Thousands of ethnic minority kids running around the place in a disorganised rabble. Why? Because rehearsals would have been too hard for the poor little kiddies. Gay group floats, Beckham, global warming, ghastly kiddie choirs singing out of tune, but nicely representative of "London's diverse ethnic mix" etc etc etc.

I see the Olympic flame route in Blighty has been set. Well in terms of giving a clue as to what these hopeless games will be like, the "organisers" have decided no athletes will carry the flame. Instead we will get members of that dreaded word "community" carrying it.

We all know what that means.

God, this is going to be a national embarrassment.

Update: The Chairman didnt get any fucking tickets. Fuck.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Leaping Case of Rio Ferdinand

So Man Utd win the Premiership. Well whoop-di-fucking-do.

I just haven't got the energy to deconstruct the laughable "Premiership". It's a contradiction in terms. A worthless cesspit of shysters on the make, corrupt officials, lazy rapist footballers and foreigners.

Jesus, what the hell was Tevez thinking draping himself in the Argentian flag? Did no one else find that offensive? Imagine if an Englishman had draped himself in a British flag in Argentina? He'd last 5 minutes. We are a weak, thoughtless, self-loathing nation.

But on the the subject of this post.

Why must that wonky-mouthed bed-ridden lout "Rio" Ferdinand jump onto the shoulders of any player that scores?

Am I really the only person to notice this? It's not on the odd occasion is it? It's EVERY time. A Man Utd player scores, he is chased by this lanky, soft buffoon, who promptly jumps on his back and screams obscenities at the crowd.

It drives The Chairman potty. It's like the inevitability of KP giving away 4 overthrows every time he fields. You know its going to happen and yet no one does anything about it.

I would love, just LOVE for our Rio to fall on his precious 150k-a-week arse just the once and wipe that ghastly, ignorant lop-sided grin of his gurning mug.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

AFL shows how it is done...

To my noble Brit readership, AFL is of course Aussie Rules Football.

The Chairman loves his "footy" as they call it out here. The fact they call any game with a ball (apart from cricket) "footy" is by the by. I'm talking Aussie Rules.

Aussie Rules is the equivalent of football in England (at least as close an equivalent as it is possible to get). The competition is the widest followed, pays the highest wages etc etc. It is an astonishing game. These players are freakishly fit, brave and hard. They put the puny physiques of our drug addicted football "elite" to shame. They put their bodies on the line every week. The mileage they cover every game is eye watering.

The game is superbly run out here. The Governing Body, despite being run by a sociopath leftist megalomaniac who seems to think it is the AFL's role to be talking about "climate change" is a model governing body. Swift decision-making, massive emphasis on player responsibilty, game development and post career training.

The effort that goes into grass roots in this country is astonshing. It puts our lamentable, hateful football to shame. The last thing anyone in this disgusting code cares about is grass roots. The small clubs, those clubs underneath the fantasy Premiership bubble. They treat the game with contempt. And are praised for it. And yet we still wonder why our supposed leading players in the country can't use both feet and seem knackered after 20 minutes.

Because they are bone idle, hateful, lazy pikeys, who care more about which bimbo they are going to abuse next than they do about representing the club that pays their wages.

But the point of this post is on a ruling The Chairman has only just discovered.

Every AFL registered player HAS to spend one day a week studying or working.

You English read that again. Yes. Even the mega stars (for that is what they are out here), need to study or work one day a week.

I was always amazed at how eloquent so many AFL players were. How interesting game analysis was when players were on the panel. They knew what they were talking about and were able to express themselves. Now I know why.

Jesus wept, these ex players on MOTD are just fucking weak. Idiots to a man. Gary Linekar? Give me strength. The bloke is a midlands pikey. And as for the post game interviews with moron monosyllabic footballers. I mean it's just embarrassing.

Why? Because our ghastly game does NOTHING to educate these yobs. They are not taught to seak, to take responsibilty for their own actions. They are instead lauded, praised, spoilt, treated like royalty. And we wonder why every game we watch we are treated to disgusting behaviour, to violence, to stupidity.

God I hate football.

Why does the spineless FA not fucking do something about it? Why not a one day a week rule in the UK? Let's send these ill-educated vermin back to school. Let's send them to an office a day a week. Learn how real people live. Learn how some people actually do seem to blindly care for the club that pays these grotesque wages and all they get is contempt in return. Yes you Rooney, you fat oik. You, who blackmails a club into vastly increasing your wage, while stuffing your fat face full of over priced pizza while apparently recovering in Dubai.

