Monday, March 26, 2007

Like Blackpool through a stick of rock by Zephirine

Back in the day, top athletes were either a) gentlemen with private incomes who would represent their county or country for a few years and then go off to be solicitors, psychiatrists, or run the family business, or b) artisans who were grateful to earn enough during their playing career to buy a small sports equipment shop to run during their retirement.

Now, any sportsperson of reasonable ability can have a comfortable life through wages and sponsorship, and the top players in the big sports live like ancien régime aristocrats in a world of huge wealth unimaginable to their fans.

But their lives are still insecure - if they fall from favour, lose form, or get seriously injured, much of their income will disappear. How much money is enough to be safe? They have to make more, and more.

The top players mix with other wealthy people from business and showbiz. They have agents, business advisors, security men, drivers, domestic staff for their multiple homes.

They are paid massive amounts to make advertisements glorifying products they probably don't use.

They attend corporate events for their sponsors, where they have to be charming, make funny speeches, give free coaching and generally jump through hoops for the company that is footing the bill.

So now, an athlete is a brand, a commercial entity, a product. They know their value, their marketability, their transfer fee.

They can be bought and sold.

When they're approached to play, perhaps, slightly badly for a large amount of money. What's the difference? Like the old joke says, it's already established they're a whore, it's just a question of the price. Isn't it?

Or is it? At what point does integrity cease to matter?

'We are where we are' and the clock can't be turned back. There is massive money in modern sport and players can't be denied their fair share. But let's face it, corruption is there right the way through like Blackpool through a stick of rock - some of it's legal and some of it's criminal, and the lines are blurred. Playing badly because a Mumbai bookie paid you to, or playing badly because your sponsor insisted you attend a dinner last night..? Getting a great transfer deal but turning a blind eye to the way your agent arranged it..?

Can anything be done? Or is professional sport now a dirty business on a par with, and intertwined with, gambling, and those with ideals will just have to play for love in an amateur league?

Discuss.

73 comments:

bluedaddy said...

Interesting piece Zepherine. Gotta go earn my own pittance now but will come back to this.

The administrators of sport have to bear a serious burden of blame here. The Olympic ideal was soured by the IOC far more than the likes of Ben Johnson. UEFA and FIFA are clearly organisations that revel in their access to jollies far more than they do in sorting out the game's needs.

Just one last nitpick; please don't take offence. Sometimes it is preferable to use IT IS rather than IT'S. Read the piece back and tell me what you think.

nestaquin said...

zeph, wonderful to read your piece. I can see that you are disappointed with recent events in the Carribean. Understandable.

Can anything be done? you ask. I have no answers but I do have a suggestion.

Don't support the gambling industry, it just encourages them.

On another note I'm still finding my way around this site and I've posted wise and witty words that never appeared. Disapppointing. Thanks for the cheerio, bluedaddy.

greengrass said...

Zeph -
short and sweet; good.
The question on all our minds right now - everybody on here should have an opinion on this matter.
My opinion? I don't like it, but what can we do? I can shake my head in disgust, but I don't have any ready-made answers. I can't see that a return to amateurism is the answer - "amateur" sports have continually been riddled with back-door payments.
BD -
it is/it's? A question of style, and I can't see that the style of this peace is begging for "it is".
Buy if you're/you are after the Nitpicker Award - go for it!

GG

Zephirine said...

Thanks for kicking the debate off, guys, I just felt we should address this subject on pseuds even if only briefly.

Apostrophe point taken, BD - I was trying for an informal, argumentative style (and hoping not to be pompous!).

Nestaquin, hello! sorry your wise/witty posts didn't appear, it seems blogspot does that sometimes.

mimi said...

Good points Zeph, but a gloomy view! Obviously the whole can of corrupt worms is very much open just now, and there's plenty to leave a nasty taste in the mouth. However, I refuse to believe that all sport is riven with deceit and illegality, and you only had to see the pure unadulterated delight that Rossi took in his win in Jerez yesterday to know that there are sportmen who are so in love with their trade that they would carry on if no money was on offer.
Agree with Nestaquin that the amateur days were no better - plenty of stories abound of brown envelopes being slipped into players' kitbags after a match. I will continue to follow the sports I love, and believe that most players have nothing to hide. If that makes me naive, I can live with it. There's enough cynicism around in the rest of life.

MotM said...

I've gotta dash, so can't at this stage give the piece the thought it deserves, but I will say this.

