Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Button undone by Giggs

A weekend of surprise sporting results culminated on Sunday with the greatest shock of them all, as Ryan Giggs was nominated as the 2009 BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY).

According to the BBC, Giggs, 36, received 29.4% of the vote, seeing off the favourite, Jenson Button, who came second with 18.74%. Jessica Ennis was third.

"I'm really pleased and am in total shock to win the award" said Giggs.

"I was honestly surprised just to be on the list of nominees."

Well, so were we Ryan. But how did he manage to win the award, pipping Button at the post?

This question has already sparked off a multitude of different possible reasons for the outcome, and the topic seemed to dominate Facebook statuses, along with X Factor related banter.

I mention X Factor because it has been at the root of many discussions surrounding how Giggs managed to win the award.

With so many millions of viewers watching ITV and Joe McElderry romping towards an inevitable Christmas number one, some say that it may have become easier to wangle the votes if not so many people were watching the BBC's SPOTY.

Yesterday, bookies began to probe the late surge of Giggs votes, thinking there may have been some dodgy doings.

The bottom line is that Giggs would have been a more suitable candidate for the Lifetime Achievement award (perhaps in 10-20 years time), rather than the sports personality of 2009.

Sure, Giggs had some cracking performances during the year, but he also sat on the bench for much of it too.

Furthermore, the lack of success within the Welsh national team meant that he didn't achieve greatness at a national level; unlike most of the other nominees for the award.

Anyway, you may be interested to know that the results of the latest TTS poll didn't favour Mr Giggs in the slightest. 12 votes were cast and Ryan received diddly squat.

Button won your vote with nine, and Mark Cavendish, Jessica Ennis and David Haye came second equal receiving one vote each. I completely agree with my readers on this one.

For those of you who aren't aware of the other award winners on the night, here they are:

Coach of the Year - Fabio Capello

Team of the Year - England’s Ashes Team

Overseas Personality – Usain Bolt

Young Personality – Tom Daley

Lifetime Achievement – Seve Ballesteros

Helen Rollason Award – Major Phil Packer

Unsung Hero – Doreen Adcock

Special Award – Eddie Izzard

For me, the highlight of the proceedings was Seve receiving his lifetime award from Jose Maria Olazabal. A moving moment where Seve (on a live video feed from Spain) received a standing ovation from the Sheffield Arena crowd and what seemed like a never-ending applause.

I have to admit, at times I flicked across to see the latest from the X Factor final, to see George Michael gyrating and Paul Mcartney being wheeled out. But when I switched back to BBC to find James Corden presenting Eddie Izzard with an award, I thought I had turned onto a rerun of the British Comedy Awards, which was held the previous evening.

Still, after seeing Chelsea draw with Everton, Manchester United losing to Villa, Spurs losing to Wolves and Liverpool being beaten by Arsenal having been in complete control, I would believe anything. Even Giggs being voted as the best sports personality of 2009.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

TTS Relaunched - Game On

It's back!

Over eight months have passed and plenty of top-class sport has occurred, but finally, TTS has returned to the fold to stir up a frenzy of sporting debates.

Since my last blog, I have gained a masters degree in Multi-Media Journalism, which took up a lot of my time. My eyes however, haven't strayed from the world's sporting arenas.

I thought I would use this opportunity as a sports catch-up session, to refresh the memories of the highs and lows that have taken place since TTS went into hibernation. This posting will also act as a build-up to the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year 2009 award (see the poll on the left of the TTS homepage to make your prediction of the winner).

So here goes. Below is a list, in no particular order, of some of the major sporting achievements over the last eight or so months, which have been caught in the media spotlight:

Usain Bolt's incredible new world records set in the 100m (9.58s) and 200m (19.19s) at the World Championships in Berlin.

Roger Federer winning The French Open for the first time and Wimbledon for the sixth time.
Juan Martin del Potro beating Federer to win the US Open.

Jenson Button clinching the Formula One World Championship.

England defeating Australia to regain The Ashes.

Ireland winning the Six Nations, and their first Grand Slam since 1948.

Angel Cabrera presented with the green jacket after winning The Masters.
Stewart Cink beating Tom Watson in a playoff to win The Open.
Yang Yong-eun outplaying Tiger Woods to win the U.S. PGA.
Lucas Glover winning the U.S. Open.

