By Stewart Weir
Another Six Nations weekend. So that’ll mean another loss for Scotland, this time in Dublin against Ireland.
However, despite the reversal, there were still nodding, knowing heads from those on high, suggesting things weren’t all bad.
But for how long can you keep taking positives from losses, and how long can you “buy in”, “see the bigger picture”, or “believe” or “be supportive of ideas” or praise “new thinking” and “build to the future” before someone within SRU’s hierarchy (possibly from the catering department or car parking duties) puts up their hand and says “Actually, we are not very good”?
Watching Scotland and hearing coach Andy Robinson is like viewing an oval-balled version of the “King’s New Clothes”.
Or are we waiting to see if the Italian game makes everything better?
Another week, and another example of why football is in the dark ages compared to cricket, the NFL, rugby and tennis.
In England, the Football Association says they will press ahead with the adoption of goal-line technology after every newspaper and phone-in debates another embarrassing “goal-that-never-was” after Clint Hill “scored” for QPR against Bolton.
Weirdly, when highlighting such incidents, many news and sports editors somehow manage to show Frank Lampard’s effort against Germany from the last World Cup. I can only think it’s constantly on standby, a bit like the apology notice telling you that there is a break in programming and normal service will resume as soon as possible.
But while Lampard’s “goal” is always to hand, for whatever reason, no one is ever quite willing to show the “goal” that put England 3–2 up against West Germany in the 1966 World Cup final.
And just a thought before bedtime. What are the chances of goal-line technology being introduced before Andy Robinson leaves his post?
“Eh?” That was the reaction from a former Scotland international when I confirmed to him that Gregor Townsend was indeed to replace Sean Lineen as coach of Glasgow Warriors.
The story had emerged in some Sunday papers. The cynic in me would have called it a blatant leak to take the heat off a head coach who had lost again.
The journalist in me, however, would see it a blatant leak to take the heat off a head coach who had lost again.
With Warriors fourth in the Pro12 League, Lineen hadn’t done too bad a job – although the way some had written the story, you would have thought they were fifth in a six-team league. No, on second thoughts, maybe not the best analogy.
Townsend, however, was presented as a man who as a player obviously did no wrong, and was the next bright young thing on the coaching front. Except that he actually is the “attack” coach of an international nation who have won twice in their last 15 Test matches, failed to reach the knockout stages of the Rugby World Cup and – sorry for raking it up again – who haven’t won this season in the Six Nations.
Andy Robinson alluded to the fact that Townsend needed to be coaching at club level. But surely that means cutting your teeth at a less senior grade and proving yourself there?
Sorry, but until Monday I thought it was only Her Majesty The Queen who was able to bestow such honours and titles on people. Or are we back to the “King’s New Clothes”?
And Sir David Murray, the former owner of Rangers, breaks cover to give an interview to the media (print, pen-carrying only).
You had to laugh at the moralists amongst the press ranks, trying to justify not being there on their mistrust of Murray when the reality was they were not invited in the first instance.
For Murray to admit he was “sorry” at what had happened, and to apologise to all Rangers fans, would have been enough. But with an audience, he was quick to condemn the man whose pound he is probably having tested for authenticity, Craig Whyte.
“If the information had been available to me at the time, I wouldn’t have done it. I did it in good faith,” Sir David said.
“Any time you sell, there are always murmurings. There was no factual information. And in fact shareholders, press, SFA – I mean, I’m first in the line, but everybody was duped.”
Powerful words. But I did wish he had taken the palms of his hands and squeezed his cheeks and mouth together to deliver his next line (as in “I’m chubby, my mom’s chubby, my dad’s chubby, even my dawg’s chubby…”) when he said: “I was primarily duped. My advisers were duped, the bank was duped, the shareholders were duped. We’ve all been duped. Is duped the right word? I think duped is the right word.”
It wouldn’t have made the entire debacle any less of a farce …
I have always marvelled at people’s ingenuity and sheer-bloody mindedness when it comes to gaining funds for them to compete in their chosen sport. Indeed, I know some who gained government disapproval over their fundraising efforts and went to prison accordingly.
That aside, one can only have admiration for athlete Logan Campbell and his tale of chasing his Olympic dream emerged out of New Zealand.
So determined was the 25-year-old taekwondo exponent to be on the flight to London this summer that three years ago he opened what he described as “a high-class escort agency” in Auckland.
And in that time, he raised the £160,000 he needed to compete internationally to qualify for the London Games. He’s also been disqualified 17 times for screaming “Not the face, don’t hit the face…”.
But in a few months, Campbell will be here, all his efforts worthwhile. I suppose it goes without saying that people get their kicks in many ways …
I will be contacting parliamentarians, people in high office and major media houses to have this day renamed Sir Dave Richards Day, the day when a senior football administrator becomes a guest on Tiswas, when Sepp Blatter meets Norman Wisdom. Judge for yourself.
I’ve heard the FA have since returned his VIP tickets for the Olympic aquatic events this summer, just in case …
Sky Sports have the rights in 2012 to exclusive live coverage of F1 in the UK. I mention that in case you haven’t happened to see a TV for the last three months.
Sky have a cast of dozens Down Under for the season’s curtain-raiser in Melbourne, with more presenters, experts, panellists, talking heads and analysts than you could throw at the sacking of an England football manager. That’s how serious they are about getting this one right.
Where they might be in a few years when they realise that just about every race follows a not-dissimilar storyline, who knows? But just now, everything in the world is bright, colourful and live. As was first practice in the wee sma’ hours of Friday morning.
Of course, Sky’s capture of the rights from the BBC has not pleased everyone. There are countless millions, or tens of thousands really, who say they are passionate about F1, or love the sport, or live for the chequered flag, and who are disgusted that they won’t be able to see their beloved racers in action.
To be honest, they are no different from the passionate and dedicated lovers of football, cricket, boxing and several other sports who, for many years, have paid over and above for the right to see their sport, live and exclusive.
So race fans, join the club – because we won’t hear your protests over the sound of the engines once the lights turn green …
– Tweet Stewart Weir with thoughts and comments, @sweirz