Sorry Pat

Well, there you go.

Last week I cursed the name of Pat Cash, former Wimbledon Champion turned tennis columnist for his unequivocal backing of one A. Murray to take this year’s title.

Sticking to my principles, oh alright then, superstitions, I thought that as Mr. Cash had, the previous Sunday, endorsed Rafa to go all the way only to see Rafa not getting to the end of the first day it was all over for Andy.

And it would all be Pat’s fault for daring not only to think the unthinkable but to print it in a National newspaper.

So, SORRY PAT.

Altogether now,

THERE’S ONLY ONE ANDY MURRAY
THERE’S ONLY ONE ANDY MURRAY
ONE ANDY MURRRRRRRRRRAY
THERE’S ONLY ONE ANDY MURRAY

Well done Andy, I never doubted you would do it one day!

Wimbledon and The Role Of Snobbery In British Sport

Today’s blog comes from Guest Blogger The Hon. Tosser Olde – Phart, secretary of The Society For Preserving Snobbery In Sport.

Egad! A british chappie is in the final of the Gentleman’s singles at Wimbledon. Damn poor show in my opinion, this Murray fellow is certainly not a gentleman, one of his grandfathers was a professional footballer. Now some of you might be thinking “well so what, it’s better than all those Froggies, Dagoes, Yanks and damned colonials who usually win it. But is that so?

There are some of us who are still aware that the class system is the only thing that holds Britain together and so if we are to have a winner of Wimbledon it is more important that he is the right sort of chap than that he is British.

And as I say there are no gentlemen in the sport any more, the damned ruffians are all in it for the money. They are professionals. A true gentleman would never sully himself with tawdry commnercialism.

To make matters worse, the damned fellow is a Jocko. Who decided to allow Scots into the All England club. Is nothing sacred?

It is seventy four years since we last had a British chappie in the final. Bunnay Awsten was the last and I have to say things have been allowed to slide a lot since then. Names are important for a start. Bunny was a proper name for a gentleman amateur, it conveys the impression that he excels without actually trying very hard, that he does not take things too seriously. An English gentleman must never be seen to be taking things seriously.

Nowadays we have people called Andy, John, Jamie, Roger, Novak and Goran playing. Those are not gentlemens’ names, they’re bus drivers’ names. No wonder the chaps are not ashamed to be drinking their lemon barley water from the bottle at changeovers. People with bus driver’s names will behave as bus drivers would. In Bunny’s day competitors in the Gentlemens’ Singles would take their valet along to the court to mix their lemon barley water in a crystal decanter and serve their drinks from a silver salver. It is not winning that is important but how one wins.

One must wonder however is Lemon Barley water a suitable drink for a gentleman. Old Bunny would not have been seen dead drinking Lemon Barley water. He liked to sip a Pimms while taking his minute break and was often seen smoking a Dunhill cigarette through the Tortoiseshell holder he was presented with for winning the Swurrey Conty Gentlemens’ singles on four consecutive occasions.

It is a good thing that we have a British player contesting the British Tennis Championship but it would have been so much better is standards had been kept up.

Wimbledon: Qualifiers and disqualifiers.

Having a lazy afternoon watching tennis today as there is still nothing in the news worth getting excited about. I really can’t be arsed trying to put a satirical spin on the stoey of the Royal ginge and the lingerie model.

At the moment down in SW19, Jo Wilfred Tsonga is giving Federer a fright which is good not so much because with Federer out Andy Murry’s chances will be improved but because Tsonga is actually an entertaining player to watch, a rare thing these days.

Elsewhere the uber-bore Novak Djokovic is playing a guy who fought his way through the qualifying rounds. Shades of Boris Becker who was supposed to be commentating today but was last seen dragging Kete Middleton’s more nubile sister off towards the broom cupboard.

The only match apart from Federer – Tsonga I’ve taken any notice of this year also involved Djokovic who was playing the Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis. Baghdatis played brilliantly but was overpowered in the end.

It’s a pity but even if he had won and gone on to fight his way through to the semi finals he would have had to be disqualified for the worst crime in professional tennis – having a personality.

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Greenteeth Sport Menu

They Shoot Horses Don’t They?

Play will resume today in the longest tennis match ever.

