Archives for March 2011

Hysen stands tall in 'man's game'

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Tim Franks | 08:48 UK time, Monday, 21 March 2011

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Gothenburg is a perfect backdrop to this story. It's stolid, self-confident, quiet and handsome - rather like the inhabitants.

But don't imagine that Gothenburg is dull. Because Sweden's second city harbours a global one-off.

One of its professional footballers is openly gay.

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Do we have a right to hear Sir Alex?

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Tim Franks | 11:03 UK time, Tuesday, 8 March 2011

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I'm not a great fan of Trappist beer.

It's just that it's much too sweet, too heavy and too strong. At the same time, though, as a venal hack, give me a story about a brewery, even a Trappist brewery, and I'll clear the diary.

So, in 2005, as the BBC's Europe correspondent, in Brussels, imagine my delight when the radio desk in London rang to say that the monks at the Westvleteren brewery had been awarded Best Beer of the World gong for their Westvleteren 12. My brow only clouded when I smacked nose-first into the wall of silence, known as the Trappist Vow. No voices, no piece. The report for Radio 4 never made it to air.

Is there a risk that Sir Alex Ferguson, and now all of MUFC management's, pointed silence could have the same wounding effect?

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Should sports news be more sport than news?

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Tim Franks | 14:39 UK time, Thursday, 3 March 2011

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What counts as a decent story?

You might demur, but despite the ravenous demands of 24-hour multi-channel TV, radio and internet, we try not to shovel just any old garbage your way.

And so, earlier this week, there was a vigorous debate in the BBC sports news office as to whether the threat by the Iranian Olympic Committee not to attend the London Olympics was, indeed, a story.

The warning was based on the premise that if you take the 2012 logo to pieces, close one eye, inhale some pure alcohol, and hold your pencil like a ladle, you can re-organise the logo into spelling "Zion". Which, sharp readers will be aware, are the first four letters of "Zionism" - aka Iranian enemy ideology number one.

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