Author: Phil Warden

Gerwyn Price: PDC World Darts Champion 2021

Gerwyn Price: PDC World Darts Champion 2021

Seven years after turning professional, Gerwyn Price can now lay his hands on the prestigious Sid Waddell trophy, becoming only the fifth ever Welshman to be crowned World Darts Champion.

It was a rivalry renewed as the fiery and brash Welshman Price would encounter the far more restrained and efficient Scotsman Gary Anderson, as such the clash of styles and temperaments made this showpiece final fascinating viewing.

The match itself played out in nerve jangling fashion as The Iceman failed to keep his cool on countless occasions, missing a total of eleven championship darts which saw his Opponent Gary Anderson begin to reel in the 35 year old Price who continually failed to grasp the opportunities handed to him.

With the final score reading 7-3 in Price’s favour it would seem that this victory was fairly straight forward on the surface. It was certainly anything but that however, as this contest of the highest quality made for riveting viewing as the pendulum of momentum swung from one player to the other.

Price himself recorded a stratospheric 3 dart average of 136 in one set, setting the highest ever average for one set in the process. With a demolition job firmly on the cards it seemed the coronation of Price as the new king of the oche was looming large on the horizon.

However, as the final stretch on the road home beckoned, the Welshman began to show sure fire signs of nerves and trepidation as the enormity of his achievements came into view.

The man who had scarcely missed a double throughout the entire evening began to waiver as each match dart hung like a stone around his sizeable neck.

As each arrow agonisingly slipped through his fingers it was the Flying Scotsman Gary Anderson who punished the Welshman time and again, registering two sets on the bounce to make it 6-3 on the night and a third beckoned to leave the score at 6-4.

As the tungsten tension reached boiling point it was Gary Anderson who failed to capitalize on Price’s late Christmas gift, this time missing 3 darts himself at double sixteen. Price could breathe once again and the Welshman finally kept his composure to realise his dream by checking out double five to become World Champion and land the winners purse of £500,000.

“I’ve never felt pressure like that in my life, that was tough to hit that winning double, how Michael Van Gerwen, Peter Wright and other people make it look so easy its crazy, that was tough.”

Gerwyn Price 2021 World Darts Final.

Price’s ascendancy to the top of the sport marks a remarkable rise as he won his tour card at Q school in 2014. Having left a successful career in Rugby union and rugby league behind, he decided to shift his focus towards his darting dreams and ambitions.

It is a decision that has paid off in abundance for the former doorman and in capturing the World title in his first attempt he has now removed his Dutch rival Michael Van Gerwen from the throne as world number one.

Price by his own admission had courted this prize for a long time and it is no mean feat as Van Gerwen has routinely dominated the sport for long periods. But it now seems that it is Gerwyn Price’s time to showcase his prowess in a sport that is so competitive across the board.

To hold the accolade of world number one takes dedication, heart and desire over sustained periods as you must amass the required ranking points to place yourself at the head of this table.

It is clear that Price has that passion and fervor for the game in abundance, you certainly need to look no further than his emotional and passionate outbursts whilst on stage, which can cause upset to both spectators and rival players alike.

His colorful past as a competitive Rugby player and bouncer could perhaps provide us with an insight into why Price harbors such aggression on occasion, as both professions require a domineering presence in order to be a success.

I believe that the Welshman brings these bruising attributes of his psyche to the forefront on the oche because he simply cannot be anyone else, it is deep rooted in mental make up to have an inner warrior that becomes unleashed when faced with competition. I would therefore suggest that the marking of a maximum 180 or a crucial check out with his now trademark roar is simply a show of his desire to succeed and a love for his craft.

I feel that many may have misconstrued his attitude as confrontational and aggressive as Michael Van Gerwen on many occasions has shown his propensity to celebrate wildly on stage throughout his matches as world number one for seven long years. Yet it seems to me he does not court as much criticism, so I do feel that it is unjust to lambaste Gerwyn Price for his similar actions.

Some players are seen resorting to cheap and underhand tactics in order to find victory, and to do so in the cheapest manor is a far greater misdemeanor in my eyes. This has been evident throughout the years in Darts and is not something myself and many other fans of the game can condone.

Gary Anderson versus Mensur Suljovic was a prime example in the earlier rounds of this very tournament, as the Austrian’s slow play and bizarre behavior riled the Scotsman to such a degree he declared he would rather quit the game than continue playing in such a manner.

There is no such sly undertone with Gerwyn Price as what you see is what you get and Anderson faced no such needle in the final against his opponent, just a man who had his heart and mind set on realising a sporting dream.

With that appetite for success does come an intensity that sometimes spills over, but I cannot see an issue with displaying your emotions in a thrilling sport that thrives on the ability to hold your nerve under excruciating pressure at times. The topsy turvy ebb and flow of matches makes many match up’s pure theatre that can leave us emotionally exhausted when the sport is at its very finest.

Ultimately what we have seen in the last three weeks at Alexandra Palace has been a fabulous showcase for the sport of Darts that continues to grow exponentially every year.

The lack of spectators has been pushed into the background by the pure drama of each and every session as a slew of big guns fell to the wayside in the early rounds, including the reigning champion Peter Wright in a seven set thriller against Gabriel Clemens.

Who can also forget the Dave Chisnall masterclass against Michael Van Gerwen in the quarter finals. We watched on awestruck as Chizzy’s 107 three dart average laid the x3 World Champion to waste in a 5-0 whitewash.

These magical moments amongst many others lit up our tv screens in a spectacular championship, and in what are currently some dark times with the ongoing pandemic, this tournament served as a welcome break from the new normal.

We were reminded of the joy and passion that live sport can evoke from both us the fans and the competitors themselves, and for an action packed three weeks I can only offer my gratitude and thanks to all the PDC staff and players that put on such a memorable show.

The Iceman is no doubt a worthy and deserving winner, and to reach such monumental heights with a career very much in its infancy is something to be greatly admired.

Thus, the impending battle to hold onto his new found status as world number one will create an epic backdrop for an already exciting season ahead for 2021.

Thanks for reading!

For further articles click on any of the links down below or use the menu button at the head of this page.


Happy Birthday: One Year Old Today

Happy Birthday: One Year Old Today

This sports magazine was born exactly one year ago today, so now its time to celebrate its birthday!

For anyone who has ever visited this website or taken the time to read and interact with my articles I would like to say a huge thank you for your continued support.

I truly hope you continue to enjoy the content as much as I do creating it.

Let’s hope 2021 brings us some much needed normality and plenty of sporting drama as I intend to bring plenty more to the table in the year ahead.

Thanks once again to every single reader out there, your support means a great deal to me and I appreciate it greatly.

Happy new year!


Anthony Joshua: Stepping Up

Anthony Joshua: Stepping Up

Anthony Joshua’s rags to riches tale has seen the London based fighter garner an astronomical and adoring fan base not only in the United Kingdom but throughout the world. The former Olympic Gold medalist currently sits atop a stacked heavyweight division, with three of the four World Heavyweight Championships available under his possession.

