Tag: sports magazine

Rory McIlroy: Breaking The Cycle

Rory McIlroy: Breaking The Cycle

Rory McIlroy’s quick fire achievement’s at the launch of his professional career saw him become a hugely popular winner, as he captured three out of the four major Golf championships available by the tender age of twenty five. A feat only shared with the most esteemed company, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.

Such early whirlwind success suggested that it would simply be a matter of time before he would round off his growing collection with a Masters green jacket, joining only five other players to complete the coveted grand slam.

What has transpired since those heady early heights has been quite the opposite however, as he has continues to flounder at not only Augusta, but also at a host of other major tournaments in his quest to add to his trophy haul. Time and again it seems as if he presses the self destruct button whenever the winning post rears its head on the horizon.

To his credit he has picked up a number of victories on the PGA tour, but despite being a perennial top five finisher, it seems that it’s major competition where he has developed a serious mental block, as his killer instinct continues to elude him when it matters most, with his last victory coming at the PGA Championship in 2015.

It is tricky to surmise as to how Rory can halt this crippling trend which continues to plague his game to this very day. This has been a considerable source of frustration for the man himself, as he continues to scrutinise his own performances in his forage for solutions and answers.

There is surely no reason why one of the most naturally gifted players in the world cannot reclaim the glories of yesteryear, as all his performances are lacking is the ability to convert the chances that he creates for himself in the final straight.

This crucial ruthlessness is something that he has exhibited on many occasions in the earlier stages of his career, so it is more a case of reawakening this characteristic inside of himself, rather than reinventing the wheel.

He certainly isn’t lacking in any physical aspect as his distances from tee to green are a match for any of his fellow competitors, so I feel that it is the psychological side of his game that will need tweaking with in his attempt to return to the promise land.

This may be a far more reliable strategy than trying to emulate his fellow competitors, as he recently attempted to mimic Golf’s pantomime villain Bryson Dechambeau in order to gain more length off the tee. He later publicly declared that this was an unmitigated disaster, leaving his swing in ruins.

Rory’s initial rise to superstardom culminated in him replacing the iconic Tiger Woods as the face of the PGA tour video game franchise, which in turn has seen his fanbase and brand grow exponentially over the years. This may well have compounded his issues in recent times as the obligation to be a viable commercial commodity for his sponsors may well have taken a sizeable toll.

This status as a household name in the sport comes hand in hand with great expectation, which can only serve to stove the fire of internal pressure that every player must already deal with.

Unfortunately his inability to land the big prizes has now become the primary narrative whenever he steps onto a Golf course, as the burden that is heaped onto his shoulders at every event is now only akin to Tiger Woods in his pomp.

Golf requires an innate ability to perform under pressure and be able to maintain composure at the most pivotal of moments. So in order for Rory to replicate his earlier triumphs it may be time for him to try and rediscover the relaxed care free attitude that propelled him to so much success to begin with.

I feel that he should also draw great strength from his friend and fellow countryman Darren Clarke, who finally captured his first major trophy at the grand age of fourty two at The Open in 2011. His own unwavering self belief finally dragging him over the line despite toiling in Golf major mediocrity for over twenty years.

Therefore I believe that it is paramount that Rory continues to keep faith in himself and his undeniable genius, with it high time he released the shackles that he has straddled his own mind with over the last seven years.

This may bring a sense of joy and freedom to his game, as he already has a major trophy haul that many of his fellow professionals would be proud to call their own.

He also has father time on his side at the age of thirty to rediscover his own enjoyment of the game, which I also feel is a vital ingredient in an often volatile sport that manage’s to infuriate even the finest of players at times.

With the new major season now set to begin in earnest, we will see him continue his hunt for championship prosperity with a shot at that elusive US Masters title at Augusta in April.

With his likeable demeanor and raw enthusiasm for the sport it would be difficult to imagine a more well received recipient of a major title this year if the Northern Irishman can finally overcome the demons that have blighted his game for far too long.

Rory’s psyche will no doubt be placed under intense scrutiny at this competition and throughout 2022 by the media and the unforgiving nature of the sport itself.

Yet, it is my hope that he comes out swinging with renewed vigor and mental clarity, as he looks to finally conquer his own personal Everest and make his long awaited return to the pinnacle of the game once more.

Regardless of the outcome, the ground swell of support for him will surely continue to expand, as his status amongst enthusiasts of the sport has never been defined by merely silverware alone.

Thanks for reading!

To read my article on Bryson Dechambeau you can click on the link down below:

Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe!

Phil.

