Sign Of Things To Come

Oh what a week it’s been.  The final Dr. Who episode; England’s disastrous exit from the World Cup; Liverpool appointing Roy Hodgson as the new manager; Ghana suffering double penalty heartbreak;  Andy Murray rising to be Britain’s great Wimbledon hope before reverting to type as Scotland’s failure; both Brazil and Argentina getting knocked out; a World Cup with no star player performing as expected; the shock of a Williams sister winning Wimbledon for the ninth time in the last eleven years.  Plenty to be blogging about and indeed I intend to blog on some of these issues in the days and weeks to come.

As you may have noted over recent months there has consistently been content on AF on a virtually daily basis.  I love that regularity as well as the diversity of material.  The idea is to maintain a good rate of consistency, but there has been a number of personal issues that have arisen which may take up some of my time in the next month or three, so this is just to warn you in advance if the material is being churned out as regularly as before.  Hopefully come mid-Autumn a regularity would have emerged and we’ll be rocking and rolling better than we have before.

In case I don’t get to discuss at length some of the issues mentioned before, here are some brief comments:

Wimbledon: I’m not a huge tennis lover, but when it’s on these shores I pay some semblance of an interest and I’m particularly intrigued by how Federer will do.  I was disappointed that he was knocked out relatively early, but you cannot win them all.  Obviously of no shock whatsoever to see Andy Murray get so near and yet so far, but I genuinely hope the brother wins it eventually to get this monkey off the back of the British public of not seeing a male Brit win a major singles at Wimbledon since Fred Perry.  As for Serena winning the women’s title.  Well you could blow me down with a feather, that has to go down as one of the greatest upsets in Wimbledon history … oh hold on, that was what I was meant to write if she lost … and she didn’t … again.

Dr. Who: Brilliant – absolutely brilliant.  I admired the old series from afar and have no recollection of trailing a series through from beginning to end.  Since it came back on the screens in 2005, I’ve trailed some of the series, but this is the best series I’ve watched and finally a series ending that doesn’t properly end – more loose ends to be sorted and another arc for the next series.  Glad the TARDIS is now a party of three and so the love thing can carry on as it should with a human love story as they get it on in their adventures.  Steven Moffat has more than proved himself as a great leadwriter.  Matt Smith is a better Doctor than I even hoped or dreamed of and if he just maintains the same level of performance in the next series as he achieved in this one he’ll insert himself as my second favourite Doctor of all time.  Indeed if he manages it for the next two series, Tom Baker’s position as my favourite will be under serious pressure for the first time ever.  Good stuff.

England: This one really does need a blog in itself and I won’t say too much here and now.  What I will say is that this World Cup proves that it’s not individuals who win games, teams do.  Tactics matter, good communication and understanding matter, good coaching makes the difference.  It still baffles me that five world class players cannot raise their game and motivate the rest of the team to perform at an acceptable level.  It’s not even an issue of how much they get paid.  It’s an issue of where is their motivation?  Lots of questions to be answered, that I’m sure won’t be answered at all, but at least gives me the quality entertainment of watching ex-pros give us the benefit of their ignorance in spouting off the 101 reasons why England failed again.  I do have quite a bit to write on this subject, so look out for it.

Roy Hodgson: Another blog entry in itself to give the proper context and perspective on my thoughts on the matter.  To say in short though, I’m glad that we enter July with a manager.  The managerial choice is not a shabby one at all, even if he’s not my first choice.  My colleague shared with me how he heard on the radio how one fan had responded to the news by starting the ‘Hodgson Out’ campaign from now.  That made me laugh.  The brother’s hardly stepped in and some people, who obviously drank the same Kool-Aid as the ex-pros on England, want the brother to get to stepping already.  Can I understand the reluctance to embrace the brother?  Yeah, I get it.  That kind of reaction, though is another reason why I find the human condition so hilarious.  Will he be what Liverpool desperately needs at this time?  Two things will tell – time, and more importantly my longer blog entry on the matter!

World Cup: I’ve enjoyed this tournament so far.  Maybe not the best I’ve seen … let me see, ’86 was alright, ’90 was rubbish, ’94 was also just so-so, ’98 was good, I like ’02 as well, the last one in’06 was again just so-so especially with the final and eventual winners.  In the range of those World Cups, then, I’d say ’10 is better than ’90, ’94 and ’06.  The next three matches will determine if it can reach the level of truly memorable.  What’s made it so enjoyable to me has been the great team performances.  Even before they were knocked out Brazil and Argentina put together some good team performances that didn’t rely on their talisman Kaka and Messi respectively.  We had some wonderful solid performances that knew the value of attacking from teams like Paraguay and Japan.  I was particularly glad to see shamble outfits like France and Italy get kicked out at the group stages.  I also confess Germany have surprised me with the flair and attacking prowess that has put teams like Australia, England and most recently Argentina to the sword without ever appearing to really break a sweat.  It’s been good to watch.

What’s also made for good viewing is contrasting some the technical competence of some of the teams that have been written off easily.  It is the shame of England that they have played among the worst technical football of the teams in the tournament.  Yet it’s one thing to maintain possession and pass well and another thing to be able to mount successful attacks on the opposition.  So in as much as England were awful all tournament, it wasn’t until Germany that they came up against a side who were aware that the point of the game is to score goals to win matches.  That has what has set Germany apart from any other team in the tournament to a large degree, understanding that goal and building an effective unit to reach that end whilst minimising the opportunities for the opposition to do the same.  Having said all that I’ll still be surprised if they win the trophy and stick with the prediction I made near the beginning of the tournament.

So plenty of writing to look forward to and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of material just waiting to be blogged right here.




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