BBC BLOGS - Matt Slater

Archives for November 2011

British test is fit for nothing

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Matt Slater | 23:05 UK time, Wednesday, 30 November 2011

If there is a more inappropriately named piece of regulation than football's fit and proper person test, I would like to hear it. I could use a laugh.

But I will be very surprised if anybody can come up with something good enough to lighten the mood amongst Portsmouth fans - it is hard to stay cheerful when your most recent fit and proper persons include a banker arrested for asset-stripping, Dubai's self-styled Donald Trump (but without any money) and a chap who may not even exist.

Pompey fans can be forgiven for thinking "please Lord, spare us from fit and proper persons, send us some wrong 'uns".

Because let's face it, the infamous FAPPT may well have been rebranded but it is still self-evidently failing to do what it says on the tin, namely keep valuable community assets out of the hands of those who cannot be trusted to look after them.

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Sport's apples and pears comparison season

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Matt Slater | 11:20 UK time, Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Who is better, The Beatles, Miles Davis or Mozart? Come on, that's easy.

How about Alfred Hitchcock versus Woody Allen? Picasso v Rembrandt? Or, to make things really complicated, Rembrandt v Hitchcock v The Beatles?

Better at what, I bet you are asking. Or you are wondering how anybody can make comparisons across such different art forms, eras and genres.

Yet millions of you will watch the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year show next month, with many dialling in to say you think a remarkable cyclist is better than a superb cricketer, or a champion golfer is superior to a great runner.

So comparisons might be odious but it seems we cannot help it.

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Football ain't baseball but it could still be Moneyball

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Matt Slater | 09:12 UK time, Friday, 25 November 2011

The toughest choice Billy Beane had to make when he left high school was choosing which sport to make a career in. He chose baseball and the New York Mets chose him, making him the 23rd overall pick in the 1980 Major League draft.

Unfortunately for all concerned, Beane would spend the rest of the decade as the ultimate journeyman, a bit-part player with a great future behind him and a tangible example of just how hard it is to put a value on talent.

Beane, now 49, has spent the last two decades trying to avoid making the same mistake the Mets made. At this, he has been a huge success. So successful, in fact, that his story became a best-selling book that is now a hit film.

And he is played by Brad Pitt, which can't be bad.

But I don't really want to write about that, not in a direct sense, anyway. Moneyball (in case you haven't guessed) is a great read and a riveting watch, a rare combination.
What I want to address is an issue raised by my colleague Alistair Magowan on Thursday: What, if anything, British sport can learn from Beane.

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