The score was level last night at two sets all and 59 games all in the final set, when the match was halted due to bad light and possibly the fact that the contenders, Isner of the USA and Mahut of France, could barely manage to shuffle from one side of the court to the other.
We started following it when it was 17 games all, flicking over to see how it was going on during lulls in the footie and noting the milestones as they fell:

longer than the classic semi final of Borg vs Gerulitis,

the final game longer than the entire final between Federer and Nadal two years ago,

the longest match ever in the professional era,

the longest match ever in any era and so on and on and on….

We flicked back at the end of the footie when my prediction was they would both be too knackered so the game must have ended.
We had another look after we had taken SezJez’s birthday cake down to the pub and stayed for an hour.

We went straight to it when we got back in from the pub a second time after going down for the buffet and cake cutting and still they were playing, only now it was a parody of a tennis match, with both players barely able to lift their feet yet still managing to bang in the serves, many of which would not have been aces had the opponent had enough energy to move a step to right or left to return the ball.
Every time they sat down at the change of ends you thought one or both of them wouldn’t get up again.

It reminded me of those danceathons they used to hold in depression era America, just keep on going through the motions until you are the last man standing.

I honestly felt someone should have put them out of their misery, well they shoot horses don’t they?

Pies And Prejudice or How Southerners Can Learn To Love The North

George Osborne did his much anticipated budget speech today but to be honest it has been anticipated so much for so long I couldn’t be arsed listening. Wimbledon holds few attractions and watching bald blokes analyze the World Cup is my idea of dying and going to hell so I buried myself in a book.

Some things will never change, budget or no budget and one of those things is the North South divide. This is the subject of Pies and Prejudice by Stuart Maconie. Though I missed this book when it first came out about three years ago I am finding it is essential reading and should be on the national curriculum under literature, geography and sociology. Three text books for the price of one, that ought to appeal to the government.

Pies and Prejudice is essential reading for everybody. For northerners it is an affirmative experience, for southerners who seek to understand the psychology of the north it is an education and for southerners taught we in the north a ignorant, violent lardarses whe left schhol at six to work in grime mines and conditioned to react with fear and loathing when they hear a flat vowel or see a flat hat, a palliative drug. Seeing as these people must ever live with the knowledge that The North is less than two hours away (or five days if you travel by Virgin Trains) they need all the palliative drugs they can get.

Here are a couple of gems from the book to whet your appetite:

“It was my dinner, not lunch. Gordon Gekko in Wall Street sneered that ‘lunch is for wimps’ but it would have been more accurate to say lunch is for southerners. Up north we have our dinner in the middle of the day and our tea at night. A little defiantly my scouse agent and I will still talk about going ‘out for our tea’ even if we’re going somewhere terribly chi-chi in the West End. And don’t get me started on supper. A TV producer once invited me round for supper and I was genuinely flummoxed. Supper means something very specific in the north and I was rather bemused by the prospect of going round to her house in Chiswick at half ten at night in my dressing gown to have digestive biscuits and cheese off my lap while watching the telly.

Crewe has a Greggs and like every other Greggs in the UK it is packed. Greggs tasty, home baked fare has become synonymous with that other contemporary phenomenon, the chav, a tasteless, pallid, Burberry wearing, jewellery encrusted prole usually found as freakish exhibitions on mid – morning TV shows after they have married their probation officer’s mum or some such.

Pies and Prejudice by Stuart Maconie. (Amazon) It might not make you love the north but it will make you laugh.

More reviews:
How to tell a Makem from a Monkey Hanger
There’s more to the north
behind Maconie’s crafted wordplay is a serious thesis: that the North is more than its image.

Mr & Mrs Lardarse join the school council

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Wimbledon and Blame Culture.

It has been a good week for apportioning blame and pointing fingers. Everybody blamed the government for the terrorist attacks, Ambre Solaire admitted they were to blame for the Wimbledon washout, in a series of double page ads they reminded us that the showcourts have no rooves so until punters can be persuaded to buy sufficient Ambre Solaire to ward off harmful rays they will continue to hire a Shaman from the Serengetti to perform a rain dance. (Weeell they did not actually say that but it was, you know, implicit in the ads.)
The Iraq war was blamed for the price of petrol edging nearer to £1 per litre, smoking was blamed for all society’s ills, the smoking ban was blamed, probably rightly, for the death of George Melly. It was said George could not face the prospect of going to a pub, club or restaurant without being able to chain smoke. I hope the ban smoking lobby hang their heads in shame, all society’s ills times ten are nothing compared to the loss of George.
On top of all that, I heard someone blame the failure of our tennis players at Wimbledon on Tony Blair’s obsession with targets but I’m not having that.
The dismal showing of our Wimbledon hopefuls was not the fault of anybody’s failure to hit targets but of the failure of British players to hit tennis balls.