This Saturday he lays each of those titles on the line as he is set to go into battle with Kubrat Pulev, his mandatory challenger. This in my opinion marks the beginning of a pivotal chapter that will determine the fate and legacy of Joshua’s seven year professional career.

Ever since sealing Olympic Gold for Team GB at the 2012 London Olympics, AJ has seemingly captured the hearts of the nation, with many hailing him as a national treasure after his rapid rise to the apex of the Boxing industry. As a result his social media following and carefully crafted public image has seen him become one of the most marketable athletes in the world, as he holds an abundance of sponsorship deals with the likes of Lucozade, Under Armour, and Beats By Dre.

It is certainly an inspiring tale when you read upon the history of Joshua, who was destined for a life of crime before he saw the error of his ways and decided to pour his time and energy into the art form of professional Boxing.

His war with Wladimir Klitschko in 2017 where he won all the heavyweight titles available will go down in folklore. The hungry young lion engaged in a knock down, drag out brawl with the elder statesman of the division in Wladimir Klitschko, as many had questioned Joshua’s ability to hang with an elite fighter such as the 41 year old Ukrainian.

Joshua duly delivered on his budding reputation and recovered from an early thunderous knockdown to win via TKO in a classic encounter, roared by a jam packed 90,000 capacity Wembley Stadium.

We seemingly had a new hero in the sport, AJ was a household name and for the first time since Frank Bruno it seemed as though an emotional bond had been created between us the fans and Joshua himself. It was hard not to root for the charismatic street kid made good, who was crowned the new World Heavyweight Champion after just 15 professional fights.

After the match up Joshua called out Tyson Fury for the battle that everyone wanted to see and yet three years later in 2020 it has failed to materialise, and this is where I believe you can trace AJ’s downturn in public perception back to in some quarters.

His Boxing ability has been questioned ever since that thrilling victory as consequently he has somehow failed to square off against any of the true players of the heavyweight division.

Following on from the victory over Klitschko, he faced off against Carlos Takam and despite winning via stoppage in the 10th round it was a shaky performance and a maybe a pre-cursor of the future.

Joseph Parker was Joshua’s next match up where a pedestrian win on points followed, and Shortly thereafter he would face Andy Ruiz Jr in Madison Square Garden, New York, where the world would be left stunned by what unfolded in the ring.

An overweight Andy Ruiz Jr was left with little to no chance against the hulking Anthony Joshua, who was expected to steam roll his opponent. What played out was quite the opposite as Ruiz Jr dropped AJ on his backside on multiple occasions leaving the referee no choice but to call for the bell, leaving Ruiz as the first ever Mexican World Heavyweight Champion and the Londoner comprehensively beaten, the Curtains had been drawn on the Antony Joshua show.

Much to his credit he promptly regained those belts in the return bout with Ruiz Jr and is now a two time World Heavyweight Champion, but many now suggest that this has exposed a soft under belly beneath the Joshua foundations.

He has himself admitted that complacency had wormed its way into his fight camps and would no longer let that happen, the loss had bred a new focus according to the man himself.

He stands accused by his naysayers as being just a bodybuilder who can throw a decent punch, a man who doesn’t hone and test his craft against the finest that the fight game has to offer.

It seems that Tyson Fury has overtaken AJ in the publics and boxing purists affection as his willing to take on the elite fighters in their prime has earned the general public’s upmost respect. He also holds the prestigious WBC version of the World Heavyweight Title which is a glaring omission from the Anthony Joshua trophy cabinet.

At a glance it seems that his lucrative media commitments often overshadow what truly matters to fans of the sport and in my view this is where he continues to flounder.

It is time to ditch the building of the brand and for AJ to step up to the mark and face off against the likes of the bronzed bomber Deontay Wilder and the gypsy king Tyson Fury rather than various journeyman fighters across the division, if he wishes to be considered as one of the all time great fighters of this generation.

I am hard pressed to ignore the comparison to Frank Bruno who I briefly mentioned earlier, his tale certainly echoes that of AJ’s, the troubled teenager who turned his life around by virtue of Boxing.

Never the most technically gifted fighter he went to war with the likes of Lennox Lewis and Iron Mike Tyson on numerous occasions, warrior’s of the highest caliber.

Bruno would typically bow out on his shield, losing to the baddest man on the planet Mike Tyson on his maiden defence of the World Heavyweight Championship he had only just captured in the fight previous against Oliver Mcall.

It was a gut wrenching loss yet he was suitably adored none the less for his courage and fighting spirit.

In stark contrast I cant escape the notion that AJ’s signature victory came over an ageing Wladimir Klitschko who was past his prime, and his subsequent match ups have been against the lesser likes of the heavyweight division.

With the showdown against Kubrat Pulev fast approaching it is paramount that he disposes of the 39 year old Bulgarian if he is to seal a fight with the new people’s champion Tyson Fury, a showdown that would surely shatter all box office records.

I am in no position to question the skill of an Olympic Boxing gold medalist and World Heavyweight Champion, but a step up to the professional ranks poses a brand new set of questions for any talented amateur, and the whispers continue to circle around him in regards to his heart and desire for the big time showdowns that will solidify his legacy and standing in the sport.

We as fight fans like to see the elite go toe to toe and if it comes to pass that AJ faces Tyson Fury in 2021 it will be a blockbusting event that we can all look forward to with great anticipation.

Therefore, it is the here and now that marks Anthony Joshua’s opportunity to land a body shot to his detractors by no longer shirking his responsibilities as World Heavyweight Champion, and making the match up’s that we are all eager and deserve to see as paying patrons of the sport.

Thus, If the Watford born slugger should emerge from that proposed encounter with the Gypsy King as the undisputed World Heavyweight Champion, he would undeniably land the knockout blow to even his harshest of critics.

Thanks for reading!

For further articles click on any of the links down below or use the menu button at the head of this page.


Jack Grealish: The New Gazza?

Jack Grealish: The New Gazza?

Long heralded as a midfield superstar of the future, England’s latest international break may well have earmarked the long awaited breakthrough of one of the finest footballers to grace the engine room since a certain Paul Gascoigne.

Touted for greatness by many on the terraces and the press room, it is only now that Jack Grealish has been blessed with the trust of a manager in Gareth Southgate who has certainly not been swayed by the ever expanding media clamor to include the Birmingham born trickster into his starting eleven, that is until now.

Captain of his home town club Aston villa, his form in the previous season where Villa narrowly escaped relegation was suitably excellent, yet Southgate remained unconvinced, leaving him out of England squads on a regular basis.

Since the season has got underway both the club and himself have begun the season in fine fettle, with the villans currently nestled in 6th place. Whilst Grealish himself has been the chief architect of much of Aston Villa’s impressive form, registering four goals and five assists from the first seven games of the season, including a monumental 7-2 victory over the current champions Liverpool.

For Southgate to ignore his early season contributions would have been foolhardy, and he duly rewarded him with three starts in the last three fixtures against Belgium, Iceland, and the Republic of Ireland. The latter being the country that he had controversially shunned in order to represent England.

