Editors Blogs

The New Era.

The New Era.

Harry became Sports Editor in September 2016

Harry Fell – Sports Editor

The new era….!

A lot has happened in the sporting world since I’ve become the Sports Editor of Wandsworth Radio so here goes…

Big Sam has come and gone… I think that’s a landmark in itself. A very unfortunate set of events in which I can only feel a bit sorry for him. Whether he just got caught up with the wrong people or is actually a very naughty boy, no one will ever know apart from him. Alas his dreams were quashed in a matter of hours. However sorry for him you are, you’ve got to wonder, Sam is a very clever and experienced man and if this meeting was something out of the norm for him then surely he would’ve smelt something fishy from the onset…!?

Big Sam is no longer at the helm, but who will be his permanent replacement?

Big Sam is no longer at the helm, but who will be his permanent replacement?

Anyway, moving forward, (or not) England’s far from convincing performances against Malta and Slovenia can’t have done all that much for Southgate’s case to take the role on a permanent basis, so who else is available and a fit for the role? Not many people, that’s who.

Tyson Fury has relinquished his world titles. It’s a very interesting set of events. He seems to be completely and utterly conflicted and thus has turned to drugs and alcohol as a form of escape. To me it seems he can no longer be bothered with all the work that goes into being a boxer, seeing as he’d achieved all there was to achieve by beating a Klitschko in Germany and becoming undisputed champion of the word but loves the status of being champ too much. The poor bloke doesn’t seem to know if he wants to be champ or not, and unfortunately that choice has now been taken away from him.. Being a boxer is a very lonely sport and totally unique, there’s thousands of people screaming at your opponent, wanting them to punch you so hard that you are knocked out cold on the matt. Pretty primal stuff in a human world that isn’t very primal anymore. But Lord knows we love it, I certainly do. Cleverly is World Champion again, which is a great thing, despite how easily he won it. You’ve got to wonder how someone like Braehmer became world champion in the first place….? Tony Bellew is still world champ after destroying BJ Flores, I do worry about how he’d fair against the Haymaker though, David Haye is a step up in speed and power that he’s not experienced yet and it’s not like he’s blown every single opponent out of the water and a step up to heavyweight could be a silly decision, however the bout would be incredible and I for one hope I am proved wrong and that they make the fight happen.

Joshua's next opponent is as yet undecided.

Joshua’s next opponent is as yet undecided.

Another question to ask is who will Kell Brook fight next? We were worried that it was a step too far to fight GGG, and alas, it was. That being said, he did himself mighty proud and sans a broken eye socket, it could have been a very different evening. Carl Frampton continues to take the boxing world by storm following his win in New York against Santa Cruz, so it will be very interesting to see who he goes for next, I for one hope he brings another big fight over here. All that chat about boxing and I’ve not even mentioned our IBF Heavyweight Champion of the World yet! SO. Who next for AJ? Obviously he wants the scalp of Klitschko before he’s ‘past it’, I however think that Wlad’s pursuit of the WBA title might be a blessing in disguise for our olympic champ, Klitschko isn’t called steel hammer for nothing and AJ’s jaw is pretty much untested so far. I think fighting Haye or David Price would be a smarter fight for him to take at this stage whilst he’s still learning the ropes, however it is totally questionable as to whether either of those boys deserve a shot at the world title in fairness, so Eddie Hearn will have his work cut out to find a good test for Joshua should Klitschko take the ‘easy’ route by fighting for the WBA belt in Germany against Lucas Browne. I will certainly be watching this space.

Henners has written a far more detailed account of Middlesex winning their first county cricket championship for 23 years further on in the blog but I thought it was definitely worth noting myself, especially as they’re a London side. I for one was glad that someone had finally dethroned the Yorkshire boys, I was getting a little bit sick of how it seemed that everything and everyone that was ever any good at anything must be from Yorkshire… and at least they’re not the best at county cricket for once! Maybe that comment is more directed at the sky sports commentators or just a few of my rowdy mates, either way, I stand by it, keeps everything that little bit more interesting anyway! Whichever way you look at it, English Cricket is in pretty good nick and despite this summer not going entirely to plan, I think the future is bright, and this Test series in Bangladesh is certainly an interesting one what with spin playing such an important part. It’s hard to tell how the final test will go but with England taking the momentum into the final test I think they should just about complete the whitewash.

Cipriani has been in scintilating form but somehow still cant get a place in Eddie Jones's Squad.

