Who’s the fairest of them all?

There has been a lot of banter around the football world of late comparing Lionel Messi to every footballing great whether dead or alive. I suppose these comparisons are inevitable as he is most certainly one of, if not the, greatest player of the current era (Cristiano Ronaldo starts crying in the fetal position in the corner)

I never had the privilege of watching Pele or Maradona play really but from the limited amount of YouTube clips and statistics I’ve seen you can clearly appreciate their genius.

Maradona, with all the baggage that comes with him, won one world cup and dominated the Serie A and La Liga during his peak and as an attacking midfielder and striker his goal ratio was fairly impressive. I guess why he is so widely recognized is for goals like this at times like these!


You cannot deny the level of skill and pace that this man possessed even late into his career (well not so much the speed) but, for me, if we are talking about greatest of all time I think sometimes that Maradona has the advantage of being traded in a free market football economy which Pele did not and that certainly gave alot more hype to his ability!

Pele on the other hand was devastating in front of goal, I mean I kind of new this but to achieve a goal to game ratio of 0.94 is absolutely unheard of in a career that spanned over 650 games (and even when you compare this to Messi’s 160 goals in 209 games and counting (0.74) its astonishing). He scored 77 in 90 games for Brazil and this completely destroys Messi’s 20 odd in 60 games!

Not only was his club career unquestionably the best ever but he won three world cups and it just gets better from there. At 17 he made it through to the quarters and scored there (youngest to do so), then in the semi he scored a hat-trick (youngest to do so) and then when he played in the final as the youngest player ever he scored twice and became the youngest player to win a world cup (not win but pretty much carry the team as the youngest player)

Just enjoy this!


Now I’ve heard some talk about Ronaldo (maybe not in this category but I thought he is worth a mention – but a small one). No one can deny his talent – he is brilliantly skillful. His goal ratio for a winger essentially is superb and at Real Madrid where he can control the show he has 107 goals in 96 games!

But the simple fact is, he dives, he cries and he whines and while he his career is hopeful in its middle stages and he may go on to mature to an all-time great he has a long way to go – but with skill like this no one better count him out. The only reason i think he is not mentioned close to as much as Messi is quite frankly cause people just don’t like him very much!


Now onto Messi.

He has won three champions leagues, five La Liga titles and about a bijjillion other trophy’s with his beloved Barca. He has won three consecutive Ballon D’ors and is the first player in 30 years to score 60 goals in a season AND HE IS 24 YEARS OLD!

He has already broken the Barcelona all-time scoring record and he hopefully has another 8 – 10 years left in him.

He somehow manages to create space and time like no player I’ve ever seen and he almost plays football like Bradley Cooper deals with Robert De Niro in the last scene of Limitless! He is without question the most talented, most brilliant and best big game temperament player in the world but he does have an all-star team feeding him the ball every step of the way.

He is quite simply just magic to watch (except when he scores against Man United – then I want to punch him in the temple) and he certainly deserves to be in the ‘greatest player of all time’ discussion – yet he is only 24.

Just have a look!


Now for the downside – he has won no major honours with Argentina and has failed to impress mostly in his international career (this lends itself to the argument at Barca he has the greatest midfielders in the world giving him the ball) and until he proves himself in a World Cup I don’t think he will be considered to have overtaken Pele –certainly not by me!

So to the initial question – who is the greatest football player of all time?

The answer has to be Pele quite simply from every aspect. For me Maradona didn’t come close in achievements, not in club nor international and Lionel Messi has not yet shown he is a world beater. Messi does however still hopefully have a decade odd left in him to prove me wrong!

Harry MUST stay a ‘Spur’ and see out what he has started!

Let’s get one thing very clear – if you are not a regular reader then you need to understand I am a MASSIVE Manchester United fan (if you don’t believe me have a look)! I respect Tottenham Hotspur tremendously as a club, their history, their legacy, their fans and their passion. I only scream for them when they play any of United’s traditional rivals and so I have no reason writing this!

Harry Redknapp arrived at a rather desolate and bleak White Hart Lane in 2008, the club had won nothing of significance, wait scrap that, they had won NOTHING in a decade and the fans, the sponsors and the spirits that watch over that hallowed ground were close to meltdown.

The Spurs motto is Audere est Facere ‘To Dare is to Do’ and on cue arrived a man that embodied just that in every sense.

He started his managerial career at West Ham United and saw the rise of current stars Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Michael Carrick and Joe Cole to name a few (he oversaw and promoted players from probably the most successful youth program in English football). He took them to their highest finish ever of fifth in the league and qualified for Europe (this with a team that two seasons later got relegated!)

Then he got fired. To dare is to do!

From there he moved to Portsmouth where he coached them to the League One title and promotion to the top flight at the same time his former club West Ham got relegated (Karma’s a bitch!).

Shortly thereafter, once again a small dispute with an owner and once again Harry was out on his ass! To Dare is to do!

After a shaky spell at Southampton (and a fight with owners of their appointment of Rugby World Cup winning douche Clive Woodward to the coaching staff) he was back at Portsmouth trying desperately to save them from relegation, which he did, and to put an exclamation on his return and a big middle finger to the previous owner by finishing a club record ninth. Not stopping there he took that team to FA CUP glory at Wembley in 2008 and their first silverware in two generations!


White Hart lane was indeed dark and gloomy as Spurs sat bottom of the Premier League log 8 games into the season as the somewhat cheery, semi alcohol face of Harry arrived and proceeded to grab Spurs by the scruff of the neck and drag them up the ladder, and quickly. In the Jan transfer window he bought Robbie Keane, Defoe and Palacios (the latter two are still club stalwarts!). Spurs lost in the league cup final to My United and eventually finished the season a MUCH improved eighth!

The next season he led Spurs to their best ever finish of fourth and burst their way into the Champions League, something no Spurs fan on earth would have thought possible less than a year earlier! Not only did they qualify they made it to the quarters only to come up against Jose Mourinhos gazillionaire Real Madrid! Spurs went on to finish fifth in the Premier league behind the ‘big four’.

This season he has managed to keep Luca Modric (who the whole world seemed to want at one point in the summer), sign Scott parker, get the best out of Gareth Bale, loan Adebayor (who was crap at City and now leads the line superbly for Spurs) and sign 40 year old Brad Friedel which turned out to be a stroke of genius solving his leaky goal problem! So far Spurs sit third behind the nuvo riche blue side from Manchester and the REAL side from Manchester – UNITED!

So, why the entire preamble?

Well, Harry set out on a journey with Spurs. He set out with a crumbling club to take them to heights they had never been. Sure he’s done that already BUT I believe he’s not done yet, not by a long shot. I’m not sure I can see Spurs winning a title this season, perhaps it’s too soon to tell but with their squad now strengthened and their re-introduction to the Champions League imminent I believe they could potentially become a seriously big name on a European and perhaps global scale.

I’m sure the luster of coaching his national team must seems desperately appealing, especially since its ready for his turnaround magic BUT coaching England is perhaps the riskiest step in his career and could turn out to be the least rewarding, whereas I believe if he stays at Spurs he can build a legacy that the Spurs fans have deserved since the Linekar / Gazza era!

To dare is to do, and Harry Redknapp could not be a better example of a manager embodying a clubs motto. He is outspoken, harsh, certainly not refined but gets the best out his players both on the pitch and off and has certainly found a home in North London.

As a football fan first and then a United one I truly hope he stays to finish the journey he started a few years ago. I believe the club world would be worse off without his spirit, passion and heart (all the things I believe make me a United fan ironically) and while he certainly deserves his shot as the coach of England, I truly believe it won’t bring him the joy or satisfaction that he seems to have found playing on Europe’s biggest football stage!

How far The ‘Once Great” Liverpool’s soul has fallen!

I may be a little biased due to the fact that this little bastard cost the last African team left in the 2010 soccer world cup their spot because, let’s be honest here, he’s a fucking cheat! I hated him when Manchester United threatened to sign him and I hated him the most when his cheating antics landed themselves at Anfield (a club I respect tremendously – even more so under ‘King Kenny’)

The fact is the man is a VERY good footballer and I suppose as the season went on a bit I started to hate him less for being a cheat and more because of his and Liverpool’s new found success (if you are a football fan you will understand this is a normal and very acceptable hatred of other teams players)

Then one fine winters day Suarez came to Manchester and without question racially abused Patrice Evra (a guy who at his worst is a tough no nonsense footballer) over and over again – the cheating hatred began to come back. Over the coming days video evidence proved the abuse and Suarez was given an eight match ban!

In support his fellow players decided to warm up in Suarez shirts I support of this now proven Nazi! (even King Kenny who I’ve downgraded to a Nazi SS footsoldier)

What I cannot understand is why and how firstly this kind of racism is allowed in football, this coming from me, who wrote an article in ‘defense’ of Sepp Blatters so called racist remarks, and secondly how teammates of this idiot can come out in support of someone who was PROVEN guilty!

Liverpool has been an amazing club for me over the years. It’s had the same tradition, passion, heart and players that I’ve grown to love about the English Premier Leagues great old clubs and this event and more importantly the way the team and club handled it has really put them into a new realm of darkness for me. I understand supporting your players no matter what, but, there really are better ways of handling a situation like this!