England winning nine out of ten qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup.

David Haye defeating the giant Nikolay Valuev to become the WBA Heavyweight champion.

These are just some of the many great achievements in sport over the past eight months, but with regard to British success, who will be most likely to win the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) award?

The ten people shortlisted for the award were put together by a panel of 26 sports editors from national and regional newspapers and magazines. Darts legend Phil Taylor was nominated various times, but he didn't get enough votes to be included in the shortlist.

Although there are ten contenders, you can rule out quite a few of them to actually win the award. They have all performed superbly well in their sports, but you can't help thinking that one of the more high profile sports stars, who plays a more high profile sport, is more likely to win.

As Lloyd Grossman used to say: "Let's look at the evidence."

Well, Andy Murray hasn't won a major so he has very little chance of winning, and Phillips Idowu is unlikely to be jumping for joy either.

Andrew Strauss may have captained England to Ashes victory, but it's doubtful he will get anywhere near the podium, let alone winning. Compared to when Michael Vaughan captained the Ashes winning side, the coverage of the event was pathetic, which doesn't help Strauss's chances.

Tom Daley, great achievement for such a young lad, but he didn't win at an Olympics, which sends his hopes diving down the drain.

Ryan Giggs, well, as David Brent once said in The Office: "I shouldn't have thought so". Although, Sir Alex Ferguson begs to differ. But then again, he would.

David Haye has a chance of a podium spot after the enormous feat he achieved, but before the fight, he wasn't all that well known and simply hasn't been around at the top for long enough to win.

Jessica Ennis and Beth Tweddle have both had a cracking year in their respective athletic disciplines, but once again, the wins were not at an Olympic Games, and in athletics/gymnastics, that is the pinnacle. They may make the podium, Ennis possibly more likely, but surely neither will win.

This doesn't leave us with many people to choose from. To be precise, two.

Mark Cavendish has the good fortune to excel in a sport which the BBC loves to cover and reward. This is of course cycling. Last year's winner was a cyclist, which doesn't necessarily help Cavendish's chances, but his success over the year has been truly impressive. Still, can't see him winning the trophy, podium finish perhaps.

This leaves Jenson Button; in my view, the favourite to win.

Last year, Lewis Hamilton won the F1 Championship but didn't win the Sports Personality trophy. He had the rotten luck of winning during an Olympic year, which drove his chances of crossing the finish line to dust. Jenson has avoided this clash.

The BBC pumps big time cash into the coverage rights for F1, and historically, F1 drivers have a good record for winning the SPOTY trophy (Stirling Moss, Jackie Stewart, Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill; the latter two both winning twice).

Surely Button will sew up the 2009 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Brawn muscle to the top

What a start for team Brawn GP in Melbourne to get the Formula 1 2009 campaign under way.

The new team on the circuit, having just sealed sponsorship support from Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin, took the top two positions in the time trials and the first race of the year. Jenson Button claimed first place, with team mate Rubens Barrichello taking second.

There was a dramatic end to the race, with a collision between Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and BMW's Robert Kubica, who were lying in second and third place at the time. This meant Barrichello was promoted to second place, and the safety car had to come out to help finish the race without further damage.

Lewis Hamilton crossed the line in fourth having started in eighteenth position, but due to a penalty enforced on Toyota’s Jarno Trulli, Hamilton was upgraded to third place.

This marks quite the success story for Brawn GP, formerly known as Honda, as their survival was only secured early this month by team boss Ross Brawn.

The four busy Bs of Brawn, Button, Barrichello and Branson have certainly made their mark at the Melbourne Grand Prix. They look as if they are to cause serious problems for Lewis Hamilton’s title defending hopes.

Button arrived on the F1 circuit as Briton’s best hope since Damon Hill, but his time in the limelight was rather squashed by Lewis Hamilton, who took his seat in a fiery McLaren and won the title at the second time of asking.

This sudden reversal of fortune, as Button joins a new team with both plenty of brawn and brains, could well mean we see the best of British racers standing next to each other on the podium for most of the season.

After this impressive entrance of Brawn GP, Hamilton could need more than a helping hand from Timo Glock if he wants to regain his title. All cameras will be pointing at Button and Barrichello in Malaysia, creating some serious brawnography.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Referral System- In or Out?

