As usual at this time of year, critics and fans are falling over each other to write off Man United’s chances of winning anything this season. In fact it’s impossible not to discuss the matter with anyone without the words ‘You’re just not the same team without Ronaldo‘ waltzing into the conversation.

Well no, we’re not. And I for one am more than happy about that. We now have 11 players contributing to team performance. We have Wayne Rooney, a big game player recently reborn and with something to prove. We have wingers and wingbacks now that we’ve dropped the drab 4-3-3 formation that was stifling our game. Admittedly the jury is still out on Nani and Valencia, but we’ve already seen flashes of what they’re capable of, and not just as extras in the video for ‘Thriller’. (more…)

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CricketSo we’ve regained the Ashes and that’s all well and good, but do we have the intangible ‘aura’ that Strauss claims the Aussies have lost? And have they actually lost it? I’m not so sure.

Have a look at the two sides and, well, there really is no comparison. Take the swarthy, gum-chewing Brad Haddin for example, caked in sunscreen and constantly chirping away at our hapless batsmen. Compare him to his opposite number, Matt Prior, a man apparently ageing Benjamin Button-style, who looks about as intimidating as, err…Graham Swann. They have Mike Hussey, we have Paul Collingwood; they have Peter Siddle, we have Stewart Broad. You get where I’m going with this.

And then there’s Ricky Ponting, a man who looks like I would imagine a convict looking like if I’d never seen a convict before, which, come to think of it, I haven’t. He has a cool weather-beaten cap and a permanent 5 o’clock shadow. In other words, he looks like a bad boy. Compare him with our leader and figurehead Strauss, with his high-pitched voice and gaylord wedding ring necklace. Who looks more like winning a game of cricket?

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As a rugby union fan and noted Harlequins supporter Jet frequently feels shame. Usually when someone asks me what football team I support and I reluctantly have to confess that I’m more of a Quins man. A lot of people don’t realise that Harlequins is a club so awesome that Bob Dylan wrote a song about us. Which I can quote you directly: “come all without, come all within, you’ll not see nothing like the Mighty Quin(n)”s.

Quins are so awesome in fact that we got to the quarter finals of the European Cup last year. And only lost by a point. Which is pretty hard to believe when you realise that Dean Richards, our coach, is a criminal mastermind so genius that he thought of a wheeze too blatant for anybody ever to suspect. (more…)

So in about 10 minutes we find out whether England get the 2015 Rugby World Cup. I spent the morning refreshing the BBC Sport website until I discovered the live ticker at the IRB’s website. I’m already sucking up to anyone who might have access to premium tickets in 6 years. We probably won’t be sticking it to the Saffers any time soon, so winning the bid will just have to do. [Update – AWESOME]


In other news, Michael Vick is back. Once the highest-paid player in the NFL, Vick decided that money wasn’t enough and went on to mastermind an interstate dog-fighting ring (more…)

Meanwhile there have been worrying developments in the Premier League close season.

The fragile truce between Manchester United and Chelsea enshrined in the 2005 “Mikel Accords”, whereby Chelsea were limited to an equivalent of 3 Ballacks to every 5 of United Rooneys, looks to have crumbled, leading to a headlong arms race.

Like a demented Wilkinson Sword and Gillette adding more and more pointless extra blades, Chelsea and United have been acquiring offensive weapons with reckless abandon. Word has reached this reporter that United plan to play 10 strikers next term, with Christiano Ronaldo as a rush goalie. (more…)