Brits Wimbledon hoodoo must end soon

November 16, 2009
1936. The last year a Brit won the Wimbledon male singles championship.

It has been 73 years since Fred Perry lifted the most prestigious title in tennis on his home soil. For British tennis, this is a hugely embarrassing statistic.

The diagram shown here illustrates just how far we’ve lagged behind other nations. The pie chart shows the  nationalities of the players who have won Wimbledon since the war.

America lead the way, having won 24 championships  They have consistently produced legends such as Sampras, McEnroe, Connors and Agassi. The list goes on..

The Aussies are next with a very healthy 16 titles, the majority of which were won during a golden era of Australian tennis which boasted Laver, Emerson and Newcombe. 

Sweden have seven, (mostly thanks to a certain Mr Borg, with a little help from Stefan Edberg) Then comes Roger Federer, sorry, Switzerland…with six titles.

We host the best tournament in the world, benefit from the exposure it receives as well as the riches it generates – yet we cannot produce a home-grown talent capable of winning the thing.

How we could with Andy Murray winning the trophy so we could have a little Great Britain slice of the pie. It’s more than a bit overdue.

Recommended links –

Daily Mail – Fred Perry legend casts shadow over Murray

The Independent – Legend Ivanisevic offers to help find Britain a Wimbledon Champ

Sportingo – Murray can end years of heartbreak

I was able to make my chart through data provided by the Guardian’s Data-store website. This is a link to the raw data –  http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=rLlV8BN6ztlo7Ad4UCUMCYw

Map of Preston stories – 17th November 2009

November 26, 2009

Using google maps, I created this map showing the locations of four stories taken from the Lancashire Evening Post on Tuesday the 17th of November.

By displaying the stories using a map people can access stories which are closer to home and most relevant to them, it also gives an interactive feel to reading stories online.

My four stories are;

– The Mayor of Penwortham describing the town as being ‘like Beirut’.
– The story of a pub team from Clayton-le-woods, Preston, who have been crowned ‘pub-pool’ champions of England.
– The proposed move of the National Football Museum from Preston to Manchester coming under fire from Manchester Urbis workers.
– A park in Fulwood getting a £112,000 refurbishment.

Photographs of the National Football Museum and the Sir Tom Finney statue

November 26, 2009

For part of our Digital Newsroom module I took photographs of The National Football Museum and the statue of Sir Tom Finney outside Deepdale – home of Preston North End Football Club.

The statue of Finney was unvieled in 2004. It was inspired by an iconic image taken when Preston were playing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Despite the pitch being largely covered by puddles of water it was allowed to carry on, and a photogropher took an image of Sir Tom when he was on the ground, in a puddle, trying to control the ball. The image won ‘Sports Photograph of The Year’.

This is my original photograph, showing both the statue of Sir Tom as well as the acclaimed National Football Museum:

This one I cropped and resized to a 100×100 pixel thumbnail:

This image is sized 400 pixel wide x 300 pixel high. This wide shot shows the statue of the great Sir Tom as well as the uniquely designed National Football Museum:

This picture is sized 200 pixel wide by 500 pixel high. Its shows a close-up of the statue of Preston North End’s greatest ever player – Sir Tom Finney. The close up captures the ‘splash’ feature of the statue. In the background we get a further view of the distinctive National Football Museum, this view showing us the tilted windows which help make the museum so unique:

England fans dreaming of glory in South Africa

November 25, 2009

With the World Cup in South Africa coming up in June, England are being tipped to end over 40 years of hurt and win the trophy.

With Fabio Capello at the helm, England fans believe anything is possible. I talked to England supporter Oliver Holland about Capello and England’s chances in South Africa.

Agassi legend lives on

November 17, 2009

The fall out from Andre Agassi’s drug confession has been huge. Some commentators have said it tarnishes his achievements and reputation forever. Others have even called for him to be stripped of his titles and prize money.

But what musn’t be forgotten here is what Agassi has taken.

Crystal Meth is a deadly drug which can lead to disastorous health problems, it is not going to make you a better tennis player.

On 5 live the other day their presenter was comparing to Ben Johnson –  a most ridiculous argument that should never have been aired. He did not take performance enhancing drugs. If he did my feelings would be the complete opposite and would have destroyed mine and every others tennis fan’s view of him.