Cipriani has been in scintilating form but somehow still cant get a place in Eddie Jones’s Squad.

The Aviva premiership has started very interestingly indeed. Saracen’s look as imperious as they’ve ever been as their youthful side develops and grows in experience and confidence each week! Wasps are the next best it seems. Cipriani surely can’t be ignored for much longer, he’s been incredible so far this season. Bath aren’t too far in tow as they look like they’re back to winning ways with their new signings chipping in well and Ford firing again. It appears that everyone else is yet to make up their mind as to whether they really fancy it. Northampton have moments of brilliance but lack the killer instinct to make it count. Quins are the only side to beat the champions so far this season but still struggle massively for consistency, I compare them to a Liverpool of the Rugby world, great players, great tries and capable of great results against big sides but they lack that critical backbone where they can grind out victories in games which they don’t necessarily deserve to win unlike Sarries who remind me of Man United in the Ferguson Era. Ruthless. London Irish top the Championship and seem ready to bounce straight back into the Premiership, alas Richmond are stuck to the foot of the table and seem to be the whipping boys of the division so far whereas Ealing, London Scottish and London Welsh sit in 5th, 6th and 7th respectively. In the National League 1, Blackheath are 3rd and Esher lie mid table whilst Rosslyn Park are second from bottom in 14th.

GB's Johanna Konta is now No.10 in the World. The highest ranked British Female in over 30 years.

GB’s Johanna Konta is now No.10 in the World. The highest ranked British Female in over 30 years.

In Tennis, Kyle Edmund has moved himself into the top 40, with Dan Evans only 14 places below him and Muzza is aiming to get to himself to numbGB’s Johanna Konta is now No.10 in the World. The highest ranked British Female in over 30 years.er one for the first time ever and could do it by November 7th if results go his way! Johanna Konta is currently ranked number 10 in the world but unfortunately misses out on the WTA tour finals after Svetlana Kuznetsova won the Kremlin Cup to take the 8th and final spot in the tournament. Konta’s fantastic 2016 is definitely worth noting and I’m sure there is more to come from 25 year old next year. Heather Watson seems to be finally making the step up to the big game mentality and 2017 could be a very exciting time for the All England Mixed Doubles champ. Laura Robson, finally returned to grand slam action at the US Open only to be beaten by fellow Brit Naomi Broady and I fully expect the pair of them to shoot up the rankings in 2017 as well. All in all, British tennis is possibly in the greatest shape it’s ever been in since the start of the open era.

Now, to the Football, it looks like Chelsea have finally started to adapt to Conte’s style of play after a scintillating demolition of Jose’s United which leaves the blues just one point off top spot in 4th place. In the Championship, Fulham seem to be moseying along in 14th after losing top goalscorers Ross McCormack and Moussa Dembele with QPR sitting just above them in 13th and Brentford who started the season so brightly seemed to have slowed right down and are now in 11th place. Just 1 point separates our 3 London sides who are only 5 points off the playoffs despite the mid table status which makes Friday night’s game at Loftus Road even more crucial. AFC Wimbledon have enjoyed a solid start to their League One campaign and are currently in the playoff places and only 3 points off Bradford in 2nd/automatic promotion places. Sutton United find themselves just in the bottom half of the national league which isn’t a bad return as a newly promoted side. Hampton and Richmond are currently in 3rd place in the National League South despite losing 3-2 at home to table toppers Maidenhead last weekend. Elsewhere, myself and Steve Zetter witnessed part of Merstham’s successful FA cup qualifying campaign in August when they played Colliers Wood at Moatside, and as a reward for their cup endeavours they will host Oxford United in the first round proper next weekend, we’ll be following their progress and hope they defy the odds and cause a huge upset!

Wolfsberg dominate Chelsea at the Bridge.

Wolfsberg dominate Chelsea at the Bridge.

Despite being in 2nd place, Chelsea Ladies are 10 points off the pace setters Manchester City Ladies in the Women’s Super League 1, somewhat deflated after their embarrassing european exit where they were hammered 3-0 at the bridge and could only manage a 1-1 draw at the return leg in Wolfsburg. In the Women’s Premier League South, Crystal Palace Ladies have started their season decently and are in 5th place, only 2 points behind 1st placed Charlton Ladies, however QPR Ladies have started the season awfully and find themselves at the bottom of the table without a single point from their first 7 games.

