Inside Lines: Golden Balls-up, or an act of revenge on Psycho's part?
Sunday 01 July 2012
It is fair to say that Stuart Pearce is not exactly flavour of the month up in London 2012's Canary Wharf eyrie, nor at the respective headquarters of the British Olympic Association and the Football Association.
All are equally peeved at what they perceive as blatant muscle-flexing by the Team GB football team coach, notably those in the two fingers he seems to have stuck up in their direction by ejecting David Beckham from his final Games squad. Subsequently Lord Coe, privately irked at being deprived of the opportunity to reward Beckham for his vote-catching role in winning the Games, as well as to boost flagging football ticket sales, promises a prominent part for him at the opening ceremony. Discussions as to what this might be will take place shortly with Beckham and the BOA.
It certainly won't be just a spot of ambassadorial meeting and greeting, either.
One option is for the BOA to make him a special attaché to Team GB which would allow the Leytonstone-born east Londoner to march in the opening parade in what he calls his "manor" – or perhaps even carry the flag. Alternatively, the bookies may not be far wrong in installing him as second favourite (behind Sir Steve Redgrave) to light the flame. But I doubt organisers would risk public cynicism by making this a solo performance for Brand Beckham – more likely in tandem with an established Olympic icon like Redgrave, Dame Kelly Holmes or Daley Thompson.
One way or another it seems the old Spice Boy has enough friends in high places (Prince William is said to have texted commiserations) to help alleviate the disappointment at what he many see as a Golden Balls-up by Pearce. While there is a sound argument that Pearce's decision is a pragmatic one, isn't it more likely that, his nose put out of joint at not being part of the new England senior set-up under Roy Hodgson, "Psycho" was demonstrating to his FA paymasters his determination to be his own man?
Don't miss the Swiss
The Swiss have a reputation for decent hospitality, so it is good news that they are offering somewhere for Games spectators to while away a couple of hours.
Situated in Glaziers' Hall, opposite London Bridge, their official House of Switzerland seems an amenable watering hole with a variety of eateries and entertainment that may be a welcome option for those who, as even Transport for London warn, could be stuck for up to three hours in holding pens at the adjoining tube station waiting to get on a train to Stratford. There's a big screen, video games and even a replica Alpine mountain to climb, as well as fine dining. Plus the chance of bumping into such Swiss sporting luminaries as Roger Federer and, er... oh, Sepp Blatter.
Knowing the Swiss, it will all go like clockwork – unlike the Jubilee Line across the road.
Enough questions – Ed
From 1976 to 1989 the great Ed Moses competed in 156 400m hurdle races and was beaten just six times, a record unlikely to be equalled. And it was all done without the aid of drugs, against which he vehemently campaigned. Not a jab, a pill or even a potion.
Unlike his Biblical namesake, this Moses was not one for swallowing the tablets. But oddly he preferred to sit on the hurdle when I asked him at a Laureus-sponsored lunch last week whether he thought it right that ex-druggies should be allowed to compete in the Games, as in the case of Dwain Chambers. "That's what the law says," he shrugged.
Another question: Why is it that Team GB can accommodate a drugs cheat who has zero chance of a medal unless a fistful of West Indians and Americans pull up to the sound of twanging hamstrings, but not Aaron Cook, a favourite for gold. One is fast-tracked without achieving a qualifying mark, the other frozen out.
How crazy is that, Ed?
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