Links on Friday

Tennis racquet abuse – a top ten

Things get cooking at number four. McEnroe, the master, smashes a racquet, then argues he hasn’t smashed it. Then a guy smashes all his racquets and has to abandon the game, while number one smashes about nine in a row, not even bothering to get them out of the plastic. It’s hardly Pete Townsend smashing guitars-level rock ‘n’ roll, but still satisfying action.

Let’s face it – sports fans are bloody nerds hey. This Power Rankings list for NBA court markings shows just how easy it is to succumb. At first I was all ‘this is a shit list, just for nerds,’ then I was all ‘HOW can they put the magnificent Memphis Grizzlies court markings at a lowly 17 ???!?” You were warned.

Here’s a tremendous profile of Andrew Jennings, the English TV reporter who thoroughly investigated and exposed FIFA corruption.

“I know that they are criminal scum, and I’ve known it for years,” he said. “And that is a thoughtful summation. That is not an insult. That is not throwing about wild words.”

Hockey player gets sent off, has a ‘mare trying to leave the ice.

Links on Friday

Links on Friday

Injured BLACKCAP / Twitter superstar Jimmy Neesham’s Reddit AMA is second only to Channing Tatum’s for humour and honesty.

Q: What are you thinking as you are batting?

A: “Ok get through the first couple of balls. Jeez that was quick. Ok knuckle down here. Oooh that girl’s quite pretty-Oi stop it, concentrate. Watch the ball. Shit that came off the bat quite nicely. I wonder how long it is til lunch? These pants are a bit tight, maybe I should get some new ones. Watch the ball. NO KANE NO. Come on mate there’s no run there, jeez. Oooh it’s lunch, I wonder if there’s cheesecake?”

Turns out Unleash The Quiche is a Reddit regular. Go read the whole thing.

Absolutely tremendous footage of an All Whites v Newcastle United friendly from 1985 at the Basin bloody Reserve. Peter Beardsley, 9, features and I like to think there was a piece to camera post-match, with kids leaping around pulling faces in the background.

sportreview.net.nz is a big fan of the retro-inspired football kits, and it turns out turning out in a classy, classic kit that respects your club’s history makes you play better than the standard ‘seagull vomit‘ most clubs settle for.

Good things come to those who wait.
PUJwYbh - Imgur

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FIFA scandal – who’s who

Football eh? The beautiful game. The footwork. The tactical intricacies. The drama. The partying alongside a shirtless Chuck Blazer in a sweet Dubai mansion that you own.

With all the he-said, she-said and unprecedented large-scale arrests, it can be hard to keep up, so here’s sportreview.net.nz’s guide to the key players.

Blatter, Sepp
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Football’s answer to both Baron Silas Greenback and Tony Soprano. Inexplicably voted FIFA president time after time, due to world class Teflon coating shielding him from multiple and prolonged corruption allegations, not to mention all sense of shame or irony.

Blatter promised to stamp out systemic corruption in football, but then prioritised commissioning a feature film showcasing his contribution to football, turning Tim Roth from Mr Pink to Mr Stink at a stroke. Resigned after a  corruption-related arrests of his henchmen senior officials, who are now lining up to dob him in faster than Alex Ferguson losing his temper. Still serving as FIFA President.

Warner, Jack
Suspended and sacked CONCAF President now under arrest. Great mates with Blazer, Chuck. Brilliantly, was totally sucked in by this Onion article. Has promised to name and shame FIFA wrong do-ers. To the highest bidder.

Blazer, Chuck
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Thank you, thank you, thank you. If your sport is going to end up down a cesspit of sleaze, it may as well be lead by a gargantuan American called Chuck, all belly, beard and cheesy grin who’s no stranger to a strange photo op.

A keen blogger, Chuck  worked his way up from chief CONCAF wheeler dealer to FIFA’s marketing supremo, while lining the Blazer pocket the whole way. Once the IRS took him down, he was only too happy to roll over like Stephen Gerrard defending the centre circle. He and Bernie Madoff are going to get on famously in prison. Recommended long read.

