Record of the year: Europe, The Final Countdown

IF the year was 1986 then perhaps the synth rock of The Final Countdown by Europe, the Swedes with big hair, would be the record of the year. When trying to decide the record that captures what 2016 was all about it is those songs inspired by big European dreams that make the final countdown.

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2016 has been a year of political shocks and upheavals and it also took one of the greatest artists of all time when Prince died in April. Other icons, from music, sport and politics, have all passed away throughout the past 12 months, seemingly abnormally so, leading to some to claim the past year has been one of the worst ever. Continue reading

Team GB, petty nationalism and sporting reality

DID Wales “block” Team GB from competing in women’s football at the Rio Olympics as the leader of the Welsh Conservatives claims?

Jess Fishlock, of Wales, controls the ball during a 0-0 draw in a friendly international with the Republic of Ireland

After all “Great Britain had qualified” according to the BBC commentator as Germany kicked off the final that would see them claim the gold medal by beating Sweden two goals to one. Continue reading

Junior the first Brazilian to play football in Wales

IN the past two weeks or so you may have noticed an increasing number of television shows handily comprised of footage from previous World Cups and it’s in that tradition I’ve dug into the archives for my World Cup Special. JuniorBrazil1

Fittingly enough the story I’ve reprinted below, about ambitious Brazilian, Junior who left his home in Sau Paulo searching for a football future in Rhayader, Mid Wales, was originally written as an anniversary type piece in October 2012 marking the 20th season of football’s Welsh Premier League. Continue reading

Millennium Magic – my stadium highlights

RIP up the grass at the Millennium Stadium and replace it with a hybrid natural/artificial fibre surface, seems like a good idea – and a convenient prompt to pick the greatest matches played on that much maligned turf. a7a7a7;”>

The iconic Cardiff city centre venue is now in its 15th action packed year and in that time human kind has moved on to accept a world-class playing surface won’t grow in a giant darkened fridge but science has been able to deliver an alternative.

Here I’ve picked what I consider to be the greatest moments from 15 years of sporting action on the 7,412 movable pallets of hallowed grass that make up the home of Welsh sport (or rugby at present). Continue reading