Thursday, 3 December 2009

Carling Cup Semi-Finals

Here is the draw for the Carling Cup semi-finals. Just click on each club to visit their websites and find out all about them:

Manchester City v Manchester United

Blackburn Rovers v Aston Villa

Monday, 12 October 2009

FC United of Manchester

Due to an unfortunate mishap on the M6 en route, I missed yesterday's wonderful (by all accounts) 3-3 draw with Stalybridge Celtic in the FA Cup. But I will be driving very carefully on Tuesday to the replay.

As some consolation I received these photos of the game via Twitter.

Ooohh FC United!

Thanks to FCUM and Helen for Tweeting details.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Mark Hughes Consoles Craig Bellamy

Mark Hughes consoles Craig Bellamy (left) in the Old Trafford toilets after a last minute winner from Michael Owen gave United all three points against Manchester City. Bellamy was heard repeatedly sobbing: "We was robbed boyo" for at least an hour after the game.

There are unsubstantiated reports that Hughes has made an appointment for him to see a psychiatrist.

After a huge bang was heard in Manchester yesterday afternoon police have reassured concerned residents, it was only Manchester City's bubble bursting.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Manchester United v Manchester City

Tomorrow (Sunday 20 September) sees the first Manchester Derby since Manchester City officially became the most deluded football club in the world. This Sporting Life predicts the following result:

Manchester United 3 World's Most Deluded Football Club 0

Anybody in Manchester tomorrow afternoon should be warned, there will be lots of loud bangs as Manchester City fans' bubbles burst. But don't worry, the red three quarters of Manchester will be in celebratory and jovial mood, and they are the ones who know how to party, so join them and have a good time.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Things They Say

Alan Minter- "Sure, there have been deaths in boxing but none of them

Pat Glenn- Weightlifting commentator- "And this is Gregoriava from
Bulgaria. I saw her snatch this morning and it was amazing!"

New Zealand Rugby Commentator- "Andrew Mehrtens loves it when Daryl Gibson
comes inside of him."

Ted Walsh- Horse Racing Commentator- "This is really a lovely horse. I
once rode her mother."

Winston Bennett- "I've never had major knee surgery on any other part of
my body."

Murray Walker- F1 Racing Commentator- "The lead car is absolutely unique,
except for the one behind it which is identical."

Greg Norman- "I owe a lot to my parents, especially my Father and Mother."

Terry Venables- "If history repeats itself, I should think we can expect
the same thing again."

Ron Atkinson- "I would not say that David Ginola is the best left winger
in the Premiership, but there are none better."

Harry Carpenter at the Oxford-Cambridge boat race 1977- "Ah, isn't that
nice. The wife of the Cambridge President is kissing the Cox of the Oxford

Metro Radio- "Julian Dicks is everywhere. It's like they've got eleven
Dicks on the field."

David Acfield- "Strangely, in slow motion replay, the ball seems to hang
in the air for even longer."

Stuart Hall- Radio 5 live- "What will you do when you leave football,
Jack? Will you stay in football?"

David Coleman at the Montreal Olympics- "And there goes Juantorena down
the back straight, opening his legs and showing his class."

US PGA Commentator- "One of the reasons Arnie (Arnold Palmer) is playing
so well is that, before each tee shot, his wife takes out his balls and kisses
them.... Oh my god!!!!! What have I just said?!!!!"

A female news anchor who, the day after it was supposed to
have snowed and didn't, turned to the weatherman and asked "So Bob, where's
that eight inches you promised me last night? " Not only did HE have to
leave the set, but half the crew did too, because they were laughing so much.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Manchester City Fan Speaks Out

Tracy from Stockport says: "City are brill, I've loved 'em since I was born a mong, well since Robinho signed for 'em. United have bought loads of titles, bastards, now we have loads of dosh we'll win loads of trophy things but we'll do it on merit".

That's the difference between a real football fan and a City fan!

From Teletext letters:

Re: Andy, Manchester. Easy money has made Manchester City and their fans lose all sense of proportion. Bellamy, Wright-Phillips, Tevez and co are Galacticos? Rejecticos more like!
Gregg Beaman

FC United Win

Ossett 1 FC United 2

Missed the game today but well done chaps. Will be there on Saturday at Kendal.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Wenger The Mard Arse

Arsenal lose and guess what? Yes, Wenger cries like a big girl. If you want a laugh here is the full BBC report.

Arsene Wenger (left) being consoled by Pat Rice in the Old Trafford toilets.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Retford 1 FC United of Manchester 1

First point of the season for FC, well done lads.

And Man United won 5-0 at Wigan.

Not a bad day, shame the Berties won though, they'll be getting all giddy again.

Liverpool FC-Fan Focus

Mandy was voted Liverpool's sexiest female supporter last season by readers of Liverpool's fanzine 'Trains, Planes and Automobile Thieves'.

She works as a pie taster for Murphy's Pride of Scouse Bakers. As a dedicated lifelong fan the club give her a special discount on her season ticket and only charge her for one seat.

She famously did a half-time belly dance in Istanbul in 2005, AC Milan claim that the effect on their players led to them throwing away a 3-0 lead and losing the final.