Boxing: The Celebrity Circus

Boxing: The Celebrity Circus

Over the course of the past year we have seen the rise of a disturbing trend amongst a sport that has seen some of the very finest warriors battle for supremacy and respect over multiple decades.

It is a discipline that commands commitment, heart, and a fierce desire if you are to reach the pinnacle of the fight game. Over many years and since my own childhood we have been fortunate to witness truly epic showdowns, and the rise and fall of many fantastic athletes that have sacrificed everything in order to become a World Champion.

Boxing itself is littered with inspirational role models that have struck a chord with so many people from all walks of life. Numerous fighters have had to break through from poverty stricken backgrounds to carve out a living, and many other people are bred into a world that can be so unforgiving. Alas, these boxers have given hope to the unfortunate, and credence to the motto impossible is nothing.

Going as far back as the 1960’s Muhammad Ali was the original maverick superstar that refused to conform to his expected status in that era’s society. He was an Olympic Gold medalist that turned professional and went on to win three World Heavyweight Championships, attained through some of the greatest showdowns in the sports lineage.

Ali dedicated his adult life to mastering the sweet science of Boxing. His outlandish and controversial attitude transcended the sport as his battles were not only waged inside the ropes, but also as he fought for social and racial equality for ethnic minority’s around the world. In doing so he left a untouchable legacy behind as the man who gave hope to so many.

Both Mike Tyson and Frank Bruno came from broken homes in the 1980’s and engaged in contests that thrilled nations as each man pushed their mind, body, and souls to the very limit for the opportunity to be crowned Champion of the world.

Iron Mike’s namesake Tyson Fury is another tale of inspiration and success that has been previously covered at this magazine. It ranks as an uplifting tale of triumph over adversity of the highest caliber.

You can also read that article here if you click on this link: Tyson Fury: The Real Life Rocky

With each of these names the common denominator is the fact that each and every victory has been bred through many years of hard work and great sacrifice.

Chris Eubank’s career in the 1990’s is one that I feel holds the most relevancy here however, as it would be intertwined with both tragedy and triumph. The most memorable feuds of his career would come with the Dark Destroyer Nigel Benn and Michael Watson.

Eubank vs Benn was a classic rivalry that encapsulated everything that we loved about the sport, barnstorming battles between men with a deep dislike for another, battle lines were drawn as two elite warriors in their athletic prime slugged it out. Eubank’s would narrowly escape with his championship after a win and a draw in the two fights.

Unfortunately the latter contest with Michael Watson is notorious for all the wrong reasons, as Watson’s loss resulted in hospitalization and a coma for the Londoner. In turn both himself and Eubank’s lives would never be the same again, as Watson’s near fatal injuries left him struggling to walk and talk for a very long time.

Thankfully he is now able to walk, talk, and communicate comfortably after many years of grueling physical and emotional therapy. However, he is confined to a wheelchair for the vast majority of his daily life.

Eubank’s himself confesses to carrying the guilt and mental scars for Watson’s suffering to this very day, despite both men touchingly becoming close friends after such a horrific incident.

This unfortunate tale must sound the alarm for any man or woman who choose to lace up a pair of boots and step into a Boxing ring. What these fearless warriors do is extremely dangerous, as their livelihood and very existence is placed on the line every time they head into battle.

People have lost their lives and many have suffered catastrophic life changing injuries. Therefore for any celebrity to think that they can waltz into a ring and glove up against any seasoned professional fighter is both foolhardy and reckless beyond belief. It is one thing for amateur’s to face one another, but when you have musicians and Instagram influencers calling out hardened combatants I fear that this current façade is going to only end in tragedy before too long.

Enter Jake and Logan Paul, two brothers barely out of nappies in the sport, sharing a total of four fights between them. Youtubers and former Disney actors by trade, they astonishingly share a belief that they belong in the same breath as the likes of the great Floyd Mayweather who retired undefeated after a glittering career. Having fought the most fearsome fighters of this generation such as Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao, and Canelo Alvarez.

Both men are extremely vocal in press conferences and across social media, claiming to be knockout artists whilst calling out various UFC fighters, which I find laughable on so many different levels, as the reality itself speaks at a much higher volume.

Jake’s three victories have come against a fellow Youtuber, an ex NBA player, and a ageing retired UFC fighter. Whilst Logan’s one and only bout ended in defeat to another fellow Youtuber KSI. Thus, it is baffling as to how both men have the gumption to make such outlandish claims, as it has no basis whatsoever.