Ali, Prince
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No-one knows anything about Prince Ali except that he’s a prince and seems as dynamic as a Dido album. But because he ran for FIFA president against Sepp Blatter, he became a folk hero. For five or six minutes.

Rufer, Wynton
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Oceania player of the century and scorer of a pretty decent, if pixelated, goal, our Wynton is no stranger to a weird outburst, so it was almost expected when he threw his weight in behind #teamsepp.

America
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Having been slow to make an impact on world football, the USA are making up for lost time, getting results like a footballing John McClane. USA! USA!
FIFA scandal – who’s who

Links on Friday

So much to enjoy here. The Beige. Richie commentating. Hadlee’s restrained chat. Botham having no idea what’s going on, but appearing pretty comfortable with it. Hadlee eventually getting bored with swinging it all around Botham’s bat and setting him up like a Vegas card counter. A typically un-sunsmart 80s crowd. The duck. Just watch.

The Guardian’s 50 favourite sport photographs of 2014.
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Colorado Rapids / Fulham fan runs batshit Twitter campaign to get promotion / relegation into Major League Soccer. A former political operative, his strategy seems to be exhausting everyone on the internet into submission. No-one get any ideas.

Nike explains how they make their athlete’s signature shoes. And there’s this awesome John McEnroe pic.
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Links on Friday

sportreview.net.nz 2014, um, review

As has been pointed out, this blog’s tenth year has not been an especially productive if you measure these things in terms of *posting* on the blog. Let’s up the word count with a mazy dribble through 2014.

Football
That was a Great world cup. Not only did we get pretty football and amazing goals, but it all seemed to be played in front of big, noisy crowds (not that noisy) in decent spirit, apart from the biting and that. It’s a shame FIFA lets us down again and again as an organisation, but somehow, they’re still running this game.

Game of the tournament was Brazil v Germany, for wonderful goals and the other-worldliness of it all, it was like seeing the fall of Rome in two 45 minutes halves. Goal of the tournament was the little Aussie battler Tim Cahill’s, what a strike. Performance of the tournament was any time Miguel Herrera was on the camera.

I don’t want to talk about Tottenham. Expecting a Tottenham manager with mixed results in the first season to be there for any length of time is like expecting loyalty from a domestic house cat. I’ve been hurt too many times before.

Oh, and this was the greatest thing to happen on the field in 2014:

Rugby
New Zealand is in the middle of another, yinnow, very special era. We’re kind of getting used to them. But are we happy? I have to say I didn’t watch as much rugby as in recent years, mainly kept it to the big Tests v South Africa and the Ockers and catching some of my Chiefs in the super rugby (I am extremely confident that next year is going to be our year again). Malaise? Laziness? I don’t know. There is nothing wrong with the game the national team is playing, we have more depth than seems fair to other nations, and are expertly coached.

Maybe it’s because you can’t hold a conversation about rugby in this country without WHAT ABOUT THE WORLD CUP hovering over you like a grim reaper. Enjoying rugby outside world cups seems pointless. Can we have more proper tours with three test series and matches against provinces please? Taking the game to the Chicago did not do it for me.

Maybe I should just relax and enjoy it. We really are spoiled in this country.

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I got down to Dunedin to see the Chiefs crap out to the Highlanders with a bunch of (fellow) idiots from Hamilton. This is a world class stadium that had a lot of atmosphere when half full, it must be amazing when packed. You’re so close you think someone is going to put liniment on you.

Cricket
How bonkers was 2014? From Corey Anderson knocking up a world’s fastest ODI ton on new year’s day to the prospect of the BLACKCAPS reaching all kinds of records and just quietly having the most successful-ever Test calendar year ever, it’s been one we’ll remember for a long time. Highlights:

Being at Eden Park for the ODI v India with 28,000 people, thanks to Auckland’s Indian community, who were amazing. Great taste of what a packed cricket stadium feels like ahead of the Big Tournament next year.

