Whilst England’s World Cup campaign spluttered towards the ignominy of another penalty shoot-out defeat, there was nevertheless a victory (of a sort) – that the battle to defeat English hooliganism had been well and truly won. On the streets of Cologne and Stuttgart, prior to the stilted draw with Sweden and the ugly second round win over Ecuador, the predominant theme in this fan’s eyes was ‘England United’. Hailing from Basingstoke to Blackpool and Southsea to Scarborough, fans transformed the German streets into a carnival atmosphere, with the cross of Saint George adorned with names of cities, towns and villages nationwide. One particular flag that caught the eye was emblazoned with Leeds United, Liverpool, Manchester United, and, intriguingly, Oxford United, declaring loud and proud “ENGLAND TILL I DIE”. Elsewhere fans would congregate outside bars and restaurants, starting impromptu kickabouts amongst fans who will support rival teams come the winter months.
Stories concerning the sexuality of certain Premiership footballers have caused more than a ripple in the British media of late. In fact, so many people have checked the Internet for the now-infamous News of The World story that it is impossible to type ‘Ashley Cole’ into Google without being given the option to “See results for Ashley Cole gay”. Rather than recounting ‘Carry On-esque’ tales of “dirty phone calls” between “player A” and “player B,” however, I would instead like to consider why the sexuality of the players in question is such an inflammatory issue.
At a recent disability sports event hosted by the Sports and Physical Recreation Department and the Students’ Union, students tested their nerve, balance and determination as they played the violent game Murderball. Ex-paralympian Rob Tarr led a coaching session which saw University rugby players smashing wheelchairs into the Students’ Union Exec.
As Chelsea storm to a consecutive Premiership title, many have bemoaned the one-horse footballing race and criticised the lack of excitement as we reach the business end of the season. Yet this is not the first time that the title has been signed, sealed and delivered shortly into the new year. Manchester United’s dominance in the mid-to-late 90s saw all entertainment removed from the much-hyped title contest. So where does that leave us?
According to its current guide, the University of Nottingham’s Department of Physical Recreation and Sport is committed to making sport and fitness related activities ‘more accessible and enjoyable for everyone.’ Why then does it cost so much money to use the university’s sports facilities?