Mesportstalk October 2013

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EXCLUSIVE: CHAD LE CLOS COLUMN: ANDREW STRAUSS TUITION: WAYNE ROONEY AED 15

FOR THE SPORTING CONNOISSEUR

Issue 12 October 2013 mesportstalk.com

FIVE-TIME NBA CHAMPION KOBE BRYANT PLANS TO SLITHER ON INTO HIS FORTIES

PLUS IS GARETH BALE WORTH £85M? HOW JOOST VAN DER WESTHUIZEN IS TACKLING DEATH THE DAY HARRY REDKNAPP FIELDED A FAN

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PRE-MATCH TALK

SENIOR WRITER: TOBY GREGORY toby@mesportstalk.com

Is Real’s record signing worth £85m?; Kobe has no retirement plans

FASHION EDITOR: GIZEM MUTLUAY gizem@mesportstalk.com SUBBING EDITOR: AELRED DOYLE CONTRIBUTORS: ANDREW STRAUSS, BARNEY RONAY, JAKE SHEPHERD, JOE HARRIS, HAYLEY MONK, JOE LIPSCOMBE, SHAHZAD SHEIKH, WAYNE ROONEY PHOTOGRAPHERS: ANAS CHERUR, JAY COLINA

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FIRST HALF

HALF-TIME TALK

Chad denies he’s the new Phelps; Ecclestone wants to die at his desk

Straussy reveals how England almost boycotted their 2010 series with Pakistan

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TRAINING GROUND

With special thanks to Ahmad Al Kamali, council member, IAAF

Wazza on how to win a Manchester derby; Jake’s keys to the perfect drive

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SECOND HALF How the South African is tackling death; 7KH GD\ ©$UU\ ±HOGHG D IDQ LQ D IULHQGO\ Shahzad drives an SUV through a jumbo jet!

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TICKETS TO SSIE NEZESAUSSI’S AU T GH NI K EA ST OCTOBER 2013

SPORTS TALK

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THE GAFFER BEN JACOBS EDITOR

DOH(A)! ZIZOU STATUE A BIG OWN GOAL T

he only thing more risible than FIFA’s haphazard handing of Qatar 2022 is the wacky new 17-foot-high statue in Doha immortalising Zinedine Zidane’s head butt on Italian Marco Materazzi during the 2006 World Cup Final. The charcoal-black monstrosity – which resides near the supersized Orry sculpture (the 2006 Asian Games mascot) on Qatar’s roadwork-strewn Corniche – was commissioned by the Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) and crafted by FrenchAlgerian artist Adel Abdessemed. Zidane, on a visit to Abu Dhabi to promote watch company IWC Schaffhausen, dubbed the creation daft. “I know Qatar is full of World Cup initiatives ahead of 2022, but I think the statue is ridiculous,” fumed the Frenchman who, unsurprisingly, received a straight red for the head butt. “I don’t like talking about the incident, so to see it enshrined in Qatar annoys me. They also have one in Paris, and I just don’t understand why. There are plenty of positive World Cup moments that the Qatar Museums Authority could have chosen, so it seems strange and stupid to me that the darkest moment of my career would be selected above all other options.” Zidane is right, but the statue is unlikely to be scrapped (and Qatar’s eerie lack of pigeons means it’s safe from defacement too). The former Real Madrid midfielder had countless career highs, so why celebrate his ultimate low? Had the sculpture instead depicted David Beckham’s wild lash at Diego Simeone at France 98, there would have been mass outrage – but then Qatar want Beckham as a World Cup ambassador, so that’s never going to happen. Intriguingly, the QMA’s director of public art, Jean Paul Engelen, has revealed nine more (alleged) “masterpieces” will follow before Qatar 2022. Perhaps the Italian side’s fascist salutes during their 1938 quarter-final with France will be next, or maybe a depiction of ex-Kuwaiti FA president Sheikh Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah’s pitch invasion during Kuwait’s 4-1 loss to France at Spain 82. Who knows, perhaps the QMA will even portray iconic football moments from outside the World Cup. Personally, I would love to see Vinnie Jones’ ballsy decision to grab Gazza’s crotch enshrined in Doha’s West Bay! Speaking of brave calls, FIFA have opted to delay a decision on whether to move the World Cup to winter. Sepp Blatter was adamant a switch would be ratified at October’s executive committee meeting in Zurich, but instead a task force has been set up, led by Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, to investigate the feasibility of shifting the world’s biggest football tournament. To add to the farce, Supreme Committee secretary general Hassan Al Thawadi wasn’t even invited to present Qatar’s viewpoint, which remains a strong preference to stage the event in summer (just May-June rather than June-July). Given just nine of FIFA’s 25-strong executive committee have even been to Doha, it seems strange that senior members of Qatar’s bid team weren’t given the opportunity to present their case. One of the men who has visited the region is FIFA’s medical officer Dr Michel D’Hooghe, who believes a summer World Cup is medically unsafe. “I will be frank, a World Cup in summer is impossible,” he told us. “Even if Qatar could pull off the football, the heat is too much of a risk to the fans, who won’t want to stay in all day in the build-up to games. I am in favour of a winter World Cup. I know there are logistical issues with moving the tournament, but from a medical standpoint this is the only viable option.” This is a strange (and risky) statement to make given Dr D’Hooghe cleared a pre-bid medical and climate report for a summer World Cup and then preceded to vote for Qatar! This surely raises questions about his ethics. Ironically, too, Blatter continues to get the brunt of the stick yet Sports Talk understands he actually voted for America. Speaking of America, one of its biggest sports stars, Kobe Bryant, was in Dubai last month to raise awareness about diabetes. The five-time NBA champion thus makes this month’s front cover, as we look ahead to the NBA season. We also preview the Dubai leg of the FINA Swimming World Cup (17-18 October) and talk to F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who has agreed to hold an exclusive Q&A with Sports Talk at Yas Viceroy on 31 October during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. You can find more details about the event on our Facebook page. Elsewhere, Andrew Strauss reveals just how close England came to boycotting their 2010 series with Pakistan following the infamous spot-fixing scandal, and on a sad (but inspiring) note, we find out how ex-Springbok scum-half Joost van der Westhuizen is coping with motor neurone disease. Enjoy October’s issue!

benj@mesportstalk.com @JacobsBen facebook.com/mesportstalk

HAD THE SCULPTURE INSTEAD DEPICTED DAVID BECKHAM’S WILD LASH AT DIEGO SIMEONE AT FRANCE 98, THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN MASS OUTRAGE – BUT THEN QATAR WANT BECKHAM AS A WORLD CUP AMBASSADOR, SO THAT’S NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN

OCTOBER 2013

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WE’VE KICKED OFF

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BREAKING NEWS » CONTENTIOUS VIEWS » TOP TWEETS

PRE-MATCH TALK

08 RAFAEL NADAL The world No.1 confirms his attendance at December’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship

14 GARETH BALE Is Real’s record signing worth £85 million? We ask the experts...

16 KOBE BRYANT The five-time NBA champion says he wants to keep playing basketball into his forties


PRE-MATCH TALK NADAL CONFIRMS WORLD TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP CAMEO S Open champion Rafael Nadal will join world No.2 Novak Djokovic and Wimbledon hero Andy Murray at this December’s (26-28) Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi. A mysterious stomach bug prevented the Spanish world No.1 from competing last year, but the 27-year-old will return to try and secure the six-man exhibition tournament for the third time. “After the disappointment of last year I promised my UAE fans I would be back,” said Nadal, who won the title in 2010 and 2011. “This will be my fifth time playing in Abu Dhabi and I’m looking forward to getting back on court. The atmosphere is always fantastic and I’ll be counting on the vocal crowd to help me win again. I see the event as a great opportunity to test myself before the start of the new season.” Nadal has enjoyed a sensational 2013 after seven months out with a careerthreatening knee injury. In June he became the first tennis player to win the French Open eight times following a straight-set (6-2, 6-3, 6-2) victory over David Ferrer at Roland Garros. Meanwhile, in August, he claimed his 13th Grand Slam title courtesy of a comprehensive four-set (6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1) rout of Djokovic at the US Open. Astonishingly, rampant Rafa is unbeaten on hard courts this year, winning 60 of his 64 matches en route to 10 titles, yet still sees Djokovic as the world’s top player. “I am currently not the world’s best player,” Nadal told Sports Talk. “The rankings are false. I am moving in the right direction, and winning two Grand Slams this season will obviously silence a few critics and prompt some fans to say I’m back to my best. But I am still a bit rusty, as I showed at Wimbledon, losing in the first round (7-6, 7-6, 6-4) to [unheralded Belgian] Steve Darcis. Novak is an all-court player, with tremendous mental resolve. I got the better of him at Flushing Meadows, but he is still the man to beat in tennis.”

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thus one of the events I have chosen to For the past decade, ‘The man to beat in drop. The organisers made it clear to me tennis’ was a tag exclusively reserved for last year that they wanted to go for younger Roger Federer, but the now world No.6 has guys. It is a lot easier to cut events that endured a torrid year. The 17-time Grand don’t want you, so it made deciding on my Slam champion failed to reach a final at any calendar a bit easier. I look forward to of tennis’ big four events, and suffered the continuing my long-standing association indignity of being dumped out (6-7, 7-6, with the UAE, though, by attending next 7-5, 7-6) of Wimbledon – his favourite March’s Dubai Tennis Championships.” tournament – in round two by Ukrainian Any tournament that can’t see the world No.116 Sergiy Stakhovsky. worth of Federer, even with the world’s At 32 many believe the Swiss star is on top three present, needs to urgently the decline – including IMG’s tournament review its strategy. director Greg Sproule, who Irrespective of his form and failed to invite Abu Dhabi’s age, the former world No.1 2011 losing finalist to the still gleans more support World Tennis Championship When: 26-28 December than anyone else in tennis last year, reasoning the event Where: Zayed Sports City Tickets: from AED 50 – and the half-empty Zayed was more about developing (via ticketmaster.ae) Sports City Tennis Stadium “stars of the future”. Website: mubadalawtc.com at last year’s event should Based on the same have convinced IMG that (laughable) logic, Federer Federer is a ‘must-invite’ player. has again failed to receive an invitation Instead, Sproule and his team continue – a move that could backfire if the ATP to fiercely argue that the event’s aim is to choose to endorse the event from 2015. If promote young and Arabic talent. Yet given the World Tennis Championship is the world’s top three are all established handed Masters 1000 status, IMG will stars, unless two of the three yet-to-be suddenly be begging Roger to attend and, announced names are Arab No.1 Malek as things stand, their pleas will fall on Jaziri and UAE No.1 Omar Al Awadhy, the deaf ears. World Tennis Championship appears to “In the past, I have really enjoyed have lost its way. The tournament might be appearing in Abu Dhabi, but the a tremendous (if not particularly intense) tournament is not part of my plans right spectacle, but it continues to do very little now,” Federer told us. “As you know, my to promote grass roots tennis in the region. aim is to play less tennis and Abu Dhabi is

MUBADALA TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP

gossip: SEVEN-TIME GRAND SLAM WINNER VENUS WILLIAMS WILL RETIRE AT THE END OF NEXT SEASON

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PRE-MATCH TALK

BAHRAIN GP COULD FACE SUITABILITY INVESTIGATION f elected, FIA presidential candidate David Ward will set up an investigation to establish whether Bahrain is fit to hold the 2014 Grand Prix. The race was cancelled in 2011 following civil unrest, but reinstated last year by Jean Todt. However, bullish Ward has accused the current head of motorsport’s governing body of “poor decision-making”. “The important thing is to stay neutral,” said Ward, who worked with former Labour Party leader John Smith until his death in 1994. “What is merited is an investigatory visit. We need to look at things on the ground, talk to all sides and make a judgment based on that.” The Bahrain GP was cancelled two years ago – along with golf’s Volvo Golf Champions at The Royal Golf Club – after violent clashes between the police and pro-democracy protestors (as well as alleged human rights abuses) in Manama, 25 kilometres from Bahrain International Circuit. Todt reacted by sending Carlos Gracia, the head of the Spanish motorsport federation, on a fact-finding mission ahead of last March’s race, but his recommendation that the region was safe was widely criticised, with drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button both revealing they felt “uncomfortable” in Bahrain.

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BAHRAIN HAD ALL THE HALLMARKS OF DECISIONMAKING ON THE HOOF RIGHT UP TO 24 HOURS BEFORE THE RACE ITSELF.