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The Test win at Eden Park, with Brendon McCullum’s double ton and an absolute rip snorter from Neil Wagner to get us over the line. Eden Park can feel AMAZING with a few thousand in too.

Seeing half of Wellington come in on that murky Tuesday morning to cheer the skipper on to 302. Privilege to be there.

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Just quietly, while the grassy banks of Seddon Park are still home for me, I am coming around to the charms of the Basin big time as New Zealand’s best Test ground. From the old-school main stand to the lovingly-and-expertly run museum (check out that book sale) to the fact so many of NZ’s most passionate cricket fans are Wellingtonians who are loud on the Twitter and turn up to see their teams. My head has been turned. See you on the third.

Again, I’d never expected to go to Bangladesh in my life, let alone twice, but that happened. It’s not for everyone, and living the sheltered life with the team meant you don’t really see the real city, but I loved it. That Chittagong storm was something to see with chest-rattling thunder and blinding lightning moving slowly and inevitably through the muggy night air to the ground before the rainstorm came. Biblical stuff.
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Winning a rare away Test series in the West Indies by coming back from a loss in the second and being deep in the crap in the third was remarkable, many players cite that series win as their highlight of the year.

The third Test v Pakistan in Sharjah will be remembered for the way the team paid tribute to Phil Hughes and then performed one of the most remarkable turnarounds you’ll ever see. You kind of want to wax lyrical but it doesn’t seem appropriate. It was nuts and made me very proud.

Elsewhere, the cricket from Australia has been compelling, with Mitch and his moustache, and this series against India shaping up nicely. And the tributes to Phil Hughes were moving and appropriate. This clip from his 50-over double hundred for Australia A shows you what an outrageous batsman he was, have a look at what we’ve lost:

The internet and that
I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to be able to sit at work and do*ahem* work on one screen and have SKY Go and Tweetbot going on the other. I watched a lot of the football world cup like this, as well as some of the West Indies Test series, the Ashes and the current Australia v India series.

I loved #putoutyourbats, ’twas a very cricket way to pay tribute to Phil Hughes.

The Alternative Commentary Collective was funny and brilliant, and an example of using the internet to do new things, of which I approve. Will be great to see them back this year.

Watching sport with Twitter is kind of cool but kind of weird, you miss a lot when you’re trying to keep up with the conversation. That said, out of my cold, dead hands, etc. What’s the answer team?

sportreview.net.nz 2014, um, review

Links on Friday

Like many New Zealanders of a certain age, my memories of the Benson and Hedges Series are nothing but golden. The moustaches, the Beige, us having a great team and doing pretty well, all enjoyed at fantastic viewing times during long, humid summer nights on the couch. Even The Underarm, it warms the cockles of my heart how angry we all were (are?) together. Russell Jackson looks back:

We should always remember the Benson and Hedges World Series Cup – fondly glorifying it, misremembering how slow the net run rates actually were, perennially overrating some of the ropey touring sides who made up the numbers against Australia and the West Indies and convincing the generations below us that it was cricket nirvana because occasionally, it truly was.

This is the great man Dimitar Berbatov with a ‘did I leave the oven on’ touch, before immediately ordering those not fit to be on the same pitch as him about. Read the full list of first touches you can only dream of.

sportreview.net.nz wholeheartedly endorses skipping stones as a legitimate sport.

Neville

Manchester United’s Gary Neville asked Manchester City fan and dad rocker wag Noel Gallagher to sign what looks to be a very nice guitar. Hilarity ensues.

Links on Friday

Links on Friday

sportreview.net.nz had a floppy-fringe-and-cardigan-and-moody-guitar-band- enabled stormer in the 90s. The football was GREAT too, with Tottenham’s ‘famous five’ of Teddy Sheringham, Jurgen Klinsmannn, Darren Anderton etc forever holding a special place in my heart – but was football in general actually *better*? Vice UK investigates.  Seriously, this page is worth it just for the Matt Le Tissier goal compilation alone, fantastic stuff.