I like, nay, love sport because it reflects life better than any other endeavour - painting, music, writing, working, family life anything. It does so in part because it reveals the bad with the good, the honest with the deceitful, the joy with the sorrow. Its imperfections are part of its rich tapestry and whilst I would like to wish them away, I know that I can't.

bluedaddy said...

This is where I was thinking of it: "some of it's legal and some of it's criminal". As Zeph writes with style as well as content I knew she would be receptive to a query. But now I come back to it I am less sure of myself. When I read Zeph's version out loud it seems ok, in my head it seems to confuse me a little.

In the larger scheme of things, "Get out more BD" seems appropriate.

GG, an evil part of me could be happy nitpicking. I need to exorcise it, but feel compelled to exercise it all to often.
Ta muchly for the CD. Not my normal listen but I found it sweet and mellow on the first listen, and then discovered a little more darkness on further perusal. Apt I feel, no?

fred said...

BD -
tell me about that exorcism business!
We're all good Calvinists at heart (I
know, I know - we have left-footers on here to, and maybe the odd Huguenot; to hugue or not to hugue?).
Anyway, we all have our crosses to bear. Dog above, someone will object to that, too!
Bugger this!
GG
P.S. Glad you liked (?) it!

nesta said...

In stark contrast to this fine piece of thought, I've read an article at the 'big blog' which is essentially a gambling formguide to the Super 8's.

After reading your piece again zeph, I now think I can answer the two questions you posed in your closing paragraph.

Can anything be done? When people evolve to a point where awareness is more agreeable than distraction, change will occur.

Is professional sport now a dirty business on a par with, and intertwined with, gambling, and those with ideals will just have to play for love in an amateur league? Yes, it is a dirty business and gambling isn't the only reaon why. Those with ideals will still find their way into the major leagues. Having ideals surely doesn't deprive you of athletic ability. Also, amateur sport is not immune from betting.

In summary, gambling is a distraction and many of the great philosophies warn of its' dangers. I'm sure it wasn't based on a hypethetical assumption. To my neverending bewilderment society refuses to learn from its past mistakes. That's why I don't live near one.

Zeph said...

Bluepapa, you're quite right, in fact that's altogether a bad sentence because I don't think there can be such a thing as legal corruption. Didn't revise this one enough. But hey, you got my drift.

Interesting to see the criticisms being levelled at the Indian star cricketers - 'too much income from sponsors and adverts ....'

andrewm said...

GG, not got mine yet you swine :) How can I trash what I haven't heard?

I'm not sure how many would just play for the love of the game. On a related note, does anyone remember David James saying he wasn't interested in football and only played it because he was good at it? I always found that a bit strange. I wonder if he loves it now.

bluedaddy said...

So you live in London then Nesta?

"When people evolve to a point where awareness is more agreeable than distraction, change will occur"

I like this Nesta. Can I pinch it, or have you got first dibs on it?

Though blogging is a bit of a distraction isnt it? God knows my kids think so.

mimi said...

Nesta: glad I'm not the only one who found this afternoon's "Runners and Riders" blog on GU sitting rather uncomfortably in the light of all the condemnation of gambling on the cricket.

nestaquin said...

Making your thoughts concrete and known however incoherent or incorrect is always a valuable experience. It helps you grow, if your humble enough.

Bluey, lived in London for a couple of years (Nth Finchley) but now live a quiet, simple life snuggled in the temperate forests of Southern Tasmania. As for first dibs, language evolved through sharing and community. I control neither the letters, their patterns or the sounds. Thoughts are like birds, they can only be owned if you lock them in a cage.

That said, I still find plagiarists insecure spineless vultures unable or unwilling to use the key they possess. Lower than Jardine on the evolutionary scale.

Since you were polite enough to ask I'd consider you a gentleman. Once released, a thought is no longer mine to possess. I've given it freely and hold no attachment to it.

I've found this blog's mechanics interminably frustrating. I've lost posts and this one will not stick. Sad. For the people I've encountered are true. Life is too short and each moment too precious to waste a half hour trying to post a reply on a blog. That really is a distraction!

andrewm said...

nestaquin, does it tell you that you have to choose a blogger identity, even when you've typed your name and password in? It does that to me quite a lot. I don't know why it does, but why not copy the text before you first try to post? We wouldn't want you to give up, in all seriousness.

PS. Zeph, an interesting article, thanks.

nesta said...