But they don't. The bastards get away with whatever the fuck they like, mocking us all. They are brainless. Can any of Cole, Rooney, Dyer even speak English properly? They are completely detached from reality, and the FA does nothing about it.

One day a week study or work. Imagine that in the UK. We can but dream.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"Backing up" and the cowardice of our footballers

Last weekend in Australia, those mighty players of the NRL did something extraordinary. At least it looked extraordinary to this Englishman, so used to the endless bleating by our jumped up football managers over the "workload" of their preening players.

You see, on Friday night, there was a league test match between Australia and New Zealand.

At the same time, a trial match for the "State of Origin" series (where players from Queensland and NSW play in a 3-match series of frankly bizarre intensity) was played for the NSW side (called City v Country). The next day - yes, about 14 hours later, nearly every player involved in these 2 high intensity games, then turned out for their clubs.

This is called "backing up" in Oz and it is a symbol of why Australian sportsmen are tough and have that "never say die" attitude we so struggle to replicate in our embarrassing excuse for a country.

Just imagine for a moment, what would be the reaction in Premiershipland if football players were asked to "back up".

Wenger would be crying for weeks, in that ridiculous comedy French accent he refuses to lose after 12 years in our country. We'd be mopping up his tears until Autumn. Ferguson, that hateful Scotch shop steward, would be screaming blue murder at the FA (not through the BBC natch) saying his "poor" players are overworked and simply cannot play twice in a 2 days. The players themselves would bleat about being too tired to play. The whole clamour would be deafening.

Yet NRL is a far harder game. They train harder for longer, play harder, risk horrendous injury every time they set foot on the field earning, lest we forget, less in a year than what Rooney takes home in 3 days. If any sportsman should not back up, its these guys. I note by the way mighty cyclists don't complain about riding 20 days straight in the tour de france do they?

No. What this illustrates is the depths to which football has sunk. These privileged, bone idle, spoilt, cosseted pseudo rapists we call fotoballers are simply pathetic. They would never back up and the cheerleaders in the MSM (yes you, Winter) laud them for it.

Grow a spine you idle, fat, lazy footballers. Stop complaining about your workload and get back on the training paddock. Ashley Cole, how about using some of your spare time to learn to kick with your right foot, you hateful little weasel?

Next time you hear Wenger moaning about having to play a pointless Carling Cup game (which by the way he mocks) on Tues night, with his vast squad of players, who then have to play a league match on Sunday, just think about the league boys in the NRL.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

3 captains: laughable

So the ECB has confirmed that the three England cricket sides will now be lead by three different captains.

Needless to say, The Chairman thinks this is laughable. More importantly, it is entirely unsustainable, arguably a dereliction of duty by the ECB (it certainly shows muddled thinking and an element of cowardice, not for the first time it must be said - KP... Zimbabwe etc etc).

Firstly of course, neither Cook, nor Broad are even close to being sure of their place in the sides they now captain. A captain simply must merit his place in the side. This is a basic requirement.

Cook has not played one day cricket for England for ages. He is not the first choice opening batsman in one day cricket. On that basis alone he should not be captain. But let's look at other factors. Cook is slow in the field and restricted to positions reserved for the more leisurely pace of test cricket - short leg, gully. He offers nothing in the field.

Cook has not even captained his school sides. Saying he captained well in Bangladesh is offensive and of course entirely irrelevant. My late grandmother, gawd bless her, would have captained England to a series win against a bunch of 5-foot tall under-nourished Bangladeshis. He has shown nothing to indicate and tactical nous, or indeed leadership.

The great Ian McGeechan picked Martin Johnson as captain of the Lions before he captained England as he wanted to strike fear and respect into the opposition. Cook isn't even shaving yet. He is a boy in a man's clothing. The fact he had a wonderful Ashes is irrelevant to his ability to skipper a one day side. It is just baffling.

Even more so is the decision to choose that loose cannon Broad as skipper of the T20 side. Collingwood was a fighter. A hugely respected team man who overcame his clear talent shortcomings by hard graft and determination. The players wanted to play for him. He lead from the front.

Like Cook, Broad is by no means sure of a starting place on merit. He has not played for months, had a dismal Ashes and has a highly questionable attitude. Let's not forget he was spanked for 6 sixes in one over not so log ago. His bowling is often plain rubbish, his batting is determined entirely by luck. His behaviour on the field is simply not good enough to be considered captain. Like that idiot "Ricky" Ponting who regularly embarrassed an entire nation by his childish antics, Broad does not have the respect he needs to be a captain of a national side. Nor frankly does he merit his place in the England team. The ECB picked him even though he has not even turned out for Notts this season. Is this a joke? Why does the ECB pick players on reputation rather than form? No other country does this.