Thursday, 20 August 2009


If you've never experienced Speedway racing then you really should. This race, from 2004, captures all the skill, speed,excitement and danger of the sport. Go on, give it a try, you know you should!

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Relentless Boardmasters, Newquay-Free Beer!

This week sees the Relentless Boardmasters Festival in Newquay, Full details here.

All kinds of boarding events and live music from, among others, The Streets and the Super Furry Animals.

If you see one of us in our 'This Sporting Life Blog' t-shirt, pint in hand and say, "I read your blog", we will buy you your beer for the remainder of the festival, from the minute you spot us!

It starts today and ends on Sunday.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

X-Fighters 2009

I love Speedway, Superbikes, the TT, the Tour de France, in fact most sports on two wheels. These guys take some beating for skill and sheer bottle:

Obscure Sports-Extreme Ironing

OK, I've known women get Coronation Street on to watch while ironing clothes but this really is extreme.

Extreme Ironing website.

We can only imagine not only the adrenalin rush, but the sense of satisfaction at that perfect crease!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Obscure Sports-Unicycle Hockey

Some years back I came across this sport and must track it down to watch a game. It is played in the UK and has its own world championship. If you are interested here is their website.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Manchester City Lose Again-Don't Laugh!

City fans have always scoffed at successful clubs for allegedly "buying" success. They also whine on and on about Manchester United supporters supposedly not coming from Manchester, which is obvious bollocks to anybody who grew up in Manchester.

How nice now then to see them squandering millions of quid given to them by "foreigners" from outside Manchester. The really nice thing though is that in true MCFC style, they are still getting beat:

A disputed goal saw Manchester City suffer a second defeat on their three-match tour of South Africa, beaten 1-0 by home side Kaizer Chiefs at Pretoria's Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

Chiefs' midfielder Jeffrey Ntuka brought the ball under control with his hand before shooting home the winner from a corner in the 42nd minute of City's last match of their week-long visit.

Emmanuel Adebayor made his debut after signing from Arsenal and the Togolese international wasted a good chance to equalise, shooting over the top from close range in the 55th minute.

I know it's only a pre-season tour, but I wonder what the odds are on the "richest club in the world" being relegated at the end of the coming season?

Le Tour de France

Around 750,000 spectators were on Mont Ventoux to see the true heroes of the sporting world complete the penultimate stage of this year's Tour de France.

Contador has won the Tour but Armstrong remains third and Bradley Wiggins fourth overall. Who will join Contador on the podium in Paris tomorrow?

Le Tour de France Official Website

AS Roma-Fan Focus

Each Saturday as kick-off approaches there will be a focus on a real football fan. Here is the first ever, an AS Roma fan:

She is not an athlete, but she is tightly connected with the world of football, being one of the most famous supporters of the Italian football club AS Roma. Her devotion to the club is so big that in order to celebrate the 2001 Italian championship title, she performed a striptease in the middle of the stadium, to the delight of the present fans. Her sexy calender sold over one million copies, which is a record in Italy.

Sabrina, sei troppo bella!

Le Tour de France-Mont Ventoux

The day before Le Tour reaches Paris is usually a relatively gentle ride, not this year, this year the organisers have pulled off a masterstroke of torture. Today Le Tour takes in Mont Ventoux, one of the toughest climbs in cycling and the mountain where British rider Tommy Simpson collapsed and died in 1967.

So get all those odd jobs done for 1-00pm and watch the excellent live coverage on ITV4.

Priced out of Football

The following article, by David Conn, appeared in 2007 but is well worth looking at again:

Tom Woodhouse is 24 and loves his football. He reads about it, reels off player stats like a human Opta and rarely misses watching a big game in the pub with his mates. He never, though, goes to a live match. Tickets grew savagely expensive through his childhood, and his Dad took Tom and his brother Sam to rugby league instead. Tom went to the University of Central Lancashire, where Blackburn was the nearest Premier League club, but as a student Tom could not afford around £30 for a ticket. Neither he nor his mates ever developed the habit of going to games live.

"Now I'm working I could afford it," he says. "But if I have £30 to spare, I'd prefer maybe to do some sport myself, or have a night out, rather than spend it on watching 90 minutes of football."

In the recent, long-overdue criticism of the Premier League's wallet-screwing ticket prices, nobody pointed out its most obvious effect: a large proportion of those who cannot afford to go to matches are young. Before the rampant ticket inflation, young people crowded on to the terraces of the big clubs and became fans for life, but since the Premier League was formed in 1992, a large part of a generation has been priced out. Clubs have mostly offered concessions - still not cheap - for under-16s but above that they have charged full price. Few teenagers, students or young people in their first jobs can afford £30 a ticket, or £400 for a season ticket, even with some clubs' credit deals, at 19.9% APR.

According to the Premier League's most recent supporters' survey, last season just 9%, less than one in 10 supporters, was under 24. The average age of a Premier League fan was 43, part of the balding army who fell in love with football in the 1970s, then developed a supporting habit through the 1980s when it still cost £2 or £3 to get in.

