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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Sunday December 15 2013

I have three sports teams that I support.  When I say support, I don’t mean I spend ridiculous sums of money actually turning up to watch about half of the actual games they play, but … I like it when they win and am saddened when they lose.

These teams are: England (cricket), Surrey (cricket) and Spurs (football).  I watch other games, but seem unable to develop any enthusiasm for particular teams other than the above three.  I think you have to be imprinted with this kind of thing when young.  I played cricket at school, and before that in a garden which was in Surrey, England.  Spurs were riding high when I was in my early teens, winning the League/Cup double in 1961.  Bang bang bang.

So, how are my teams doing just now?

Well, Surrey are not playing right now, but this is just as well because the last time they were playing, they were busy being relegated.  Everyone talks about how the death of the highly promising Tom Maynard (out on the town having a binge, running away from the Police, etc.) hit them very hard, but their real problem is that they are nowhere near to replacing the actual season-after-season accomplishments of Mark Ramprakash, who quietly retired from first class cricket in among all the Maynard dramas.

England are being hammered in the Ashes, down under.  Pretty much the same bunch of players who won the previous two Ashes series, against pretty much the same bunch of Aussies whom they beat, are now well on the way to being being thrashed 5-0.  Australia have finally recovered from losing Warne and McGrath, having, during the course of last summer, worked out what their top team is.  Mitchell Johnson has arrived at his long awaited peak.

England, meanwhile, are just running out of puff, the most embarrassing aspect of their game just now being the way that none of Tremlett, Finn or Rankin is reckoned worthy of a place.  Both Tremlett and Finn did things on the previous tour.  Now these three are being called the tallest set of drinks waiters ever.  It will be 3-0 by the time the current game ends, and there is no reason to think that Australia will not win the next two games as well.  Frankly, a result like 3-0 would be a pleasant surprise.  Where next for England?  I don’t know, but it will be fun finding out.  In particular, I am looking forward to seeing if Andy Flower persists, and if he does, whether he persists with Cook as captain.

Expect profound analysis of the weaknesses of English cricket, along the lines of all this stuff, written about Australian cricket a few months back.

And Spurs?  They have just lost 0-5, i.e. 5-0 at home, to Liverpool.  Bloody hell.  This after that 6-0 walloping by Man City. They had looked like serious top four contenders, but not now.  Antoine Clarke, with whom I’ve just been talking, reckons you can’t blame them.  Lots of money spent on the team, yes, but only recently (basically all the Gareth Bale money).  They need time to gel.  Antoine reckons sacking the manager isn’t the answer.  The answer is: time.

So, will England’s Flower and Spurs’s Villas-Boas carry on?  Surrey’s Adams already got the boot, and now they have a new coach.

MONDAY MORNING: The final over before the Australian declaration went for: 4 6 2 4 6 6.  134 off 17 overs this morning.  England need 504 to win.  I don’t think so, somehow.

Cricinfo commenter:

“It’s as if they’ve given up! Credit to Australia of course… But I really thought the disappointments of Atherton et al being smashed by the cocksure Aussies were well behind us. Alas, I was wrong.”

And that was followed very soon by Cook being bowled first ball.  It’s hard not to be hurt by such things, if you are an England fan like me.  That’s a new England low point.

MONDAY EVENING: Exit Villas-Boas.