Flawed genius file filling to bursting

First famous for his elegant play, then for his boozing and temper, Belfast’s Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins died this weekend. From biographer Bill Burrow’s interview with the Guardian:

What’s your own personal favourite Hurricane story?
I think it’s the legendary piss-up with him and Olly Reid where they were having a drinking competition and Olly Reid made him drink a bottle of aftershave because they’d run out of alcohol. So he drank a bottle of aftershave, and the quid pro quo was that Olly Reid had to drink a glass full of washing up liquid as a pretend crème de menthe. Apparently Oliver Reid was blowing bubbles out of his mouth, but he [Higgins] had last laugh – he played a snooker tournament the next day and said that when he bent over and farted, they thought he was Jesus.

Critics question Murali’s 237 wickets against blind children and their pets

NEWSDESK: Celebrations around Muttiah Muralitharan’s 800th test wicket were tempered by criticism of his 237 wickets taken against blind children and their pets. “You have to ask how many wickets Clarrie Grimmet or Dennis Lillee would have got against blind children and their pets,” said Des Jandal, cricket correspondent for the Perth Morning Whinge. “What would run through a hamster’s mind when they saw DK Lillee steaming in off the long run at them?”

Outspoken cricket blogger Tristan Chortle-Creasly of jollygoodshowwhat.com has analysed Murali’s technique. “He gives blind kids the slow straight one, they can usually hear anything that spins. Dogs, he’s looking to pitch it up, give it some air and try and get them leg before. The allegations of ball tampering with a bier stick were never proved. He uses the same technique against cats as he does against New Zealand, just a stock leg cutter, sooner or later they’ll get themselves out.”

Murali’s supporters say you can only play what’s put in front of you, and his outstanding record against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Chris Martin, the visually impaired and quadrupeds cannot lessen his achievement.

“If you love Sonny Bill Williams so much, why don’t you marry him?” – Nonu

NEWSDESK: All Black second five eighth Ma’a Nonu today suggested All Black coach Graham Henry live in the same house as, buy matching outfits with and marry former Rugby League international Sonny Bill Williams. “Oh! Sonny Bill! Want to get dressed and go get breakfast? Or shall we just watch DVDs all day? Let’s do that,” said Nonu.

Williams, who is targeting a midfield spot in the All Black side, is renowned for both his flair with the ball and his physical defence. He courted controversy in 2008 when he walked out on NRL outfit the Canterbury Bulldogs. “Did you order flowers? They’re for me? Oh you. Let me put them in water, then I’ll cook your favorite risotto,” Nonu told reporters. “That’s Graham and Sony Bill, that is.” Williams has signed with the New Zealand rugby and Canterbury through until the 2011 Rugby World Cup, after which Henry and Williams will probably get cheap flights to Fiji for a romantic getaway, said Nonu.

England’s Golden Generation X

England’s Golden Generation’s peak lasted about fifteen minutes, from when Micheal Owen, 12, ran through the Argentinean defense to when David Beckham tried to kick Simeone in the nuts. He missed.
England’s previous Golden Generation turned to custard when the successful vox-drums-bass-guitar formation was changed to a more European vox-drums-bass-guitar-guitar line up, resulting in an early exit from Glastonbury in the semi finals
Instead of, you know, developing young talented players and nurturing them until they were ready to win World Cups and that, England (who probably should have just built a team around Matt le Tissier) instead decided they’d just pinch the Man U youth academy and call it a Golden Generation.

David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard, Rio Ferdiand and, erm, Gary Neville (unluckily, Ryan Giggs, who would have been handy, was given suspect directions to a Welsh training camp as a youth) were going to take on the world and show ’em that Tel and Baz England hadn’t forgotten how to beat them foreigners at their own game. Or something. All they needed was a manager. That’s where it gets complicated.

First, England tried an English manager. Big mistake. Glenn Hoddle was like a swan on meth, elegant and stylish from a distance, but the closer you got, the more likely he was to bite your nose and fling shit at you. Kevin Keegan was fantastic at geeing the lads up, but hopeless at tactics, selection, media management, winning games, being generally coherent, brushing his hair and riding a bike. Steve McLaren was like teeth perched on a pair of legs. None of them, with the exception of Hoddle’s early days, none were much chop at managing football teams.
Then, seduced by the continent like an London businessman tipsy at a Parisian working lunch, England turned to foreign managers. Big mistake.

First there was Sven-Goran Ericksson, who has somehow managed some of the biggest clubs in Europe without anyone being able to ascertain if he’s actually any good. Strangely, his ‘biggest feats as England manager‘ wikipedia section omits shagging Ulrika Johnson. Sven spent most of his time in the hot seat shagging, making incomprehensible statements and giving the Golden Generation a sense of entitlement to rival David Beckham’s hairdresser. His 2006 world cup team were outplayed by their own WAGs, and Sven was out of a job.

Fabio Capello, despite a CV rammed with titles and Champions League trophies, had issues learning the language, and the culture. Seeing his players crowded around a telly willing Susan Boyle to a Britain’s Got Talent title and playing as themselves on the XBox was hard to take for this proud, sophisticated and urbane man. His squad’s obsession with the goings on in a boring Manchester pub boiled over in South Africa, as this extraordinary video reveals:
England’s Golden Generation now lies in ruins, like Cesar’s Rome, Mountbatten’s India or McCartney’s Wings. Despite dominating the Champions League and the tabloid headlines with their clubs, this gilded group never gelled for their country. And as the next generation coming though seems more interested in fucking about with their phones and threatening each other with knives, they may need a hero from down under.