I have nothing personal against Broad or Cook. They seem ok to me. But captains they are not.

And what about the principle of having 3 captains. Well it won't work will it. There wil be confusion, issues over hierarchy as the same players switch between the codes. Differet styles, views, opinions on selections. It is a confusing mess and it is typically spinelss of the ECB to take that they think is the easy way out. All this bullshit about new young faces, fresh start etc is plain bollocks. Can you see KP happy to take instructions from a blonde beanpole who tweets about playstation and backs away from fast bowling?

Laughable. It will end in tears.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Henry Winter and the "responsible" Jack Wilshere

The Chairman is still reeling from that preening buffon Henry Winter's (Daily Telegraph) piece eulogising Jack Wilshere for his "responsibility".

I see today it was reported this little pikey's sister has been done for glassing a fellow pub goer, for having the temerity to call an ambulance at the same time as her. Regardless about what this says about the current state of the UK (ie. a seething mass of self loathing, entitlement and hate), it is a damning indictment of Wilshere and his ghastly family.

Sadly this gobby tart has not been sent down. Rather a 2-year conditional dischanrge, whatever the hell that means and a 3,000 quid fine. About 2 hours work for our responsible Jack, if he is not too busy fathering illegitiamte kids at age 19, or posing in his poncey Ferrari. I see our reponsible Jack was also cautioned for assault in November last year following a brawl.

Wilshere is not responsible. He is a hateful little bastard. A spoilt yob, blessed with a sporting talent, which he will abuse daily. Yet Winter defends this lout. Why? Because it keeps Winter gainfully employed writing about this grotesque sport, football.

Grow a pair Winter, you vain twat, and start holding these pseudo rapists to account.

The Chairman knows best IV

It's official.

Cipriani dropped by the Melbourne Rebels due to his dismal defence. Replaced by a part timer who until this season was playing club rugby in Japan.

The Chairman said this would happen.

The Chairman knows best.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Chairman knows best III

I am still irritated by getting into a pointless debate with idiots on the website on the merits (or otherwise) of the ridiculous Danny Cipriani. My point is (and has always been), he may look good ball in hand on the front foot, but everything else about his game stinks, in particular his tackling. The idiots I was debating with were claiming he was the best FH in the Super XV, his defense was sound etc etc. Well bolocks. To quote from today's Herald Sun:

DANNY Cipriani is likely to be dropped to the bench for Saturday night's clash with NSW Waratahs unless Stirling Mortlock and Mark Gerrard fail fitness tests.
Melbourne selectors are frustrated by the Rebels' leaking defence - the club has conceded a Super Rugby high of 43 tries, 14 more than the bottom-placed Lions of Johannesburg.

Cipriani, who has played all but six minutes of the Rebels' nine matches, is the club's leading point-scorer with 89 points, sixth overall behind Western Force's James O'Connor (126).

But the five-eighth's defensive shortcomings, clearly exposed by the Otago Highlanders and Auckland Blues, will almost certainly have the England Test pivot starting on the bench against NSW.

Cipriani is likely to be replaced by James Hilgendorf, who started the season at No.10 but was injured in the opening minutes of the 43-0 Round 1 loss to the Waratahs.

Under rugby's tackle dominance rating, a measure of tackling effectiveness, Cipriani has a club-low figure of 42 per cent with 18 missed tackles.

That contrasts with hooker Ged Robinson, who has missed just three of 107 tackles, for a rating of 88 per cent.

Cipriani was held accountable for the Blues' first two tries in Auckland on Friday night, when he pushed up out of the line.

Asked if there were concerns about Cipriani's defence, Rebels coach Rod Macqueen said: "It's fair to say that. Danny's really got to work on that part of his game. Some of the other players have to as well.

"Most of the criticism that we cop is fair criticism.

"We're not a team who want to go out there and make excuses."

Asked if Cipriani was in danger of being dropped, Macqueen said: " No one is guaranteed a spot in the side. If we do that, we're working the team the right way. They've got to earn their spots and that will continue to be the case.

"Everyone knows Danny has got the worst defensive record in the competition."

The Chairman knows best.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Your ambition outweighs your talent" said that delightful Aussie Casey Stoner to Valentino Rossi, when Rossi had the good grace to apologise in person for knocking Stoner out of the last MotoGP.

This bothers me on so many levels. Who in the name of hell does Stoner think he is? I'll tell you. He is another in a long line of sanctimonious Aussie sportspeople, drowning in their own self importance.