The King Is Dead, Long Live The King.

So Tim is out.
“Tim who?” you say.
How quickly we forget our fallen heroes. One dodgy result and Tiger Tim, Titan of the tennis court is obliterated from the public consciousness as we charge forward, eager to crown a new hero. Long live wee Andy Murray, a Scottish laddie of suitably clean cut demeanour (though not wee at all, even by tennis player standards,) the new hero of – what do we call Henman Hill now, Murray Mound?
But what of the erstwhile great wet hope? Is it truly the end for Henman. One commentator pointed out, rather ungraciously I thought, that only one player aged over thirty has won Wimbledon in recent years. Perhaps that is because most have taken the money and run from the game that made them rich long before they reach their fourth decade. But golfers go until they are past fifty, even footballers and athletes can stretch it to thirty – five if they are lucky.
Age may not have withered Timmy – boy but custom (and some rather indelicate comments) have staled his infinite variety. In a rather more robust variation on the Delia Smith faux pas our number one appealed to the crowd to “make some fucking noise.”
Failure to grasp the golden moment of opportunity does not damn to perdition a British sports star, we love our gallant losers and surely not even the most straight laced can be shocked by the F word any more, after all it is used merely as punctuation, like “y’know.”
Where Tim Henman has stitched himself up is in believing that the class system is dead. Not in bloody tennis it isn’t. And so while the middle class must hate him for stooping to working class vernacular in order to vent his frustration, the working class will never forgive him for sounding embarrassed about it. (The upper class of course were far too drunk to be aware that anything was going on of course.)

Wimbledon

Bring Out Your Dead

The tumbrils are ready in SW17, the charnel houses of South London are preparing for an influx of customers.
Like virgins to the altar (oops sorry; this is not a Solstice piece) like lambs to the ritual slaughter Britain’s young tennis hopefuls will be taken through the streets the place of execution, The All England Club where they will kneel before axepersons with names like Federer, Roddick, Williams and Clijsters. The axe usually falls mercifully quickly to cut off careers that had promised so much.
Every year at this time sports pundits ask why can Britain not produce a contender. And ghostly eminences of Andrew Castle, Chris Bailey and Annabel Croft rattle their chains and cry “I cudda been a contender.” But seriously, could they? The dichotomy (Ian shows off his Guardian reader vocabulary there,) of British sport is that while we want our champions to win we do not want them to be winners. Thus is the British hope condemned forever to be the jolly nice chap or chapess who is nearly great. This is why Tiger Tim never quite made it of course, (apart from being saddled with a nickname taken from an under-5s comic character) he is just to well brought up. You can imagine him, when his opponent slams a second serve into the net to go three match points down, saying “oh jolly hard luck old chap,” instead of suggesting that the opponent will soon eat excrement. British players might say an umpire’s decision is rather harsh but would never suggest the official has an unnatural relationship with his mother.
English Tennis is about strawberries and cream, cucumber sandwiches and being a good loser.
Now who could imagine John MacEnroe eating cucumber sandwiches? YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS! Johnny Mac was who he was because he ate steaks, raw steaks still attached to the carcass of a bull that had not yet been slaughtered. Do you hear what I am saying?
Winners are red in tooth and claw and if we ever want the annual slaughter of our innocents to cease we must find or make winners. Here is my five point plan.

(1) Identify promising youngsters at junior school level.

(2) Take them away from their parents in Surrey or Hampshire and send them to live with the Gallaghers from Shameless on a sink estate in Manchester until they are sixteen.

(3) If they survive to sixteen give them jobs as trainees in a Gordon Ramsey kitchen.

(4) After two years of that introduce them to the world of professional sport by appointing Vinnie Jones as their personal fitness instructor.

(5) Once they are fit, find the school bully who made their young life hell, put him / her in an enclosed tennis court, equip the future champion with a tennis racquet and immunity from prosecution. If the bully is dead within five minutes or alternatively survives more than two hours of extreme pain and humiliation, hire the best tennis coach in the world and commence lessons.

Wimbledon
The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
Tim Henman
John McEnroe
Andrew Castle, presenter on TVAM and Former Future Wimbledon Champion
Annabel Croft, Celebrity Wrestling victor and Former Future Wimbledon Champion
Annabel’s wrestling career
Shameless – Channel 4 comedy drama
Gordon Ramsey