After I lost the first one, Andy, I copied, believe me. The last post took 21 attempts. A less determined individual WOULD have given up! I tried various methods to kickstart the motor and eventually succeeded. I just thought it would be wise to air my concerns. It might just lead to some improvements.

nesta said...

mimi I've left a reply about sociopathy, miniseries and collective nouns at the Bradman blog. The one with the title about Bob being naive.
I'd like you to read it.

nesta said...

you should read it too mouth

andrewm said...

nesta, I should have realised you would have tried that. I just thought you might be having the same problem as me, but I've never had to post 21 times, which is insane.

guitougoal said...

Zeph,fotball went from being a sport to being a business.It is a total dropout. But we knew it had to come to this when we heard for the first time a coach say"winning is eveything" The rest was foregone.Players used to play for nothing. or they just played for the color of their jersey.it's hard to say exactly when and where it changed but the media got in the act and football players became mythic and then, wanted to be paid.Ownership used to be a hobby now it's a business and it's all about profit.Figuring a way to turn around things as they are it;s impossible because the amount of investment are beyond reasonable sens.It is a social fact , economics dictatent and we are f*cked.

marcela said...

zeph - i applaud you for the attempt to tackle this one. i think the complexities at play are many.

sportstars were the losers for so long in this game that i for one think they mostly deserve to get a slice of the cake. the talent is always important!

at the same time, you mention the whores. but it is not the whores whose morality we should question. it is the pimp's.

and as far as amateurism is concerned - is it really a guarantee of less greed and corruption?

i could go on... maybe tbc.

well done, anyway. short and sweet indeed.

Arthur King said...

Marketing and television: how else did we get the Coca-Cola Fuji Adidas Hoover McDonald's Mastercard HP Laserjet Canon Ricola Altoids Disprin Olympics brought to you live in this portion of the programme by the US Army?

MotM said...

Anyone remember Peter Powell? Bear with me.

Back in the late Eighties I guess, he kept referring to pop music as "the business", not in an ironic way, in a thrusting Thatcherite new post-war settlement kind of way. I trace my lack of interest in music to that point and barely listen to anything recorded after about 1990 - and yes, I know that's a function of age.

But I feel the same swell of apathy (there's one for you BlueDaddy) about football for all the reasons gone into at length everywhere. I'm just not interested in business in any other way than to provide the needful with sufficient excess to allow sport, art etc etc. Self-indulgent? I know what Ayn Rand would say!

Back on topic (Ha Ha!), I wish to make a plea for perspective. Some sport is bent, some of its participants are charlatans, some of the characters unsavoury, some of its practices murky, but what's worth getting out of bed for that isn't?

I recall Michael Gambon in "The Singing Detective" ventriloquising Dennis Potter's disgust for sex, yet also the yearning. Works for sport too.

offside said...

Arthur,

thanks for looking in. Welcome.

Zeph,

ever seen the program called "Apostrophes" on French TV, hosted by Bernard Pivot? It was about literature and sometimes sport was mentioned.

Zeph said...

Offside, sport on a literature programme, whatever next? I blame that Albert Camus. Yes, I have seen Apostrophes a few times, great programme. We can't quite get that sort of thing right in the UK.

Marcela, my feeling is - and obviously it is complex and one is always over-simplifying - that high wages are fair enough if the sport can stand it. But I think corporate sponsorship of individual athletes, and advertising campaigns starring individual athletes, have a corrosive effect, especially in team sports.
Although seeing Jonny Wilkinson in his Hackett adverts in the glossy magazines is normally a highlight of my visits to the hairdresser...

marcela said...

nice post, king arthur!

OiT - watch this until about 7 and a bit minutes. Unless you've seen it already:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgQRJYp3TMY

BD - thanks for the Paul Brown tip, BTW. Good blog, and no, I don't know him.

marcela said...

hi seph - i missed your post while posting mine!

what i think should happen - and i have thought about it a fair bit and even touted it about - is that when david beckhambrand stands at the corner of the pitch to deliver his first galactico televised bender, the static behind him should be promoting a 'cause' rathar than product.

in 1994 there was a Coca Cola ad so most corner kicks were to the backdrop of the classic bottle.

i can't make my mind up as to what the 'cause' chould be. i thought maybe an environmental somethingy. i also thought of the free hugs campaign, because it's so cool. but really, it could be anything. as long as it's NOT pepsi (etc.)

i have no idea how to go about this, and everyone i mention it to gets a little interested briefly, suggests worthy causes, and then says 'it's not going to happen anyway'.

but i think it can...

marcela said...

sorry, meant Zeph...

Zeph said...

