Who do you think should win BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2015?

The shortlist for BBC Sports Personality of the Year has been announced this evening.  It looks really competitive and there are some brilliant characters who have achieved outstandingly this year.

To see a run-down of the contenders click this link to the BBC.



5 things more unjust than Brazil vs Croatia

The neutral would have felt there was a sense of injustice against Croatia in the football last night.  I certainly did, though I do have a Balkan bias.  In fact it got me more angry than I have about much for a long time.  You know that sense of righteous anger when you know you have witnessed some huge injustice but you can’t really do anything about it?  That is what I was feeling.  I vented on facebook and twitter a bit, and waited for the likes, comments and re-tweets to help me feel justified in my anger.

And then it hit me – why do I feel so angry about a game of football when there are so many other injustices going on in the world that are infinitely more serious than a bad refereeing decision or two.

Here are my top 5 issues (with links) that I would rather not watch or read about:

  1. That the Syrian Civil War has been going for over three years
  2. That real people, including children, are trafficked for slavery and sexual exploitation
  3. That it’s likely that more than one child on my street has been abused recently
  4. That while you have been reading this blog about 6 children have died because they were hungry
  5. That this very World Cup that many of us are so excited about is the showcase event for one of the world’s most powerful, corrupt and down right evil bunch of humans – FIFA

Of course the list could go on.  They’re just headline grabbers.  Behind all of these are individual humans, suffering horrifically.

It’s just a bit overwhelming really.  What to do?

And getting angry about football….really?

Manchester City: Financial Unfair Play

I thought we were moving into an era of ‘financial fair play’?

How can any football club be allowed to go after more players when they have just reported annual losses of £51,000,000!?

On the morning that the Independent report that Manchester City are narrowly avoiding being banned from next year’s Champions League for their dodgy finances the BBC report that they are on the pull for two Porto players, one of whom is worth £35,000,000.  I’m sure most clubs are just as bad in their own proportionate way but it really is unfair for the few clubs who balance the books.

Pellegrini seems to be doing a great job where others have fallen short but surely any silverware won by Manchester City is bought with money and not achieved through ability and application.

While I’m at it can I just vent about everyone referring to Manchester City as just ‘City’?  If you didn’t notice Cardiff, Hull, Stoke, Swansea and Norwich also happen to be City clubs and also happen to play in the same league.

Boing Boing

When I came to work in West Brom just over five years ago the Baggies were one of my all time worst teams.  This was partly due to being a Villa fan. but I think mainly down to following Sheffield United on an away trip back in the mid 90s which started with the coach arriving way to early and having to kill a few hours as a 15 year old around The Hawthorns (really not pleasant at the time), and ended with a 3-0 drubbing for my second best team.  Bad day out.

However, since a big part of my life has arrived in West Brom I have developed a real respect and, sorry Villa fans, an affection for West Bromwich Albion.  They are a club that work hard, put back into the community, and really lift the local area when they are doing well.  I think in my first year here they got relegated but then came straight back up and it was great to be around the town when they got promoted.

But waking up this morning to the news that they’ve gone and sacked Steve Clarke is a bit of a shock.  I mean, come on West Brom, if you’re expecting to be a top-half team year after year then I think you’re a bit deluded.  Clarke has done a great job for you, you’re stable and had some great results and performances.  I know it worked great for Southampton dumping Nigel Adkins last year, the man who had got them promoted twice, but I must say it seems really cruel.  I just wish footballers got sacked after having 4 poor performances.

Anyway, I still want you Baggies to stay up but I’ll think it quite deserved if you do continue to struggle.  And I hope the board feel guilty for making a nice, hard working man unemployed this Christmas.

World Cup Silliness

I love the World Cup.  I remember Italia ’90 with Bobby Robson, Roger Milla and those little Coca-Cola footballs.  I love the World Cup draw, so much so that I would usually do my own mock draw before the real one and then predict all the different results and decide who would win the World Cup in my world.

Maybe I’ve got a slightly better perspective on life, maybe not, but what a load of faff just for a few balls and a few excitable old men.  I mean, is it really worth all the glitz and glamour and ceremony?  Is it really sensible flying 1800 of the world’s media in to cover it all?  Sport is wonderful for so many reasons but I think we allow it to loosen our grip on reality and what is important a bit too much sometimes.

And then you get all the middle aged men ‘back in the studio’ debating for hours whether England should fly straight into the Amazon from Miami or stick to the original hotel in Rio.  And then they move onto whether it is better for us to actually finish second in the group so the climate in round two will be a bit better but then we might end up playing a stronger team.  It really is ridiculous.  I think we all know that the only factor that matters in deciding whether England will qualify for the second round or not is whether the players can actually be bothered or whether their egos remain the only thing bigger than their bank balances.

I am really going to enjoy the World Cup, I will be up at 2am in the morning cheering England on against the Azure.  However, let’s please keep it all in perspective.  It is only a game, and a pretty silly game at that.

Carlos Tevez

Carlos Tevez having his community service order rescinded actually makes me want to cry.  There was something ‘just’ about a rich and powerful man with an ego having to get on with some hard work for the community to make up for the fact that he felt he was higher than the law and for putting other people’s lives in danger.

So to have the order changed to a £3000 fine is staggering.  It’s the equivalent of a young person on benefits swapping community service for a fine of £1.12.  The moral of Carlos Tevez’s time in England is that whatever the rules are you can screw them.  What message does this send to the millions of young football fans?

I often get annoyed by celebrities but usually there’s not much point moaning.  But this Tevez decision goes a lot deeper than an overpaid sportsman getting his own way – this really betrays the truth that we’re in a society where money and power trump justice and respect.

Could anybody with a law or justice background explain the sense in the outcome?  I see this decision provides no deterrent to others, does nothing to rehabilitate Tevez, does nothing to protect society from Tevez, does not act as retribution to Tevez and brings no sense of restoration.  What other purpose of punishment is there?

The judge ruled that Tevez could swap punishment because his move to Italy was ‘out of his control’ because Manchester City sold him.  Surely any employer should expect that if they are giving a contract to someone who still has a sentence to serve then that sentence will need to be respected.  If Juventus have bought him and he has to go back to England to serve community service for a few weeks then it should be more fool them.  Alas, no.  What money wants, money gets.

Where is Montenegro?

Where is Montenegro people ask?

The answer of course is that Montenegro is at the top of England’s group!  I must say I am extremely proud of Montenegro, I love that country so much!

I think a draw was probably a fair result but it was clearly a more useful point for Montenegro than England.  The difference between the actual result and a win for England was the same as the difference in the passion between the two teams.

Group H

  1. Montenegro   14pts
  2. England   12pts
  3. Poland   8pts
  4. Ukraine   8pts
  5. Moldova   4pts
  6. San Marino   0pts

There is only one nation in the world who has played England at least three times and never lost…..any ideas!?  Not bad for a country whose population is less than the number of registered footballers in England!

I’m not sure how long the video below will stay on YouTube but if you want to relieve some of the passion from last night click below: