BBC BLOGS - Matt Slater

Archives for February 2012

Rangers are dead, long live Rangers

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Matt Slater | 12:03 UK time, Wednesday, 29 February 2012

With all due respect to lovers of lazy afternoons spent reading new books for free and fans of cheap kitchens, trying to keep the likes of Borders and MFI from ruin is not quite the same thing as rescuing Rangers.

Borders' typical customer might write an angry letter about its demise to a broadsheet but they are unlikely to chant obscenities at you for 90 minutes on a Saturday afternoon. And the death throes of a furniture chain were meat and drink to the Financial Times but they were not the stuff of front-page splashes in the tabloids.

That, however, is the situation Paul Clark and David Whitehouse find themselves in now as the joint administrators of a Scottish institution and global football brand.

The bankruptcies of Borders and MFI were no doubt painful for all concerned, particularly the staff, but they will seem like minor disappointments compared to the apocalyptic gloom that will descend if the Duff & Phelps pair lose Rangers.

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Rugby's fall guy fights back for British youth

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Matt Slater | 18:06 UK time, Monday, 27 February 2012

There is a new man in charge of the Rugby Football Union this week, which means dealing with what one rugby writer described on Monday as Twickenham's "venal politics" is somebody else's problem.

John Steele will not miss that headache but he could be forgiven for wishing it was him still sitting behind the chief executive's desk and not Ian Ritchie, if only for the simple reason that Steele's brief but bloody RFU reign might have made Ritchie's life easier.

The challenges facing his replacement are mighty - the appointment of a permanent coach for the senior team, reversing a decline in participation and preparing for a "home" World Cup in 2015, to name just three - but he faces them with a better chance of success than Steele had when he turned up for his first day at HQ 18 months ago.

Steele might not have been in the job long but he did overhaul the union's management team and finally got two independent, non-executives on the board. Most importantly, however, his dramatic exit shone a forensic light on Twickenham. Not a pretty sight.

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The fallout from Contador verdict

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Matt Slater | 21:52 UK time, Monday, 6 February 2012

I am rubbish at jokes but I heard a good one today.

What links a beautiful town in France, an abattoir in Spain, a legal bill that would bankrupt most developed nations and Luxembourg's greatest sporting triumph?

Come on, you must know this one: it's been running for 566 days.

Actually, now that I think about it, this joke is not very funny.

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