Tag Archive: rory

  • The Greatest Ashes ‘taches EVER

    Including one of these guys…

    beef

    It’s with the usual jumping up and down squealing with delight that we say a fond hello to the magnificent writer, Rory – a very important member of the Interestment family. Today, he thought he’s turn his attentions to the cricketers who didn’t just bat and bowl, but also grew clusters of hair on their top lips. He had this to say…

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    Don’t worry folks, you didn’t dream it. England really did grab their first win at Lord’s in about 289 years. Thanks to Sir Frederick of Flintoff, we’ve got a proper Ashes summer to get excited about. So why is that one can’t escape the feeling that there’s something missing from this year’s series? You can feel it can’t you? Even if you can’t quite put your finger on it. Let Interestment be of assistance. That thing you’re missing is elaborately sculpted, luxuriant, macho/borderline-homosexual facial hair. OK, so there’s Peter Siddle with his fluffy micro-jazz-beard and Ben Hilfenhaus, who couldn’t look clean-shaven if he had an army of Turkish barbers working on him round the clock, but that’s about it. Never mind that though, instead of bemoaning the current state of the follicly-challenged game, let us instead celebrate the mightiest facial furniture of yesteryear.

    David Boon

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    The hard-hitting, big-drinking Keg On Legs is famous for once drinking 52 cans of beer on a flight from Australia to London. Obviously he was concerned that all of this still left some in doubt as to his macho-ness, so he went and got himself a big broom on his face.

    Merv Hughes

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    The owner of one of sport’s most famous face-rugs, Big Merv as he was inventively known, spent the 80s and 90s terrorising English batsmen while looking like an aggressive extra from the Blue Oyster Bar. He even went to the trouble of insuring his trademark ‘tache for £200,000.

    Dennis Lillee

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    With his flailing hair and headband Lillee was an aggressive, ill-tempered genius with the ball in his hand. Such a maverick was he that he even used a metal cricket bat once. It didn’t catch on. These days he’s lost all his hair and dispensed with the headband. Thankfully, the tache remains as immovable as ever.

    Allan Border

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    With a nickname almost as inspired as Big Merv Hughes, Allan AB Border sported one of Aussie cricket’s more unfortunate ‘taches. While his compatriots all went for the rugged handlebar look, AB elected for the dirty-porn-star/war-criminal vibe. The results: unpleasant.

    Robin Smith

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    England’s most South African batsman of all time, Smithy was affectionately known as Judge or Judgy by his cricketing colleagues. This was on account of the fact that he resembled a judge when he grew his hair long. Really? What kind of judge? A judge of wet T-shirt competitions? A judge who supplements his income by working as a gas station assistant in Alabama? A stupid judge?

    Graham Gooch

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    Most people lose their hair and compensate by cultivating some sort of elaborate facial structure as a distraction. GG went the other way – when his hair started falling out, he went down the hair loss therapy route and was so impressed with the results that he quickly whipped off the tache so no-one would be diverted from the luxuriant new tresses spilling down his gorgeous face. This he did with scant regard for those who dreamed up his nickname Zap (after Emiliano Zapata). How inconsiderate.

    Ian Botham

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    No moustache compendium would be complete without a nod to the myriad styles of face fluff brought to the world by His Beefiness of Botham. There was the full beard, the sexy porn tache and just about every other style in between. Botham being Botham, he could have gone for the full Hitler and no-one would have even batted an eyelid.

    Jack Russell

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    A scruffy little tramp of a man who bore more than a passing resemblance to a fancy dressed child pretending to be Freddie Mercury, Jack Russell has now given up cricket in favour of painting. Bizarrely, he seems to have forgotten what sport he used to play as he also does a spot of goal-keeping coaching for Forest Green Rovers. No word on whether he still sports the mid-80s-soft-rock-style tache though.

  • The BEST Ashes sledges of all time!