This guy went to the Tour De France and didn’t enjoy it. Surely the ideal scenario for watching TDF in the flesh would be picking a little mountainside bar, spend the day there drinking cheap red wine and eating bread and cheese and watching it on the telly while bantering with adorable old geezers wearing berets and bags of onions and garlic, pausing only to saunter outside to watch the riders go past? He’s done it all wrong.

If sportreview.net.nz was in the market to get rad / gleam the cube etc, it would opt for a VHS-inspired deck, like so:

Skate

Links on Friday

Tottenham 2014/15 – the big preview

Graeme at sportsfreak.co.nz got me off the bench to do the Tottenham Hotspur season preview this year:

“My dream scenario for 2014/15 would be selling some players we don’t need, signing a ‘stick the ball in the net’ striker, sorting out who our first team is, performing competently against the top four, thrashing Arsenal at least twice, having the same manager at the end of the season as we do now and qualifying for the Champions League. Not too much to ask.”

Go read the whole thing, and all the other teams, there’s some great stuff there.

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Tottenham 2014/15 – the big preview

Links on Friday

Get behind the scenes with the All Blacks – in the 80s! At the time, The Good, The Bad And The Rugby was a revelation, for presenting ‘All Blacks as people,’ at a time when they usually appeared in our living rooms either smashing Frenchmen in the face or advertising Jockeys. It was a simpler time of mullets n larfs n guitars and a bloody joy to watch.

In-depth analysis of world cup arm-folding better than it  sounds. Like a night out with John Terry, there’s a lot that can go wrong. GIF3b

And if you’re missing the world cup, here’s the New Yorker’s most memorable moments, complete with video.  And this is why Germany won.

I’m not entirely sure who Tom Brady is, but the bloke cannot get a high five from, well, anyone. Think he’s like an American Jimmy Cowan.

Links on Friday

One of the better cold Wednesday nights at Eden Park

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I’m not a regular Phoenix watcher, and I mainly use West Ham for ‘feeder club’ jokes with the inexplicably large contingent of NZ Irons fans on Twitter. But top flight English teams visiting New Zealand happens about as often as we win Rugby World Cups, generally, so I got my credit card out for this one as soon as I was able.

Fair play to the Welnix group – the odd BAU Gareth Morgan brain explosion aside, they’re showing measured ambition and are Trying Things to get their team and football growing sustainably. The official crowd figure was 19,100 odd, which seems a pass mark in Auckland on a freezing cold Wednesday, where people generally won’t go to Eden Park unless it’s the Blues v Crusaders in the Super Rugby final with a ‘three free hot dogs’ promo on.

Auckland gets few chances to get out to support top class football, and the atmosphere was extremely convivial, with a HUGE amount of West Ham  kit on display, among other clubs. There was a noisy West Ham contingent on the old terraces that stood for the duration, and a token Yellow Fever congregation at the other end of the ground (enforced separation?). I took my son for his first trip to Eden Park, and it seemed like many dads and lads were doing the same.

As for the match, from where I was sitting West Ham seemed a foot taller and a metre faster than the home team, they simply looked a level of professional athlete up.  For the first ten minutes I thought the Phoenix would go down four or five nil, but after a while the locals decided to play football, which they did admirably. West Ham obviously missed Andy Carroll – they had good chances, but the Phoenix’s superior finishing was the difference, with a couple of tremendous goals. Winston Reid looked Rio Ferdinand-like to me with his anticipation and time on the ball, he’s the real deal, no doubt. The first half was more entertaining than the second, and any feeling of pre-season low-key-ness was off set by some tasty tackles. It was most entertaining.

Only grumbles – seeing tickets at half the price I’d paid appear on Grab One the day before the match. I understand they needed to reach a number, but discounting like this leaves a sour taste in the mouth for the premium-paying earlybirds. And because it was pay per view there’s no way to go back and watch a replay, save for nefarious internet means. Could this be worked out in the future?

Read a more thorough run down at Fish Head mag via Sports Freak.

One of the better cold Wednesday nights at Eden Park