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Welcome to my new website

I run my own digital content and strategy company. I sit on the Board at Crowdbnk and I am a Strategic Advisor to StartUpCapitalVenture 2 in San Francisco. I am also on the CITI Advisory Board @ Columbia University, NY.

I chair Trinity Hospice, Clapham, NHS Innovations SE, Major Stanley's Trust at Oxford and the Great Retail Revival Foundation.

 

 

Are there 250 export licences to Russia involving arms and the like or not? Could the Govt. let us know before opening their mouths?

Sport

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2
JUL
On Monday, Jack and I went to Wimbledon where it rained from 4.30pm to 6.30pm so we watched the Murray game in the Members' Bar as we only had tickets for Number 1. We finished up at Uno's for supper. It's a pity that Wimbledon doesn't post the weather forecast live preferring to keep the information to itself except of course we access via the net....... As ever Wimbledon hummed - it has to be the best organised sporting event in the world.
2
JUL
I had a quick drink with John Webster last night to discuss our University competition next year which OURFC is hosting.
22
MAY
I was a guest last night of Vic Luck at the RPA Awards dinner which was great fun.
13
MAY
Last Friday week, I spoke at Westcombe Park's annual rugby dinner. I talked about the need to have special starting event to open the season and the thorny issue of concussion. In between, I tried my hand at telling jokes. It was a fun evening.
12
MAY
I went to see the Quins v Bath game at the Stoop on Saturday along with 14,500 others which given the Sevens tournament on at Twickers meant nearly 100,000 people were converging by road and rail on tiny plots of land. You would think that Quins could have been allowed to play on Friday night.... Anyway, the match was full of errors - Bath lost the lineouts by poor throwing in whereas the Quins backs knocked on half a dozen times...... In the end Quins had more endeavour and just deserved
29
APR
Over the past year or so, I have sat on the UK board of the European Council of the Brain. I have had an interest in concussion as it applies to our armed services in the field and especially as it applies to our sportsmen and women who play rugby, box or ride. Last year, the Fainaru brothers exposed the dirty tricks within the NFL as regards concussion and dementia in their book League of Denial which is not available in the UK until October and so I bought a copy...
29
APR
UK article on Concussion in Sport http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2013/dec/14/rugby-union-concussion-medical-experts USA articles ESPN's Outside the Lines (the investigative journalism side of ESPN) addresses many of the issues around dementia in NFL players, including the details of the scan used, the scientists leading the study (one has started a company around this technology called TauMark), and the story of Tony Dorsett. The article is at:...
29
APR
1. Neurosurg Focus. 2012 Dec;33(6):E9: 1-7. doi: 10.3171/2012.10.FOCUS12282. Magnetoencephalographic virtual recording: a novel diagnostic tool for concussion. Tormenti M(1), Krieger D, Puccio AM, McNeil MR, Schneider W, Okonkwo DO. Author information: (1)Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. OBJECT: Heightened recognition of the prevalence and significance of head injury in sports and in combat veterans has brought increased attention...
7
APR
Ken Loach, David Robinson, David Dolman, Joe Downey and my good self had driunls and supper at Woods in Bath on Friday to consider our options regarding the future of Bath Recreation ground and its trust. 
31
MAR
On Saturday afternoon I was at Richmond to watch them play and destroy Fylde by 36-0 to put them sixth in National League 1 (Fylde are still 4th). I caught up with Humfrey Malins, a former MP, and bumped into a number of old Richmond supporters. It must be one of the friendliest clubs in the world!
31
MAR
Six of us started to think about the future of Bath Rec and its rugby club in September, 2012. The six were: Ken Loach, President of Bath AFC David Taylor. MCC member and former Bath FC (rugby) player Joe Downey, Bath FC supporter and local cricketer David Dolman, former Sport England David Gay, former Bath FC & England and myself, former Bath FC & England We met irregularly but entertained Don Foster MP who was resolutely behind the plans of Bath FC which...
29
MAR
I drove back from Harwell at lunch time to attend the SE Legacy group's meeting. We are beginning to work up our Club15 offer. Interestingly the Midlands group has borrowed my idea! 
29
MAR
I was a guest of Damian Hopley on Wednesday evening at the Rugby Players' Association's (he is their CEO) post Six Nations dinner where Stuart lancaster was the guest speaker. I had been invited because of the work I am doing with the European Brain Council on concussion.   
17
MAR
A forward pass in the dying seconds of the French v Ireland game denied England the Six Nations championship (they did win the Triple crown), had it been accurate France and not Ireland would have won (Ireland nicked it 22-20) and then England would have been champions. Rugby romantics would have wanted Ireland to win as it was the great Brian O'Driscoll's final game. An interception and some ragged play in the last fifteen minutes meant England fell short of the sixty points they needed...
17
MAR
I was a giest at Lord's last Wednesday evening to hear Mike Gatting and Hugh Robertson speak.   The MCC allows its members a couple of dinners a year in the Long Room. I wish they'd do something about the standard of the cricket portraits some of which were dire.
10
MAR
I took James Hibbert, CEO of Dress 2 Kill. to watch the game yesterday. We had lunch in the ERIC club under the West Stand and caught up with John Horton and other former internationals before going upstairs to watch the game of the season. England were simply immense and over powered the Welsh in every area of the game not least in the critical part - tactics. This is a team in development but worth an outside bet for the rugby world cup final. The crowd - sensing the occasion...
10
MAR
On Saturday, at my instigation, Bedford Blues rugby club asked the widows, children and grandchildren of Peter Green and Brian Arthur, both former players, to come to a memorial lunch to celebrate their lives. It was forty years ago that they lost their lives in the Paris air disaster.   Brian came form Bury St Edmunds whilst Peter was a farmer from Bottisham.
5
MAR
Four us met yesterday afternoon at Twickenham for a discussion about our next moves. We have five or six potential sponsors which is not bad given we have been going for less than a year.
1
MAR
On Wednesday evening, I popped up to Oxford to watch Jack, my son, play for the Penguins International XV against the Dark Blues.  Oxford were on top for the first 20 minutes racing to a 21-0 lead but by half time the team were levels. Thereafter, it was one way traffic with the Penguins winning 40-28. Jack played in the back row. 
23
FEB
With Jack and other friends we were at Twickenham yesterday to see England play against Ireland. Having been in Paris to see us lose - right at the end a month ago - I thought the game was just slipping away from us with 15 minutes remaining. But, we just edged it. A draw might have been fairer but no-one wants a draw. I watched the Baa Baas game against NZ on television aeons ago and was at the RWC final in Oz in 2003 when we won in extra time but this game was up there, maybe...
9
FEB
Yesterday's p[itch at MUrrayfield was a complete disgrace and an embarrassment to professional rugby players let alone the paying public who watched a fiasco of a match.
3
FEB
France 26-24 England at Stade Francaise on 1st February 2014 I went by Eurostar on Friday to Paris to watch England in the opening match of the 6 Nations tournament. On Friday evening, our Ambassador, having been in England with the PM and President Hollande flew back just in time to welcome us for drinks at 6pm. The "we" being The RFU Council and the respective Parliamentary XVs who have their own version of the six nations. On Saturday at 6pm the stadium was rocking to the music...
26
JAN
Yesterday, I was a guest at lunch before the Sheppey fixture against Folkestone on the Island. It was great to be back despite the weather and appalling state of the pitch where the rain over the past month has taken its toll. Sheppey played well but were just outgunned by a Folkestone side more attuned to winning whatever the conditions.
26
JAN
We held our seventh rugby awards evening on Friday and celebrated those players who have won 100 caps or more: Amy Garnett, England Jason Leonard, England George Gregan, Australia  John Smit, South Africa and Chris Paterson,  We had Brian O'Driscoll on tape   
21
JAN
Today, I spent most of the day at Twickenham as part fo the London & SE Legacy group for RWC 2015. We discussed for over six hours our plans for next year. It's slow going. We have no funding from the RFU and few sponsorship options because they are owned by the IRB or the RFU or England 2015 though we are trying to be as creative as possible!!  
29
DEC
Yesterday, I went to Twickenham alongside 75,000 other supporters to watch Quins beat Exeter with some ease by 22-6. In fact Quins showed plenty of tactical surprises and were much, much better than the score suggested.
17
DEC
I went to the Varsity match last Thursday and saw a great game of rugby. The Dark Blues won easily 33-15 even though they were down to 14 men for much of the second half (a first sending off ever)..... The crowd was noisy and supportive....I sat with Dugald MacDonald the old Springbok and Oxford captain and he was pleased as punch when his son came on at half time to claim his Blue.
6
DEC
Our rugby and cricket authorities have never apologised for playing white only sides in South Africa throughout the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. Shame on them. Their silence on Mandela's death is hardly surprising.
24
NOV
It's been a busy week.....on Wednesday, I spent the day at Iffley Road, Oxford to chair the Stanley's trust for the first time, to host over 300 at lunch and to watch the Blues easily beat a Stanley's XV for the eighth year running. Jason Leonard was our guest speaker.
24
NOV
On Thursday morning, I spent a couple of hours with Mihir Bose discussing a film we are both keen to make on Indian cricket.
17
NOV
I had a great day at Twickenham yesterday. Andrew Bibby and John Webster joined me in the ERIC Clubhouse inside the West Stand. We all played for Oxford in the Centenary Varsity match in 1981 when Tony Abbott, now the PM in Oz, was on the bench.   The clubhouse was heaving with ex-internationals and though we lost we all agreed it had been a compelling game. England aside from their wingers and full backs have no pace or guile at 9,10,12 and 13 and they need a hooker who can throw the...
12
NOV
I had three afternoon meetings at Oxford: ** with Tim Stevens at OURFC to finesse the Major Stanley's luncheon next week ** with the OURFC committee where I presented our plans for a rugby legacy for RWC2015 and finally  ** with Colin Smith from the OUBC where we had a quiet glass of wine in a rather tasty wine bar in South Parade called the Oxford Wine Cafe where we discussed the forthcoming boat races (2104/2015). 
3
NOV
Yesterday, I took my children - Daisy and Jack - to Twickenham to watch the worst game I have seen for a long time. Australia were very poor and England frankly not much better. In the end, England stumbled to victory by 20-13. I am afraid the English coaching staff are not up to it; aside from one game last year v New Zealand the side has plateaux. We need a fitter, faster and more positive team if we are to progress in the RWC in 2015.
2
NOV
I was a guest of David Gay, Bath, Harlequins & England, at the annual Old Boys luncheon yesterday at the RAC  which attracted 200+ players and friends.  
31
OCT
The Red Sox won the World Series last night beating the Cardinals 6-1 and overall 4-2 in a best of seven. The World Series is so named because it was initially sponsored by The World newspaper. 
31
OCT
Lord Toby Harris, my former political boss at Haringey Council, is to chair an Inquiry into the Olympic Legacy.
31
OCT
Joe McPartlin RIP "OURFC are very sad to announce the death of Joe McPartlin; he died peacefully in a nursing home following a long battle with illness. Joe came up to Oxford in 1959 from Wimbledon College to read geography at St Edmund Hall. In his first year he played for the Greyhounds but then went on to win three Blues, the final one in 1962 when he was Captain. Joe also appeared six times for Scotland in the Five Nations Championship whilst he was still at Oxford. On graduating he took
29
OCT
I had lunch with Jonathan Price, CEO, Gifted at Thomas Cubitt today. We chatted about the Varsity Match and the state of rugby per se.
27
OCT
Yesterday, I visited Basingstoke RFC to meet some of their management team to chat about the Legacy plans we are developing for RWC 2015, to have lunch with Steve Tristram and Jim Darragh and watch them play Westcombe Park in London Three London & SE league. To date the visitors had won 2 from 6 with 12 points whereas the home side had also won 2 from 6 but had gained less bonus points. After the game Basingstoke had won 3 and lost 4! They walloped WP and gained a bonus point for good...
27
OCT
Gareth Davies, President of Bedford Blues, sent me this link https://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=10151911719800379&set=pcb.10152037520825864&type=1&theater Hard to believe it was forty years ago.
13
OCT
Richmond were good in patches against a fine Doncaster XV yesterday. A lack of concentration just before the end of the first half when they could have gone in 9-7 lost them the initiative and ultimately the game. Doncaster were fitter and stronger in most departments except maybe in the front row. They will likely top the league in the Spring.  Richmond enjoying their second season in National Division 1 are finding the league tougher this season because the standard is...
8
OCT
Richmond notched their second consecutive win in National League Division 1 on Saturday by eventually beating Cinderford with some ease by 55-20. Richmond have lost to Esher, Rossyln Park and Coventry (by one point) and on this form will stay mid table in the league which without huge financial resources is about where we should be in - that is in the top 30 clubs in the country.
3
OCT
I was at HQ this morning with a sub group from our SE Legacy 2015 committee. We had a workshop on our B2B possibilities. I stayed for lunch.
29
SEP
I was a guest of James Hibbert, a Quins sponsor, yesterday afternoon at Twickenham Stoop for their game against top of the table Saracens. It was a a good game but Saracens always had the edge and Quins struggled to find  away through their well organised defence.   Harlequins 12-22 Saracens
23
SEP
On Saturday, a poor Charlton XI struggled to find a shot on goal as they lost 1-0 at home to Millwall. At Richmond, the side lost 31-32 at home to Coventry. We have yet to register a win in our first three games.
19
SEP
Two Years to Go until the first game of RWC 2015 evening I was at Twickenham yesterday, the home of the "RFU" but as that is seen as the harsh end of the game ("The Blazers") it is being morphed slowly into "English Rugby". I'd have liked "Twickenham" to have had a higher profile but we are where we are. At least the new logos - English Rugby" will sit side by side with "RFU" for a while yet. Contrast this with the new logo from the IRB called "Impact" probably the worst I had ever...
17
SEP
Through my contacts at QBE, I was able to find a sponsor so that a cycle race/ride from Melbourne to Sydney could take place between the second and third Lions tests Down Under in late June-early July. All told we raised just over £110k which was over 10% of Walk the Wounded's annual turnover. So on Thursday with QBE personnel, we had a quite reflective "thank you" lunch at the RAC.
8
SEP
It was the opening of the rugby season for National Division One and so though Jack was at the double header at Twickenham, I was at Richmond to watch them play Esher. Richmond has made a decision not to have a fully paid up professional side because we feel it would detract from the club's overall role and sense about what the game stands for. Esher has moved in the opposite direction. Had we kicked out our penalties (6 points) and our three conversion (6 points) we would have...