    This man can be a real meanie…

    merv

    As ever it’s with a gigantic high ten that we bid good morning to Rory, a very important member of the Interestment family. He had this to say about nasty/funny things uttered on a cricket pitch…

    Astonishingly, just prior to the start of this Ashes series, the Australian Cricket board issued their team with a peculiar edict: no more sledging. Seriously. Apparently they then followed this up with a letter to Graham Norton asking him to “tone down the whole camp thing” and a petition to stop zebras being all equine and stripey. Putting aside the sheer ridiculousness of their request, they seem to be overlooking the fact that if we didn’t have sledging we wouldn’t have gems like these to remember:

    “Hey Tufnell, can I borrow your brain? I’m building an idiot” – Australian fan to England’s Phil Tufnell.

    “Mate, if you just turn the bat over you’ll find the instructions on the other side” Merv Hughes to Robin Smith.

    “All right, which one of you bastards called this bastard a bastard?”Vic Richardson, the Aussie vice-captain interrogates his team after England skipper Douglas Jardine complains he’d heard someone swear at him on the field.

    Aussie wicketkeeper Ian Healy: “You’re a fucking cheat.”
    England batsman Mike Atherton: “When in Rome, dear boy.”

    Aussie batsman Mark Waugh: “Mate, what are you doing out here. There’s no way you’re good enough to play for England.”
    James Ormond: “Maybe not, but at least I’m the best player in my family.”

    Aussie wicketkeeper Rod Marsh: “How’s your wife and my kids?”
    Ian Botham: “Wife’s good, but the kids are retarded.”

    “Hey Gatting – move out of the way. I can’t see the stumps.” Dennis Lillee to a rotund Mike Gatting.

    “The other advantage England have when Tufnell is bowling is that he isn’t fielding.” Aussie ex-player and pundit Ian Chappell.

    “I don’t mind this lot chirping at me but you’re just the bus driver.” Nasser Hussain to Justin Langer

  • Some intriguing facts about The Ashes

    Ahh, heady days those…

    Par361068

    As ever it’s with warm smothering arms that we joyfully welcome Rory, one of our most prolific and excellent writers, to the Interestment fold. Today, he thought he’d share some interesting cricket knowledge with us. He had this to say…

    Here’s a little fact to get you revved up for the second test: England haven’t beaten Australia at Lord’s since 1934. Ahhh, that took the wind of your sails didn’t it? At least, it would have done if England’s limp and flaccid display in the first test hadn’t already left your sails sagging like an aged orang-utan’s breasts. Anyway, that’s probably enough of the laboured metaphors for now. The point is, England will have to play very well (and Australia very badly) to stand any chance of winning at Lord’s. To distract you from this inevitable defeat, we’ve knocked up a list of Ashes facts and trivia…

    – Having met 311 times, Australia have amassed 126 victories, whereas England have won only 97. There have been 88 draws.

    boon-and-boths

    – In 1989, the human broom, David Boon, drank a staggering 52 cans of lager on the flight over from Oz, shattering the previous record of 45 set by Rod Marsh. The keg on legs went on to become the face of Australian beer VB.

    – The lowest score in an Ashes test was not, repeat NOT, scored by England. That dubious honour goes to the 1902 Aussie team who were skittled out for just 36 in the Edgbaston Test.

    – The biggest and smallest cricketers to appear in Ashes series were Australia’s Warwick Big Ship Armstrong (6ft 3in and 21 stone) and England’s Alfred Titch Freeman who stood at a mighty 5ft 2in.

    trueman

    – In 1961, at Hedingley, Fred Trueman (pictured) levelled the series by taking an astonishing six wickets for five runs on the way to dismissing the Aussies for 120. All this despite having spent the night sleeping in his car outside the ground having been kicked out of his house after a row with his wife.

    – Regardless of the winner of the series, the Ashes urn always remains in the Lord’s Museum. If it had been allowed to travel home with the winning side, it would have travelled 220,689 miles by now, almost enough to see it to the moon.

