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arwebb

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arwebb last won the day on January 6

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About arwebb

  • Birthday 10/10/1982

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  1. All of which is part of the absurdity of the reported FIFA letter the other day telling participating nations to keep away from politics during the toilet. Erm, memo to Mr Infantino - your organisation dragged politics into this World Cup with its bizarre host nation decision 12 years ago so don't think anyone will listen to your whining now. In many ways it's amazing to think we're only two weeks out from the start of this tournament because, here in England at least, nobody seems to be bothered about it at the moment. There is no excitement, no sense of anticipation or anything like what you'd normally see for a major tournament. I sense from the protests I saw at Bundesliga games yesterday that we are not alone in being lukewarm at best about it all.
  2. I think Glasgow was perceived to be the favourite by many people and, in practical terms, it probably would have been a better bet than Liverpool in respect of transport links to another major city. Given hotel rooms are going to be both at a premium and ridiculously expensive in Liverpool next May, I can imagine many looking to stay in Manchester, for example, just as I stayed in Edinburgh during the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. The train links between Edinburgh and Glasgow, in my experience, are far, far better than those between Manchester and Liverpool. That said, I also attended a conference held next door to the arena in Liverpool a few weeks ago and I've no doubt that complex will do the job and do it well.
  3. Very much so and I'm sure I read somewhere that Her Majesty herself found that the most moving arrangement of the National Anthem. Quite what she would make of the way in which mourning her passing seems to have descended into nonsense in the last few days is anyone's guess. I can't imagine she'd have wanted Guinea Pig Awareness Week rescheduled, for example.
  4. The picture of Queen Elizabeth II appointing the 15th British Prime Minister of her reign just two days before her death sums up perfectly just what a profound and seismic period this is for our country. Whether you approve of the institution of monarchy or not, it is simply impossible to imagine that her record will ever be equalled, let alone surpassed. For just over 11 of the 70 years of her reign, I lived and worked just a few miles from the Sandringham estate in Norfolk and it was this that took me to nearby Wolferton a few weeks before the initial Covid lockdown, when Her Majesty opened a new pumping station that replaced the one which her father had opened as King in 1948. The connection that part of the world has to the Royal Family is particularly strong and those of us who worked there in the media never shared the excitement of colleagues in other parts of the country about a royal visit because of the depth of that connection. Perhaps it was for that reason that, as I heard the news of her passing while checking into a hotel in Liverpool where I've been attending a conference over the past couple of days and as I watched God Save The King sung before the start of play in the Test match at the Oval this morning, I felt much more emotional than I had expected to. We always knew the day would eventually come but, given you'd have to be nearing 80 years old to be able to remember any other head of state in this country, one cannot overstate its significance.
  5. It seems to me that, while legacy is often talked about in quite an abstract way, the most obvious way of securing legacy from an event like the Commonwealth Games is that more events follow it and the facilities that were built for the original event are used and used well. Pre-Covid, your observation about Christchurch would certainly have been applicable to Glasgow and it has the potential to apply to Birmingham too if they play it right. The desire to top what's gone before is understandable, but it's not always the right path to take and I think this is one of those moments.
  6. Because of other commitments, I haven't been as in tune with these Commonwealth Games as I was with the wonderful spectacle that I enjoyed in Glasgow eight years ago. Yet, from everything I have seen of them, my sense is that Birmingham, for the most part, has delivered more than the CGF could ever have hoped to believe that it would when it stepped into the breach created by Durban's exit. There are always issues and problems, of course. The rail strikes won't have helped and questions should, rightly, be asked about why a league football match at Coventry (the venue of the rugby sevens) had to be postponed at short notice yesterday because of an apparently unsafe pitch. But the issues that matter now are what happens next for Birmingham and the wider region. Unlike the West Midlands Mayor, at least based on the comments he made on the BBC News tonight, I don't see the past 11 days as the starting point for a future Olympic bid from Birmingham (at least not yet). But it could herald a long chapter of legacy events if the right level of event is targeted. Something like the 2026 European Athletics Championships, for which a bid is already in place, seems like a very good step beyond these games to me.
