The doldrums of the excruciatingly long European football off-season have claimed its first victim. Richard Whittall is rumored to be holed up in a residence full of cardboard boxes – sources have been unable to verify these claims. I kid of course, though, for the next week I’ll be handling morning link duties.
We’ll get to transfer speculation and which contractor was verbally brutalized by which manager shortly, but we begin with Wimbledon. Andy Murray’s performance in yesterday’s final against Roger Federer was superb. Unfortunately for the Scot, his opponent was from another planet on this day – one where sweating is prohibited.
He used to be the target. Britain’s finest individual athlete with prodigious talent looked as if he had just eaten a bag of lemons – all the damn time. The last two weeks were a different story. Positive reinforcement was the name of the game – and though it’s doubtful Murray read his press, many of his countrymen did.
Gone were the quips about the Dunblane native’s constant sneer, his tendency to clutch his back, ankle or whatever else when he was losing. The Sun even put the loss into context. Did it help? We’re unlikely to know, but it’s worth considering. Do professional athletes need to be coddled by the media – no. Would the collective psyche of a nation be better off if the chances of their sportsmen weren’t written off before they even started – probably yes.
Roy Hodgson was a terrible choice long before a game was played at Euro 2012. Andy Carroll was an uncoordinated buffoon only good for a goal every solar eclipse. John Terry – I’ll let your imagination run with that one. One wonders what a little positive reinforcement could’ve done for the three lions and their supporters.
The solution is clear. Subject the London tabloids to a moratorium on all negative headlines during major international sporting events. “The Giggs up” will be the only exception allowed when Great Britain crashes out of the Olympic tournament. Looking at you, Daily Mail.
A terrible first half – surprise! – put a halt to Paul Mariner’s solid start with TFC as old man Freddy Adu and the Union laid a beat down in Philadelphia.
Marco Di Vaio caused havoc all over the field and Patrice Bernier’s penalty kick in the 89th minute gave Montreal a 2-1 win over Columbus.
Ajax captain Jan Vertonghen’s move to Tottenham is nearly complete.
Bayer Leverkusen turns down Chelsea’s €25m offer for Andre Schürrle.
Arsene Wenger will not change his ways, van Persie be damned.
Ryan Giggs will captain the UK’s entry in the Olympic tournament.
John Terry’s racism trial begins in London this week. Nancy Grace is nowhere to be found.
Sir Alex trolls Chelsea fans like only he can.
Jordi Alba will play for Spain at the Olympics despite Barcelona’s concerns.
Seydou Keita leaves Barcelona for (most likely) China.
Madrid and Spurs are haggling over Luka Modric according to a dubious source.
Roma supporters give new acquisition Marco Borriello a rude welcome.
Thiago Silva never wanted to leave Milan according to Thiago Silva.
Bits and bobs
The new Liverpool mascot is terrifying. Hide your kids, nobody trustworthy can have teeth that white.
Ganso leaves Santos, where will he go?
Brazilians aren’t too confident heading into 2014.
And that, give or take, is the story so far…