8
SEP
Just after Christmas, I began a fitness routine with the aim of losing weight and if possible ridding my system of rheumatoid arthritis. This involved becoming more or less a vegetarian (fish allowed), drinking soya milk and 2-3 litres of water a day, having hardly any carbs and no alcohol. There was also some stretching exercises to be done each day and taking some food supplements. By March, I had lost 14lbs/6.3k and my arthritis was in remission......... By June, I had maintained my...
4
SEP
As chairman, I convened a meeting yesterday  of Stanley's to discuss our fixture v OURFC in November at the RAC. We had a convivial lunch on the terrace.
2
SEP
Mohamed Sbihi was part of the eight which won a gold (a first for a UK 8) at the World Championships yesterday in South Korea. They rowed their hearts out last year at the Olympics and were caught in the last 200m and had to settle for bronze. Someone clearly is doing their homework in the coaching system! Mohamed's dad owns the barber's shop where I have my hair cut or what little there is of it.   Trebles all round except the Mohamed's don't drink.   Last year,
30
AUG
A greast rugby player and speaker; a lover of mankind, of music and of The Valleys. Another rugby player overlooked for a knighthood.
24
JUL
Last night, I attended a House of Lords celebration of Robin Courage's fantastic efforts over the past fifteen years which has led us (I was part of his team when an MP) to raise almost £25m for wheel chair sport at Stoke Mandeville. My part was minimal: we had been beaten back by the Lottery twice and so I persuaded Kate Hoey, the Sports Minister, to spend a day following the Lottery but to make sure she arrived when they were deciding our third application and magically and...
19
JUL
 'FORMER BATH RUGBY PLAYERS FEAR FOR FUTURE OF THE REC'   A group of former Bath sportsmen, including two former rugby internationals, have voiced serious concern over the plans published by the Charity Commission which could give Bath Rugby the use of most of the Rec to the detriment of other sports. Especially and surprisingly with companies registered in Bermuda and Switzerland**.   Although these decisions will be the responsibility of the new trustees it is patently...
19
JUL
Following our press release yesterday to local media in Bath and Bristol I did an interview on BBC Radio Bristol during drive time. I was a little rusty but felt I put our group's position strongly.
18
JUL
Yesterday, Stephen Pearson and Fraser Gemmell joined me to discuss the XV for our game v the Dark Blues in November. 
8
JUL
UK Sport should award itself a gold medal for Soft Power by Derek Wyatt  Last year was pretty good: both the Olympics and Paralympics rocked the world and our volunteers showed such warmth and energy that they were truly our real gold medalists. Still 43 golds in both events showed the nation and the world what can be done if you set your mind to it.  Ditto the whole Olympic thing from the BBC's outstanding coverage to the opening and closing ceremonies, to having the site ready...
7
JUL
The IRB has much work to be done to alter the biff bash boff approach to international rugby which is disfiguring the game. Any parent with young children Under 14 will not want their children to play rugby. ** The put-ins and the scrum are a joke. ** No referee understands what is going on in the front row ** The defensive threequarter lines are too close and need to be moved back by 10m or 15m ** The maul needs attention
7
JUL
The Men's game looks in a healthy place. Federer is at the end of the greatest career. Nadal is uncertain about his fitness probably because of the brutality he brought to tennis from the start. He either has to take a longer break or change the way he plays - neither easy. Djokovik is immense and Murray has arrived. Del Potro is a joy to behold but also injury prone and there are plenty of would-be players waiting. The Women's game has one great player - Serena Williams - and
28
JUN
Ride of the Lions 2013 (I was part of the executive team which put this together and started the ball rolling with QBE) The ride will carry the Official Lions Tour Match Ball from Melbourne to Sydney. The ride finishes with an attempt to break the World record for longest bike bus/peloton in Heffron Park, Sydney, with Sydney cyclists of all ages being invited to participate in this short bike ride, that we hope will lead to a new World Record. The current record is held at 639...
28
JUN
I attended a Celebrating an Amazing Year for Women's Sport at Mischon de Reya's offices last night which had been organised by the Women's Sports & Fitness Foundation (which I founded in 1984). Sue Tibballs chaired an excellent evening which included speeches from Tessa Jowell MP, Barbara Slater Head of BBC Sport), Deborah Hale MBE (Baton Relay) and Sophie Hosking MBE (Gold in the Sculls). They were outstanding and seeing some of the OLympic excerpts again brought tears to my...
25
JUN
Maidenhead RFC This morning David Taylor, Joe Downey and David Dolman from Bath joined me or vice versa at Maidenhead RFC to meet Stephen Hough, the relatively new Club chairman. We wanted to see and walk and talk about their 3G synthetic pitch which they laid last April, 2012 almost a full year before Saracens pitched in at Barnet. We were so north of impressed ot was slightly embarrassing as we fawned over the turf.  Worse, afterwards, we drove and drove trying to find...
25
JUN
Gosh the coverage by the BBC of Wimbledon has fallen off. There are simply too many British commentators who fawn over the place. They fail to read the game, they chat amongst themselves, they offer few bits of helpful history and if it goes on like this, they will lose the contract next time it is on offer. Thank goodness for John McEnroe's insight (though he doesn't have to pander to Murray so much).   
24
JUN
The state of the pitch in Brisbane was largely responsible for the Wallabies losing to the Lions. It was in a wretched state and cut up badly as the game progressed. They were fitter and stronger and yet a failed penalty kick at the last denied them victory. The first half was brutal and this is surely not what we want to see week in week out. The IRB must change the laws to allow the backs to run and score from first time possessio not through endless recycling of the...
19
JUN
The Lions came apart at the seams yesterday losing 14-12 to the Brumbies in Canberra. Time was that this used to be a cricket score game for a Lions XV...... There have been too many injuries to the Lions and this has disrupted them. They should have another Home Union side like England or Wales in the country at the same time so when injury happens they can borrow players without these ridiculous journeys from Japan and Argentina let alone the UK for replacements.
19
JUN
On Monday, I had coffee with Ronnie Lamb. Chairman of OURFC, in the gardens a the RAC.
16
JUN
The British Lions play three Tests against Australia on 22/06, 29/06 and 06/07. They have chased cash in Hong Kong with a mismatch against the Barbarians, been shunted to Perth, not a traditional rugby stronghold, had one real match against Queensland and then two ordinary games in NSW and this week will play another no-brainer. The net result of this is the Lions have lost nearly ten players to injury..........good maybe for the Wallabies but it dilutes their Test XV and actually apart...
15
JUN
On Monday I was asked to become the new chairman of Major Stanley's at Oxford University RFC.
15
JUN
Nick Cole represents Oxfordshire RFU on our new Legacy Board for RWC2015 and as I represent OURFC we have decided to share best practice....and so we met earlier this week to chat. 
9
JUN
I'm a sad case because I'm a Brit who likes baseball. I've watched it at Fenway Park and Pac Bell Park (now AT&T Park) so it follows that I follow the Red Sox and the Giants.  I also watch an absurd amount of cricket. Here's a thought.....baseball out fielders throw the ball at the bases with a straight trajectory....whilst there counterparts tend to throw it in an arch. Why don't cricket fielders aim to bounce their returns so that they hit the wicket. If they did this every...
9
JUN
All this year there have been a number of events to celebrate Vincent's 150th Anniversary. Last night it was a cocktail party in The Parks. I drove up and parked at Catz as I was staying over - alumni can rent rooms - and I decided to walk from college via a back path which takes you over two tributaries of the Thames. Punters were out punting, kids (students) were playing croquet whilst others were pretending they were Nadal or Federer on the grass courts.  It was if nothing had...
1
JUN
On Thursday late afternoon, I had a drink with Peter Bills, an old friend, who now lives in Monaco. I commissioned him to do Jean-Pierre Rives's autobiography back in 1985. I gave him a couple of ideas for books and magazine projects.
1
JUN
Jane works for the Beeb but was an international tennis player. We had a friendly lunch on Thursday at Ozer, the Turkish restaurant, close to the new improved BBC HQ.
26
MAY
We heard a lot about LEGACY before, during and after the London Olympics but in essence we bottled it. These extraordinary games may have left an indelible mark on the IOC and possibly RIOCOG 2016 but they have soon been forgotten.  The RFU will be hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2015 and it is keen to see an embedded LEGACY agreed and delivered which lasts through until 2019. Of course, it will be easier for rugby to do this because it owns its hinterland. The Olympic Movement just owns
26
MAY
I played for the Penguins in 1977 (USSR) and 1980 (Argentina) and then coached the tour to Brazil in 1984. Since 1995, I have been on its executive committee and have been out to watch them in Prague but not yet to HK! I must remedy this soon.  On Thursday, Alan Wright, a co-founder of the Penguins back in 1959, launched the history of this great club at the Rugby Room in the East India Club. 
18
MAY
Has Channel 4 News lost the plot and certainly its independence? When the world news stations ran with David Beckham's retirement they ran with Frankie Dettori's return to horse racing (which has been delayed). They did this because Channel 4 has the rights to UK Horse Racing. So they ran an exclusive at the top of the programme on Dettori NOT Beckham. Dear me it is a news programme not a plug for their coverage. 
17
MAY
I stood down last month after six years as a board member of Editorial Intelligence:  www.editorialintelligence.com.  I own 115 shares - if anyone is interested in purchasing them let me know. Editorial Intelligence's chairman and CEO is Julia Hobsbawm.  
16
MAY
I met Jeremy at the Boat Race earlier in the year and we agreed to spend some time thinking about sport at Oxford and in doing so we had an very agreeable lunch opposite Tate Modern on the Thames on Tuesday.
13
MAY
On Tuesday of last week I attended an interview at Twickenham for one half of the SE England regional group with responsibility for the Rugby World Cup 2015 legacy. If appointed I would be representing Oxford University RFC as a constituent body. The interview was at 0900.....and I was appointed by 0945!! More soon once we have had our "Away Day" later in the month. I ma really looking forward to working with the group.  
5
MAY
For 18 months or so a small group including Ken Loach, David Taylor, David Gay, Joe Downey, David Dolman and myself have been meeting to discuss the Charity Commission's wretched solution for the future of The Rec. in Bath. It's been a stitch up between the Lib Dem council who act as Trustees (surely not) steered by Don Foster, their MP, and the relatively new owners of Bath FC. The CC seemed prepared to lease the ground to the owners for 75 years! How absurd is that? They will be able to...
4
MAY
Unusually, we had a London meeting of the Major Stanley's Trustees. I have been a trustee since the early 1990s but largely absent from 1997-2010 as our meetings clashed with PMQs. Several of us have been wondering whether or not we have a role left. It was a good meeting and we agreed to meet again in June.
29
APR
Wilkinson 24 Farrell 12 (Toulon 24-12 Saracens) was the score yesterday afternoon at Twickenham where the old master gave his young protege a going over. Tomorrow at 11.00 the British Lions squad for its tour of Oz will be announced - it would be mad not to take three fly halves - but the noise from the leaks in the newspapers is that only two will go. Jonny has to travel even if late......
21
APR
I went to the Richmond luncheon before their game against Esher mainly because my old mucker, Martin Slagter, was over from Austin, Texas with Tina, his wife. Martin has had pancreatic cancer and undergone every kind of treatment to try and halt its progress. I have been maintaining email contact with him over this past year and it was thrilling to see him again. He was my captain when I was coach to Richmond 1st XV in 1986-7.   As for the game we were well beaten by...
21
APR
I travelled up to Oxford on Friday evening to attend the OURFC/OUWRFC annual dinner at University College hosted by Lord Robin Butler. Our guest speaker was Dugald Macdonald who was over from Cape Town to see his son, also a Dugald. I went with Dugald to USSR - Moscow and Tbilisi (now Georgia) in 1977 with the Penguins. I stayed at my old college, St Catherine's (Catz).  
7
APR
I went to watch Richmond 1st XV yesterday in the sunshine. They played Fylde who were really the better side but somehow did not show their usual ruthless side and lost 35-29 but could have won even at the last. Richmond played at the edge of their competencies and well done them for winning this very exciting game.
5
APR
I travelled to Paddock Wood yesterday to have lunch with Derek Underwood, the former Kent & England cricketer. 
2
APR
I travelled down with Jack to Cobham, Surrey for the final of the U21 Cup final yesterday against Cobham U21's. There are not many clubs in the land who can boast such wonderful facilities. It was another crackerjack of a game but this time Richmond took a 14-0 early lead and though Cobham played out of their skins they were always playing catch up and left it just too late to snatch a win. In the end a tired Richmond side just held on to win 35-29. Jack scored a try: not bad for a...
1
APR
Jack and I were guests on the Oxford University yesterday at Putney where we witnessed comprehensive wins for the Isis and the Blue's boats. It was a pity the BBC didn't follow the Isis race which is also of the highest quality. All told Oxford men and women won all six races in 2013. In 2015 the Women will also become part of the Boat Race but only the first crew.......clearly the tide is an issue but the women also need two boats to race.
1
APR
I went to watch Jack play in the Surrey U21 semi final on Friday. How Richmond managed to win right at the last is a testament to their attitude but Old Reigations were much the better side but failed to make the most of five or six overlaps.........
14
MAR
I joined Table 10 last night made up largely of friends from Bath or Ireland. Quentin Letts was our speaker and jolly good he was too. The Long Room has so much cricket history but whoever commissioned the more recent portraits of our England cricketers clearly knows little about the genre. It mattered not a jot as we retired late into the night to the Danubius Hotel.
13
MAR
I had a lovely lunch at the Cork & Bottle with David Spruce of QBE - sponsor the Autumn internationals at Twickenham.
10
MAR
I went to watch Richmond play Macclesfield yesterday. It was bitty match but with five minutes to go Richmond were leading 15-10 but they were not home by any means. They were awarded a penalty to the right hand side of the posts about 30m out and instead of going for goal which might have taken them to 18-11 - but anyway would have eaten up some time - they opted to kick for touch and then lost the subsequent line out.  Somehow Macclesfield then found themselves camped on the...
10
MAR
I went with Jilly, Jack, Daisy, Charlie and Rupert to David Gay's 65th birthday party held in the sexiest car park at Twickenham known as the North...... As he is learning the saxophone, I bought him three cds from the finest players in the world - Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane and for good measure: Miles Davis's Kind of Blue. As for the game itself frankly England were lucky to come away with a win.  
9
MAR
When I joined Bedford RUFC, now called the Bedford Blues, in 1973 Clive Hooker was first choice second row with Bob Wilkinson. He used to drive from 15 miles south of Oxford to Bedford two or three times a week whilst I was driving a similar distance from Ipswich. I left Bedford in 1978 for Bath as I had moved jobs and our friendship suffered. Over the years we have met at dinners and anniversaries but we have never sat down and had a goodly yarn. On Thursday, we had a very long,
6
MAR
I joined Richard Gorman, Jimmy Hibberd, Peter Winterbottom and Mike Gore to discuss our Melbourne to Sydney cycle ride during the British Lions tour. 
5
MAR
I had catch up meeting with Ronnie Lamb yesterday morning at the RAC Club in Pall Mall. Ronnie chairs both OURFC and Stanley's committees.
5
MAR
Yesterday late afternoon, I had an early glass of wine with Jonathan Price (CEO: Gifted) and Philip Bernie (BBC Sport) and we discussed - well here's a surprise - sport......
2
MAR
I wrote a piece about the RFU - see below - and my editor asked the RFU for a photo to accompany it but they said they didn't like the article and wouldn't help us. Dear me. Article for Kensington & Chelsea Today   English Rugby: Back and in Better Spirit by Derek Wyatt   Fifteen months ago, the English rugby union known more quaintly as the Rugby Football Union (RFU) was in freefall. At the 2011 rugby world cup in New Zealand, some of its senior players misbehaved
25
FEB
I went with Jilly, Henry, Jack and Charlie to watch England struggle for 55 minutes to hold the more adventurous French XV until the coach subbed some of the players who'd run out of steam. It did the trick especially when Danny Care cam on at scrum half and James Haskell in the back row. England's nous and fitness did the trick and France were suddenly a spent force. England won 23-13. Three wins out of three with two games to go before we can chalk up a grand slam......
18
FEB
I went with Jilly to watch Richmond v Coventry. The first half was dominated by Richmond and they led 20-6. The second half Richmond disappeared and Coventry not only caught up but led 33-27 going into the last minute of the game. There were countless scrums on the Cov line and eventually the referee awarded a second penalty try to Richmond and so at the last we won 34-33 which was tough on our visitors.
18
FEB
With Jilly, I went to the Women Sports and Fitness group in Parliament on Wednesday evening and met old friends. I was interviewed by a woman (I didn't catch her name) writing a book for Bloomsbury on Women's Sport and she wanted to know what had led me to form the Women's Sports Foundation in 1984.
9
FEB
I travelled up to Hereford on Thursday for the funeral of the great Frank Keating. Boarding at Paddington for our three and a half hour journey I bumped into Peter Bills who I hadn't seen for a decade or so and sitting opposite us was Alan Rusbridger, piano player and editor. Our journey was constantly held up at Evesham and beyond, and we made it to Belmont Abbey, the former Catholic school (now also RIP-ed), with minutes to spare. The Abbey was packed largely with former journalists...
9
FEB
The many and varied sports organisations which provide services to schools have come together to form Compass and they had their London launch at the House on Wednesday afternoon. I was guest of Planet Sport.
9
FEB
I had a quick lunch with Peter Varney in Blackheath on Wednesday and we chewed the fat about the future prospects of Charlton Athletic.
5
FEB
David Taylor and Joe Downey, friends from Bath, joined me for afternoon tea at the LooseBox yesterday. We discussed the future of the status of the Recreation Ground at Bath.
3
FEB
I went with Jilly to Twickenham yesterday to watch the Calcutta Cup (38 years ago I was on the bench for the first time and 37 years ago I was capped at Murrayfield). England had pace, verve, ideas and flare and yet in the end they will be disappointed not to have put 50 points on a poor Scottish side.
3
FEB
On a busy Friday, I attended the annual London luncheon of Bedford rugby club's former players at Gray's Inn hosted by HH Phil Boulding. Far too many years ago I used to pick him up at Cambridge where he was a student and drag him to training and often to a game in the 1st XV.
3
FEB
It has been a rugby week of sorts - two suppers, two lunches and an international - and on Friday evening it was our annual Parliamentary Rugby Club's dinner (I am President). Our guest speaker was Phil Vickery who amused us all.  
29
JAN
All Party Parliamentary Rugby Awards Dinner: https://www.facebook.com/CSCUK
29
JAN
I went up to Oxford to see Colin Smith who has won so many medals at Rowing that for such a slight man it is remarkable - including Olympic silver - but he has also been President of the Oxford Boat Club. We had a couple of hours chatting and he showed me his start up - www.tradechase.com - which has legs already....
26
JAN
The lovely Frank Keating died yesterday aged 75. The Guardian has an Obit and another piece by his dear friend Matthew Engel. I came to know Frank in the 1980s and visited him at his home near Hereford. When he was pacing up and down in the maternity unit of Hereford hospital (aged 50) another woman of a similar age asked him: "Is this your first?" To which he replied it was. She then went into raptures about what it was like being a grandparent. He didn't have the heart...
26
JAN
Yesterday evening the All Party Parliamentary Rugby Union Group held its annual awards ceremony sponsored by CSC. This year we celebrated famous British Lions: Gavin Hastings (Scotland) Rory Underwood (England) Peter Winterbottom (England) Stephen Jones (Wales) Martyn Williams (Wales) and John Hayes (Ireland) There should be a write up in the Indy on Sunday tomorrow
15
JAN
We started the Rugby Awards Dinners back in 2004 when Zurich were our first sponsors thanks to Jolyon Armstrong. They signed up for three years but as they were withdrawing from rugby sponsorship they stepped down after two. There was then a short hiatus as we sought a new sponsor which we found in 2009 (CSC) and on Friday week we shall celebrate out fourth Awards dinner with them (we missed 2011).  Yesterday, we had our final admin session before having a quick lunch at...
13
JAN
I went to watch Richmond play Sedgely Park yesterday in the freezing cold. Sedgeley have had a tough year with 13 on the injury list and their three top coaches have resigned. They had two threequarters who would have looked good in a league higher up - their left winger and full back. They never gave up but they couldn't match Richmond up front or in the pace at which they played the game.
21
DEC
De-plane-ing as opposed to disembarking from our flight to Vancouver I bumped into Mo Farah as you do. 
18
DEC
Yesterday, I met John Eales and his family at Westminster Hall and showed them round Parliament. They went into to hear the PM's Statement the Council of Europe. 
18
DEC
I had lunch at Daly's with Colin Herridge my co-author and we discussed our latest book project.
18
DEC
Bradley Wiggins deserves a knighthood as do many of our sporting heroes this year. The only thing we know about the Honours committee is that they loathe moving outside their unwritten rules but fortunately the PM agreed special honours for those who competed in the Olympics and Paralympics.  In 2004, Kelly Holmes won 2 golds in the 800m and 1500m and was made a Dame. She set the gold standard. In 2012, those who won 2 golds in 2008 and or 2012 should be made...
13
DEC
I was up early to travel to Putney this morning to watch the Oxford crews - a mix of the Blue boat and the Isis boat - in a play off over the Boat Race course. The two boats were called Hurricane and Spitfire and the latter just edged it by a half a length although they looked to be responsible for a clashing of the oars mid-way through which caused Hurricane to lose its way.   We followed the race in one of the official launches and though it was cold it was fantastic to see the crews...
13
DEC
I had a goodly lunch with Francis Baron at Marco Pierre White's Wheelers Restaurant in St James's Street yesterday.
10
DEC
Charlton drew 2-2 with Brighton in front of a 19,000+ crowd on Saturday whereas Richmond lost at home to Blackheath 21-30 (sell out pre-lunch between the two oldest club sides in the world). After a hesitant start to the Championship, Charlton are in mid table (12th) and but for a poor home record would be challenging for a top 6 position. Richmond have slipped back this past month and now need to win on Saturday v high flying Esher away.
7
DEC
New Year's Resolution 2 On Wednesday I travelled out to Chesham to see Christianne Wolff who is a personal trainer and I have signed up for a 10 x 1 hour detox and fitness regime starting in the New Year!! 
7
DEC
I went with Dudley Ankerson (Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge) to the 131st Varsity Match (I played in the Centenary match in 1981) yesterday (25,000 spectators) and watched an extraordinary game. Cambridge must have had 65% of the ball and should have won by 20 points and were cruising half way through the second half 19-6. Oxford then switched their backs around and suddenly were running riot scoring tries from all over the place........ This was Oxford's third victory in a row but
4
DEC
RWC 2015 Draw The first rugby world cup was in 1987 in NZ, the second in the UK, Ireland & France (final at Twickenham), the third in South Africa, the fourth in the UK, Ireland and France (final in Cardiff), the fifth in Oz, the sixth in France and the seventh in NZ. Home sides have made the final in 1987, 1991 (England), 1995, 1999 (France), 2003 and 2011. Home sides have won the cup in 1987, 1995 and 2011. So far all finals have been between a northern hemisphere country...
2
DEC
We went to the Jubilee Room on Wednesday to welcome Sir Colin Mead, probably the most famous rugby player in the world. I gave the introductory speech and Paul Farrelly MP presented him with a special Parliamentary tankard.
2
DEC
Roger Blitz quoted me in the FT yesterday morning. I took issue with the mauve plum shirts that the England team wore v Australia.....
2
DEC
There was quite a turn out for the England game at Twickenham - Jack came with me and then met up with a number of his friends. I had as my guests Richard and Kate from CSC who couldn't believe their luck (at the score) and Dudley, Richard and Norman joined us from Herefordshire and London. The ERIC room was packed. The game was a dream, almost a game too many for the All Blacks.........but given England's woeful performances v Oz and v SA it warmed the cockles of your heart!!
25
NOV
The RFU's naivety continues. The wretchedness of a year ago on and off the field may have ended but actually what has changed? Why was there such a rush to appoint Stuart Lancaster as coach for three years? Why wasn't he given this year to prove himself? As it we lost a three test series away to South Africa by 2-0 with a draw in the Summer and after three matches we have beaten Fiji and somehow conspired to lose against Australia nd South Africa and no-one would bet on us beating New...
18
NOV
I was on the bench for England v Australia in 1975 at Twickenham and then again in Brisbane later in the year. On New Year's eve in 1975 I received a telegram to go straight to Twickenham as I would be playing on New Year's day v Oz as David Duckham had failed a fitness test. I went home to bed and drove down at six the next morning only to be told at our Richmond hotel he might play afterall. He did and so I drove up to Bedford to play for them instead. So, I have a soft spot for...
17
NOV
I had a couple of pints of Adnams (the greatest bitter) last night in the Nag's Head in Belgravia with Andrew Bibby, the CEO of Grosvenor, North America. Andrew was a post-graduate with me at St Catz, Oxford in 1981 and we played together in the Centenary Varsity Match. We have maintained our friendship through the years partly because as half my family hails from Vancouver, where he lives, I have usually popped in to see him on one of my many visits.  We will be at the game...
15
NOV
Yesterday, I was back at Oxford for our annual Major Stanley's Trustees meeting. I played for Stanley's in 1976, 1977 and 1980 and should have played against them in 1981 whilst up at Oxford but I was injured. I selected the Stanley's XV from 1984 till 1992 and was then appointed a trustee. I missed most of the meetings between 1997-2009 because it clashed with Prime Minister's Question Time! But it is good to return to one of my passions - university rugby.... As for the game, Oxford...
15
NOV
I had a drink with Paul Vaughan who was stood down from his role as CEO of RWC 2015. Before that he had a very successful era as Marketing Director of the RFU. It was good to catch up on his news.
13
NOV
Average attendance of home fans who bought tickets via London2012 web site Cycling 47% Opening and Closing ceremonies 52% Swimming 53% Gymnastics 59% Athletics 68% Hockey 78% Boxing 81% Equestrian 82.2% Soccer 91%
11
NOV
We spent most of Saturday at Twickenham. We parked up at Richmond and then took the special bus (50p) before encamping to a rather lonely ERIC room for lunch. The first Autumn international isn't usually a sell out but a special offer for children has ensured a sell out crowd of 84k+. We chatted to David Trick, Brian Moore, Ian Robertson and Colin Herridge.  As for the game, I just couldn't find much to excite me. The Fijian front row was so technically inept that the scrums were a
11
NOV
Last Sunday I was on a sports panel chaired by Mihir Bose which discussed the lack of achievement by south Asian men and women in sport. I said they had been pretty good at squash and hockey. Actually there is a lot of soccer played although you could be forgiven in thinking their new religion was cricket. It was part of the South Asian Literary festival in Shepherd's Bush.
3
NOV
I had a catch up lunch with Simon Halliday on Tuesday - he was my centre at Oxford in the Centenary Varsity match in 1981 and went on to play for Bath and England. We then caught up with him again on Thursday evening at a cocktail party at Canning House where I also met Jeff Blackett, Colin Herridge and Richard Luddington. 
3
NOV
I met Paul Farrelly MP with Richard Gorman and Kate  Kiln of CSC to discuss our fourth awards dinner in January, 2013. 
1
NOV
The San Francisco Giants took their second world series in three years on Monday whilst NY and other major seaboard cities on the east coast hunkered down for Hurricane Sandy. You couldn't have had two more contrasting sets of photographs in their respective local newspapers on Tuesday morning. 
29
OCT
There was almost a full house (over 1400) for the game against Rosslyn Park on Saturday. Richmond let the game slip away from them in the first half and though they came back with a bang in the first 15 minutes of the second half to be one score away from Park 17-21...they couldn't maintain it and their worthy opponents finished them off winning 17-37. Ouch. 
18
OCT
Nike is of the great start ups which built itself over 20 years into a great global sports brand company. Like Apple is doesn't manufacture anything but it commissions hundreds of companies around the world to do the work for them.  I first visited them in Beaverton, Oregon in 1983 and re-visited in 2001: much had changed to the Japanese inspired Nike campus. One was that their global sportsmen and women could have a special pavilion or sports facility built to commemorate their...
16
OCT
There was a very good crowd at RAC to see Oxford University v Richmond Vikings (2nd XV) last night despite the weather. Oxford looked stronger up front and had the put away some early opportunities they may have won but they didn't and in the end they lost 10-26. They gave away far too many penalties which disrupted them. On this showing they need to let the ball go more freely to their backs.  The Varsity Match is less than 6 weeks away......(6th December 2012).
14
OCT
We went to the Past Presidents and VPs luncheon yesterday at Richmond Athletic Ground prior the National League 1 game against Cambridge. We were not at our best but in the end found some kind of form winning 30-10. 
14
OCT
I had lunch with two diplomats from the Kurdistan Regional Government on Friday at Restaurant Bistro 51 in Buckingham Gate. We talked about how we might introduce rugby to the region.
10
OCT
I was up at Iffley Road, Oxford on Monday night for the Dark Blues match against a lively Leicester Tigers "3rd" XV. Conditions were slippery under foot and it rained as well but both sides still tried to run the ball which was commendable. The sides were evenly balanced and but for an interception try by Leicester the result might have been different. The Blues still have many injuries.....alas....but there was a crowd of about a thousand which given the filthy night was pleasing.
