Celtic were fined £42,000 because a badly dressed supporter managed to run on to the pitch during their Champions League match against Manchester United. How things have changed – in the old days this was part of the fun of the game. If things weren't going your way then you'd simply start ripping up the seats and hurling them at the players before all jumping over the barriers and rampaging around the pitch until the police cavalry were sent in. Nowadays, if you simply throw a well-aimed coin at a player in a sign of dissent, they turn around and throw it right back at you – a clear indication of just how overpaid they now are. Credit crunch? What credit crunch?
I've done my fair share of sport disruption in my time. As a young boy of about eight or nine I used to spend my summer Saturdays in the park in Oxford watching the university play the counties. At the tiniest excuse I would rush on to the pitch and try to get some autographs. I was once cuffed round the ear by Geoffrey Boycott – a wound I bore back to school with great pride. As the game neared its end my friends and I would start to prepare for the great sprint towards the middle in an attempt to grab the stumps. The umpires would always be just too quick and whip them out of the ground and away from our grubby little mitts but they were the Holy Grail. I think I did once get a bail but have no idea what became of it. That was the weird bit about trying to get autographs – it was actually just an excuse to get near to my heroes. I remember getting Ian Botham's signature on a scrap of paper: I stared at it for a while then put it in my pocket and don't think I ever saw it again.
Years later I used my television programme Trigger Happy TV to engineer another encounter with Botham. I pretended to interview him, asked a couple of questions and then ran away mid-answer. Things really don't change too much for me. A friend of mine was a volunteer at Wimbledon in the summer of 2001 when TriggerHappy TV was at its height. She told me that they had a security meeting where everyone was told to specifically look out for me trying to smuggle my big mobile into Centre Court. They were certain that I would not be able to resist the opportunity of screaming "HELLO, I'M ON CENTRE COURT, NO IT'S RUBBISH, JUST A COUPLE OF PANSIES IN TIGHT WHITE SHORTS PLAYING WITH THEIR BALLS... "
I can't believe that I never thought about doing Wimbledon. It's such an obvious choice. I have to admit to being strangely proud that I warranted my own security briefing. I did once stage a protest outside Wimbledon with three friends when we were all dressed as Wombles. We held banners claiming that the new Centre Court had been built on ancient Womble burial grounds. We were given short shrift and moved on by bemused police.
We also got quite far into a plan for me to tandem parachute into Lord's during a Test match with me screaming into the mobile phone. We looked into it and it was totally feasible but I think that the thought of my dad, a passionate cricket lover, spotting me stopped me from going ahead with the plan. For some unfunny sketch idea, I did once run on to the pitch at Old Trafford during a one-day match dressed as a penguin. I managed to get over the barrier and just over the boundary rope but couldn't see anything as the head had a tiny little mesh through which I was supposed to be able to see. All I remember is suddenly being hit very hard from the side and going over on the ground. According to friends I was rugby tackled by Phil Tufnell. I was then carried out of the ground by officials who unceremoniously deposited me outside the gates. I had no wallet, phone, nothing on me and was only wearing a body stocking underneath the costume.
Unable to contact my crew I was forced to walk two miles through town to our hotel suffering verbal abuse from every cocky youth who passed me by. This pretty much cured me of pitch invasion fever. Maybe officials should consider this as a punishment for the fan instead of fining the club? It would certainly be more entertaining.
Helium-fuelled Kevin is a turn-off – just like England's efforts in India
Is it it just me, or does England captain Kevin Pietersen not sound very inspiring whenever he's interviewed? Unlike his phenomenal batting ability, his vocal style doesn't really lend itself to a leadership role. On the radio he sounds high-pitched, almost comical and very softly spoken. He also has an annoying habit of appearing totally unconcerned by the latest disaster – "Yes, well I know we were completely blown off the park by India but I don't think it will worry the boys too much as we don't really take too much notice of international matches... " – then the helium starts to run out and he has to stop for another hit – "sorry 'bout that lads ... as I was saying the really big match is always our next one, or the one where we actually win one... whenever that might be." Still at least their dismal performance gives me an excuse not to get up in the middle of the night to watch the games – it's just too depressing.
Hamilton's victory was no Olympian effort
I agree with Rebecca Adlington that Lewis Hamilton shouldn't be a shoo-in for the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year. It would be far more inspiring for it to go to one of the underpaid Olympic champions. Their achievements are far more impressive than winning the clash of moneyed engineers that is Formula One.Reuse content