It's a great idea, Marcela, and David Beckham (TM) is a goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. So maybe he could arrange for a Stop Child Poverty banner or something? I bet he'd do it too, though somebody somewhere wouldn't like losing the advertising income.

marcela said...

mmm... i think unicef is kinda more of the same. and although beckham wouldn't have all the say, he probably would have some say.

i'm glad you like. i will not give up.

are you familiar with the free hugs lot?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vr3x_RRJdd4

i feel compelled to promote their campaign.

offside said...

Marceal, Zeph,

the bukowski interview is indeed a classic. It gets aired now and again when French TV produces a Best of scandalous TV moments thingy. Now, if only you could find the one where they were discussing football, Camus, life the universe and everything...

Nesta,

about your wise and witty posts disappearing, you should know that Ebren has equipped the site with a wit-o-meter function which permanently deletes any post that isn't witty enough.

And before you ask, yes, I do have a blocking software that disables that feature.

offsideintypoland said...

Marcela,

in case you're wondering, Marceal is the gaelic version of your name. Lovely, non?

marceal said...

oui

Zeph said...

Offside, is it true Camus was a crap goalkeeper? And was that the reason for his existential angst?

offside said...

Zeph,

you should ask guitou really, he's the expert on all things Camus. I know I'd happily swap all my goalkeeping talents for a tenth of Camus' writing ability. Then I might be able to translate my existential angst into words...

marcela said...

zeph: i don't know if he was a bad goalkeeper but i do believe his career was cut short by disease/injury...

buy yourself a t-shirt:

http://www.philosophyfootball.com/new_win.html

if the link doesn't take you straight there type 'camus' in the search box.

sweet dreams, you lot

guitougoal said...

offside, you of all people should know about Camus. His wife,Francine Faure was from Oran, beautiful, smart,(as only an Oranaise could be) and talented piano player - J.S Bach-
"alma toreo" said about himself he was a mixt of Fernandel, Humphrey Bogart and a samourai.
Do you really want me to answer to the question....a la camus or a la guitou?

guitougoal said...

marcela, Camus play during his youth at school only and I think, that is only my assumption that professor Grenier, his mentor, was the reason for Camus not playing football.

Zeph said...

Needless to say I admire Camus and my question was a purely frivolous one.

Marcela, you have a link for every occasion.. oh, she's gone to bed.

Going back to the Apostrophes clip, I love the way that as Bukowski staggers out they all talk about what on earth was he drinking, and it emerges that he brought his own.

guitougoal said...

it was aimed at offside due to his almost family related relationship with Camus.

offsideinalgeria said...

Sorry to disappoint you but even though I could probably bore you all with a discussion on La peste or L'étranger, I don't have the inside line on Albert's private life (or his goalkeeping achievements).

My mom was born in Oran indeed but I don't think her family knew the Camus. My dad might have scored on him though. I'll have to ask him.

pipita said...

Hiya all

Orsay

I remember seeing this hilarious documentary of an Apostrophe program where Pivot interviewed Nabokov and kept serving him what one thought were cups of tea, but in fact turned out to be whisky...What a russian drunkard

offside said...

pipita,

I remember that one. Apostrophes was absolutely brilliant and lasted for years.

Bernard Pivot is taking it easy now but he still has a programme called "Double Je" in which he interviews just one foreign artist who speaks fluent French. Very interesting musings on the benefits of dual cultures.

The one with Jonathan Nossiter, the American and very francophile director of Mondovino (brilliant documentary on the state of the wine market and wine-making traditions) was particularly fascinating.

And bingo! Another thread hijacked. Sorry, Zeph.

nestaquin said...

bluey, wrote 'So you live in London then' in response to one of my posts. It's taken a while but I now understand the joke. Good one bdaddy!

fred said...

Gambling: the Andy Bull who gave us the form on the Super 8 sides can hardly be accused of not caring. He must be the same Andy Bull who wrote an impassioned article about Zimbabwe.
Which article was he told to write?
Which article came from the heart?

GG

BlueinBetis said...

Some very difficult questions Zeph,

This seems to be an issue that is becoming more and more popular among supporters, it seems that we every sport is tainted now, which is sad since, generally speaking, most of the sports we watch are better than they were when we were kids. Remember the wrestling on ITV on Saturday mornings? I was seven or eight when I worked out it was fixed. We should be thankful that we don't have to watch that.

I'm not sure if this is a problem due to the volume of sports we now have ( ie we have soooo much that we are bound to have one or two dodgy gits) or it is a problem that is indicative of a wider societal malaise. I have no idea.

