On supporting Spurs – but not properly

Well, it’s official. I care more about cricket, as played by anyone, than I care about football, as played by Spurs, the football team that I tell myself I support.

If I truly support Spurs, how come I only bothered to wonder the next day how badly they had lost to Barcelona recently, in their clearly doomed attempt to qualify for the last sixteen of the European Champions League, or whatever they call it? Answer me that. On the night, I was so concerned about when the next test match between Australia and India would start, and whether I could hear any commentary on it, that I completely ignored Spurs. When you consider that this Barca/Spurs game was on Tuesday night, and that the Australia/India game didn’t start until the small hours of Friday morning, you can see what a crap Spurs fan I am.

It was only some time on Wednesday that I internetted the news that Spurs had got a draw against Barca (thanks to a late equaliser), and that because Inter Milan had also only got a draw in their game, Spurs had squeaked through, but only after an agonising wait for the Inter result caused by that game going on for a couple of minutes longer.

While all this drama was going on, I was oblivious to it, and was instead scratching about on the internet chasing that cricket game.

Which is still going on. Day 3 will be getting underway in a few hours, on Radio 5 live sports extra. My sleep is already deranged, in a way that usually only happens when England are playing in Australia.

Today, I did keep track of the Spurs Burnley game, which Spurs won (thanks to a very late winner). So: more drama. But although I was aware of this while it was happening, I was again scandalously relaxed about it all, despite this game being billed as a Spurs Must Win If They Are To Stay In With A Chance To Win The League sort of a game. Oh well, I was thinking, as it remained 0-0 right up until extra time. Oh well, that’s how it goes. Maybe next year, when they have their own stadium to play in.

Maybe the reason I am not shouting at Spurs in my kitchen, urging them on to glory, is that they are indeed engaged in building themselves a brand new custom built headquarters, in the form of that new White Hart Lane stadium. So according to my way of thinking, they shouldn’t now be doing this well.

However, it would seem that all the money that the new stadium will bring into the club has caused Spurs to do something now that they haven’t been doing for several decades, which is keep their best players. I’m talking about the likes of Kane, Deli Alli, Moura (who scored the late equaliser against Barca) and Eriksen (who got today’s very late winner). Such stars might still make more money if they went to Real Madrid or some such even richer club. But, at Real, they might not do as well on the pitch as they are now doing for Spurs. They might then fall off the football pyramid of greatness, never to climb back on it again. Footballers are interested in money and glory, not just in money, not least because glory turns into more money later, when they later try to get football jobs without being players any more. Spurs look like they could be about to do both money and glory rather well.

The same goes for the current rather-hard-to-spell Spurs manager who is masterminding all this. Many now assume that he will shortly move to Madrid. I’m not so sure.

I mean, if this is how well these Spurs guys can do while the new Spurs HQ is still being finished, think how well they might do when they get really settled in in the new place and are able to concentrate entirely on football.

Or maybe it’s that a new stadium is not really a new headquarters building, more like a huge new factory, for something like a brand new airplane. Boeing bets the company every time they launch a totally new aircraft. A football club bets itself whenever it moves into a new stadium. But this stadium is actually for doing football, rather than just a place to do lots of headquartering.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Sardar Patel goes large

I do like Dezeen. Mostly it’s just Posh Modernism, but every so often it reports on something a lot more interesting.

Like: what is now the world’s tallest statue, four times the size of the Statue of Liberty, recently erected in Gujarat state, India.

This looks for all the world like it’s Photoshopped, but it truly isn’t:

Vallabhbhai Patel (31 October 1875 – 15 December 1950), popularly known as Sardar Patel, was an Indian politician who served as the first Deputy Prime Minister of India. He was an Indian barrister and statesman, a senior leader of the Indian National Congress and a founding father of the Republic of India who played a leading role in the country’s struggle for independence and guided its integration into a united, independent nation. …

Prediction: a Global Big Statue Race.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

The Hundred is silly

Now that the proper cricket is over for the summer, the cricket fan’s mind turns towards silliness like The Hundred. This is the idea of having a new slam bang format, in addition to Twenty20. E(nglish) C(ricket) B(oard) Chairman Graves is now pushing this, and there is push back.

This cricket fan has two things to say about why The Hundred is so very, very silly.

Thing one. On what planet does a cricket administrator look at cricket on earth, and say: The Trouble With Cricket On Earth Is That It Doesn’t Have Enough Different Formats. There Should Be Another. ????

Thing two. The Hundred reminds me of the days when they mucked about with the limited overs format, with the result that for quite a while, or so I remember it, the English counties were playing 40/40 overs, while internationals were 50/50 overs. The heart of the problem was that the English administrators thought they ruled cricket, or behaved as if they thought this, and consequently imagined that they, on their own, could impose a new Format. But, there was a world out there.

And there is a world out there now, an even bigger one than then. Unless The World agrees that The Hundred is a good format, it will be a flop. Cricket is governed by The World (sometimes known as: India), not by England. Do the people pushing The Hundred have the Indians on board with it? I thought not.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

“I’m calling you from Windows about your computer …”

I have been receiving several of these calls recently, from faraway Indian-sounding guys who all, coincidentally, have English-sounding names.

Once again, I am reminded that the internet is the internet, and that if I type some words into my computer, along the lines of “I’m calling you from Windows …”, I should get the story. And: I did.

That story was posted in 2012. As it says, this rubbish obviously works. Five years later, they’re still at it, with an identical script.

I’m somewhat ashamed to relate that it worked on me, the first time, a bit. I seriously considered the possibility of the call being real, until I worked out that it obviously wasn’t. Such shame spasms are important because they stop people talking about these scams and thereby reducing their chances of working.

In the early nineteenth century, sheep stealers were hanged, or so goes the legend. Rip-off phone calls like the above make me understand why this happened, insofar as it actually did. People talk, quite reasonably, about how people stole sheep because they were starving, but I’m guessing that having your sheep (singular or plural) stolen was a serious blow about which you (the victim) were ashamed, and that catching the bastards was very difficult even if you did tell other people. So, when, by chance, sheep stealers were caught, they were often or at least sometimes killed. I completely get it.

More often, however, they were (scroll down to the end) transported to Australia.

Once again, the internet tells the story. This is yet another way in which the experience of getting old (the first posting you’ll get, as of now, if you follow that link, will be this one) has been transformed. We oldies love to satisfy our curiosity about things that are none of our business and of no great interest to anyone, except us. Time was when discussions about pointless trivia could go on for ever in a fact-free fashion. Now, all you need is one small machine and the matter can be settled. Does the internet kill conversation? Discuss. Or, you could type this question into the internet and get a definitive answer, yes it does or no it doesn’t. End of conversation. Or not.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog