Summer Sportsblog: External Issues Should Not Detract From Olympic Excitement

If you’re already sick to the back teeth of wall to wall Olympic related news, just wait until the events actually start a week today. No seriously, just wait.

Because once the Greek athletes first make their way in to the stadium to lead the opening ceremony, the real Olympic spirit can take hold, and not the one blighted by several administrative bunglings in the lead up to this summer’s marquee sporting event.

In the past week alone, G4S have only just realised that providing the security for the world’s single largest organised, competitive event requires more than two traffic wardens and a sniffer dog; public sector workers have got into the Olympic spirit by going on strike; the main road leading to the Stadium has not done the one thing you expect a road to do (i.e. not break). Oh, and there’s quite a lot of rain.

Nevertheless, my eternal optimist gene continues to shine through, and on a sporting front there have been no real objections by anyone to the preparations of our men and women who will represent us at London 2012. The only issue I can see is that Sir Chris Hoy, is not going to defend his Olympic sprint title, with James Kenny selected ahead of him – call me old fashioned, but I’m a firm believer that a reigning champion should always have the chance to defend his crown.

The biggest news story in the world of sport recently has been that of John Terry’s trial. Cleared of all wrongdoing (in the civil court at least, what decision will be levied by the FA remains to be seen), the issue has nevertheless led to increased scrutiny of the issue of racism and respect in the English game.

One of the scrutineers has been Clarke Carlisle, who fronted BBC Three documentary ‘Is Football Racist?’ on Thursday night. The scenes he witnessed in Poland were old news but still shocking; nevertheless it was his research into the issue in Britain that were more engaging.

Last year, the Premier League earned approximately £3billion; on their flagship Give Racism The Red Card initiative, the annual budget is £500,000. If the league is serious about combating racism, this is the first thing that has to change.

However, I didn’t agree with everything on Carlisle’s documentary. In it, he investigated the issue of why there are only three black managers currently in English professional football, and spoke primarily to John Barnes on the issue.

A clearly bitter Barnes alleged that he was only given less than a year at Celtic, and had to wait eight years for another post, which was managing the Jamaican national team, partially because of the colour of his skin.

I heartily disagree – Barnes has been unable to hold down a post in football management because he is a terrible manager. He was distinctly second best in the two-horse race that was the SPL (until recently), and then got less than a year at Tranmere Rovers because they were almost relegated by mid-March. Barnes was a great footballer, but it annoyed me to see him so bitter about his obvious managerial shortcomings.

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