  7. Liz Truss' campaign have apparently said she will explore a bid if she wins the Conservative leadership election. Given her party's general record, I'll believe it when I see it.
  8. I think you're right to highlight the issues of aspiration and message, but it seems to me that they are entwined with the broader question of the 2012 record and any city that is considering a fresh bid when its previous hosting is within the memory of a large proportion of the population would have a similar issue. I get the sense, from the admittedly little I've read, that Vancouver is experiencing a similar issue in respect of whether or not to go for 2030 and I suspect it may well have been a factor in Calgary not going for 2026 too. Hampden was only ever intended to be a temporary athletics venue for the 2014 Commonwealths. I have a feeling the track was relaid nearby but I'm not certain of that. I'd agree that a London bid still seems more realistic than any other British option and that could well remain the case even if UK Athletics does move away from the 2012 stadium.
  9. This is probably worth a separate thread but I think it does hint at issues any new London bid would have to overcome if it is to be considered a serious one. BBC Sport - London 2012: Ten years on, what lessons can we learn from London’s legacy? It seems ridiculous to think that 10 years ago today, I was at Hampden Park, Glasgow watching the early stages of the football tournament on the eve of the opening ceremony. It was a magical period to be British, a period that is perhaps more painful to reflect on now given subsequent events. But, if there is to be a new London bid in the near future, then people will rightly scrutinise the record of the 2012 Games and the answer to the question of whether it delivered what was promised will be crucial.
  10. So, now the inevitable is seemingly confirmed and UK cities clamber to the start line of the race to host the 2023 contest, any preferences for where it should be?
  11. It wouldn't be a travesty if it does end up happening. It would be a grade A national scandal, an obscenity. I have nothing against West Ham but if they want to do as they wish with the stadium, they should refund every last penny of public money that has gone into it. If they won't do that, no deal. Simple as that.
  12. They do have a host, but unfortunately it's one that is facing circumstances that I'm pretty certain are unprecedented in the history of the event. Therefore, my view is that it would be better for the EBU to go ahead and prepare to have the contest in Ukraine as tradition requires, but with a back-up plan in the UK or somewhere else ready to go in case that can't happen. Would it really take all that much to have somewhere like the O2 in London or something like that provisionally booked? Or is the nub that the EBU can't afford to go down that road?
  13. I can't help feeling the EBU has acted a little prematurely here and the response of the Ukrainian broadcasters, and their previous winners, is quite understandable. Surely it would have been better to prepare for the contest as usual in the winning country but with a contingency plan ready to go if that proves not to be feasible. The sight of various political leaders and institutions tripping over themselves to offer up venues in their particular cities was also slightly distasteful in my mind. That said, if the event can't be held in Ukraine, there is only one venue in the UK which should and that is the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, with the roof closed and 70,000 or so packed in.
  14. I can only think of two new stadia that would be likely to come into the mix at this point - the redeveloped Casement Park in Belfast and the proposed new stadium for Aberdeen, though I have seen reports in the last couple of days suggesting Manchester United are considering a number of options for Old Trafford including a full rebuild. I guess the old plan for expanding Home Park in Plymouth could also come into play. Certainly I would want Belfast and Aberdeen included.
  15. I think it's a fairly natural assumption to see the UK and Ireland bid as favourites right now. It seems reasonable not to take the Russian application seriously at the moment for the reasons that we're, sadly, all too familiar. But I certainly would not dismiss the Turkish application. After going to such a core nation as Germany for 2024, I can well imagine the idea of going to a new frontier for the tournament being a strong emotional pull when it comes to the crunch. Now, I liked the idea of a broader UK and Ireland bid in the context of the 2030 World Cup and I think it can work for Euro 2028 too, as long as the tournament expands to 32 teams as currently seems likely. My only concern is that it ends up being some kind of England-plus bid, rather than being a bid that is genuinely accessible to people right across these islands.
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