In return, Southgate was repaid by the bucket load with three performances that oozed composure, style and charisma. A player not afraid to take the game to the opposition , a constant menace, a creator, a goalscorer, and the most fouled man in the Premier League.

It can certainly be a valid argument that the England managers tough love may well have provoked an internal resilience and toughness in Grealish, who much like Gascoigne himself has been no stranger to off the pitch shenanigans making the front pages rather than the back. As during the first national lockdown in April he was caught breaking restrictions and became a figure of derision rather than the new found genius he is being touted as right here and now.

What will always be evident with the general public however is that regardless of your off the field indiscretions, as long as you give your heart and soul to the England badge, you can and will be forgiven for your sins. Therefore it is easy to see why the comparisons to the much loved Gazza are banded across our national newspapers and various social media channels.

Gazza himself courted much controversy throughout his career off the pitch, yet every time he stepped over the white line his ability on the field and emotion filled displays captured the imagination of us the fans like no other in recent memory. He shone on the grandest stages and made watching England a joy to behold, as he wove his magic across the pitch and every player who was fortunate enough to share a pitch with him lay testament to the fact he is a once in a lifetime talent.

Yet could we the emergence of a new maverick who can pick up the mantle from the Geordie artist and flourish in time for England’s assault on the re-arranged European Championships in 2021?

I believe that he certainly houses the talent to be a key cog in the England machine for many years to come but it remains to be seen if the mental resiliency to be able to perform at an elite level is in his make up. Certainly he shows a maturity on the pitch and is captain of the club he professes to love and recently signed a contract extension that will now fend off the many suitors that may well have distracted him from his on the field duties. In kind he has has finally got his just rewards with his recent maiden England start and after the last week it is certainly in his hands according to Southgate if he is to stay there, after impressing the previously stubborn and dubious England manager.

It is my hope that with the extra onus and responsibility placed on his twenty five year old shoulders, Grealish can raise his performances to a new level and if he does it consistently and shines at a major tournament I would then suggest it would be time to favorably draw comparisons between the two. However, I believe that Jack is his own man and must focus on the attributes that have won him so many glowing plaudits from fans and fellow players alike.

Unfortunately in English football we have seen many false dawns on this matter, as after one or two good performances we have seemingly found the new Gazza on numerous occasions, and like many others before him I hope that Jack doesn’t fall by the wayside.

The roll call of failed pretenders to the Geordie wizard’s throne make for unpleasant reading, with some cursed by injury and others succumbing to the the trappings and temptations that are now on offer off the pitch for the modern professional.

Jack Wilshere instantly springs into the forefront of this thought process, as at the tender age of 18 it seemed he was destined for the very top in the sport as his performances in an Arsenal shirt saw a meteoric rise in the pecking order for club and country, as it seemed as though we had that world class operator in our ranks once again.

His appalling injury record soon shattered any hope for him as a worthy successor, with persistent failure to rediscover his best form after a a seemingly endless catalogue of injuries, he now finds himself languishing in limbo without a club at 28 years of age.

Elsewhere we have seen the likes of David Bentley, Ravel Morrison, and Ross Barkley all flatter to deceive. Whilst most recently, and by far the most disappointing is the vanishing act of Dele Alli’s form for club and country in recent months.

Arriving from Mk Dons for a meagre £5 million pounds, here is another player who burst onto the scene with a hunger and youthful exuberance that made him such an explosive player to watch as his superb goals and assists ratio for Spurs propelled him into the starting line up for England.

For a time it seemed this gifted youngster had possessed something special as so many of his goals were dazzling and spectacular in nature, whilst his creativity in the centre of the park allowed him to establish a formidable connection with his club team mate and England captain Harry Kane.

However we have recently seen much of that early promise evaporate, as he has found himself dropped from England squads and can sadly now be found warming the bench at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, as it seems fame and fortune may well have blunted his appetite and enthusiasm to be a cornerstone of England’s potential future success.

For Grealish to prosper in his new found status it is absolutely crucial that he avoids these pitfalls if he is to deliver on the vast promise that is clearly there for all to see.

Too many times we have seen the embers of a new dawn extinguished by hyperbole and poor professional application by players in order for us to get carried away once again. Yet it is my hope that Grealish can buck this trend and continue to light up both the Premier League and the international stage with his mature and sophisticated performances.

Whatever the future holds in store for both player and country, Jack must look to carve out his own niche as a performer and if that draws comparisons with Gazza along the way then so be it.

It is now evident that he must knuckle down and focus on the future if he desires to be a success and with his new found fame the pressure on him to perform will be amplified. It will ultimately be the ability to handle this pressure which will determine his fate as a future great of the game, alas his destiny is entirely in his own talented hands and feet.

I would strongly suggest that without a shadow of a doubt Jack has all the qualities required to thrive as his own man, and I hope he utilises every facet of his make up in order to excel in the game, which will hopefully lead to Success for English Football.

Furthermore, I am also certain that there will never be another footballer quite like the marvel that was Paul John Gascoigne.

Thanks for reading!

For further articles click on any of the links down below or use the menu button at the head of this page.


Bryson Dechambeau: Hero Or Villain?

Bryson Dechambeau: Hero Or Villain?

Bryson Dechambeau’s emergence as a force to be reckoned with on Golf’s grandest stages has been met with both enthusiasm and apathy in equal measure. With his recent maiden major victory at the US Open it is abundantly clear that this is a player who must now be feared at any major championship.

Bryson’s controversial approach to the sport has divided as many opinions as the man himself has fairways, with his brutal trademark power off the tee. Which in itself raises valid arguments on both ends of the spectrum, in terms of the impact his style of play will eventually have on the game of Golf.

Nicknamed “The Scientist” Bryson has attempted to remove the emotion and artistry from the game, and many feel that this is its vital foundation. A sport raised on romance and flair which made the likes of Seve Ballesteros such a popular champion within his lifetime. The great entertainer who thrilled crowds with his warm personality and a magical range of Golf shots that would be deemed inconceivable by so many, yet Seve pulled them off with great gusto on route to five major championships.

In stark contrast we now have Bryson Dechambeau, who’s power based approach is nullifying the challenges that the golf course is supposed to present the player with. His distances are outstripping his rivals off the tee and it is simply becoming a game of pitch and putt on each hole for him, as hitting the fairway is no longer the prerequisite. This was clearly evident in his victory at the US Open at Winged Foot, where he hit just 23 of 56 fairways at a course deemed by many to be a stern test for even the most accomplished and decorated Golfers.

Bryson’s average distance off the tee is a staggering 323 yards, and according to statistics he has covered 67 percent of all courses yardage off the tee this season. This is where the controversy surrounding the man continues to rage as purists will suggest that he is sabotaging the sport.

In many ways you can certainly see it from this perspective as we have watched the game over many years be decided on having the ability to visualise shots that use the contours and undulations of the course to find the end result, which can result in a fascinating days play for the spectator. Meanwhile Dechambeau simply bulldozes his way through each hole with no real concern in regards to hitting fairways.

What is evident though and is sometimes disregarded by many, is his solid putting and deft approach play with his wedges. His faultless display at Winged Foot on the final day was a fine testament to that fact and left him the only man under par for the day at a tournament where many derided his approach as foolhardy for such a unrelenting venue.

Interestingly so he is also the only man on the PGA tour to have all his irons and wedges cut to the same length in order to cut down on differentials in his game, which further facilitates his machine like approach to the sport. This has certainly given many food for thought, as yet again Bryson has reached outside the box in order to find solutions to the endlessly complex yet hugely satisfying game of Golf.

His driving technique is similar to those that compete in purely long drive contests and whether this technique can be upheld by him remains to be seen. It is something that is bound to place serious strain on the human body with such velocity placed into the swing. Yet at this juncture it is a method that has delivered Dechambeau the results that he so desires, and it cannot be denied that his name will reside alongside the all time greats on the US Open trophy.

Watch Dechambeu’s ridiculous power first hand.

Inspired by his fellow professional Brooks Koepka power based game, it was Dechambeau who took the concept and blasted it into another stratosphere, as without question his dedication and commitment must be commended as he has placed great emphasis in transforming his physical appearance over the last two years. Morphing from a slight, slender Golfer to a hulking powerhouse which can only be achieved through sheer commitment and desire. The man himself is very vocal on the fact that he works out meticulously every day, whilst following a diet structured towards performance rather than pleasure.

Pre-pandemic Bryson had packed on 20lbs in muscle mass and claims to have added another 20lb in weight during the suspension of the current season during lockdown, which has been a huge contributing factor to his now mammoth distance on the Golf course.

Bryson himself has declared that he wishes to inspire a new generation with his maverick approach to the sport. However, if the game is to be headed into these new unchartered waters it would surely seem sensible to put into place a anti-doping system across the sport, as Dechambeau and many other pretenders to his throne may look for any slight edge that will propel them to fame and fortune. Without doubt steroid abuse could become apparent in the game, and as with any sport it would be wrong and detrimental to have any championships decided by the dark arts.

His studious and calculated approach to every aspect of the game has also led to criticism of slow play amongst his fellow professionals. As a fan it can admittedly be challenging to watch, but as long as the man himself stays clean it is difficult to begrudge him his first major victory due to his innovation and sheer desire in the pursuit of glory.

Many times he is seen practicing late night on the range at major competitions, with relentless sessions focusing on the ability to hit the same shot over and over again faultlessly more than anyone else, which ultimately is what the game is all about when you strip it back to its bare bones.

Furthermore, it will be interesting to witness how the man himself copes with the scrutiny his new found status in the game brings him when spectators are eventually allowed to make their comeback.

Seemingly he has conquered the physical aspects of the game, but in my opinion it is telling that he captured his first major without fans in attendance. There is no doubt that his win must be respected and he is no stranger to success with nine tour victories under his belt. However, with fans in attendance at a major tournament it becomes a new breed of animal as it creates a cacophony of pressure that some players thrive on and others succumb to. Thus, upon their eventual return it will be fascinating to see if he also possesses the vital mental ingredients in his quest to topple the Golfing world.

Despite not being the greatest advocate of his game, I certainly feel that his incredible endeavour to improve and find solutions to the equations that Golf presents is admirable. It is something that has never been utilised in the game ever before and that in itself makes for compelling viewing.

However, I feel that we must tread incredibly carefully as the game may look and feel vastly different in years to come if Bryson’s novel style is cloned enough by future participants in the sport.

With that in mind we can only look forward with excitement as to how his fellow tour professionals will look to combat his unique tactics on the golf course, and ultimately hope that the game itself upholds its deep rooted integrity.

Thanks for reading!

For further articles click on any of the links down below or use the menu button at the head of this page.


Football: A Troubled Marriage

Football: A Troubled Marriage

There has been various articles at this magazine where I have recollected some of the finer moments and memories that football has granted us throughout the years.

But today its time for a change of tact, to answer the question that has eaten away at my passion for the sport for a number of years now.

Has football lost its way?

For me It seems that the chasm between modern footballers and spectators of the game is ever expanding. For a pastime that was once billed as a game for the people it really is a crying shame that Premier League Football with its vast financial wealth and clout seem to have marginalised what makes our game so very special, us the fans.

The roar, the hustle and bustle of the matchday crowd is an event that you can always recollect fondly on your first time at an arena. Passion, emotion, and tension streams from the stands and vastly enhances the theatre that plays out in front of us, and now with the pandemic era of football in full swing this is more evident than ever before.

Players that share these traits now seem to be part of a by-gone era, as the celebrity Instagram culture seems to have penetrated into not only the realms of our everyday lives but also into many facets of modern Football, casting a shadow on our beloved national game that we have nurtured and cared for so much.

Watching the game growing up as a Manchester United fan I was transfixed by the blood and guts style of play not only by United, but also any opponent that would face off against them. Titanic battles between heated rivals such as Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea would leave me salivating for the next game on the horizon, as my own enthusiasm for victory would be mirrored by the warriors that would be stepping out onto the pitch every weekend.

Every match contested with gusto and thunder would keep us glued to our tv screens, teetering on the edge of our arm chairs or bar stools, as every win or loss for either team always seemed to matter so much more.

The battle would often begin in earnest as the teams lined up beside each other in the tunnel, a look of steely of determination in the eyes, fired up for the task ahead, waiting to leave every ounce of blood sweat and tears out on the pitch.

This has now been replaced by obligatory hugs, handshakes, and friendly chatter that seem to quell my own and the players thirst for battle before the match has even got underway. Whilst in defeat the same players are often seen smiling and swapping shirts afterwards whilst the fans trudge home disconsolate and broken hearted.

This attitude of the games new generation seems to have watered down such a vital dimension of the game and in my view it is what made football like no other sport and so rewarding for its fanbase, for victory achieved by grit and strength of character always tasted so much sweeter.

This tribal culture and sense of belonging to the badge has recently been derided and disregarded too many times by a new breed of football player.

Far too often extortionate amounts of money change hands for players in terms of transfers and wages, whilst within a few days the new kid on the block confesses his love for his new employers and how he has dreamed of playing there since he was a child.

It’s a yarn that has now been spun far too many times and myself and many others see straight through the façade, yearning for the days past where player loyalty and love for his team truly meant something. As it seems players no longer look towards championships and trophies, instead it seems that the pay packet is what drives any young talent coming through from grass root level.

I’m baffled by the obsession with social media and the constant flaunting of wealth by so many. This will only serve to widen the gap between spectators and footballers even more so, as it is that connection that we as supporters thrive on with our chosen team, and without it the game will eventually become meaningless.

