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He loves me, ***@@!!*, he loves me not!

By Mike Cunningham On December 1st, 2014 at 6:27 pm

I write about things which intrigue me; I write, sometimes, of the joy of a Family, of the simple wonder of a small grandson’s hand clutching my finger, and of the implicit trust of moments such as those. I also write of the disgust in which I hold politicians who have diluted and trashed the very idea of that same Family life, and of Marriage. I write in vehement complaint of things political, where our great nation has been betrayed by lesser men who pursue a political viewpoint, and of the truly lethal outcomings of that betrayal. I sometimes mischievously write to stimulate argument; and relish the bellicose outbursts from those minds who would speak against me, without ever either knowing me, or coming close enough to form another opinion.

I hardly ever write about sport, and sporting matters; mainly because I just do not understand the tribal urge which ‘follows’ a team, or a single exponent of any particular sporting endeavour, I just cannot fathom the thought process which brings people to their feet, shouting and shrieking for either joy, or vengeance, because of a particular shot, or move, or kick. But I do write about human nature, and the crass stupidities of people in the ‘sporting world’ who also inhabit the headlines because of their fame.

So the NFL player Ray Rice, who is, apparently, a gifted athlete and a star in his chosen sport, looses his temper with his wife, and beats her senseless in a hotel elevator. He is then promptly suspended from his team, and eventually fired.

The wife insisted that there had been no further instances of abuse since the footage surfaced in September, and that her husband’s judgement the night of the assault had been skewed by alcohol. “He said he was terrified. He was in such shock that this had just happened and he didn’t know how to function at that point.”

Nonetheless, she reaffirmed her support for her husband, claiming that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell didn’t tell the truth when he said Ray Rice was “ambiguous” about hitting her in an elevator.

“We know it’s going to take some work,” Janay told NBC’s Matt Lauer. “So I think once he shows them who he is and they reach out to people here, and they find out the things that he’s done, then I think it’s definitely good … At the end of the day, he’s a football player and that’s what they should be really be focused on, because he’s proven himself as a football player for seven years. There’s never been a question on what he can do on the field.”

So he beats her up, and knocks her unconscious, and the next thing; she announces that she is ‘standing by her man’, and all will be snowdrops in the spring!

Do these people inhabit the same Galaxy as us?

Let’s hear it for the Team, guys!

By Mike Cunningham On October 30th, 2014 at 9:12 pm

As many already know, I have zero interest, and less knowledge, in all forms of sports; considering them on a par with, as a lifelong interest, watching paint dry. The tribal chants of the fans, which title of course stems from the more literary translation of fanatics, at British football games, are echoed around American football arenas, vastly different of course to its British namesake. The similar chants and songs of Rugby aficionados echo whether in New Zealand or Wales. Whether the sport is athletics, or curling, ski-ing or horse-racing, the fan(atics) will surge to their chosen meeting, or game, or whatever; often at huge expense, to watch their heroes perform, or not; as the case may be. It does not really matter to the supporters that, in many if not most of the various sporting endeavours, the clubs are owned, and are indeed operated, as big, lucrative businesses, and those same supporters’ needs and wishes are usually subservient to the bottom line; which is that of profit.

The County Council which allegedly serves the City where  I live is a good example of how the cash is thrown around, with over Six Million-odd pounds thrown at the County Cricket Club just because they are really nice guys!

It is profit which determines how much cash is spent upon players, of whatever sport is being discussed, and the players, and their talent, are just another calculation in the rush to gain a better place in the league, or the competition, or indeed whatever. The players are meat on the hoof to the financiers, nothing more, and nothing less. They are paid, sometimes, obscene amounts of money, but if a ligament goes, or a bone fractures once too often, they can be, and usually are, discarded like yesterday’s newspapers. The players are charged by the coaches and managers to go beyond their physical and mental limits to achieve the slogans of ‘be the best’, and ‘we will win’, but a story which has just emerged gives a deeper, darker side to the old chants from the terraces.

The Basketball and Football teams at UNC-Chapel Hill has achieved great glory for that University, in a time span spread over literally nearly two decades, but the leading players, many of them talented African-American students, were given a virtual free ride through enrolment into an African-American Studies Department with zero oversight, accountability or interest in the academic well-being of its students. As long as they performed on the boards, as long as they ‘won’ for the team and the University, they got a virtual free ride, with lies marked up as study, and non-existent examinations given full credit.

