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The Sunday Stroll: 15 May, 2010

May 15, 2011

Greetings folks. Trust this finds you all in good health. Strange old week this one – busy in parts, quiet in others. We’ve had the sad (Seve Ballesteros’s funeral, the tragic death of 26-year-old Belgian cyclist Wouter Weylandt), the bad (a fan attacking Neil Lennon mid-match, bribery allegations levelled at Fifa), and the mad (Chris Gayle’s explosive batting), and a few good bits too (the FA Cup final amongst others). Sit back and relax, it’s time for this week’s Sunday Stroll

Last week in the IPL, Chris Gayle slapped 107 off just 49 balls for RCB against Kings XI Punjab, the last 90 of which came in barely 30 balls. This week he took 37 off just one over against Kochi Tuskers Kerala, powering his way to 44 from just 16 deliveries. Mad to think no team picked him up in the original IPL auction. Mad to think the West Indies just dropped him!…

Midweek humour on Countdown as a life-long Blackpool fan working on the show offered up a ‘Countdown conundrum’ which spelled out PNECRISIS, a light-hearted jibe towards struggling local rivals Preston…

It has been a great season for Blackpool fans (and neutrals) as they’ve taken on the Premier League elite and more than held their own on occasions, doing the double over Liverpool being a prime example. What could better this, you might ask? How about Alan Partridge commentating on their Goals of the Seaoson DVD á la this clip from 2006-07. “SHIT!! Did you see that?? He must have a foot like a traction engine…”

The FA Cup final yesterday – bizarrely sharing the nation’s attention with the Premier League – saw Manchester City and their millions [billions?] claim what threatens to be their first trophy of many with a 1-0 over Stoke City. It was a shame for Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor, Robbie Williams and Slash – famous Stoke-ites?, Stoke-ians? Stoke-rs? – that their home club didn’t claim its first FA Cup, but at least they can console themselves with the thought of Europa League football next season. Bring on the likes of Minsk, St Patrick’s Athletic, and Olimpija Ljubljana!

Meanwhile, Citeh qualified for the Champions League next season with their 1-0 over Spurs midweek. Ominously for their rivals, they’ll now have CL football to offer to the world’s best players as well as near unrivalled wage packets. Wesley Sneijder, Kaká, and Cesc Fàbregas perhaps? Great for Citeh, and important as next season some folk reckon there’ll be as many as six clubs (what with Liverpool’s resurgence under King Kenny) vying for CL qualification…

On the subject of which, you’ve got to love Liverpool fans. Kenny’s got a new contract and they’re on a good run of form… so obviously they’re going to win the league next season! Amazing…

Shocking scenes in Scotland as Celtic boss Neil Lennon was attacked by a “fan” mid-match against Hearts on Wednesday. What with all the death threats, parcel-bombs, and bullets in the post, you’ve got to ask two things. Firstly, is the job really worth it? And secondly, what the hell is wrong with Scottish football if some folk feel such actions to be acceptable. Chick Young says the game in Scotland ‘lies disfigured and scarred.’ We cite the scenes as deplorable and utterly shameful…

From Scotland to allegations of bribery (in return for World Cup hosting votes) at Fifa, and football doesn’t look like it is in the best of shapes. Earlier this week, Lord Triesman spoke to a British parliamentary inquiry and claimed that Fifa vice-president Jack Warner wanted £2.5m for an education centre in Trinidad and £500,000 for Haiti’s TV rights, that Nicolas Leoz requested a knighthood, Worawi Makudi wanted TV rights for a Thailand-England friendly, whilst Ricardo Teixeira somewhat ambiguously stated ‘come and tell me what you have got for me.’ The Sunday Times also published allegations that ‘Confederation of African Football (Caf) president Issa Hayatou and executive committee member Jacques Anouma were reportedly paid $1.5m by Qatar‘ in return for their 2018 votes. In all honesty, such allegations do not come as much of a surprise. What will be a surprise is if these allegations can be made to stick. Fifa are an insular organisation, more than capable of ensuring their own survival and working a way out of this.

Although it’s not all bad news. Over in Mexico… As a footballer, what would inspire you more? ‘Fat, bald men with no teeth? Or busty brunettes with their shirts off?

As ever folks (and with apologies for the brevity of this week’s edition), thanks for reading. All the best, SB

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