  • Wimbledon Watch: Interestment Awards

    Hey, hard luck Rodders!

    rod

    Ahh gutted, no more Wimbledon, which means no more chances to poke fun at the Inverdale/McEnroe/Henman bong smoking reggae circle. Ho hum. Still, it’s great to hear from our tennis correspondent Rory, who had this to say…

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    The moment you saw Pete Sampras in the Royal Box yesterday, having just flown in to see his buddy Roger Federer overtake his record of 14 grand slam titles, you couldn’t help but wonder whether the Andy Roddick might just poop the party. But no. Nothing was going to stand in the way of Federer and history.

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    Sweat pouring off the brim of his cap, furiously adjusting his shirt sleeves in between sending down ace after booming ace, A-Rod did everything in his power to halt Federer’s march towards the indisputable title of Greatest Of All Time. Took them a while to get there though, didn’t it? It’s as if they played a fifth set, called it a draw at 6-6, then played a sixth which Fed went on to win 10-8. Any longer and it was in danger of getting boring.

    And so we were left with the classic sporting conundrum – one the one hand you felt pure joy for Fed at reaching the milestone but on the other… well, only the stoniest of hearts wouldn’t have been shot through with sympathy for the sweaty American. He may never get another a chance like this and the look on his face afterwards told you he knew it.

    So that’s it folks – Wimbledon is over for another year. Interestment now has literally NO idea how to fill the next 351 days until it all starts again. For now, we’ll just have to pass the time by giving out a few random awards to recognise this year’s outstanding performers.

    The Sartorial Dedication Award

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    Boris Becker. Fed gave him a good run for his money with le-jacket-waistcoat-combo, but there could be only one winner. No heatwave was too intense to get B-Beck out of his swish gentleman’s jacket.

    The Fonz Award

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    John McEnroe – a very cool man indeed. A passing resemblance to The Simpsons’ Mr Burns, but Interestment definitely wants to be more like him.

    The Rocky IV Award

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    Gisela Dulko for her win over Maria Sharapova – petite Argentinian beauty overcomes towering Russian grunt machine. Just a little bit like Rocky IV.

    The Slightly Annoying Award

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    The BBC, for overusing that slow-motion close-up thing. Oh look, there’s a ball about to be picked up by a ball boy… yep, he’s just picked it up. That was great. And what’s this? Oh, it’s the twentieth close-up in an hour of Andy Murray’s box-like mouth contorted in another shout of “come on!”. I hope we get to see that again really soon. Ahhh…

    The Tourette’s Award

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    Andy Murray. Do you really need to shout “come on!” every time you win a point? No, you don’t.

    The Unintentional Comedy Award

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    Only one winner here – Philipp Kohlschreiber. In case you missed it first time round, check out his website (and make sure the sound’s up).

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  • Interestment’s Top Four: Wimbledon Tantrums

    Including one of these men, but which?

    borg-mcenroe

    It’s always a complete joy to hear from a member of the growing Interestment family, and today, after a very placid 2009 tournament, Rory looks back on some angry highlights from Wimbledons gone by. He had this to say…

    Ever notice how tennis players are just way too well-behaved these days? Well, cast your mind back to these, the best Wimbledon tantrums of all time. Even Tim Henman gets a look-in…

    1. Jeff Tarango, Wimbledon ’95

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    If John McEnroe was master at delivering a line and working the crowd, Jeff Tarango was the complete opposite. His 1995 meltdown was a perfect lesson in how to alienate an entire crowd with the most pathetic, childish outburst. After the umpire Bruno Rebeuh made a series of decision he disagreed with, Tarango refused to continue. Storming off the court, he screamed: “That’s it, I’m not playing”, before turning to Rebeuh and yelling: “You are one of the most corrupt officials in the game and you cannot get away with this.” He then made matters worse by shouting at the crowd to “shut up” when they jeered him off the court. It didn’t end there though – as he was leaving, his wife Benedicte decided to get a taste, walking over to the umpire and slapping him in the face.