1
OCT
I went to a terrific game of rugby on Saturday at the Richmond Athletic Ground where Richmond blew a lead of 27-10 (I think) but held on (just) to draw with the league leaders. A goodly crowd of just under a thousand saw a nail biting finish and plenty of running rugby.   My other love, Charlton Athletic, also drew 1-1 against Blackburn at The Valley.
24
SEP
I went to watch Jack, my son, play for Richmond Saxons yesterday against the GB Jewish XV which will be playing in Tel Aviv at the 19th Maccabiah Games next year. Conditions were appalling as the rain just kept raining down. Richmond kept playing their usual open game which saw them win comfortably by 50-24. Jack played second row - though he really wants to play wing forward - and managed a try and could have scored a second but unselfishly passed. The match was at OMT's in Northwood. The...
21
SEP
I went to hear Nicholas Lezard speak about his book Nolympics at the RSA yesterday. I walked out. He was awful. The book is as bad; he misread the nation's mood. But he had one amusing comment which was that Jeremy Hunt, the DCMS Secretary of State, told Danny Boyle having watched a rehearsal of the Opening ceremony to take out the NHS beds scenes as he felt that as a whole "It wasn't Tory enough". Now we know.    
17
SEP
I have recently added to my Olympic collection: Olympic Games through a lens from Time Out £12.99 224pp an idiosyncratic collection of photographs of winners since 1896 & The British Olympics: Britain's Olympic Heritage 1612-2012 by Martin Polley £17.99 200pp just the best book on our own legacy and contribution to the Olympic cause 
16
SEP
With Daisy, my daughter, I went to the British Art Fair - www.britishartfair.co.uk - at the RCA this morning. This was a first for both of us. We absolutely loved it. There was so much to see and the prices were not too intimidating! I especially liked the work of Emma Haworth.
16
SEP
I went with Jack, who is also a registered Richmond player, to watch them play their third game in the SSE National League Division one match against Blaydon (from Newcastle upon Tyne). To be frank we were fortunate to hold Blaydon who had a never say die attitude and nearly stole the game in the final minutes. Our problem is we are slow to cross the gain line and we are short of options out wide. Nonetheless, a win's a win! And we just clinched it 24-20 which means we have won both of...
16
SEP
I paid my second visit to The Valley on Friday night to see them lose 0-1 to Crystal Palace. We had a goal disallowed for offside which on the replays looked fine. When will soccer introduce technology so aid referees? But actually, Palace deserved their win and after five games we have won one and drawn two and look to be struggling in every department except in goal and at striker. But we played the ball sideways and backwards as though no-one knew where the penalty area was. On this...
12
SEP
Q. How many British male tennis players have made it to a Grand Slam final since Fred Perry won the USA Championship in 1936? A. Bunny Austin 1937 (Fr), 1938 (Wimbledon) John Lloyd 1977 (Oz) Greg Rusedski 1997 (USA) Andy Murray 2008 (USA), 2010 (Oz), 2011 (Oz), 2012 (Wimbledon) AND WINNER 2012 (USA)  Q. Why wasn't Fred Perry knighted? A. Because the All England Club wouldn't support his case because he turned professional. Perry won 8 Majors plus 2...
9
SEP
I drove up to St Alban's yesterday lunch-time which was hot even with the roof down! I wouldn't recommend the city as it took 35 minutes to finish the last 3 miles of the journey. The town planners need to resolve this chronic issue but I suspect car drivers have been saying that for the past 50 years.  Richmond were playing St Alban's in SSE National League 1. Last week Richmond opened their account with a win whereas OLd Albanians started with a loss. In the...
5
SEP
The BBC and C4 have shown the way into how to cover major events with their exceptional coverage of the Olympics and Paralympics. The IOC has not. Its attitude to their intellectual property rights is archaic and tells us that as an organisation they are still thinking "analogue".  The world has gone mobile and the BBC has shown how you reach new audiences on the tablet and mobile as well as on digital television channels. This was a first for the world.  
2
SEP
I was a guest of a council member at Twickenham yesterday at the double header where Quins beat Wasps having been 13-40 down with 25 minutes left to play - by 42-40.......and Saracens saw off a disappointing London Irish 40-3. Elsewhere Richmond beat Wharfedale 34-24 and Charlton lost away to Nottingham 1-2. Meanwhile, Jack, my son, was in another winning XV at Richmond but he couldn't remember the exact score!! 
2
SEP
The BBC's Match of The Day is desperately dull and needs a major re-think. It's time for new presenters and and a new production team otherwise it will wither on the vine.  It's just too predictable.
26
AUG
Charlton 0-0 Hull I went with Roger Truelove yesterday to watch Charlton play Hull at The Valley. We had the best of the first half as Hull was so timid and lacking in ambition. We had no clear chances but our sense was we'd win 1-0. However, the torrential downpour in the second half amazingly brought Hull back into the game. In the end Hull could have won it.  I cannot see either team challenging for honours this year. Charlton badly need some mid-field players but that's...
25
AUG
We were at Richmond Athletic ground last night for the London Scottish v Richmond friendly. There was a goodly crowd despite the on-off rain. London Scottish were comfortable winners using tactics which took them over the gain line as close to their forwards as possible. Richmond lacked any kind of understanding of how to combat this and little leadership. Just as well this was a friendly........Scottish start their season off next week the Championship whilst Richmond start their's a league...
23
AUG
Charlton should have won away against Brimingham on Saturday being pipped by a 90th minute goal against Birmingham (1-1). For their first home fixture against Leicester on Tuesday they were 2-0 at half time and came through 2-1 to take them third on four points alongside six other sides. I am going to their next match at home v Hull on Saturday.
23
AUG
Richer Than God is the story of the second coming of Manchester City by The Guardian journalist and supporter David Cohn. It was a great read for someone like myself who also has an interest in the business side of the Premier League. Nonetheless, the sums involved to help re-create City are mind blowing and out of all proportion to the spirit of the game - if that matters anymore.
19
AUG
Richmond beat Blackheath 50-20 It wasn't quite the opening game of the season more a friendly as the two oldest club sides in the world played three sessions of thirty minutes. Blackheath struggled all game to match Richmond's fitness and finesse and rarely threatened. Richmond will be pleased with their work out though the backs lacked a little penetration. Richmond next game is against London Scottish on Friday evening.
18
AUG
This was the letter I submitted to the FT on 15th August following James Purnell's extraordinary defence of the Department of Culture, Media & Sport: Dear Sir   (Re: James Purnell article on DCMS and Sport)   It is widely acknowledged by the businesses and organisations which have to deal with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport that it is not for fit for purpose. It is by some way the weakest department in Whitehall.   We have a single...
18
AUG
Colin Herridge - my co-author - and me were at Bloomsbury on Wednesday pitching our next rugby book (we've done two together). WE've a bit more work to do on the synopsis but my sense is we might have a commission in about two months time.
13
AUG
Wyatt List for UK Honours for Olympic Athletes 2012 2 Golds equals knighthood or dame hood (based on Kelly Holmes in 2004) 2 Golds or more by or in 2012 Ben Ainslie Bradley Wiggins Mo Farah Jason Kenny Laura Trott Charlotte Dujardin Special compensation: 1gold and 3 silvers Kathy Grainger 2 golds or more 2008 and 2012 Rebecca Adlington Victoria Pendleton As usual the award of honours is a mystery unless you are a member of the Honours Sports committee so
10
AUG
Thunderer Column today p26 The Times: The IOC must end the free tickets and the expensive junkets by Derek Wyatt     The International Olympic Committee (currently 106 members) is not a fit-for-purpose organisation. To avoid its own “Arab Spring” it needs a radical restructure.     It has not backed equal rights for more than half the world's population even though its own Charter says it must “encourage and...
10
AUG
Editorial Intelligence: Daily Bulletin on Comment Pages Comment Headlines Stories dominating today's comment pages... LONDON OLYMPICS: The Sun's Frankie Boyle thinks everyone is so positive because for two weeks the papers have not been showing us the real news. The Independent's Owen Jones says it's not competitive spirit that poor kids lack, but fields on which to compete. Only state intervention can counter the massive advantages the most privileged schools have. In The Times Philip...
9
AUG
I had a lovely lunch with Jane Placket (Bain) who works at the Beeb and when younger played tennis for England. I first met her in 1986 when she worked at C4 and approached me about writing a novel based on her tennis experiences.
9
AUG
I took Nigel Haunch to the Bayt Qatar (Olympic House) last night in Savoy Place where we had supper and watched the Track & Field finals. The Qataris have decked out the IET with two showcase exhibitions on their plans to host the FIFA Soccer 2022 (the stadium is to die for) and their current building projects in and near Doha. There is also a soukh, a cinema, hospitality upstairs and an exquisite open air restaurant. The IET HQ has had an amazing makeover at some cost...
8
AUG
I went yesterday evening to watch the GB men's hockey team draw somewhat fortuitously 1-1 with Spain and in so doing qualified for the semi-finals. We were last there in 1988 when we went on to win the gold medal.
8
AUG
Published 09.08.12 Sir Please don't ask primary school teachers to solve the crisis in sport for our children (Leader: Sport & Education/6th August 2012). They have enough on their plates. The last Government wasted over £1billion trying to impose a sports system on our secondary schools which largely failed. We have thousands and thousands of vibrant sports organisations in all our communities. They are our sports clubs which do a stunningly good job largely...
7
AUG
I went to the Athletics last night to see five finals: ** Women's shot, pole vault and steeplechase ** Men's 400m hurdles and 400m  The gold medal winners were: ** Our volunteers - always cheerful and so helpful ** The spectators whose knowledge of the sport is the best in the world The disappointment for me was the design of the stadium and the poor sight levels. I simply cannot see how or why any soccer team would want to move here without an agreement that the...
7
AUG
I went with Adrian Metcalfe, who won a silver medal in the 4 x 400m relay in Tokyo in 1964 with Robbie Brightwell, Menzies Campbell and John Cooper (who lost his life in the Turkish Air Crash over Paris in 1974), to the Athletics last night.  I will write more about my experience in due course (Adrian has early signs of dementia).  We saw an excellent women's Pole Vault, we could see little of the women's shot putt final which was poorly covered and then the women's...
2
AUG
We went to Lords Cricket Ground yesterday afternoon to watch the Olympic Archery. There was a full house and we braved the wind and cold for over three hours whilst watching the men's and women's competition. The highlight was watching an Iraqi woman with the most basic of equipment participate.  As usual, in the women's the Koreans, Italians and Mexicans looked the best. 
2
AUG
Yesterday, I had a working lunch with Colin Herridge, my co-author. We think our next book project is about to be commissioned and so we worked on our synopsis and marketing plan. 
30
JUL
The fiasco over ticketing for a major world sporting event is not a new phenomenon. The real problem is that there isn't an equivalent eBay system for them to be made available three hours beforehand (people have to travel). The real question is how much do these tickets represent? And why weren't Londoners who all have paid extra on their Council tax bills offered them first?  
26
JUL
Peter Varney saved Charlton Athletic nearly two years ago when it was 48 hours away from financial melt-down. So, I was surprised when he announced he was stepping down from the Board two weeks ago..........yesterday, we had a catch up lunch at Belle Vista in Blackheath. Thankfully he is staying on the CAFC Trust which is doing so well.  
23
JUL
I have been to most sporting occasions in the UK and quite a few elsewhere - baseball  and US Football, rugby world cup finals in Oz and France and SA, F1 in Hungary, the soccer world cup in Japan and the America's Cup in Fremantle. I am taken by the knowledge of the crowds at The Open, Wimbledon, Lord's and The Oval, Twickenham, Aintree, the Tour de France, Crystal Palace (track and field), Wembley (rugby league) and F1. I doubt if another nation has such a band of loyal...
23
JUL
I went with Roger Truelove, a dear friend, to The Oval yesterday to watch England toil in the sun. This is a fine South African side and they are deservedly at the top of the world rankings. We may be 0-1 down before the close of play today.
14
JUL
Gloucestershire v Essex at Cheltenham College I travelled up to Highnam on Thursday evening, to stay with Richard A. who has a house on land which was previously owned by a Quaker family and so, of course, the estate has no public house. Three of us were assembling there to make an assault on Cheltenham College on Friday to watch Gloucestershire v Essex in a four day match. I cannot remember the last time I watch a four-dayer. To be honest aside from Test matches I have lost...
10
JUL
I was up at 0430 this morning and on my way to Oxford today to be a privileged guest at the Iffley Road track where Roger Bannister was to light the Olympic torch. On my way up the M40 there were dozens of workers painting the Olympic lanes ready for 2012 in just 17 days I arrived at just after six and had a cup of tea and then met Brough Scott, Jack Rowell, Simon Halliday, Sally Jones, Seb Coe and John Curry (AELTC).  Sir Roger Bannister lit the torch and told us how he used the...
4
JUL
I had an hour with Nick Keller the founder and CEO of Beyond Sport yesterday. Their big shindig in London is happening 24th-26th July 2012. 
4
JUL
I went to the opening of the two sports exhibitions to coincide with London 2012 at RIBA last night. The first was entitled: Design Stories - the Architecture Behind 2012 and showed models of most of the major stadia which comprises the Lea Valley site whilst the second: After the Party - The Legacy of Celebration was more cerebral and worrying as it highlighted some of the success and quite a lot of failures of buildings which were built to celebrate an event but had no afterlife. 
3
JUL
I had lunch yesterday with Vivien Smiley who now works part-time for the LTA (she does have three children under 5) having been the Comms Director there for some time. We had a goodly chat about the state of UK tennis where our women are finally coming through into the Top 100.
29
JUN
We had a simply wonderful day at Wimbledon yesterday thanks to a dear friend finding me a couple of tickets late on Tuesday evening....... We spoiled ourselves at a certain bar before going into watch Serena Williams (v Czink) who was in feisty mood. Her serve is still why she is at the top of the women's game but a three setter or someone who can return some of her serves might cause her problems. We then had a wiser Murray (v Karlovic) with an array of different strokes which he...
24
JUN
I saw Adrian Metcalfe yesterday at the Sunrise Senior Living Centre on the Stockbridge Road, Winchester. Adrian was the first Head of Sport at C4 and the Eurosport before becoming Head of Programmes at Tyne Tees. He won a silver medal in the 4 x 400 m relay in Tokyo alongside Sir Menzies Campbell MP and Robbie Brightwell (not sure who the fourth member was).  I have tried to find him on and off for two years but he wouldn't or couldn't answer his mobile. He has...
23
JUN
I went to the "celebration" of the life of Jean Elizabeth Lamb on Thursday; she had passed away last week. Jean was a saint and for the last six years of her life she dealt with both Alzheimer's and terrible cancer but she wouldn't let it overwhelm her and she never complained. I knew David, her husband, better but we all had a wonderful time together at a wedding near Malaga last September. IN some ways her death was a blessing but she had insisted we all wore colourful...
23
JUN
Yesterday, I travelled down to Goodwood to play golf. I last played in Doha four years ago where conditions were difficult (mainly the heat!!). I managed 14 holes before fatigue took over.....I won 2 and shared a couple but though my legs were tired, my arthritis was such that I played pain free. I am beginning to feel that I have it under control.  
17
JUN
London Host the Olympics for a Third Time by Derek Wyatt   London has saved the Olympics twice.   In 1908 the Games were due to go to Rome but a volcanic eruption in Naples caused a weak Italian government to panic which led them to cancel them and they were then awarded to our great city.   The Games were held over six months with the sailing being delayed because our yacht was trying to win the America’s Cup in New York (it was ever thus). So instead of...
16
JUN
I had offered to fix the University's rugby tour for 2013 and so yesterday we met with our marketing team to discuss sponsorship and marketing opportunities at the Vincent's Club. I was elected a member there back in 1981 and won a Blue in the centenary Varsity match in the same year.  
1
JUN
John Webster hosted a dinner in Parliament last night for the GB Rifle Shooting team who won the world championship in 2011 (I was a guest). At the end of an emotional evening, he announced his retirement as captain. (I played in the Centenary Varsity match with him in 1981).
27
MAY
Lewis Hamilton 5th in Monaco but still not at his best; England thrash BaaBaas at Twickenham; Luke Donald wins the PGA Championship (again) and England's cricket team is running through the Windies with 2 days still to go (plus England won at football last night). 
20
MAY
I went to the Third Test yesterday at Lords with my dear friend Roger Truelove. We had been given a couple of debentures which meant we also had lunch and tea. It was surprising to meet some many old friends there including Lord Tim Razzall and Bob Marshall-Andrews. The cricket was surprisingly dull as there were so few West Indians in the crowd making a noise with   their chanting and music.  But for a mad eight minutes when the Windies lost 3 wickets in the afternoon, it
16
MAY
I went up to talk to John Carter, captain of the Dark Blues rugby XV and Tim Stevens, who runs the admin. about our plans for an overseas tour in 2013. 
6
MAY
Richmond just beat Caldy yesterday in the play off fixture between second placed Division 2N and their Division 2S counterparts The scores were level at full time but Richmond edged it 20-13 and thus won promotion to National League 1.  So both my sides which I support - Charlton Athletic and Richmond - were promoted. 
5
MAY
I was a guest of the Charlton board today and sat next to Michael Grade. We won 3-2 which was a great tribute to our realtively new manager, Chris Powell. But next year we must finish mid-table and then go for promotion in 2013-14.
1
MAY
First the RFU appoints Stuart Lancaster as its coach until the next rugby world cup in 2015 and now the FA appoints Roy Hodgson until 2016 (so he will oversee one world cup in 2014). Stuart Lancaster should have been given a one year contract for 2012 which incorporated the South African tour next month and the southern hemisphere games later in the year. Roy Hodgson has had a limited experience with top flight players. Managing Sweden, Switzerland and the UAE is one thing as is...
30
APR
I was a guest of Peter Coates. the chairman of Stoke City FC, on Saturday where the home side drew with Arsenal. 
24
APR
Doug Smith, an old mucker of mine, has done a cricket lunch in the House of Lords for aeons and yesterday was his annual bash......somehow he manages to invite the cricketing fraternity and it was yet another fun event......
23
APR
Back in the 1970s and 1980s there were those on the right who insisted that sporting contacts with apartheid South Africa built bridges. I would respond by asking how long the bridge was? Fast forward to Friday's press conference where some jumped up Prince of Sand in Bahrain was saying that we should build bridges. Bridges to where? The Sunni royal family is in a minority in its own country. All it has to do is allow Shia followers the same rights as they have. Dream on. The losers in...
22
APR
If was a difficult choice for me yesterday but in the end I went to support Richmond rather than Charlton. Richmond were comfortable winners against Lydney and remain second in National League 2 South. Charlton beat Wycombe Wanderers 2-1 to win Division 1. It looks like Richmond will have to play off to win promotion but that game is on 5th May when I shall be at The Valley to watch Charlton be awarded the title trophy. 
18
APR
Goodness how the world of motorpsort needs a conscience. Hardly anything has changed in this tiny fiefdom, which delights in having a puny king, since last year's Grand Prix was cancelled. Their own citizens are being tortured and maimed and yet somehow the world of F1 must go on. How very sad.
10
APR
I drove back early from Aldeburgh yesterday morning to take Jack to the Sutton & Epsom rugby ground for the final of the Surrey U21 cup. Richmond threw the game away again and again and again being much the better side! They lost to Chipstead 30-27 having been ahead at half time 13-10.
2
APR
Charlton have had a nervous run in for the final six weeks of the very long season in Division 1 (Old Division South/3) suddenly losing twice at home and showing indifferent form away....but they were much the better side on Saturday and came away eventually with a 2-0 win....to the relief of everybody at The Valley but especially the Board. Six games to go - three away and three home........we're six points clear of our nearest rivals.....we should do it....
2
APR
Yesterday, I went to watch Jack, my son, play against Cobham U21s for a place in the final of the Surrey U21 Cup final. It was a hot day and the dust from the hard pitch could be seen after each scrum. Cobham had the better threequarter line but struggled a bit up front. Though Jack prefers to play back row because of his height he is playing more in the second row and won good lineout ball all through the game. The score with a minute to go was 23-20 to Richmond who then gave away...
29
MAR
There seems to be a betting sponsorship free for all for Premier League soccer clubs which gives them a billboard or a shirt to advertise their wares before the 9pm watershed: Manchester United Betfair   Manchester City Paddy Power   Arsenal Betsson   Spurs Sporting Bet   Chelsea   Newcastle 12Bet.com   Liverpool 188 Bet   Sunderland Tombola   Everton 188 Bet   Swansea 32 Red Online...
26
MAR
Tiger Woods golfing future has turned the corner nearly three years after his own private life was exposed for all the world to see. He has a finally won a tournament - for the seventh time - two weeks before The Masters and much of the old master's touch was back. Who would bet against him on a course he loves??
5
MAR
Charlton keep notching away wins mostly because they train and play through to 95 minutes. On Saturday, yet another goal was scored in the 90+5 extra time perios and it was enough to keep us top of Division 1. We need a further 15 points from 12 games to be certain of promotion and we've still to lose at home..... Underneath us Sheffield Utd lost 2-3, their neighbours Wednesday drew away and there were also draws for MK Dons, Huddersfield and Stevenage..... P34 W23 D9 L2 FA64-23 P78
2
MAR
I went up to Oxford on Wednesday evening to watch Jack, my son, make his debut for the Penguins aagianst my old side......I was wearing two hats - I am a trustee at OURFC and a member of the Penguins committee......and before you ask I had no hand in my son's selection! Here is their match report: The Penguins secured a hard fought 36-22 win against Oxford University at Iffley Road last night. In perfect playing conditions the Penguins hit their stride quickly when after ten phases of...
29
FEB
I attended a TCSF board meeting yesterday which was held at the old Motspur Park athletics ground (I used to run there as a youngster!) which is now the training ground of Fulham FC. I saw Danny Murphy and others playing 3-aside.....
26
FEB
England did a lot to repair their battered reputation on and off the field yesterday at Twickenham even if they did lose 17-12. The crowd was brilliant and egged on the team and clapped lineout and rucked steals. The tackling was terrific from both sides. So P3 W2 L1 with an away game in Paris and a home came v Ireland at home to come. We'll do well to win any further games. What is clear is that we do not have anyone in the back line capable of scoring aside from Farrell and we have few...
26
FEB
On Friday evening I was a guest of Alan Wright, co-founder of the Penguins with the late Tony Mason, at their committee dinner. I have been on its executive for many years and helped fix their 50th anniversary game at Twickenham.
26
FEB
On Friday, I had lunch courtesy of Tim Crowe, CEO of Synergy, at The Riding House Cafe. The food was excellent as was the atmosphere save for the eclectic choice of music! (Maybe its my age). 
12
FEB
I used to go to this fixture in Rome regularly (starting in 2000) and didn't miss a match until 2010 and I could have gone to this but I have something else cooking in the background and chose to miss it. Actually, watching it live on television was about as it good as it gets as the match was dire. Still the England players have now W2 from 2 and know that in two weeks time against Wales at home they will have a test of fire. There should be changes in the front row, back row, half...
10
FEB
The Football Association has been the laughing stock of the football world and an acute embarrassment to its many fans in England. The lack of any sensible structure either at FIFA or UEFA means players play far too much football. Compare the excitement and organisation of American Football where the league, then knock out concept and wild cards gives most teams a chance to win the Superbowl. Our leagues have too many teams, the season is too long and the quality of...
5
FEB
A new look England beat a Scottish side which must have wondered most of the last night and all of today how on earth they let the game slip. In the end England won but they will have to play differently against Italy next week if they are to arrive at Twickenham at the end of the month having played 2 and won 2.   I played in the Calcutta Cup in 1976!!
3
FEB
It's probably not a good idea to be too close to the Barbican around noon today. Gathering there for our annual lunch bash will be the Bedford Blues rugby club's Former Players.............
29
JAN
The All Party Parliamentary Rugby Union awards were held for a fifth time on Friday evening and for the third time they were sponsored by CSC. The BBC again filmed the evening and interviewed the players and some of this will appear next Saturday on the prelude to the opening Six Nations matches. The Rugby Heroes were: John Eales, Australia Francois Pienaar, South Africa Jonny Wilkinson, England and Shane Williams, Wales The players were presented with bespoke blue...
29
JAN
Richmond stayed top of English National league 2S with a 26-10 win against Clifton whilst Charlton won away at Exeter 1-0 to stay top of the old third division (now Division One of the Championship). The two rugby teams I played for and am still a member of through their Old Players Associations - Bath and Bedford - had mixed fortunes yesterday. Bath won 46-14 against a poor Northampton side whilst Bedford had a week off!!
25
JAN
I went to Toulon via Marseilles on Sunday. In Toulon the weather was so agreeable we were able to sit by the marina and eat out till past 10pm then we stepped inside to sup the odd glass of Armagnac..... On Monday we took some stills and video of the Rugby Club Toulon and the city itself and then waited for the maestro to appear. His agent back in England kept us up to speed as to his training regime and as ever he was late as he wanted to do just a little more. We did about 15...
17
JAN
There was a goodly turn out for Mihir Bose's launch party for his 25th book: The Spirit of The Game - How Sport Made the Modern World last night at Daunt's bookshop in Marylebone High Street. I spotted newly enobled Sir John Armitt, Tessa Jowell, Dick Caborn, Simon Lewis, Mark and Barry Davies, Mark Streatfeild, Tim Crow, Edward Griffiths and that arch book editor, Richard Heller. I bought the book. In a previous life I commisisoned three of Mihir's books - one on Indian cricket -
15
JAN
Yesterday, I went to Richmond to watch the boys play Taunton and they just snatched a win - 53-14 to stay top. Meanwhile, at Sheffield Wednesday, Charlton won away 1-0 to stay top..... A goodly day....
4
JAN
I went with Colin Herridge and Tom Levitt to see Charlton beat Brentford 2-0 at The Valley on Monday. We weren't at our best but fortunately nor was Brentford who hardly troubled us. A goodly crowd of just on 18,000 cheared us on.
20
DEC
Jonny Englander by Derek Wyatt   Lefties are a breed apart and I don’t just mean Karl Marx and Friedrich Engel.   Neither would I wish to distress Prince William, Bill Clinton or the recent London School ping pong champions also known as Barack Obama and David Cameron, who are all lefties.   Nor would I want to upset those truly great tennis players John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova. Nor Rafa Nadal though he is a part-timer as he writes with his other hand. And then...
11
DEC
I travelled to Southend yesterday to watch Richmond v Southend. In 1965-66 Allen, my brother, played for Southend at full back before we moved to Colchester (I was at secondary school) so it was good to be able to come back and feel his spirit (he passed 17 years ago). I attended the lunch beforehand and just before the game met Martin Blackett who lived with us as a boy in Lagos and Hong Kong which made my day. As for the game, it was a tad dull....with Richmond eking out a win by...
8
DEC
Over 27,000 spectators were at Twickenham this afternoon to watch the 130th Varsity Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University. At half time the score was 13-10 to Oxford and my team of John Webster (Oxford 1981), Andrew Bibby (Oxford 1981) and Dudley Ankerson (Cambridge 1968) were of the opinion that the 'Tabs might edge it in the second. So it came as some surprise when Oxford dominated the scrums, the lineouts and consequently the game and ran out worthy winners by...
8
DEC
The 1981 Oxford side which played against Cambridge in the Centenary Varsity Match had a table at the annual Vincent's Dinner last night. Only four players couldn't make it Dr Phil Crowe (caught up in Sydney), Dr Chris Hugo-Hamman (in Cape Town) Dr Nick Herrod (lost contact) and Stuart Barnes. Andrew Bibby, now CEO of Grosvenor  in North America - he lives in Vancouver and commutes to San Francisco - made it.  
8
DEC
Over 450 sportsmen and women attended the Sports Journalists' Associations annual sports awards yesterday lunchtime. I was an invited guest and took with me Charlie Burgess. www.sportsjournalists.co.uk
4
DEC
I took Jack, my son, to the Heroes match at Twickenham yesterday. The crowd of around 30,000 helped raise another £400k to the £120m now raised by the outstanding Help for Heroes teams. www.helpforheroes.org.uk
1
DEC
Yesterday afternoon the teams playing at Twickenham on Saturday for the Help the Heroes charity were at No.10 where they met David Cameron. We shook hands and chatted briefly. I was asked to help fix the event.
30
NOV
Huddersfield's extraordinary run of 43 games without defeat (well without defeat in the league) came to an end on Monday night when a well marshalled Charlton side nicked the game 2-0. Charlton have now not lost for seven games but stay top 7 points clear. Chris Powell, our manager, has turned round the Club in less than a year.
28
NOV
From The Guardian this morning: Even though the new chief executive, and the RFU has been focusing on the business world, would not be able to start until well into the new year, the hope has been that he would have an input into key appointments and decisions that have to be made, not least who will succeed Martin Johnson as the England team manager on a permanent basis and a review of all the departments at Twickenham. "You have to ask whether there is a sport in this country that is...