The former even stayed in Abu Dhabi, only flying in at the last minute. Ward, a long-time adviser to former FIA president Max Mosley, wants to now “send someone with expertise in the area to assess things” – citing as an example Edwin Glasgow QC, who chaired the Bloody Sunday inquiry into the actions of British security forces in Northern Ireland in the 1970s. More worryingly for the race’s future, the 57-year-old also conceded it was a mistake to run the Bahrain Grand Prix in 2012 and 2013. “If it looks like the situation is deteriorating or not improving, what there should be is a standard process to handle this, that is immune from suggestions that one place is being treated differently from another,” Ward reasoned. “If the FIA put appropriate processes in place, it would minimise the reputational damage you can get from poor decision-making on the hoof. In 2012, Bahrain had all the hallmarks of decision-making on the hoof right up to 24 hours before the race itself.” Cynics will argue Ward’s criticism of Todt is just a vote-winner, since the pair are the only two standing for the FIA presidency, which will be decided on 6 December. This theory is certainly fuelled by the fact that Ward actually backed Todt’s campaign for the FIA presidency in 2009, and even wrote the Frenchman’s manifesto!

gossip: A WAX FIGURE OF SEBASTIAN VETTEL will BE INDUCTED INTO london’s MADAME TUSSAUDS

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PRE-MATCH TALK

NEW HOME FOR GULF BIKE WEEK ulf Bike Week, the region’s largest biking festival, is back and at a brand new location. Staged between 24-26 October, the fifth edition of the event promises to be the biggest yet, which is why it’s been moved from Al Badia to Dubai Media City. “Initially conceptualised to focus on bikers and adventurists, in 2012 the event broadened its horizons to position itself as a family affair,” explained festival director Matthew Robarts. “The 2013 edition continues this concept, with the festival aiming to attract over 22,000 visitors for an action-packed weekend. “With easy accessibility from different parts of the city, we believe that Dubai Media City’s lakeside park is an ideal location for hosting the event’s revised format of individual exhibitor tents and live entertainment throughout.” Gulf Bike Week has a number of highlights. There’s live music throughout (including from Dubai-based rock band Juliana Down), while the much-anticipated (and very noisy) Thunder Parade is not to be missed. The venue will also have a Streetbike stunt track this year. This decision was taken after last year’s ‘Masters of Dirt’ BMX ramp proved a raving success. Gulf Bike Week will also showcase 150 exhibitors from across the Middle East, with international brands Ducati, Harley-Davidson and Kawasaki all on show. To accommodate their needs, the petrol-head parade was shifted to October last year to coincide with the beginning of the biking season. “The 2010 edition of Gulf Bike Week enabled us to successfully launch the Ducati brand in the UAE,” said Ducati general manager Marcel Bode. “In 2011, we had the pleasure of unveiling the Ducati Diavel in the UAE. We are looking forward to the 2013 event at its new time and location to showcase our exciting Ducati lifestyle range.” Having established itself as one of the most popular biking bashes in the Gulf, the festival’s new home promises to further bolster attendances. Tickets are just AED 60 per day and remember, if you do head down, although a leather jacket is not essential it is highly advised!

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MGULF BIKE WEEK

When: 24-26 October Where: Dubai Media City Amphitheatre Tickets: AED 60 (AED 20 for kids under 12) Website: gulfbikeweek.com

@ANDRESINIESTA

THE SPANISH LIGA DE FUT 8 BOL PROFESIONAL IS GOING SUPPORT DUBAI’S CANDIDATO TURE FOR THE EXPO 2020: EXPO2020DUBAI.AE

LA LIGA BACKS DUBAI EXPO 2020

Spain’ top football league Spain’s emphatically pledged allegiance to emphatic Dubai’s Expo 2020 bid, after all 10 stadia during the weekend of 28-29 September carried hoardings promoting the prestigious event – including at the Bernabeu, where Atletico Madrid beat Real (1-0) in the league for the first time in 14 years. Sevilla and Rayo Vallecano even temporarily adopted the Dubai Expo 2020 logo as their shirt sponsor, while Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta tweeted a link to the Dubai Expo 2020 website to his seven million followers. Dubai is up against Izmir (Turkey), Yekaterinburg (Russia) and Sao Paulo (Brazil) and is the overwhelming favourite to win, with an announcement expected in late November.

gossip: AN Abcn SURVEY claims 57% OF its EXECUTIVES support DUBAi’ s EXPO 2020 bid

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PRE-MATCH TALK

IS GARETH BALE WORTH

£85 MILLION?

REAL MADRID PAID A WORLD-RECORD £85.3 MILLION TO PRISE THE WELSH WIZARD AWAY FROM TOTTENHAM, BUT DID THEY GET VALUE FOR MONEY? WE ASK THE EXPERTS... THE FEE

THE BRAND

DAVID PLEAT, EX-SPURS BOSS

ANDY BRASSELL, EUROPEAN FOOTBALL EXPERT

There’s no denying the fee is grotesque, but ultimately a fair price is simply what the buying club is prepared to pay. As farcical as it sounds, knowing Daniel Levy as I do I was surprised Spurs let Gareth leave for less than £100 million. This additionally inflated price is based on the fact that he only signed a new four-year contract in June last year, so Spurs had no urgency to sell their prize asset. They way I see it, their best chance of qualifying for the Champions League was with Bale in the team, and if they now fail to do so without him, they will lose out on about £50 million in additional TV rights and prize money alone. If Spurs don’t achieve a top four finish, then selling him will have proven a financial mistake. The other fact, which is equally important, is if Bale has another quality season at the Bernabeu, being only 24, his price is likely to rocket further. Given his prodigious talent, I would thus argue he isn’t an £85 million footballer – he’s potentially worth much more!

Don’t underestimate the value of brand Bale. It’s worth far more than £85 million. Real Madrid aren’t just paying for what the Welsh midfielder does on the field – they want Gareth, like they did David Beckham, for the shirt sales and increased media hype. That is Madrid president Florentino Perez’s strategy, and has been for the past 13 years. A Deloitte study last summer proved that over-paying (at face value, anyway) for a footballer who transcends the game will ultimately lead to significant income. In 2001, before Real Madrid adopted this philosophy, the club generated a £84 million profit; by the end of 2012 that number had ballooned to £420 million. This is not just because Real, like Barca, pocket well over £100 million each from TV rights. It’s due to the fact that ‘Los Galacticos’ insist that their brightest stars sign over up to 50 percent of all money earned via sponsorship initiated or continued when at the club. Madrid even still pull in large royalties on Beckham’s aftershave brand, long after the former England captain has left, so if Bale thinks he can copyright his trademark ‘heart’ celebration he has another think coming! Ultimately, Real have landed not only one of the world’s top five players, but a brand, and that’s why paying £85 million for him is a bargain.

RECORD TRANSFERS

1. Gareth Bale, £85.3m (Spurs to Real Madrid, September 2013) 2. Cristiano Ronaldo, £80m (Manchester United to Real Madrid, July 2009) 3. Robinho, £32.5m (Real Madrid to Manchester City, September 2008) 4. Andriy Shevchenko, £30.8m (AC Milan to Chelsea, July 2006) 5. Rio Ferdinand, £29.1m (Leeds to Manchester United, July 2002)

gossip: *$5(7+ %$/( ,6 5(17,1* .$.$Í6 0$'5,' ëDW $)7(5 7+( %5$=,/,$1 029(' 72 $& 0,/$1

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5 THINGS YOU CAN BUY WITH £85 MILLION A MANSION IN BEVERLY HILLS -------------------------------------------------2 x $35M 1962 FERRARI 250 GTOs ------------------------------------------------15 x $10M WEDDING CEREMONIES FOR KIM KARDASHIAN ------------------------------------------------‘WAYNE ROONEY’ HAIR TRANSPLANTS FOR EVERYONE IN RAS AL KHAIMAH ------------------------------------------------A HOME SPURS STRIP FOR THE ENTIRE POPULATION OF QATAR

DID YOU KNOW?

The first recorded transfer was for the £100 sale of Scot Willie Groves from West Brom to Aston Villa in 1893

THE STATS

THE FUTURE

Statistically speaking, Bale is not worth £85 million. True, he scored 21 Premier League goals last season – that’s 0.63 per game, and accounted for 32 percent of Spurs’ total productivity. Yet Neymar managed 0.67 goals per game for Paulista in 2012-2013, and Barcelona only parted with £50 million for the Brazilian wonderkid. Surprisingly, Bale also only weighed in with four assists, and with Cristiano Ronaldo staying at the Bernabeu setting up goals will be one of his main responsibilities. Looking at the estimated market value of other world-class footballers, coupled with some actual transfer fees commanded, exposes the £85 million price tag as even crazier. It makes Bale worth more than the entire Crystal Palace, Hull, Norwich, Southampton, Swansea, West Brom and West Ham squads – while last season you could have brought in Robin van Persie (£24m), Eden Hazard (£32m) and Christian Benteke (£7m) and still got 22 million back in change!

Gareth Bale is a rare talent, but one susceptible to being ruined at Real. I had him at Southampton in 2006-2007, handing him his debut shortly after Theo Walcott was sold to Arsenal. A lot of people ask me which of the pair I thought was better: the answer is Theo back then, but definitely Gareth now. The two players weren’t that comparable in those days, since Walcott was a pacey predator and Bale was a naive left-back – excellent from set pieces, but not the best tackler. Slowly, I realised he was a far more potent midfielder than defender; then, just when he really started coming into his own, Spurs made their move and the rest is history. It was only under Harry Redknapp at White Hart Lane that Gareth really started to consistently stamp his authority on games, and that’s what worries me about his move to Spain. Bale ran the show at Spurs, whereas at Real Ronaldo will always get free rein and first dibs on set pieces. Michael Owen, Steve McManaman and Jonathan Woodgate all made high-profile moves to the Bernabeu at their peak and ended up warming the bench far too often. Even David Beckham wasn’t an automatic selection. If Bale doesn’t play enough or settle quickly, he could set his career back a few years. I doubt Real will care if he doesn’t feature every week, or is fielded out of position. Plus, if it doesn’t work out I can’t see them selling him for a reduced rate back to England either. My point is, £85 million is only a sane price if the guy you’re getting is going to be the absolute focal point of your team, and although I think Real massively rate Gareth, I don’t believe the role they’ll hand him will match the hefty fee that is now constantly hanging above his head.

ROB BATEMAN, OPTA INDEX JOURNALIST

GEORGE BURLEY, BALE’S BOSS AT SOUTHAMPTON

gossip: D A V I D B E C K H A M C O U L D B E N A M E D G O D F A T H E R T O P R I N C E G E O R G E

OCTOBER 2013

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KOBE BRYANT


DURING HIS FIRST EVER VISIT TO THE UAE, FIVE-TIME NBA CHAMPION KOBE BRYANT TELLS BEN JACOBS RETIREMENT STILL HASN’T CROSSED HIS MIND What brought you to the region? I came to host the Kobe Bryant Health and Fitness Weekend, which involved a range of activations – including a celebrity basketball game against some Real Madrid legends – to promote awareness about diabetes.

Why was the cause so close to your heart? Diabetes is a major global issue. It affects 20 percent of people in the UAE and plenty of sufferers don’t even realise they have it. Children need to understand the necessity of adopting a healthy lifestyle. They might not see the results immediately, but it will benefit them massively further down the road. When I was young I thought I was invincible and could do what I wanted, but as you grow up you soon see that’s not the case. Physical activity and diet are vital, and as a role model I want to help show kids that.

Did you know much about the UAE before coming? Very little, other than the fact that the world’s tallest building is in Dubai and it’s pretty hot! I purposefully

didn’t do too much research since I wanted to see things brand new, without any preconceptions, and interpret them in my own unique way.

Could the UAE host an NBA game, like London does? Why not? The Brooklyn Nets will once again surrender home advantage to play in London this season. The Lakers also faced the Minnesota Timberwolves at the O2 Arena in a pre-season friendly in 2010. I know basketball is still an emerging sport in the UAE, but hopefully my visit will spark interest and get talks started. Personally, I am open to staging a competitive game in the UAE, and I don’t think I am the only one.

How do you stay fit? I eat extremely healthily – lots of fruit and vegetables. I also do a lot of running. The legs are so important in basketball, since they give you a stable base. I play a lot of other sports as well, especially during the off-season. I enjoy American football, baseball, soccer, swimming and cycling. Cross training is paramount, since other sports carry new skill sets.

OCTOBER 2013

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KOBE BRYANT

Bryant celebrates after winning his fifth NBA title against the Boston Celtics

You currently have a torn Achilles tendon, so has pre-season been tough? Yes, it’s been one of the hardest ones of my career. I tore my Achilles tendon against the Golden State Warriors in April, and after surgery the wound was really gnarly. It is now healing well, and I have been doing a lot of running to rebuild the muscles around the injury. It hasn’t been easy, but I am making solid progress.

Will you be fit for the season-opening tip-off against the LA Clippers on October 30? I don’t know. It’s an injury I have never had before, and I am unsure on the recovery timescale. I am just trying to get stronger day by day. Sometimes you can get distracted by over-focusing on when you’re going to return, and end up rushing the process. I can’t be sure if I will be back in time for the first game of the season, but what I can tell you is I will only be involved if I am 100 percent fit.

You turned 35 in August, so when you got the injury did you consider quitting basketball? No, that thought never once crossed my mind. I wouldn’t dream of using an injury as a catalyst to retire. Unless a doctor advises otherwise, I will bow out on my own terms.

So have you given retirement any thought? Not yet. I have put some plans in place, but that’s just prudent; it doesn’t mean the end of my career is imminent. Basketball is a game I love to play, and have been blessed to do so for so long – and for one of the biggest brands on the planet. It is true, I have done it all, winning five NBA championships, but 18

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PERSONALLY, I AM OPEN TO STAGING A COMPETITIVE GAME IN THE UAE, AND I DON’T THINK I AM THE ONLY ONE. that doesn’t make me any less hungry. People don’t realise just how much I want to win. It is my life and that’s why calling it quits isn’t an option right now.

Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs is quite similar to you – a one-club footballer who is playing at the top level in his forties. Can you do the same, and what’s the key to your longevity? Five years is a long way off, and a lot can happen, but in principle I don’t see why I still won’t be at the Lakers aged 40. Perhaps my role will have changed, but if I am healthy I just want to keep playing basketball. Michael Jordan was still at the Washington Wizards in his forties. I think what makes Giggs so special is there’s less of a precedent to play past 35 in soccer. The key to his and my success is the consistency of training. It is hard to stay motivated for a year let alone 17, like I’ve done. Yet the secret is I love what I do, and I am sure Ryan is the same. For me, basketball doesn’t feel like hard work or a proper job. I am addicted to it, and that unwavering passion is another factor that leads to a long career.


You are a big soccer fan, but how did you end up supporting AC Milan? I moved to Italy when I was six, so started watching a lot of Serie A. AC Milan was the stand-out team. They played such an attractive brand of soccer. They had Frank Rijkaard, Marco van Basten, Paulo Maldini and Ruud Gullit – just a fantastic side. My ultimate idol, though, even though he didn’t play for Milan, was Pele. I used to pretend I was him, but then I wound up being 6ft 6 and just got stuck in goal since I had big lanky arms and the coaches told me to use them to stop the ball. That’s when I realised I had more talent at basketball. My teammate Steve Nash, on the other hand, who part owns the Vancouver Whitecaps, is actually good enough to play professionally, but thankfully soccer’s loss is our gain.

What do you make of Mario Balotelli? I like Mario a lot. He has so much potential. He’s at the same point as me when I was young. He just has to keep his head down and focus on the game and then the sky is the limit. I am a huge ‘Super Mario’ fan.

In the Premier League, Manchester City are challenging city rivals Manchester United – are the Clippers doing the same to the Lakers? That’s a good question! Perhaps Manchester City are taking over from Manchester United on the field, but there’s no doubt United are still the bigger brand. I honestly don’t think the Clippers are eclipsing us. In basketball the Lakers, like United in soccer, are a big, big franchise. There’s no denying the Clippers have had a couple of interesting years, but we have way too much history to be put on the back burner and have another team take over the city.

KOBE BRYANT

Born: 23 August, 1978 Team: LA Lakers (1996-present) Position: Shooting guard Height: 6ft 6 Weight: 93kg NBA Rings: 5 (19992000, 2000-01, 2001-02, 2008-09, 2009-10)

QUICK QUESTIONS Why are you called the Black Mamba? I gave myself the nickname in 2007. The black mamba is the most poisonous snake in Africa. It’s so accurate that its victims rarely get away, and I wanted to be seen as equally aggressive and potent on the basketball court. Best NBA championship? The 4-3 win over the Boston Celtics in 2009-2010 stands out. That was the toughest of the five. I was fortunate to be named the MVP too after averaging 28.6 points, 3.9 assists and 2.1 steals per game. Who is your idol? Brazilian Oscar Schmidt was the guy I worshipped when I grew up in Italy. He was just a scoring machine, weighing in with 35-40 points every night for Caserta. I remember watching him and thinking, “Man, if only I could shoot like that, at his height [6ft 9], and to be able to handle the ball at his size.”

Kobe’s injury against Golden State was originally feared to be career -threatening

What’s your most embarrassing moment? When I was at Lower Merion high school in Pennsylvania, I got given shorts that were way too big since I wanted to play so badly but I didn’t have a uniform. So I put them on and they just kept falling down all the time and exposing my backside to everyone in the crowd!

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KOBE BRYANT

OUR NBA TITLE RIVALS

Kobe gives his take on LA’s biggest rivals for this season’s NBA championship Brooklyn Nets (Last season: 49-33, 4th in the Eastern Conference) The Nets are essentially like Boston last season. They are stronger, wiser and have former all-stars in every position. Point guard Deron Williams remains the focal point, and if he stays fit Brooklyn are going to be formidable opponents. Chicago Bulls (Last season: 45-37, 5th in the Eastern Conference) 2010-2011 MVP Derrick Rose is finally back after 18 months out with a torn ACL, and that makes Chicago firm title contenders. Remember, even with all their injuries, they still had the third-best defence last season, comfortably reached the playoffs, and even won a game in Miami. The Bulls are not to be underestimated.

Kobe met his wife Vanessa when she was still in high school and they have since had two kids (Natalia, Gianna) together

The Lakers had an embarrassment of riches last season, so why didn’t things click? It was a disappointing year. Getting whitewashed by San Antonio in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs hurt us a lot. We lost sight of the fact that basketball is not about the individual talent, but chemistry – that’s what wins championships, in any sport. No individual is bigger than the team. To succeed, everyone has to be on the same page and we weren’t.

Are you relieved Dwight Howard has left LA for the Houston Rockets? Yes, I am glad Dwight has gone to Houston. We had different interpretations of how to win, and that didn’t lead to a very happy or united dressing room. I have been there and done that, and the rest of the team are the same. Dwight came in and rocked the boat. There’s no denying that. There was a major breakdown in communication. It was tough. He has now chosen what he thinks is best for him and I wish him nothing but good luck.

Are defending champions the Miami Heat the favourites for the NBA championship this season? Yes. It is hard to look past any team with LeBron James. You always have to give the defending champions respect. There is a lot of depth to their team. Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Ray Allen are all match-winners in their own right. Ray proved that against San Antonio in the finals. Don’t discount the Spurs, though. Remember, they were less than a second away from winning the title last season, and will be desperate to avenge that heartbreaking loss. As the reigning Western Conference champions they are our primary concern, since we are probably going to have to beat them before encountering the Heat. WITH SPECIAL THANKS TO...

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Houston Rockets (Last season: 45-47, 8th in the Western Conference) Having acquired Dwight Howard, Houston is in prime position to challenge for the Western Conference. Small forward Omri Casspi is also an underrated acquisition. The Rockets issue last season was defence, leaking 102.5 points per game, but I am sure Dwight will put that stat right. The fact he also averaged 22.9 points last season will obviously help at the other end too! LA Clippers (Last season: 56-26, 4th in the Western Conference) I was surprised when the Clippers replaced Vinny Del Negro with Boston coach Doc Rivers. Del Negro won a franchise-record 56 games last season. The loss to Memphis, from a 2-0 lead in the playoffs, obviously cost him his job. Antawn Jamison has left us at the Lakers to join forces with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and with such potent three-point shooters, and a deep bench, our closest rivals are going to be hard to beat. Miami Heat (Last season: 65-15, 1st in the Eastern Conference – defending NBA champions) On paper, the Heat have no obvious weaknesses. Even without LeBron James, the likes of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are a daunting prospect to come up against. Miami haven’t had a busy off-season, but as defending champions they don’t need to do too much tweaking. They did lose key swingman Mike Miller, an integral part of the past two championship-winning teams, but the presence of Ray Allen and the emerging Norris Cole should compensate for the lost perimeter shooting. Oklahoma City Thunder (Last season: 60-22, 1st in the Western Conference) I am a bit surprised by Oklahoma’s lack of activity, although I guess you don’t need too many additions when you have Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook amongst your ranks. I really respect power forward Serge Ibaka, too. He has a fantastic work ethic. Sadly, the offence let him down in the conference semi-final loss to Memphis, but I think we’ll see him bounce back even stronger this season. San Antonio Spurs (Last season: 58-24, 2nd in the Western Conference – Western Conference champions) The Spurs are our biggest rivals in the Western Conference. Again we haven’t seen much movement from them in the offseason. San Antonio are banking on Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green coming of age. Plus, veterans Tim Duncan and Tony Parker still have another big season in them. The Spurs’ aggression and discipline will inevitably keep them in the hunt.




INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM » INTERVIEWS » PREVIEWS

FIRST HALF

24 FINA WORLD CUP Hayley Monk looks ahead to the Dubai leg of swimming’s FINA World Cup

28 CHAD LE CLOS The Olympic 200-metre butterfly champion admits he hates being compared to Michael Phelps

34 BERNIE ECCLESTONE Formula One’s chief explains how he almost bought Chelsea and why he’ll die at his desk


FINA WORLD CUP

HAYLEY MONK PREVIEWS THE DUBAI LEG OF THE FINA SWIMMING WORLD CUP, WHICH COMES TO THE HAMDAN SPORTS COMPLEX THIS OCTOBER 24

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ust two months after the Hamdan Sports Complex played host to the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships, the World Cup returns to Dubai for the third time. The eight-event competition, which began in

J

1989, sees some of the world’s best talent, including Olympic 200-metre butterfly champion Chad le Clos, vying for medals in the UAE. Dubai, traditionally the World Cup opener, is currently the fourth event on the calendar, with

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FINA WORLD CUP meets in Eindhoven and Berlin having already taken place, and Moscow to come on 12-13 October. With a host of Olympic and world champions participating, it promises to be an enthralling few days. The competition will be extremely fierce since the swimmers have the potential to walk away with significant financial rewards. There are cash prizes per event, with the victors pocketing $1.5k, while a $10k bonus is up for grabs for every new world record set. The overall World Cup winner, meanwhile, takes home a cool $100k, with the champion calculated via a cumulative points score. For every event, a victory earns 24 points, with a further 20 bestowed if a world record tumbles. Both 2012 World Cup 7-8 August: champions will be present in Dubai Eindhoven, Holland to defend their crowns. Australian 10-11 August: Kenneth To beat Trinidad’s George Berlin, Germany Bovell to claim last year’s men’s 12-13 October: title, while Hungary’s Katinka Moscow, Russia Hosszu saw off compatriot 17-18 October: Zsuzsanna Jakabos in the women’s Dubai, UAE event. Le Clos – who pulled out last 20-21 October: year after just two events due to a Doha, Qatar shoulder injury – is also a former 5-6 November: World Cup winner, having taken the Singapore trophy in 2011. 9-10 November: Hosszu, more than anyone in the Tokyo, Japan field, has something to prove after a 13-14 November: disappointing 2012. Despite her Beijing, China World Cup success, she failed to

WORLD CUP CALENDAR

THE SWIMMERS HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO WALK AWAY WITH SIGNIFICANT FINANCIAL REWARDS. THERE ARE CASH PRIZES PER EVENT, WITH THE VICTORS POCKETING $1.5 K , WHILE A $10 K BONUS IS UP FOR GRABS FOR EVERY NEW WORLD RECORD SET. win a medal at London 2012, finishing fourth in the 400-metre individual medley. The 24-year-old bounced back at last July’s World Championships in Barcelona, defeating home favourite Mireia Belmonte and world record holder Elizabeth Beisel to win gold, but admits her Olympic failure still haunts her. “I am in excellent form this year, but that doesn’t make up for missing out on a medal at London 2012,” said Hosszu, who has an astonishing eight wins and six world records so far in this year’s World Cup. “Breaking world records is awesome, but I would trade them all for an Olympic gold. Hopefully I can make amends for a poor performance at London 2012 in Rio.”

In-form Hosszu saw off Aussie Alicia Coutts and World Cup rival Belmonte to claim gold in the 200m individual medley at the World Championships in Barcelona 26

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FINA SWIMMING WORLD CUP When: 17-18 October Where: Hamdan Sports Complex Tickets: from AED 25 Phone: +971 4306 2666 Website: www.hamdansc.com

Olympic bronze medallist Morozov is the Russian record holder in the 50m backstroke (long course) and freestyle (short course) Explosive Hosszu looks set to follow in the footsteps of Therese Alshammar (2010, 2011) and win the World Cup for a second time in a row. However, Spaniard Belmonte might have something to say about that, and since the pair race in similar events there is added spice to their rivalry. 22-year-old Belmonte, who has two Olympic silvers (200m butterfly, 800m freestyle), clocked a classy 7:59.34 in the 800-metre freestyle at the World Cup series in Berlin and, in doing so, became the first woman to smash the eight minute barrier. In the men’s event, a now-fit le Clos currently holds a 41-point lead over Vladimir Morozov – a frequent medallist in the freestyle and backstroke events. The 21-year-old Russian won seven medals at the 2012 European Short Course Championships, as well as gold in the 50- and 100-metre freestyle at last year’s World Swimming Championships in Istanbul, but concedes he might have to settle for second place in the World Cup. “Chad has quite a big advantage,” said Morozov, who also won bronze in the 4x100metre freestyle at London 2012. “He is swimming well, so will take some catching. The beauty of the World Cup is you gain extra points if a world record falls, so it’s not just about winning, but doing so in style. I am not saying I am totally resigned to second place, but right now – albeit with over half the events still to come – the title appears Chad’s to lose.”

