Saturday, March 24, 2007

Robert Andrew Woolmer 1948 - 2007

It is with heartfelt sorrow that such a charismatic, popular, and talented thespian in the shape of Bob Woolmer should die so suddenly at the age of only 58, but to have been 'murdered' is truly devastating news to his family, relatives, friends, fellow students of the game, cricket fans and in fact all sports fans in general.

I ask you, will International competitive sport ever be able to fully recover from this tragedy.

The truth about why he was murdered is still unclear, however there are numerous rumours flying around, as one might suspect under the circumstances.
We are all aware of the corruption/match fixing allegations coinciding with the imminent release of his book, as put forward by many a journalist this past week.
But if it does turn out that corruption has played a part in his death, then how can we the public ever trust the outcome of any sporting event in the future to have been truly genuine.
Most of us like a flutter, as it adds to the interest of the event in question, and as in all sports there are always going to be shock results and outcomes.
Cricket is in the spotlight this next week, but next week it could be football, horse racing, golf, tennis.....whatever.

In professional sport 'greed' is the root of all evil.
People, human beings like you & I will always be susceptible to the lure of making money, even if you already have plenty. It may seem improbable that you will be suspected let alone caught. Who will know if you are not giving your best, not trying your hardest, not bothered if you win, lose or draw - if you can cash in big time.

Nobody.....until one day it all goes wrong, as inevitably it will, and you and/or your family are caught up in something bigger & more dangerous than you can handle!
You may not even have been involved directly. You may have been an unsuspecting pawn in a real life crime.

Mr.Woolmer may not have been involved, but he may have been aware of certain instances where match fixing was apparent in the sub-continent.
Knowing too much about something may turn out to have been instrumental behind his 'murder.'
Information & knowledge are powerful tools and may have proved in this instance to have been as dangerous as taking part in the practice itself!

Sincere and heartfelt condolences go to his wife, Gill and sons Dale and Russell.

He will surely live in the hearts of his cricket fans in England, South Africa, Pakistan and all over the world.

Bob Woolmer
Career History:

1968: Debut for Kent.

1972: One-day international debut for England.

1976: Selected as one of Wisden's five cricketers of the year.

1977: The Centenary Test in Melbourne and England went on to take the Ashes 3-0.
Bob signed for Kerry Packer, and the establishment is not amused.

1984: He retired from first class cricket.

1991: Appointed Director of Coaching at Warwickshire County Club in England.

1994: Warwickshire won 3 out of 4 trophies and were runners up in the NatWest series.
He was appointed coach of South Africa

1994-1999: South Africa won 71% of its one-day internationals, and 10 out of 15 Test series under Woolmer.

2004: Appointed Pakistan's coach.

2007: The Pakistan team crashed out of the World Cup after being shocked by debutants Ireland. Found unconscious in his hotel room in the West Indies and later died in a hospital in Jamaica.

**Please do not make failures and successes on cricket fields a matter of life and death.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Kidney Failure.

The Cricket World Cup is underway in the Caribbean and after reading and hearing all the pre-tournament bumf, I feel confident I can divide the tournament into just three segments, the opening match involving the host nation, the Final itself and most importantly the return of the English team.
As the the TV crews and tabloid happy snappers swarm around the arrivals area of the airport as our prodigal sons return in identical fashion to our footy boys after every major tournament - they may have been defeated (probably in the quarter-finals but not on penalties) but they remain defiant and positive, and every expletive, cliche and excuse under the sun is used to exonerate the players, captain, vice-captain, coach, kit man, dietitian, fitness guru, masseur, therapists, bodyguards, coach driver and so on due to..... the pitches, below par training facilities, exhausting itinerary, extreme heat, dodgy umpiring decisions, injuries, over exuberant fans, insect bites, uncomfortable accommodation, poor sleep c/o late night steel bands across the hallway, poorly educated 'ladies of the night' who were unable to read each member of the touring party a bedtime story and of course sheer bad luck.......yawn!
There's always next time.

Now spare a thought for the World's Biggest Cricket Fan.
His tournament kicks off in under 48 hours time, when on Saturday March 17th India face Bangladesh in Trinidad in their opening Group B game. Mr. Tarun Sharma, 23 a die-hard Indian cricket fan has according to sources threatened to commit suicide by setting fire to himself. The reason for his rather extreme behaviour is that he is not allowed to sell a kidney to raise the stake money for the trip to the World Cup.
Selling body organs in India is illegal unless you are donating them to your relatives and you have the approval of the authorities.....which authorities is debatable. I can't see the Indian Cricket board objecting, but let's for now assume anyway it's some sort of Medical or Government Body.
Sharma said and I quote " I will kill myself if I'm denied a chance to watch the Indians play in the West Indies." He goes on to say, " Anybody can survive with one kidney but you will never get the opportunity to watch India win the Cup in the West Indies"

At odds of generally 7/1 the bookies obviously do not share Mr. Sharma's optimism of
India bring crowned Cricket World Champions.

However how can one begin to compare the value of a body organ with the odds of winning a sporting event.

Now then footy fans. There are plenty of you who regularly spout off about how you would die for your team or club's cause. May I suggest however that it is in fact Mr. Sharma who has actually used this term correctly, in describing what he is prepared to do in his attempt to watch his beloved cricketing nation, or is it simply that he is completely and utterly out of his mind.

Food for thought!

Monday, March 05, 2007

London BAR King - 'Black Gardenia'

I realise looking at my blog 'Beer Footy and Birds!' that it is fundamentally flawed. The emphasis is most definitely on footy and birds and less so on beer.
As a result I am going to try to rectify this by emBARking on bringing you a short but regular guide to where's hot and where's not in the drinking capital of the world.

To kick things off I would like to bring to your attention a newly opened bar in Soho called the 'Black Gardenia,' formally the Push Bar.
It's situated on 93 Dean Street, London W1 and is now very much a cool yet distinctive, almost moody, cavern style milieu. It offers a diverse miscellany of forties, fifties and sixties tunes, and is open until 1am.
No jeans are allowed, the garb is bordering on vintage, almost Retro and the more vintage your attire the more you will fit in.

A cracking bar. Well worth a visit whatever your vogue.

Friday, March 02, 2007