Suarez is and always has lived on the edge of the law with football and for top flight players I guess that’s sadly become the norm but to be a proven racist should really mean he now must become a pariah (Darren Scott must have his hands in the air somewhere asking how come he was so vehemently outcast)


Right at the beginning of the 90s I started supporting Manchester United.

Probably not for any other reason than I was just a kid and my older brother who I worshipped supported them. I guess I was lucky that I started watching them at the beginning of dynasty, it could quite easily have been Liverpool who was just about at the end of theirs.

I quickly started to realize that this club was different to most other teams I had been a supporter of. It seemed as a player it demanded more of you, it demanded a level of commitment to excellence that I’d seen few other times before in my life.

Quickly my walls were coated with players like Bryan Mcclair, Dennis Irwin, Lee Sharpe, Bryan Robson & Mark Hughs! I had team photos, I bought the magazines and I watched every game I possibly could. I saw an empire being created led by a dynamic and passionate general in, at the time, just Alex Ferguson and on the solid cornerstones of giants among men like Steve Bruce, Gary Pallister and Peter Schmeichel and on the creative talents of Paul Ince and strength of Roy Keane in midfield. I had the priveladge of witnessing the magic that was Eric Cantona. I saw the birth of the team they said were merely ‘kids’ that eventually went on to take the treble together! I’ve seen almost 20 years of Ryan Giggs and will have the memory of him tearing solo through Arsenal on-route to part of that treble winning season, I’ve seen the genius of David Beckhams right foot and strike partners of Andy Cole, Dwight York and solo strikers like Ruud Van Nistelrooy. I’ve been through the best of goalkeepers and those that made my stomach turn whenever they got close to the ball like Fabien Barthez and the other 9 including an aussie and a tourettes spewing yank before sanity returned in the form of the gracious Dane Edwin. Ive watched in awe as a little ginger kid called Paul carved passing lines through defenses like a sniper. I saw the birth of Wayne Rooney as a United legend and the metamorphosis of a scrawny Portuguese winger who turned into a worldwide phenomenon called Ronaldo! The list of truly magnificent footballers than I have been honored to watch goes on and on.

I’ve experienced wins, draws and losses in the hundreds. I’ve seen the greatest heights in Europe when the baby faced assassin Ole Gunner Solskjaer scored and then Teddy Sheringham the second to bring us the Champions league for the first time in my life. I’ve seen captains hold up Carlings Cup, UEFA cups, Super cups, FA cups and Premier league trophies and I’ve seen our fearless leader being knighted by the Queen for his services. I’ve gotten drunk on success and I’ve thrown furniture around my house in anger.

The reason I tell you this is for no reason other than to establish myself as a fairly knowledgeable United fan.

Throughout my twenty years of supporting one thing has always been abundantly clear, our manager, our players and our fans have always demanded more! We are and have always strived to win and although it’s not always possible to do so, there was always a burning desire for it! Every player who has ever pulled on a United jersey has given their heart and soul on that field and THAT is the reason I watch them day in and day out for twenty seasons. That is the reason that I cheer and cry and praise year after year.

On Wednesday it is the first time since 2005/6 that I’ve felt that heart slipping slightly. Back then the world called for Sir Alex’s head, they said he was too old, not hungry enough and it was time for a new leader. I’ve never felt that way – the man has built something that I can’t ever imagine will ever be equaled in my lifetime and regardless of results he should be able to go on his own terms. He is, for me, the embodiment of greatness and my only regret is a I sadly will never get to take him a great bottle of red and talk football with a man who has stood on the front lines and won battle after battle with dignity, strength and courage.

For me, I felt for the first time we started to expect to win instead of fighting tooth and nail for every inch of it! That made me sadder than anything. On Thursday morning I woke up with a very sore head and a sadness in my heart that I haven’t felt in a long time, not anger not depression but sadness that for the first time in a long time this team of men, this club and this dynasty that I have spent most of my 29 years being a part of seems to be battling and what aches most of all is I don’t see the players hurting.

By no means do I think this is anything near the end, all I can say is that I hope when those men, who get to put on that sacred jersey, are all alone late at night, without twitter, newspapers, annoying reporters and loud mouthed fans of their own and other teams, that they think about the honour they have of wearing that crest over their hearts. I hope they dig deep down and they find the fight that MY United have always had.

I hope those men take the pain of bitter bitter defeat and turn it into the pride and spirit that I’ve seen shown through my years and years watching this glorious club.

I hope to see MY MANCHESTER UNITED again . . .

In defense of Sepp Blatter!

Let’s get a few things straight before you think of lynching me for this.