    2. Greg Rusedski, Wimbledon ’03

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    Poor ol’ Greg. Tiger Tim had everything – the hill, the legions of Henmaniacs with their feeble “come on Tim” cries, the fist-pump, even a Persil ad campaign. What did Greg get? Hordes of people queuing up to question his right to represent GB. No wonder he snapped while playing American Andy Roddick at Wimbledon ’93. When a spectator (probably one of Timmy’s fans) called “out” during a rally and the umpire refused to replay the point, Greg let it all come flooding out. “I can’t do anything if the fucking crowd calls it. It’s absolutely fucking ridiculous. It’s frigging ridiculous. Some wanker in the crowd changed the whole match and you allowed it to happen. Well done. Absolute shit.” Note the great use of the word “wanker” in attempt to bloster his British credentials there.

    3. John McEnroe, Wimbledon ’81

    mac

    This one was never in doubt – Interestment‘s favourite afro-sporting, racquet-smasher and poop-mouth extraordinaire, Johnny Mac. If Mac was the King of the tennis tantrum, then Wimbledon ’81 was certainly his crowning glory. It’s tempting to dismiss him as little more than shouty buffoon but that’s to miss out on the fact that there was a definite artistry to the way he dlivered his expetive-ridden tirades. His first ’81 blow-up came in his second round match against fellow American Tom Gullikson and resulted in his most oft-quoted monologue. Outraged by a dubious line-call, he erupted at umpire Ted James: “You cannot be serious! That ball was on the line! Chalk flew up. It was clearly in. How can you possibly call that out? He[Gullikson] was walking over, everybody knows it’s in in the whole stadium. And you call it out? Explain that to me!” he finished off with the disimissal: “You guys are the absolute pits of the world, you know that?” You’d think that would have been enough for one tournament. Not so. A few days later, he branded another umpire “an incompetent fool” receiving a $1,500 fine for his troubles. See him in full flow here.

    4. Tim Henman, Wimbledon ’95

    henman

    Tarango-gate should have been enough controversy for one year, but then the Tigerish one had to go and get involved. That’s right – unlikely as it seems, Timmy H made himself the first player in 120 years to be disqualified from Wimbledon when he smashed a ball into a ball-girl’s face after losing his temper and hitting it away in disgust. He apologised with flowers from Sainsburys.

  • Wimbledon Watch: Gut punching tramps, and Bruce Springsteen

    What’s this man got to do with it?

    springsteen

    As ever, it’s with big open arms that we welcome a member of the Interestment family, and today Rory – a fine writer with a sharp mind – continues to regale us with tales from Wimbledon. He had this to say…

    In actual results-based news, this happened on Thursday: Andy Murray won in convincing fashion against Ernie Gulbis, while Britain’s other remaining hope, Elena Baltacha, lost in equally convincing fashion, and fist-pumping Aussie mongrel Lleyton Hewitt dumped out much-fancied Argentine man-mountain Juan Martin del Porto.

    More important than that was the Wimbledon reappearance of Jeff Tarango, he of the worst Wimbledon tantrum of all time. You know, this bozo (featured at around 1 minute 55 seconds in):

    Well here he is in his present day guise as a balding pundit, attempting to fill some air-time by hilariously commentating on a match using only Bruce Springstreen song titles. Why? No idea, but as you can see, his fellow mic-man Michael Stich seems as baffled as us…

    Not that Michael Stich is the most accomplished performer in the ex-pro-turns-pundit role. Here he is in 2008, using an interview with Ana Ivanovic as an opportunity to try out a selection of his best chat-up lines:

    Pitiful. Truly pitiful. Which leads us nicely on to poor Sam Querrey. Not only did he lose the other day to Marin Cilic, but it has since emerged that on his way home, with the taste of defeat still fresh in his mouth, a Wimbledon tramp took it upon himself to add injury to insult. This from Sam’s Twitter feed: “On my return home from my close 5 set loss, I was struck, yet again, by a drunk vagrant in wimbledon village, this time in the gut.”

    Ouch.

  • Wimbledon Watch: New sex kitten, and cool guys

    Is that a ball in your pocket…

    gisela1

    It’s always with a massive rush of euphoria that we hear from a member of the growing Interestment family, so when Rory got in touch this morning, we damn near fainted with joy. Here’s his tennis update…

    Day three and Wimbledon found a new sweetheart. Against the shrieking Sharapova, a little-known Argentine woman called Gisela Dulko pulled off the most unlikely victory. Classic Wimbledon it was, too – everyone cheered Sharapova onto the court, welcoming her back from a long injury lay-off. Then as the match went on, everyone got bored of the pinched face along with the incessant grunting and squealing and got behind the not-British-for-once underdog. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that she happens to be pretty nice looking, so in the post-match press conference she got probed with all sorts of insightful tennis-based questions like “Have you got a boyfriend?” Felicitaciones Senorita Dulko. Bienvenidos a la big time. Just so you get the idea what all the fuss is about, that’s her up there (pictured).

    Less popular was Victoria Azarenka who felt the full force of the anti-grunt backlash. The normally mild-mannered SW19 crowd put down their strawbs and cream, removed the knotted jumpers from around their shoulders in protest and started imitating her grunts in between points. That’ll teach her.

    roger-federer

    Elsewhere, Roger Federer was back in the waistcoat, which he removed for just long enough to crush his second round opponent, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. Strolling from one side of the court to the other, throwing down bombs at will, the Fed looked so relaxed you half expected him break out a cigar at any moment.

    ice-man

    Someone else in super-chillax mode was Andy Murray. So chillaxed in fact that he even took time out to do a spot of Twittering. “Got a putting competition going with Daniel Nestor. They’ve put a putting game in the lockers. Could get interesting. Just done the ice bath.” Now that’s cool – Top Gun’s Ice Man (pictured) would be proud. Let’s see how it all helps in his game today.

    Also in action will be the only Brit left in the women’s draw, Elena Baltacha, who goes up against Alona Bondarenko. “It’s another tough match but I’m looking forward to it. If I play good tennis and just keep believing, then I’ve got a very good chance of getting through to the third round,” she said, beautifully setting up an inevitable defeat.

  • Wimbledon Watch: Brit disaster and screeching

    Another pay out for this slacker…

    bogdan

    It’s always wonderful to hear from a member of the bulging Interestment crew, and today Rory – a terrific writer with wit galore – is back with his tennis update. He had this to say…

    Day Two, and dear oh dear. A sorry day for the home-grown hopefuls yesterday as a whopping six Brits were knocked out Wimbledon. Of course Andy Murray won, but that was no huge surprise. Among the losers was number one British female, Anne Keothavong, who was reduced to blubbering mess when she threw away a 5-3 lead to go tumbling out. Dry your tears, woman. Dry your tears.

    Worse still is the plight of Alex Bogdanovic (pictured) – for the eighth year in a row this plucky fella rocked up and got dispatched in the first round. In straight sets this time. “I’m getting better and stronger each year and that is giving me confidence,” he lied yesterday, his cheeks reddening and nose sprouting a matter of inches in the process. Now, you might be wondering why he still bothers to turn up for this annual humuliation ritual. Well, believe it or not he’s earned £75k in the process. That’s £75,000 for being really quite poor at your job.

    dokic

    Another player who went out yesterday was Jelena Dokic, the former world number four with the mental dad. His latest act of lunacy, making death threats against the Australian ambassador in Belgrade, saw him, Damir Dokic, jailed for 15 months earlier in June. After the match she said: “Now and forever, there is no way that I would ever reunite with him or ever have a relationship with him. So this is the last sentence ever you guys will hear from me (on the subject) and that’s the way it is.” Interestment was a touch baffled at the time – was this a reference to her dad or that wart she used to sport on her face but has now mysteriously vanished? Hmmmmmm….