I don't think that the coverage in the media helps at all. It's like when some horrible murder happens, and for weeks everybody goes around worrying about being stalked, when the chances are really, really slim.

The Dennis Potter thing is insightful here. He died of cancer and he named his cancer "Rupert" as soon as he knew it was killing him. Dennis was a bright lad.

I love the questions though Zeph, they really make you think and squirm. Something that, unfortunately, we don't see often enough in journalism.

nestquin said...

You're right Fred, Andy can hardly be blamed for an editorial decision. His shoddy analysis and obvious lack of enthusiasm for the subject is as clear as the water in Glaziers Bay on a sunny afternoon.

His piece on Zimbabwe has been catylistic and has no doubt awoken many from their slumber. I'd like to see other articles on the Sri Lankan government's treatment of the Tamils and the Pakistani government's fear of an open electoral process.

I'd most welcome a piece on the third world conditions of Australia's indigenous communities. However, linking Ricky, Glenn, Adam and Matthew et al and restricting their trade would only add to the injustice.

fred said...

BiB -
as honorary life president of LESKAS (the Les Kellet Appreciation Society) I vilely object to your remarks about the noble sport of all-in wrestling.
Everybody and his dog knew it was fixed - but it was fun!
I sussed Santa Claus early too - but it didn't stop me maythering for the pressies.
Dennis Potter - a genius (I'm sure he was a grapple fan)!

Greengrass

MotM said...

Some thoughts.

When the Grand National winner arrives back in the ring, Des Lynam or whoever usually interviews a slightly sqiffy winning owner who usually brags about having a grand on the winner at 12/1 ante-post. Is this right? Surely the knowledge that some owners are betting on their own horses and others are not would ias valuable. Anyway, horse -racing isn't a sport, it's a gambling vehicle.

Snooker. A player's friend bet on the spread for the highest break and, going into the final the highest break is 140 and they stand to win £30k if it goes no higher. After 14 reds, 13 blacks and one pink, the player pauses, then misses an easy black.

Rugby - With England winning 21 - 6 against the All-Blacks in the World Cup Final, the captain knows that every point scored extends his associates' spread bet wins on total points. In the last ten minutes, he kicks three safe penalties to the crowd's dismay.

Golf - At the Masters three golfers shoot 76 in the first round. Over dinner, they agree that they have no chance to make the cut, so agree that one of them will shoot the lowest score in the second round three ball and advise associates who bet on low round in this three ball. The agreed winner shoots 74 and both partners bogey the 18th to shoot 75s. "Not our day" they remark as they leave the course.

Tennis - A big favourite (with an undisclosed drug problem) is heavily backed on the spreads to win. He deliberately serves poorly in his first two service games and is suddenly 0-4 down. The spread has moved a long way and associates cash in. He wins 7-5 6-2. "Took me a while to get going today" he remarks.

I don't think these scenarios happen often, but you'd have to be as innocent as Bambi to think that it doesn't cross players' minds. I guess we could all think of plenty.

Zeph said...

In Dan Roebuck's piece yesterday

http://sport.guardian.co.uk/cricketworldcup2007/story/0,,2042802,00.html

the UK bookmakers virtuously claim that they have systems to prevent spot-fixing, but I can't help feeling this is a bit like the banks claiming that they prevent money-laundering - all they do is catch the clumsy ones.

Ultimately it all comes down to whether the athlete feels more loyalty to the sport or to his/her own bank balance. And since we're all human, the atmosphere surrounding him or her will have a big influence on that.

MotM said...

Zeph - prevention of corruption, like most crime, is an in-out thing. If the values of right over wrong are inculcated early enough, fewer (not none) will succumb to the temptation.

And gambling, like most vices, should be legal but regulated for adults.

Zeph said...

And apparently a number of people, including the lady herself, have placed bets on whether or not 'celebrity' Heather Mills ex-Macartney's artificial leg will fall off during the US TV version of 'Strictly Come Dancing'...

mimi said...

Sorry to come back late on in this thread - couldn't keep up last night as all the late ones came home to roost. Just a couple of things: Zeph and Nesta - read all your posts over on the GU blog, and responded - all good stuff.
Fred: with you all the way re Andy Bull's latest cf the Zim one. Distinct change in voice noticed.
Finally, can't say much about Camus's skills as goalkeeper - he was always an outsider but I suspect that Proust is a whizz with his guidance of how best to use your net sessions before a big match in the cricket!

fred said...

offside -
what exactly do you mean when you say that your Dad may have "scored on" Camus?

Greengrass

MotM said...