Whether you love it or hate it, the trial period of the television referral system in cricket has certainly caused much debate.

The controversial system was introduced last year during the Test series between Sri Lanka and India, and the International Cricket Council (ICC) is to assess the trial in May.

ICC general manager Dave Richardson said: "We don't want the umpires to become coat hangers and ball counters. They must be able to show their skills.”

But how can the umpires show their skills when they are being undermined by players who have the opportunity to challenge their better judgement?

The idea of the system is to give players a better chance of receiving correct decisions during matches, and if they disagree with an umpire’s judgement, they may challenge it.

Two unsuccessful challenges are permitted per innings, but while the TV official uses pictures and some of the Hawkeye technology, the computer prediction of the path of the ball is not used.

When I asked various cricketing associates of mine what they thought of the referral system, their responses were similar. Either use all of the technology available or none at all. Not a mixture of the two.

The ‘Hot-Spot’ and ‘Snickometer’ technology is not part of the trial, yet they are perhaps the most useful tools available.

The Old Leightonians Cricket Club (OLCC) members have made some valid comments and suggestions on the matter.

Richard Price said: “Why can't we just leave it to the umpires and agree that they'll make the occasional mistake? If we lost the technology, we could then concentrate on how we could improve the umpiring rather than what technology is round the corner.”

“They shouldn't use the full Hawkeye prediction as the makers admit that it's not as accurate as the tracking of the ball before it hits the pad” argued John Acland-Hood.

Charles Allan backed the umpires saying: “Trust and respect the umps and remember they usually get it right and have always had the leeway to give the benefit of the doubt to the batsmen.”

Respecting the umpire is something all young, learning cricketers are taught from the start, yet it seems to slowly worsen with age and competitiveness.

In my opinion, the referral system is an insult to umpires and a tool that helps to disrespect them.

Furthermore, debate over umpire decisions is part of the appeal of the game, if you pardon the pun. Sit down at the pub after a match and have a chat with the opposition over decisions that affected the game. Standard procedure.

The use of the system during England’s recent Test matches in the West Indies proved that even after the television referrals, decisions still appeared to be wrong.

On numerous occasions, the system’s inconclusive nature overshadowed other shambolic events during the series. The abandoned second Test and England’s 51 all out embarrassment (in a series steeped with big innings totals) were momentarily forgotten.

The referrals also lead to a considerable delay in the proceedings of a match. The game is lengthy enough as it is. The single most common reason for cricket’s following not being as great as sports such as football and rugby is the time it takes to play the game. Hence the cash injection for Twenty20 cricket.

Whatever decisions the ICC comes up with after the May trial review, will be met by disagreement.

Will the system stay in or out of the game, or will only parts of the third umpire’s role be kept? We will soon find out.

Friday, 13 February 2009

A beach of a day for cricket

Having just finished a Test match in Kingston, leaving England red in the face after being bowled out for 51 (England’s third lowest Test score), it was the turn of the West Indies. Not for horrifically bad batting, nor bowling, but providing a pitch not that dissimilar to one of Antigua’s 365 beaches.

After just ten balls of the second Test, the match at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium was abandoned due to the dangerous pitch surface. West Indian captain Chris Gayle put England into bat, with the hope of continuing where they left off in Kingston. This certainly didn’t turn out, as the home side’s opening bowlers struggled to run in smoothly across the uneven and sandy based surface.

On an unlucky for some Friday 13th, a large and highly disappointed crowd turned up to witness the farcical scene, which brought back memories of the Sabina Park debacle in January 1998, when the uneven pitch was deemed too dangerous for batsmen.

Before the match started today, selection decisions were made choosing Shah and Anderson over Bell and Harmison. Well, perhaps Graham Gooch, Robin Smith and Allan Lamb should have been considered, as they have had plenty of practice playing for England at beach cricket.

The match referee Alan Hurst said: "No one had bowled on the wicket to test it out. It would have been jumping the gun to say it was unfit before the start of play.”

The weather may have been poor before the start of the match, but for Test Match standards, surely the head groundsman and his team could have seen that the pitch was not fit for cricket at the highest level. Even spectators could see that pitch was diabolical. Why did the match start in the first place?