The memory that terraces were packed with teenagers and young lads - not always, it has to be said, behaving impeccably - is supported by the limited statistics available from the time. In those earthier days, the Football League did not conduct surveys of those paying at the turnstiles and pouring in, but some clubs pondering commercial strategies did employ Leicester University's Sir Norman Chester Centre to do so. The surveys found that at Coventry City, then in the old First Division, in 1983, 22% of fans were aged 16-20. At Aston Villa as late as 1992, the survey found 25% of the crowd was 16-20, while at Arsenal, then League Champions, 17% of fans were 16-20.

The proportion of young people steadily reduced as prices went up after the Taylor Report recommended all-seater stadia in 1990, and the First Division clubs broke away from the other three divisions to form the Premier League two years later. In 1989-90, the average price to watch Manchester United was £4.71; it was £5.41 to go to Anfield, £6.71 to see George Graham's Arsenal. The lowest prices, to stand, were a good deal cheaper than that. Lord Justice Taylor called on the clubs not to use all-seater refurbishments as a reason to raise ticket prices, but although they were given up to £2m grants of public money to aid their rebuilding, the clubs all ignored his recommendation.

Clubs do not publish average ticket prices now, but, roughly, they have put the cost up by 600% since then, while, according to the Office for National Statistics, prices in general rose around 82% over the same period. At Manchester United, most tickets are between £30 and £37 now, Liverpool charge mostly £32 for category B games, £34 for category A, while Arsenal charge between £32 and £66 for category B games, £46 and £94 for category A. All three clubs make some half-price concession tickets available for young people but only until the age of 16.

The Premier League responds to the criticism that rising costs have priced people out by recalling that attendances were lower in the 1980s, when the game was blighted by hooliganism and the squalid state of some grounds. Total attendances are up 65% since 1992, with Manchester United's sell-out 76,000 crowds setting records. "The under-24s figure may be 9%," a Premier League spokesman said, "but it is 9% of higher crowds than before, so we don't know if there are fewer young people overall. Some clubs have reduced prices for next season and we have always encouraged clubs to have a range of prices."

Yet the Premier League's evidence does seem to back up the blindingly obvious at matches, that going to football is no longer a coming-of-age ritual for younger people. The Norman Chester Centre's surveys for the Premier League between 1994 and 2001 found the crowd was steadily ageing. Older fans were returning to the revitalised game while the loyal stayed with it, and paid the increases. A younger generation grew up watching the game in pubs.

John Williams, of Leicester University's renamed Centre for the Sociology of Sport, recalls the Premier League being attracted by US sport, and deliberately aiming for a well-off audience. "Crowd loyalty and numbers are greater now because of the Premier League's attractiveness," he says. "But clearly there are dramatically fewer young people. In the 1980s there was a problem with hooliganism partly because young people were there, they could afford to go. For all its problems, there was something socially healthy about football being an inclusive place where people from all backgrounds came together. Something really quite important has been lost."

The sports minister, Richard Caborn, agrees, saying that clubs' community work with disadvantaged young people is undermined by the fact that those same young people cannot afford to watch the clubs' matches. "If they are serious about social inclusion, the clubs have to make that link," he said.

The German Football Association (DFB) decided to allow standing - still a contentious issue here - partly to enable cheaper prices to be available for younger people. Top level Bundesliga games can be watched for as little as £6. "Football, being a people's sport, should not banish the socially disadvantaged from its stadia," the DFB said in a policy statement. "Football is culture. It involves the solidarity inspired by a sense of community. For young people, fan culture is an important factor in the development of their personality."

Steven Powell, of the Football Supporters Federation, which is running a petition for £15 as a fair price to watch football here, believes our clubs are storing up a problem for crowds' loyalty in the future: "Football will bitterly regret losing an entire generation. The clubs should have learned from North American sport about how to run a competitively balanced league, but they learned the wrong lesson. They put prices up, and ignored social inclusion. Our football administrators are obsessed with money above all else."


Le Tour de France-Mark Cavendish

Mark Cavendish is pure class. Yesterday he won a fifth stage to beat Barry Hoban's British record. Next year he will have that green jersey and hopefully will win in Paris tomorow. LINK TO FULL STORY

Le Tour de France Official Website

Miss Liverpool Speaks Out

"Me and me dad and me mam, who are me brother and sister too, are dead pleased Stevie B got off with twatting that fella. Sorry about that, I meant Stevie G, speling was never me strong point coz I concentrated on me glamour career rather than me 3Ds. I'm sick of Scousers being victimised, even by each other".

Friday, 24 July 2009

Ice Hockey-Not For Nancy Boys!

Some Women Should Be Allowed In Football Grounds!

Q: What's Unique About This Photograph?

A: It's a Scouser leaving court after being found NOT guilty.

They should have tried him in Manchester!


Welcome to This Sporting Life, a new blog looking at the world of sport from a purely personal perspective.

Over the coming months, maybe years, I intend to inform, chat and obsess about the sports that I follow. Sadly participation is now restricted to pottering about on my old Dutch bike.

Enjoy and please comment as you see fit, preferably politely.