What sporting legacies are made of

This writer is not above certain conceits. Affectations, shall we say. I play in a 5-a-side football match with work colleagues once a week, and a year ago we ordered jerseys for ourselves. We were also asked if we wanted numbers on the back. On hearing which numbers had already been taken, I opted without hesitation for having Number 14 on my back. I’m slightly disappointed that nobody has yet picked up on that being the number Johan Cruyff always wore after returning from a groin injury in 1970, but let’s see if that changes. Tonight’s friendly between the Netherlands and France was halted after 14 minutes for a minute-long silence, which must go down as one of the more innovative tributes you’ll see in a sporting arena.Read More »

Hey Now! No flipping!

Garry Shandling’s shock death has a particular resonance with this writer. Shandling was the man who made me reappraise my whole view on American television comedy. Before discovering The Larry Sanders Show, it felt like there was almost nothing to recommend it. Cheers had already had its heyday, and it seemed like there was little going other than schmaltzy family based comedies, which were almost invariably utterly terrible. For some reason, even though it was sort of on my radar, I hadn’t yet invested myself in the peerless Seinfeld (amends have since made for that unconscionable oversight). I was beginning to think Roseanne was as good as it would ever get. Actually, I was left almost wondering if the good stuff from America didn’t get exported. That instead, foreigners were force fed with the pap that was discarded by the US networks. By the mid to late 1990s, I was seriously yearning for an antidote to the malevolent juggernaut of anti-talent comedy kryptonite represented by Friends, which it seemed all of my peers watched and inexplicably liked.Read More »