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arwebb

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Everything posted by arwebb

  1. The problem with that comparison is that I currently fear we will never finish the race.
  2. Alexander Stadium is intended to have a temporary 40,000 capacity for the Commonwealth Games next year, with permanent capacity of 18,000 (compared to around 12,000 pre-Games) afterwards. That would make it the biggest dedicated athletics stadium in Britain and, given that a lower stadium capacity doesn't seem to have done Brisbane any harm, it offers a good base from which one could potentially work going forward. I don't think anyone is talking about Manchester United leaving Old Trafford, although I remember talking to one United fan at a game some years ago who said he felt they should have done so a long time ago. The issue, as people like Gary Neville have suggested, is whether or not the stadium now offers the kind of spectator experience that it should do for a club of United's stature. I've visited many of the top clubs' grounds in England and I won't be rushing back to Old Trafford any time soon.
  3. Still no firm news nearly a week on but, reading between the lines, I'd say this looks like a step towards postponing until next year. Rugby League World Cup: Organisers admit 'significant challenges threaten' event Not sure how many of our Australia and New Zealand-based members follow rugby league, but I'm interested in their take on the withdrawal in particular. I know players' groups aren't happy and there have been calls for the tournament to go ahead regardless. But, having bought tickets for games involving Australia and New Zealand, as well as England, I can't see myself going if those teams aren't there.
  4. I don't think it's ever been seen as a realistic possibility and it seems unlikely now, mainly for political reasons. It seems highly likely that there will be a clash between the Scottish and UK administrations over the next few years on the question of independence and, in that context, I can't see them working together as they would have to do to support an Olympic bid financially and politically. If the political will was there, though, Scotland would start from a pretty strong base as many venues are already in place from Glasgow 2014. Anyone fancy Olympic golf at St Andrews?
  5. If London wants to bid again, it should do so alone in my mind. With the 2012 facilities in place, it would make no sense to take other events around the country for the sake of it. If you want other parts of the country to bid, then you've got to let them come up with their own solutions.
  6. It's just about 2.45 Tuesday morning as I write this. I arrived home just over three hours ago from a few days away. I haven't yet been to bed and am on the sofa watching the swimming. Think I've got my Olympic enthusiasm back.
  7. This is the really thorny issue for any Manchester or northern England proposal to get to grips with if a bid has a chance of coming off. With the experiences that West Ham have had playing in London's Olympic Stadium, I can well imagine fans of both Manchester City and Manchester United not being enthusiastic about the potential for a running track in the Etihad or Old Trafford for the long term. Yet, what might appear to be the most practical solution, sticking a load of temporary seating on the current athletics stadium (essentially the warm-up track from the 2002 Commonwealth Games) doesn't really do the job either. What might, and I stress the word 'might', provide a solution is the rivalry between those two clubs. In the last year or so, there have been noises in the media about the condition of Old Trafford compared to other Premier League venues, while I believe City still have aspirations to raise capacity at the Etihad to above 60,000. So I think it is conceivable, bearing in mind we're looking at an event 15 years in the future at the earliest, that one or other of the clubs could be encouraged to get involved in that way.
  8. One technical observation from these links. If I read the link correctly, it appeared to suggest the Gabba's (main stadium for anyone who isn't into cricket) capacity during the Games will be 50,000. That seems historically low for an Olympic Stadium. I know there's much greater emphasis (rightly) on utilising existing venues at the moment and I can well imagine the 2012 election would have been very different if similar priorities had been in place then. But, even allowing for that, it still seemed slightly conservative, particularly given the big stadium development in Perth recently, unless there's something I'm missing.
  9. I'm not sure how many seats are taken out of use when a replay screen is installed for the Super League Grand Final but, having attended that fixture many times over the years, it is by no means the most comfortable of venues. If it wasn't for the fact that there's already the track on the Etihad Campus, it would be a no-brainer.
  10. I travel to Manchester fairly regularly and I prefer to use the trains whenever I can so that I can use the travel time for work or reading. Doing that from where I live means passing through either Leeds or Sheffield and boarding two or three coach trains which are often so full people are standing or (like the one I was on yesterday) don't even have Wifi so you can't work anyway. It's a long-standing problem and, unfortunately, the latest indications are that it's likely to get worse in the near future. A Manchester-Liverpool bid is more feasible in that respect but even then, from what I know of the rail links between the two cities, significant improvement would still be needed. Road-wise, the M62 is fine is a major road link between Leeds and Manchester, before going on to Liverpool. But there is no direct motorway link between Sheffield and Manchester and no real prospect of building one, given that it would rip through the Peak District National Park. The drive between the two cities is glorious for its scenery, but is not one to be taken at speed. As I said earlier, I think the West Midlands is probably better placed than Manchester if we're looking for a non-London British bid. Other than that, I could see a Glasgow-Edinburgh proposal being fairly well formed.
  11. Any trans-Pennine proposal would need massive transport upgrades to have a chance of getting off the ground. A Manchester-Liverpool type bid feels more realistic to me, though that would also have the main stadium issue to resolve. Potentially, given next year, Birmingham would be much better placed.
  12. I haven't followed the 2032 process very closely, so I was surprised when I saw a notification on my phone yesterday that Brisbane had been chosen. The one immediate positive that comes to my mind is that it should at least offer up some more pleasant memories of the Gabba than what we Brits are used to.