Away from the marquee names, another fab facet of the World Cup is it always unearths new talent. A number of relative newcomers will be in Dubai and hoping to make their mark on the international scene. One up-and-coming star to look out for is South Africa’s Myles Brown. The 21-year-old recently broke the African records for the 400- and 1500-metre freestyle, destroying the latter by nine seconds. Meanwhile, Serbia’s Velimir Stjepanovic, who trains in Dubai, will also be in action, fresh from his gold in the 400-metre freestyle at this year’s Mediterranean Games in Turkey. It’s certainly a mouth-watering time for swimming in the region, with the World Cup moving to Doha (20-21 October) immediately after Dubai. There’s no excuse for missing the action either, with tickets starting from just AED 25, so make sure you pay the unique aqualine-themed Hamdan Sports Complex a visit. OCTOBER 2013

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CHAD LE CLOS


CLOS, BUT NO ,

CIGAR

SOUTH AFRICAN CHAD LE CLOS CONCEDES HE WILL NEVER ECLIPSE MICHAEL PHELPS, DESPITE BEATING THE 18-TIME OLYMPIC CHAMPION AT LONDON 2012,WRITES BEN JACOBS had le Clos has two claims to fame: defeating his idol Michael Phelps in the 200-metre butterfly at London 2012 and being the son to Cookie Monster-sounding father Bert, whose volcanic poolside felicitations made him an instant viral hit. “It’s weird,” says 21-year-old Chad, who started swimming aged eight. “I won gold in London, but all everyone talks about is my dad. He has more fans than me! We went out shortly after my victory and all the autograph hunters wanted his signature over mine. One of the reasons I wouldn’t take off the gold medal for days after winning was to remind myself I was actually the hero – because it kind of felt like Dad was!” Chatty Chad might make light of his victory, but it was no mean feat. His time of 1:52.96 was enough to see off world record holder Phelps by 0.05 seconds. The American did, however, make ammends in the 100-metre butterfly, but le Clos was perfectly content with silver. “My 200 gold was just a massive shock – totally unexpected,” admits Chad. “Michael was the big favourite, but I produced the swim of my life. In a weird way, though, the silver in the 100 was just as satisfying. I felt pressure to prove the gold wasn’t a fluke. Plus, I had qualified for the final of the 200-metre individual medley and pulled out to focus on the 100. Michael was always in control, and I

C

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CHAD LE CLOS guess got his revenge over me, but I was ecstatic to finish in joint second with Yevgeny Korotyshkin.” Le Clos wasn’t really a familiar name before London 2012, but his Olympic success didn’t come as a surprise to those in the swimming fraternity. After all, in 2010 he claimed five medals at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore and scooped two golds at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Considering his hero has now retired, it would be easy to now bill Chad as the new Phelps, but this isn’t a tag the humble South African is comfortable shouldering. “I don’t like being compared to Michael,” says Chad, blushing slightly. “If I can win even half as many medals as he did I will have had a glittering career. I am not trying to be the next Phelps, though. At 21, a lot of people think I could surpass his Olympic tally, but I seriously doubt it. Bubbly Bert le Clos has won That’s certainly not an aim. Michael was just a freak of nature – dominant not just more fans than his son! in butterfly, but backstroke and freestyle as well. I am not quite as versatile. I do want to beat his world records, but no part of me is targeting 18 golds. That would be a crazy aim.” Le Clos’ main long-term goal is preparing for Rio 2016, and Dubai’s world-class Hamdan Sports Complex might well have a role to play. Chad believes the facilities rival (if not surpass) those in his native South Africa, so can’t think of a better place to train during the off-season. “Dubai is the perfect location – halfway home from most of central Europe,” he says. “I have trained at the Hamdan Sports Complex before, alongside Cameron van der Burgh, and would be open to doing some more work there in the build-up to Rio. The training pool is awesome – just as good as the ones in South Africa.” Le Clos will be back in the UAE for October’s FINA Swimming World Cup – a meet he has fond memories of. Three years ago, in a flagship moment in his career, Chad defeated then world record holder Kaio de Almeida to win gold in the 200-metre butterfly. “Everything that day went swimmingly (if you’ll excuse the pun),” grins Chad, who was also named the SPAR Sports Person of the Year in 2010. “It was the last day of competition and I had swum in three races already and hadn’t made the final in any of them, so was relieved just to get through to the last eight. I was desperate to win a medal. “I just remember diving in and being behind the whole way. But then, with two lengths to go, I started catching Kaio, and also Laszlo Cseh [an Olympic silver medallist], who ended up third. With about a lap to go it dawned on me that I had a real chance of winning, but even after I touched the wall I wasn’t convinced I had done enough. I thought I’d got silver at best, so it was a huge and pleasant shock to have secured gold. The win made me the youngest ever world champion as well, which was pretty cool.” Galvanised by that victory, le Clos went on to win the World Cup in 2011 (courtesy of a commanding 22 victories). He couldn’t repeat the feat last year, finishing seventh, a full 59 points behind Aussie champion Kenneth To – though a shoulder injury did force him to pull out of the eight-meet event after just two appearances (Dubai, Qatar). 30

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ONE OF THE REASONS I WOULDN’T TAKE OFF THE GOLD MEDAL FOR DAYS AFTER WINNING WAS TO REMIND MYSELF I WAS ACTUALLY THE HERO – BECAUSE IT KIND OF FELT LIKE DAD WAS!

Le Clos now arrives in the UAE as the World Cup favourite – a billing he is perfectly comfortable with. After the opening two events in Holland and Germany, Chad (128) already holds a healthy 41-point lead over Russian Vladimir Morozov, with Hungary’s Daniel Gyurta a further three points shy. Le Clos is also in tremendous form, having broken the 200-metre butterfly world record (1:49:04) at the World Cup opener in Eindhoven and won gold at the prestigious World Championships in Barcelona in the same event. “I’m not going to lie, swimming doesn’t come as easily to me as people think, so I have been training very hard,” he reveals. “There have been loads of things I’ve tried to improve over the past year. My breaststroke is one of them and my backstroke start and turns needed work. The small tweaks I made led to that new world record in Eindhoven and the gold in Barcelona and have given me an added boost ahead of Dubai.” Le Clos has also employed a psychologist to foster a winning mentality, while he has even taken an unlikely source of inspiration to convince himself he is a true champion. “I guess, when you are young, and you have guys like Phelps ahead of you, it is quite hard to believe you’re the best swimmer on the planet. I simply wasn’t when Phelps was around, which is why a small (and selfish) part of me is relieved he’s retired, even if


CHAD LE CLOS Born: 12 April 1992 Nationality: South African Height: 6ft 1 Weight: 78kg Strokes: butterfly, freestyle, medley

our sport misses him. Then, out of the blue, you win gold, against Michael of all people, and you almost have to manufacture a sense of arrogance. I now arrive in Dubai as the favourite so, mentally, I have to start acting like that, otherwise there’s a danger nerves, or the level of expectation, will consume me. “The most cocky and capricious sportsman I know is Muhammad Ali, so I have tried to adopt an element of his swagger – albeit in my own unique way! I am a big boxing fan and have watched all his fights. He’s an iconic figure and I really respect people who make a difference in society.” Le Clos may not quite have the bravado of Ali, but he does hope to ‘swim like a bee’. The extra aggression he has brought to the pool since the Olympics is certainly one factor behind his rich vein of form in 2013. Like Ali, Chad also hopes to change the world, which is why he’s accepted a role as a Youth Olympic Games ambassador. His natural charisma will inevitably make him a popular role model. As part of his new job, le Clos thus kept a keen eye on August’s FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Dubai, which saw over 800 athletes complete, from 91 nations. “There’s some amazing young swimmers out there and I want to help nurture them,” reveals Chad. “I think Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte is an exceptional talent. I can’t believe she’s only 16 and

CHAD’S BEST TIMES LONG COURSE (50-METRE POOL) Event

Time

Place

Date

200-metre freestyle

1:47.20

Durban

17 April, 2012

100-metre butterfly

51.06

Barcelona

3 August, 2013

200-metre butterfly

1:52.96

London

31 July, 2012

200-metre IM

1:58.49

London

1 August, 2012

400-metre IM

4:12.24

London

28 July, 2012

SHORT COURSE (25-METRE POOL) Event

Time

Place

Date

100-metre freestyle

47.39

Beijing

8 November, 2011

200-metre freestyle

1:43.62

Beijing

9 November, 2011

50-metre butterfly

22.26

Istanbul

15 December, 2012

100-metre butterfly

48.82

Istanbul

13 December, 2012

200-metre butterfly

1:49.04

Eindhoven

7 August, 2013

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CHAD LE CLOS

already an Olympic champion in the 100-metre breaststroke. I expect big things too from Aussie MacKenzie Horton, who won five golds at the World Junior Championships in Dubai. Also keep an eye out for South African pair Calvyn Justus and Clayton Jimmie. They are two 17-year-olds with huge futures and I will do all I can to help them develop.” Away from the pool, Chad is also keen to use his new-found fame to do good. During his last stopover in Dubai he visited Rashid Paediatric Therapy Centre, taking a tour of the impressive facility and playing table tennis with various disabled children. It is these kinds of altruistic deeds, combined with his impish looks and boyish charm, that have led to the ‘Chadettes’ forming – a group of (almost exclusively female) minions who religiously follow his progress around the globe. One of them, 17-year-old Melanie Olhaus, even camped out at Johannesburg airport after London 2012 to ask le Clos to her prom, and to her amazement he said yes! “‘Why not?’ I thought,” chuckles Chad. “She seemed sweet and I was free. I have had other offers for random dates since, and I can’t say yes to everyone, but I do like to interact with my fans – in person and through mediums like Twitter. “People ask me whether it’s hard with all the new-found attention, but what can be bad about droves of women supporting you? Admittedly, after the Olympics, it was a shock to me and my family, but I can hardly complain.” It’s not just screaming girls chasing after Chad. He has also attracted attention from his beloved Manchester United – the same team Usain Bolt supports. The pair both met Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs during the Olympics and le Clos was staggered when they approached him for a photo – just as he was trying to muster the guts to introduce himself to them. Chad – who claims to be a more proficient footballer than Bolt (despite the latter half-seriously boasting he could play for the Red Devils when he retires) – watched United’s recent 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace. During this trip to Old Trafford he also met David Moyes for the first time, who he thinks will have no problems filling Sir Alex Ferguson’s shoes. “It’s a hard act following Sir Alex,” admits le Clos. “But I think Moyes is the right man for the job. He just needs time. United haven’t had the smoothest start to the season, but I still think they will win the Premier League.” Chad, though, was concerned by the (at times embarrassing) 4-1 derby loss to Manchester City, and received a few gloating texts, having met Sergio Aguero (who scored twice), Joleon Lescott and Gael Clichy in Durban last July. 32

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Olhaus used this poster (and her blonde looks) to bag a date with Chad

“I’m a big fan of Sergio’s, but I turned my phone off after United’s heavy defeat just in case he texted,” says le Clos, wincing. “It was brilliant to meet the City squad, although they weren’t able to turn me to the dark side! Clichy, in particular, was a gentleman. I get a real buzz speaking to stars from other sports. I’ll never forget meeting some of the Sharks after the 2010 Commonwealth Games. I was a real youngster, a nobody, yet they were so decent and respectful when I was expecting them to be jerks. That meant a lot to me, too.” It’s these kind of interactions, along with his heroics at London 2012, that will form a large part of Chad’s book, which is due out this Christmas. “After the Olympics, I was approached by [the publisher] Penguin,” explains le Clos. “Having consulted my dad, I initially said no since I only wanted to do a book after the 2016 Olympics. I have since changed my mind and decided to write one with Myan Subrayan, who has penned autobiographies for a fair few of the All Blacks. The book is obviously about my life and career, but also an inspirational text for up-and-coming athletes in any sport. Chad awkwardly agreed with my suggestion that “Clos, but no cigar” would be a witty (if pessimistic) title – but perhaps not an apt one. Given his prodigious talent and sparkling personality, it is a bit premature for le Clos to state he can’t surpass Phelps. Why not? Based on his current form, he is smoking and more Olympic golds are sure to come.



BERNIE

NEVER, I WILL EVER, RETIRE!

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone tells Ian Lyle he plans to die at his desk

Ecclestone is often caricatured as a greedy tycoon, but his business nous can’t be questioned

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B

ernie Ecclestone’s mischevious sense of humour strikes you even before you get to meet him. There is a mock stack of $10 million on a shelf in the waiting room, a few short strides from his sumptuous office in one of London’s most exclusive and expensive stretches of real estate. This is usually what intrigued visitors to Number Six, Prince’s Gate are studying when the little man, neatly suited, enters the room, offers the gentlest of papal, two-fingers-only handshakes and proclaims: “Ah, I see you have found where I keep my small change!” Ecclestone is well aware that his gaunt, unsmiling and crinkly face, topped by unruly and floppy silver hair, depicts a stern, immovable and resolute image that, in truth, is well distanced from the reality and the inner warmth of the man, a mystery to many outsiders, behind it. However, that is not to say he isn’t one of the world’s most formidable and feared negotiators. His double billionaire status, earned from successful dealings with heads of state, tough international oligarchs, global businesses and difficult Grand Prix luminaries, testifies to his wheeler-dealer skills and haggling ability in securing fortunes from wary, case-hardened money men – not only for his personal benefit but for the good of the sport watched on TV every year by half a billion fans worldwide. At 82, despite a triple heart by-pass and a recent third marriage, there is absolutely no hint of a let-up in his energetic, 16-hour-working-day pursuit of excellence or in his Formula One show, which was a humdinger of a spectacle last season, probably the greatest thriller of all time. Far from it… The tireless, restless man variously dubbed the Ringmaster, the Supremo, the Boss and Bernie the Bolt, promises: “I won’t quit. You can be sure that I will have given it all up when they are lowering me into my grave. Not before. They’d be advised to check inside the coffin, just in case I’m only kidding!” She tried all the time, but not even his stunning ex-wife Slavica, 28 years younger and a full foot taller than his 5ft 4ins, could persuade Ecclestone to ease off and relax in the trappings of their immense wealth at their exclusive Chelsea Square mansion in London, enjoy his two jets, the £30 million yacht off Greece, their ritzy homes around the world or the fine hotel he bought on a whim because he liked the place over lunch in its restaurant in the elegant ski resort of Gstaad. They divorced and he has since re-married to Brazilian lawyer Fabiana Flosi, 46 years his junior, at a ceremony at his Swiss chalet. “Nobody has to remind me,” he says, squinting with a lazy right eye through the steel-rimmed spectacles he wears because he is so short-sighted. “I know I look a miserable