How dare this pipsqueak, this scrawny little under achiever criticise the mighty Valentino Rossi? Multiple world champion. Without doubt the most talnted motorbike rider in history. A wonderful, charismatic sportsman. How dare he intimate that Rossi has no talent, after years of being shown up by the very man he mocks? When did Soner think saying this was in any way appropriate? What the hell was he thining?

Let's review this again...

"obviously your ambition outweighted your talent".

This is a disgraceful thing to say. It would be bad enough if Stoner had said it to a less experienced biker, one who had'nt achieved greatness like Rossi, reeking as it does in arrogance. But that he said it to the finest rider in history just beggars belief.

Here's hoping this absurd comment comes back to bite Stoner on his little 8 stone arse, the pompious, arrogant, self rigthteous lout.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Chairman knows best II

Did anyone see the ever lovely Vicky Pendleton has done a "sexy" photoshoot, though not, I must admit, for FHM. Instead, she get her incredibly pert bottom out in the Evening Standard magazine. She is going through the motions is our Vicky. As I have already said. She knows the butch Ana Meares has her number. Rather than prancing about in a singlet Vicks, how about getting down the gym to do some work?

The Chairman knows best.

Alex Ferguson is laughing at you...

I don't want to. I really don't. But I can't help it. Another day, another host of stories illustrating quite perfectly why football continues to sink into the depths of shame. A hateful game, played by hateful yobs, managed by shameless, corrupt officials and cheered on by the preening cowards in the MSM.

This monster, this man mountain of self loathing sanctimony "Sir" Alex Ferguson really tops it all off.

Relentlessly rude, arrogant and deeply unpleasant, he continues to have the media lapping up his every word, for fear of course of being the next poor journo banned from his tedious, ill-mannered press conferences. As I have said before, he is not some sort of machiavellian genius. He is Scottish shop steward who got very lucky.

That he has refused to speak to the BBC for how ever many years, in flagrant abuse of his contractual obligations, just shows what a shower of shit this over-indulged shop steward is. And the FA tiptoes round him, as if he is some sort of demigod, rather than the mean spirited bully he is. And preening over coiffured lackeys like Henry Winter drool all over him. Happy to ave a go at the idiot Wenger, he then proceeds to defend Ferguson using the tired old "bottle of red wine after a game" routine. How long have we heard that? Does this in any way justify or excuse Ferguson's one man assault on decency? The man is a disgrace. Yet Winter bends over backwards to defend him.

Now Ferguson was the only manager of the four semi final teams not to co-operate with cuckolded FA Cup sponsors EON. In many ways it serves them right. There is a lesson here - don't get involved in football, or with footballers (though I note with a due sense of depression that drinks makers are queueing up to sign up Rooney how Coke has dropped him). But when all three other maangers had the common courtesy to at least pose for a few pics, Ferguson was off sulking into his porridge. Again, he does this with impunity. They are scared of him. It's pathetic. "ooh, but he shares a glass of wine with the opposing manager". Does he fuck.

Meanwhile the ghastly Mario Balotelli continues to disappoint. A borderline sociopath, Balotelli can't even put on a training bib without someone's help. He displays total contempt to his teammates, to his club and to the moron Man City fans who seem to think he is a wonderful asset to the club. He detests Manchester. He detests the club that pays his monstrous wages. He parks his car at the door of the training ground, despite being told not to, again and again. He mocks English football and England and we let him get away with it.

Capello chooses to go to Spain for some R&R and to watch the glamour game, buy another renaissance masterpiece to add to his collection for his Tuscan villa, rather than having the goddammn common fucking courtesy to watch some FA Cup games which may, just maybe might result in one or two english payers (are there any left?) showing they are capable and can kick with both feet. He mocks the FA and those that pay his vast salary.

El Hadji-Diouf thinks Gaddafi is great.

A Man Utd coach kicks a hole in a wall at Wembley, a typically graceless reaction to defeat. Cue a host of plebs thinking they can do the same thing.

And why is it footallers do not have the courtesy to look their opponents in the eyes when "shaking hands" (if that is what they call it) after a game. It is bizarre. They shake hands while looking soemwhere else. Watch it and you will see what I mean. Why? Cos noone has told thenm to pull their head in and show some bloody respect. Like Rooney, Baloteli, Ferguson. The list goes on. These people are allowed to get away with whatever they want and the media, like Winter, are complicit in it.

Winter's column today praising 19-yr old Jack Wilshere for his "responsibility" a month after his 22-yr old ex girlfried gives birth to his kid just shows the depths to which football has sunk.