Gayle said the whole event was “embarrassing” and Strauss remarked that "It's not right that Test cricket matches have to be abandoned like this; lessons definitely need to be learned.”

I could say the same thing to Strauss after his side’s performance in the last Test, but his comments concerning this match are spot on.

Following these words of wisdom saying lessons must be learnt, the match has been rescheduled to be played on Sunday 15th February at the Antigua Recreation Ground (ARG). This is the place where England has been training, and Chris Gayle says the place has "…a lot of football played there and the field is a bit bumpy, even the wicket has a couple of ridges so you have some uneven bounce."

This sounds like a recipe for utter disaster.

The ARG offers no referrals, because according to Alan Hurst, there will be limited camera angles available. Well, after the confusion during the last Test, and huge debate over the referral system, this perhaps won’t be a bad thing. This is a whole different kettle of fish altogether though.
Watch this space as the saga continues...

Monday, 9 February 2009

Sack the manager!

You're in the Premiership, the top flight, and your team fails to live up to expectations. What’s the obvious next step? Sack the manager.

Tony Adams and Luiz Felipe Scolari were sacked today from Portsmouth and Chelsea respectively, and the truth is, there was no great surprise. One may argue that Scolari’s exit was not foreseen, but news of a Chelsea manager losing his job really isn’t a shock.

Since arriving at Stamford Bridge, Roman Abramovich has seen four managers depart. Have all of those men been given a good shot at really building a solid team to stay at the top I ask. Perhaps Mr. Abramovich needs to be informed that throwing together a load of big names isn’t always the answer to a successful team.

Blaming managers with superb track records is another questionable Chelsea tactic. Many fans are still furious with the manner in which Jose Mourinhio left the club, and are even calling for his return.

Sir Alex Ferguson described Scolari’s sacking as “A sign of the times” saying there is no patience in the world now. This is all too true. Goodness knows who will be brave enough to take on Sir Alex’s job when he eventually finishes at Manchester United.

There is also a trend appearing of past Premiership stars taking on Premiership managerial roles soon after retirement from playing. These men seem to be having considerable difficulty in keeping their jobs too. Take the cases of Paul Ince, Roy Keane and today with Tony Adams.

The frequency of football managers getting the boot, if you forgive the pun, is becoming so ludicrous that the bookmakers are probably receiving more bets on who the next manager to be axed is, rather than bets on the games.

This brings me to the next question. Who is next? Redknapp from Tottenham? Benitez from Liverpool? Wenger from Arsenal? Spurs are still struggling, even after the seemingly remarkable start from Harry Redknapp after ditching Portsmouth. Benitez is being accused of poor team selections causing Liverpool to lose their top spot, and Arsenal are clearly underperforming and could struggle to end their season within the top four.

Who would want to be a Premiership manager nowadays?

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Is football foreign to you?

Workers at the Lindsey Oil Refinery in Lincolnshire have been on strike over the past week or so concerning the use of foreign labour. Hundreds of British workers across the country joined the strike, backing the dispute over the rules on employing foreign staff. Owners of power stations and refineries (in this case) have been giving a large chunk of the jobs to foreigners to carry out.

You may be wondering what the devil this has to do with sport?

Well, top level league sport in Britain, particularly football, is dominated by overseas players and has been for some years now. I don't see many strikes from the English players in line with the oil refinery case however.

Premiership and top league clubs have bought in so many talented foreign players and managers. Without these players, it can be argued that English football would be considerably less wealthy and popular. Not to mention the high standard of Premiership football today, largely thanks to the overseas players. However, the English national team is struggling because of it.

Teams with big money can splash out on the big names. Take Chelsea FC for example. This is their squad:

Cech, Ivanovic, A. Cole, Essien, Carvalho, Lampard, Di Santo, J. Cole, Drogba, Mikel, Ballack, Malouda, Bosingwa, Ferreira, Deco, Kalou, Terry, Mineiro, Alex, Belletti, Anelka, Hilario, Mancienne, Stoch, Woods, Smith, Kakuta and Hutchinson.

Last 6 managers (excluding Graham Rix who was in charge for just 2 matches):

Scolari (present)

Spot many English names in there? As David Brent once said: "shouldn't have thought so." Chelsea faced Liverpool for their last match, where only 6 out of 36 squad players, from both teams, were English.