National Hockey Champions Wimbledon have started the new season solidly and are the only side in the league who are unbeaten but with 3 draws and 3 wins they find themselves in 4th, 1 point off top spot and Surbiton are in 6th but only 3 points off the reigning champions. However, the Surbiton Ladies don’t seem to have any interest in letting their grip on the title slip as they too are unbeaten and sit proud at the top of the table.

And Finally in the F1, Lewis Hamilton’s engine problems seem to have given the reigning champion too much to do in these last 3 races, which is a great shame as it seems his right to defend properly has been taken away from him but you never know in F1. With a 26 point deficit and only 3 races to go, Hamilton needs to be dominant and Rosberg needs to have car difficulties if the Brit is to have any chance of bringing the championship back home again but like I say, you just never know with these things!

I think that just about covers everything… Now onto the good stuff!

 

Chris Reidy Pic

Chris joined the team early on this summer.

Balotelli and Barton – An Early Season Tale of Two Bad Boys by Chris Reidy, Chief Football Correspondent.

 

For football fans, the action on the pitch is what matters the most. People turn up to stadiums around the world, turn their televisions on and listen to the radio to be entertained by the game they love. But there is another side to the beautiful game that keeps people interested, the characters within the game.

Mario Balotelli has started his new life in France very strongly.

Mario Balotelli has started his new life in France superbly.

Two of the most interesting characters from the English game in recent times have been Joey Barton and Mario Balotelli. One can only imagine what would happen if they got stuck in a broken lift together. They have created as many headlines off the pitch as goals scored on it and that’s not an unfair comment considering Balotelli’s spell at Liverpool.

Both players found themselves at new clubs at the start of the season, with Barton moving up north to Rangers and Balotelli crossing the channel to Ligue 1 side Nice. However, it has been a contrasting start for the two concerned.

Balotelli finds himself on the verge of a return to the Italy squad with Nice sitting top of Ligue 1 and with 4 goals in two games. Barton found solace at a spell in France, in 2012 with Marseille, but still hit the headlines when suspended for calling Thiago Silva of Paris Saint-Germain an ‘overweight ladyboy’.

Joey Barton's football career seems to be plummiting

Joey Barton’s football career seems to be plummeting.

Barton has found himself with a lot of free time to promote his new book, No Nonsense, as he serves a three-week ban imposed by Rangers following a training ground falling out with team mates and manager Mark Warburton. It has been another off the field headline and story that seems to have held back Barton’s career yet again. At 34, it seems Barton is destined to be remembered for his actions off the pitch rather than on it. Balotelli is entering what should be the prime of his career at 26, and although it will be hard to shake off his reputation, he still has time to fulfil his footballing potential. Watch this space!

Henners joined the Sports Team this Summer

Henners joined the Sports Team this Summer

 

The Cricket County Championship Finale, Right to the Wire by Henry  Thomas-Aldridge, Chief Cricket Correspondent

Going into the last round of matches all three of Somerset, Middlesex and Yorkshire could all win. Yorkshire were hoping to claim the championship for three consecutive years whereas Middlesex were aiming for their first victory since 1993 however Somerset were searching for their first ever County Championship victory.
Somerset comfortably defeated already relegated Nottinghamshire on Thursday leaving both Middlesex and Yorkshire to fight it out on Friday, both needing a victory. Chris Rogers scored two centuries for Somerset, in his last match for the club, helping his side to a 325 run victory whilst Tim Bresnan, batting at 5, scored a century to give Yorkshire a first innings lead at Lords. The last day was set for an exciting finish with Dawid Malan and Nick Gubbins at the crease, everyone expecting Middlesex to score quickly to post a target for Yorkshire however they batted towards lunch at a comfortable rate with no real concern for victory. Even when Gubbins finally fell for 93, Stephen Eskinazi took 27 runs to score his first run, not the attitude of a batsmen looking to score quickly.
Middlesex are County Championship Division 1 Champions 2016

Middlesex are County Championship Division 1 Champions 2016

The circumstances suited Somerset who needed the game to end in a draw for them to be crowned victorious but then Yorkshire started to bowl Lees and Lyth. One can only describe the tactic as ‘declaration bowling’ as both captains had come to some sort of agreement that Yorkshire will allow them to achieve a defendable total in the fourth innings. Middlesex went on to score 120 runs in 8.3 overs with captain , Franklin, giving his wicket to Adam Lyth before declaring leaving Yorkshire needing 240 runs off 40 overs.

