What a weekend.
Day off on Friday was spent tearing down to London to watch the ATP World Tour Finals – a long-held dream fulfilled.
However, just as we saw Mo Farah and Usain Bolt fail in spectacular fashion when we went to the World Athletics back in August, we were in situe to witness the downing of another favourite.
And the rising of a new hero out of nowhere.
Last night was right up there as one of the best sporting experiences ever. With Mo Farah and Usain Bolt on the ticket, second Saturday tickets had always looked promising.
Little did I anticipate just how bright the fireworks would be.
For the first time in my lifetime, Blackburn Rovers will kick off the new season on Saturday in the doldrums of League One with, all due respect, the likes of Rochdale, Plymouth and Fleetwood.
I can’t say I’m looking forward to it. Sure, I’m imbued with the same old start-of-season optimism that all football fans have before the leaves start to fall and the grim reality of a season of struggle begins to set in. (Make that ten past 3 on Saturday then).
But, for all that following Rovers is both a delight and a nightmare, there is some cause for cautious optimism.
Here are my reasons to be cheerful/reasons to be churlish…
This blog has charted accounts of swimming, gymnastics and football. Such is the varied life of a toddler these days.
However, a New Year brings new beginnings and after my wife successfully secured (captured? grabbed? ensnared?!) Sophie’s attention with Strictly Come Dancing, last week saw myself and my little girl foxtrotting down to a toddler dance session at a local high school.
Tonight, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola lock horns for the second time since they both arrived in Manchester to the waving of palm branches and songs of praise this summer.
Back in September, Guardiola’s City were on the crest of a wave and, despite Claudio Bravo’s desperate attempts to sabotage their performance, swamped the Red Devils in a 2-1 win which was far more convincing than the scoreline suggests.
However, since then, both teams have been on a downward trajectory.
City have gone five games without a win – the first time for Pep since 2009 – and United’s performances have been totally inconsistent. One minute, nullifying the significant threat of Philippe Coutinho et al at Anfield and the next being destroyed by that well-known attacker N’Golo Kante at Chelsea in a 4-0 thrashing.
So, with both “Messiahs” at a crossroads, the EFL Cup game tonight takes on new importance.
But is anyone actually bothered?
Was this the end of an era?
Were the Gammy Knees about to be consigned to the annals of history?
Would they go out on a high or would their frustrating record in Manchester tournaments continue?
All these questions and more answered in the following post…
While Team GB are scurrying around Rio de Janeiro defeating the rest of the world and covering their necks with gold medals, the next generation are getting stuck into sport and training for future Olympics.
None more so than two and a half year old Sophie, whose commitment to her fitness regime has been stretched recently and she has come out stronger than ever.
I’ve got a mixed relationship with park run.
As a concept, it’s brilliant. The Olympics 2012 get inspired legacy may not have met with a huge amount of success but Park Run does a phenomenal job of mobilising people to do exercise.
(The last time I ran in a park was either doing reluctant cross country at primary school or chasing after Sophie when she legged it after a duck!)
However, ever since my wife’s great friend Sarah introduced her to it a few years ago, she has become utterly hooked.
And that’s where I’m going with this post…
As a Blackburn Rovers fan, I’ve got used to losing derby matches.
This season, I’ve watched on as Burnley twice beat Rovers, both times after being outplayed.
I also saw the shambles at the Macron straight after Christmas when a much fresher Rovers team were destroyed by a hungrier and, on that evidence better, Bolton side.
Look how that one turned out.
And yet, with Rovers pressing the self-destruct button to lose 2-1 at home to neighbours Preston North End today, for me, it’s the most painful derby defeat of the season.
You may be aware that over the past three days, the piazza outside BBC Sport has seen 57 hours of non-stop five aside football in aid of Sport Relief.
Blackburn Rovers legends Alan Shearer and Robbie Savage (did they play for anyone else?!) laid down the gauntlet to each other to match a Premier League season and then promptly drafted in a host of ringers to help them get through the epic duel.
By the end of play, it had raised almost £400,000 for the Sport Relief cause and the funds were still coming in. What an achievement.
We took Sophie down to check it out on Thursday night, when the sun was beginning to set, and Savage had given up moving – already!
Here’s her take on events.