Ecclestone also had a brief racing career, getting behind the wheel twice for Connaught in 1958

old so-and-so, but I can’t help the face God gave me. But I am not anywhere near as ferocious as I appear to be.” Then, without the remotest glimmer of humour, he fixes you with a stare and avows: “What you should remember is that I am a good and true friend – but I am a bad enemy.” That’s Bernie’s mantra, and in both instances there are many, many people who have good cause to remember his message. He is not the least bit concerned about bribery allegations made against him and due to be heard in Germany in October. He reveals he was approached to settle ahead of the hearing, but wants his day in court: “I am not settling,” he says. “The judge will make his decision on the case. I just wish they would bring it forward – it is going to be very amusing.” The court case follows on from former banker Gerhard Gribowsky’s conviction for corruption and jailing in Germany last June for allegedly conspiring with Ecclestone to undervalue Formula One when a 47.2 percent stake of its value was sold off to CVC, the investment company he represents. “Conspiracy? Nonsense,” he barks. “I would be worried if I was guilty, but I am not...” So, who is the real man behind the deadpan mask? The trawlerman’s son from Suffolk granted me a rare and unique insight into the private world he so jealously preserves – a favour called in by me for a debt he owed and was happy and duty-bound by his own standards to honour. After throwing in, off-handedly, the stunning revelation that he and his firm friend former Benetton and Renault F1 team boss Flavio Briatore came close to bidding for Chelsea, before eventually giving way to Russian multi-billionaire Roman

Abramovich – who has since become a regular contact – he reveals he is now a football fan. Ecclestone and former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan, now a BBC pundit, attend most home games at Stamford Bridge. Abramovich, in return, gets Bernie’s VIP treatment at flagship races like Monaco and Silverstone. “Flavio and I were serious about buying Chelsea, but it was very complicated and would have taken too much time to go through the books,” Ecclestone tells me. “I didn’t want to make it a battle with Abramovich and take him on at his own game, so I backed off. In the final analysis, it may not have been such a bad thing for the club – I am so mean with my cash I wouldn’t have spent anywhere near the money he has in buying such fantastic players and thus we might not have been champions!” The sensational idea of purchasing either Manchester United or Liverpool instead fleetingly crossed his mind, but he explains: “I am a Chelsea fan, and the thought of traipsing up and down, north and south, didn’t seem a sensible plan. I much prefer to be just around the corner. “I used to say that if the two greatest football teams on the planet were playing in my back yard I wouldn’t open the door to watch, but now I am hooked. I can’t stay away from Chelsea and I have taken my plane a good few times to watch them playing abroad. Football, generally, I believe is far more exciting than it ever used to be and Abramovich’s money and passion for the game have worked miracles at Stamford Bridge. “Players like David Beckham are a dream, a fantastic attraction all over the world. And as for his remarkable ability to generate money and sponsorships, wow – I just wish he could drive a Formula One car. Maybe I’ll get one of the teams to give him a test!” OCTOBER 2013

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BERNIE

I WON’T QUIT. YOU CAN BE SURE THAT I WILL HAVE GIVEN IT ALL UP WHEN THEY ARE LOWERING ME INTO MY GRAVE. NOT BEFORE. THEY’D BE ADVISED TO CHECK INSIDE THE COFFIN, JUST IN CASE I’M ONLY KIDDING!

What about turning points in his career? “Without doubt,” he says, “making that £1 million donation to former prime minister Tony Blair’s new Labour party rocketed my face to the forefront of the public gaze. The furore it caused just wasn’t worth it, and my motives were completely misunderstood and misinterpreted. But it made me famous… no infamous… overnight. No one had ever heard of me before that and nobody outside F1 knew what I looked like. I suddenly went from being a paragraph on the sports pages of the tabloids to a headline villain leading the TV news. “I genuinely believed in Blair and thought he was a great guy. I supported what he aimed to do when, and if, he got into power. I had met him at the British Grand Prix, and liked him, so wanted to help his campaign. That’s why I put in my million. I had paid tax on the money – I pay all my taxes all the time – I had earned it. It was mine. I could do what I liked with it. I didn’t want any favours, any special treatment for F1 or to buy titles, knighthoods or lordships for myself. I just fancied giving Tony a boost. He didn’t need to open his mouth, but he did and there was uproar.” Blair’s Downing Street office returned the cheque and it lingered in Bernie’s in-tray for six weeks before he remembered to bank it. What about national honours, recognition for sterling work, millions of pounds of business for Britain’s economy, employment for 50,000, worldwide recognition for the country through his efforts and promotional brilliance, the 36

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Bernie, and wife Fabiana, are friends with Roberto Mancini, but the 82-year-old has no plans to buy Manchester City advancement globally of the most high-profile high profile of sports? Less deserving figures, pop singers, even DJs, movie stars, showbiz celebs, mostly self-serving, have been recommended by various governments and recoignised by the Queen. Not Bernie. Not even the lowliest MBE. “All around the world, I have been honoured, without asking, by grateful rulers and governments,” he reveals. “And that makes me feel proud. But, really, honours at home don’t interest me. And I certainly wouldn’t want a statue being put up in my memory – not knowing what pigeons do on them! “Have I ever been offered a title or an honour of any sort? I’m not saying. And I am not revealing whether I have ever turned one down. “Whatever I am, whatever my reputation, I can’t help. Sometimes, I know, I come out looking bad, but in reality I am a desperately shy guy who just wants to work hard until my very last breath. “I will never, ever, retire. This is where it will all stop for me, sitting behind this desk, where I will keel over and die!”



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BIG-NAME WRITERS » GUEST COLUMNISTS » DEBATE

HALF-TIME TALK

40 ANDREW STRAUSS Straussy on why England almost boycotted their 2010 series with Pakistan

42 BARNEY RONAY The Guardian columnist says Gareth Bale is a fluke, not a reflection of the health of British football

44 AWAY DRESSING ROOM Peter Thompson heads to the Brazilian city Salvador, where football is a religion


ANDREW STRAUSS

PAKISTAN CHEAT SLURS DROVE ENGLAND TO THE BRINK OF A STRIKE ENGLAND ALMOST BOYCOTTED THE 2010 SUMMER TOUR WITH PAKISTAN AFTER TRUST BROKE DOWN COMPLETELY BETWEEN THE TWO SIDES, writes Andrew Strauss he highlight of the 2010 summer was always going to be the matches against Pakistan. England have a long, chequered cricketing history with Pakistan, with on- and off-field crises often overshadowing some excellent, competitive cricket. The battles seem to represent the clash of two different cricketing cultures, and that is what has made the series so captivating. The 2010 Pakistan team was something of an unknown quantity. Unable to play cricket at home because of security issues, their recent performances had ranged from the sublime – bowling Australia out for 88 en route to a victory at Headingley of all places – to the ridiculous – somehow managing to lose a Test match in

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Sydney after leading by over 200 runs in the first innings. The 2010 series played out more or less as expected. We blew their inexperienced batting line-up apart in Nottingham and Birmingham, before their bowling attack got the better of us at The Oval, to leave the result of the series still up in the air by the time the two sides met in the fourth and final Test at Lord’s. Little did anyone know that three days later, the result of the series would be the last thing on anyone’s mind. The whole series was overshadowed by the News of the World’s spot-fixing revelations. The aftermath of the scandal was long, drawn out and particularly painful. A five-match ODI series was scheduled and I don’t think that either side was

Fuming Pakistan cricket supporters reacted to the spot-fixing scandal by burning photos of Asif, Amir and Butt

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comfortable about going ahead with the games. Pakistan were understandably distracted by the ordeal and by all the speculation in the press about which other games might have been influenced. For us, everything just seemed too raw. Although the players involved in the ‘no-ball’ saga at Lord’s – Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Amir and Salman Butt – were not going to take part, trust between the two sides had completely broken down. As the one-day series began, there was a frosty atmosphere between both sets of players, tensions simmering away. Not surprisingly, it all came to the surface before the series finished. After a very professional start when we won the first two games, including chasing down almost 300 at Headingley, we lost the third game at The Oval, where the Pakistanis outfoxed us with some excellent reverse-swing bowling. The problem came after that game, when the chairman of the Pakistani Cricket Board suggested in the media that the England team might have been match-fixing, so sudden was our collapse. This was a step too far. Here we were, professionally continuing a series when many sides would have been unwilling to keep up the facade, only for the chairman of the PCB to question our integrity rather than

ANDREW STRAUSS EX-ENGLAND TEST CAPTAIN

WHEN I LOOK BACK AT IT, I THINK THIS WAS ONE OF THE DEFINING MOMENTS OF MY CAPTAINCY. A SITUATION HAD DEVELOPED VERY QUICKLY IN WHICH THE ECB AND THE PLAYERS WERE SITTING ON DIFFERENT SIDES OF THE FENCE AND THE CAPTAIN HAD TO NAVIGATE A WAY THROUGH THE MESS.


England comfortably won their four-Test series with Pakistan 4-1, and also secured the ODI trophy following a 3-2 victory, with Strauss scoring 307 runs and scooping the Player of the Series award

address the very serious problem that had been uncovered in his team. Maybe we were all just too emotional, but as far as I and the rest of the players were concerned, he had crossed the line. Imagine what sort of pandemonium would have broken loose if the ECB chairman, Giles Clarke, had accused Pakistan of match-fixing without any evidence. A meeting to discuss the matter was arranged between the players and Angus Porter, chief executive of the PCA, our union. Feelings were high and, as captain, I was particularly galled at our integrity being called into question. It was clear none of us had any stomach for the fourth ODI, scheduled for the next day at Lord’s. Obviously the ECB, with all the financial ramifications of cancellation at the forefront of their minds, were keen to finish the series. When I look back at it, I think this was one of the defining

Andrew Strauss’ Driving Ambition is published by Hodder & Stoughton and available for AED 100. To order a copy call +44844 472 4157

moments of my captaincy. A situation had developed very quickly in which the ECB and the players were sitting on different sides of the fence and the captain had to navigate a way through the mess. One thing I was absolutely certain about was that whatever we did, I wanted us to do it together, as a team. Although the overwhelming majority of the players felt that boycotting the game was the correct course of action, we invited Clarke to come into the room and put forward the ECB’s case. There have been many things said about Giles over the years, and he certainly polarises opinion. He does, however, possess excellent powers of persuasion. He sat in the room talking about the dangerous precedent that we might set and the potential damage to the political relations between Pakistan and

England, as well as the duty we had to the thousands of supporters who would be turning up the next day. When he left the room we had a decision to make. I told the guys my own views had changed somewhat. The more I thought about it, the more I realised that boycotting the game would make us the news story, with people questioning our motives rather than concentrating on the serious issues within the Pakistani cricket team. Far better, to my mind, to put together a joint statement written by us, the players, showing our displeasure at the chairman of the PCB in the strongest possible terms, and to then get on with the cricket. We put it to a vote, with everyone committing beforehand that whatever the majority decision was, we would all do it together. The majority voted for playing the game. The crisis was over.

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BARNEY RONAY

BALE IS A FLUKE DON’T BE FOOLED BY GARETH BALE TO REAL – BRITISH FOOTBALL IS NOT THAT GOOD, writes Barney Ronay here are times when the top end of modern football calls to mind the well-heeled London pub where they serve food that, at first glance, makes no sense at all: the burger that arrives at your table fondled by an amusement of blue cheese foam, accessorised with a quandary of sweet potato chiplings, and flounced beneath an incontinence of hand-smashed tomato custard. But which is still at bottom basically a burger. In the interests of full disclosure I should say that this is an excuse to talk just a little bit more – one last shaving, a drizzle, a wafer – about Gareth Bale’s world record move to Real Madrid, the most laughably over-dressed story of the summer, a process of furiously energetic stasis that has all the same somehow managed to remain strangely interesting, oddly significant, beneath it all still recognisably a burger. If Bale’s move to Madrid remains a fascinating prospect, this is not to lump him in with the traditional ‘breadwon’t-toast’ dynamic of the British footballer abroad, which is pretty much a thing of the past now that elite players exist instead within the portable seven-star super-state of the international rich. There is no culture shock to be had here. One glass and steel bijou-gated apartment complex looks a lot like the next. Planes will be whistled up, hotels sequestered, a glaze of soft-focus infantilism applied around the edges of the everyday. In any case playing in the Premier League is already pretty weird. How much stranger will it really be in Spain? Instead Bale to Madrid is interesting for unexpected reasons:

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football reasons. So much so that when it was reported last month that senior Madrid players had openly questioned what Bale would actually bring to the team, it was a shame to see this sensible and entirely legitimate question swept up into the broader operetta surrounding the precise details and timing of his departure. The more interesting question of whether he can succeed there has been rather lost at times. The key element here is the way Bale plays football, specifically his basic Britishness. British players, in particular the explosively physical kind – with apologies to John Charles and certain glowering centre-forwards of the 1980s – have rarely succeeded abroad. Not that Bale is best described as a typical British player: he’s far too surgically

Laurie Cunningham was Real’s first English player, joining from West Brom in 1979

effective for that (someone should probably double check that his passport isn’t German). Plus he’s not explosive in the manner of, say, Andy Carroll, the old-school cider-soaked heavy metal-style frontman, his 90 minutes spent snorting, flailing, air-guitaring and generally transforming his immediate environment into a roving mosh pit. Bale’s explosiveness is instead precision engineered, based around that irresistibly enduring speed and acceleration in possession. For all his technical gifts it was this basic explosiveness that fuelled his decisive rise from a promising left-back at Southampton to the joyously romping Maicon-ator of Spurs’ Champions League run in 2010, a player who at times seems to be operating to a different set of physical laws, a kindlier personal gravity, softer grass, brighter sunlight. This quality of physical exceptionality is still key to the domestic game’s sense of its own latent playing riches, and to its narrow and basically unworkable notions of how exactly it is best served going about being proficient at football. This is still the basic sporting character of the best British players, the ones that inflame the senses, single-handedly yanking out the tablecloth, overturning the soup tureen, wrenching the saloon bar doors off their hinges and generally saving the day without anyone having to do anything systemic or difficult or finely nuanced. It is a quality the Premier League has seemed to seek most recently in its midfielders, with the emergence of the galloping central run-hulk player, a role

BARNEY RONAY GUARDIAN JOURNALIST

NEVER BEFORE HAS THE BEST 24-YEAROLD BRITISH FOOTBALLER BEEN SO LAUGHABLY FAR AHEAD OF THE REST. THERE ARE NO OTHER BALES, FRUITS OF SOME BRILLIANTLY LIBERATING SYSTEM OF JUNIOR BALE-IFICATION.