This seemed achievable in this day and age of bigger hitters and bigger bats but Toby Roland-Jones finished his excellent season with a six wicket haul along with finishing the game off with a hat trick. Roland-Jones claimed the wicket of Lyth early and from then on Middlesex earned regular wickets leaving Yorkshire needing 70 odd runs off 6 overs which eventually caught up with Yorkshire as they lost their last four wickets for just 4 runs. After an England call up during the Summer, Toby Roland-Jones finished off his and Middlesex’s season off in style.

Phil joined the Sports Team in September 2016.

Phil joined the Sports Team in September 2016.

Forget ‘Red Monday’ – ‘Stripe Saturday’ could be the real deal… by Phil Aizlewood, Football Correspondent

Ok, so we all forgot about the much-hyped humdinger about 3 minutes after the final whistle. Aside from a couple of sensational Spaniards, United were rigid and rather dull.  I might’ve placed the kiss of death myself by texting a mate an hour before kick-off, predicting it would be a “drab 0-0.”  No, of course I didn’t put any money on it.

Now, today’s general multi-media dissection points towards a somewhat diluted, ‘Mourinho Masterclass’ – Defence + Discipline = Job Done. I’m not saying I disagree, per se, yet it wasn’t quite the perfect away performance, but perhaps in resisting Liverpool’s current attacking bluster, it was indeed a point well ‘won’.  In fact, where I did witness a near flawless away-day a couple of weekends back, was at The Beveree in Hampton, as Poole Town headed back to Dorset with a carefullyconstructed 2-0 win over the huffed-out home side.

Hampton & Richmond Borough started the day 4 points and 3 places in front of their play-off rivals, but a quick scan of the season’s stats, suggested the type of match in store for The Beavers – Poole had only scored 13 goals in their 12 games, conceding only 14 in return.  In contrast, Hampton & Richmond had scored 29 league goals, yet leaked 1.42 goals per game at the back.  True to this form, Hampton & Richmond were much the more adventurous, with buccaneering full-back Josh Casey and the tricksy talents of Jamal Lowe, causing moments of chaos for Poole.

Paul Devlin won and then scored a penalty for Poole against Hampton and Richmond.

Paul Devlin won and then scored a penalty for Poole against Hampton and Richmond.

However, containment seemed the sole aim and after 58 minutes of relative frustration, portly playmaker Steve Devlin shuffled into the box and was wrestled down by the wrong-footed Michael Kamara.  Being, it seems, very much the Gareth Barry of the Vanarama National League South, the penalty was dispatched cooly by the cultured left-foot of the no-frills Devlin.  To add some unnecessary gloss, it was 2-0 after 74 minutes, when the fresh legs of Sam Surridge, used his long strides to finish their only counter-attack, with a scuffed but sufficient connection.

As the managers shared their bottle of £6.99 Jacob’s Creek Cabernet from Londis that evening, no doubt Poole boss Tom Killick would’ve felt something like he had ‘Mourinho-ed’ the match – much like José did to Liverpool when Gerrard slipped in April 2014, and kind of like he tried to do last night to Mr. Klopp. If only Zlatan wasn’t so selfless, eh?  All things considered, Hampton & Richmond manager Alan Dowson could’ve had few complaints – it was the ultimate tactical triumph for The Dolphins.

Alan Dowson - Hampton and Richmond Borough Manager

Alan Dowson – Hampton and Richmond Borough Manager

Looking forward to this weekend, Hampton & Richmond welcome league leaders Maidenhead United, a team in scintillating attacking form [14 goals in their last 4 games] – much like Liverpool had been.  Moreover, seems like they can defend a bit too, conceding only 6 goals so far this term. On paper, it’s 3rd vs 1st – in reality, it’s one strong attack vs one dodgy defence. Hampton & Richmond can clearly mix it in the final third – they are in fact the top scorers in the division – but Saturday’s battle could be chance for Dowson to ‘Do a Mourinho’ and keep it as tight as possible. I expect a few changes, especially in formation, perhaps moving the home team to 3-5-2 or a 4-5-1, just to get those bodies behind the ball in the early stages. If they can do that, then a dead-ball or counter-attack opportunity cannot be wasted as the game slows down after the hour-mark. Essentially, they need to play as if they’re the ones catching a coach home after the game..

