The King of Pop at Craven Cottage Picture: www.offthepost.info
By Stewart Weir
And most definitely a day of winners and losers.
India won the cricket world cup, beating Sri Lanka in an excellent final, Sporting “Hee-Hong” ended José Mourinho’s nine-year unbeaten home record, Rangers lost to Dundee United and with it the chance to go top of the SPL. And, for good measure, Wayne Rooney completely lost the plot.
The other big sporting contest of the day was one which just wasn’t billed anywhere.
Motherwell defeated Aberdeen, but what kicked-off afterwards was just bizarre, with a handshake between Dons boss Craig Brown and ‘Well chairman John Boyle suddenly erupting in to a full-scale, eh, stooshie.
Whether Boyle had attempted a peck on the cheek of his former manager, or Broon had asked where his money was, isn’t clear.
But what we had was 70-year-old Brown almost pulling Boyle’s jacket off as he legged it up the tunnel, closely pursued by Aberdeen’s mild-mannered assistant Archie Knox.
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The polis stepped in before the Pittodrie tag team could throw any telling blows, although the constabulary failed to prevent Mr Boyle from flashing what many described as a threatening pout.
Naturally, I’m expecting this to be taken further, scouring the printed press, waiting for the first MSP to demand punitive action against these reprobates who have given Saga policy-holders a bad name. Or does that only apply to the Old Firm rather than the infirm?
Boyle has sunk big bucks into Motherwell (although not enough in the direction of Brown and Knox by all accounts), and was almost sunk by that generosity as big-money acquisitions like Andy Goram and (without so much of a mention of tax-efficient measures) John Spencer pushed the Wee Alpha with big ambitions into administration, and 19 players into the dole queue.
But Motherwell and Boyle have bounced back, with cup final appearances, European football, and as a feeder club for future Aberdeen managers.
No one can fault Boyle’s dream or ambition of making Motherwell the third team in Scottish football, and a big club.
But if you are thinking big, at least act the same way. What the hell is the chairman of a top-grade Scottish football club doing on the pitch at the full-time whistle? It’s just not the done thing for someone in high office.
Surely the SFA must have at least one rule, regulation or bylaw covering that?
Those who were watching cricket’s world cup final from the off would have seen the confusion at the coin toss, just like the boat race a week ago, a crucial part of any contest.
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni spun the coin and thought he had won the toss. But New Zealand match referee Jeff Crowe did not hear a call from Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara.
So amazingly, after that false start, Crowe had to order a re-toss for arguably cricket’s biggest contest.
Sunday was no different when it came to false starts. The British Touring Car Championship, the premier race competition in the UK, was delayed when two cars had a coming-together. Nothing unusual there in a series which prides itself in wheel-to-wheel racing. Except this was on the warm-up lap.
For one team, it should have been a sponsor’s dream. A full 40 seconds focused on the front wing and bumper of the car – except the sponsor’s name was completely obliterated by tyre rubber.
But that indiscretion, rectified by some terrific racing later in the day, was nothing to the shambles in France when the Le Mans Series season got the green light. And that was where the problem lay.
For while everyone at the back of the field started racing, those at the front were still holding station behind the pace car which hadn’t pulled off.
Listen to the commentators – who are obviously in a shed nowhere near the south of France – trying to explain things as you watch the mayhem, battered egos and battered cars here
I know this clip is only three minutes of a six-hour race. But trust me, that was as exciting as it got…
Another sad week for athletics with European women’s marathon champion Živilė Balčiūnaitė banned for two years for doping.
Balčiūnaitė, 32, won the European title last July, becoming the first Lithuanian to take gold in the event.
I have to admit, I was rather suspicious at the time, especially when she kept overtaking the camera crew on their motorbike…
Taking of bikes, I received an advisory note about applying for accreditation for the Scottish Six Days Trial. No, I haven’t become a court correspondent.
This is to do with motorbikes and some of the most difficult off-road riding in the world, staged in the Highlands in May. Indeed, some say you haven’t made it until you’ve won this event.
Which reminded me of some press blurb sent out a year or two back from a manufacturer who listed the previous winners, something like: 2006 – Graham Jarvis, 2005 – Sam Connor, 2004 – Graham Jarvis, 2003 – Joan Pons, 2002 – Amos Bilbao, 2001 – Foot & Mouth.
I still wonder if it was Foot or Mouth who did the steering …
Mentioning court, the jury is still out on the Michael Jackson statue unveiled outside Fulham’s Craven Cottage at the weekend by club owner Mohamed Al-Fayed.
As we know, Jackson was a regular at Fulham in the same way Elvis Presley was in Prestwick.
Mr Al-Fayed was short and sweet when asked about those supporters who objected to the figure, saying they could “go to hell.”
While some liked it, and many turned up for the unveiling ceremony, others said it looked plastic, out of proportion and nothing like the real Michael Jackson.
So, quite lifelike, then…
As is this one.
St Johnstone boss Derek McInnes says the state of the McDiarmid Park pitch is hampering his team.
“It doesn’t lend itself to fluency and can make you look foolish at times,” said McInnes after the loss to Rangers in midweek. “I think it has affected our players a bit in home games as it’s not easy to play on that.”
Perhaps St Johnstone chairman Geoff Brown has got his wires crossed, having the pitch prepared to suit his other sporting love – namely nine-year-old grey Silver By Nature, the Grand National prospect – who, unlike McInnes, likes it good to soft.
Former England rugby coach Sir Clive Woodward decides it’s time he has his say about Wayne Rooney’s expletive-filled celebration at West Ham. But Woodward also questioned United manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s role concerning Rooney.
“Part of the coach’s job is to coach people to handle pressure moments,” said Woodward. “As a coach, you would need to ask ‘Why would you as a player do that?’”
Just as a great many people asked “What did you do, Sir Clive?” during his year in football when technical director at Southampton. Obvious. He became an expert on football.
That’s something basketball star LeBron James will might become after he took up a minority stakeholder in Liverpool FC after signing a representation deal with the club’s owners.
Fenway Sports Group has struck a deal to partner the Miami Heat player’s marketing firm to become his exclusive representatives, worldwide, which includes Liverpool.
James’ knowledge of soccer or that part of the world is probably minimal. So he wouldn’t know that Thursday was the first day of Aintree’s Grand National Meeting, or Liverpool Day as it has become known.
So we had comedian Ken Dodd cutting the ribbon to officially open proceedings, probably his shortest-ever show. And when it came to short, that was also the order of the day in terms of neck and hemlines.
Remember, it is April. It was sunny. And it is Liverpool. Second thoughts, LeBron?
After the rammy a few weeks ago at the Premier League darts in Glasgow, organisers obviously had learned a lesson or two.
Local hero Gary Anderson – whose match against Adrian Lewis sparked some disgusting crowd scenes – won 8–3 against Terry Jenkins, and the audience were happy.
But instead of topping the bill, Anderson was first on, a purely tactical move – before the locals got too tanked up.
Plenty of verbals for Lewis – on second with James Wade – but no beer-chucking. But then it was £4.50 a pint, and it was Aberdeen…
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