Editors Blogs

Winter Blues or Festive Spirit?

Winter Blues or Festive Spirit?

Harry became Sports Editor in September 2016.

Harry became Sports Editor in September 2016.

by Harry Fell – Sports Editor

So as 2016 draws to a close, most of our winners and losers have already been decided. On the whole, it’s been a great year for British sport, what with our record olympic medal haul and Muzza finishing the year on top of the tennis world.

Andy Murray finished 2016 in style by winning the ATP World Tour Finals for the first time as well as keeping his place as World No. 1

We finish 2016 with 3 representatives in both the men’s and women’s top 100 in what has been an exceptional year for British Tennis. Henners has written a detailed article(further down) about Murray’s historic rise to number 1, so I’ll leave my comment on this particular event. Kyle Edmund is world number 45 and I can only see the 21 year old going from strength to strength, maybe he’ll finish 2017 in the top 10, watch this space…! Dan Evans(No.66) had a fantastic US Open, nearly beating eventual winner Stan Wawrinka in a thrilling 5 setter. As for the women’s ranks, Johanna Konta is number 10 after a fantastic year. And Heather Watson and Noami Broady also made good headway towards being in the top 50. Everything is very well poised for the Brits to push on in 2017 and start seriously making a challenge to start winning things.

Jenson Button has decided to call it a day on his glorious F1 career.

Jenson Button has decided to call it a day on his glorious F1 career.

In F1, Nico Rosberg managed to hold off Lewis Hamilton in the drivers championship before deciding to retire and leave on a high, so that means we need a new rival for F1’s biggest diva, who will be his new teammate at Mercedes? We also say goodbye to another champion in Jenson Button who will be sorely missed.

Anthony Joshua defends his world title this weekend against Eric Molina, in what should be his biggest challenge yet. Who knows how the IBF World Champ will fair this weekend, a friend of mine said it will be an easy outing but I am less sure as the young man from Watford is as yet untested by quality opposition and despite Molina’s less than athletic physique, he is a classy operator and know’s how to fight. It’ll be interesting to see how Joshua’s chin holds up. Talking of Chins, the long awaited fight between Tony Bellew and David Haye has finally been arranged. It’s a huge risk for Haye as if he does lose to Bellew, I can’t see a way back for him. I do however think that his pace and power will be far too much for Bellew and I am unsure his chin will be able to hold up, he’s been floored by far smaller guys than the Hayemaker. I’ve not even touched on the sumptuous undercard of Saturday night which is headlined by Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora for the British Title/The Undisputed Baddest Boy of British Boxing. After all this build up it can only be a massive let down but I’m praying to God that it’s not.

England’s Cricket side have struggled in India so far and find themselves 2-0 down with only two tests remaining and it all to do. However England have started this 4th Test strongly, is the comeback on?? Whichever way this series goes, England will be buoyed by newcomer Keaton Jennings who scored 100 in Mumbai his first ever Test innings. Watch this space…!

London Welsh face liquidation after 131 years of existence. We wish them well in their bid to reform.

London Welsh face liquidation after 131 years of existence. We wish them well in their bid to reform.

In the Aviva premiership, Saracens are still sitting pretty at the top of the tree but only by a single bonus point and a loss away to title rivals Bath will have humbled the champions a smidge no doubt. Harlequins also lost away from home last weekend but picked up two bonus points in the process which isn’t an awful return as Newcastle is a very difficult place to travel to. As for the Greene King Championship, London Irish look like they are romping to an immediate return to the top flight as they have a 100% record after 11 games and 9 bonus points for scoring 4 tries or more in a game. Ealing lie in 3rd but are still quite a way off the top 2 with London Welsh just outside the playoffs in 5th but only 3 points behind their West London rivals. Sadly, Richmond remain at the bottom of the table with it all to do in the new year as they are 11 points adrift of their closest relegation rivals Bedford.

Chelsea's Italian head coach Antonio Conte has got the boys in blue playing magnificently and are current favourites for the title.

Chelsea’s Italian head coach Antonio Conte has got the boys in blue playing magnificently and are current favourites for the title.

Over to a quick Football roundup before I pass you on to the rest of the team. We’ve managed to cover quite a few local games over the past couple of months what with 3 trips to AFC Wimbledon, as well as multiple visits to Brentford, Sutton Utd and Hampton and Richmond. The Don’s have had mixed fortunes in the league but are still only outside of the playoffs by goal difference. This same mixed fortune is reflected by how the Dons miraculously managed to pull off a thrilling 10 minute come back after being 3-0 down in the 80th minute to beat National League North outfit Curzon Ashton 4-3 in injury time. In the next round they travel to Gander Green Lane to face local rivals Sutton Utd and with any luck, we’ll be there to report live on all the magic of the Cup. Be sure to tune in on the weekend of the 7th December. The Chels’ have managed to turn around their uncertain start to the season and are now without doubt the side to beat in the Premier League, their demolitions of Everton(Sob!) and Man City must have been pretty scary viewing for the rest of the division. In the Championship, all our local clubs have flirted with the idea of a promotion challenge but then have decided otherwise, so much so that Brentford and QPR find themselves dangerously close to the relegation zone, however in fairness, Fulham are only one win off the play off places. The Don’s FA Cup counterparts, Sutton Utd are holding their own and are safely mid table in the National League; While Hampton and Richmond Borough are still in the play offs of the National League South but are struggling to find consistency after only picking up one league win since October.