However, one group did know plenty about the scheme and actively tried to protect and preserve it. Paid counselors in the school’s Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes (ASPSA) were tasked with doing whatever it took to keep Tar Heel athletes eligible, especially those in “revenue” sports like football and basketball. To that end, these counselors not only “steered” athletes to the AFAM department and did homework for them, but they regularly alerted Crowder and Nyang’oro about the grades that each student-athlete required in order to “remain academically or athletically eligible.”

But the worst part is when those gifted athletes left the University where they had been lied to for years, and probably a phoney degree which could not possibly stand against the truth that they had no decent education at all, what future could they look forward to, apart from a tale of how many times they had Won for the Team’

Sports and Sportsmen, don’t make me laugh!


Have all your dividend earnings been declared?

By Mike Cunningham On March 4th, 2012 at 9:27 am

“There is nothing illegal in the £11m remuneration to a director but many observers, and politicians, believe there should be legislation to stop such sums being paid.
‘This case underlines the lack of scrutiny of what matters in our national game, and the Sports Minister is right when he says change is overdue.

‘Supporters have a profound emotional investment in their clubs and it’s only right they should know where the money flows. While nobody expects all club owners are acting purely from the goodness of their hearts, this is a truly shocking.”

My attitude, being one who supports  or follows no sport whatsoever, is simple:- The Man took a dividend from a Company of which he is a director. Nothing more, nothing less! As long as he declares his earning in his Company and taxation accounts, he has got absolutely nothing to be either worried or ashamed about!

It is, after all, only a GAME.

A dim Red Rose man.

By Mike Cunningham On March 24th, 2011 at 10:39 am

I usually listen to the ‘Sports’ broadcast clips on the BBC Today programme with half-an-ear, as what they talk/discuss/interminably bore about is of no concern to me; but this morning was an exception. I found myself listening with rising rage and anger at the ‘I’m just an honest Yorkshireman’s’ tones of Geoffrey Boycott, as he was once again putting his expertise on show. The interviewer was reporting that Michael Yardy was returning home due to ‘depression’, and the bluff flat-toned comment from Boycott was that, ‘Well, I don’t know about depression, but if he can’t handle it, he shouldn’t be there in the first place’!

Well, folks, I do know just a little about the effects of mental illnesses, and I find the cricketing buffoon’s comments both insulting and deeply insensitive to the millions of people who have suffered, are suffering and will suffer from these crippling illnesses in the future!

Geoff Boycott has built himself something of a reputation for so-called ‘plain speaking’, and I for one would expect a plain and honest apology for the stupid and terminally silly remarks made about a sportsman who has been absolutely honest with himself, his team and the sporting public. If, that is, the ‘Bluff Yorkshireman’ can find it in himself to admit that he made a huge mistake in dismissing the actions of a man suffering from ‘depression’ in that cavalier manner!


Caption winner

By Mike Cunningham On March 21st, 2011 at 10:42 pm

When I posted the Photo, I promised a winner.

And that winner is Ross; for Getting his teammate’s girlfriend to disguise herself as Fabio Capello made their public meetings easier to hide.


ATW Caption Competition

By Mike Cunningham On March 20th, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Fabio gives captaincy back to Terry

ATW readers are invited to submit alternative captions for the Photograph.

All shades of opinion will be used in judging.

Usual rules apply. Obscenities will be discounted, unless both funny and relevant (judges rules apply at all times).

Closing time 21.00 hrs  Monday GMT.


Wanna’ buy a world cup ticket, cheap?

By ATWadmin On April 17th, 2010 at 9:43 pm

About three years back, I posted on the donation of the World Cup to South Africa by FIFA. At the time, many opined that South Africa would be ready in all respects, Well, I do believe them, except that the provisions are somewhat distant from the shiny bright vision shown to the inspecting committees.

Okay, the lights have been switched on at the Green Point stadium, and most of the other venues are nearing completion, but the tickets are not being bought by the tourists from Britain and Germany, the locals are buying them at cut-price. Apart from the Icelandic volcano, which is something new, the fans are staying away in droves because of the murders, the rapes, the violent robberies which are reported on a daily basis. They are staying away because they feel they will not be welcome in a land where the leader of the ANC Junior League holds the anthem ‘Kill the Boer’ as his theme tune. The same leader who has become a multi-millionaire despite having no business education whatsoever! They are staying away because they fear a repetition of the attack on the Togo team while they were in Angola. They see the photos of the streets in Durban and wonder if they will regret their visit to the ‘Rainbow Nation’. 


They may well be reassured with the knowledge that there are very good mortuary and morgue facilities in both Cape Town and Johannesburg.



By ATWadmin On February 26th, 2010 at 8:15 pm

AS I sit here watching Wales and France in Cardiff tonight, my thoughts turn to The Big One tomorrow. Aye, Ireland’s tenant farmer eggchasers pitch up to Rugby HQ tomorrow destined for a sound thrashing at the hands of England’s landowning rugger chaps.

I hear that Brian O’Driscoll has a bit of an injury and is struggling to make it. It would have to be a bit of a broken leg to keep him out, though I’ll be praying to the rugby Gods that a hamstring twang will do the trick. If England can remember the actual point of the game and stop kicking the damned ball straight to the opposition at every opportunity, home advantage will give them the edge.

If they revert to type (catch ball, react as if hair’s on fire, boot ball away), Ireland’s back three might have a field day.

England by five.


By ATWadmin On February 5th, 2010 at 8:21 pm

It’s time for one of the genuine highlights of the sporting calender because tomorrow, dear reader, the international egg-chasers take centre stage as the 6 Nations begins. Place your bets.

As always England will be the team to beat. Ehem, moving swiftly on …

Defending champions Ireland will be strong strong strong. Captain Brian O’Driscoll was long ago acknowledged one of the greats and he gets better each year. If his unbelievable physical commitment doesn’t see him crocked they can score from anywhere. With Gordon D’Arcy back to his best, the warrior John Hayes still pounding away at tighthead, Stephen Ferris at blindside, Tommy Bowe finishing as sharp as anyone and Rob Kearney at full back, Ireland might well retain their title. Tomorow Italy’s pack might inflict some pain but it’s trips to Twickenham and Paris that may undo them.

Wales have a top team and the hwyl will burn, but their front row has lost Martin Rees and inspirational prop Gethin Jenkins. That’s why they’ll lose to England at Twickenham tomorrow. France will be France – stuffed with talent but unpredictable. Toulouse and Stade Francais are flying however and their confidence can’t be as fragile as it often is when they pull on the blue shirts. The Jocks are the Jocks, they might cause an upset somewhere.

Prediction: France to win the championship, Ireland, Wales and England to fill the next three places in any order, then Scotland and Italy in fifth and sixth, but in truth I have no idea because this is a hugely unpredictable year.

‘Good Runner; needs attention!’

By ATWadmin On June 7th, 2009 at 8:02 am

Not being of a sporting inclination, I sometimes get the urge to consign all who do to a prolonged stay in a facility which might hammer some sense into their usually impermeable skulls!

In one respect, I can appreciate that running, for example, is a pastime worth pursuing, mainly because I still strive to keep fit by using a treadmill. Again, taking a wider look at this particular activity, I can understand why lots of people might want to run, but just cannot understand why they insist on pitting themselves against one another in races, or hill-climbs, or any other form of organised lunacy!

Again, and being as ever honest with my readers, I just do not see how the fact that one person can claim to be faster, or better than his fellow competitors makes him or her more worthy than those who come trailing in behind. I really just don’t get it! In the highest areas of this insanity, we are, as a nation, spending some ten billion pounds so that a horde of other extremely fit runners, jumpers etc. can come to our shores and conclusively prove that they are better at the named pursuits than we are, but that is just another item in the long catalogue of useless pursuits in the general area of Sport. 

I would give you a case from my previous life as a Contract Engineer, working on Water projects in Wales. I was speaking to a salesman who wanted to demonstrate his product at our offices, and I just couldn’t get through with my news that I really wasn’t interested. As a final clinching argument, as he thought, he mentioned that his other claim to fame was that he was the brother-in-law of a certain person. As I honestly didn’t know this particular name from Adam, I said so on the phone; and I was once again aware of the great gulf between myself and every other Welshman in the office, because this particular individual’s name was up there amongst the Rugby greats, or so I was informed by a horrified mate! “Don’t you know who he is?”  

It can be argued that some make a great deal of money from their activities, and that is true, but when you correlate the actual numbers of say, golfers who would like to play like Tiger Woods with the numbers of actual Tigers, you will see that my point is proven. The fact that golf is just a long walk spoilt by sand is beside the point; the huge amounts of money, time and effort allotted by the hordes in emulation of one lone man is again, I would argue, signs of mass lunacy!

So whether you agree or disagree with my general thesis, would you not at least agree that this particular bunch should have checked the internet weather pages, called their relatives to see the latest forecasts or even looked at the sky before starting out on a massed suicide attempt; or should have thought again, and gone home to a warm home, a cup of tea and a biscuit; instead of turning out the R.A.F. helicopters and all the other Rescue paraphernalia?