Firstly Sepp Blatter reminds me of Tony Soprano, he runs a very well organized crime family (true every now and again he needs to, figuratively, kill off a few people but which mob boss doesn’t?) , he makes masses of money and people around him are too shit scared to replace him.

Secondly I believe in abuse during sport. I like the aggression, the rivalry and the passion it promotes BUT, an enormously big BUT, (Kim Kardashians ears are burning) never ever should any form of abuse be racial. If my opponent is a **** then he is a ****, not a black, green, white or orange ****, the word **** should carry enough weight to be abusive. If comments are ever based on race either positive or negative in a sporting environment or not – THEY ARE GENERALIZATIONS, RACIST AND ARE UNNACCEPTABLE!

Good now let’s get on with my defense of Sepp . . .

The man runs an exceptional business, whether crooked or not, he consistently delivers to the football watching community on such a big shiny platter that it gets our mouths watering! He has made a few puzzling decisions on video reffing and goal line technology but if you look around the sporting world these decisions are not out of place in baseball, basketball and football.

So to his comments . . .

We live in a time where every sound bite is recorded and sent around the world through social media for every person on earth to comment on. With that amount of coverage at some point you will slip up, you don’t have to do it EVERYTIME like Mr Joe Biden, but you will at some point say something that can be interpreted horribly or taken out of context!

Sepp said ‘things get said on the field in the heat of the moment, as long as players shake hands after the final whistle its fine’. Do I believe he was referring to racism, not really, he was referring to the abuse players give each other in general he just happened to be the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.

He came after John Terry parading as a nazi in Chelsea blue (see the video later), then Luis ‘cheating little bastard’ suarez being charged by the FA for racist comments against the epic and stoic Patrice Evra. Even Tigers former caddy getting pissed with all other caddies got caught for referring un-lovingly to Tigers black ass.

Before we could clarity Rio jumped on the Twitter bandwagon, as did the ever moronicly narcissistic Piers Morgan and somehow Tokyo Sexwale became the center piece of Blatters rebuttal . . .

The world was in an uproar calling for the head of the world’s biggest crime family’s (FIFA) head. The man who has focused on anti-racism campaigns trying ACTIVELY, not just talking about it in the press, to stamp out racism and at the first stumble of words we don’t even let the man explain himself, we merely jam a pointy white hat on his head and demand he step down.

 Fortunately he has more back bone than that and his response to calls for his resignation of ‘Why should I?”  are just Blatter old school classic.

The bottom line is racism has no place anywhere, let alone in something that is designed for the joy and entertainment of billions of people.  The man who is in control of football apologized profusely for his comments (even if they were taken out of context and then blown out of proportion) and that should be the end of it!

Players get on the pitch and shut your mouths (or twitter thumbs rather), coaches have enough shit keeping their jobs without the unnecessary distraction and let the officials get on with punishing those archaic idiots who believe its ok to taunt someone based on their race!

Is this the Proteas team to rid the chokers Tag……

AS you may know by now, STM is not a big Proteas fan! So when we were invited into their locker-room for a chat and a drink we pleasantly DECLINED and sent someone who is a fan! Here is his story!

This is our man on the ground!

The Protea’s had a locker room function at Kingsmead where Graeme, Jacque and Boucher were on hand to answer questions first about the locker room experiences and then general questions. The function was interesting as it gave some insight about personal off the field antics as well as the opportunity to ask questions which one does not hear at your post match presentation. One particular interesting point was that Shoaib Akhter, with his flailing hair was agreed to be most revered fast bowler according to the three Protea’s batsmen. While it was with much laughter that Graeme Smith was apparently slower then Paul Harris in the beep fitness test.

The function also conveyed that the Protea’s future could indeed be rosy, much to the protest of Protea critics. So much so that there is reason to believe that this side could be the side to rid the chokers tag.

Its with Gary Kirsten at the Helm which should provide the team with a much needed cool mindset and experience in big match situations, having already coached the Indian side to a world cup victory. Allan Donald as the bowling coach is another great asset, having been the coach of New Zealand when they sunk the Proteas in the last world cup. Graeme Smith jokingly mentioned that Donald’s impact has already been felt with the amount bouncers being dished out at net practices.

Supersport presenter Derek Albert’s effectively pointed out the wealth of talent the Proteas have in mentioning that the Proteas,  at the time of the function,  held the number one spot for bowlers and batsmen in the world for both One Day Internationals and Test matches, an admirable accomplishment. The number one ODI Batsmen being Hashim Amla and Test Jacque Kallies while number one ODI bowler being Morne Morkel and Test bowler  Dale Steyn.

