I hope you were watching…..

This is my brother in law who sadly passed on two months ago. He was massively into his football, having played the game at a fair level and then became a manager. His love for the game was undiluted and absolute.

I went round to my sister’s the other day. Normally, my brother in law would be sitting on the sofa, watching Sky Sports on the TV and I would be talking to him about Tottenham, the team he’s always supported. We would discuss football, occasionally have a difference of opinion but the conversation was always healthy and fun.

So when I went round the house the other day, he wasn’t there of course, and I found it odd that I wasn’t discussing football and watching it on the TV.

Last night, his beloved Tottenham played Ajax of Amsterdam in the Champions League Semi Final second leg. Tottenham had to overturn a three goal deficit midway through the match. All of a sudden, one goal back, then two and then the winner (on aggregate) in the last minute. Incredible scenes in Amsterdam.

My brother in law would have been in his luxury room in heaven, drinking a couple of beers and cheering Tottenham on to victory. It’s a real tragedy that he wasn’t here to see his team’s finest hour. But his spirit lives on in us, as I’m sure it always will do. A poignant moment that has popped into my mind from last night. I’m sure he will be very proud of his team, and of his family and friends. We’re all proud of him and the good man he was.

A.S.D Brooks

Football conversation….things I shall miss about my brother in law….

My late brother in law was into his sport, especially football. The team he supported was Tottenham Hotspur. He was a manager and former player at more modest non-league level as well, and had an intimate knowledge of the game.

I always enjoyed conversations about football with him. One of my last conversations with him was over a disputed penalty decision in a televised match between Watford and Chelsea. It was clear that he didn’t like Chelsea very much (!) and the incident saw us disagree over this decision. I agreed with the referee’s decision and my brother in law didn’t. But it never got beyond mild disagreement. I saw the incident from an official’s viewpoint (as I would!) and he saw it from a player’s view.

But I enjoyed those conversations, talking about the form of Tottenham, the exciting players they have and the performance of the manager.

Tottenham have moved into a new ground and the move was somewhat delayed due to health and safety concerns. My brother in law was due to watch a game in the new stadium. Sadly, that never came to pass. And I shall miss our football chats, amongst other things. He was passionate about his sport as I am. I couldn’t convert him over to cricket, but each to his own.

Thinking about those good times….how you should remember someone close to you who has sadly passed away. His spirit will live on in us all I think, and in a good way.

A.S.D Brooks

The end for England….

Just like 28 and 22 years ago, the England football team bow out of a major tournament at the semi final stage. A marvellous effort from an unheralded and little fancied side. Few expectations that we would get to the last four, and the draw fell England’s way.Until tonight. We met a side a lot better in quality in Croatia. After Trippier’s fantastic free kick gave England a deserved lead, we bossed the first half and should have been further ahead. The roar that reverberated around the cricket club when the goal went in was deafening. Second half and England lost the plot defensively and offensively, and were lucky not to lose the game in normal time. Into extra time we went, and though the effort was there, the thinking became muddled and we lost our way still further, leading to Croatia’s winner.But no hard luck story. We can’t blame the weather, the opposition, the officials or anything else. England were outplayed by a better side who have decent World Cup pedigree. And I for one who thought we would fade into mediocrity was proved completely and utterly wrong. A tremendous effort and ultimately a step too far. But it’s only a game of football. It’s not life and death. We can all get on with our lives now.A.S.D Brooks

It’s Coming Home…is it?

Consider these stats. 1996 was the last time the England football team made it to the semi finals of a major tournament. 1990 was the last time a semi final was reached in a World Cup, when we lost, amidst Paul Gascoigne’s tears, to our arch nemesis, West Germany (as was).England’s 2-0 win over Sweden yesterday saw a much unheralded team under Gareth Southgate make it to only our third semi final in the 88 years of the competition. Before the tournament started, I was one of those frankly bored by international football and by the usual ineptitude of the England team and it’s collection of average managers over the years. I even thought that Gareth Southgate was an average manager with an average group of players under his wing. Now, incredibly, we are in the semi final of the biggest tournament of all. Most of the big guns have fallen by the wayside and England’s path to the semi final has been made considerably easier, penalty shootout versus Colombia aside.Let me put this achievement into context. I never believed I would see a better summer weather wise then the one we’re experiencing at the moment. I also didn’t think in my lifetime that I would see an England football team on the verge of greatness. Believe me, I’m a cynical old whatsit and seen too many England failures. Can we see Sir Gareth Southgate in 2019. A Sir? Amazing really. There’s still the little matter of Croatia to get through this coming Wednesday, and they are a decent side with a good pedigree, semi finalists in 1998 being an example. If we play as well as we have done already, there’s the mouthwatering prospect of a Moscow final next Sunday, an event that will grip England by the ears. If this lovely weather continues, then next Sunday will be manna from heaven for us English. Could it be coming home, finally, after 52 years? And an England victory would help shut up your correspondent, who didn’t think we would get out of the group stages. Never predict sport, or anything else for that matter. Predictions can make us look foolish. IT’S COMING HOME…is it?A.S.D Brooks