Bale has made a mixed start at Real Madrid, scoring on his debut in a 2-2 draw at Villareal, before sustaining a left thigh injury during the warm-up against Dubai-owned Getafe occupied most convincingly in recent years by Yaya Toure in his famous forward-rumble mode, knees pumping, neck muscles flaring, approaching an opposition defence like a fire ship scattering the fleet at Calais. And perhaps in the future by Jack Rodwell, who at times looks almost alarmingly mobile and powerful in possession, at others like the footballing equivalent of a riderless horse at the Grand National, a vision of doomed peripheral energy, hooves raised, head up in triumph, but somehow still strangely sad. And yet even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day and for once the Premier League is perhaps in the vanguard of something here.

The high impact ball-carrying player is definitely a thing in European football. Running is having a moment. This summer Bayern Munich provided a first real moment of coronation for what Joachim Löw has called “the game of sprints”, as did the Brazil team that counterpunched Spain into submission in the Maracanã, lingering in the memory as a selection of furiously galloping legs, a conjoined samba-centipede. And really no matter what the chat might be over dinner there is no reason Bale, king of the carry, should not make it at Madrid alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and the equally relentless Angel di Maria. If he does succeed there is also a note

BALE’S 20122013 STATS Appearances: 33 Shots: 134 Goals: 21 Assists: 4 Crosses: 178 Pass Completion: 78.5% Man of the Matches: 11

of caution to be sounded. The ascent of Bale should not be confused with any wider sign of basic good health, of British football coming any closer to solving that basic question of how it is supposed to go about playing this game. The fascination with innate and unanswerable physical extremes is also a sporting vice, entering the room at exactly the same moment tactics and systems and coaching exit smartly via the French doors. The reality is that Bale is a one-off, a lucky slog, a fluke. His enthroning as the world’s most expensive player would mark a historic polarisation: never before has the best 24-year-old British footballer been so laughably far ahead of the rest. There are no other Bales, fruits of some brilliantly liberating system of junior Bale-ification. It is probably best Bale does go elsewhere because his success is a piece of grand-scale misdirection, perpetual distraction from the yawning talent gap beneath. The future is not bright. The future is not Bale. He is instead an unrepeatable high-speed physical genius and a beautifully selfcontained dead end.

WITH SPECIAL THANKS TO...

OCTOBER 2013

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AWAY DRESSING ROOM

n exuberant middle-aged man jumps to his feet and raises both arms in the air before seamlessly breaking into a samba dance. As he glides from side to side, two young women in close proximity also strut their stuff while singing at the top of their voices.

A

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In contrast, a disgruntled local in front of me is in no mood for dancing as a furious frown spreads across his face. Salvador is known as Brazil's capital of happiness, but the majority of the crowd in the pristine, recently-opened Arena Fonte Nova football stadium see no reason to be cheerful.


Brazil

ALL FOOTBALL FANS' EYES WILL BE ON BRAZIL NEXT YEAR WHEN THE WORLD CUP KICKS OFF. AHEAD OF THE TOURNAMENT, PETER THOMPSON HEADS TO THE BAHIAN *0;@ 6- :(3=(+69 >/,9, ώ(ώ:0+, 0: ( 9,30.065

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AWAY DRESSING ROOM

If England qualify for the World Cup, Salvador would make a fitting base. There always seems to be a party here, but the biggest festivals take place in February. 46

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Brazil last hosted the World Cup in 1950, losing out to Juan Lopez's Uruguay, who prepared for the sides' showdown by urinating on a team photo of the Samba Boys!


Brazil has won the Jules Rimet Trophy a record five times (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002) Bahia, the home team, has just gone 3-0 down in an eagerly anticipated derby match against arch-rivals Vitoria, and it's not even half-time yet. The irate Bahia supporter – one of many – turns around and unleashes a tirade of abuse that is lost on me given my limited Portuguese vocabulary. But I don't need to understand the lingo to realise he's not impressed with his team's performance. Blood boiling, he's long gone by the time the Vitoria players and their vociferous clan celebrate a resounding 7-3 triumph. I had been advised to support the home team, but the final score was never going to overshadow my first taste of Brazilian football. Throughout the game, passionate fans had bounced up and down, singing and swaying to the beat of drums in perfect co-ordination. I can only imagine what it will be like to return for a game next summer, when the 55,000-capacity stadium will play host to World Cup matches. But those who are fortunate enough to get tickets, which are now on sale, will have much more than football to enjoy in Salvador and the north-east state of Bahia. The bright lights and sandy beaches of Rio de Janeiro are more often than not the first place tourists flock to in Brazil, but Bahia is arguably the heart and soul of the vast South American country – and an ideal introduction to Brazilian culture.

Emirates (emirates.com) fly direct to Rio from Dubai, while TAP Portugal (flytap.com) can then ferry you to Salvador (the capital of the state of Bahia), so it's possible to combine both cities within one trip. Ahead of my first visit to South America, I'd always envisaged Brazilians as being a hospitable bunch. But I was certainly not anticipating being greeted at the airport by a resplendent lady in traditional African dress, who tied a ribbon (known as a fita) around my wrist and told me to make three wishes. I was assured my new fashion accessory would give me good luck and instructed not to remove it until all my dreams came true. I was certainly not disappointed by the hotel, which was one of the best in Salvador. After a short journey from the airport I arrive at the luxurious Pestana Convento do Carmo. Steeped in history, the five-star resort was originally built as a convent in 1586 and the structure of the distinctive building has undergone few changes since then. There are even a couple of monks living in part of the grand old building. As I sip my first caipirinha – Brazil's national cocktail – I find it hard to believe I'm in the heart of a bustling city. Salvador was one of the first places in South America to be colonised by Europeans. From 1532, Portuguese settlers brought African slaves over to work in plantations. I'm struck by the African influence as I wander through the cobbled streets of the old town of Pelourinho, registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Outside colourful buildings, street vendors sell anything from paintings to traditional Bahian cuisine, such as acaraje – a snack made from mashed black-eyed peas deep-fried in palm oil. Salvador is populated by more people of African descent than any city outside Africa, and the slaves were also responsible for some of the most impressive architecture in this former capital of Brazil. I'm taken aback by the attention to detail of the carvings and gleaming gold inside the Sao Francisco

OCTOBER 2013

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AWAY DRESSING ROOM

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Church, which took around 100 years to build as slaves worked through the nights. The Rosario dos Pretos, another Catholic church, is a hive of vibrant activity as locals dance and sing between prayers during a lively Mother's Day service. I also visit the Bonfim Church in the lower part of the city, which attracts pilgrims hoping for miracles. The gates are covered in colourful ribbons, similar to the one I have tied around my wrist. I'm told this is where the tradition of giving fitas originated. If England qualify for the World Cup, Salvador would make a fitting base. There always seems to be a party here, but the biggest festivals take place in February. The city famously hosts the second-biggest carnival in Brazil, with street parties lasting for two weeks, and there's also a celebration of the ocean goddess Yemanja, during which gifts are placed in a boat for fisherman to take out to sea. While it's a shame the carnival is not in full swing during my stay, I certainly don't feel shortchanged when I check into the plush Tivoli Eco Resort in Praia do Forte, after a drive of around an hour and a half up the coast. Travel Attaché Lounging in a hammock on the AED 12k per head for balcony of my spacious suite, I gaze seven nights at the idyllic view of palm trees, a

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I later attempt to add the samba to my repertoire of dance moves as a patient member of the hotel's entertainment staff puts me through my paces, but it's very much a work in progress. The following morning, large iguanas stroll around on the grass nearby as I laze by a swimming pool overlooking the sea. The resort is a haven for relaxation with first-class service, food and a spa which I float out of after a relaxing massage. A short stroll down the beach is the Tamar Project, a sanctuary for the preservation of sea turtles. Local schoolchildren are taught about the importance of conservation here and can get up close and personal with five different species. There's also the opportunity to feed resident sharks before it's time for another feast of my own. I'm invited into the kitchen at the Terreiro Bahia restaurant, where two female chefs meticulously conjure up traditional local dishes with aromas that arouse my taste buds. Moseying down the quiet main street in laid-back Praia, I see artists painting colourful pieces, jewellery being made and lucky charms for sale. But my ribbon is still firmly wrapped around my wrist as I reluctantly board the plane home from a trip that has conjured up more than I could ever have wished for. WITH SPECIAL THANKS TO...

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TOP TUITION » SPORTS NUTRITION » GYM ROUTINES

TRAINING GROUND

52 WAYNE ROONEY The Manchester United striker tells you how to correctly prepare for your local derby

54 JAKE SHEPHERD The 2011 MENA Tour champion gives his keys to the perfect drive

56 MATTHEW NUTTING The Bespoke Wellness psychologist explains why thinking too positive can sometimes be a negative


WAYNE ROONEY

HOW TO BEAT MANCHESTER CITY ;/, 2,@ ;6 >05505. ( M MANCHESTER DERBY, OR ANY A MASSIVE MATCH, IS TO PREPARE PREPA METICULOUSLY AND KEEP A COOL HEAD, H writes Manchester United Unite striker Wayne Rooney

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relish Manchester derbies, but they do come with some added pressure. pressur To cope with this it is important to t stay calm. I try to clear my head and just ju focus on playing football. This is far easier easie said than done, but you can’t let nerves hamper your strengths. I know if I perform to my peak Manchester United can beat anyone, a but if stress creeps in I might not be able to. To stay in optimum condition, and an give

WAYNE’S TIP

Personally,y I am not veryy supersti p tious, but if yyou are, and it helps you y create a ppositive mindset, then follow a set ppre-match routine in the build upp to kick-off. Paul Ince, for example, p used to alwaysy insist on beingg last out of the dressingg room and would never pput his shirt on until he got into the tunnel. 52

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OCTOBER 2013

myself the best chance of scoring, I need to sleep, eat and prepare correctly. Obviously, I have ten other top guys out there with me, which relieves some of the burden, but to help see off a quality side like City I need my A-game. Thankfully, I found it on 9 December last year, scoring twice as we won 3-2 at their place in one of the games of the season so far! Here’s my advice to help you win your local derby.


DEJA ROO

Since I was little, I have always pictured the game the night before. When we play away from home, I even ask our kitman what colours we are wearing, so the mental image I paint is as accurate as possible. I ask myself what I will do if the ball gets passed or crossed in a certain manner, that way if it happens I get a sense of deja vu – as if I have been in the situation before and thus know exactly what to do. That’s how I managed the overhead-kick winner against City in February 2011 – a goal that was voted the best of the season. I knew, if the ball was fizzed in behind me, I would try a scissors kick, rather than just trying to bring it down with my back to goal. Visualising set plays will enhance your sharpness. Unlike others, the only thing I don’t pre-plan are my celebrations – they are totally spontaneous!

FATMAN & ROBIN

I am pretty thick skinned, but I don’t like the jokers who refer to myself and Robin van Persie as ‘Fatman and Robin’. It is offensive and simply not true. I have a healthy, balanced diet. Obviously, no one expects your average Sunday league footballer to stick to the same dining regimen as I do, but do bear in mind that what you eat will directly affect your performance. The night before a game, I have some chicken, pasta and fish. Try to stock up the previous evening, because you don’t want to overload on match days or you risk getting bloated and, ultimately, suffering from cramp. I usually have a bowl of Coco Pops and a banana for or ere my pre-match snack, then, when we get to the stadium, there are energy bars and gels in the dressing room.

40 WINKS = 40 GOALS

Sleep is so important. Before big games, I try to grab at least eight hours, and sometimes even take a one-hour nap in n the afternoon. There’s no point in forcing yourself to snooze, so rather than setting a specific amount just make sure you get enough for you. I usually go to bed at 11 and try to wake up att 8. Fatigue is one of the biggest contributors to a poor display. If you are too nervous to doze off, try listening to some soothing music or put on your favourite DVD. Trust me, if you don’t get enough shuteye the night before a key match you will pay for itt the next day. Without my 40 winks I wouldn’t stand a chance of scoring 40 goals a season!

EVRA MAN FOR HIMSELF

The final few hours before a Manchester derby (or really any game) can be quite agonising because we all just want to get out there. The warm-up eats up some of this time, but there’s no set rule on how to fill the rest. It all boils down to personal choice. Patrice Evra likes to put on some hip-hop or rock for everyone to listen to. It is not always my cup of tea, but it does help forge team spirit and is far better than us all just sitting there with our iPods on. I suggest choosing a match day anthem for your team and blaring it out right before kick-off. However you fill the time, just try to create some camaraderie since that will help on the pitch.