Do you think they are seeing who can eat more cheese burgers (this is an STM comment not from the author)


In assuming the Proteas as a chokers side it is easy to overlook the teams test accomplishments over the past 5 years, with a series win in 2008 in England the first since readmission and the series win in Australia also in 2008, the first since 1970. Tests have indeed been South Africa’s favourite format, its the shorter format which to date has been the stumbling block.

A newly acquired bow in the Proteas quiver as Kepler Wessels mentions is the threat Imran Tahir offers as an attacking spinner, then there are also the additional spinning options of both Robin Peterson and Johan Botha to back up the potent opening attack of Dale and Morne, which are arguably the most deadly opening attack South Africa has ever fielded.

Its with the cool headed and experienced coaching staff,  new founded spinning options, great talents in the worlds number one ranked batsmen and bowlers and potentially the greatest all rounder –  Kallis, nicknamed ‘God’, which should provide the ingredients to getting the team over the line in trophy tournaments.

Personally I feel the victor of the shorter format games is more of a lottery than that of the winner of a test match. This is because its often one individual performance which determines the result of a game. For instance in the world cup when New Zealand beat South Africa, many would have said that the Protea’s side would have won four out of every five games vs the Black Caps, but Jesse Ryder managed to fire on that day, while none of the Proteas batsmen could respond with a similar innings of equal calibre and hence on the day the Black Caps won.

In defense of P Divvy!

If you are not sure who I’m referring to, it would be the abused and mocked newly unemployed Springbok Rugby coach Peter De Villiers (PDV)

Now if you cast your mind back quickly to 2007, the following is what we recall. The Springboks won the world cup and Jake White became a national hero FULL STOP

What we don’t remember are the Tri Nations disasters, the 65% win ratio, the mind numbingly boring game plan of kick chase, the arrogance etc and WE SHOULDN’T. Jake took the Boks to the world cup final and all but destroyed England both mentally and physically. He spent four years building what I have written to be the GREATEST Springbok side I have ever known and he exited a well-deserved hero!

Enter P DIVVY! Massive moustaches, first non-white coach of the Springboks, team already cemented in place, team captain and vice-captain in firm control and let’s not forget PDVs voice! He was on a hiding to nothing before he even walked in the door.

I sometimes think this country is rather ironic because if you listen to 90% of government ministers speaking English you will wet your pants but we look past this because it’s not their first language (rightly so), yet the first time P Divvy opened his mouth at a press conference we tore him apart like a pride of lions on a kill!

I’m not saying the PDV is a great rugby coach, I’m not saying I’m unhappy he’s gone but what I am saying is he was never really given the chance. In fact he had pretty much the same win / loss ratio as Jake White did (around 65%) for his career and the last hurdle he couldn’t clear because Bryce ‘ F@CKWIT’ Lawrence reffed us out of the world cup and him out of a job!

I don’t claim to know the inner workings of the Springbok camp. I don’t know what actually goes on and who is right or wrong but from what I have picked up through people who have met with PDV, know the senior players and really are close to the team and the management is the following.

PDV was very well liked and respected by the team and the players, there have been contradictory reports but from what I’ve heard they really did like the guy. The senior players made pretty much every decision even on team selection (this can kill any team). Gary Gold and Dick Muir were absolute shockers (Muir almost lost us the Lions tour when he decided to replace half the team in the Durban test – thankfully there was a blood injury and John Smit cam e back on to restore faith)

There is a simple saying in sport (it’s mostly used for football but it applies well here) that say “Players win & Coaches lose”. What it means is when the team wins like say the Lions tour series, the players are credited with being outstanding and winning. When the team loses a Tri Nations series the coach is not up to standard and must be fired. It’s a fickle world coaching a national team and everyone knows this so I’m not saying let’s give the man a ticker tape parade but I think if we are really fair we would have to say that he was never given the chance to be judged.

The facts are he inherited a winning team and he was credited with turning them into a losing one – you have to ask yourself if this is a fair assessment of the mans Springbok coaching career? I would like to think it’s a little harsh (and believe me I’m the first to want to lynch a losing coach). PDV has been mocked, laughed at and abused by every rugby playing nation on earth for four years and as South Africans we sit idly by and agree – I’m a little disappointed in us all!

Even ZAPRIO who I follow religiously got this one a  little wrong!

Probably the harshest thing of all is that all failures need a scapegoat and he is the easiest one of all – he checks every box and he is the easiest to laugh off and blame on.

The passion runs deep here!

You need to understand two things about my family, firstly we hate to lose! Plain and simple we battle to accept defeat in any form (in fact I’ve failed to write anything on the Boks because the anger wells up too fast and strong) and second we hate being ‘cheated’ out of a win even more!

This is the note I got from my brother who lives on an island in Thailand after the loss with the simple words as a subject I’m STILL ANGRY!

