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.