Wayne Rooney is a Manchester United striker. You can follow him on Twitter via @WayneRooney OCTOBER 2013

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JAKE SHEPHERD

KE YS TO TH E PE RF EC T DR IV E .63- *6<9:,: (9, .,;;05. 365.,9 (5+ 365.,9 >0;/ @(9+ 7(9 -0=,: 56> *6446573(*, /(=05. ( )0. +90=, 05 ;/, )(. *3,(93@ /,37: ,:7,*0(33@ 65 ( >0+, 67,5 -(09>(@ WITH THE WIND ON YOUR SIDE, writes Cadillac ambassador Jake Shepherd nowing how to apply some extra power without compromising too much accuracy is vital. When deciding whether to unleash a monster drive, you should first assess the wind, the width of the landing area, and factor in where you are in your round. If you have a healthy lead, there’s no point

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taking unnecessary risks. Conversely, if you need to gain some shots and encounter a long par-five, a massive tee shot could set up a potential eagle opportunity. Fortunately, I am pretty long off the tee. I have even, occasionally, bombed the ball 400 yards, but only when my technique is spot-on.

JAKE’S TIP

$ JUHDW ZD\ WR DGG FRQ¿GHQFH DQG commitment to your driving is to line up your ball. It is widely known that plenty of top tour professionals do this for putts, EXW , WKLQN WKH EHQH¿W LV MXVW WKH VDPH with drives. The markings on your ball are there for a reason. They take all the guess-work out of alignment, so why not use them to your advantage and give yourself one less thing to worry about!

Power

Accuracy


TEE IT HIGH, LET IT FLY!

To execute a powerful drive, the correct set-up is imperative. Before worrying about stance, tee the ball up a touch higher than usual. You really want to feel like you are hitting up on the ball. The likes of Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods do so as much as four degrees! Next, assume a normal golf posture, then move your right foot out about three inches. Let your spine angle shift with your weight, so there is more tilt to the right. This will ensure you gain

Address

A GLOVELY DRILL

additional power in your right leg and hip during the backswing, which, in turn, will generate extra clubhead speed. Of course, this approach is more risky. Since you are moving off the ball during your backswing, you must make sure you really commit to the shot. If you stay too far behind the target you will most likely hit a hook. With the right leg and hip holding a lot of tension you will feel like you want to explode into the downswing, but don’t

Backswing

The biggest problem most amateurs face off thee tee is the dreaded chicken wing. This can manifest in two wo forms. Either golfers become so disconnected, and d uncomfortable with their right arm, that they overrcompensate and flip underneath the ball, resulting in a hook. The more common scenario, however, is the club goes across the line and they thus lurch over the top p and slice the ball. You can address both problems using nothing more than a golf glove. Place it under your right armpit and take some practice swings, then start hitting ting three-quarter shots with wedges and short irons. The goal is to not let the glove fall out. This will help train you to always fold your right arm correctly.

force the speed of your swing to gain more power – just focus on your posture and backswing. If you get this right, the additional speed will come naturally. Don’t make the mistake of trying to add power by overusing your arms. After impact, the follow-through is pretty much the same as for a normal drive, although you might notice a bit more extension. In rarer cases, the club could even recoil off your back, just like Greg Norman’s does!

Follow-through

WIN!

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Jake Shepherd is the 2011 MENA Tour champion. To cont contact him about private lessons, email jake jakeshepmail@aol.com OCTOBER 2013

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MATTHEW NUTTING

W HY PO SI TI VE IS N E G AT IV E 5,<;9(3 ;/05205. 0: ;/, 653@ >(@ ;6 SUCCEED IN SPORT, writes Matthew Nutting e all know that a negative mindset can affect our performance, but so can thinking too positively. Some mental coaches believe standing over a penalty or putt and assuming you will score or sink it is paramount, but if you miss, that attitude does more harm than good. The key to consistency in sport is to adopt a neutral mindset: if you keep musing over your game plan, action, technique and results you will go insane. Accepting that anything is possible will limit Accept expectations. That was golfer Seve Ballesteros’ philosophy: he just hit the ball, found it and hit it again. Curbing expectations in this manner

W

in eooryryy off th e M ind h eor The CONSCIOUS MIND CRITICAL FILTER

+

Positive andd negative p iences exper filter from ioous the conscious to the ouus subconscious

SUBCONSCIOUS MIND PRIMITIVE MIND

90% of our thou ghts emerge from the subc onsc ious

will improve your performance, since it prevents both negative thinking and false bravado. If you say to yourself, “This free kick is going in, it can’t miss,” it won’t turn you into Cristiano Ronaldo (who, by the way, doesn’t adopt that approach either). If you psyche yourself up this way and then balloon the ball into Row Z, you will quickly bounce to the other extreme – then the next time, you will stand over the ball with a bruised ego. To achieve your sporting peak you must remove these kind of mental fluctuations. Of course, this is all well and but and good, go what do you do when you have havve just made a

g n i d n a t S Tall


l a r t u N e k in g Th in

POSSIBLE

Always believe anything, positive or negative, can happen

INTENTION Don’t over-think your goals in sport

ANALYSIS Don’t over-celebrate success or get bogged down by failure

ACTION

RESULTS

Don’t over-analyse your swing or stroke

Don’t beat yourself up over every outcome

triple-bogey and are storming off the green with a locked jaw, fantasising about snapping your putter? Because negative thinking most dramatically alters your physiology, urgently addressing and reversing its impact is imperative to get your game back on track. The two symptoms of this state are an increased heart rate and tension in the muscles. The quickest way to relieve these ailments is to control your breathing, which always mirrors our emotions. Plenty of sports stars shoot me a raised eyebrow that Roger Moore would be proud of when I tell them this, but just give it a go before you knock it! Try to imagine you are breathing through your heart. After just a couple of breaths you will

really feel the thumping stop and the tension ease out of your body. Do it as you line up for a key conversion, prepare for a sprint race or stroll towards the putting green, and it should cure a confidence crisis and banish those irksome nerves. Another simple tip is to adjust your posture. If you are playing an outdoor sport, like tennis, choose a high landmark (perhaps a tree or the clubhouse) and glance up at it before you serve. Next time you see Roger Federer miss a routine forehand, you will notice he is standing pretty tall, looking up with a wistful smile on his face. This helps him relax his muscles and thus reduces the chances of him making back-to-back mistakes. If you breathe the right way you can prevent a sporting meltdown, which is also far less likely to happen if you think neutral.

Matthew Nutting is a performance coach at Bespoke Wellness. You can contact him about private sessions via info@bespoke-wellness.com or visit bespoke-wellness.com. OCTOBER 2013

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SECOND HALF

60 JOOST VAN DER WESTHUIZEN The Springbok scum-half explains how poetry has helped him cope with motor neurone disease

66 HARRY REDKAPP Find out what happened when ‘Arry chose to field an abusive West Ham fan in a friendly

76 DRIVE HOME Shahzad Sheikh drives the new 2014 Range Rover Sport through a Boeing 747!


JOOST VAN DER WESTHUIZEN

FORMER SPRINGBOK SCRUMHALF JOOST VAN DER WESTHUIZEN HAS TAKEN UNLIKELY SOLACE IN METAPHYSICAL POETRY AS HE FIGHTS MOTOR NEURONE DISEASE FROM HIS DEATHBED, WRITES JOE HARRIS


“Within a few months the slurred speech kicked in and I began to freak out. I realised this was all very real. Obviously crazy thoughts then cross your mind, and you wonder whether drinking or partying is the best way to shut them out. I saw a psychiatrist to try and keep my head in the right place, but I am not proud of some of the things I did. “Whenever I felt low, I started writing down my thoughts, but found it hard to pen what I was thinking. Then, one day, I stumbled across poetry. I found John Donne’s ‘Death Be Not Proud’ on the Internet and it just struck a chord with me. I read some more of his work, which focuses on confronting death head-on, and it comforted me that someone else, all those years ago, had the same mindset as me.” The poem demeans Death (as if a narcissist) as little more than powerless slave to forces like fate, and is one of Donne’s most famous works. It helped van der Westhuizen adopt a bullish stance against dying, vowing to make the most of every single day. He is thus determined to leave a legacy, and hopefully start the ball rolling to find a cure for motor neurone disease. With this in mind, Joost has launched the J9 Foundation with his close friend (and now carer) David Thorpe. He is convinced, with early detection, the disease could eventually be manageable through pills, even though there’s no medical evidence to back up this theory to date. “Motor neurone disease needs more research,” said van der Westhuizen. “Doctors say it’s incurable, and of course at the moment they’re right, but not enough is known about it. I am hopeful that, with enough funding, a cure might one day be found. It will be too late for me, but if the J9 Foundation can save other lives then that will be my purpose on this earth.” Van der Westhuizen first noticed something was wrong at the end of 2008 when he felt some weakness in his right arm. He assumed it was an old rugby injury flaring up, so ignored the problem – a seemingly sage decision given it soon went away. However, a few months later, he was play-fighting in a swimming pool with an old friend, Henry Kelbrick, who also happened to be a doctor. The weakness in his arm became more apparent, and he started getting flashes of numbness. Kelbrick advised Joost to come

DEATH I t is heart-wrenching staring Joost van der Westhuizen in the eye. It’s virtually impossible to conceive that the 42-year-old won a record 89 caps for South Africa, one of which came in the 1995 World Cup final triumph over New Zealand. The affable Afrikaner, once a pillar of strength, is currently confined to a wheelchair and has, at best, a few years to live. Van der Westhuizen was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2011 and given a maximum life expectancy of just five years. The illness is incurable and usually results in severe paralysis and speech problems. It ravages almost every organ, but the mind remains intact, leaving sufferers tragically helpless yet totally compos mentis, much like Cumaean Sibyl – the Greek priestess who was granted immortality by Apollo, but forgot to ask for eternal youth, leaving her doomed to wither away. Shortly after being diagnosed, a still reasonably eloquent van der Westhuizen came to Dubai as an OSN pundit to cover the 2011 World Cup, yet just two years later he struggles to walk, has severely slurred speech and can no longer feed himself. Consequently, he concedes he is on his “deathbed”, although that isn’t something that scares him. “I have come to terms with the fact that every day could be my last,” said van der Westhuizen, who made 71 appearances for the Blue Bulls. “It has been a rollercoaster ride from day one and I know I’m now on my deathbed. You can sit and mope about it or try and make every day count. I am long past emotional pain. Physically, my body is deteriorating quite fast, but I remain pretty positive and happy.” Van der Westhuizen is commendably philosophical about his plight, but that doesn’t make it any less harrowing to chat to him. It’s tough to comprehend how he remains so sanguine (blasé even) about death. The reason is a somewhat surprising source of comfort. After months of moping, the South African turned to metaphysical poetry – a term used to describe seventeenth-century British lyricists like John Donne and George Herbert – to conquer his fear of dying. “When I was first diagnosed it was terrifying,” said van der Westhuizen. “Sitting in a doctor’s office and being told you have five years to live is a horrible shock, but at that stage my symptoms were mild, so I was still in denial. It was reiterated to me that the condition was incurable, but I felt fine, so it didn’t really sink in at first.

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JOOST VAN DER WESTHUIZEN

I AM HOPEFUL THAT, WITH ENOUGH FUNDING, A CURE MIGHT ONE DAY BE FOUND. IT WILL BE TOO LATE FOR ME, BUT IF THE J9 FOUNDATION CAN SAVE OTHER LIVES THEN THAT WILL BE MY PURPOSE ON THIS EARTH. something like what I am going through that you understand how generous life is.” Van der Westhuizen’s body might be rapidly deteriorating, but that hasn’t stopped him following rugby. He even plans to visit the United Kingdom in autumn to watch his beloved Springboks take on Six Nations champions Wales, and hopes to host a charity dinner in Cardiff to raise money for the J9 Foundation. It is clear the rugby fraternity are rallying around arguably the greatest No.9 of his generation. “Those who I played with and against have been absolutely fantastic,” smiled Joost. “I have also taken a lot of strength from all the fans’ messages, which have arrived from all over the globe. The rugby world is one big A progressive family, and I have received help from disease the most unlikely of places. “Dubai, for example – I never saw Exact cause interest coming from there! Shortly a mystery after I was diagnosed I got a call from OSN to cover the 2011 Rugby World Commonly Cup. I genuinely thought it was a joke attacks nerves to begin with. I got to work with Jim that control Rosenthal, Jeremy Guscott and Scott muscles, but Gibbs and it really took my mind off brain function is things. For me, there’s no better cure to left unaffected feeling depressed than talking rugby!” Memories of his own illustrious Affects around playing days are a source of comfort and 120,000 people satisfaction for van der Westhuizen. His in the Middle career high came in 1995, when he was East, and twice an integral part of the Springbok side that as many men beat New Zealand 15-12 to win the as women World Cup on home soil, with new president Nelson Mandela watching. Symptoms begin His commanding performance was with muscle characterised by a crunching tackle on weakness and Jonah Lomu, with the All Blacks’ wasting. As talisman motoring like a steam train the disease after scything past South Africa captain progresses, Francois Pienaar. Joost also went on to speech, win the Tri-Nations in 1998 and swallowing and captained the Boks at the 1999 World even breathing Cup, when they were beaten in extra can be affected time (27-21) by eventual champions Australia in the semi-finals.

WHAT IS MOTOR NEURONE DISEASE?