  13. Disappointing, but wholly unsurprising news coming out this morning that Australia and New Zealand have withdrawn from the tournament this autumn and called for it to be postponed until next year. There had been rumours in the last few weeks that the event was going to be delayed until 2022. BBC Sport - Rugby League World Cup: Australia and New Zealand pull out of tournament It's now a huge call for the organisers. Go ahead regardless or wait to have all the best teams playing?
  14. We're just a few days out from the start of the delayed Tokyo Olympics. And yet, despite so many fond Olympic memories dating back to the Games of Barcelona nearly 30 years ago, I find myself really lacking enthusiasm for what should be the greatest sporting show on Earth. When I think back nine years, to when this country was gearing up for the Games, I remember the collective excitement and anticipation of what was to come. People who weren't normally interested in sport were glued to their TVs and those of us who were fortunate enough to see some of the events in person knew were were having the experience of a lifetime. Contrast that to now. These Games are set to take place in largely empty arenas with a sterile, flat atmosphere. According to a poll I saw yesterday, two thirds of British people surveyed don't believe the Games should be happening and that proportion is a lot bigger in the host nation itself. During the pandemic, sport has been a vital means of escape for many people, myself included. But, given coronavirus is still with us, and the associated challenges we all face, I am genuinely torn about whether holding the Games now is the right thing to do or not. So how are you feeling?
  15. The fact there has only been one Commonwealth Games outside the UK and Australia so far this century really emphasises that point. But, having experienced the Glasgow games first hand as I did, I never had the impression that they were too big for the event or for the city. I can't really speak about the Gold Coast as my memory of those Games is pretty sketchy. But it seems to me that what is needed is, perhaps, a model following the kind of logic that the Rugby World Cup seems to have, where it's understood that going to a heartland nation like, say, New Zealand, comes with a financial hit which can be made up for by going to a more lucrative market the time after that. If that means reducing venue requirements and the like to encourage more than just the UK and Australia, then so be it.
  16. With no need to build new venues, I don't see why London would turn down the chance to host an event like the Commonwealth Games if it was offered as the emergency host of last resort, as I think we're envisaging may be necessary. In theory, at least, it should be an economic win on the grounds of promoting visitor spending without high pre-event constructions costs and a potential political win if the pre-pandemic idea of bidding to host the Olympics again around 2036 actually had any substance to it. My concern, though, is that going to a city like London in an emergency will not solve the core problem. The Commonwealth Games are not on the same scale as the Olympics and never will be. The CGF has to understand that and reform its hosting criteria so that it can go more easily to cities, and indeed regions, for whom it would be like an Olympics. The challenge is simple - adapt or die.
  17. I didn't say it should have been a penalty. I said it looked more like a penalty than the one we were given. They're both the type that you're screaming for if it's for you, but absolutely furious if they're given against you. I wouldn't have put either of them in the 'should' category. Not that it matters now, of course, because the best team in the tournament won it in the end.
  18. Personally, I thought the one in normal time was more of a penalty. But, rather like umpire's call in cricket, there didn't look to be anything that could clearly overturn the on-field decision for the one in extra time. In many ways, Wednesday night was horrible. Having seen England lose the three major semi-finals they have contested in my lifetime, I was not at all confident, particularly considering Denmark beat us at Wembley last year and the momentum they clearly had after such a terrible start to the tournament. On the balance of the play, England probably did deserve to win the game. But we've felt like that in major championships many times before when it hasn't gone our way, so I wasn't prepared to take anything for granted. I hope we win tomorrow, though I don't expect us to. For me, Italy have been the best team in this tournament on the field. But, in many ways, we've already won. This squad has achieved something that you have to be at least 60 years old to remember when it last happened - getting England to a major final. And in doing that, they have shown that better is possible, not just in football, but in life. At a time when my country is being governed by such a despicable bunch of political pipsqueaks, this squad, and their manager, represent everything that I want this country to be.
  19. I expect to be significantly more nervous on Wednesday night than I was for long periods this evening.
  20. I'm not sure the IOC necessarily needs to announce a postponement today. But with the dripfeed of sports bodies calling for a postponement and nations, including Britain, now indicating an unwillingness to send teams to Tokyo in July, there is a risk that the IOC will be perceived as being forced into an action that it could and should have been prepared for earlier. Either way, I would be amazed if there isn't a postponement announcement at some stage this week.
  21. If this is true, a postponement is surely looking increasingly inevitable. World Athletics call on IOC to postpone Tokyo 2020 because of coronavirus crisis
  22. I saw those quotes this afternoon. While I understand Bach's reluctance to contemplate cancelling the Games, I'm afraid that notions of fairness have gone out of the window right now. My family had been due to go to the Isle of Man in June for the annual TT motorcycle racing event. As well as being something that is a huge passion of my mother, it would have been an emotional journey for all of us as we were taking her there for the first time since we lost my father last year. Sadly, those plans have been scrapped after the TT was cancelled by the Isle of Man's government on Monday. But, as much as it's a bitter disappointment to us, we understand the reasons behind it and we are thankful that the authorities on the island took a clear decision early so we know what we're doing. The IOC's public stance is not just illogical in my view. It is irresponsible and the sooner they recognise that, the better.
  23. While I agree it's probably not the greatest concern at the moment, I don't see how a whole new qualification process could take place. The only precedent for a scenario like this is the Ryder Cup in golf which was postponed for a year in the wake of 9/11 with the original teams playing on the new dates.
  24. Exactly. It is surely only a matter of time before the IOC and the Japanese authorities bow to what appears to be the inevitable. We now have athletes saying it is "impossible" for them to prepare properly for the Games. I simply cannot see an alternative to delay.
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