Jake and Logan Paul’s attitude itself is almost symbolic of this generation of Instagram influencers and Youtubers, as they look for instantaneous gratification through clicks and likes on social media platforms. So rather than through self dedication and commitment, both men feel they can bypass the core fundamentals of a discipline that takes many years to master and become an immediate overnight success.

Personally, I can only see the impending showdown with Mayweather ending in an embarrassing defeat for Logan Paul as the undefeated former World Champion is in another galaxy in comparison to the Youtuber. With that in mind I feel that Mayweather should not even be stepping into the ring with him, such is the disparity between the two.

It is a bout that is fraught with danger, and the criticism that could be heading his and Boxing’s way if Logan Paul suffers serious injury or worse would leave an indelible stain on such a highly regarded profession. Thus, I feel that it isn’t worth him tarnishing his own legacy with a man who simply hasn’t earned the right to be there in the first place.

Boxing itself does not need this kind of publicity, as true fans and supporters understand that this isn’t what the sports fundamentals and principles were built on. Furthermore, I feel that it is an affront and an insult to the legacy of the men and women who have devoted their precious time and energy to the sport and provided it with such a rich history.

The only way we can put a halt to this celebrity circus is to no longer pay lip service to this growing and concerning trend. It is said that money talks in life and it certainly does so in the world of Boxing and pay per view buy rates. Thus, if we the paying consumer refuse to draw our eyes and hard earned money to these glorified playground spats they will ultimately dwindle down to irrelevancy.

In turn, rather than watch celebrities cosplay for followers and likes, we can rightly focus our attention back to the real Boxing personalities that take part for passion, respect, and tradition.

Feel free to discuss any of the 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.

Phil.

Conor McGregor: Living Dangerously

Conor McGregor: Living Dangerously

Ever since Connor McGregor’s explosive arrival into the bear pit of MMA and UFC, he has courted controversy and divided public opinion with his attitude and approach towards the most unforgiving of sports.

Arrogant, cocky, offensive, and disrespectful are just a few of the accusations that are levelled at the notorious one on a daily basis.

Multiple encounters with the law also suggest that McGregor has sailed perilously close to the wind in both his personal and professional life, and it seems that wherever he now goes there is drama lurking around the very next corner.

However, when placed under the microscope it would suggest that his career is a tale of triumph and inspiration. A man who dared to dream of a life outside the monotony of the rat race, a fighter who bucked the trend and set out to achieve his dreams through sheer desire and an unshakable belief in his own ability to become a superstar in the world of MMA.

Going against the wishes of his own father, McGregor believed in the power of positive thinking and gave up life as a plumber from an early age, pouring his heart and soul into the notion of becoming Ireland’s first fighting megastar. He was eventually signed to a UFC contract in 2013.

What followed was an unstoppable march to greatness, as McGregor’s star begun to shine majestically bright with one fight of the night performance after another. Coupled with his magnetic personality, it was hard to keep your eyes away from the the new Irish sensation, who not only talked the talk but would also strut the walk.

A World Championship opportunity eventually presented itself against the UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo, who had reigned supreme for seven long years with an eighteen fight undefeated streak.

McGregor brazenly predicted that Aldo would be knocked out within 10 seconds of the first round. Few could comprehend such disrespect to a humble and popular legend like Jose Aldo, and he was lambasted for his disrespect and foolhardy prediction.

McGregor would silence the naysayers once again however, as he delivered on his outrageous prophecy, dropping Aldo to the canvas with a knock out left hook after thirteen seconds of the opening bell. A new champion was crowned as a brave new dawn had risen in the UFC.

A fresh and captivating era in the sport was ushered in thereafter, as McGregor drew new eyes and ears to an already immensely popular sport. With his media appearance’s and marketability sending PPV buy rates through the roof anytime he headlined an event.

His pursuit of glory and legendary status would lead him to chase after a second championship at Lightweight, whilst still in possession of the Featherweight title, a feat never accomplished by any male or female in UFC history.

What followed was two thrilling brawls with Nate Diaz after initial opponent and reigning Lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos had to withdrew from the proposed bout with injury.

Diaz would win the first bout via tap out after a remarkable stand up brawl between the two, which left fight fans instantly clamoring for a rematch. McGregor emerged from the second clash narrowly victorious, with both showdown’s a monumental success in buy rates and media buzz.

Eddie Alvarez was McGregor’s next adversary as the quest to be double champion would not be denied. He subsequently dismantled Alvarez inside two rounds to become reigning World Lightweight and Featherweight Champion. Remarkably holding titles in two different weight classes simultaneously.

