Preparing for SPOTY to disappoint

There is a scene in The Office in which David Brent is asked about his biggest disappointment. “Alton Towers,” he replies immediately, without even a hint of irony. This Sunday sees the annual BBC sporting back-slap, Sports Personality of the Year. I, of course, will be watching, but this year am determined not to allow the programme to be my …

‘Old pals act’ takes gloss off Taylor’s Grand Slam

Phil Taylor was once again the deserved victor of the recent Grand Slam of Darts, but beneath the main headline from the ITV4 tournament lies an intriguing story which threatens to take some of the gloss off a fantastic nine days of darts. The Grand Slam begins with a round-robin format consisting of eight groups of four. Two players qualify from …

Faldo-gate and the BBC

Invigorated by the hysteria of firstly Russ & Woss-gate and then the last dances of John Sergeant, I looked forward to Monday’s episode of Inside Sport on BBC1 with relish. An exclusive interview with Nick Faldo had been heavily trailed, not least with several references to her trip to Brazil by Gabby Logan on her 5 Live Sunday morning show. Finally, …

The Championship League – taking darts out of the pub

Why, in a sport in which the fans play such an intrinsic role, has the PDC just organised its’ inaugural tournament staged entirely without fans? And why did it take place in a golf club? As sports professionalise and grow it is common to hear a concerted cry: “Don’t forget the true fans!” There was horror in England earlier this year …

The Olympics – putting the ‘G’ back into ‘B’?

Yesterday it was Kelly Holmes’s turn to trot out on the BBC the hackneyed line about the Olympics ‘putting the Great back into Britain’. If only the Northern Irish were part of the team she could also have put the United back into Kingdom. Our national broadcaster is seemingly so obsessed with the success of GB’s Beijing heroes that a …

Seeking the formula for the BDO Grand Prix

The inaugural BDO International Grand Prix reached a conclusion on September 20 with Scotland’s Gary Anderson the worthy winner of the £12,000 first prize. Currently number 1 in the World Darts Federation rankings, ‘Dreamboy’ reached the final of four out of the five tournaments in the series, further evidencing why he is amongst the contenders to succeed Phil Taylor as …

Ping pong’s coming home

It is scarcely a surprise that Blustering Boris managed to offend the Chinese, the French, and the Jaques family with his unbuttoned suit and his recent comments about table tennis, but whatever one’s view of London’s Mayor, Johnson certainly has a fantastic turn of phrase. ‘The French might look at a dining table and see an opportunity to eat,’ he declared, shortly …

Giving Premier League football the red card

After a break of 96 days, the Barclays Premier League recommences on Saturday. For the next nine months twenty teams will battle their way through the twists and turns of the greatest football league in world. In May 2009 we will say farewell to three of them, crown our champions, and look back on another season of wonderful goals, terrible …

Autographs not averages – the League of Legends

Darts’ League of Legends makes its way to The Spa in Bridlington this week, with just two league nights remaining before Finals Night at the Circus Tavern on August 22. To those who follow the Premier League of darts, the format is familiar: eight players, seven weeks, one match against each other. The top four qualify for the final, with …

Athletics: perfect moments

Sport, so often, and with apologies to Martine McCutcheon, is about moments, perfect moments. No more so than in athletics, where fractions of seconds or centimetres make the difference between a reservation in the Beijing Olympic Village and two weeks of moping around watching the second greatest sporting event on telly. There were plenty of such moments at the Birmingham …