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Archives for October 2009
Sport? It's not about life and death. Know the next line?
Bill Shankly's insistence that football was, "more important than that," is one of the game's all-time great quotes. Of course, it's hyperbole, often taken out of context and every once in a while it's worth reminding ourselves of that.
So how refreshing to hear England's cricket coach Andy Flower, bring an audience of sport's biggest business hitters out of their orbital existence and back down to earth.
I can't quite work Arsenal out.
I was at the club's AGM and to be honest, from the outside looking in, it's a bit like watching two worlds collide. Leave aside the football for the moment, and consider Arsenal, the institution.
With board members past and present like Sir Chips Keswick, Lord Harris of Peckham and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith, there was a distinctly old public-school feel to proceedings, with chairman Peter Hill-Wood running the show a bit like the headmaster on speech day who forgot to put on his glasses.
He began proceedings with a somewhat under-rehearsed opening address and proceeded to lose his place in the running order (several times), generating much unintentional mirth from the floor.
The Olympic rings may be symbols of peace and harmony, but underneath them in Copenhagen over the last few days, there's been a hoopla of discord.
Some members are still clearly very unhappy at the way the inclusion of the two new sports for 2016 has been handled. In the end, rugby romped home with 81 votes for, 8 against, and golf avoided the bunkers and the long rough that some had foreseen, with 63-27 in favour.
The numbers don't tell the whole story, however. Before the voting, highly critical interventions from senior International Olympic Committee figures showed president Jacques Rogge will have plenty to do during his new four-year term of office.
There's so much spin going on in the lobby and bars of the Marriott in Copenhagen, I'm surprised the hotel isn't ripping off its foundations and starting to revolve.
That's where most of the 106 voting members of the International Olympic Committee are staying so, naturally, it has become a magnet for all the PR advisors of the four cities bidding to host the 2016 Games, their officials, celebrity supporters, journalists, camera crews and the just plain inquisitive.
Four years ago in Singapore, when London came away with the spoils, it was pretty intense at this time. Here, it feels even more so. Perhaps it's the closeness of the race.
Everyone I've spoken to here is hedging their bets, although Chicago and Rio de Janeiro seem to be out in front of Madrid and Tokyo.