Over to the rest of the chaps for more in depth chit chat.

Phil joined the Sports Team in September 2016.

Phil joined the Sports Team in September 2016.

 

Wing-backs are back and isn’t it angelic?

by Phil Aizlewood – Football Correspondent

If Black Friday can be stretched out over 10 damn days, surely weekends & Christmas Holidays could learn a thing or two? Maybe even Super Sunday needs to take note – MNF could extend into TTF [Tasty Tuesday Football] and Wednesday could breathe fresh life into WTF..

As I sit here on CYBER MONDAY beating the blues but being pummelled by the pings of my swelling inboxes, I reflect on another fabulous, frantic weekend of autumnal sport. Red cards in rugby, bottles booted in football and a seemingly unwanted winner of the F1 World Championship. Bizarre times indeed, but as the temperature continues to drop around us, it seems the drama is heating up just in time.

Whilst José chews over yet another FA charge, Liverpool contemplate life without Coutinho and Alan Pardiola seethes over more set-piece strife, The Premier League truly delivered. In The Championship, Newcastle nodded-off a little and awoke to Brighton breathing down their necks for the first time in a while. Across the borders, Brendan Rodgers finally won a trophy to display in his Office at Wernham Hogg. More locally, Wimbledon continue to flirt cheekily with the play-offs in League 1 and Hampton & Richmond continue to sit nicely in third in the National League South, despite my presence at The Beveree verging on a curse.

Jamal Lowe is on his way to Pompey in the January window after impressing massively in the non league with Hampton and Richmond.

Jamal Lowe is on his way to Pompey in the January window after impressing massively in the non league with Hampton and Richmond.

Now it’s at this juncture I’d like to mention The Beavers’ enigmatic, energetic number 10, Jamal Lowe. #GoalsLikeJamz has happened 21 times in 28 appearances this season and he’s a player I was told to keep an eye on the second I stepped into the stands. A real lean athlete of a young-man, Lowe has that velvety touch of an artist at work and he’s impressed me on each live occasion. It seems I wasn’t the only one admiring his clinical creativity – Lowe signed his first contract with a League club this month, snapped up by Portsmouth where he’ll move in January. From all accounts, it seems he has all the attributes to succeed at a higher level – with Pompey in prime position for promotion, watch him fly through the leagues.. #YouHeardItHereFirst

Talking of flying, there is a topic of aviation which simply cannot be avoided: the WING-BACK IS BACK.  With Victor Moses parting Spurs’ sea-sick defence on Saturday to score the winner, arguably 2016’s most ridiculous rumour began to circulate.. yes, Barcelona apparently want to sign him. At first glance, it seems like tactical hyperbole from a money-hungry agent. But dig just a little deeper, and why can’t it be true? Antonio Conte’s passionate pizzaz has added a great personality to The Premier League and his resurrection of the wing-back system seems masterful. This formation has enabled Moses to show off his muscle, his motor and his marvellous game-management – all being displayed at peak age. But how has it happened so quickly? Is he a different player, a different prospect than other managers thought? In my humble armchair-opinion, it’s pretty simple – it’s security. The security of this system allows safety in attack & more importantly, in defence. Of course, a strong runner he’s always been, but as a wing-back & not a winger, he can buccaneer forward knowing that he’s always leaving at least 3 at the back – and then he can buzz around blissfully with 3 or more in the final third. The fear of being exposed at either end is almost non-existent – and if he continues to ‘peacock’ so vibrantly, maybe the Nou Camp will come calling..

At top level sport, confidence is the currency they deal in. Form may be temporary, but if conviction is shot, even the greatest of natural talents can look Space-Jammed for indefinite periods. Suddenly defenders can’t clear a ball and strikers can’t shoot – just ask a certain £50 million Spaniard. The wing-back world had its wings clipped a while back, as rigidity and pragmatism took over. Teams have been too scared to lose for the last decade, because there is just too much money and crowd anger at stake. A slip there, an overlap here, can mean the difference of millions to a club. 4-4-2 became 4-3-3 became 4-2-3-1, coaches craving the magic formula. Now I know it’s early days, and I’m really NOT a Chelsea fan, but maybe they’ve stumbled across it once again. Before he was the grumpy Grinch, José grinned heartily [2003-2006] at the success of his 4-3-3, his flying wingers Duff & Robben wreaking early havoc in his first rein at The Bridge. As United toil, the current Blues go marching on, flying high at the top of the increasingly festive tree. Of course, Hazard & Costa’s return from hibernation has helped, but the general solidity of this once extinct system has no doubt assisted their zest. I wonder how long it’ll be before the rest of the footballing world takes a leap, and tries to glide along with them.

