It’s amazing how quickly those four years to the World Cup come around, and here we are again hoping England can somehow replicate 1966 in Russia this summer. Though let’s face it, had VAR been around back then Geoff Hurst’s second goal would have been disallowed! The greatest football tournament has brought back memories of the first World Cup I watched in 1994. Obviously, not involving England as we didn’t qualify, but I vividly remember my Dad waking me up in the early hours, so I could watch Romania Vs Columbia (something I would remain asleep for now), Bebeto’s baby celebration for Brazil, Ireland’s shock win over Italy and my personal favourite, Diana Ross’ penalty at the opening ceremony. Four years later my Dad ensured I could watch England’s opener vs Tunisia due to a timely dentist appointment (something I would also rather have now) and ironically that’s who England face in their tournament opener in 2018.
Aside from penalty shootouts, player burnouts after a long season, and various other excuses many people think the England players struggle to entertain themselves and suffer from boredom which contributes somehow on the pitch. To counter this, apparently, they are relying on playing card game Uno and watching Love Island. I think I would rather eat a pack of Uno cards. I guess it must be tricky for them at the £22,000 a night resort where they are staying.
Of course, a few players in the England camp are Liverpool players still getting over their Champions League Final defeat to Real Madrid where the game pretty much swung the way of the holders when Liverpool’s star player Mohammed Salah was crocked by the seemingly innocent Sergio Ramos. I saw a tweet that said, “I am not saying Ramos is the sort of player who intentionally meant to injure Salah, but he would probably unplug a life support machine if his phone needed charging.” They could have just pointed to the fact he has 24 red cards in his Real Madrid career to make the point he isn’t a shrinking violet. To be fair it wasn’t just that moment but also Liverpool goalkeeper Loric Karius letting in two of the softest goals ever in the competition, which led to some people immorally commenting that it was the worst use of gloves since OJ Simpson.
Onto football news closer to home and York City have quietly gone about their transfer business in preparation for a second successive season in the National League North. The scouting network still appears to only consist of former players or those who come from the North East but the likes of ex loan signing Jake Wright who ripped through our defence a few months back as part of promotion winners Harrogate Town’s 2-0 win at Bootham Crescent, you would hope he would make us a stronger attacking outfit. Wright has filled the gap left by Louis Almond who has left to join Chorley; a decision some are saying is nuts. July sees a packed pre-season schedule for the Minstermen. Usually I find the close season more of a drag than receiving an email with the subject GDPR, but with the likes of Leeds United and Barnsley coming to Bootham Crescent perhaps the big crowds for friendlies will prove to be a good omen.
Local sports teams fundraising and promoting is a common theme up and down the country, but Richard Mann, 38, of Bishopthorpe is attempting to go that ‘extra mile’; well 110 miles to be precise. Richard aims to complete the Hardmoors 110 Ultramarathon to raise money for Bishopthorpe White Rose Junior Football Club. Richard Mann is the coach for the Under 8’s team and has set up a BT Donate page (https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/hardmoors110) with all proceeds going towards the football club’s future community facility and pitches. The club has so far raised £45,000 of its £80,000 fundraising target; the total required to break ground on the project and Richard has reached £361 of his £500 personal target. The Club has recently outgrown available facilities in Bishopthorpe as it currently plays across five different sites and does not have a home ground, clubhouse or focal point in the community.
Richard said, ‘I am very passionate about the importance of personal development through sport. What better way to demonstrate this than to take on the Hardmoors 110 and choose the football club to benefit from the sponsorship generously donated towards my endeavour.’ The Hardmoors 110 covers 110 miles off-road from Filey to Helmsley with 6000 metres of elevation gain and a time limit of 36 hours. To put that into context, Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK is 1,345 metres and Mount Everest is 8,848 metres.