I could never comprehend that my love for the sport would ever begin to dwindle, but here we are where it seems that it no longer holds such an important role in my life. Gone are the days of teams, managers and players fighting tooth and nail for medals and championship honours. Now replaced by young wealthy men that seem to be more concerned about their FIFA rating on Playstation, or the latest expensive car that they can lay there hands on, all without ever actually achieving anything in the game whatsoever.

I blame the shift in society for this new wave of unmotivated footballers as they have been raised in a culture where fame and notoriety can be won without a shred of actual talent. We seem to aimlessly compete with each other across social media platforms attempting to justify our own existence in the world, and that for me has seeped into mainstream sport as previously mentioned.

Fashion and clothing lines are even released by truly mediocre players that serve to line their already bulging pockets, which can only turn off the paying public who are being fleeced for money by multiple subscriptions services to even watch a match on tv.

I truly hope that one day we can close this gap and get back to what made us fall in love with the game to begin with.

Performance’s that echo our spirit and enthusiasm for the game need to follow from the players as too often a lack of commitment suggests that selfies and sponsorship deals matter more in the long term.

This article may be seen as a slight on our game as it currently stands, but it is something that I feel very strongly about, as there is too many Mesut Ozil’s in the game and not enough Cristiano Ronaldo’s.

Cristiano embodies some of the criticisms housed in this article, but it cannot be denied his fantastic ability and outright desire to be the best on the pitch and for that he deserves all of the trappings of his own monumental success.

I believe that greed and wealth from clubs and players alike is slowly detaching people from the sport and where it will all lead eventually can only be speculated on, as it has seemingly turned into nothing more than a millionaires playground for many.

Throw the introduction of VAR into an already volatile mix, it has now become a recipe for disaster.

Further contempt from avid followers of the game has arisen, with many up in arms with its affect on the sport. Since its inception it has been an unmitigated failure in my eyes as it has now turned many matches into atmosphere vacuums as we can no longer even celebrate the high point of any game, the goals.

Inconsistent decision making and flawed logic when making these refereeing calls is having a highly detrimental effect on the sport, as it is forcing us the fans to hold back our emotional investment in the game. This being the magical ingredient that the game must continue to encourage in order to withhold its mass appeal.

I hope that one day football can return to its former glories as it is such a marvellous spectacle when all positive facets of the game are on full display.

But this can only happen if clubs and their staff begin to understand that football is built on the foundation of its supporters.

Whilst continuing to raise ticket prices, replica shirt sales and subscription services to line rank average playing staffs pockets is no longer viable in the current climate.

Football will eventually find itself at a crossroads in my opinion and I sincerely hope that it will realise the errors of its own ways and we can embrace it once more as something to love and cherish all over again.

I would suggest Scrapping VAR and introducing a salary cap would be a mammoth step in the right direction.

Feel free to discuss any of my viewpoints down below.

Thanks for reading!

For further reading click on any of the articles down below or use the menu button at the head of this page.


Football’s Most Incredible Moments: Top 10

Football’s Most Incredible Moments: Top 10

Exhilaration, inspiration, drama, and at times pure heartbreak.

This a minor snippet of the vast range of emotions that the wonderful game of football manages to coerce from us over the course of 90 minutes.

This countdown is here to provide us with a reminder of the most enthralling moments that have taken us to the heights of ecstasy and the agony of despair.

Since its birth in England over one hundred years ago, we have boar witness to history making events that have impacted not only the sport itself but also society, due to the games long held ability to unify countries and community’s as one. Its vast popularity placing football at the forefront of the sporting fraternity for many decades.

Battles for supremacy on the pitch, fight backs from the jaws of certain defeat, exquisite goals, and outright controversy all find themselves in this compilation.

Read on as we delve into the archives and re-live some of the extraordinary events that have shaped and defined the history of the beautiful game.

10. Brazil 1-7 Germany.

World Cup 2014 host’s Brazil welcomed their German counterparts into their own backyard in a semi-final clash that was billed as a clash of the titans, with both teams owners of a rich history in football’s premiere international competition.

Shorn of their talisman Neymar after a fractured vertebrae in the quarter finals, much was still expected from the five time World Champions. What transpired was a comprehensive mauling that left a nations dreams crushed underneath the ruthless German hammer, as a completely lopsided contest played out in front of a partizan Brazilian home crowd that had come to expect so much from their national side.

Trailing 5-0 within the first 30 minutes of the match, the Brazilian players were all at sea as wave after wave of German attackers waltzed through a shambolic defence to plunder the Brazilian net time and time again.

Germany added two more in a second half that reinforced the sheer dominance that was on display, a team that would ultimately be crowned as winners of the entire tournament.

A late consolation from Chelsea midfielder Oscar would do little to console a crowd that had just witnessed the biggest annihilation in World Cup semi-final history, whilst the players themselves openly wept on the pitch. It was a performance later described as a national humiliation.

A result that seemed unfathomable beforehand left football fans around the world in utter disbelief, and for Brazil themselves it will never be forgotten for all the wrong reasons.

Click on the page numbers down below to continue the countdown.

Brock Lesnar: One Of A Kind

Brock Lesnar: One Of A Kind

Manufactured for destruction, The Beast Incarnate Brock Lesnar has dismantled the very best that combat sport has had to offer over a twenty year period. A true anomaly in the fight world, he has laid waste to the competition across three different disciplines in a stellar fight career.

Born in South Dakota, Brock excelled in both American Football and amateur wrestling from an early age, sealing a athletics scholarship in wrestling at the university of Minnesota in the year 2000.

This is where Brock’s ascension to superstardom began as he became the NCAA Heavyweight wrestling champion at the age of 23 years old, as seen in the corresponding photograph below.

Brock’s physical stature and imposing presence soon caught the attention of World Wrestling Entertainment, who promptly signed him to a developmental deal that summer, and he would make his debut two years later.

Professional Wrestling.

Brock debuted on WWE television on March 18th 2002, billed as “The Next Big Thing” his rapid rise to the top of the championship scene culminated with a classic encounter with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson at Summerslam on August 25th, who himself was the biggest draw in professional wrestling at the time.

Brock stood firm in the face of adversity and left The Rock victimized with a comprehensive mauling, as he became the youngest WWE champion of all time at 25 years old, a mere five months removed from his debut on the main roster. The first of many record breaking accolades for a man who was deemed to be a freak of nature, not only because of his physical stature but also due to his natural ability inside of a wrestling ring.

His reign of dominance would continue within the company for a prolonged period of time as the likes of the legendary Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker would fall to the Canadian powerhouse.

Eventually Brock would head for pastures new in the summer of 2004 as he and the WWE parted ways in less than amicable circumstances, as Lesnar wished to pursue a career in the NFL.

A motorbike accident that broke his jaw and left him nursing a recurring groin injury would ultimately curtail his dream.

WWE undisputed champion at twenty five years old.

His fractured relationship with WWE led Brock to work for wrestling companies in Japan, where once again he would capture championship gold. Becoming the IWGP Heavyweight Wrestling Champion and the main box office attraction for the company, which is where he continued to hone his skills until his depatrure in 2007.

Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Brock’s subsequent signing to the UFC in 2008 was deemed to be a massive coup for its owner Dana White, as Brock’s name and image had held huge drawing power in the world of Professional Wrestling .

Fight fans were eager to see him in action, many holding the belief that Pro wrestling would be shown to be a facade in the world of “true” combat sports. No man had ever crossed the divide of professional Wrestling to UFC ever before, and it was deemed to be a very risky move by Brock. His reputation and that of pro Wrestling was seemingly on the line.

Professional Wrestling is certainly choreographed, but to simply label it as “fake” provides a huge disservice to the athletes themselves. Aches, pains, and severe injuries that these performers have faced over the years are no laughing matter, many have suffered concussions and broken bones in order to entertain its fanbase. For people to pour scorn on it leaves me mystified as to why it does not accrue the recognition it surely deserves, as the scars that these highly trained professional athletes bear are unequivocally for real.

Making his highly anticipated debut at UFC 81, he faced the wily Frank Mir who swiftly dispatched of Brock in the first round by knee bar submission.

This was to be a mere bump in the road for The Beast however, as his desire to compete in MMA would not diminish as he made his return to the octogon at UFC 87 with a dominant win over Heath Herring by unanimous decision.

The crowning achievement of Brock’s storied career was soon to follow at UFC 91, as he faced off against the legendary Randy Couture for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. Considered an outsider by many due to his relative inexperience inside the octagon, Brock shocked the world with a brutal secound round stoppage, exploding a right hand onto Randy’s temple that left him shell shocked as his legs crumbled beneath him.

Brock quickly capitalised, as he gained full mount control over his adversary and unleashed a series of short arm shots to the head that would go unanswered by Couture.

Watch as Brock Lesnar wins the UFC World Heavyweight Championship.

In that moment Lesnar had become the only man in history to hold the accolade of being both a WWE and UFC World Heavyweight Champion, lending legitimacy to the name of professional Wrestling for the first time in its existence. Brock’s fearless and animal like tenacity for success had placed him at the head of a sport that had previously questioned his mere presence amongst its ranks.

Frank Mir would be next in line to lock horns with the newly crowned King of the division, holding up his previous submission victory over him as a bargaining chip , the re-match was made official and Lesnar avenged his debut loss by TKO in the second round.

A scheduled defence of the Championship against Shane Carwin was next up for Lesnar, it would go down much later than originally scheduled however, as he began experiencing the early stages of a string of serious health problems. These issues threatened his life and would ultimately lead to his retirement from UFC and MMA altogether.

Eventually diagnosed with diverticulitis, Brock spent a number of months in hiatus from the company in order to recover from his dehabilitating injuries, with a section of his Colon eventually being surgically removed as faecal matter had been leaking into his abdomen through his lower intestine, causing serious health complications and by his own admission it was the “sickest I have been in my entire life”.

Shane Carwin and Frank Mir clashed in his absence in order to determine a new interim champion with Carwin emerging the victor. Lesnar was waiting amongst the shadows and on his return he would spectacularly reclaim the throne he had been forced to relinquish, with a 2nd round submission win via triangle chokehold.

A triumphant return against Shane Carwin.

It was a simply stunning return to form for a man that had been laid low for such a long period of time, a display that epitomised Lesnar’s astonishing heart to battle back from the brink of despair, whilst fight fans were no longer in doubt that this former professional Wrestler was indeed the real deal.

The Brock lesnar freight train would soon begin to lose traction however, after losing his next defence to Cain Velasquez. His struggles with diverticulitis had re-emerged and continued to hamper his performance in both the physical and mental aspect of the sport.

His subsequent loss to Alistair Overeem would be the catalyst to his retirement from the sport in 2012, due to the propensity of many opponents to attack his severely weakened abdomen during battle, and in such a brutal and unforgiving sport it was considered a very wise move to step away from Mixed Martial Arts.

WWE Return.

Brock’s long awaited return to professional wrestling materialised later that summer in 2012. His comeback in WWE has been littered with countless monumental moments and championships, once again leaving spectators in no doubt as to whom the company’s premiere athlete is.

Brock’s presence alone can to be attributed to a rise in TV viewers as he made his triumphant comeback to WWE. He was also a huge box office draw for the UFC as his aura belies that of a mega star, as people seem to thrive on seeing this fighting machine in action.

His title runs in WWE have been met by much negativity since his return due to the formulaic nature of his matches, however when faced with the right opponent his matches with the likes of the Phenomenal AJ Styles and Rey Mysterio Jr have been a real treat to watch.

His shocking victory over The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 33 broke the dead man’s legendary streak and is a bone of contention for many wrestling fans to this day, however to Lesnar it is simply another feather in an ever expanding cap.


Despite all of his achievements Brock is certainly no angel, and after defeating Mark Hunt in a one off return at UFC 200 he later tested positive for steroids, with the victory declared null and void in the record books. A dangerous and inconsiderate move from an elite athlete that endangered his opponents wellbeing and for that his actions cannot be condoned or ignored.

Brock’s career has been intertwined with success, controversy, and championships since its onset. His stardom sky rocketed on the back of his herculean like image and fighting prowess. For his never before seen exploits he should be held in the highest regard as an elite level athlete, a precious commodity in a sport that continues to expand year in, year out.

He has battled dangerous opponents both in and outside of the ring, hauling himself from the canvas on countless occasions from both a professional and personal perspective. It is therefore admirable that he has carved out such a monumental and unique career in the face of such adversity, conquering the countless barriers that had been strewn across his metaphorical pathway.

He is simply one of a kind.

Thanks for reading!


England: Hope And Glory

England: Hope And Glory

Ever since that famous summer in 1966 Football fans have craved for a return to the mountain top for our national team and along the way we have experienced a plethora of emotions. With the glorious highs also came the crushing lows for a population that places so much of its faith, energy, and hope into its national side.

For long sustained periods we have seen our team fall way below the lofty expectations we have placed upon it, much has been made of various teams that never realized their vast potential, moulded from managers that have came from both these shores and overseas.

England’s failures and short comings have been alarmingly apparent across all major competitions for many years, which has manifested itself under a lack of managerial nous and player motivation.

However, I firmly believe that under the right head coach and set up England can flourish once more into a team that can make us proud again. With Gareth Southgate at the helm I feel that next summers European Championship is a stark possibility to land silverware for the first time since 1966.

The English FA’s reluctance to appoint flair managers and reach for a safe pair of hands can be traced back to the dismissal of Sir Alf Ramsey, after England’s failure at the 1970 World Cup, eliminated by old foes West Germany in the quarter finals.

Brian Clough was the hottest most charismatic manager in the game at the time. He enjoyed a trophy laden period of dominance with Derby County and Nottingham Forest, capturing back to back European Cups with an unfancied, unfashionable team.

He was inexplicably never handed the reigns and England failed to qualify for the subsequent European Championship’s and World Cup tournaments in an age where ‘old big ead’ ruled the managerial roost.

