Cheating doesn’t end with the ‘Tour de Farce’

I always thought that athletics was the most drug ridden sport in the world but this week I had the chance to see some of the farcical Tour de France.

Cycling is a sport that commands endurance, speed – and apparently steroids.

However, while I was heaping scorn upon cyclists, especially Michael Rasmussen who was too cowardly to even take a drugs test, I began to think of examples of the dark arts at work in other sports.

In athletics Ben Johnson, Jason Gatlin and any Eastern Bloc women of the 1980s were doped up to the eyeballs.

Cricket, just wasn’t cricket, when Hanse Cronje was found guilty of match fixing and Michael Atherton caught ball tampering.

Horse racing is supposedly the ‘sport of kings’ but betting scandals are rife.

Formula One had Michael Schumacher the flawed genius with a penchant for rule bending and now it has wayward designers who deal in espionage.

Even the beautiful game is rotten to the core with diving, match fixing and bungs.

The beauty of sport is the thrill of competition but no-one likes an uneven contest especially if one party has cheated to gain that advantage.

What it comes down to is who has the guts to tackle the cheats?

Who will stand up to those that are ruining world sport?

Only the cycling authorities have the intestinal fortitude to tackle its demons and that puts it in a league of its own.

As funny as it seems other sports could learn from cycling – they should certainly sit up and take note.


Overpriced and overcrowded: Why I hate the railways

Not being able to drive has put me in the awkward position of having to use public transport. I don’t mind the bus and I’m sure I could handle the tram but I absolutely despise the train.

Every week I pay £86 for the privelege to wait in the rain and turn up for work late. To get in on time I have to fold myself up and squeeze into spaces that would cause a contortionist problems.

Putting it at its simplest, trains in the UK are scandalously overpriced and dangerously overcrowded. And they’re never on time.

Ruth Kelly has said the government are willing to pledge millions to improve the service by 2030. 2030? It’s a damning indictment of the state of the railways if it will take more than twenty years to fix.

A good start would be to make trains cheaper. Maybe the franchises should be charged less or the government should subsidise it, either way it should cost less for the current state it is in.

Somehow they need to adress the problem of overcrowding. On the tube, where there is no standard of human conduct, people faint becasue they are packed in so tight.

There are no easy answers, all I know is that the service needs immediate improvement.

Maybe we, the rail passengers, should start a union. Lets make placards, chant catchy slogans and refuse to pay our fares.

Or maybe I’ll just call the BSM.

I thought you had heart Jamie

Admittedly it’s not the the most topical football story but I am still in shock over Jamie Carragher’s decision to quit international football.

Personally, I think that Carragher is a good player, not great but good. Like many England internationals he is overrated but that is not really the point – my problem with Carragher is that he won’t play for his country because he is not a first team regular.

International football is supposed to be the pinnacle of a professional footballers career. Although the Champions League is probably of a higher standard, representing your country is supposed to be the gold standard.

So, Mr Carragher, upset that he is not better than John Terry, Rio Ferdinand or even a fully-fit Jonathon Woodgate has thrown his toys out of the pram and just quit.

Liverpool fans say that he has heart and passion – obviously they are wrong.

No apocalypse at the Emirates

After two years of will he, won’t he Thierry Henry has finally left Arsenal. It is obviously disappointing for any Arsenal fan and any English football aficionado but it is not the end of the road for the Gunners.

I’ve lost count of the smug Liverpool, Man Utd and Tottenham fans who are predicting the end of days at the Emirates but are mistaken. There is only one irreplacable man at Arsenal – Arsene Wenger.

Although a big club, in many ways Arsenal are a selling club. Since Wenger has been there he has had to sell off many players who simply wanted to move on to pastures new.

Think of the player he has had to sell – Marc Overmars, Emmanuel Petit, Nicolas Anelka and Patrick Viera and the club has not only bounced back but also found suitable replacements for each of those players among them Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas.

The magical thing about Arsene Wenger is that he always has less money to spend than the other big three but Arsenal always compete. Most of the players brought to the club were unknown or out of favour and then reinvented by Wenger.

Arsenal have a young squad now of relatively unknown but highly talented and very promising yougsters – and as long as Arsene remains at the helm anything is possible.