From what I saw during the Poole game, the front three of Lowe, Kabamba and Kiernan have plenty of pace but will just need to ensure the penetration returns this weekend. Maidenhead are obviously top for a reason but as we saw at Anfield last night, over-confidence can be stifled by some simple concentration and due-diligence. Yes, it all sounds very boring but if The Beavers come away with a scrappy 1-0, I’m sure the yawns of the terraces could be styled-out into smiles. It should prove an intriguing game for the ‘Professors’ out there, if not for the new youtube-compilation era of the entertainment-hungry.

After my oversight for the game at Anfield, I may well actually put a cheeky fiver on a 1-0 win for Hampton & Richmond – but as irony is a close friend of mine, I shall expect a raucous 4-4 instead, dripping with defensive errors and fizzing with tika-taka. Either way, what I can comfortably bet on, is that ‘Stripe Saturday’ will be far more exciting than ‘Red Monday’ – even without the ever-glorious Gary Neville and that blasted black cat.

 

 

Ed joined the team this month

Ed joined the team this month

What does Pep have to do to win the EPL? by Ed White, Football Correspondent

So far this season City have looked a force to be reckoned with. Bar their Champions League blip against Barcelona they’ve tormented their premier league opposition. The players that Pep has bought in are slowly starting to find their feet. Sane looked very good last weekend as did Gundogan and Stones who has been playing every match so far is beginning to look like he is going to live up to the hype and become a class centre back.
John Stones had a torrid time at the Nou Camp.

John Stones had a torrid time at the Nou Camp.

There are however still glitches that need to be fixed if city are to try and compete with the likes of Barcelona and Bayern. Their defence needs a complete overhaul. The two ageing centre backs of Kolarov and Zabaleta need to be replaced and Stones and Kompany need to play together to try and cement a partnership quickly. They need better back up than just Otamendi. With Kompany injured theyvwere playing Clichy in a back three against Everton last week. That’s not good enough to be challenging for the league title and European  honours.

Secondly they need a big strong ball wining midfielder.  The introduction of Wanyama at Spurs has been somewhat of a revelation this season. Not only does he win the ball he can also pick out a pas and spread play. This kind of physicality is exactly what city need to protect their back four especially when Kompany is absent. Busquets does it at Barcelona and with Fernandinho liking to spend so much time forward it causes serious problems for the inexperienced Stones.

So if Pep can bring in to full backs with pace and experience, another quality centre back and a powerhouse of a holding midfielder the embarrassment of Barcelona last week should become a thing of the past.

 

 

Lewis has been a member of the team for nearly a year now.

Lewis has been a member of the team for nearly a year now.

Middleweight Champion ‘The Count’ Bisping  predicts a third round victory in his hometown of Manchester at UFC 204 by Lewis Reece, MMA Correspondent.

 

“It was a terrible night at the office for me in 2009 so well done to him, but the guy that Henderson is facing on October 8 is not the same guy he fought back then.”

Bisping successfully defended his title in Manchester at UFC 204 against Henderson.

Bisping successfully defended his title in Manchester at UFC 204 against Dan Henderson via unanimous decision.

Michael Bisping caused a big upset at UFC 199 back in June when he KO’d former champ Luke Rockhold to win his very first UFC Title after 10 years in the World’s top MMA promotion. But to him it wasn’t a shock, he’d been working harder than ever and was on his most impressive run of wins against the likes of Anderson Silva before he earned the strap.

But now he’s the favourite in his very first title defence against MMA veteran Dan Henderson at UFC 204 where an undoubtedly fired up hometown crowd will be cheering him on, and with the tickets selling out in just six minutes that’s almost a dead cert.

“I’ll be making my first ever defence in Manchester so it’s what dreams are made of really.”

“Henderson viciously knocked me out when we last fought and any fighter would want to get retribution and get a win back.”

The Count is still understandably sour after their first fight ended with Henderson striking the already unconscious Brit after a vicious ‘Hendo Bomb’, which the victor (and others) would argue is the way most fighters are taught.  Whichever way the anticipated fight goes, Bisping can be proud to be the first ever Brit in the UFC to hold gold which will only help boost the MMA scene and publicity in Britain, and is a rare achievement for someone in the combat sport at this point of his career at 37 years old. It’s a testament to the hard work, time and dedication the champ has put in.

“The UK’s full of good fighting talent,” The Count says. “We’ve had a deep history of boxing. Of course we’ve always been a fighting nation.

“But more and more guys are taking up the sport in the UK. I am the first [British champion] but I guarantee I won’t be the last.”

October 28th, 2016

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