England finally awoke from their slumber and returned to the grand stage with qualification secured under manager Ron Greenwood for the 1982 World Cup held in Spain.

England disappointingly exited at the group stage as our national game had fallen by the wayside and has done so on many other occasions with the wrong hierarchy put into place.

However if the appointment is a shrewd one it has been shown that results will often follow closely behind.


Bobby Robson’s subsequent arrival in the Autumn of 1982 heralded an upturn in England’s fortunes as they reached the quarter finals of Mexico 86 and the semi-finals in Italia 90 under his 8 year stewardship. The infamous ‘hand of god’ by Diego Maradona had dumped England out in Mexico in a travesty of justice that left Robson and a nation on its knees. This somewhat steeled Robson’s resolve and he led England into the next World Cup In 1990 with an unyielding desire to put things right after such a undeserving loss 4 years previous.

What followed was a march to the semi-finals led by the the mercurial Paul Gascoigne, who would ultimately miss the final if England had made it by getting booked during the match against West Germany. In familiar scenes England were cast aside by the dreaded penalty shoot out, yet they returned home heroes after such an enthralling and emotional journey in Italy.

Failure to qualify for USA 94 followed under Graham Taylor who had endured a simialirly disastrous Euro 92 campaign. Terry Venables would soon step into the breach and yet again it showed that under a charismatic manager is where a team can fullfill its underlying potential.

A fearless band of brothers went into battle at those home European championships in 1996, Paul Gascoigne once again a stand out performer, supplying the ammunition for Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham, the much loved SAS partnership. Whilst the likes of Tony Adams, Stuart Pearce, and goalkeeper David Seaman defiantly held the rearguard of the team together.

Yet another captivating ride to the semi-final’s ensued, with failure on penalties costing the team once again to the heartbreak of a nation. Yet we took solace from the promise that this team were exuding, surely major tournament success was on the horizon.


It never materialised however, much to the chagrin of supporters and the media alike as a vast array of managers such as Sven Goran Eriksson failed to capitalise on the precocious talent being nurtured in the English game. Placing players out of position and selecting by reputation rather than current form.

The Swede himself being the number one perpetrator as he bought into the facet of the celebrity culture surrounding the team during his reign from 2000 until 2006. He often placed round pegs in square holes in order to simply cram the biggest superstars into a formation that would simply house them all, rather than a system that would bring the best out of the squad.

Quarter final failure at every tournament under him would be the pinnacle of his achievements, leaving us the fans disappointed and baffled by his team selection and such inadequate tactical flexibility.

With the nation crying out for progress the FA took the uninspiring choice to name Sven’s assistant Steve McLaren as his predecessor, yet another vanilla appointment that was destined to fail as we shamefully failed to qualify for Euro 2008 as McLaren left his position as a laughing stock.

Fabio Capello was next on the chopping block as the distinguished Italian was handed the top job in our game. Again England failed miserably under his leadership in two major tournaments as his regimented approach and reliance on the old guard frustrated both the media and the fans as we seemed to slipping behind every nation in the sport.

Enter Roy Hodgson whose appointment was greeted with little fanfare in 2012, leading us into another disastrous World Cup campaign in 2014. Once again we floundered at the group stage, as little Costa Rica advanced at our expense in Brazil.

After a lacklustre Euro 2012 and a dire showing at the aforementioned World Cup in 2014, Roy was deemed to be fortunate to have a final foray at glory, with a shot at the European Championships in 2016 in France.

What unfolded next was unfathomable as England sunk to unprecedented new depths with a 2-1 defeat to minnows Iceland in the last 16. The nation was left in a state of shock as a performance completely void of heart, desire, and quality was played out in front of our eyes in scenes that had to be seen to be believed. Hodgson resigned shortly after in yet another catastrophic failure for English Football.

The next appointment by the Football Association would be crucial, as our image as the home of football had been trashed and left in the gutter by under performing players and inadequate management.


Gareth Southgate would be the man handed the responsibility going forward, promoted from within the system after successfully managing the under 21’s. It was viewed somewhat a puzzling choice at the time however as he was perceived by many as yet another bland appointment, myself included.

What has followed however has invigorated our passion for the game and restored the notion of pride in pulling on an England shirt.

Southgate’s willing to discard the status quo from the playing staff seemed like the shot in the arm that an ambling squad desperately needed for a very long time. Players would have to earn the right for an England cap under his leadership, as fresh talent were promoted to the senior team in a move that seemed to be nigh on impossible to navigate in previous era’s.

Gone was the predictable starting line up and style of play that had stunted England’s growth for so many years, replaced by a bold new system that placed faith in youth over experience as England reached the World Cup semi-finals for the first time since for 28 years in 2018.

Southgate’s desire and likeable demeanour seemed to bridge the gap between his players and a disenchanted fanbase that had suffered for so long under numerous failures and disappointment.

The penalty hoodoo that had hovered over England for 22 years was also cast aside as Eric Dier guided home the winning penalty against Colombia in the last 16. Our mentality had metamorphisised on the big stage and under Southgate’s tutelage I believe he can build on the rock solid foundations that he has built.

England’s lack of big game experience would eventually lead to their downfall against Croatia losing 2-1 after extra time. Yet throughout the tournament we were thrilled by a youthful exuberance that would signify the giant strides this team had made in such a short space of time.


England’s journey in Russia made it an unforgettable, uplifting Summer, as joyful scenes up and down the country filled news bulletins and our media feeds, proof that football promotes unity and happiness, a vital piece of our social fabric.

Southgate has continued to deliver on that early promise as he has lead us to 3rd place in the inaugrial League Of Nations finals in 2019, ousting Germany and Croatia in a tough series of fixtures.

Following on from that achievement we now eagerly await the rescheduled European Championships in 2021 as he takes his charges into battle against the best that Europe has to offer.

The tournament itself is set to take place across various European destinations as the competition celebrates its 60 year anniversary, with Wembley the venue for the semi-finals, final, and the vast majority of England’s fixtures. Alas it seems a golden opportunity for Southgate and the team to take the next step in its development and capture that first major trophy in 55 years.

The talent in the team is second to none with the likes of Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane all considered to be world class talents. Whilst in midfield and defence we boast an array of talent that we haven’t had in a number of years, with the likes of Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire blossoming into seasoned professionals.

Alongside the backing of a fiery and passionate fanbase I predict that England can take advantage of the home playing field and push themselves into the latter stages of the finals and possibly even win it. Although we have fallen into this trap many times before I feel that this England outfit is made of a different irk under Southgate. We finally have a man who is not afraid to pull the trigger on big decisions and knows the heart breaking price of failure and the thrill of success after playing under Terry Venables in our last home Championships in Euro 96.

We as fans can accept failure, but what we will not tolerate is a shortfall of effort, and in Southgate we have a man who has managed to galvanise a winning mentality from his playing staff. It is safe to say we have finally emerged from the wilderness after too many years of frustration and disappointment that had resulted in contempt for the modern footballer.


I believe that we are very much back in love with our national team, thanks to Southgate’s profound ability to get the best from his players and his core beliefs in team spirit and harmony, as over the years it has been common knowledge that club loyalties had created division amongst the squad.

Those past practices are now consigned to the scrapheap and it is vitally important now more than ever, that we as a nation come together and tackle adversity as one.

With that attitude and mindset there is nothing we can’t overcome or achieve.

Under the guidance of Gareth Southgate I believe that our football team can mirror those sentiments and press on to glory next summer!

Thanks for reading!


Michael Jordan: The Last Dance

Michael Jordan: The Last Dance

All good things must come to an end and unfortunately that’s the case for Netflix’s outstanding sports documentary series The Last Dance, which is the centered on the trials and tribulations of the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan.

Set in the 1990’s, we are taken on a nostalgia filled ride alongside the team as the Bulls dominate the NBA, spearheaded by Michael ‘Air’ Jordan, the finest athlete to ever grace the court.

I have found this series to be a truly fascinating journey as we follow Jordan as a young rookie finding his pathway into the game, fuelled by his unrelentess desire for competition, which as we found out in later episodes can sometimes be to his detriment.

Michael’s road to immortality was not forged alone as we are given extensive behind the scenes access to the running of the franchise as a whole, with telling contributions from fellow team mates, head coach Phil Jackson, and general manager Jerry Krause.

This is where the series itself has created such a stir amongst sports fanatics and the general public itself, as we see another side to Jordan’s multifaceted personality, as many of his former team mates have derided his questionable attitude on the road to their six NBA championships.

The show doesn’t hold back as we gain the inside track on locker room discussions and training sessions that have never been seen before by the public. Head coach Phil Jackson is on hand to keep super sized ego’s in check in order to maintain harmony in a winning team. On many occasions Jordan is seen to castrate his team mates for any slight misdemeanour or mistake in training, in a show of almost bully boy tactics.

However, his fellow professionals were also in agreement that his ruthless attitude and gut wrenching desire to be the best was the force that drove them towards greatness, and without it they would probably not have reached such unprecedented heights.

I personally cannot condone such behaviour, but lest we forget that Jordan is simply the greatest of all time and he had set sky high standards for himself and his team over a number of years. So for anyone to not pull their weight and perform at the highest level with a one hundred percent committed attitude was deemed unacceptable.

Michael was thrust into the leadership role at a young age with his gravity defying displays and in the words of the great man himself you had to hold onto superman’s cape if championships were to be captured, and his record breaking statistics will lay testament to that fact, but by his own admission leadership would come at a cost.

Eventually Jordan’s coach and mentor Phil Jackson would convince Michael to have more faith in his team mates, as his propensity to do it alone would sometimes lead to the teams downfall and in interview excerpts he acknowledges so himself.

Enter the supporting cast of Basketball icons in their own right, as we get to meet the likes of Scottie Pippen, Steve Kerr, and the notorious Dennis Rodman. As the incredible drama unfolds through the series it is clear to see that they were also vital cogs in the creation of the Chicago Bulls dynasty.

With an episode dedicated to each of them it is heartening to see that these mens contributions were not overlooked, and Jordan’s admiration for them shine through on screen as he remembers fondly the men who stood beside him in battle on the court.

There were some truly titanic battles along the way, as we bear witness to action footage from the various showdowns that the Bulls were embroiled in on the way to the famous double three-peat, which is three championships in a row on two separate occasions. An achievement that has never be accomplished by any other franchise in the sport.

Off the court is where we delve deeper into what makes the man himself tick and this is where I believe the show comes into its own, as his personal struggles and foibles are laid bare for all to see in captivating footage.

His addiction to competition is overwhelmingly evident throughout the show, as money begins to change hands over the most mundane competitons created by Michael himself. This would sometimes cause friction amongst his peers, as stories of his love for casino’s and gambling would often create controversy and outrage amongst the press. Who themselves had cultivated an image of Michael that he had never felt completely at ease with.

Jordan’s fame in the 90’s had ballooned into something akin to a movie star as his image and name seeped into pop culture, turning his Basketball career into headline making theatre. His various endorsements would be found almost everywhere and none were more bigger than the creation of the trainer ‘Air’ Jordan’s, which sent Michael’s name and earning potential into the stratosphere as the shoe sold hundreds of millions around the globe and still remain popular today.

Starring in the movie Space Jam, a film primarily aimed at youngsters, Jordan found himself typecast as a role model for children whilst also being burdened with the expectation of being a political activist as a black athlete, which by his own admission he did not want to partake in.

Thus, any news of Michael enjoying the fruits of his hard earned labour would be scrutinised extensively by the media and this would routinely be a source of great frustration as he only ever wished to be a great basketball player and nothing else.

The twisting of the facts by news outlets and tabloids is prevelant throughout the show and truly gives food for thought, as even the murder of his beloved father is somehow manufactured into a news piece linking it to Jordan’s own failings. Which seems brutally unjust to a man that had given his blood, sweat, and tears to entertain Basketball fans all over the planet.

For the media to handle these events in such a manner presents us the viewer with a interesting conundrum.

Do we simply absorb what the media present to us as fact or do we reserve judgement on matters until we have heard the story from each persons perspective?

A difficult choice to make in a time where we rely so much on mainstream media outlets to keep us connected both mentally and socially.

Michael’s willing to sign autographs and cater to the fans needs is seen throughout the show and it is easy to forget that underneath the harsh exterior lies a man who was always willing to go the extra mile to keep his adoring fanbase happy, and for the media to attempt to consistently assassinate his character left this viewer perplexed.

For that reason Jordan himself should be given even greater kudos in regards to the hardship and pressure placed on his shoulders over such a such a prolonged period of time with his performances never wavering at game time.

Throughout the show’s narrative we are also treated to testimonies from his former rivals within the game as they desperately attempt to dethrone the king of the court. The ill tempered rivalry with the Detroit Pistons and the courtside battles with the Utah Jazz take centre stage, while the likes of the legendary ‘Magic’ Johnson are on hand to offer their own analysis on the matter, which I found both engaging and compelling at the same time.

The highlight of each episode would always come with the sit down interviews with Jordan himself as he is pressed on subjects that may have been perceived as off limits in the past. Finally he is able to tell his side of the story after years of media and press intrusion into his personal life and this becomes the crux of the show throughout.

As the show headed towards its thrilling final quarter I found myself disappointed that the journey was set to come to an end, as the show had captured my imagination from the offset, with its story covering every aspect of what makes up the DNA of a championship winning phenomenon like the Chicago Bulls.

The legacy left behind by Jordan cannot be tainted in my view as his stardom and unique ability on the court attracted millions of fans to game and his success has never been repeated. His unbelievable determination to succeed in life must not be ignored and only now can the man who was addicted to winning sit back and enjoy life somewhat out of the limelight, as he had always wanted to.

If this shows critical triumph is anything to go by however, it may not last forever.

I would say that in conclusion this ten part mini-series is much like Michael Jordan himself.

A winner!

Thanks for reading!