"..a bardy view!"

Cor blimey! Dick Van Dyke (on your bike!)

The news that the official Olympic ball used for the football tournaments in 2012 will be called the Albert, is according to Adidas, a homage to the 2012 Games being synonymous with the East End of London and its Cockney heritage. 

"The Albert" comes from the cockney rhyming slang for ball – ie "The Albert Hall".

Traditionally a cockney is someone born within the peal of the Bells of Bow, yet the Olympic Stadium is considerably outside those audible chimes – but whats a few facts when the world is watching?

I'm not quite sure how the rest of the UK will take the news, after all, they may be called the London Olympics, but this type of localised sentiment is unlikely to endear interest from the other bits outside the capital, and panders to those who feel ostracised from them.

Football fans in Newcastle, Liverpool and Manchester may be peeved that the name relates to the south where arch rivals Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur abide. And lets not forget Scotland and Wales, for surely it is their Olympics as well – at least I think it is.  Devolution hasn't totally separated them – yet!

Indeed I do believe that the UK team will be called Team GB and comprise players from all points of the venerable isles and played around the country.

Still, when our hopefuls kick the Albert around with their plates and knock it with their loaf, I hope the teapots will be proud and our chinas will rabbit merrily around the jack with the pig, when afterwards they'll wander home for their tommy before the dickory hits twelve!

Would you adam and eve it Mary Poppins?

Plates = plates of meat: feet. Loaf = loaf of bread: head. Teapots = teapot lids: kids. Chinas = china plates: mates. Rabbit = rabbit and pork: talk. Jack = jack tar: bar. Pigs = pigs ear: beer. Tommy = tommy tucker: supper. Dickory = hickory, dickory, dock: clock. Adam and Eve = believe.

The big question is: Why? Chim Chimanee! Apologies to all me ol' cockney chinas! If I have any left after this!


July 25, 2011 Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Events, Humour, London, Sport, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

World Cup 2010 – The End of Football As We Know It!

Unfortunately, this is the World Cup which changed the game. No longer will we be able to get riled and angry blaming "the Ref". No longer can we have arguments in the pub about dubious decisions. No longer can the referee's decision be final.

After today, the glorious game will be monitored by technological micro chips, and if it happens at FIFA, it will happen at UEFA and eventually football associations around the world.

Congratulations to Spain, but just prior to their goal, there where two decisions which could have affected it.

When Maradona's Hand of God gave Argentina the divine intervention, England suffered in 1986. Then, for all the huff and bluster, it was regarded as dubious sportsmanship, nay gamesmanship and the name of the game.

In the South African World Cup, England again was the victim of a poor decision in their match with Germany. Could these events have changed England's mental and physical performance in both these games? Who knows.

Holland were superb in the 70's but never won the tournament. They took it well each time they made it to the finals, and that small country was big enough to handle it. As they will now. The Netherlands is unique in Europe. It is the most charming country, and I for one feel utmost pain at their defeat.

England were on the top of their game in 1970. As Champions they had the greatest collection of players in the world. However, a win on home soil at Wembley and then to play in the oppressive heat of Mexico demanded physical fitness and acclimatisation which most players were not used to, and they didn't play for teams overseas either.

On top of that the respected captain Bobby Moore was arrested for stealing some bracelet or other. Clearly innocent, it was an event that he and the players needed to rise to. How that would have been treated by 24 hour news media today I dread to think. No doubt the BBC and Sky would have catapulted their journalists all and sundry to dig the dirt.

Fortunately, that facility wasn't available back then. I'd like to think that Alf Ramsey would have shoved his opinions up where the sun doesn't shine (Fabbio take note).

But let's remember the greatest ever football match – that one in Mexico between England and Brazil. Sadly, if the micro-chip existed then, perhaps we wouldn't remember at all.

I remember the game, Brazil won 1-0 and I remember Moore swapping shirts with Pele. (Tomorrow, at some point, a lawyer will seek a ruling on health and safety, implying that his client caught an itch, which may interfere with his future performance or potential modelling career because of a rash. The days of shirt swapping will soon be over!)

Joking aside the problems are obvious. The flow of the game will be interrupted in the future. The heat and passion will be removed. The referee and his linesmen will not have ultimate authority, but usurped by the micro-chip – in the ball, in the net, and God knows elsewhere.

Big Brother has arrived in the great game. Fans may think this a step forward, but they do not realise the loss of human interaction. Football has almost become a non-contact sport, and what would be the point of defenders giving their all if their tackle can be instantly replayed. Ok for the pundits and followers, but for the referee his whistle would just be a passage of hot air.

The money is so huge, the international prestige and showcase so massive, that there is no room for error.

American team sports are clinical affairs dictated by sponsors and advertising. Today Wimbledon uses the technology to ensure a ball in or out. The likes of McEnroe, Borg, Connors, Năstase etc could not have been as entertaining with the electronic all powerful spy. And as for the women – I'd rather watch Yvonne Goolagong over the William sisters any day.

The new Centre Court roof was a reaction to the British weather (or was it the prospect of Cliff Richard singing again?) yet it planted a carbuncle on the stadium, and surely it is a lousy investment that will rarely be used? The summers are getting drier according to the climate change bods. (Yeah – its Cliff's fault!)

In tennis, human officials have been replaced by the micro-chip, and the game has suffered. When was the last great Wimbledon tournament?

Rugby has it's sin bin, but it is a contact sport and the referee must be respected. He has a link in his earpiece to a third referee when he needs it.  Cricket still maintains its umpire authority except when a wicket is in dispute.

Football (and by the way FIFA stands for Federation of International Football Associations for anyone thinking that the game is called "soccer" – It's not FISA) is different. This World Cup has created a knee-jerk reaction, fuelled mainly by media pundits because England had a goal disqualified.

Sepp Blatter (the FIFA bigwig) after much soul searching (about 48 hours) concluded that goal-line technology must be implemented – something he has rejected for years. But the power of the dollar is paramount. The money is too great. Football must enter the techno, clinical world of absolute accuracy.

This World Cup was not the greatest, but it meant alot for South Africa. Whilst they and the Spanish will dance into the night, and for many nights to come, a wake will be held elsewhere -  because the truth is football died in 2010 and it will never be the same again.


July 12, 2010 Posted by | Cricket, Culture, Current Affairs, Football, General, London, Politics, Sport, Tennis, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


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