There aren’t many four-time Formula One world champions to speak of. In terms of scarcity they’re up there with hen’s teeth, tires that last a whole race and single-dollar bills in Bernie Ecclestone’s wallet.
Of the hundreds of drivers who have pitted their wits in one of the world’s top motorsport divisions since 1950, only four have sealed a quadruple of titles: Juan Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost and Sebastian Vettel.
Vettel entered this elite club with his win in India on Sunday and, for once, topped the podium to cheers rather than the boos that have become all too regular for the young German this season.
Speaking to reporters after the race the man from Heppenheim said: "It's very difficult for me personally, to receive boos, even though you haven't done anything wrong.
Trust the English to be level-headed and rational in their response to qualifying for the 2014 World Cup. Well, not quite ...
Known for its population of the stiff upper-lipped and emotionally aloof, England’s green and pleasant land is also home to a gaggle of hacks who seemingly lead the world in their habit for hyperbole.
Ok, so the football team are perennial underachievers; glory on the pitch has not been in abundance. In fact, the side of the self-dubbed 'Home of football' has a track record for success that would give IBM a run for it’s money.
Having invented the damn thing the nation has since endured every competitor under the sun reshaping the product into a new form that betters the original: the Spanish, with their Apple-like aesthetic, the Germans, who produce consistent year-on-year success growth like Hewlett Packard, and then there’s Lenovo ... (add further PC-based metaphors here). FULL POST
As events go, committee meetings usually engender the same level of excitement as that felt by Willy Wonka on hearing his dentist appointment has been brought forward.
“A committee is a thing which takes a week to do what one good man can do in an hour,” was the assessment of American writer Elbert Hubbard. And if the judgement of Mr Hubbard is to be valued nearly one hundred years after his unfortunate death at the hands of a German U-Boat then it’s probably fair to assume such a gathering of bureaucrats won’t make for a great spectator occasion either.
However, even if you’re a sport hack more used to the drama-drenched fare of World Cup football, the deliberations of soccer’s biggest suits at the 28th executive committee (ExCo) on Thursday and Friday just might be different.
That’s because agenda point 25.2 will see a discussion on the future of the controversial 2022 World Cup in Qatar, an important bone of contention for a number of reasons: FULL POST
It’s a difficult task, to pin down the criteria that need to combine for a sporting figure to be deemed a "character," a figure whose personality helps to popularise their field of competition in a transformative way.
Ingredients such as daring in the face of danger and desire to rise to the challenge are prerequisites. A romantic backstory of overcoming the odds makes compelling viewing to all dreamers out there, while the facing down of a nemesis provides drama and justice to devotees.
But it’s not just the conquering of the seemingly impossible that makes a sporting "character," maybe most important of all is the ability to connect with an audience on an emotional level. To force the viewer to empathise with your test and triumph as if they were personally involved in the victory. So they win with you.
Is there a driver on today’s grid who matches up? FULL POST
In a bid to make the assessment of the transfer deadline day activity more manageable, let’s take a look at how Champions League clubs from the top divisions in Europe - the English Premier League, the Bundesliga, La Liga and Serie A - fared. The transfer window, from the point of view of managers and coaches, is all about improving your side’s stock. Some traders proved better than others as the clock ticked down in the final 24 hours (marked out of 10) … FULL POST
“A lack of respect for the world we live in.”
That was the damning assessment Barcelona head coach Gerardo Martino had for the widely-expected transfer of Wales star Gareth Bale to his side’s archrivals Real Madrid.
As manager of one of Spain’s two footballing giants his role almost dictates that verbal provocation is aimed west to the capital, but it’s not just the Catalan faithful who would have been sympathetic to the Argentine’s rhetoric. FULL POST
Transfer windows have become an integral part of the modern football landscape.
The season may end when the fixtures run out, but the soap opera continues as the on-pitch drama of the most global of sports is replaced by the intrigue and chicanery of player purchase and trading.
Each year the price tags go up as the deals go down, and the media makes ever more hay from the speculation and subterfuge that surrounds the transactions. FULL POST
The wait is over. Soccer devotees across Europe, strung out during the off season with only the scraps of transfer rumors and player sales to keep them sated, can now quench the pang of their addiction with weekly hits of league football.
The German Bundesliga returned on August 9 with Bayern beating Borussia Monchengladbach, France's Ligue 1 saw nouveau riche champions PSG held by Montpellier on the same day, while Italy's Serie A gets going on August 24. The two remaining elite divisions of Spain and England kick off this weekend.
There have been many managerial moves since May but the English Premier League has seen a fascinating shuffling of characters that now hold the reins at a clutch of the world’s biggest clubs. FULL POST