Monday December 19
It is at times like this a guy finds out who his friends are, or even who his friend is. Someone, somewhere will be able to do the Christmas My Week…surely? I’ll ask a few of the lads. Bit of a bind having to keep a Christmas diary even for a great cause like the FWA but I have no doubt I can call up a favour or two from somebody. We all go back a long way.
So here I am starting the Christmas edition of My Week…
My first task of the day was to send last week’s My Week (apologies to the English language) by Tony Incenzo and Matt Scott’s Q&A to Fastwebmedia who produce the site. Still can’t get my head round Tony having all but 10 QPR home programmes since the War in his house which must be called Casa Programme.
Did a phone interview with Sam Delaney and Micky Quinn for talkSPORT’s lunch-time show. Spoke about the weekend’s football and while Manchester City v Arsenal was terrific entertainment, watching Barcelona beat Santos 4-0 in the Club World Cup final was another masterclass from Pep Guardiola’s superteam. We are privileged to be able to watch, thanks to Sky Sports, this perfection-touching side each week.
As I am on talkSPORT’s Breakfast Show with Alan and Ronnie tomorrow so I watched Crystal Palace 1, Birmingham 0. The sort of game I was happy not to have been covering, especially the first-half, but Palace deserved to win and Dougie Freedman is impressing me in his first full season as a manager.
As my alarm will go off (why do we say’ go off’ – shouldn’t it be ‘go on’?) at 5.15 Tonight, Happy Hour ends at 10.30pm tonight.
Tuesday December 20
Swore at the alarm when it went off/on at sparrow’s fart. Usual early morning routine – cup of coffee and bowl of muesli prepared the night before which should elevate me straight to the top of the Saddo League. Read some of the sports pages on line while having aforementioned breakfast, hit the road at 5.45am, driving through the beautiful south [-east London] to arrive at talkSPORT Towers at 6.20 where there is possibly the world’s smallest Christmas tree. Read the papers, made a few notes, quick chat with producer Dave Richards and on air with Alan and Ronnie at 7. Blackburn v Bolton was the main item, winced when I read about Scott Dann’s ruptured testicle. Cannot think of a more painful injury, not that I give a huge amount of thought to such things. There is a macabre interest in this el sackio game – and why do we call them six pointers? Is there a more pointless (sorry) cliché?
I cannot think of another industry where the boss gets so much abuse. Nowhere else would the head honcho turn up for work with thousands outside or inside wanting him to quit with banners bearing his name and the word ‘out’ after it. It is impossible to imagine how Steve Kean feels about the vitriol directed him by Blackburn fans. I think he’s conducted himself superbly under the circumstances but he was over-promoted by Venky’s. I wonder who advised them to sack Sam Allardyce, one of the most respected of Barclays Premier League managers with a consistent record of success, and appoint the untried Kean?
On top of el sackio, we also had the news the FA had found Liverpool’s Luis Suarez guilty of misconduct, fining him £40,000 and handing him an eight-game suspension for comments made to Patrick Evra. I’ll sleep on this one.
Wednesday December 21
Couldn’t wait to read the papers, deciding a bacon sarnie was the only possible accompaniment to see how everyone has treated the Suarez story. Half-way through the papers and sarnie it was announced the CPS will make a statement regarding John Terry this afternoon. With seven Barclays Premier League games, Kean and Suarez follow-ups plus JT sports desks are going to be rather busy tonight.
