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Friday, June 04, 2010

Great Sporting Moments

You may have noticed that the world cup is about to start. For about a month the telly will be full of nothing else. For Americans it's that game called SOCCER and we are playing you lot :D

My first sporting memory is the 1970 FA CUP replay. It's the pin up boys of the Kings Roads vs the Grim Dirty Northerners. Chelsea vs Leeds. Frankly I couldn't have cared about either of them but David Webb heading in the winner for Chelsea is my first sporting memory.

A month later is my first memory of the World Cup. Mexico 70, that tackle by Moore, that save by Banks and Gerd Muller breaking my young heart! Of course it didn't mattered as we got to watch Edison Arantes do Nascimento (Pele) as Brazil beat Italy playing fantasy football.

In the mid 70's we had a golden age of heavyweight boxing, we had Frazier, Norton, Holmes, Foreman and of course Ali. Its hard to believe that when Ali met Foreman in Zaire in 1974 he was the underdog, he hadn't been champion for 7 years after he refused to go to Vietnam. On his return he had lost the "fight of the century" to Joe Frazier, Ken Norton had broken his jaw and so it was feared that the brutal beast that was George Foreman (who had literally destroyed Joe Frazier) might just kill him.

For 7 rounds Ali laid on the rope absorbing punishment and then when Foreman was punched out in the 8th Ali caught him and the legend grew greater.

We move forward to 1981. Ian Botham swashbuckling boys own hero of English Cricket has resigned the Captaincy he's been booed off the pitch at Lords and at Headingley England are being slaughtered.

The time had come for a legend to be made. Botham threw his bat at everything and scored 149. We were still going to lose the Aussie's needed a paltry 131 to win with a day to do it.

The young quacky was in the lower 6th. Rumours were going around the school of something remarkable happening in Leeds a score of 50 odd for 4 was mentioned at one point when the next rumoured score did the rounds we went to our head of sixth form, who I frankly didn't like all that much, he was busy but at the words 75 for 8 he shot to his car radio and came back grinning to tell us that Bob Willis had bowled them out for 111.

It was a remarkable summer for Botham, he scored a 100 at Old Trafford and then one magic Sunday afternoon he took 5 for 1 as the Aussies crumbled again and became a nations hero.

In 1978 two Argentinian's arrived at White Hart Lane. Spurs had signed the silky skills of Osvaldo Ardiles and some bloke called Ricardo Villa had come along to keep him company. Ardiles dream was to play in the FA Cup at Wembley, in 1981 his knees were all a trembly (cue Chas & Dave) Spurs played Manchester City. Spurs were lucky to get a draw and Ossies mate was substituted and cut a forlorn figures as he trudged off.

Four days later the replay its 2-2 enter the man Ossie's Mate Ricardo Villa.



I may just have jumped around the room a few times. Ah 1981 a wonderful year that!

My final great sporting moment is chosen for highly personal reasons.

It's a sunday in 1991, in England the weather was pretty good my dad was in the garden enjoying the sun. In Tokyo it's the final day of the world Athletics championship, the last event the Men's 4x400 relay was the might of the USA (including the individual gold and bronze winners) against GB. The british team had two very good 400 metre runners Derek "the crock" Redmond and Roger "Pretty Boy" Black (who had won silver) a 200 metre sprinter John Regis who seldom did the 400 and a bloke who wasn't could enough at the 400m so had turned to the Hurdles Kriss Akabusi.

The Brits gambled by sending there best runner, pretty boy, out first and leaving the bloke who wasn't good enough to run last(I'm being a bit unfair on Akabusi he was a damned fine hurdler). The idea was to get a lead and hang on. It didn't work and world champion Antonio Pettigrew was in front as the last lap started.

As they came into the final straight Pettigrew was still in front with Aka on his shoulder logic tells you that class tells.

In England my Mum and I are SCREAMING at the telly for Kriss to "STUFF THE YANK" (so loudly were we screaming at the telly my dad thought something awful was happening).

As I say logic says class will tell. But on Sunday 1st September 1991 with Mum and I yelling him home Kriss found his moment and hit the front.

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