Inside Lines: Will goalkeeper Sutcliffe be dropped or now play up front?
Sunday 07 June 2009
Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe can expect a long overdue higher profile with the departure of his boss Andy Burnham, who has been promoted to Secretary of State for Health in the Cabinet reshuffle. Busy bee Burnham, who moved on with some reluctance, overshadowed Sutcliffe at the department of Media, Culture and Sport, but his successor, Ben Bradshaw, unlike the Evertonian, is not a noted sports enthusiast, though does claim to support Exeter City, his constituency club. "More arty than sporty" is how a parlimentary colleague describes the openly gay Bradshaw, suggesting he would be more at home at the Royal Festival Hall than York Hall. So Sutcliffe, who does a decent job without self-promotion, may at last come into his own – providing he keeps his role. This could be under threat because of his apparent support of a campaign to have Gordon Brown replaced by Alan Johnson. Which is why the Parliamentary XI goalkeeper will be keeping an anxious eye on Brown's team sheet.
No Guardian angels
The Guardian, never shy of highlighting the alleged financial difficulties of other newspapers, seem to be experiencing some cash flow problems of their own. Could this be why they have asked a number of sports organisation, including the British Olympic Association, to help defray the relatively modest cost of a memorial service for the late John Rodda, the internationally-respected Olympics sportswriter who died at 78 in February after serving them so handsomely for almost 40 years? The request has not gone down well with Rodda's former colleagues – nor by some sports bodies – who consider it a bit of a cheek. We gather the Guardian are not best pleased their parsimony be made public but it is the sort of thing the great JR, doyen of sports political journalism, would have loved to sniff out. His memorial service will be at St Bride's, Fleet Street, on Thursday 2 July (11.30am).
How Boyle was Banjo-ed
The victory of dancing troupe Diversity, over Susan Boyle in Britain's Got Talent, owes much to the career of a once highly-touted heavyweight boxer. Nigerian-born Funso Banjo, who had 18 fights in London in the 1980s, is the father of Ashley, the group's leader/choreographer and younger brother Jordan. He invested his ring earnings into his wife Danielle's Essex dance school where the Banjo boys learned their routines. Banjo Snr, 52, never made it to the top but like his offspring his footwork was fast and fancy.
If triple champion Wladimir Klitschko beats the WBA holder Ruslan Chagaev in Germany on Saturday week, whom he meets instead of the injured David Haye, the heavyweight title will become a family affair. Haye now says he wants to box WBC champ Vitaly instead, but as we reveal on page 23, the Klitschkos are actually talking about fighting each other. The last time this happened here was in 1947 when 12-year-olds contested a London schoolboys championship. Ronnie Kray beat twin Reggie on points. They never publicly inflicted pain again – at least, not on each other.
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