The Sporting Goats. Foxy Gareth

The Sporting Goats

Of a sporting vibe are the goats of their sport, known as the greatest of all time. In the world of football the well versed foursome of Maradona, Messi, Ronaldo and Pele are the goat headliners. The head tennis honcho status belongs to Novak Djokovic who can now lay claim to being the goat of tennis, sitting on the record busting 23 grand slams. But Novak is not the loved one with the fans, that is afforded to Federer and Nadal, to suggest that Novak’s Serbian undercurrent feels its way to the public domain and becomes difficult to transmit positive support on a regular basis. Novak’s strange quirks on occasions does not help adhere to, the taking of a brown cubic looks like the oxo, similar in look, to try and conceal with a towel to drinking liquids handed over on court side from Novak’s ladened coaching back room staff or to rubbing a green coloured moisture under one’s nose, inhale and the Krypton Factor returns, is that the case? I hope not. Cheating? We will never know.

The Novak coach Goran Ivanisevic who adopts a strange worried brow of a crazed look similar to ‘Leather Neck’ of the ‘Texas Chainsaw Butcher’ chop up the meat and breathe in the vitamins, a novel quirk perhaps? No more offerings on a platter just the approval rating. Novak’s sports marquee tent will never be entered, the sands of time on testing have passed by, trophies claimed all unassisted has to be the case? There’s no doubt is there? The Serbian delights with the goat of tennis.

Djokovic has nestled in the tennis top tree for over a decade but so was cycling Lance Armstrong who deceived the cycling world on the back of being the Tour de France champion multiple times, but within the Armstrong team they were all cheating multiple sins, fellow colleagues, the cyclists, the team doctors administering the performance enhancing drugs to Armstrong being ranked at number 90 to a rapid rise to become the world’s number 1, the donning of the Superman cape overnight. A sluggish start to one’s career akin to the Djokovic who early doors would frequently retire from Mathes citing fatigue as the problem which later became the need for a glutton free diet problem solver to launch the Serb up the rankings, as for the Armstrong fraternity money and creed became their driven in their sickness fest. A fellow colleague was twigged on the go faster substances and decided to blow the gaff, two heads are better than one, let’s roll the dice. On exposure Armstrong was exposed as phoney, the imposter, Lance the sports sporting ‘BAA’ to become a Barney Rubble. GB’s Bradley Wiggins was called out as suspect following the Wiggin’s retirement, but a time zoned technicality squashed it all, but those question marks remain?

Time to don the running shoes and the iconic American athletic Carl Lewis who smelt the rat on Ben Johnson’s tailgate. Lewis pursued the establishment to expose Johnson, they had no chance, Carl was the sports power athlete, all drug free, the golden egg was laid, guilty Ben Johnson steroid abuse. The sports goat was Lewis not Johnson. Onto the more sedate world of snooker with the history books pinpointing the Ronnie O’Sullivan as the snooker goat, but is that really the case? The challenges for goat status can be claimed by Ray Reardon, Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, any takers for Alex Higgins, who pioneered the green blaze onto our screens ‘Pot Black’and all that. Higgins courted controversy which harnessed snooker into the public’s conscientiousness even more. Alex would run around the table constantly sniffing the ball, to Alex the ball looked the size of a medicine ball, those Persil sniffers washed down with pint after pint or to Canada’s Kirk Stevens who would wear white suits to hide the powder with fellow Canadian continuing the lager theme of the Bill Werbeniuk who would neck the lagers at an accelerated speed, putting the slapstick sideshows to one side, who is snooker’s true goat, Reardon v Davis v Hendry v O’Sullivan, is the jury out?

Onto the world of darts which came into the television sphere during the 1970’s with the ‘crafty cockney’ Eric Bristow, the laborious John Lowe Jocky Wilson, Keith Deller and the Bobby Dazzler, Bobby George to name a few. Into the late 90’s and Phil the ‘power’ Taylor became the leader of the pack claiming fourteen World Championships and is the undisputed goat of darts. The world of boxing and cricket is not so clear on goat status, so it then becomes a personal choice with Ian Botham marking that card highlighted with a superhuman performance v Australia at Headingly 1981. The boxing marker tends to lean for Mohammed Ali but the most fearsome boxer of one’s gaze came with ‘big’ George Foreman who had an astonishing KO punch rate of 68 in 71 fights with 3 defeats on the card prior to Foreman’s first professional defeat to Ali in the 1975 Rumble in the Jungle. Foreman had gone forty fights undefeated inflicting 37 knockouts, George retired at the age of 38 and seven years later became the oldest heavyweight champion in history laying Michael Moorer to the canvas in Round 10 for a historic moment in sport to claim under this watch as boxing’s goat. To transgress into other sports is of a different vibe, on the football front a narrowing down to two, link to the article who is the world’s number 1 player, February 26th 2019, the debate of the world’s sporting goats.

Foxy Gareth

It was surprising to see Gareth Southgate enter the Radio TalkSport studios, but it quickly became apparent why, give me the leading question “Gareth, would you be tempted to go to Saudi Arabia?”, the Southgate response “I cannot say until any offer is put on the table”. So in theory this means yes to the Saudis, get my name out there all I am interested is the Manero add-ons. The Southgate official response should have printed out as the statement “I am the England manager and that is my sole remit, it is not for me to air publicly, the Football Association are my employers.”. To suggest Southgate would jump ship, so will the FA rebuke Gareth in line with the Sam Allardyce exit, do the two run parallel? Sam who was looking for extra feed pay days or Gareth to tout for a bigger paid job, is there a difference? A Pitiful defence of Jamie Henderson was offered, quote “I believe that Jamie still has beliefs in the LGBTIQ”. The Manero response, if that was still the case then Henderson would have stayed put at Liverpool.

A surprise admission came on declaring one not to be a winner, reference to the Euro 2020 final defeat v Italy and the 2018 World Cup exit to Croatia when Southgate’s faltering tactics and dithering in the technical area contributed to the defeats. Link to the articles ‘The overview Euro 2020’ August 1st 2020, and the article ‘Three Lions hung out to dry’ August 3rd 2021. On the Harry Maguire continued selection syndrome Gareth determined to factor in whether the player can transfer to international football at a comfortable rate. The Manero response, reserve team football does not curry favour with the upgrade to international football, to have no substance. Southgate has his favourites, it’s a poor trait to have as a manager but many do. Maquire representing England v the smaller nations can hid ethe shortcomings but v the bigger nations, there is no hiding place, Harry caught sleeping at the near post for Giroud’s second goal, exit England 2022 World Cup. Gareth has learned the dark arts to front up for the Saudi Arabia window but we need to see more dark arts as the England manager from the Foxy Gareth.