I thought it was a dream this morning, when I woke up, still hazy. This was not some ‘run of the mill,’ petty unfairness, the trickery of school children, a parking ticket, or a passing over; this was a travesty, a mythical deception, a monumental injustice – Brutus slaying Caesar, Jacob deceiving Esau, another Bush being elected to the White House; it was as if Dolos the Greek God of craftiness, treachery and guile was honing his skills at Wellington Regional Stadium in New Zealand yesterday, and his target was the Springboks; just because. I thought as much when I woke up; an impossible fairy tale.

It was the same as my dream in the reports, when I checked the Internet. Australia 11 South Africa 9 – a perverse reversed distress call.

Reality bites, sure, okay, we all know that – but NOT that HARD!

Denial turned to anger. It’s hard to swallow, losing to Australia anytime, never mind LIKE THAT, in a World Cup Quarter Final. This loss covers like an unrepentant fog; it lingers like a fart in a closed, hot, and stuck elevator; it hurts like a kick, with a lead boot, in the balls.

At half time it was Australia 8 South Africa 3, inconceivably if you watched, and had your eyes open. Australia’s points were scored with disdain to conventional rugby wisdom and logic; they were nothing less than miracle points, a try from a mistaken turn over, and a penalty for South African hands supposedly in at the breakdown; fate has nothing if not a sense of irony. It was a tough ask to come back from there. I never gave the Springboks much hope of answering. They did in the second half; they came out like fire and burnt their way back. It was ball in the hand charge the bulkhead type stuff. We won lineouts, and scrums, and attacked, and ran, and scrapped; no respite, no rest, no little grubber kicks to the corner, just wave upon wave of green and gold thunder, hearts on sleeves. This is the Australian team that recently won the Tri Nations. For most of the the second half, they looked exactly the children they are, standing like Goo Goo Dolls, throwing themselves wherever they could, punch drunk, distressed – almost imbecilic. No doubt, they were up against it, that was some of the finest, and most exciting rugby I have ever seen a Springbok team play. It ought to have been, it’s the most capped side in World Cup history. It’s a team full of warriors. It’s a team full of Legends. It showed. They did not let up, not for one second.

We went ahead, deservedly I thought: South Africa 9 Australia 8.

Yes…Now…Score. I’m not sure what kept us out after that, I’m not really sure what kept us out before that; a little knock, a fifty fifty not to hand, an illegal pilfer at the breakdown, a gust of wind, some dark magic sorcery, GOD?

Then ‘another dubious decision’, as a New Zealand writer put it, and a penalty. It’s almost the only time the Aussies touched the ball in the second half, that penalty. ‘Not like this,’ I said, when that little blond faced kid kicked it over. Australia 11 South Africa 9, and that’s how it ended, I don’t know how.

‘Sometimes shit happens that doesn’t make sense,’ said Edward, an Englishman and regular at the Green Man Pub in Phuket where I was watching, as the Aussies celebrated, ‘that’s sports.’ Not gravity defying shit, I wanted to say, but I couldn’t talk, I was too gutted. I can imagine what it must be like for the Springboks. They were there, on that field; they played what we all watched – an annihilation, and now they are coming home. Australia played rugby from minute 11 to minute 17, the rest of the time they just tried to get in the way; tenaciously, I’ll admit. They survived at the breakdown, like rats, cockroaches, and small infestations of some stinking thing; a disease…I go too far, sorry, the bile rose again. It’s just a game, but anyone who loves South Africa, and rugby knows it is more than that.

There is no moral victory over Australia. We lost, and that is it, better to accept, and move on. ‘Would’ve, could’ve, should’ve,’ my mother always says.

The Coach has resigned. It was his only move, the last World Cup, when the team won the whole thing, SARFU or SARU, whatever the paper shufflers are now called, fired him. Must be nice for the Coach to go out on the same day as John Smit, and Victor Matfield; that’s got to make one feel powerful. Man I’m going to miss those guys standing in the tunnel, they’re not irreplaceable, no one is, but it’s close.

Over the next couple of days, the papers might point some fingers, allude to some nonsense, talk about youth, and age, wonder about game plans, some of our own (ego’s, past players, those not a part of it) might take a couple of cheap shots at the players of this team.

Don’t you do it!

Don’t you forget!

In this team were the winners of one Rugby World Cup; two out of South Africa’s three Tri Nations Championships; and all three of South Africa’s Super Rugby Championships. This team has three times been named the IRB World Team of the year. There was nothing old, or tired, or derelict about this team. On the day they were ferocious, they were consistent, they were warriors, they were as good as I’ve ever seen them play,as good as I’ve ever seen any Springbok team play. They were almost perfect. Since early 2004 this team has taken South Africa to the top of world rugby, a place we always laid claim, but never before belonged. For me it’s the greatest rugby team South Africa has ever had. It’s possibly the greatest the rugby world has ever seen. It’s a team full of names we will all remember for a long time. I never thought there was honour in losing, today I think differently.

