A guest post by John Bradley
Like the title and homepage suggests, the primary function of my site is to create debate and discussions about what interests me. And although I’m relatively new to this website malarkey, I wondered if you guys needed something new. So I’ve decided to mix things up a little and invite occasional guest bloggers to my site, with the hope of enhancing the standard of versatility of opinion coming your way. Let me know if there are some specific people who you’d like me to get for you.
This weeks’ guest blog is from John Bradley, football commentator for ESPN and LFCTV. Follow his encyclopaedic knowledge and message him here @JBcommentator
Football, Olympians and celebrity
I remember the day London was awarded the 2012 Olympics, I saw the joy and jubilation in the capital of the country and it was a memorable sight.
Then, I wondered what the effect would be on the rest of the country. Many Northern people, as I am, felt a little disassociated from it – as they do with many of the events based down there.
I’ve spent a few days in London in the past week and seen how the capital has embraced it, I’ve spoken to people who have travelled from far and wide to be part of the Olympic experience and I’ve seen children inspired by what they’ve seen.
Apart from the football that is.
I love football, it’s been the staple diet of my life since childhood, be it playing or talking about the game. I’m afraid to say though that the Olympic football tournament has left a sour taste in my mouth.
Ignorance towards Olympic football
What concerned me most though was the booing of ‘Team GB’s’ Craig Bellamy at Old Trafford for their opening game.
This is a man who will always divide opinion….and talking opinions….Craig has never been short of them. What the supporters failed to comprehend was that they were actually jeering and booing their own player. They were there to support a British team taking part in the Olympics for the first time since 1960, but couldn’t put petty club rivalries aside to see through much of that ignorance.
Of course, Bellamy had the last laugh by opening the scoring for Great Britain in that game with Senegal and saw the jeers turn to cheers in one of the greatest shows of hypocrisy witnessed in a UK sporting venue.
It was the sort of behaviour that shows why football shouldn’t be an Olympic sport, or perhaps shouldn’t have been an Olympic sport in this country and left me feeling rather downhearted.
That mood changed when I was fortunate enough to witness Bradley Wiggins win gold in the cycling time trial at Hampton Court, although that itself left me a little mentally anguished.
My problem with attending was that I’d watched family and friends apply for Olympic tickets unsuccessfully. I saw my 11 year old nephew devastated he couldn’t attend the cycling he has loved since birth, and here’s me – a person who hadn’t applied for a ticket sat around the people who had worked so hard to get them.
I wouldn’t have swapped that ticket for anything in the world, but it did leave me with a sense of guilt.
I despise celebrity; I despise the way that all these freeloaders have their jolly boy outings to the events where Britain is expected to go well. Seeing David Cameron wearing a ‘Team GB’ tracksuit emphasises how politicians and celebrities will do anything to get themselves on the front of a tabloid newspaper.
Amazing Olympians over shoddy celebrity
The feats of these Olympians has astounded me, the hard work they put in with little financial reward, all for that coveted gold medal and their name in lights for a few days. Many will be able to nip down the chippy for their tea next week without being recognised, and that is wrong.
Instead of filling our screens with Big Brother, Towie, Desperate Scousewives and Geordie Shore that purports to be entertainment we should learn more about these wonderful Olympians, about the hard work and sacrifice they make to be the very best they can in their respective field. I don’t begrudge them making a few quid either by selling products on TV – although, I do cringe every time I see Mark Cavendish (a man I who I like immensely for his talent, dedication and sheer bloody-mindedness) doing his lovely head and shoulders combover.
They are the people in this country who deserve our maximum respect; the people who don’t are the ones who are blatantly trying to ride their shirt tails for a few votes or a piece of personal glory. Unfortunately for us all, that is the world in which we now live.
Roll on the new season
As for football; well, football fans can now revert to normal, there is no Team GB anymore and it’s time to go back to sitting in the stands through hot and cold weather, celebrating success or clinging to any little crumb of comfort.
I wouldn’t miss it for the world.