I am staggered Suarez was not legally advised to say nothing, putting the burden of proof on the FA’s independent regulatory board. By admitting he used the word, because to him it was not offensive, this was the only evidence in the case. Had he kept quiet, with no witnesses it would have been impossible for the FA to find him guilty…one man’s word against another’s. In whichever context Suarez believed he was using ‘negrito’ it still breaches FA regulations on references to a player’s colour. Ignorance is no excuse for breaking a rule/law. I can accept in his mind he probably didn’t use it as an out and out racist term and we have read how the word is non-offensive in South America. I have a mate whose Colombian wife is known as Negra because of her jet-black hair. She is white and her nickname translates to Blackie. But Suarez is in England. And when in…
I still have issues with the FA’s disciplinary system. They allow too many potential leg-breakers to escape punishment, hiding behind a non-existent FIFA rule they claim makes it impossible for them to act if the referee has seen the incident (even FIFA say this is not the case) but it is welcome to see the game’s guardians taking a zero tolerance stance against racism. I suspect the eventual publication of the commission’s evidence will make their decision clearer. For Liverpool players to wear Suarez T-shirts was crass. The guy has been found guilty of making a remark about an opponent’s colour and his team-mates wear T-shirts in support of him.
After Suarez, Terry has also been charged, denying allegations of using racist language towards QPR’s Anton Ferdinand. This is the hottest of potatoes for the FA but little can be said or done until after the trial in the New Year. Tottenham v Chelsea tomorrow – of all the games… It doesn’t feel very Christmassy.
Thursday December 22
Breakfast and back-page racism stories – again. Most of the heavy hitters believe that while there must be a presumption of innocence John Terry should not captain England if the case drags on after the Holland game on February 29. Have to write a column for Japan today and while I think there is much wrong with the FA’s disciplinary system, they are right to take a zero tolerance stance on racism. AVB said eh will support Terry ‘even if he is found guilty’ which many will see as effectively condoning racism.
Tottenham 1 Chelsea 1 was marvellous entertainment, a match that showed the passion, skill and excitement of the Barclays Premier League. Another mistake by Petc Cech which Graeme Souness believed could be a legacy of the head injury sustained a few years ago. Glenn Hoddle uttered a phrase I’d like to see banned – ‘I’ve seen them given for that.’
Friday December 23
Breakfast with Ryan Giggs, well sort of. ‘I risked it all for secret sex with Ryan…now i want Rhodri back’ Natasha, Giggs’ sister-in-law tells the Sun. I am sure that is the best way to repair a broken marriage. She goes on: ‘I hope time can heal the pain I’ve cause.’ Course it will, give it a few weeks. ‘I cheated on my husband with his own brother who just happens to be one of the most famous men in Britain…it was never going to end any way but badly.’ Spot on there, Natasha.
I am in charge of the family dinner. Cooking is my passion. I have been to cookery classes including a Masterchef course; today I prepared the turkey crown with chestnut stuffing wrapped in bacon.
Went to Waitrose at Bromley…I have this theory that as many people visit others at Christmas and therefore won’t be cooking the supermarkets and shops should be no busier than at any other time. Like many of my theories it is a load of cajones.
Mark Cavendish Sports Personality of the Year has good coverage today. I have never been able to equate personality with sporting skill, though. What does personality have to do with sport? It is the most ridiculous title. There is a strong case for Cav to be Sportsman of the Year but Personality almost disregards his huge achievements.
Saturday December 24
No games today. What I really mean is no match fee. Sob. A day off so a chance to finalise my Chrissie shopping. Well, do it actually. The entire population of the universe seemed to be in Bromley but I shop better under pressure. Bought a rather splendid shirt for my son that will no doubt be on sale for half the price I paid come Boxing Day.
Yuletide television tends to be the same shows as we watch the rest of the year with the word ‘Christmas’ or ‘Special’ in the title, sometimes both. The worst is when they broadcast a Christmas Special repeat. How special can it be when it was shown last year? The other word to beware of is ‘Celebrity’ – thankfully I have not [yet] noticed a Celebrity Whatever Christmas Special.
Sunday December 25
The Sunday Times (Santa Times?) is published today, the first time I can remember a newspaper on Christmas Day. I cannot believe it is profitable, given how few retail outlets are open and how much it costs to distribute.
No work today (apart from this). Family Christmas, couple of pints in the Ramblers rest, Chislehurst, my turkey crown washed down with liberal lashings of Barolo. Pressie opening, bought my mother tickets to see Jackie Mason in March. ‘You are my favourite son,’ she said.
I am an only child…