27
NOV
Paul Rees in The Observer has the story that the RFU is about to award a bonus to sacked acting CEO, Martyn Thomas for £230k for barely four months work: you couldn't make it up.
27
NOV
I have been watching Richmond (x6), Oxford University (x3), Bedford (x1) and Bath (x1) this season. I coached Richmond 25 years ago when they were in what is now called The Championship (old Division 2) and played for the other three sides. Actually, I played for Richmond but only for the Heavies. Each time, I have watched Richmond there have been four - seven team changes and as a result they have lost their rhythm losing to Worthing away and now being walloped by...
24
NOV
I was approached yesterday morning by Anne Spackman to pen 500 words on the Twickenham farce/pantomime. I sen this in and most of it has survived in this morning's newspaper on p36: English Rugby: A manifesto for change by Derek Wyatt     I doubt if any rugby supporter in the land was that surprised when reading the leaked documents about the off and on the field revelations of our England players who so badly misrepresented our country in the rugby world cup a month...
24
NOV
Media coverage on Twickenham pantomime 15.10.11 FT article calling for Martyn Thomas, Martin Johnson and Rob Andrew to stand down 02.11.11 BBC Radio 4's Today programme (0830) interview on RFU Later in the day, Martyn Thomas sacked as acting CEO, RFU 16.11.11 C4 News interview on RFU Earlier in the day, Martin Johnson had stepped down as manager 24.11.11 The Times article about RFU So just Rob Andrew left...............
20
NOV
I wrote an article in the FT five weeks ago. I called for the sacking of Martyn Thomas Martin Johnson and Rob Andrew Just one to go then; this week Andrew has been under attack by all and sundry.
17
NOV
I drove back from Major Stanley's match at Oxford late yesterday afternoon to be interviewed by Cathy Newman of C4 News at 7 on the fate of Martin Johnson who had stepped down from being England's rugby manager earlier in the day. I called for his resignation in my article in the FT last month.
17
NOV
The Major Stanley's Trust (I am a trustee) held its annual meeting at Oxford yesterday before its match against the Dark Blues.
14
NOV
It was desperately sad to read that Peter Roebuck had taken his life but not so surprising. I first met him in 1984 when I published at George Allen & Unwin, It Never Rains. This was his second book and followed on from Slices of Cricket (1982). Both were critically acclaimed and commercially successful. He was happier putting pen to paper. As I had recently lived and played rugby in Bath, I didn't need much of an excuse to leave London and spend a day there...
13
NOV
It was a celebratory rugby weekend.....on Friday I attended the 125th anniversary of my first senior club, Bedford RUFC - now known as the Blues - at the Club. It was good to touch base with players from our 1975 Cup win - Budge Rogers, Norman Barker, Clive Hooker, Chris Bailward, Foster Edwards and Bob Demming. It was also sad to think we won't be at the 150th........... Yesterday. it was Richmond's turn to enjoy 150 years - making them the second oldest club in the world.
10
NOV
If we thought FIFA was badly managed, the RFU excelled itself last week. Its Management Board (now there's an oxymoron) sacked Martyn Thomas, as its Acting CEO, and stripped him of his positions on the world body (IRB), the Six Nations, the Heineken Cup and chairman of the RFU's 2015 World Cup committee. That was some decision and it was widely applauded beyond the rugby world.   Except, Thomas hasn't been sacked until his contract runs out...
7
NOV
I went down to Bath for the weekend for several reasons: ** to see Jack, my son, who is at Bath Uni ** to see my good friends - David and Sue Gay ** to have supper with Ken Loach ** to watch Bath v Harlequins ** to enjoy a vista of the Fireworks on the Rec Jack was in fine form though he had no rugby this week. he has gone from the 3rd XV to the 2nd XV in four weeks and is hoping to play for the 1st's before Christmas. I used to coach the University side from 1978-81 and on...
3
NOV
Quite a few rugby journalists will be wondering what to write this morning such has been their closeness/blind loyalty to Martyn Thomas, the former chairman of the RFU and acting CEO. Finally, the RFU Management Board fired him yesterday.
2
NOV
I ddi an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme about the RFU. The RFU's Management Board (now there's an oxymoron) meets today to decide: 1. What to do with the 130 Clubs who want the Acting CEO to stand down 2. What to do with Martin Johnson 3. Whether to commission a report about the six reports currently progressing 4. Er, that's it
31
OCT
I went to watch Richmond beat Shelford 41-14 on Saturday. For sixty minutes the team looked as though it had had collective brain surgery as it spluttered to score against a lively Shelford side. In the end after the half backs were subbed, the threequarters finally started to move the ball more quickly and a tired Shelford paid the price. Elsewhere Worthing hitherto undefeated lost 49-14 to Hartpury (Gloucester's Academy XV) which makes this weekend's game for Richmond away to Worthing
26
OCT
In a spirited match at the outstanding Ealing Trailfinders home, Oxford University beat a mix and match XV 19-12 though they were 19-0 up with five minutes to go. To be honest, Ealing were much the better side for long periods of the first half but failed to press home their advantage. Charlton also beat Wycombe Wanderers away 2-1 to go three points clear at the top of Division 1 (old Division 3 to you and me).
24
OCT
In yesterday's Mail on Sunday, Sir Clive Woodward was coming back (again) to become the overall coaching head honcho at the RFU..........how does that story fly? What you do is leak a story about Fran Cotton's findings (his report was commissioned by Martyn Thomas as acting CEO) not due until next month without a quote from Fran himself. So who leaked it? The leaking is poisoning English rugby. Does the RFU Council care though? The Blackett Report was very critical of the...
23
OCT
It wasn't a classic final in Auckland but New Zealand have at last won again and in the end though the result 9-8 was close the All Blacks were the best side in a poor tournament. That the IRB and the RFU are held in such low esteem is extraordinary and both need to be completely rebuilt from the bottom up. Fat chance. Who would have thought that both of them would rival FIFA for negative column inches?
22
OCT
I went to The Valley this afternoon and saw a classy performance from the Red Robins which saw them 3-0 and half-time when it could easily have been 5-0; in the end though Carlisle were down to ten men for 50 minutes we could not convert more than further chance. Still as we had drawn 2 and lost 1 from our last three games it was good to be back winning again (Crowd 16,700). Huddersfield won 3-1 at home so we are still top by 1 point but they have a better goal difference.
22
OCT
RWC 2011, the seventh since the inaugural event in 1987, will have cost the New Zealand tax-payers at least $40m as that was the guarantee its Government had to pay to ensure they won the rights to host them. That and visits to the UK and Ireland to shore up the votes the night before the secret ballot. By rights, they should have gone to Japan.   The Kiwis have organised and hosted a brilliant RWC but the games have hardly set the world on fire. There needs to be a change...
18
OCT
The first rugby world cup semi finalists in 1987 were France v Wales and NZ v Oz. The play offs saw Wales just beat Oz and in the final NZ overcame France.  The RWC 2011 is an exact mirror of RWC 1987. So assuming it follows that course NZ will be world champions and worthy ones at that and Wales will beat a tired Ozzie XV.
16
OCT
Stephen Jones has shifted his position today in The Sunday Times about the shenanigans inside the RFU and he was supported by Paul Hayward in another article The Observer. Chaos reigns there. It is time to clear the stables out.
16
OCT
This is how bad it is; the Surrey Council member of the RFU has been told to write to all the Clubs in his patch to support Martyn Thomas at the RFU; maybe this is being repeated up and down the land. This is because 100 Clubs have called a Special meeting of the RFU Council to place a no confidence vote in Mr Thomas. If he can garner enough letters of support from clubs he can argue against the 100 Clubs motion. That's not the point. He hired and fired John Steele; he hired Martin...
16
OCT
I watched Richmond yesterday beat a very good Redruth side 66-7; they were ultimately blown away by our fitness, speed and defence. Sadly Charlton lost their unbeaten record to Stevenage but we are still top of League 1 (just) - will be watching them against Carlisle next Saturday.
15
OCT
End the Twickenham soap opera to revive England's fortunes by Derek Wyatt (Page 11 in FT)    I have been going to see England play rugby for the past 30 years including five World Cups. I don’t recognise the game today to the game I once played. In Sydney on the morning of the England’s Rugby World Cup victory over Australia in 2003 I had to ask Stuart Barnes, the former England fly half and rugby pundit, to explain the new secret to the game. “The team that wins the lineouts wins
11
OCT
I went to watch both teams last night given I am a member of one and won a Blue back in 1981. Richmond started the liveliest of the two and I was half expecting a comfortable win but then they went off the boil. Oxford attacked from every where and with great elan stole a first half lead and though they tired at the end were comfortable winners notching 44 points in the process. Richmond Vikings 29-44 Oxford University I met Dugald MacDonald, the Dark Blues No.8, who is the son of...
9
OCT
So it will be an Australian v All Black semi-final next weekend. South Africa must wonder how they lost their quarter final match with all that possession but the truth is (and you would often say this about the Springboks) the Wallabies are mentally, the toughest rugby nation. They showed this by taking England to extra time in RWC 2003. They have been to three world cup finals and may yet make a fourth....  
8
OCT
The form teams at RWC 2011 have been NZ, SA  and Wales. Earlier today, France joined the threesome after comprehensively outclassing England. France did to England what they so often do to NZ and whipped them. Wales were a revelation with their attacking and defensive play which overwhelmed a tired Irish XV.  Tomorrow NZ should account for Argentina and unless Australia does a France it looks as if NZ will meet SA in the semi finals next weekend. We shall...
7
OCT
England v France RWC 2011 QF Tomorrow morning 0830 UK time France has yet to beat England in a rugby world cup fixture losing in 1991 (QF), 2003 (SF) and 2007 (SF) though in the dead rubber for 3rd place in 1995 France conclusively won 19-9. France has reached the finals twice in 1987 and 1999 losing to NZ and OZ. So for many of their players tomorrow marks a watershed moment given they have had such a poor start but that's nothing new they lost their opening fixture in RWC 2007 to...
2
OCT
England bored themselves but had the last laugh by beating a tired Scotland 16-12 to qualify for the QFs whilst their opponents were sent home for the first time in RWC history. For England they have to drop Tindall and Wilkinson to the bench; the need to resolve their back row which has little creativity and look again at the front row. In the lineouts, Scotland had far too many options and Steve Thompson's throwing in remains a problem. Can they beat France in the QFs next weekend? As...
2
OCT
Once again the RWC 2011 competition has done nothing for the second and third tier countries. The quarter finalists are always going to be teams from the top 10 - witness NZ, Ireland, England, South Africa, Oz, Wales, Argentina and France have qualified (exactly the same teams did so in 2007 except Wales went home early and Scotland didn't). In 2003, the QFs were NZ, England, South Africa, Oz, France, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. So the tournament needs re-ordering. The RFU in its bid...
2
OCT
I went down to the Richmond Athletic Ground yesterday afternoon to watch Richmond beat Old Albanians 42-20 in a National League Division 2 South fixture having woken early to see a turgid England beat Scotland 16-12. Richmond weren't at the races and at half time were down 11-20 but woke up in the second and their fitness and tactical acumen won the day. This keeps Richmond at the top of the table with six wins from six with 30 points with Worthing and Henley...
20
SEP
Braving the drenching of a Saturday afternoon at Camberley, I went to watch my 19 year old son play for the Normans (Richmond's 4th XV). They came second and deservedly so. Undaunted, we then moved back to the Athletic Ground to watch the 1st XV devour Hertford to maintain Richmond's position as top of the table for National League 2 South. Whisper this.... but Charlton also won away 3-2 to take them to the top of Division 1 (the old Third Division)!
12
SEP
The first round of the wretched pool matches is now underway. The rains held off for the opening ceremony but alas kicked it on Saturday and Sunday. Wales were denied a win against the Springboks because there is no appeal allowed by a team and so a penalty kick that just went over was ruled nor to have (why not introduce the Tennis equivalent of 1 each per team per half?). England were abject, Scotland and Ireland were no better whereas Wales showed real verve and could yet...
11
SEP
Yesterday, I went to The Valley to see them beat Exeter 2-0. I thoguht Exeter had been unlucky not to be given an early goal as the ball looked to have crossed the line but without technology the referee decided otherwise and from that incident Exeter then lost a player after something he had said to him......and eventually we ran out winners though we were not at our best. However, a win's a win and we are back up to second in the League 1.
28
AUG
National 2 League South Opening game of the season v Hartpury College (newly promoted) Not much is known about Hartpury College save they serve as a feeder club to Gloucester and have been promoted seven years in succession which is going it. They have a couple of past Welsh internationals in their Autumn years and a back line, fly half notwithstanding, with youth, verve and pace. Though they were shortly behind 7-0 to the home side, Hartpury controlled most of the first half and ten...
23
AUG
Sixteen of the last eighteen RFU Presidents of the RFU have sent a letter to the current President about their concerns over the direction of the organisation. Let's hope they make the letter public as soon as possible.
23
AUG
Over 115,000 UK citizens have signed the Hillsborough Petition asking for full disclosure of why so many Liverpool supporters lost their lives. Please sign it; search: "No.10 Petitions" and it will come up. Thanks.
20
AUG
Last night at Goldington Road, ten of us from the Bedford v Llanelli (12-28) match back in 1975 were the official guests of the Club and it was our job to turn on the new floodlights. The old ones were first on show for that Llanelli fixture. The crowd last night for the friendly was 3,003. Back in 1975, we had to delay the start of our game for 20 minutes as the queues stretched back and down Goldington Road. Over 6,000 came to see Phil Bennett and his great side. Of our original...
17
AUG
Three games in and Charlton sit at the top of the old third division: played 3 won 3 with two of those wins away from home; Scunthorpe on Saturday at home.....can this be our year? Let's hope so.
7
AUG
Over 80,000 spectators in the first week of August tells you that there is nothing much wrong with the marketing department at Twickenham where a rusty England just held off a fitter and faster moving Wales by 23-19. Wales chose not to kick at goal with five penalties seeking instead to gain the double advantage by kicking for touch and then hoping to win the lineout close to the England line. It nearly succeeded but as the score line suggests in a world cup match points on the board...
3
AUG
There was a kerfuffle involving England, Pakistan and an umpire called Darrell Hair back in August 2006 when he accused the Pakistan bowlers of ball tampering and all hell was let lose. The Sky commentary team with not one professional journalist amongst them didn't know what to do and coverage of the incident was poor as they panicked and failed to ask the right questions. It wasn't a matter that they were too close to the game it was just they didn't know the Laws well enough (nor do I...
