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Anorak | London Calling

London Calling

by | 19th, May 2004

‘WE win!!! Well, not quite, but we are in the leading group of five in the marathon to host the 2012 Olympics.

Dennis Wise hears that he can get a leg wax as well

But before New York, Madrid, Paris and Moscow eat our dust, the International Olympic Committee has a few points it would like addressed.

While the Telegraph’s lead headline sees ‘London march on with confidence’, the Times is more circumspect and gives mileage to the IOC’s complaints about the UK bid.

These include the IOC’s impression that rail transport is ‘often obsolete’; the ‘urban expressways and main arterial roads lack the capacity to provide reasonable travel times and speeds’; four venues are over 30 miles from the Olympic Village, ‘making athlete travel in general quite challenging’; London’s polluting heavy traffic; and London’s ‘rather limited’ international sports experience.

The other problem, the Times notes, is that the Olympic ideal is one shaped and bent out of shape by politics and, when it comes to the final vote, many Third World members and Arab countries may baulk at giving the games to London.

So we might not get the Olympics – but who needs that when you’ve got the glories of the FA Cup?

In the build-up to the biggish match in Cardiff, the Independent learns that Dennis Wise, the Millwall coach, has flown to Italy for a massage.

In some sports this would be seen as an extravagance, but nothing is too good for our footballers, and if Dennis wants to have his legs rubbed in Italy, then so be it.

Staying behind him is Matt Lawrence, the Millwall captain, who is profiled in the Indy.

Lawrence is worth a look because he’s not the typical footballer. He loves reading the works of Charles Bukowski and has just finished reading a biography of Bill Hicks, the deceased American comedian.

What’s more, Lawrence has a degree in American literature from Hartford College in New York state.

This is impressive stuff. It’s refreshing to read about a footballer who can, well, read.

If Gerard Houllier can read (and, being French, we suspect he probably can), he’ll learn this morning that his days as manager of Liverpool are numbered.

The Sun and Mirror agree that his six-year reign at Anfield looks set to end this week after crisis talks with the chief executive and chairman yesterday.

The Mirror follows it up with the somewhat less likely news that Stephen Gerrard is on his way to Chelsea as part of a £30m deal.

The money would certainly boost Liverpool’s chances (reported in the Star) of sabotaging Alan Smith’s move from Leeds to Manchester United and persuading him to come to Anfield instead.

Smith hasn’t even made it into Sven Goran Eriksson’s squad for Euro 2004, despite the coach admitting in the Express that he has only two world-class strikers to choose from.

Emile Heskey and whoever’s alongside him…’



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