There has been some talk of introducing new rules to football, with regard to clubs having a certain amount of 'home grown' players in their squad. This hasn't kicked off terribly well as yet. Furthermore, acadamies have been set up to try and enforce a further influx of local talent, but foreign players are appearing here too.

Certain clubs are taking this seriously and some quality local players are begining to shine through however. Middlesbrough FC have a strong urge to develop their youth teams and young English players. I was fortunate enough to hear a talk from their Academy Manager David Parnaby a few years ago. He emphasised the importance of home grown talent to English football, focussing on the success of their player Stewart Downing.

If England's top players, such as Gerrard, Terry, Rooney and Lampard, play alongside overseas players at their clubs rather than training with talented English footballers, what hope has our national team got?

They gel so very well with these big money players at their clubs, and spend plenty of time training with them. They have now forgotten how to work well with their fellow countrymen. Failing to qualify for the Euro tournament highlights this.

Is there any hope for the future of English football if the foreign player allowance doesn't change any time soon?

Friday, 30 January 2009

A tribute to Bill Frindall

The sad news of Bill Frindall's death has hit the cricketing world hard today.

The 'Bearded Wonder' was the BBC Test Match Special statistician and scorer, whose immense knowledge of the game provided much joy to many listeners. He died at the age of 69 after suffering from Legionnaire's Disease.

For over 40 years, Frindall made the art of cricket scoring interesting, which is no easy task. If anyone knew the answers, it would be Bearders.

His death will leave a massive hole in the heart of the TMS team, and whoever takes over in the commentary box will have a serious challenge ahead.

He has written many books, including the Wisden Book of Test Cricket and the Wisden Book of Cricket Records, as well as editing the prestigious Playfair Cricket Annual since 1986.

He certainly knew how to play the game as well; whipping the ball through off a short run and he packed a punch with the bat as well.

One of the cricket clubs I play for had the pleasure of meeting Bill Frindall, as he spoke at the OLCC dinner in 1986. Not only was the speech full of interesting anecdotes, but he made it personal to the club, and humorous in nature. He was a true gent.

People in the cricketing world will be speaking out, remembering the great man for many years to come. BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew worked alongside Frindall for many years. He said that Bill brought scoring alive and he was 'Mr. Reliable'.

My thoughts are with his family and friends at what must be a very difficult time.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Have Liverpool blown it for another year?

The race for the title is well and truly on this year. Liverpool had the upper hand before the Christmas break, and looked like this year is the best chance they've had to win the Premiership for some time. However, poor displays against sides you would expect Liverpool to beat, have left them in a bit of a pickle.

Manchester United have climbed back up to their home territory, otherwise known as the top of the league, looking in as good form as they have done all season. They are still on to win a royal flush: FIFA Club World Cup, Champions League, Premiership, FA Cup and Carling Cup.

Gerrard may be pleading not guilty for assault in court, but on the pitch, he needs to lead the assault for the title, as his side are struggling for three points at present.

With a huge game ahead of them against Chelsea this weekend, the pressure to win is at its highest. We know they have a good record against Chelsea, and they will need to prove it if there is any chance of preventing Manchester United and Chelsea from snatching the title dream away from them.

A questioned that needs to be asked though, is what is the cause behind this run of drawn matches, and the failure to claim three points? Is it simply poor form or can the manager, Rafael Benitez, be to blame? Has Rafa been too busy having little digs at Sir Alex and suggesting that United are a 'bit scared' of Liverpool, when he should have been noticing their return to form?

Both the race for the Premiership winner and Champions League spots are still on, and possibly an even more exciting battle to avoid relegation is ongoing. Surely an exciting finale to the season is on the cards.

The departure of Captain Kev

"I am extremely sad and disappointed to have to relinquish the captaincy at such an early stage, especially in a crucial year for English cricket, in such circumstances and particularly when I feel that I have much more to offer the England team as captain."

What a calamitous affair the Pietersen captaincy termination turned out to be. Just when we thought England had found the Beckham of cricket to lead the country, and a fresh start for the national team, it all came crashing down in the most ludicrous way. His captaincy lasted barely five months.

From the very start, Pietersen said he was going to captain England 'his way'. He tried to encourage players not to think too much about what they were doing on the pitch, and the stress that comes with it, instead, to just go out there and play.

Whatever he said initially, it certainly worked. The remarkable test triumph over South Africa, and the 4-0 drubbing in the ODIs led us to believe that the new captain could spark some life into the England team. It left him and fans in a state not disimilar to that of the picture used for this blog. This, of course, was short lived.

The farcicle performance during the Stamford 20/20 showdown in Antigua, and the Indian tour defeats proved to be very difficult and pressurising for Pietersen. He blamed the loss in Antigua on offfield 'nonsense', involving floodlight problems and a kerfuffle over some of the player's wives. With regard to the whitewash in India, very few excuses could be offered. However, Pietersen should take huge credit for leading the team back to India following the teroroist attacks in Mumbai, proving that he was doing it his way as he promised from the start.

Before he agreed to captain England, he talked with coach Peter Moores to clear the air of their differences. But as we all know, their problems were never really resolved and their differences in how they wanted the team to be run clashed. This, along with the intense media pressure, and fall-outs with the ECB, forced Pietersen to step down as captain and Moores to be fired.

The way the whole matter was dealt with was abysmal, and the organisational managers of English cricket have a lot to answer for. Of course, the timing of it all was horrific as well; just before the tour to the West Indies and the summer ahead with the Ashes. Someone had to take on the arduous task of the England captain though. Step in poor old Andrew Strauss. Thrown in a the deep end again; having captained before during Michael Vaughan's injury period. He is going to need a lot of luck to take on the role of leading his country to victory against Australia, and perhaps the harder task of working with the ECB.

When Pietersen was introduced as skipper, there was a great sense of hope for the future. Now that hope has been squashed, I, and probably many more, have very little enthusiasm or confidence in England finding the form of the 2005 Ashes series any time soon. Vaughan's leadership, alongside Flintoff and Pietersen's match winning performances seem a distant and blurred memory.

Kevin Pietersen said it is a 'crucial year for English cricket', and the current tour of the West Indies will prove to be a good gauge in measuring just how ready England are for taking on Australia.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Sir Chris Hoy?

What a year 2008 was for British Olympic cyclist Chris Hoy.

He pedalled to three Olympic gold medals in Beijing, becoming the first Briton to win three gold medals in a single Olympic games since Henry Taylor in 1908. Hoy won Sports Personality of the Year, beating Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington. And furthermore, was listed in the New Year Honours 2009 to receive a knighthood.

Chris Hoy truly is a great cyclist, but becoming a Knight Bachelor has sparked much debate.
On hearing the news, my first reaction was shock. I began to telephone various sports fans and friends of mine, to gage their reactions. The majority of responses were as follows: "What! Are you being serious?", "Really? The cyclist guy?" and "Chris who?".

This didn't surprise me in the slightest. Sir Gary Lineker would perhaps have a more believable ring to it, but this wasn't the case.

The opinion of the older generation whom I have questioned over the New Year Honours is that they are getting handed out willy nilly nowadays.

Hoy was awarded the MBE in 2005, following previous success, but does the addition of three more Olympic golds warrant him a knighthood?

Olympic success seems to be acknowledged more than achievements in other sporting fields, when it comes to the Honours List. Some sports stars must be thinking, well, I've reached the pinnacle in my sport with regard to competing, what more do I have to do to be like Chris Hoy to be knighted.

Look at the cases of say, Nick Faldo in golf, Phil Taylor in darts, Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan in snooker. These sports are similar in popularity to cycling in Britain, if not more popular.

In rugby, there is Jonny Wilkinson OBE. He is a world cup winner and without him, there is little doubt England would have achieved what they did.

These sportsmen have all achieved the greatest success in their individual sport, and have received honours, but the knighthood which Hoy picked up has eluded them. What makes Hoy's success more worthy of becoming a Sir?

The thought of Sir Phil ''The Power'' Taylor, I admit, is laughable. However, Taylor is the best man in the world at what he does, and there has never been greater.

I would love to hear your thoughts on Chris Hoy's knighthood. I think he is a superb athlete and is no doubt a fine ambassador for his sport. However, I would enjoy reading opinions of those who agree and disagree with me, explaining that it's more than just the Queen having a fancy for muscly legs.

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