    And then, the row over grunting in the women’s game went up a notch yet again. Past champions John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova have been among those calling for a clamp-down on the grunt girls. Portuguese teenager Michelle Larcher De Brito is at the centre of the row, after her ludicrous outbursts at the French Open where she reached a staggering 109 decibels or something, causing one of her opponents to lodge a complaint. Haven’t had the pleasure yet?

    Clearly as mouthy off the court as he is on it, she’s told everyone if they’ve got a problem they can, like, shove it. “I’m not here to be quiet for anybody. I’m here to win. If people don’t like my grunting, they can always leave.” You can see the crowd-pleaser in action again today…

  • Wimbledon Watch: Day One

    This man started well…

    federer

    As ever, it’s a complete joy to hear from a member of the ever-growing Interestment family. Rory – a masterful writer with a dry wit – popped in with this to say about Wimbledon…

    Wimbledon is officially under way. We know this because, as has become the custom in recent years, Roger Federer strolled out onto the centre court wearing the kind of clothes you might more usually expect to see someone wearing on cruise ship in the Caribbean. Looking resplendent in shimmering white, he managed to pull off what snooker players have been attempting for years – looking cool in waistcoat.

    In similarly ice-cool fashion, he didn’t even bother to break a sweat as he crushed his opponent Yen-Hsun Lu, 7-5 6-3 6-2.

    sharapova

    Elsewhere on the courts, Queen’s runner-up James Blake packed his headband and headed for the exit having been defeated by a man called Seppi, Maria Sharapova grunted her way past Kutuzova and an assortment of British players you’ve never heard of lost (most of them in straight sets probably).

    One who did lose but in somewhat more exciting fashion was embryonic tennissette Laura Robson. The reigning Wimbledon Junior Champ was beaten in her grand slam debut by Daniela Hantuchova – although couple of twists, turns and serves going the other way could have seen her win it.

    You have to feel sorry for her – not because she lost but because of the inevitable tide of expectation that now threatens to engulf and overwhelm her 15-year-old world. To put it in perspective, Roger Federer won his first Wimbledon title aged 21. That’s six years on from where she is now, which is a long time (assuming she ever gets to the level where she might win) with people asking, praying, expecting you to win.

    But then, the very fact that she hasn’t turned into one of these loathsome little oiks is pretty good going already.

    Have you ever found yourself wondering what those curious little packets are that tennis players seem to be ingesting between games? Here’s Novak Djokovic‘s opponent Julien Benneteau tucking into what might be a Happy Shopper ketchup sachet at 5-0 down in the third set.

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    In fact, it’s an energy supplement (here’s where you can buy them). Unfortunately he hadn’t reckoned on Djoko, who upped the ante a touch, and totally outmuscled him in the energy supplement stakes.

    Not only did the microphone-haired Czech have a seemingly-unending supply of Lucozade tablets to chomp on, he also had an energy patch on his arm. No wonder he won the match…

    Murray-mania kicks off in earnest today, with the bedraggled racquet-smith up against American Robby Kendrick. Not got a ticket to see the Muzza in action? Like ballroom dancers? Why not join the queue anyway, and see if Alesha Dixon challenges you to a game. For some reason she was doing exactly that yesterday, despite the fact she has absolutely nothing to do with tennis. Odd.

    Until tomorrow…

  • Wimbledon Watch: The Preview

    Can this hippy really win the thing?

    Australian Open Tennis

    As ever, we welcome Interestment contributors with big open arms and glasses of delicious moonshine, and today Rory joins us as our Wimbledon expert. For the next two glorious weeks, he will be guiding us through the best weird stuff going on at SW whatever it is. He had this to say…

    Hello Interestmenters and welcome to the first installment of Wimbledon Watch.

