Friday, August 10, 2012

Football, Olympics and stuff

Somewhat sporadic blogging of late.

Events, dear boy, events.

Including the Olympics.

Strange that something greedy corporations try to make so sterile, an event run by an organisation that is no stranger to corruption, should be prove so cathartic.

But it's really been quite involving, pleasant August escapism after a grubby summer for Scottish football.

Maybe it's simply because the Olympics showcase genuine world class talent while the return of the SPL showcased the Hibs defence and Terry Butcher trying to batter Danny Lennon.

And quite remarkably in Neil Doncaster the SPL have found a sports administrator more objectionable than Seb Coe. They should win some sort of medal for that.

With so many agog at so many sports our footballers are not emerging unscathed.

A précis: "Olympians are polite, gracious and pleasant. Footballers are ungrateful louts."

Fair?

Hard to say. Such generalisations tend not to be very fair.

We don't see many of these athletes from one Olympic Games to the next and most of us - and the press - are only interested in them for the duration.

If they drown puppies and give their granny cheek for 206 weeks of a four year cycle then they at least have the sense to remove their Dr Dre headphones, take out their chewing gum and smile sweetly when faced with the tedium of appearing on a show hosted by Gary Lineker.

They grab their moment in the limelight as footballers appear to increasingly resent it.

Education, given some of the stats appearing about the percentage of privately schooled athletes in the British team, might also be involved.

A double standard too: tales of Olympian feats of nocturnal high jinx in the athletes' village are treated by the press as benignly as a Carry On film.

The same tales coming from footballers in Malaga would be treated as a threat to the moral wellbeing of our children.

And what of the viewers?

Which of us dreamed of snatching the Olympic gold medal in dressage?

Which of us really knew what dressage was?

More of us wanted to be footballers. So professional footballers live our dreams for us - we in turn demand perfection from the lucky few and take it as a personal slight when they do the human thing and fall short.

Fair or not it does seem that footballers are right up there with politicians, journalists and estate agents in the public's affections.

And when people begin to think like that it doesn't take many bad apples for the whole ruddy barrel to be written off.

Anyway, I digress.

I've not been completely idle during this barren blogging run.

Hibs-shaped season previews have been crafted for STV, the SPL Podcast and FourFourTwo (which you'll probably need to buy to read unless you can sit beside someone reading it on the train and surreptitiously glance at their copy.)

And all the usual stuff is going on at what they call the Facebook and the Twitter - or if you prefer a more Scottish social network check out the Scottish football group on Kiltr.

I also contributed (very minimally) to issue one of a new football magazine devoted to the 30 SFL teams.

You can download Ultimate Scottish Football here.

It's more than likely that coverage of the SFL, or of certain SFL clubs, is going to rocket in the months and seasons ahead.

But the chaps behind the mag - like the guys across at new blog Tell Him He's Pele - are not band wagon jumpers. Both sites are well worth keeping track of.

On the subject of new blogs the indefitagable Gary Linton is now sharing his love for Spanish men on Alba España, just in case you're already getting withdrawal symptoms about leagues featuring a two horse race.

If match day programmes float your boat then GPfootball.com has a new look for the new season and hunners of clubs covered.

And finally Scott Johnston (TheFootyBlog.net) and Andrew Gibney (French Football Weekly) are going on a pilgrimage from Sheffield to Lille. On foot to raise money for the MS Society.

You can find out why and how to lend your support right here.

And with that, normal service can be resumed.

Just as soon as the taekwondo finishes.