Eventually he would relinquish both belts and went on to face Floyd Mayweather in a much publicised Boxing match which he would lose in the 10th round. It was a highly commendable performance however, and it would further enforce his unmistakable self belief to face up to the most monumental challenges in combat sports head on.

When pouring over these facts I feel that that it is certainly not unjust to place Connor McGregor alongside the likes of Anderson Silva and George St Pierre as the greatest athlete of all time in UFC.

Each of those fighters dominated their division for a far superior timeframe, but did not possess the ability to draw a crowd like the brash and unreservedly unapologetic McGregor. Whilst neither held two titles at different weights simultaneously as previously mentioned.

It now remains to be seen whether the notorious one can reclaim the glories of yesteryear after returning from multiple apparent retirements. He has lost to both Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirer in convincing fashion, and here I believe lies the conundrum.

As is the case with elite level sports and in life itself, time passes by in the blink of an eye. Before we know it the gladiators of the past are chased down, and eventually overthrown by the new wave of hungry young pretenders to the throne, such is the great circle of life.

Stronger, badder, and fitter adversaries are always sure to chase the dream just as hard as Connor did himself in his earlier years. But it is a familiar tale in any sporting genre that once you scale the mountain top it often becomes even harder to maintain your threshold there. As motivation often tends to evaporate over the course of time, where the thrill of the chase can often outweigh the final conclusion.

Thus, it is now up to Connor himself if he wishes to either step aside for the new breed or make a stand to reclaim his kingdom.

The choice is certainly a tough one and echoes one of my favorite films of all time Rocky III, as the Italian Stallion ponders walking away from Boxing after a crushing loss to the fearless young upstart Clubber Lang.

Crippled by self doubt, he has money in the bank and riches beyond his wildest dreams, yet Rocky still makes the choice to come back and reclaim glory from his enemy. Personal pride and the hunt for success would mean more to him than fame and fortune ever could.

McGregor now faces a similar crossroads in his career, and must chose wisely which path he wishes to tread down next, as he relaxes in his Las Vegas based mansion that he has undoubtedly earned.

To re-discover that motivation requires a unique mindset, and as we speak he has signed on for the trilogy fight with Dustin Poirer as he attempts to make amends for his most recent defeat. If Connor emerges victorious it will be fascinating as always to see what he has set his sights on next.

However, I do believe that if he commits wholeheartedly to the next phase of his career, like he has done so in his pomp, then we could possibly see the resurgence of one of the greatest of all time in the UFC.

In closing, it is evident that Connor McGregor has walked a metaphorical tightrope throughout the duration of his personal life, and now many believe he will do so with the legacy of his own career, if his stubborn refusal to submit to old father time results in failure in the octagon.

Personally, I believe that if he should ultimately fall short in his return to arms it should not cast any doubt or aspersions over his huge achievements and impact in both MMA and UFC.

Rather than be derided for any future failings, he should be celebrated as a man who defied convention and became the most must see fighter of his generation, and for that reason I hope that his decision to fight on in such an unrelenting profession garners the respect it so fully deserves.

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.

Phil.

Wayne Rooney: The Flawed Genius

Wayne Rooney: The Flawed Genius

It seems that it was only yesterday that a fresh faced sixteen year old footballer named Wayne Rooney burst on to the scene with an outrageous winner against an Arsenal team in the midst of a 30 game unbeaten run.

Everton Football Club had unearthed a rare and precocious talent who at this early stage of his career would make the headlines for all the right reasons.

Thrust into the limelight from this precise moment, his career trajectory has seen him hit many dizzying heights and also monumental lows, as the legacy of Wayne Rooney can and will be debated long into the future.

His England career began in earnest with a friendly against Australia in 2003 as a second half substitute at the tender age of seventeen.

The following summer at Euro 2004, Rooney would leave his indelible mark on not just us as England fans, but the entire footballing landscape, as his rip roaring performances as a fearless eighteen year old catapulted his name alongside the likes of a young Pele and Maradona. It was certainly a warranted comparison as his performances were simply sensational.

England would eventually falter at the quarter final stage after the man himself broke his metatarsal in the opening ten minutes of the tie against Portugal.

Regardless of the harrowing timing of his injury, he left that summers tournament with four goals to his name and a reputation that was enhanced immeasurably. Unfortunately this would be the absolute peak of his international career with England.

Manchester United came knocking instantly and paid £28 million pounds for his services on his return. A record fee for a teenage footballer at this moment in time, his manager Alex Ferguson and the club were handsomely rewarded by their investment, as he duly delivered a glittering and trophy laden career at the theatre of dreams.