    As you’ll already know, watching Wimbledon takes quite a long time – more often than not, up to two whole weeks. But don’t worry, we know how busy you are. That’s why we’ll be doing a little round-up every day to keep you abreast of everything that’s going on down at SW19.

    cliff

    No fist pump will go unnoticed, no tantrum unchallenged. In fact, Cliff Richard won’t be able to so much as wipe his strawberry-coated fingers on the grass floor of the royal box without you knowing about it. We might even bring you a bit of news from the tennis action itself.

    So what’s been going on pre-tournament?

    Well the big news is Rafa Nadal won’t be playing, which has paved the way for everyone in the land to get carried away with all kinds of Murray to win nonsense.

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    It has also prompted every paper in the land to cash in with the headline Advantage Murray. Conveniently this overlooks the fact that some bloke called Roger Federer is still playing, and he might just be the best player of all time.

    Never mind that though, no doubt we’re moments away from seeing a giant saltire painted on the crest of Mount Murray, or Murray Mount, or Mountain Mr Murray ahead of his inevitable second round exit. It’ll always be Tiger Tim’s Henman Hillock to us.

    It’s not all bad for the dour Scotsman though – win, lose or draw he’ll be looking a little more suave than usual, having just unveiled a new range of Fred Perry clothes, all of which he’ll be sporting with his customary panache at this year’s event.

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    Other big, shouty-type news comes in the form of an outspoken attack from top tennis coach Nick Bolletieri. He reckons players should be penalised for grunting too loudly. Fair enough, but it’s a tad rich coming from the man who coached the jumbo-grunt brigade Monica Seles, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams (pictured).

    Tune in again tomorrow to find out what happened on the opening day…

  • Interestment’s Top Four: Football Transfers

    Not including this man…

    tomas-brolin

    It’s a double whammy of excellent football writing today, as the newest member of the Interestment family, Rory – a fantastic writer with a hard line in the funny stuff – has turned his wonderful magnifying glass on the murky waters of football behind-the-scenes business. He had this to say…

    What will you miss most about Ronaldo, now that he’s off to live in Madrid? His outrageous footballing skill perhaps? His perfectly waxed chest? Maybe, you’re just relieved to be seeing the back of the his oversized adam’s apple. Whatever your take, you’re probably just happy the whole sorry saga is over. To celebrate, we thought we’d cast our minds back to four infinitely more amusing transfer stories. Enjoy…

    1. Ali Dia, Blyth Spartans to Southampton, 1996

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    It’s hard to know who to feel more sorry for in this sorry mess. In 1996, Graeme Souness receieved a call from someone purporting to be the cousin of former footballer of the year, George Weah. “I’m really good too, you should sign me” was the gist of the chat. Graeme, being the trusting and friendly soul that he is, immediately agreed. Then, having barely seen him train, Souness named Dia as one of the substitutes in Southampton’s next game against Leeds. In the 32nd minute, he came on to replace Matt Le Tissier. After a few minutes of play, the full horror of the situation began to dawn on everyone watching. Was he the worst player ever to pull on a Saints shirt? Had he ever even played football before? It seemed all that was missing was a pair of oversized flapping shoes and twirly bow tie.  14 minutes later, his Southampton career was over, Souness substituting the substitute (and probably doing a little cry inside as he wondered how he’d allowed somehow to expose his thundering stupidity so cruelly). Dia returned to the club on Sunday for physio, but that was the last anyone ever saw of him – he reportedly went on to study business at Northumbria University. Souness banned anyone at the club from ever mentioning the incident again.

