Brian Viner

Brian Viner swapped London for the Herefordshire countryside, and his column ‘Country Life’ documents his attempts to chase the rural idyll. Chiefly a sports writer, he pens a weekly sports column and interview for the paper. He is the author of 'Ali, Pele, Lillee and Me: A Personal Odyssey Through the Sporting Seventies'.

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Snooker; Paul Hunter: Suddenly, life becomes serious for Hunter, snooker's jack-the-lad

Composure comes easily to snooker players; without it they might as well find another means of making a living. But huge shock waves continue to resound through this most po-faced of sports following the announcement that 26-year-old Paul Hunter, one of the most popular players on the circuit and the nearest thing snooker has to a sex symbol, is suffering from cancer ( but not of the colon, as has been reported).

Butch Harmon: Masters and pupils; golfing guru who nurtured Tiger to top of food chain

At next week's US Masters, a burly figure with a twitch in his left eye that, when it gets going, is reminiscent of Herbert Lom's in the Pink Panther films, will practically set up camp on the Augusta National practice ground.

How I enraged xenophobes, Christians and devotees of both rugby codes

It is not an easy trick to write a newspaper column and simultaneously open a can of worms, but I appear to have pulled it off with my reflections a week ago on Peter Howard, captain of the England rugby union team in 1931, who was engaged by Oswald Mosley to crack heads, when it was deemed necessary, as leader of a bunch known as Mosley's Biff Boys.

Will Carling: 'Kicking is hard when you have Jonny's shadow hanging over you'

The rugby union players of beleaguered England take on those of mighty Ireland in the Six Nations Championship next Sunday, perhaps wondering how those adjectives, beleaguered and mighty, came to be transposed. In the meantime, a chorus of disapproval has gathered volume regarding the selection policy of the England coach, Andy Robinson. The loudest voice belongs to Rob Andrew of Newcastle Falcons, aghast at the treatment of his teenage protégé Mathew Tait. But there is some background baritone from Andrew's erstwhile England captain Will Carling.

Country Life

In many ways we count ourselves lucky to have a wildlife consultant as a neighbour. For more than two years, Will has been sporadically popping round to the back door to tell us that he has found a pond full of almost 1,000 copulating frogs and would be very happy to show it to us, or would the boys like to go bat detecting with him, or would it be OK if he and a friend investigated how many species of moth there are living in our wood?

Football: `I feel I'm cheating the rest of the world, waking up every morning with no real stress': Brian Viner interviews Gordon Strachan

A year ago this week Gordon Strachan walked out of football. It was a shock to just about everyone but him; Strachan is a football man from his ginger top to his toes, which he would be the first to point out is not much of a distance, and the game had provided him with a living, as player, coach and manager since he was 16. Splendid though he is as a BBC television pundit, chuntering in the Match of the Day studio is surely a poor substitute for bellowing from the sidelines?

Gordon Strachan:'I feel I'm cheating the rest of the world, waking up every morning with no real stress'

A year ago this week Gordon Strachan walked out of football. It was a shock to just about everyone but him; Strachan is a football man from his ginger top to his toes, which he would be the first to point out is not much of a distance, and the game had provided him with a living, as player, coach and manager since he was 16. Splendid though he is as a BBC television pundit, chuntering in the Match of the Day studio is surely a poor substitute for bellowing from the sidelines?

Brian Viner ON SATURDAY: God help us if we ever follow America's holier-than-thou sports coverage

A brilliant young quarterback has recovered from a blown anterior cruciate ligament and, erm, a near-fatal bullet wound

Have you heard the one about the KGB chief, the ski guide - and Roman Abramovich...?

Neither had Brian Viner, until he hit the slopes and got talking to the locals in Courchevel. He rediscovered his old skiing skills and learnt a lot more besides in the playground of Europe's high rollers
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