Charlton Athletic FC tweet on AFC Bournmouth's

Charlton Athletic FC Tweet response to AFC Bournemouth’s all but sealed 2015 promotion to the English Premier League

Luol Deng and others against Brooklyn Nets

Luol Deng, my favourite NBA star and his best moment with the Chicago Bulls

Those that know me know that Luol Deng has for a long time been my favourite NBA basketball star, well, not as much now he’s not with the Bulls but still… this is my favourite of his moments. It was so memorable and so exciting and came against the Pacers Game 1 of 2011 NBA Playoffs which ended with Bulls 104 Pacers 99. With the bench mob this has to be one of my favourite periods of modern Chicago Bulls. Anyway in light of the recent trending outcry about big wigs at the NBA being racist – Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry passed along comments from a scouting report saying like Luol Deng had a little African in him before all shit hitting the fan over at Atlanta.

Deng’s response was as fantastic as ever. Which reminded me of what I loved about watching Deng in the Bulls. Careful, methodical, often  times quiet, but damn – fired up when it counts…


It was almost as good as watching him repeatedly school LeBron…



Brazil World Cup 2014 and the England national team – identity and international opinion

I can’t imagine that there are many around the world who associate England with World Cup victory. England won in 1966 against West Germany at Wembley in London with a squad of names some of which are still etched into children’s minds, those footballing heroes clad in red England shirts. England knows this, does the rest of the world? Gone is Beckham, gone is Owen and the golden gormless generation and time has passed and perceptions will inevitably have changed since then. Hooliganism isn’t a default association with English football supporters, and the UK doesn’t have a default association to the special relationship with George Bush and the U.S.A. Indeed some claim that at the moment, the United Kingdom has a strong cultural influence around the world, with the 2012 London Olympics and the royal marriage of William and Kate there are even claims that England‘s national team is perceived positively by other nations.

In previous international tournaments I was ashamed to be seen as English for a long time. In that less than honourable time incidents included Euro 96, held in England, where after Gareth Southgate missed a sudden-death penalty to knock England out of the tournament, ugliness included a drunken rampage in Trafalgar Square and a Russian student stabbed five times because the idiots thought he had a German accent. There was fighting during the 1998 World Cup in France, a serious threat to be expelled from Euro 2000 hosted by Belgium and the Netherlands (a short train ride from England). Then in Euro 2004 Portugese communities were attacked close to their homes in England by thugs after the defeat to Portugal. Before there was a perception that was made all too accurately in national English football in the 1980s a time of disgusting behaviour, then we get Football Factory and Green Street romanticising club hooliganism. These things take time to move on.

I’m older now, in my late twenties – I was a young teenager during France 1998. Masculinity is going through a crisis (just look at the comments in this link to see what I mean) and I just can’t shake the feeling that English football supporters are different nowadays, I’m not saying the world has turned and we’re all coloured tolerant, just that something’s changed.

There’s no doubt that the consensus is that there isn’t much hope in England for this tournament but I’ve not even seen any England flags on cars as Will Buckley in his best miserly journalist impression predicted in 2013. What’s more, the most positivity towards the England team in The Mirror as of the day of the first game between Brazil and Croatia is that Wayne Rooney believes the squad is “probably the best squad of players I have been involved with since I have been with England. Turning to The Sun and, I’m actually rather shocked to say this but the rhetoric is that we just want them to ‘have a go’. <sarcastic face>What on earth are the tabloids doing?</sarcastic face> If they keep this up then there might actually not be an unbearable amount of pressure on the team’s shoulders.

Money has changed the ‘beautiful game’, of that everyone can agree. At the World Cup, the top three teams (financial worth) Germany, Spain and England – are worth more than £1.7bn collectively. This is more than the bottom 20 teams combined”. Agents dominate and we have ridiculous headlines about divas like Yaya Toure whining about a birthday cake. However, crisis of character appears in many teams – we have France and racist accusations, Germany who responded with an admirable investment in youth, and Italy where damage to club football has damaged the national team.

So putting panic and crisis aside, acknowledging that actually England isn’t the only national team demoralising their fellow countrymen and women and the rather convincing article that points out that England are actually in quite a good position and you never know – the England national team could be OK after all., it’s time to rebuild à la Germany!

Still, it could be worse – I could be a USA ‘soccer’ fan trying to enjoy the World Cup.

(The new and improved?) Derrick Rose post knee injury #2

Photo of Derrick Rose dribbling a basketball for the Chicago Bulls

Derrick Rose

I have not seen much of Derrick‘s playing over the last couple of years, I graduated and was no longer able to stay up all night watching live NBA coverage. This, as any NBA fan knows, isn’t why I have been unable to watch DRose.

The 2011/12 playoffs against the 76ers saw Rose suffer a torn ACL in his left knee and miss the entire 2012/13 season. The 2013/14 season saw DRose incur a torn miniscus in his right knee towards the end of November in regular season and miss the entire season.

Derrick Rose as a player

Derrick Rose is a superstar point guard often accused of bending the role. He drives and attacks the paint distinctly squirming, twisting, sliding past and taking it to the rim. Unfortunately (speaking as a Bulls fan) I think the defence has come to understand that Rose will get the three-point plays in the paint so will often stand back, outside of the poster.

But I feel his drive and determination – his aim for perfection – see him often having run the clock down to the last five or six seconds and know that ultimately he can shoulder the burden himself. He can drive the paint and take on the big guys so if the play doesn’t look right then, I don’t know – it sort of seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think DRose is a selfish player. I think he’s a perfectionist and perfectionists would rather be in control and put pressure on themselves to get things right. I mean if you can do it as good as he can, you can take that risk. Plus the modern day Chicago Bulls are a great defensive team, they just don’t score as highly as some in the Western Conference and Rose is the franchise player who can turn a game around.

What next?

But I think that on return from injury – after having spent two seasons watching, suited, on the bench – Rose may have had that time to reflect and watch, absorb and learn – taking a coaching-like position on every game must have imparted a great sense of strategy in place of having the ball at his palm. I really believe that the risk of taking a third possible career ending injury could push Rose to balance what he does, he already has great basketball intelligence and instinctively plays the chess-like probabilities of out-witting the defence, but this could (alongside his improved three-point game) really make him the fully formed point-guard that bosses the game from the front.