The nation has a new hero in the shape of Mo Farah who, after capturing our hearts with his impressive performances at London2012, winning 2 gold medals in the 10,000m and 5,000m, has now become a father to two adorable twin girls called Aisha and Amani.
Mo is the UK’s finest ever distance runner – a far cry from his humble beginnings in Somalia, arriving in London from Mogadishu at the age of 8 and speaking very little English. He trained at St. Mary’s University College in Strawberry Hill, a place which played a huge part in my formative teenage years(!) but now lives in Portland, Oregon.
In the early days his passion was for football and his ambition was to play as a right winger for Arsenal – perhaps Arsene Wenger should consider adding him now to his decimated squad for this season – it would be quite something to see him doing “the Mobot” as a goal celebration at the Emirates!
Mo’s build up to Olympic glory started on 14 July 2012 when he was the first ever contestant (celebrity or otherwise) on ITV’s The Cube to win the top prize for his Foundation. Mo managed to not only reach the final game but also had seven lives left (he had lost two lives in his first game.) He won £250,000 only losing one more life in the final game.
During the games Farah said he wanted to win one gold for each unborn twin, adding: ‘If I only had one, the other would feel left out.’ and he has now vowed to engrave one of the twins’ names on each medal.
So, for the second time in weeks he has scored a glorious double and his trademark grin shows just what both these events mean to him.
Huge congratulations Mo – we salute you and wish you and your family all the best!
So that’s it – the end of another tournament and Spain are the worthy winners, beating Italy 4-0 to enter the record books as the only team to win 3 consecutive major international competitions, Euro2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro2012 – quite an achievement for a team often described throughout this competition as “boring”.
Well they were far from boring tonight. If you watched the game you’ll know that this was a game totally dominated by Spain from the start and their passing game meant Italy had very little chance of doing anything on the rare occasions when Spain allowed them to take possession of the ball.
Leading through first-half goals from David Silva and Jordi Alba, Spain’s victory was sealed when final substitute Thiago Motta was stretchered off, leaving the Azzurri to play the final half hour with 10 men. And just to rub it in, Chelsea duo Fernando Torres and Juan Mata scored in the final minutes to complete a sensational victory.
“It feels really, really amazing. It’s one of the best days of my life. “I don’t think we realise what we’ve done. But in time we’ll see what we’ve done. “Are we boring? People who think we are boring, I don’t think they understand the game.”
Last night there was a huge, foootball-shaped hole in my evening. For the first time since 8th June there was no Euro2012 action and the TV schedulers failed to take advantage of this fact and give us anything else worth watching!
At least tonight things are “back to normal” with the quarter-final match between the Czech Republic and Portugal kicking off at 19.45.
Czech Republic captain (and Arsenal player) Tomas Rosicky is still nursing the Achilles injury he picked up against Greece in the second group match but is hoping to still play and the Portuguese don’t appear to have any injury worries and are expected to name an unchanged side from the 11 that defeated the Dutch in the last game. The same starting line-up incidentally that Portugal used in each match during the group stage – the only team to do this!
At the pre-match press conference today, Rosicky, sporting a beard along with the rest of the Czech squad, said he and his team mates would continue to grow their facial hair for as long as they remained at the tournament.
“We look scary as a team. Hopefully they (the beards) will get worse and worse,” he joked.
Of course, if you don’t like football, you could always watch Ocean Giants on BBC2. The last in the series, this documentary (narrated by Stephen Fry) explores the vocal ranges of marine mammals. Failing that, there is always Emmerdale and Lewis!!!
If you’ve got a spare £795,000 knocking about, you could own a luxury apartment built on Arsenal’s former ground, Highbury. The iconic art deco East Stand and West Stand exteriors still stand as part of the development.
When substitute Theo Walcott came on to the pitch against Sweden on the hour mark last night, England were trailing 2-1 and staring defeat in the face – again!
England, who had been leading through Andy Carroll’s bullet header going into the break, conceded twice during a wretched 10-minute period after half-time to leave them deep in trouble. But new manager Roy Hodgson’s decision to replace James Milner with Arsenal attacker Walcott had an almost instant reward.
Within four minutes Walcott collected a cleared corner on the edge of the box and equalised with a 20-yard shot that deceived Swedish goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson and was a sight to behold – surely a contender for goal of the tournament?
14 minutes later, the England winger burst into the penalty box, went past two Swedish defenders and crossed for Danny Welbeck to flick in the winner – job done!
It was a game-changing contribution from the 23-year-old, who was making his first appearance in a major tournament and scored his first England goal for nearly four years.
Oh yes, and did I mention the fact that he plays for Arsenal?
