Friday, 15 April 2011

McIlroy and Murray must conquer demons

Watching Rory McIlroy’s game disintegrate on Sunday under the strain of the chance to win his first Major Championship, I couldn’t help but be reminded of another talented British sportsman, tennis player Andy Murray.
Both of these players are among the best in the world in their chosen sport. Murray has now played in three Grand Slam finals in his relatively short career, but each time he has reached the final, he has frozen like a rabbit in the headlights, and not won a set as all three opportunities have passed him by.
McIlroy must ensure that the same fate doesn’t befall him. He is an outrageously talented player, who has the potential to be the best player of his generation. He must stay patient and trust that if he keeps working hard, and managed to keep his head, that the rewards that his talent so richly deserves will come. The problem that Murray has is that he wants it too much. The burden of having a nation that hasn’t experienced a Grand Slam success for over 75 years has proven too much for him. Next time he finds himself in a Grand Slam final (and there will be plenty of opportunities, he is that good) he must relax and play it like any other match, and forget his previous defeats.
McIlroy must do the same the next time he finds himself leading a Major with one day to go.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Time to ban drug cheats once and for all

I have been absolutely amazed to see over recent months that Tour De France winner Alberto Contandor has been allowed to continue competing after testing positive for banned substance, Clenbuterol, a muscle building drug. The positive test was provided after one of the stages in the Tour De France last year, which Contandor won.
He blamed ingesting contaminated beef for failing the test. It seems amazing to me that somebody like Contador can get away with it, whilst athletes like Lance Armstrong are constantly plagued by allegations of doping, despite never having failed a drugs test.
As far as I am concerned you are responsible for any substance that is found in your body, and believe that people like Contador and also Manchester City footballer Kolo Toure should be banned for failing tests, despite any pathetic excuses they might have.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Keys and Gray forced out for pub talk

Whilst it appears increasingly obvious that Andy Gray and Richard Keys have been forced out of Sky for nothing more than indulging in a conversation that millions of men have up and down the country every week, I must admit to finding it extremely satisfying not to have to see their smug, self indulgent faces on the Sky Football programming that they have dominated for the last twenty years.
I, for one, have stopped watching the Monday Night Football programme, as I have felt that that this show has no longer been about the match being shown that night, but has been the ‘Andy Gray’ show with his trusty sidekick ‘Dickie’ in some sort of bizarre Batman and Robin combination.
It is about time things were freshened up at the very top of Sky’s football coverage with young presenters such as Ben Shepherd and Ed Chamberlain looking likely to step up and fill the shoes of Keys, with Jamie Redknapp set to step in for Gray having shown promise over the last few years with some insightful and intelligent analysis of the matches that he covers.
If I was in charge of Sky, though, there would be one man for the job and that is Robbie Savage. I am sure anybody reading this (hello Mum!) might think this a strange appointment given his controversial playing career, and I think for that reason it is unlikely that they will go for someone as colourful as Savage.
However anybody who has ever heard his work as a co-commentator on Five Live will know that he takes his media work extremely seriously, whilst showing his more brash and amusing side on the phone in on a Saturday evening.
And nobody could say that Robbie Savage wasn’t in touch with his feminine side. More than once I have actually noticed a more than passing resemblance to BBC Sport presenter Hazel Irvine with his long flowing blonde locks.
It will be interesting to see where Sky now goes with this. It can only be hoped that they aren’t going to go with the soon to retire Gary Neville, who Daily Telegraph writer Jim White, this week called ‘the most charmless man in football’.
One thing is for certain though, we won’t be seeing Keys or Gray on our TV screens for a long time to come.