Paired with a young Cristiano Ronaldo, these two young stallions led Manchester United on a path of glory that garnered three Premier League titles in succession and the most treasured prize in the game, the European Cup in 2008.

At this juncture at appeared as if you could not split the two, in regards to who was the superior talent, as both Wayne and Cristiano were crucial cogs in the Manchester United machine.

Ronaldo eventually moved onto pastures new with Real Madrid as his standing in the sport rocketed into a new stratosphere, going on to amass a ludicrous 760 goals in his career and is still fighting fit at 36 years young for Juventus in Serie A.

Whilst Rooney had somewhat been left behind by the Portuguese marvel, his own remarkable scoring accomplishments for both club and country still command the upmost respect from any follower of the game. Scoring 253 goals for Manchester United and 53 goals for his country, eclipsing the the legendary Bobby Charlton on each occasion.

You could almost create a scrapbook of some of Rooney’s most exquisite strikes, as his eye for the spectacular created so many moments to treasure as football fans, and his overhead kick against Manchester City was duly voted as goal of the century by supporters across the country.

Take a look at Wayne Rooney’s finest moments.

Despite his vastly impressive accolades, I sincerely believe with the right application and focus off the pitch Rooney could’ve tapped into his vast well of talent that much more, and taken his place at the table alongside the duo of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the conversation of who is the greatest of all time.

His early performances led us to believe that this was a genius in the making, and in patches of his career he delivered on that promise. However, when his off the field misdemeanors began to surface in the media his talents would often take a backseat to the controversy circling around him.

Allegations surrounding his private life have always followed Rooney throughout his time in the game, with infidelity, court cases, and contractual disputes all rearing their ugly heads at various points in his career, and these distractions can only serve to hinder the stroke of a footballing artist.

A five time Premier League winner, a three time League Cup holder, and the owner of both a FA Cup and Champions League winners medal, it seems unjust to criticize Rooney’s credentials. But much like Paul Gascoigne before him I feel that these issues did eventually put the brakes on a man who was destined for so much more in the game, despite admittedly already achieving so much.

Thus, I believe if Rooney had harnessed all of his god given talent and whole heartedly committed himself to the game like his old running buddy Cristiano Ronaldo, he could have led England to great success in both European Championships and World Cup tournaments.

Once dubbed the white Pele by adoring England supporters, it is suffice to say that looking back across his international career it is sadly littered with crushing disappointments. These should not attributed to him alone, but it is difficult to comprehend why after such a swashbuckling start to life in an England shirt that he only found the net in a World Cup on just one occasion in his career, a 2-1 defeat against Uruguay in Brazil 2014.

It is often discussed that his will to be a team player worked against him, as he was regularly willing to play out of position in order to make the team tick. This point is certainly valid but also his ill discipline would also cost England dearly in major tournaments, as red cards and a lack of anger management would often see Rooney sitting out games of the upmost importance.

The World Cup in 2006 instantly springs to mind with his red card in the quarter finals against Portugal and could be chalked up to inexperience, yet at our next major tournament in Euro 2012 we were shorn of our number one marksman once again, missing the first two group games due to a red card in the final match of qualifying against Montenegro.

To pin England’s failure on just one man is unjust, and is something I do not wish to do, as I feel that far too much weight was hung around Rooney’s neck in an era where quality English players coming through the ranks at club level were almost an oddity.

In stark contrast we currently we have an abundance of riches with the likes of Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish, and Marcus Rashford all showing the hallmarks of top international stalwarts for England.

Rooney often shouldered the burden of a nation and it would certainly have been a tough ask to deal with the immense pressure that was bestowed on him as our talisman and captain. However, I do feel that with greater application he could have accomplished truly monumental greatness and it is almost with regret that he has retired at the age of 36 having never fully fulfilled his astronomical potential.

Ultimately Wayne Rooney’s name will be etched into the record books as a Manchester United and England great due to his outstanding honors and goal records for both, yet the man himself continues to divide opinion in regards to his impact on the game during his playing years.

Management is now the next step for the Croxteth born, once wonderkid, and it is scarcely believable that he has reached retirement, proof that time does indeed fly.

I tip my hat to the man himself for a stellar career in football and wish him the very best in his new role at Derby County, and as a Manchester United fan I cherish some of the fantastic memories he provided us with at his rampaging best.

However, I will never be able to shirk the underlying feeling that there was always just a little more left in the tank.

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.

Phil.

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.

Phil.

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.

Phil.

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.

Phil.

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.

Phil.

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.

Phil.

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.