Here’s what was said by the players and pundits:
“I wouldn’t say I was the game changer. It’s always nice to come off the bench and show what you can do. I’ve been disappointed that I haven’t played.” – Theo Walcott
“I’m happy with the finish and to get three points but it was disappointing to let in two goals. We came back, we stuck together and the team spirit showed.” – Danny Welbeck
“Great game, wonderful result and that customary gut-wrenching feeling of watching England. Nothing quite like it.” – BBC Match of the Day presenter and former England striker Gary Lineker on Twitter
“I think Ashley Young is gonna have to make way for Wayne Rooney.” – Former England striker Ian Wright on Twitter
This time last year I was writing about Helicopter Sunday when the SPL title race was left to the final day of the season and the cup was taken to the winning ground by helicopter – on that occasion it was Rangers … what a difference a year makes!
Today, however, the sheer distance between the 2 teams in contention for the Barclays Premiership was too great for even a helicopter to be able to reach the winning ground in time so apparently there were duplicate trophies at both Sunderland and Manchester City’s grounds to be awarded to the victor of today’s nail-biting decider … and what a close one it was too!! I was unable to watch the game live but had both Twitter and Sky Sports on my phone and practically kicked every last ball myself it was so tense!
With the Man Utd game finishing a matter of 3 minutes before the Man City game, they and their supporters could have been forgiven for thinking they’d done enough with a 0-1 win, but City were able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat with two injury time goals, the winner on the 94th minute from Sergio (Kun) Aguero. Happy days! Having not won the title since 1968, this is an historic moment for the blue half of Manchester and I am delighted for them.
With my actual team, Arsenal, finishing the season in 3rd place, we are assured another exciting season of Champions League football to keep us all on the edge of our seats next year and I leave you with this final thought …
Arsenal are the best team in London. United aren’t even the best team in Manchester – BOOM!!!
It has been a difficult season for anyone supporting Arsenal and today’s derby match against Tottenham was a test of nerves for all of us. In the end however Tottenham threw away a two goal lead to concede five at Arsenal for the first time since 1934.
We scored an incredible 5 goals in 27 minutes either side of half-time to win the game 5-2 and are back up in 4th place in the Premier League Table. Yes, our defense was awful but we were on fire when on attack and 2 goals in as many minutes did an amazing job of easing tension in the crowd at the Emirates.
With Arsenal fans ironically chanting”Harry for England”, Rosicky almost made it six after a one-two with Theo Walcott, whose own 2 stunning goals in this game silenced his critics in the stadium – for now at least!
To complete Spurs’s misery, Scott Parker was sent off after his receiving his second yellow card for a foul on Vermaelen. A day to forget for Redknapp – but one that might be of some significance for Wenger and Arsenal.
Another exciting week in the world of football!
For those who thought it was a joke that Arsenal were turning to Henry, well, the old ones are the best. So much for the legacy being tarnished. So much for him losing his touch in the MLS. It had to be Henry scoring here, recording his 227th goal for Arsenal. The script was written, the stage was set. It just needed Henry to rise from the bench, replacing the disappointing Marouane Chamakh, whose shocking form was another reason why Arsenal need the man on loan from New York Red Bulls. No wonder Arsène Wenger wants to extend the loan to the maximum eight weeks.
For those lovers of symmetry, Arsenal’s No 12 struck his 12th goal in 12 appearances against Leeds 12 minutes from time. At the final whistle, as a fourth-round tie against Aston Villa was secured, Henry almost did not want to leave his field of dreams. The Leeds centre-half, Tom Lees, requested his shirt, but Henry was not in the mood for giving away such precious souvenirs. This was one for the private collection.
Jason might not stir the imagination like Thierry Henry but the veteran forward can expect an enthusiastic welcome on his competitive return to Wimbledon 11 years after he left south-west London.
So what about the latest headlines where it has been claimed that Eric Cantona is in the running for the French presidency? Even as the news was announced, igniting hope in his fans and a host of bad jokes, it felt like a dream. In the end, it was a sort of mirage.
Cantona had written a letter in the French newspaper Libération which seemed to state his intention to gather 500 signatures, the symbolic number needed to launch a campaign for the presidency. He described himself as “very much aware of our times” which he argued offer “limited opportunities” to the young and generate “violent” and “systematic” injustices. It sounded like the perfect platform from which a man most famous for a swift piece of retributive justice – that kung-fu kick – could launch an equally fiery and passionate campaign to unseat the current French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
It prompted much excitement and some excellent comments on Twitter, including many along the lines best expressed by the BBC presenter, Jeremy Vine, who tweeted: “Cantona wants to be the next president of France. Oh yeah, and Thierry Henry is going to play for Arsenal again and score the winner on his debut.”
But then the excitement crumbled just as rapidly as the current Manchester United frontline in the second half against City last Sunday. Cantona had played a blinder, sold a dummy, feinted in front of goal: pick the bad football pun of your choice. The paper’s deputy editor explained that the letter was not a presidential bid as such, but rather a call to get 500 mayors to sign a petition about the French housing crisis for the charitable Abbé Pierre Foundation.
Despite being voted as Manchester United fans “Player of the Century” last year, this is surely a stunt too far. Whatever will we see next? Beckham for Prime Minister or maybe even Sir Alex as Scotland’s next First Minister? Stranger things have happened I suppose.