Red Flag to a Bull

Red Flag to a Bull

by | Nov 21, 2016 | Blog, Motorsport

After a largely two-horse race in Formula 1 this season, we’re certainly witnessing an exciting climax. The final showdown between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will take place in Abu Dhabi this weekend. There were moments during the recent Brazilian Grand Prix in São Paulo when the endless rain stoppages and safety car appearances meant Formula 1 looked in danger of letting down the main reason for its very existence – to thrill and excite the millions of fans around the world, especially those who pay to watch from the grandstands at the circuits. Of course, driver safety is of paramount importance. But the technological improvements in these areas have advanced so much over the last 20-30 years that serious driver injuries and fatalities are, thankfully, incredibly rare. Crucially, the spins, swerves, skids and crashes are all part of the overall entertainment package that keeps F1 followers glued to their seats and TV screens. Car beauty parades and timing stats may be enough for some ardent petrolheads, but the thrills and spills of on-track incidents are what the fans crave. There have been some great drives in the rain in the past, but two wet weather masters – sadly no longer with us – stand out for me. In 1976 in Fuji, conditions were so bad that the final race of the season was almost called off. Niki Lauda, the championship leader by three points going into the race, had narrowly escaped death earlier in the season in a horrific crash at Nürburgring. Nobody was surprised when the horrendous conditions moved Lauda to voluntarily retire from the race midfield. This left...
1966 and all that – is football success coming home?

1966 and all that – is football success coming home?

“50 YEARS OF HURT….. NEVER STOP ME DREAMING” Remember Frank Skinner and David Baddiel’s  England anthem “Football’s Coming Home” from 1996? It features the infamous line “30 years of hurt never stopped me dreaming”. Well,  it’s “50 years of hurt” now! England fans are still hurting, and their dreams of tournament success have faded as the failures pile up. It’s 50 years since the England football team won a major tournament but can we dare to dream of glory again in EURO2016? It has been a year of shocks in the Barclays Premier League with Leicester sitting at the top of the table after almost being relegated last season and the reigning champions Chelsea languishing in the bottom half. Remember when Denmark came off the beach to win EURO’92?  When Greece beat Portugal in their back yard to win the EURO title in 2004? Football is full or surprises, that’s for certain – don’t write off England just yet. “50 YEARS OF HURT….NEVER STOP ME DREAMING” England have a young team with some great emerging stars. Dele Alli, Ross Barkley and Harry Kane, in particular, are a trio of talent that may well come into their own in the summer. It’s possible that, for once, a lack of expectation on the part of England fans and the media may help the team by relieving the usual pressures that we traditionally pile on them prior to a tournament. Imagine if England were in a final or even in a semi-final (how many of us serial sufferers would settle for that!) and the excitement that would exude across the nation at home and on the road...
Can inspiration be the winning formula for England’s sports teams?

Can inspiration be the winning formula for England’s sports teams?

A massive summer of sport awaits but can inspiration be the winning formula for England’s sports teams? The national sport – football – has hardly led by example over the last few years. Sadly the England Under 21s failed to buck the trend with an early exit from the European Championships this week. But it’s not all bad news. Far from it in fact. Pride has been a buzzword across both the men and women’s senior teams of late – and recent success for both suggests inspiration could yet prove the secret to English sporting success. “Playing without fear” – taking inspiration from the past After his two goals during England’s recent qualifying win in Slovenia, Jack Wilshere admitted he had been inspired by watching the new film about former England midfielder Paul Gascoigne. “Playing without fear” was the main message he took on board while watching the newly-released documentary on the flight over to Ljubljana a fortnight ago. He certainly took it on board. The 3-2 victory that ensued, and all but secured England’s qualification for France 2016, was arguably Wilshere’s best game for his country so far. So can others follow his lead? Can inspiration be the winning formula for England’s sports teams? There are no shortages of opportunities for this theory to be put to the test in a packed summer of sport. England’s women are setting the standard for others to follow After Lucy Bronze’s stunning winner against Norway, England’s women have progressed to a World Cup quarter final clash with hosts Canada, just three games from glory. They have plenty of their own stories to tell,...
Kane and Able

Kane and Able

Harry Kane that is….quoted by another Harry (Redknapp) recently as the best striker in the Premiership. There certainly won’t be any Tottenham fans arguing with that and on Sunday yet again he performed heroics in winning a last gasp penalty to score a goal and rescue a point with seconds to go. A great start to 2015 has earned him the Barclays Player of the Month award for January with 5 goals to his name. He has now scored 24 goals in all competitions this season which is an impressive tally for the 21 year old local boy from Walthamstow. It is his young fresh “Roy of the Rovers” escapades on the pitch that has brought him to the forefront of Premier League superstar status and the attentions of many appreciative onlookers. Another Roy is eyeing him up with relish and rather unusually for an England Manager, has already confirmed in advance that he will be included in the England Senior squad for the friendly against Italy in March. Let’s hope Kane will also be an integral part of the England Under 21s team when they embark for the Czech Republic in June for the European Championships. U21 boss Gareth Southgate like Roy Hodgson must be licking his lips in anticipation of this new young lion who has so much to offer this summer and beyond. The experience and benefit he can gain from being part of a tournament campaign where if successful will take much valued experience, confidence and pride to the Senior European Championships in France in 2016. If only all the other players eligible to play...
Joseph and his technicolor dream shirt

Joseph and his technicolor dream shirt

So is Jonathan Joseph the new star of the England Rugby Team?…he has certainly made his mark in the 6 Nations so far with his 3 tries in the opening 2 matches. Had it not been for injuries then he may not have even been in the starting fifteen against Wales but then a bit of luck is often needed to launch an international sporting career. And he has certainly grasped the opportunity with both hands….firmly on the egg shaped ball! JJ has a certain flair that evokes fond memories of Jerry Guscott, another graduate of Bath who are playing swashbuckling rugby at home and in Europe.  Memories of the creativity of Rory Underwood, the speed of Jason Robinson aka Billy Wizz and of course the ingenuity & magic of Jonny Wilkinson. How refreshing to see this new young talent emerge just in time for the impending Rugby World Cup. You can imagine him being the star of the show and dare we believe carrying home the Webb Ellis trophy in a sweet chariot….us England fans can dare to dream as we did before in 2003. The England Rugby team are now building in confidence in the current 6 Nations but another huge test is still to come in 2 weeks time when Ireland will have to be overcome in their backyard to stop their unbeaten run and continue England’s. This almighty battle will more than likely decide the eventual tournament winners and then it will come down to England’s last match against France to hopefully top it all off with the Grand Slam too. Will Joseph continue to...