    2. Robbie Savage, Birmingham to Blackburn, 2005

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    The very fact that mighty Manchester United once signed football’s most hated man is amusing enough. But the real comedy was to come much later in his career when Goldilocks, with his eye on a move to Blackburn, requested a transfer out of Birmingham. The reason Savage gave for forcing through the transfer was that he wanted to be closer to his parents in Wrexham. Obviously he hadn’t bothered to do his research on the AA Route Planner – if he had, he would have found that he was in line to save precisely five minutes on his journey. That’s 300 whole seconds to play with. Think of what you could with all that extra time. Presumably he settled on watching this clip 50 times.

    3. Ronnie O’Brien, Middlesbrough to Juventus, 1999

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    Ronnie O’Brien is one of those footballers who must look back over his career and wonder how he kept fooling everyone. After impressing with the Irish Under 18’s, he was signed by Middlesbrough in 1998. There he found himself a charge of the Worst Football Manager In History TM, Bryan Robson. Amazingly, however, even old dead-behind-the-eyes Robbo knew a turkey when he saw one and quickly dumped Ron in the reserves. Presumably he thought someone like Dagenham & Redbridge or Altrincham might step in and take him off his hands. So imagine everyone’s surprise when Juventus came calling. To this day, no-one’s sure what prompted their interest, but it took them about a day to realise they’d got it wrong and farmed their new charge out on loan to Crotone, Lugano and Lecco (and no, we’re not making these names up). Not long after, Ron found himself playing his way round different MLS teams, and now qualifies for the US team.

    4. Kenneth Kristensen, Vindbjart to Floey, 2002

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    Meet the man who’s quite literally worth his weight in… prawns. After finding himself in hot demand in the Norwegian third division, it was left to two footballing giants to fight out it out over big Ken. Floey finally got their man when they agreed to part with 75kg of shrimps. They even had a boxing style weigh-in just to make sure everything was legit and above board.

  • Important information about tennis headwear…

    Why do tennis players wear headbands?

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    It’s like a warm breeze caressing our womanly thighs whenever we recruit a new writer into the Interestment flock, such is the gentle buzz of satisfaction and joy. So, today, let us introduce you to Rory, a man with an enormous funny side, great hair, and a big chocolate microscope focussed on the sports pages. He wanted to talk a little about tennis fashion. He had this to say…

    Hands up who wants to be Roger Federer? Of course you do – for starters you could go to parties and say things like “You know, I really am the best person at what I do in the world. Ever. And that’s a fact.” Obviously he’s a bit too classy to actually say anything like that but, you know, he could if he wanted.

    Better than that though – you could get away with wearing a headband. Look how he sports it. Effortless isn’t it? Have you ever, once, seen this man on the telly and laughed at his headband? Of course you haven’t. Because it’s one of sport’s unwritten rules – tennis players are allowed to wear headbands and no-one else is. Rafael Nadal even wears a yellow one, while simultaneously sporting a hot-pink jersey. Yet no-one laughs at him.

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    John McEnroe (pictured) used to wear one – he may even have started the trend- but most people now believe he needed it to keep that comedy afro on his head. During his 80s heyday, the obligatory headgear became as much a trademark as his dirty little potty mouth and broken rackets.

    Pat Cash then came along and took the whole headband thing to a new level. Not for him the boring old elasticated towelly version. Oh no. Mr C went and got himself a trademarked black and white bandana-style headscarf. One that he had to tie up, with fashionable dangly bits at the back. Like Rambo.

    So what it is about tennis that requires such pinpoint perspiration control in the cranial area? By asking that question, you probably assume I’m about to go on and answer it. I’m not, I’m genuinely perplexed – but perhaps you know the answer. If so feel free to enlighten us all below.

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    And one last thing. Don’t go thinking that, just because you enjoy the odd knockabout at your local municipal court, you can get away with it. Why not try it out next time you pop down for a spot of mixed doubles. As everyone’s limbering up, stretching out their glutes and lats, dip into your bag, grab the band and casually announce, almost as if it wasn’t even worth mentioning, that you’re “just going to pop this old thing on”. If you don’t get laughed off the court, we might just send you new tennis racket*.

    * We won’t