Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘pride

Now I Understand Why I Hate English Football

with 10 comments

Whinging, Whining Loser

I’ve hated football for 20 years or more now.  With the World Cup I’ve finally come to understand why.  English football is rubbish.  It’s been corrupted and destroyed by an incurable cancer of money and venality.  English football players are overpaid ponces, whores and playthings for foreign potentates.  They cannot play the game anymore.  They stand around worried that they’ll make a mistake, that they’ll bruise their poor little knees, fracture some obscure little bone in their foot or that their orange-painted slag will run off with their best mate while they’re training.   They seem much more concerned about getting their name in the newspaper than on the scoresheet.

I do remember a rare glimpse of sanity in this crazy world when a year or so ago the great Bobby Charlton apologised for the £80 million pound transfer fee for Ronaldo and described it as “vulgar”.  He had that absolutely right.  Screaming and curling into the top corner from 40 yards in the last minute of extra time right.

Talent. Honour. Pride.

I’ve just watched the most riveting, scintillating, magical game of football between Spain and Germany.  It reminds me how much I used to love the game and how much I and other British sports lovers are losing out.  It was a joy.  I saw beauty there in the poetic movement and interplay.  There is nothing beautiful about the English game.

In 1970-71, when I was 13, I was lucky enough to attend every home game at Highbury stadium.

My Hero

Arsenal won the double that year and Bob Wilson was my hero.  I played in goal too and even today I still treasure that special camaraderie between goalkeepers.  Even as I’ve lost interest in the game I’ve still retained that love hate relationship with the most important position on the pitch.  I’ve been angered and bemused once again at the inane remarks of commentators.  Only occasionally do they compliment a goalie or even understand what it involves .  Usually it’s either a “blunder” or an “easy save” or  “straight at him”.   Don’t they realise that it was “straight at him” because he was in the right place to begin with.  There’s no such thing as an easy save.  Bob Wilson used to have a reputation as an “unspectacular” goalie – because he was almost always there before the ball arrived!  There are no excuses when you’re a goalkeeper.

There isn’t any passion in the English game anymore.  I don’t think they know what it is.  Passion for that bunch of losers is what you get in a lap dancing bar – innit bruv?   There’s very little pride either.   Even at its very best football can never compete with rugby as a real sport so when the BBC had the audacity to hijack Invictus and try to apply some of it’s wonderful, uplifting qualities to the English football team – well, I was just disgusted.

The Spain Germany game was wonderful and I expect the final will be too.  The Spanish were inspired and fluent.  The wonderful Xavi is a powerful symbol of how useless the English chavs are.   The multiracial German team was a redemptive lesson for us all.  They were proud, positive and every colour of the rainbow.  Schweinsteiger, the archetypal aryan stormtrooper, strong, fearless and utterly reliable.  These players are so talented they don’t need to feign fouls or injury.   They just get on with the job – beautifully.

So the World Cup has been a very big but very pleasant surprise for me.  I’d fallen victim to the propaganda that the Premier League is the best football in the world but that’s been proven to be a great big lie.   It might be the richest league but that’s exactly what has ruined the game.

As a Welshman, for me nothing will ever come close to rugby. I’m glad I’ve found pleasure in football again but English football has finally proved itself to be the very worst football in the world.

Olympic Glory

leave a comment »

If you haven’t been moved by our outstanding success in Beijing then you have a heart of stone.  The commitment, dedication, pride and intensity demonstrated by our sportsmen and women is an example to us all – and that, of course, is the purpose of sport.

The most incisive fact behind all this is that in 1996 in Atlanta, Team GB won just one gold medal.  In 1997 lottery funding started.  Now, 11 years on, that investment has started to pay off and it seems self evident doesn’t it?  Our superstars who are now leading the world, were then just beginning their interest in sport.  We have provided  proper funding and they are repaying us in gold.

If international sport can replace war and if sporting success can inspire individual success in business, in education, in science and in society then we have a  model that deserves even greater support.  In itself it justifies the lottery whatever concerns one may have about government sponsored gambling.  Our sportsmen and women must now be guaranteed proper funding in future whatever source it comes from.

Written by Peter Reynolds

August 18, 2008 at 7:51 pm

Walking The Dog 2

with one comment

In memory of a fallen comrade

Walking The Dog 2

Apart from herons and wealthy, attractive, single women (which seem to be virtually extinct), the main focus of our daily rambles is sticks.

Of course, sticks come in all shapes and sizes but Capone prefers something, shall we say, robust. I suppose the ideal is about four feet long and perhaps three inches thick but the crucial factor in stick style is the way it is carried. It must be held at one end, not in the middle. I think Capone believes this is more flamboyant in the same way the way that a quiff or fringe sweeps back or a fighter pilot’s scarf flies to one side. Of course, even the most perfectly fashioned stick is merely debris on the ground until I have thrown it. Then it becomes the most exciting, the most important thing in life and if it is thrown into the sea he would swim until he sank before giving up the chase.

At the weekend we tackled Thorney Island, all the way around – an eight mile walk in a force eight gale. Out along a one mile dyke, straight as an arrow, then pass through the MOD security gate keeping to the public footpath beyond. The oystercatchers are still here on Thorney although in much smaller numbers but another mile or so on and we put up a roe deer. In the open, not as you usually see them in woods. It ran and Capone ran too but made my heart burst with pride when he responded immediately to the signal, dropped and looked back at me. We watched it run two, three hundred yards inland and continued on our way.

As you approach the most southerly point on Thorney you see to your right the end of Hayling Island and to your left, East Head at the tip of West Wittering. Between is open ocean and a direct line to the Falklands. A couple of months ago when we first made this journey, I spotted an Army Land Rover ahead and we found two men laying the foundations for a bench in memory of a “fallen comrade”. Now, the bench is there. It’s not the usual railway sleeper design. It’s much more elegant and the inscription reads “In memory of Steve Jones, 264 (SAS) Signals Squadron & the crew of ‘Hilton 22’”.

These were our boys, shot down just north of Baghdad three years ago. If I had a son who died a hero in the service of his country, I could think of no more poignant and intense place to remember him amidst the wind, the sea, the sky and the solitude.

Capone and I duly honoured their memory and sat for a cigarette, he accorded the privilege of sitting beside me on the bench for such a special occasion. We remembered them, lachrymose old Welshman that I am.

Thorney turns much warmer and gentler as you move to the east side away from the wind. Nearly seventy years ago, other young heroes took off from here during the Battle of Britain. Now the RAF sailing club provides the local excitement and past Thornham marina and Emsworth harbour back to the mainland.

A pint of beer never tastes better than when you deserve it. So with aching legs and an exhausted dog we made a brief stop at the Bluebell Inn before home for sustenance and sleep.

In the back garden lies a pile of sticks, proudly retrieved, collected and preserved. Out there in the wind and the rain a pile of sticks fashioned into a bench remembers much more than another walk with the dog.

Peter Reynolds 02-04-08