18
JUL
A few days ago I asked for a British winner but given Seve's status in the game, I wouldn't have minded a Spanish winner. Luke Donald and Lee Westwood were toast by Day 2 so out went the world's No.1 and 2! But chasing places each week on a golf circuit is very different from winning a Major. Looking at those that win them there is no obvious logic as to why except over the four days they play better than anyone else. It is that simple. Darren Clarke's great win for the Clarke family old...
16
JUL
The good news is that HH Judge Jeff Blackett has agreed to stay on at the RFU. The better news is that a number of Sunday newspapers have his leaked report in full and will be publishing it tomorrow. The RFU has done a disservice to the Game by not publishing it in full last Sunday now they will play catch-up with their own agenda rather than setting it. Have they learned nothing from the Murdoch fiasco of the past fortnight? 
15
JUL
When I was a publisher I commissioned a photographic record on Seve by Dave Cannon; I went to The Open to watch him at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 1988. There was a quite moving documentary on the late Ballesteros on Sunday night which you can still catch on the iPlayer. Though of course I want Luke Donald or any other Brit to win the Open at Royal St George's over the next few days wouldn't it be wonderful if a Spaniard came home to win?
3
JUL
Rafael Nadal met his match at Wimbledon today when he was beaten 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 by the new world No.1 Novak Djokovic.  Roger Federer, fitter and sharper than he has been for a couple of years, will kick himself that he didn't have a chance to play Novak in the semi-finals. I think he has one Major left in his locker to win before he announces his retirement.   All eyes now turn to the US Open in August, the last Major of the season. Q. When did an American last win...
29
JUN
If the LTA was a FTSE 100 company and year after year failed to provide any players of substance, its shareholders would remove the board. We are nowhere near finding even half a dozen world class women tennis players despite over £100m of investment and as for the men (Murray remember withdrew from the LTA because his family thought them second rate) it is just as bad. Why do we tolerate third world achievement when we have first world funding? It's time for a complete overhaul...
29
JUN
Andy Murray wore green lining to his Adidas short today at Wimbledon but donned blue for the after game televison interview. If he is to beat Nadal tomorrow he has to win the first set.
19
JUN
He's 22; he led The Open after the first round at St Andrew's last year; he led three rounds of The Masters this year; he's leading by 8 shots as he enters the final round today at the US Open at The Congressional.......so it's time he did it and won a Major. The world is rooting for Rory Mcllroy from Nothern Ireland today.
11
JUN
Last weekend's coverage of the French Tennis Open was pretty awful; I willl turn off Wimbledon if we have the same commentary team. Former second-rate tennis players do not necessarily make the best commentators and that goes for sport generally. Please BBC spare us more of the same.   
3
JUN
Hot on the heals of the corruption at the heart of FIFA comes the astonishing decision that F1 is going to hold its postponed event in Bahrain. What planet are they on? The Sunni minority has killed innocent people in their version of the Arab Spring; has tortured innocent men and women and possibly children; has no separate legal system; has stopped people who have been shot receiving treatment in hospitals - I could go on. F1 has no morality except the love of lucre. It should be ashamed...
2
JUN
Football has descended into farce. First the FA's bid to win the rights to the 2018 World Cup was a shambles though the bid document itself was sound. Over the past 25 years, maybe as far back as Sir Stanley Rous's days as President of FIFA, the FA has known FA about soccer politics. It had learned nothing from its last bid in 1999 (for 2006) which went to Germany. Successive Governments and Select Committees have called on the FA to reform. The FA has turned a deaf ear for
30
MAY
Why are there so many world sporting bodies in Switzerland? Why did Switzerland vote against joining the EU? How are they related? FIFA, the IOC and other sporting organisations have settled in Zurich and Lausanne because they were encouraged too by different Swiss cantons who can make local rules principally about tax.   Not all of Switzerland voted against joining the EU; the French part (Geneva) voted for it but the German part (including the bankers in Zurich) voted
30
MAY
For a sport which is beyond reproach, it was very disappointing to hear all the boos for Luke Donald at Wentworth yesterday at the BMW Championship especially as they would have come from largely British spectators. Luke Donald has taken the tougher route of living in America and playing on the US PGA tour (htough eh is a regular visitor to the Euroepan tour too) where his game has come on leaps and bounds. Good on him; it takes guts to become a big fish in a big pond. Those who...
30
MAY
I played Saturday soccer in the morning for a local team in Leigh-on-Sea and rugby in the afternoon for my school - Westcliff County High School - from the ages of 11 to 16. I loved soccer and like many youngsters thought I was good enough to make it professionally. The trouble was I was also reasonably good at rugby, playing first for Essex and then Eastern Counties U15s. At South Benfleet primary school I had played soccer when only nine years old for SE Essex but when
30
MAY
I took the train to Tunbridge Wells yesterday from Charing Cross - a snip at £10 - to watch Kent play Leicestershire in the LV County Championship Division Two league. Leicestershire languish at next-to-bottom with 50 points from six games whilst their opponents Kent are actually at the bottom of the league with 43 points also from six matches.  It's not that I am a Kent supporter but having lived there for the past 13 years (as an MP for Sittingbourne & Sheppey) I have...
28
MAY
The Premier League should seize the moment and call for a new world body for soccer.
26
MAY
What a shambles world soccer is in; a pathetic President seeking re-election; an organisation riven with corruption and what does our own FA do in the forthcoming elections there? It abstains. You couldn't make it up.
14
MAY
Where does the phrase "A level playing field come from?" Could it have been borrowed from sport - as in a soccer or rugby field? Who first used the term? Politicians spend their lives calling for a level playing field in policy terms but if the field wasn't level to start with how can any policy make it "level"?  
14
MAY
Manchester can stand tall tonight - United has won the league and City the FA Cup. Being a Charlton Athletic supporter and tiny share holder, it matters little to me, though a question that is worth pondering is which UK city has a the biggest shortgage of soccer playing fields for soccer for men and women? Step forward Manchester....
14
MAY
When I was a publisher at George Allen & Unwin in 1984 I commissioned a photographic essay of the great Seve Ballesteros by award winning snapper David Ashdown. In 1988, I saw his triumph close up at The Open at Royal Lytham and St Anne's. He was a golfing magician and when he had mastered the tricks of the fairways and greens (getting to the "dance floor" as the early professionals called it in America) to charge them he would attract a huge following as the crowds left whoever they...
13
APR
There was a packed house for the Richmond FC's match against the Barbarians last night which was celebrated with an excellent supper beforehand for 600+. Barbarians 45 Richmond 36 Richmond 36 Barbarians 45 [h/t : 19-28] Richmond Athletic Ground Tuesday 12 April 2011 Barbarians: G M Delport (Stourbridge & SA) capt; *D McCall (Glasgow Hawks), S J Jewell (Esher & London Wasps), J Botha (Hartpury College), *R S Carter (Aberavon); *J Davies (Aberavon), *J M Neves Pinto (G D Direito
8
APR
This evening I am spoilt for choice; I am watching the Red Sox v the Yankees at Fenway Park which I first visited in 1983; the Yankees took an early 2-0 lead which could have dented the Red Sox's confidence given they are 0-6 for the new season might have led them to capitulate. But in the 3rd amazingly the score is 6-4 Red Sox- this game has a lot of life in yet................... (ESPN 430 on Sky) And in between I am flicking to Sky 401 to watch our boy wonder, Rory...
8
APR
In a great match at Fenway Park the Sox beat the Yankees 9-6....
3
APR
I was a guest of Peter Varney's at Charlton Athletic yesterday at once again Happy Valley where after a tentative start we beat Orient 3-1. This ended a dreadful run of 13 games without a win.  It says something about our fans that despite the run they still turn up to support us - yesterday's crowd was just over 15,000.  I saw my first game at The Valley in 1958 - Charlton v Blackburn where we needed a draw to a win to go up to the First Division but lost...
3
APR
On 20th April the Norman R. Bobins Collection of Equestrian and Sporting Prints comes up for sale. www.dnfa.com
28
MAR
It is not often that Oxford completes the double but that’s what they did on Saturday when they beat the favourites Cambridge in the Boat race by  4 lengths. It was the same story last December when the underdogs Oxford beat Cambridge in the Varsity Match at Twickenham. Not that I'm biased...........
25
MAR
There have been surprises in the Cricket World Cup currently being played out in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. First of all, compared to the Commonwealth Games last December, all the stadia have been given a whitewash and/or a rebuild with new floodlights. Secondly, the crowds have been pretty good (in terms of attendance) and well informed. Thirdly, the coverage by Sky has been very good.  Three countries have made the semis - India (hot favourites), Pakistan (coming...
20
MAR
Colin Herridge was my co-author of Rugby Revolution which was published in 2003. I had previously authored Rugby DisUnion in 1995. So it seems one or both of us have written books on the rugby world cup every eight years! We have just finished writing our new book: Rugby 2011: The World Cup (Endeavour) which will be published in July.  
19
MAR
About the only thing that England won in Dublin was the kick-off.....as they were seen off by a marauding, intelligent Irish XV. It was if England couldn't think on their own two feet and worse the selectors had only one game plan. Well done Ireland though England won the Championship winning four from five.   And now for RWC2011 in New Zealand in the Autumn.......I'm not sure any of the six nations will trouble the tri-nations though England has good form in world cups having...
16
MAR
Doug Smith's annual cricket lunch at the House of Lords. On my table yesterday was Brian Close CBE, Chris Winn, Lord Williams of Elvel and Roy Virgin (amongst others). I chatted to Derek Upton, Vinney Codrington, Lord Matthew Evans and Andrew Miller MP. A lovely way to idle a few hours!
14
MAR
England may have had all the ball yesterday but a plucky Scotland never gave up though many of them will have bruised and tired bodies this morning. England deserved to win but they failed to capitalise on all the ball they were winning at both the lineouts and scrums. They will be toast in Dublin at the weekend if they do not finish off their moves. In the backs, I'd drop Flood and Tindall though I might consider playing both Flood and Wilkinson (back to his best form); in the forwards...
13
MAR
At the annual Parliamentary Rugby Dinner last night I received rather a grand cup as a thank you for my work............hey ho
12
MAR
Hard though it may be to understand I have supported Charlton Athletic all my life having been born in Woolwich back before time began. My first game was Charlton v Blackburn in 1958 when all we had to do was draw and we would have gone up to the first division but we lost 3-4 in front of 70,000+ spectators. I went with my Granddad, Uncle and Dad and in due my course, Jack, my son, was taken by his Granddad when we watched Charlton beat Sheffield United. Earlier I had taken my Dad to the...
28
FEB
England's cricketers will wonder how they lost the plot against India as they were cruising to a wonderful victory against India despite being set 338 to win. In the end a single of the last ball of the 50th over secured a draw!! Meanwhile, on the back of England's bruising win against France at Twickenham on Saturday, came news that Luke Donald had won the Accenture Matchplay final 3&2. Last year, Luke was often in the lead after three rounds but then never pushed on. Let's hope...
27
FEB
At half time England went into the break 9-9 but could so easily have been behind. They gave silly penalties away and looked nervous. After the break they were a different side and should have been given two more tries....so the 17-9 final score did not represent a true picture of their domination.
26
FEB
Forty or so Old Oxford Rugby Blues met at the Fleming Collection in Berkeley Street to hear the plans for the re-development of Iffley Road which I have already subscribed to. It was good to touch base with Dudley Wood, the former Secretary of the RFU.
26
FEB
Yesterday, I attended a lunch actually in Churchill's War Rooms by the side of the Treasury. It was our annual Old Boys reunion of Bedford Rugby Club and five us from the victorious Cup winning team of 1975 made it - Foster Edwards, Bob Demming, Brian Keen, Richard Chadwick and myself. All told over 60 of us squeezed into the room! I started the London lunches five years ago in the House of Commons.   
13
FEB
The Six Nations is now down to either England or France becoming this year's Grand Slam winners. France won it last year and whilst they haven't quite set the world on fire they will surely raise their game for the next match which is England at Twickenham. Yesterday, England took Italy to the cleaners winning 59-13 in grand style with backs linking well with their forwards. Ashton scored 4 tries and looks a world beater. This afternoon in Dublin, France just held Ireland 25-22 in a...
7
FEB
I have been asked by the APPRugby Group and CSC, the sponsors of our annual award, to help them finesse the players and former players who are due to receive our fifth set of Parliamentary Awards in July, 2011. We will be celebrating the most magical moments of all the rugby world cups since 1987 and we had a business meeting on Frdiay afternoon to update everyone on where we are with the invitees.
5
FEB
England finally shook of the blues (actually the reds) in Cardiff last night by defeating a poor Wales by 26-19. With three home games in row v Italy, France and Scotland before Ireland away (what price tickets for that game?) England look set for a Grand Slam which would set them well for the RWC2011 in New Zealand which starts in September.
3
FEB
With Colin Herridge (my co-author of Rugby Revolution in 2003) I am writing a book on the Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand and over the past two days I have finished chapters 2 and 5!! Now just for the opening chapter.....which needs some editing.........
30
JAN
A few weeks ago I was contacted and asked if I'd like to attend the 40th Anniversary of the Richmond Heavies XV. The Heavies have been almost a club within a club at the Richmond Athletic Ground and gave me when I was slightly younger immense fun. They are part of Richmond FC whose recent history has been difficult but the community spirit within it has seen it climb back to the top having been demoted eight divisions when it went belly-up in 1999 following the advent of professional...
25
JAN
Sky Sports fired Andy Gray earlier today whilst Richard Keys hangs on with his finger tips. Both must go.
24
JAN
I said in a Blog posting on 15/11/10 that Sky's presentation of Soccer had become complacent. Today, the UK media has led with the inane comments of Richard Keys and Andy Gray, their two main £1m salaried presenters/commentators, about an assistant referee who was Sian Massey, a woman. As it happened Sian called the decision in question correctly. Sky dropped them from tonight's coverage of Bolton v Chelsea. But they have made no apology to Sky...
31
DEC
I'm not a skier; my arthritic knees make it impossible for me to pull myself up once I have had what is called prosaically a "wipeout"......however, Daisy and Jack, my two children, are pretty good skiers and like their Dad to indulge them. We've skied in St Martin de Belleville, Davos, Whistler and now Verbier and I've tried board skiing (a gold medal failure) in Gstaad. Between them, they appear to have also skied most other places in France and a little in Spain and Austria
28
DEC
In April, 2009 I was part of the KRG All Party Parliamentary group's visit to northern Iraq. Whilst there we were taken to the new airport which had yet to open and I suggested, given the one mile runway, that Jeremy Clarkson might like to take a drive. On my return to the UK, I contacted the producer of Top Gear and yesterday Clarkson and the crew made it. This is what they said: Jeremy Clarkson: "This is the Kurdistan part of Iraq, everybody is really friendly, frankly
26
DEC
There's nothing finer than waking up in another country (Switzerland) not known for its sporting prowess (okay, apart from the boy Federer) and turning on your wifi to find Australia were 98 all out on the first day of the Fourth Test at the MCG (I was there last in 1999) and England were 157-0, yep, for nought! Moreover, Alastair Cook's phenomenal series continues as he is 80 n.o.. To think he was almost dropped from the side in the summer.   Wouldn't it be just fine and
15
DEC
I was invited by Sport England to the launch of the Parliamentary Sport Fellowship scheme for 2011-2012 in the House of Commons this afternoon. When I started the scheme in 2005 only eight MPs joined in but last year nearly 30 MPs and Peers passed through and we are hopeful nearly 50 will sign up!! Here's hoping..... as it is very important in the cuts that Sport has a voice in Parliament.