Agassi’s drug use co-incidided with the worst year of his career. His ranking plummeted and it was the only year in which he never won a trophy. Hardly performance enhancing.

He was going through a bad patch, his marraige was on the verge of breaking up and he did something stupid.

The fact that the ATP so easily  believed Agassi’s cover up is more of a worry, and we can only speculate how many others may have escaped punishment. But, in light of Agassi’s revelations, you can be sure they will be much less forgiving.

Agassi made a mistake, but there was no malice involved or desire to cheat – he is no Ben Johnson. There’s no need to crucify the guy.

Recommended Links:

 Blog archive – Should Agassi be punished over drug use?

Rafa questions ATP over Agassi revelations

Murray’s got to go for it

October 20, 2009

Great British hope Andy Murray is coming under increasing pressure to break his duck and win his first Grand Slam. 

But at 22 years of age, he still has time on his side and I think the next Slam, the Australian Open in January, can be the time when he fulfils his greatest ambiti0n.

Murray has had a fantastic year. He has won five tournaments and reached a career high of No.2 in the world. But he has undoubtedly underachieved in the Grand Slams.

With a month free in the off season, it is to be hoped that Murray will work on his tactics and up his aggression. Put simply, he needs to go for it a lot more. Let rip. Go for the lines.

The passive tennis he plays at times, relying on his speed to put the ball back in the court and hoping his opponent will miss, just isn’t going to cut it in the biggest moments against the best players.

This has been blatantly evident in both his defeat to Fernando Verdasco in the Aussie Open and his straight sets capitulation to Maran Cilic at the US.

With the men’s game is in such a strong state, with arguably the best top 10 in history, it’s not going to be easy for the Scot. But if Murray can show more aggression, he can win a Slam in the near future. He has the talent, of that there is no doubt, he just needs to use it the right way.

Blog is back

October 7, 2009

Hey, my blog is back and will be updated shortly!

United 1999 v United 2009: Who is the greatest?

March 4, 2009

Sir Alex Ferguson has described his current Manchester United squad as the greatest that he has ever had. And with United still on track  for an unprecendened quintuple, few would argue with him. But is this team really superior to those Treble winning heroes of 1999?

Starting at the back, despite Edwin Van Der Sar’s magnificent run of 14 consecutive clean sheets, Peter Schmeichel would still edge it. He is quite possiblty the greatest goalkeeper of all time and his performances saved United time after time. His huge presence and aura was more evident than any other goalkeeper I can remember.

The back four of 2009 however, takes some beating. There aren’t two centre backs in world football better than Ferdinand and Vidic. Jaap Stam was too an excellent defender, and integral to United’s success during his period at the club, but Rio and Vida are at another level. And in Patrice Evra, I believe, United boast the worlds best left back. His dynamism would just win it over Denis Irwin’s steadiness.

United’s midfield in 1999 had everyhing. Beckham’s passing and work-rate, Keane’s leadership and defensive qualities, Scholsey’s goals and Giggsy’s dribbling ability.

This current United side also excel in this area, with Giggs and Scholes still going strong as well the superb Michael Carrick. And of course, Cristiano Ronaldo, who would get in any team in the world, – including United’s of 99′.

The 99′ team definately edges it here though. A better midfield I cannot think of.  Ever. And they didn’t have Nani.

Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole were undoubtedly the best front pair in Europe in 1999.  Thier at times telepathic partnership was vital in United winning the Treble. United’s strikeforce also included as a certain Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the best substitute of all time  and a true a United legend.

In Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney, United now posess 2 more technically gifted forwards. Dimi’s languid style at times attracts criticism but I think he”s pure class. Whereas Rooney has the potential become one the greatest players in the club’s history (if not THE greatest player…). 

I just can’t choose between the strikers, so I’m gonna call that one a draw.

On the whole however, the 99′ team wins it for me. The football United played that season was from another planet, with goals flying in from everywhere. Beckham, Keane, Yorke, Cole and Schmeichel would all have been worthy winners of Footballer of  The Year award, which speaks for itself. It went to David Ginola though, strange… 

Anyway, here’s my team of  made up of United’s 1999 and 2009 squads:

Schmeichel

G Neville(99)   Ferdinand  Vidic   Evra

Beckham   Scholes(99)  Keane   Ronaldo

                 Giggs(99)

Rooney