Hail to all of you, Springboks of Rugby World Cup 2011 from the Beautiful South. I can always find fault, but I can’t fault you. You were magnificent.

PS: I wish I could be there to greet this team when they get home. I hope those who can be there turn up. I think the team might like that. I think after all the good times, they deserve it.

Thanks Paul

It’s World Cup. Learn the rules

If someone mentions women’s rugby I doubt many people would think of a field full of aesthetically pleasing females (in a conventional, socialised point of view of course). After all, it’s a game for strong, heavy, fit people who aren’t afraid to take a beating for 80 minutes at a time on a regular basis. The end result is you have people who look like Guthro Steenkamp, and in the case of women’s rugby, well they’re Guthro Steenkamp looking females.

Fortunately the lesson we’re posting isn’t given by the pros. It’s given by some good looking individuals who’d probably die on the rugby field (yes, death would be a real possibility). So it’s not an authentic lesson and it’s not going to teach you much about the game but it’s definitely a lesson in the beauty of the human form (in a conventional, socialised point of view of course).

Go you good thing.


Thanks Kyle

The Boks are back, I’m just not convinced yet!

I love watching the Springboks, I don’t care who they are playing, I don’t care how long the losing streak, I just love watching the Boks run onto the field and play (and most especially against the All Blacks)!

How can this not make you all tingly!

Sure there have been serious peaks and troughs since we ran out against the Aussies and Kiwis in the early 90s (SA vs the All Blacks at Ellis was my first live test match – been at as many all over the world as possible since then) but then again how could there not be.

We’ve had some shocker coaches (Rudolf & Andre), we’ve had some who were maybe a little before their time (Carel & Mac) and we’ve had some superstars (Jake & Kitch) and probably everything in between. We’ve had changes in Jerseys, logos and names and each one has brought a new smile to my face!

On Saturday though I felt I had to write about the game (which I very seldom do). You see after such a long losing streak I had a JHB restaurant / bar filled with people screaming the ‘Boks are back’, ‘they can win the world cup’ and ‘P divvy finally has a plan’. Now as much as I love the Boks (and believe me, I love to win) I didn’t feel as good as it seems the rest of the social universe felt on Saturday eve.

If we park the fact that Dan Carter and Ritchie Mcaw were left at home, which probably makes that All Black side 20% better, I don’t think the Boks really won that game. I mean, yes, the scoreboard said we did but did we really show that we are a team that can win. I saw maybe one line break in the entire game (it seems to be our average lately), I saw box kicking from Fourie Du Preez that showed every minute of his two years out of the game, I saw defensively our wingers sprinting into the AB line for intercepts and I saw a strategy that only worked in a world cup and only worked four years ago for us (that would be the kick, chase, penalty game)!

My worry is this Bok side has forgotten how to play rugby and as soon as you get a side with a little flair on the pitch against them (especially one with nothing to lose) like Fiji or Samoa (if you remember Fiji would have knocked us out four years ago if it weren’t for JPs try saving tackle) they may run us ragged.

The good news is Heinrich Brussouw is undoubtedly back to his best after only about  120min of rugby, Morne Steyns goal kicking looks sharp and with Bis the bus at hooker our scrum looks VERY solid again. Also, contrary to my fellow watchers on Saturday, to be able to bring on a leader of the caliber of John Smit when you are up against the All Blacks with 20min to go is a luxury few teams have in a  world cup setting.

Overall though, I think the Boks performance was one dimensional, uncreative, unimaginative and downright boring, BUT a win is a win!

Now in a world cup environment that’s not necessarily a bad thing however this seems to be the ONLY game we can play at the moment and I am a little shaky going into this tournament with a very experienced (and very old) side that can only play ONE style of rugby.

Time will tell and I hope they can keep the momentum going because after a world cup the only thing anyone remembers is who won, not the way they played. Once we have a third trophy in the bag we can look at rebuilding  a side of fresh faces and new ideas but until then LETS GO WIN US A TROPHY BOYS!

Its just not Cricket . . .

If you want to read the background to my views on cricket to start with maybe go read one or two of the articles here!

The truth is, in short, I didn’t always hate cricket but through the shocking, arrogant and unsportsmanlike way our team and management has continued to conduct themselves over the last decade, I do now, so when I saw this I couldn’t sit back and not have a go!

