Anorak News | This Sporting Life

This Sporting Life

by | 2nd, September 2004

‘THE failed drugs tests, the faked motorbike crashes and the tears of Paula Radclife notwithstanding, the Olympics were brilliant.

Is Flintoff to be the next manager of Newcastle?

For three weeks, sports journalists could concentrate on what they are paid to do – namely write about sport, the winning and losing, the thrill of competition, plucky British losers.

Life, however, quickly gets back to normal and this morning’s papers are dominated not by a rare victory by England’s one-day cricketers nor by events at the US Open tennis.

It is once again sport’s administrators who take centre stage with the papers leading on the departure of Sir Clive Woodward or the crisis in horse racing.

Even the Sun and Mirror eschew the round ball game for a day to report on Woodward’s departure as England rugby coach less than nine months after leading his country to World Cup glory.

And the two papers which do lead on football – the Express and Star – are most concerned about the identity of the new manager of Newcastle.

Even then, and despite being sister papers, they fail to agree on who is in line to replace Sir Bobby Robson.

There is a tried and tested routine in Fleet Street when a manager resigns or is sacked.

First, the hacks suggest Martin O’Neill for the job. O’Neill then rules himself out and insists he is staying at Celtic.

Then they go through their list of out-of-work managers and put their names up for the job – George Graham, Terry Venables, Glenn Hoddle, Gerard Houllier etc.

If none of those appears to fit the bill, they look abroad and pick out three or four names at random, none of whom have probably heard of the club.

After that, they hunt around for any manager with a geographical connection to the managerless club.

Finally, they just start spewing out names at random – which is where we are today with the Star, which claims that Villa boss David O’Leary is head of the Toon wish-list after, you guessed it, Martin O’Neill ruled himself out.

It is only belatedly that we get to read anything about sport itself when we hear how another England debutant shone on the cricket pitch yesterday.

The Telegraph says Glamorgan’s Alex Wharf upstaged even Steven Harmison’s hat-trick by taking wickets in each of his first three overs for his country.

He removed Sourav Ganguly, VVVS Laxman and Raul Dravid in the space of 14 balls as England bowled out India for 170 before coasting to victory in the first one-day international.

Not a bad feat for a player who had previously been rejected by Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire – but not a sufficient one to knock the politics of sport off the back page.

That really would be something…’

Posted: 2nd, September 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink