In praise of the left (foot, that is!)
Football has often been described as the people’s game. Rich or poor, all can indulge in the enjoyment of kicking a ball around, simply because that’s all you need. The ‘beautiful game’ has no need for expensive accessories such as special clothing or particular equipment. If you’ve got a ball, you’ve got a game. To steal the old hackneyed phrase, throw in some ‘jumpers for goal-posts’ and you’ve even got a match.
Some sports however are less egalitarian, making it difficult for one particular segment of societies around the world to compete. I’m talking about the left-handed and left-footed. You simply aren’t allowed to play polo left-handed and if inclined to do so in hockey it can only be achieved with a ‘reversed stick.’ Whilst some other sports don’t deny the ‘right to be left’ it does make it more difficult to be naturally involved. Left-handed golf clubs are a rarity and for some reason more expensive than right-handed ones. The same applies to left-handed cricket bats – yes, there are such things. Continue reading →
The man who made Benfica Champions of Europe – and then cursed them for 100 years.
In sport, especially within the often wildly unpredictable world of football, there is rarely anything like a guaranteed winning bet. The Europa League Final on 14th May 2014 was however, probably as close to being a ‘dead cert’ as almost anything ever is when the ‘beautiful game’ is involved. Bet on Sevilla to beat Benfica and lift the trophy, was the call. It’s as close to being brass in the bank as any bet can ever be. Honestly! Would I lie to you? On paper it appeared to be a close contest. Both clubs had enjoyed a reasonably successful season, and had deservedly reached the showpiece final in Turin. That was as may be, but it didn’t mean backing Sevilla wasn’t a good money shot. Continue reading →