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The Captain: New Year, new cheer!
As the crescendo of noise slowly dissipates and the dying embers of 2012 cease to be, we can all reflect on what has been a year of unrivalled sporting triumph for Great Britain.
Whatever your sporting tipple there’s no denying you will have been treated to some truly champagne moments of the finest vintage.
The summer Olympics encapsulated the spirit of Britain and gave us all a brief period of respite from the utterly soul-destroying economic downturn that we've all been engulfed in.
Whether or not 9 billion quid is really worth a few international pat-on-the-backs for being able to row or cycle well is neither here nor there, but getting one over our geographically superior friends and allies is a welcome shot in the arm.
We've even embraced women’s boxing, which didn't exactly boast much in the way of fans before the summer games, but the winning smile and deadly fists of gold medallist Nicola Adams certainly warmed the hearts of a nation.
And any chauvinistic or patronising attitudes towards the women's GBR football team were quickly dispelled when it became abundantly clear the side have not only talented footballers, but also individuals who play the game in its truest spirit: without the need to dive, feign injury or behave like petulant schoolchildren.
Stuart Pearce, himself a full-blooded footballer of the highest merit, oversaw a weak and predictably tepid performance in the tournament from the men’s team.
The fact that Ryan Giggs, a veritable pensioner in footballing terms, in the twilight of his career, took all the plaudits and accolades, spoke more about quality of players Pearce had to choose from than anything else.
With Eire and England at the Euros, and Scotland and Northern Ireland deciding they actually enjoyed watching every other nation play footy on the box as opposed to getting involved themselves, it left a pretty threadbare squad of players on display. Still, it did represent the first British team of footballers at the Olympics in 38 years so it wasn't all bad.
But whilst we all busy ourselves with hopelessly optimistic New Year’s resolutions and reflect on what has been a year of success and glory, what of the rest of the sporting world beyond the fanfare of the Olympics and Paralympics?
Well, I would like to give special mention to all the Wolves and Blackburn Rovers fans that abused their respective teams into relegation.
Both sets of supporters must surely be some of the worst fans in world football.
For Wolves (who will always struggle in the Premier League without significant investment, and should consider any act of escapology to be nothing short of a miracle) their fate was sealed as soon as the fans decided to start hurling abuse at their own manager.
Last season the image of Mick McCarthy standing alone on the touchline with an entire stand of bronze-clad Neanderthals baying for his blood came to symbolise the perils that lie in store for small teams whose fans suddenly have a sharp rise in expectations.
His sacking was a sad episode in a season defined by knee-jerk reactions and boardroom mis-management on a catastrophic scale. Cleary overwhelmed by the attitude of the minority of fans, messrs Moxey and Morgan took the easy way out by getting rid of the Yorkshireman.
Their master plan? To employ Terry Connor, a man who had never even considered club management before, and who looked so out of his depth you did wonder whether his presence in the dugout was the result of an obscure bet he’d won with the majority shareholder. Their subsequent relegation was probably the one thing the Mayans could actually predict accurately.
But all’s well that ends well; McCarthy’s reputation is back on the up at Portman Road in front the welcoming and appreciative supporters of Ipswich Town.
Wolves’ future is less certain, and with Stole Solbakken in charge - a man who was bizarrely employed after being hounded out of previous club Cologne - they can now look forward to the delights of Stadium MK and Deepdale on a dreary Tuesday night in League One.
Not wanting to be out-done on the stakes of ‘most farcical club in world football’ Blackburn Rovers fans can give themselves a huge pat on the back for being the collective force that drove a stable Premier League club into the dangerous waters of the Championship.
Unsure of who they hated more, Steve Kean or his employers the Venkys, Rovers fans waged a hate campaign that lasted the length of Kean’s entire tenure, until they finally got exactly what they wanted: relegation from the Premier League and a place at the foot of the Championship.
Their protest outside the Blackburn v Arsenal game last season is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen.
The game marked the only time last season that Blackburn actually looked like a club able to stave off relegation. And, the reaction to such a performance? Widespread condemnation from the home supporters, to the extent that they actually marched outside the ground to protest about the club’s management.
It was probably the first time a team of Blackburn’s stature beat a title contender in a 7 goal thriller to the chorus of, “you don’t know what you’re doing” from the stands.
Well bravo Blackburn fans, like Wolves you’re now faced with the prospect of watching your games’ highlights forever more in the early hours of Sunday morning with Steve Claridge jabbering about the promise of Barnsley or Yeovil on a cold October weekend.
But that was then. And with 2012 now a distant memory, may 2013 provide you with all the sporting sustenance you need to get through another year.
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