Now for those of you who don’t know Cricket South Africa has won less important things over the last 15 years than the Kenyan yachting team! They are rewarded financially very well (which I spose no matter how crap you are, you are still a national team and so justifies the money) while their administration is run almost as well as Somalian food stores.

So when Gerald Majola was paid double his annual salary as a ‘bonus’ by the Indians I start to get a little ‘Hansie style’ nervous. The fact that he didn’t declare it at all makes me EVEN MORE skeptical and when questioned on it he quickly gave the money back! What person have you EVER seen give a bonus back that was honestly deserved??

In short once again Cricket South Africa has embarrassed themselves by underwhelming the South African public who, believe it or not, are actually their customers!

My only sympathy goes to Gary Kirsten and his new coaching team who have to enter this chaos and try to put a trophy in a cabinet that makes Arsenals trophy count seem like Barcelona’s! 








STM is going away on tour, LE TOUR that is . . .

Just so you all know by the time you read this – we will be here . . .

But just in case you think it’s going to be compete fun and games let me tell you just how serious this is!

Two teams of six men each will arrive on day one in opposing colours (red & blue) wearing our black tour blazers adorned with the ‘le Tour’ logo at the bottom, and will play Ryder Cup Style over the next three days for this . . .

Now because my fellow STMer is on this team . . .

I shall restrict the abuse on their logo but I did hear ‘pigeon sperm’ mentioned!

As for me, we are the Spartans (if you are not so bright keep looking – it’s a Spartans face AND a golfer – CLEVER HUH!)

So before you get upset that we haven’t posted anything for the next few days REMEMBER – we are on a golf course drinking copious amounts of alcohol for a number of days and nights in a row – do you really want to read the shit we would be writing anyway?

ENJOY YOUR WEEKEND STMers and wish us luck on Le Tour!

Is it out with the ‘old’ in with the new?

This past weekend a young boy with scraggly hair from Northern Ireland call Rory Mcllroy won the US Open, his first major and his announcement to the proper world stage (yes we know he has won before but now it’s the big leagues).

This prompted me to wonder if this was the proverbial changing of the guards, so to speak, of golfing heavyweights?

Up until recently, Tiger Woods has been the king of all things golf. You know when the king dies (Jack Nicklaus, figuratively speaking of course) and then everyone shouts ‘the king is dead, long live the king’ that’s where Tiger fits in. As you all well know he has been, again until recently, the poster boy for everything golf and otherwise and he has become one of the most recognizable faces in the world, but is this time for the cataclysmic change?

Both players started very young (Tiger before two, Rory before two)! Both appeared on local talk shows

Tiger . . .


Rory . . .


Tiger could shoot 48 at three for 9-holes, Rory could drive 40m at age two. Tiger won the Junior world championships numerous times, Rory won the Junior Ryder cup and the European amateur championships while woods won the other side of the world’s Amateur contests.

They both cruised through college winning team and individual honours but Rory was the youngest to turn pro and break into the Top 50 golfers in the world however Tiger was the fastest to reach number one. Both won their first major at 22 (granted Mcllroy should have won at Augusta but then really did choke) and both blew the field away with a multitude of new records set!

The list of consistencies goes on and on . . .

As far as I can tell the only difference between these two is they are 15 odd years apart. Tigers story has somewhat been written for all intents and purposes (don’t get me wrong I WANT HIM BACK to finish the story) but this kid has the chance to eclipse one of the most magnificent sportsmen I have been privileged enough to watch in my life.

Watch out world Rory has the pedigree and the past and he may just turn the golf world upside-down! As they say in the classics the train is on the same track just a few stops behind!


What a shot!

So there’s been a lot of hype around Rory McIlroy being the youngest guy to win the US open since 1923. Having recently taken up golf lessons I have new found respect for the amount of skill required to be even remotely as good as that. But then, we came across this video clip and if it’s real, it’s even more unbelievable. What are the odds?…


Quite the bunker shot huh?

Thanks Rich

FIFA really are Evil Masterminds!

Now if you are confused as to what FIFA do, they really run the global football world and in recent times they have been viewed as ‘the organized crime’ of football.

They host about six events a year and by far the most important is the soccer world cup – they make roughly three billion dollars from it – not bad.

But it wasn’t until I saw their lair that I realized what masterminds they are!

The office has one story above ground and SIX below ground with the center of the building being this black marble encase boardroom where all the big decisions are made (don’t forget the massive crystal chandelier above)

Then there’s the newsroom that you have to have some serious balls to ask Sepp Blatter a rough question a few stories underground in his own house!

Finally there is the state of the art work out center outside for the 300 odd employees with a few of these FIFA spec pitches thrown in for good measure!

Now tell me you still don’t think this dude is Dr Evil – I mean all that’s missing are the sharks with frikken laser beams on their heads!