10
DEC
Oxford with less than 35% of the ball in the second half comfortably held off a stronger Cambridge XV having led 15-3 at half time. Oxford were more inventive and held their passes under pressure. Cambridge disrupted the Oxford scrum and the lineout but were all fingers and thumbs and should have scored three times in the second half. Nonetheless, Oxford deserved their victory for a purple patch in the first half which saw them score two well taken tries.
6
DEC
FIFA has its headquarters in Zurich to hide behind the Canton walls; it sues English writers such as David Yallop (They Stole the Game) and Andrew Jennings (Foul) inside this wall and sometimes outside but NEVER in the UK. FIFA simply stinks and it was a great mistake of the FA to bid for the World Cup given how badly it did in 1998 (6 votes). The FA itself lives in cloud cuckoo land and needs a top to toe clear out but like turkeys voting for Christmas this is never ever going to...
28
NOV
England had no plan B at Twickenham yesterday afternoon when they were comfortably beaten by South Africa by 21-11. The modern truism in the professional game is that if you lose the lineout you lose the match. England not only lost the lineouts but the scrums and the mauls too. They did not have the physical presence to take on the Springboks. The All Blacks completed a grand slam when winning in Cardiff and Australia thrashed France. So, as we move slowly towards RWC2011 in New...
18
NOV
I used to select the Major Stanley's XV against Oxford University from 1984-1992. I then became a Trustee of Major Stanley's which owns the ground on behalf of OURFC. Major Stanley never played rugby nor did he attend the University as a student but he founded this game and was chairman of the England Selectors at one stage! It was a bitingly cold rainy day at Iffley Road but over 250 friends sat down for lunch and there was a crowd of about 1000 to watch the game. Oxford won 21-14.
15
NOV
Last week England lost to New Zealand and a second loss to Australia on Saturday would have meant curtains for some players and quite a bit of heat for some of the junior coaches..... But looking like the 2003 side but fitter and with even greater playing expectation they thrashed Australia 35-18. Of the England side most now will make it to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup next October except maybe: Tindall and Cueto in the backs and Shaw in the forwards.
15
NOV
It is becoming harder and harder to want to watch soccer and rugby on Sky Sports. The presentation of these two sports has become staid and complacent. Same presenters for aeons - especially soccer - same cooped up studios with a range of guests just to fill up the time; not enough on-screen information et al. Have they not heard that GoogleTV is just around the corner? Certainly ESPN's coverage of rugby is a breath of fresh air.
10
NOV
Yesterday and today has been Rugby Expo 2010 (the last one was 2 years ago) in Westminster. There were nearly 40 exhibitors and maybe 100-120 delegates simultaneously attending the Conference element. I went to panel sessions on Professional Players, Facebook & other Media, World in Union, a 1-1 session with Mike Miller (CEO, IRB) & Olympic Opportunity. The panel sessions were very good pity the turnout was so disappointing.  
8
NOV
England 16 New Zealand 26 Jack and I travelled to Twickenham on Saturday in hope but privately expecting a 20 to 30 points thrashing; so we came away pleased but knowing we do not have the players or the tactics to beat them. Not yet anyway. Here's where they are better: ** offside at rucks ** only committing 3-4 forwards to mauls and rucks which allows the others to act as battering rams elsewhere (boring though that is) ** tactical kicking ** throwing the ball in...
20
OCT
The Sunday Times broke the news that two senior members of FIFA's decision making committee on who is awarded the 2018 World Cup (for which England is still a bidder) were - how can I put this kindly - minded to accept upwards of $500k for their vote. Given the lack of transparency of FIFA  per se including its accounts why should we be surprised? It is time for Sepp Blatter to resign.
10
OCT
Could the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow be the last of their kind? After the high points of Manchester 2002 and Melbourne 2006, they have reached their nadir in India. And who is to blame? Step forward the cumbersome Commonwealth Games Federation though it will be allowed to linger on and on and on. The real problem is that ever since they started in 1930 as the Empire Games in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada they have been dominated by England and or the "Dominions". Australia...
5
OCT
I visited the Delhi site of the Commonwealth Games in December 2008 and as there wasn't anything actually on the sites and no-one working I doubted whether the Games would go ahead. By the skin of their teeth they have but it is unlikely they will ever be given to a second tier country again. This would be wrong. India's public system is corrupt; that is down to its politicians. India's private sector is booming (see the challenging and insightful article in last week's The Economist...
4
OCT
The Americans, the most competitive sporting nation in the world, do not roll over. Down on Sunday evening by three points in the Ryder Cup, they were written off by most European media commentators this morning most of whom have never played sport to any level. It went to the wire and Monty's selection of Graham McDowell to play last was the critical element of an amazing final day as Europe won back the Ryder Cup from America by 14.5-13.5 at the 17th after "four" days for which at least a...
3
OCT
Who runs international cricket? Not the International Cricket Council based in that hot bed of cricket, Dubai; not the English Cricket Board and no longer the MCC. The ICC moved from the home of cricket at Lord's so that they wouldn't be subject to English laws and now in Dubai they cannot be sued by a member of the cricket loving public. NewsCorp, the media company largely owned by Rupert Murdoch runs international cricket. They own the international cricket media...
1
OCT
The Ryder Cup which for the past 20 odd years has lit up the golfing world starts this morning at Celtic Manor, a relatively new course, close to Newport in Wales.  For fifty odd years hardly anyone noticed the Ryder Cup in the UK because the teams were drawn from the four home countries but since that was ditched and the team was widened to include all European golfers American has not fared as well. Indeed Europe hasn't poem defeated at home for nearly 20 years. Of...
2
SEP
Some critical questions which remain unanswered: Did the three named Pakistani cricketers lay bets themselves on bowling no-balls or were they promised a percentage of the illegal bets laid back in Pakistan for the act in question? Did they bowl the no balls to demonstrate to the "sting" that it was possible to do but actually this was a dry run and no bets were placed?
30
AUG
I suggested in my Blog for 26th August (Take 5) that the three "picks" for the European team for the Ryder Cup should be: Padraig Harrington, Edoardo Molinari & Luke Donald Colin Montgomerie selected for his three "picks" Padraig Harrington, Edoardo Molinari & Luke Donald
30
AUG
Has our own cricket administration, the ECB, lost all sight of sports' morality? They refused to suspend Zimbabwe when their own players wore armbands complaining about Mugabe's regime. Now. there is an inquiry into betting allegations (released in the News of the World yesterday) and all we hear is that the One Day internationals with Pakistan should be allowed to go on later this week if the three Pakistani cricketers named in the newspaper are suspended and sent home (not a good idea...
30
AUG
Last November, a few of us, at a delightful dinner, had a small wager on the Six Nations tournament 2010 as to who would win and who would win the wooden spoon; the winner? Step forward........ Here's the somewhat late email announcing it last week... Chaps   I do hope you are all well and soaking up the best that only our English summer can offer. I am off on holiday tomorrow (not again, I hear you all cry), and have been doing some tidying up and, lo and behold, I...
23
AUG
NO matter how appallingly organised FIFA is, no matter its lack of transparency as an organisation; no matter how many alleged rumours constantly surround Sepp Blatter and his committee about ticket sales, no matter it still cannot work out when a goal is a goal (a minor detail), England deserves to win the rights to hold the FIFA World Cup in 2018: notwithstanding its ability to score own goals on a regular basis. England is the home of soccer and we should host it; FIFA
17
AUG
According to the new sports minister, Hugh Robertson MP (who shadowed this area for 5 years when in opposition) we will have to wait two more years before we change UK sport. Um, what is wrong with doing that now? We're surely not in hock to the London Olympics are we? We have several sports bodies: ** UK Sport ** England Institute of Sport ** Four national sports ministers ** Sport England and three other national bodies (Post 16) ** Youth Sports Trust (5-16) Underneath them we...
11
AUG
We have been assailed for the past fortnight by images of people in Pakistan without homes, food, water, sanitation and medicines. Millions of people, maybe as many as 12 million, are helpless as the infrasctructure around them has been destroyed with no major roads or bridges left to deliver much needed supplies, only Chinook helicopters. This is a major human tragedy with Aid organisations comparing it to Haiti's earthquake and the Tsunami. In these...
4
AUG
Between 2001-2003 four UK sporting organisations were world class - Rowing, Cycling, Sailing and Rugby Union (England). Between 2004-2010 Rowing, Cycling and Sailing still led UK sport by the proverbial mile but there were signs of progress at: ** Swimming (Beijing 2008) ** Cricket (20/20 World Champions, 2010), ** Track & Field (Record medal haul at the European Championships, Barcelona 2010 though only a handful of UK athletes...
27
JUL
Paul Farrelly,MP for Newcastle under Lyme, dropped in with his customary supply of sushi. We're both fans. Paul helped me into Politics back in 1992-3 when I was seeking a borough council seat in Haringey as he was the Secretary of the Hornsey & Wood Green Labour branch. Little did I know then that he was also Stuart Barnes' scrum half at Teddy Hall and we had overlapped at Oxford. Anyway, I was duly allowed to stand as a candidate in Archway ward where we'd never had 2 Labour...
12
JUL
Whilst the FIFA world cup has ended after an appalling display by Holland in the final, there is a movement, no more no less, within the elite of the ANC to apply for the Olympics in 2020. This would be complete madness. Cities apply for an Olympics. Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg have higher priorities than applying for and running a games which could cost $3 billion. I hope they come to their senses and decide not to bid.
7
JUL
Over the past decade we have had: ** cricket taking the lead (actually it was an independent television company covering Test cricket for C4 which started the revolution) where umpires can ask for television assistance over run-outs but not yet LBWs or stumpings though the technology is there ** rugby league and rugby union referees can ask for television help for disputed tries ** tennis players can ask the unpire for a ruling on whether shots are in or out; they are...
1
JUL
I never thought I would hear Gary Lineker refer to Sepp Blater, the head honcho at FIFA, as "Sepp Blater and his cronies" but good for him in at last trying to shed some light on this dreadful body following Frank Lampard's goal or no-goal.  Tennis ( the most conservative of sports), rugby league, rugby union and cricket have shown how new technology can take away elements of human error in umpring or refereeing. And, both the players and the spectators love the changes. Indeed,
23
JUN
Since 1972, I have missed going to Wimbledon a handful of times, last year was sadly one of them. In 2008, I managed to find tickets on five different days including that final between Messrs Federer and Nadal. I've noticed how I quickly I've adopted players and followed them year after year - always Nastase (the greatest player on grass I have ever seen), McEnroe (even through his adolescent years), Martina Navratilova (simply the greatest) Pete Sampras and now Roger Federer.  It may...
16
JUN
The best way to win the highest honours in the land is to make sure you are on the committee which awards them. Under Blair, we lost the plot on honours and introduced the dreaded committee for all seasons and subjects. Sport was chaired by Sir Ian McClaurin. (more soon)
9
JUN
Here are the rules: ** watch the major matches with your friends ** take it in turns to host the "watching" in your own home on a rota basis ** cook a meal from the two sides you are watching viz: on Friday there are two games South Africa v Mexico and Uruguay v France - so you would find a recipe from either South Africa or Uruguay for starters and a main course from Mexico or France. You would check to see who the referee was and then go in search on the day for alcohol...
2
JUN
In 2008 and 2009 I visited South Africa and spent time in Cape Town & Durban, Joburg. I visited the sites of the World Cup in all three cities. In Cape Town, the stadium will be a white elephant. In Durban, the new stadium is next door to the Natal Sharks rugby ground. The soccer stadium will be a another white elephant. In the townships around Joburg there are training stadia which will not have sufficent funding to survive once the World Cup is over. In Soweto,...
27
MAY
There are very few managers in any sport who come to dominate it irrespective of the teams they coach.   In soccer the great managers – Matt Busby (Man Utd), Bill Nicholson (Spurs), Bill Shankly (Liverpool) and Sir Alex Ferguson (Man Utd) – did so with one club. Few of England’s managers had continued success at club level which may go some way to explain why so few have been successful. Look at cricket or rugby and the same applies: continuous success has been elusive.   So when
19
MAY
Fair minded people might just pause and ask themselves which side the Mail on Sunday is on. Silly me, of course it is on the Mail on Sunday’s side.   So let’s at least give three cheers for Gary Lineker who did the right thing, rarer these days, by resigning from the newspaper as a columnist after they had exposed Lord Triesman’s comments which had been recorded during a private meeting with a former colleague. Lord Triesman was the Chairman of the Football Association and Chairman of...
12
MAY
Whatever the result tonight in Hamburg - given the resources at Fulham's disposal you have to hand it to the management, the players and the supporters because they are defintely my team of the year.
5
MAY
Last week, HE Juan Samaranch, once the President of the IOC passed away. This week Sepp Blatter, the President of FIFA gave vent to a number of issues in an article by Mihir Bose in the Evening Standard. Between them they had led or lead the largest televised sporting competitions in the world.   Samaranch’s death produced the inevitable obituaries which said he saved the modern Olympic movement and included comments from around the world of people who hope one day to succeed him. Only...
28
APR
It is said of men that they change their women and move jobs but never alter their allegiance to their football team.   I was born in Woolwich Military Hospital in December, 1949. My grandfather took me to my first game at The Valley in April, 1958 when The Robins (we play in red) or the Addicts as they are more familiarly known today, needing only a draw to go back up to the First Division (Premier League as is) against Blackburn (Douglas, Clayton et al) but we lost 4-3 and so it was...
22
APR
Sport has been a very large factor in my life; as a Youth and a Junior I was ranked occasionally as No.1 in the UK for Long Jump...and I gained a 2nd and a 3rd at the All England Schools...hey ho. But, it was rugby that claimed me and after a trial for England Schools in 1968, I eventually played for Oxford University, the Barbarians, the Penguins & England. After retirement I covered the game for The Times, the FT, the Observer and Rugby World. I have written five books on the game,...
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