Dougie joined the team in October 2016.

Dougie joined the team in October 2016.

Match Report – Brentford vs Birmingham 

by Dougie Critchley – Football Reporter

Brentford went into the game against Birmingham last Saturday hoping to arrest a slump in form that has seen them only win once since the start of October. Their opponents were Birmingham full of confidence, unbeaten in four games and up to eighth in the table under the stewardship of the experienced Gary Rowett. 
Griffin Park is a compact Stadium, but not nearly as compact as the press seats, having finally squeezed myself into my seat, the game began. Birmingham, in front of their boisterous away following, started far brighter. Donaldson was holding the ball up, allowing Kaifenheld to spray the ball around confidently. Birmingham capitalised on their ascendancy in the 14th minute, as Donaldson sprinted through on goal only to be brought down. Soft was the verdict of the baying Brentford crowd, and they let their former fan favourite know after he put the penalty away. 
Brentford's leading goalscorer Scott Hogan managed to get a goal back for the Bees but sadly it was too little too late.

Brentford’s leading goalscorer Scott Hogan managed to get a goal back for the Bees but sadly it was too little too late.

The game was full of attacking play from both sides, but the finishing of the away side was the difference. Brentford’s Vibe missed numerous chances to equalise, and Birmingham made him pay after Shotton doubled their lead, having tapped in a perfect curling free kick from the left hand side. 

Their lead was’t as comfortable as it could have been however, Kuszczak who has always looked like he has a mistake in him, flapped at a few balls and was caught in two minds as Hogan pulled one back with a near post header. Final score 2-1 and the Brummies had a happy trip back up North, Brentford fans will hope December brings grader tidings for the Bees. 
Henners joined the Sports Team this Summer

Henners joined the Sports Team this Summer

 

Everyone has their moment…! 

By Henry Thomas-Aldridge – Sports Reporter

What a year it has been for Andy Murray! He won his second Wimbledon title, became a double Olympic Champion and then finished 2016 as World No.1, a feat that has not been achieved by a male British singles player since computerised records began in 1973. At 29, he is the second oldest to debut at number one. He has had to work exceptionally hard to push his way to the summit but many have been quick to declare that Federer, Djokovic and Nadal have not provided stern competition.
Nico Rosberg has now retired from F1 as World Champion to focus on his family life.

Nico Rosberg has now retired from F1 as World Champion to focus on his family life.

We have just seen Nico Rosberg become the Formula One World Champion but several have claimed that Lewis Hamilton is the better driver. Murray and Hamilton capitalised on their rivals’ mistakes and will forever be called Champions. Great teams have to show that they can beat anyone and claim their opportunities when no one else can step up to the plate. Rosberg and Hamilton have had the same number of car failures over Mercedes’ dominant years so I believe that Hamilton can’t blame his team for this Championship loss, as he has benefitted in the previous two years.

Now Murray has won several Grand Slam finals; the same demons that lingered over him years ago are no longer there, he is actually a better player and deserves to sit at the top of the World rankings. Murray has successfully become the greatest British tennis player in the modern era and no one can take away his time in the sun as world number one.
In the new year Chris will start a new role in the team as Assistant Sports Editor.

In the new year Chris will start a new role in the team as Assistant Sports Editor.

 

The Magic of the Cup by Chris Reidy – Chief Football Correspondent

It may well have slipped under the radar throughout the country but the draw of the FA Cup for Radio Wandsworth is certainly Brentford vs Halifax/Eastleigh.

Only joking. Sorry Brentford fans because although we will be keeping a close eye at Griffin Park on FA Cup day, the undoubted pick of the bunch is an absolute corker between Sutton United and AFC Wimbledon to be played at Gander Green Lane.

First of all, let us reflect on how the Dons even found themselves in the third round draw. This is a football club that never knows when it is beaten. We at Wandsworth Radio salute non-league football so although seeing the Dons miraculously recover from trailing 3-0 with ten minutes to spare was incredible, spare a thought for Curzon whose dream was snatched in a way only the FA Cup can conjure up.

Roarie Deacon fires home Sutton's winner to put them into the 3rd round.

Roarie Deacon fires home Sutton’s winner to put them into the 3rd round.

Whilst AFC Wimbledon spared themselves embarrassment, 24 hours earlier Sutton United had some last minute madness of their own. Not content with his last minute winner to knock out Forest Green in the second round, Roarie Deacon struck five minutes into extra time to send League 2 Cheltenham crashing out of the cup.

Sutton have never shared a league with AFC Wimbledon but were the first team to play the Dons back in 2002 defeating them 4-0. Much has changed since then and although away from home, Wimbledon will go into the tie as big favourites to reach the fourth round for the first time in their history. However, Sutton are famous for their giant-killing antics, google Sutton v Coventry younger readers, and after the last round of the cup, we know anything is possible.

December 8th, 2016

No Comments