Torture…

What am I talking about? Football. England’s last 16 match versus Colombia in Moscow was a test of the patience and nerves of any spectator.I went to the cricket club to watch the game. Another beautiful evening outside and we all sat there and prepared ourselves for a long night. And that is what we got.A horrid, bitty, fiery and ill tempered match that did little to endear anyone to watching international football. Squabbling players and haranguing the much maligned American referee made for an unedifying spectacle. Inevitably with England, it went to extra time and penalties. The nerves in the room were taut as the penalties were taken, until amid much wild cheering, Eric Dier scored the winning kick to send England through to a quarter final with Sweden. I must confess to doing a few circuits of the room in delight.So onto Saturday. Can the nerves stand it once again? Can we progress and is it coming home, for the first time in 52 years? All these questions to be answered this weekend. A.S.D Brooks

Hot, but not in the least bothered.

Hello, and good evening. Again, another sojourn in the scorebox today. It was a short away trip for the team, who were attempting to make it to the last 16 of the National Club Cricket Championship, for the whole of the UK! Some achievement if they could win.

Slight problem before the start. I had a little dose of tummy troubles which necessitated a trip to the loo. Once that was out of the way, I was slightly dismayed to find myself without a colleague to share duties with. I didn’t know who the other team’s players were, and I kept calling out to one of the players to appraise me of the bowlers and catchers.

But you always need luck to survive. I was doing computer scoring, doing the live feed, when a bowler’s name came up that wasn’t on my list. With nobody around to confirm or deny, I stopped the computer scoring. Then the ball got lost and the players took a while to retrieve it. During the delay, I walked onto the field and asked one of the team who this mystery player was. I returned to my post, resumed the live feed and got my equilibrium back.

It was hot work. The sun was shining directly into the box rendering it quite stuffy and uncomfortable. But I soldiered on, got the first innings out of the way. The two umpires, whom I know extremely well, were very appreciative of my efforts, along with our lads. One of the umpires actually asked the opposition to send one of their lads to the scorebox so I could fill in the batsmen’s names. This they duly did, and the opposition lads they sent round were very amicable, chatty and informative.

The result of the game? Well in 22 years with my club, this is the first time we have made it to the last 16! The last 16 in the whole country! Fantastic effort by the lads and it seemed as though the effort shattered them, as it was a scorching afternoon. With England winning the football 6-1 and the England cricket team winning 5-0, a fab day all round.

Again, alls well that ends well from my perspective. I worked the scoreboard, the book and the live computer scoring without hiccup. And I’m quite proud of that fact. And the appreciation was very welcome. I really am enjoying this season more than I have done for a very long time.

So in the last 16, the team have to travel down to West Sussex. But anything is possible! So looking forward to the next game.

See ya

A.S.D Brooks

A winning start….just

Watching England play football at tournament level is a trial of nerve and patience. At times, I feel like not bothering to watch as the games can be stupefyingly boring and uninteresting.

Tonight had some of that boredom as England struggled their way to a 2-1 win over Tunisia at the World Cup. The first fifteen minutes, England were razor sharp and should have been three goals to the good. But we only had one goal to show for our efforts.

Then a soft, but in my opinion, correct penalty decision gave a poor Tunisia side a way back into the game. Then, after that penalty, the dreadfully incompetent South American referee, with the help of his equally useless Video Assistants, ruled that England’s Harry Kane had not been rugby tackled to the ground on two occasions. Consistency nowhere to be seen.

The second half was limp, lifeless and England just huffed and puffed to little effect, as usual. Then Kane popped up in injury time to head a priceless goal to give England a hard fought three points.

Verdict? A struggle. Always play badly against poor opponents. Always come down to their level. Next game is Panama, who have the same limited skill as Tunisia and had six players cautioned earlier versus Belgium. Massive improvements needed, but three points and let’s celebrate that fact. But things need to get a lot better from here.

A.S.D Brooks