Zeph - That bet on Heather Mills' leg: what are the odds on the other one?

bluedaddy said...

Mills is on TV? Don't these people ever learn?

If I had just copped £30 million for having to put up with the insufferable Macca for any amount of time (could Mark Chapman have got it any more wrong?), I'd be cracking cold ones with OiT before the ink dried on the cheque.

Nesta - I hope if I ever am foolish enough to become a standup comic, I don't have an audience full of Nestas. The comic on after me may also be a bit confused

offside said...

greengrass,

are you picking on me because of my deficient English? Shame on you. Should I have used the expression "scored against"?

Dad was an inside forward, or whatever it was called in those days, and was playing club football in Algeria around the time that Camus was in goal. So, who knows? At 81, he is now a dedicated armchair supporter and his current sporting ambition is to hang Domenech by the balls for playing Govou while ignoring Giuly. And for once, I am in complete agreement with me old man.

marcela said...

OiT - i'm not following you round the threads or anything, but IMHO if there is one question you must ask your father pronto it's wether or not he ever scored against Camus.
Do let us know what he says.

offside said...

Hola Marcela,

don't worry, I can handle a stalker...

Problem is, if he did he probably wouldn't know it since that must have been before Camous was famus.

But I'll ask him.

marcela said...

you've reminded me again of that crespo anecdote i mentioned on pipita's thread:

another guy there, during the shoot, had played against crespo when they both 13 years old. so crespo said to me: "how come the guy remembers that. i played against hundreds of kids, i don't remember any of them". so i said: "but you're crespo". so he said: "but that didn't mean anything then. so why does he remember afterwards?".

maybe, your father might remember not because he was albert camus, but because he went on to become Camus. maybe.

offside said...

I'll have to sit them both down and see what memories I can get out of them. My mother might actually be the one to come up with a couple of Camus anecdotes but they probably won't be about football.

I'll be seeing them this summer, Dog willing, and I'll keep you posted.

offsideinstitches said...

By the way, Marcela, your poetry (amongst other things) is causing quite a stir on the podcast thread. Tss, you're such a troublemaker.

I've downloaded it but haven't listened to it yet (was busy writin'), so I can't judge.

marcela said...

your mother with the non-sporting memories of camus. your father with the footballing memories of his cultural and historical context... can't wait!

just to bring this thread (vaguely) back to it's original topic, and to keep zeph well stocked with links, saw this on cif today:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2043579,00.html

can't quite plough through it somehow. but it seems fitting to bring it here.

Jusqu'à la prochaine.

offside said...

And where is the night-watchman? Must have fallen asleep on the job again...

guitougoal said...

ofmysightTahiti,the watchman, forgot his watch, it's late here. About your dad scoring against Camus, I just did the maths, Camus should be 95 if he was still alive .Therefore your dad was 14 years younger and probably 4 or 5 when he scored his first goal against Abert Camus. We all now understand why Camus quit playing football.

offside said...

guitou,

and another claim to fame goes out the window. I was never very good at maths.

Maybe my grandmother sold Camus a tramway ticket on the streets of Algiers? Sadly, she won't be able to confirm.

guitougoal said...

offside,this is too funny.....by the way his mother side
had spanish origin too.Another thing you guys have in common.

offside said...

guitou,

any idea what her maiden name was? Maybe they were buying their bread from my grandfather's boulangerie in Oran?

guitougoal said...

here you go, he spent time in Oran that for sure as far as the mother's name...I think it's Fintes but I am not sure, I will check it out..

guitougoal said...

regarding Wikipedia tuberculosis was the cause for the end of his sport activity (which confirm Marcella's comments) however I think he had stoped playing when he got sick...
I have to find this book containing his love letters to Maria Casares, the spanish actress, crazy romantic,

greengrass said...

Dearest offside,
I would love to be able to pick on you because of your deficient English
- give me a chance, and I'll pick. If
I do well, I might even qualify for membership of BlueDaddy's exclusive Royal Society of Nitpickers.
You youngsters have such a colourful vocabulary. "To score" is a versatile verb; it appears to be used to describe a variety of different actions.
Being a fairly broad-minded bigot,
I merely requested enlightenment, the better to inform my deeply-entrenched prejudices.

GG

bluedaddy said...

RSN members should carry their weapon at all times:

http://www.nittygritty.co.uk/ng/index.jsp?page=/productInfo.jsp&productId=3

fred said...

BD -
there's a steel comb for you in the post and you're to be outside the school Sister's door at 8 a.m.

GG

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