Joost has recently got back together with his wife, allowing him to spend more time with his kids to his hospital for a check-up, and after exhaustive tests the diagnosis was amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – one of the most common forms of motor neurone disease. “Originally, I asked Henry to prescribe me something, but then he told me about the severity of the condition and that it was terminal,” explained Joost. “I didn’t react well. It took a while for my faith to kick in, and I went a bit AWOL in the meantime, but I think most people would.” Van der Westhuizen initially turned to cocaine to numb his pain, which contributed towards a heart attack in 2008. He was also at the centre of a sex-tape scandal that broke up his marriage with singer Amor Vittone, although the pair have recently reunited, allowing Joost to spend his final days with his two children, Jordan (7) and Kylie (5), in Johannesburg. “A lot of the things I did went against my principles,” conceded van der Westhuizen, who was also sacked as a pundit for South African broadcaster Supersport after his raunchy affair footage materialised. “My head was all over the place and I think I had to make my mistakes to realise what life is all about. I was doing everything at a hundred miles per hour. By slowing down, I learnt that there’s too many things we take for granted and now I appreciate each and every one of them. “I also know that God is in my life, and has given me a second chance with my wife. It’s through experience that you learn, and I can now talk openly about the mistakes. It’s only when you suffer 62

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Donating just AED 60 per month will help save the lives of 60 children. For more information email info@tackleafrica.com or visit tackleafrica.com/donate

JOOST VAN DER WESTHUIZEN Born: 20 February, 1971 --------------------------------Position: scrum-half --------------------------------Height: 6ft 1 --------------------------------Weight: 14st --------------------------------Test caps: 89 --------------------------------Test tries: 38 --------------------------------International debut: v Argentina, Buenos Aires, November 1993 --------------------------------Last Match: v New Zealand, Melbourne, November 2003 --------------------------------Honours: World Cup winner, 1995; World Cup captain, 1995; Currie Cup winner 1998, 2002; Tri-Nations winner, 1998

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JOOST VAN DER WESTHUIZEN

UD D E A TH B E N O T P R O g h s o me h ave c a lle d t h e e , ot p rou d , t h ou

De a t h b e n a rt n ot s o , u o h t , r o f , l l u f d a e r d d n a y t M ig h t o vert h ro w, s o d u o h t , t s ’ k n i h t u o h t m Fo r, t h o se , w h o y et c an st t h ou k ill meee. , r o n , h t a e d e r o o p , t o n e i D h but t h y p i c tu res b st flo w, c i h w , e, p e e l s d n a t s e r m o r F t h ee , m uc h mo re m u M uc h p le a s u re , t h en fmroemn w it h t h ee do e g o e , A n d s oon est ou r b est n d s oules d e l iveri e . Rest o f t h ei r b on es , a , C h an c e , k in gs , an d d esp er a te men , Th ou a rt s l ave to Fa ten , w a r re , an d s i c kn es se d w e ll , A n d do st w it h p oy s o es c an m ake us s leep e a s w e ll , A n d p opp i e , o r c h a rmstro ake ; w h y s w e ll’ st t h ou t h en ; A n d b etter t h en t h y t , w ee w ake etern a lly, O n e s h o rt s leep e p a s o mo re ; d e a t h , t h ou s h a lt d i e . A n d de a t h s h a ll b e n

The only thing absent from his illustrious CV is victory over the British and Irish Lions. South Africa were hot favourites to defeat Ian McGeechan’s men in 1997 but lost the series 2-1. One of the iconic moments actually involved van der Weshuizen, but not in a way he intended. During the First Test in Cape Town, Joost was one of four players who fell for an outrageous ‘overhead’ dummy by Matt Dawson, who then scampered over to score the victorious try. “Everyone still talks to me about that tackle on Jonah Lomu in the 1995 World Cup final, but every time people mention it I have to remind them how I also fell for Matt Dawson’s dummy in 1997,” laughed Joost. “I have watched the video of that game 1,000 times and still can’t believe I was duped. I can’t have been that stupid, though, since three other guys did exactly the same thing, I guess you have to give Matt some credit!” When he retired in 2003, van der Westhuizen was South Africa’s most capped player, with 89 appearances, and had scored 38 Test tries – a Springbok record until it was broken by winger Bryan Habana in 2011. Joost might have surrendered this record, and will eventually lose his battle with motor neurone disease too, but he retains his dignity, humility and infectious sense of humour, and as long as they remain he will always be both a winner and an inspiration. 64

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For more information on Joost’s J9 Foundation go to joost.co.za



OLIGARCHS OL HARRY LIG IGAR ARCH REDKNAPP HS

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According to one of football’s most endearing fairytales, Harry Redknapp once plucked an abusive supporter from the crowd and put him on the field for West Ham. This allegedly happened in 1994, but no video and scant evidence of the incident exist. Jeff Maysh chased this mystery for over a decade before finally catching up with the fan in question ver since he was five years old, Steve Davies dreamed of playing for West Ham United. He grew up in the rain-thrashed English workingclass town of Rushden, where by birthright he should have supported Rushden Town, Northampton or even Coventry City. But after watching West Ham’s 2-0 triumph over Fulham in the 1975 FA Cup final, he became a long-distance fan, pledging his allegiance to the claret and blue of the Hammers. “The other kids at school said I should support a local team. But I just knew I was West Ham through and through. I can’t explain it really,” says Steve as I hand him a pint of bitter and we begin the interview. “I wore the shirt with pride and would travel to see the games as often as I could.” (A 182-mile round trip.) “Trevor Brooking was my hero. I had hundreds of photos of him,” he adds of the West Ham legend who played 528 times for the Hammers and scored 88 goals, including a boy’s day-dream of a diving header to steal the FA Cup from Arsenal in 1980. Four months after that glorious moment, a teenage Davies sneaked on to a train to London to watch Brooking and West Ham play Watford at Upton Park and was thrilled when the ball flew toward him as he stood in the North Bank. “Amazingly, I caught it,” he recalls. “Next thing, Trevor Brooking runs over and signals for me to throw it back.” But Steve couldn’t let go. As Brooking edged ever closer, he clutched the ball. “I remember being that

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OLIGARCHS HARRY REDKNAPP close to my hero,” he recalls. “‘Come and get it!’ I said.” And to Davies’ delight, he did. He returned the ball and play resumed. “It was a memory that stayed with me for ages. It was all terraces back then, and when a player would take a corner, I could lean over and almost touch him. Almost.” West Ham won 3-2, Brooking scored, and Steve had a story to tell his dad after making the arduous journey back to Rushden. Steve’s father, a Welshman named Geoff, was a broadshouldered Sunday-league defender, and when young Davies came of age, he too began playing in the waterlogged Sunday leagues of the Midlands. “Dad played well into his forties,” Steve proudly proclaims. “I also turned out for Fishermead, a strong pub team in Milton Keynes. “Every lad dreamed of turning out for their favourite team, and every time I ran on the pitch I wished I was playing for West Ham.” His boyhood idols were mostly strong defenders like his old man. “As a teenager, I pretended I was Billy Bonds. I used to admire hard as nails defenders, like Ray Stewart. He was Scottish, and the best penalty taker – top corner every time – you wouldn’t pick one out. I also tried to model myself on Kenny Sansom, but was never really good enough, if I’m honest.” Like virtually all teens who yearn to be professional sportsmen, Steve’s limitations were slowly revealed to him on those frosty fields, and he became distracted by other things,

most notably his beloved Hammers. “I started going to West Ham proper when I was 15, hence the accent,” he says, explaining why he speaks like an East End barrow boy. “I was down there every week, even going to away games. They were really great days.” But Britain was suffering civil unrest, and the fall of its unions, violent miner strikes and mass unemployment made the 1980s a decade of strife that created a microcosm of the football terraces: young men were angry, just because, and hooliganism was born. When Persil printed vouchers on the sides of their soapboxes for discounted train tickets, it made travelling support feasible for an entire generation of youngsters. “Mum bought the Persil, I cut the coupons out, and I was off,” he says, and the eighties whizzed past in a blur of industrial chimneys and foreboding clouds out of train windows. Steve had crossed into an exciting new world that smelled of detergent, warm lager and railway carriages, and he grew from boy to man standing on the terraces in faraway towns. “I’d get stuck in places like Sheffield and couldn’t get home, sleeping in empty stations,” he says. “F*cking hell! But it was brilliant, and West Ham had top notch away support. We became notorious for it.” As he drifted into his twenties, Davies’ desire to be a professional footballer all but evaporated. “I still played on Sundays sometimes when I wasn’t away with West Ham, more

Redknapp spent one year as assistant to Billy Bonds at West Ham before taking over in 1994

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so I could have a drink at dinner-time,” he chuckles. “You know, turn up, have a pint – that sort of thing.” His preferred habitat shifted from the chilly fields of Sunday-league football to the smoke-filled pubs of East London. Inside the Black Lion or the Boleyn Tavern, you could find Steve on any given Saturday, pint aloft, singing that popular waltz from 1918, famously adopted by West Ham fans... I’m forever blowing bubbles, Pretty bubbles in the air, They fly so high, Nearly reach the sky, Then like my dreams, They fade and die.

“FOOTBALL WAS CHANGING, WASN’T IT?” West Ham finished Division One runners-up in 1992-93, thus securing promotion to the top flight. It was only the second year since the First Division had been remodelled into the fancy Premier League with its wads of cash and players in shampoo commercials. English teams were beginning to attract foreign players with exotic names who performed colourful Italian hand gestures at referees. West Ham signed a Portuguese striker and male model, prompting then-assistant manager Harry Redknapp to quip, “Dani is so good-looking I don’t know whether to play him or f*ck him!” Steve now rarely daydreamed about staring for West Ham. In 1990, he had his first child, Chloe, and three years later Samuel Brooking arrived – named after his hero. To support his new family he became a same-day courier, driving night and day, delivering packages for companies. Finally, he could put to good use the knowledge of British geography he had acquired following the Irons cross-country. “I remember one package, in particular, I picked up at a graphic designer’s place in Milton Keynes,” he says. “I had to take it to Cambridge to be proofed, then they sent me to Bristol. I got there at half eleven at night, and they says to me, ‘You got to take this to Manchester now… and it better be there for nine tomorrow.’ I couldn’t believe it. Turns out I was delivering the architectural plans for Manchester City’s new Kippax stand.” After the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 that killed 96 fans, many English stadiums were rebuilt, giving the league a facelift. “This was the nineties,” recalls Steve. “Everyone was getting new stadiums and all sorts. Football was changing, wasn’t it?” Alongside promotion came a claret-and-blue executive team bus with tinted windows and mini-fridges that would deliver West Ham to play the giants of English football: Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool. In their first season in the Premiership, the Hammers finished 13th.

“ONE DAY CHUNK CALLED ME UP AND SAID, ‘WE GOT A PRE-SEASON GAME OVER AT OXFORD – FANCY IT?” Steve’s best friend was Chunk, who was also a die-hard West Ham fan. Chunk’s real name was Steve, but the nickname was endearing (and less confusing). “He’s not fat or nothing,” explains Davies. “He’s just too big to run.”

I STARTED GOING TO WEST HAM PROPER WHEN I WAS 15, HENCE THE ACCENT. I WAS DOWN THERE EVERY WEEK, EVEN GOING TO AWAY GAMES. THEY WERE REALLY GREAT DAYS. Steve and Chunk would travel home and away to watch their team, often driving the length of the country. Chunk was from nearby Hemel Hempstead and owned a gold Vauxhall Cavalier Sri, the type of car favoured by substitute teachers and people with gambling debts. “He’s a true mate,” says Steve. “My first wife was called Kelly, and Chunk’s missus was also called Kelly, and they got pregnant at exactly the same time.” The Steves and their Kellys once drove 230 miles to Torquay to watch West Ham play when the Kellys were five months pregnant. “Every five miles we had to stop for them to be sick at the side of the road,” Steve moans. “We nearly missed the kick-off.” “So one day Chunk called me up and said, ‘We got a pre-season game over at Oxford – fancy it?’” recollects Steve, who never said no to West Ham. “We liked to get a couple of games in early. We get withdrawal symptoms when the season finishes in May. I very rarely missed a game, and I fancied a little away trip to Oxford anyways.” Steve’s mate Bazza was also in Chunk’s Cavalier as it idled outside his house. Court Place Farm sits amid the bleak fields of Oxfordshire, a patchwork quilt of icy horticultural land wrapped in the concrete ribbons of motorway that stretch 60 miles east to London and 148 miles west to Wales. There lies the picturepostcard city of Oxford, famous for its historic university and church steeples that inspired mid-19th-century poet Matthew Arnold to christen it the “city of dreaming spires”. Oxford City Football Club live in the shadow of local rival Oxford United, who are two leagues above them, while both teams are still worlds away from the neon cleats and megascreen televisions of the Premier League. The school teacher who serves scalding-hot tea at half-time for Oxford argues that this is “real football,” played by real men who don’t use conditioner and work second jobs. Along the edge of the muddy field, the pitch is outlined with daisies. And while it may not host the pyrotechnics and prima donnas of the Premier League, Oxford City has enjoyed some of football’s most remarkable dramas. In his book Soccer’s Strangest Matches, Andrew Ward chronicled “The Endless Cup Tie” of November 1971, in which Oxford City and Alvechurch staged a qualifying-round FA Cup tie over six games and 660 minutes before Alvechurch stalwart Bobby Hope’s 588th-minute header finally divided the teams, and champagne flowed… in both dressing rooms! “It became an endurance test,” wrote Ward. “Alvechurch midfielder Derek Davies, a car-worker on nights, had to be rested from the fourth game… and a few minutes after the fifth game, an elderly Alvechurch supporter collapsed and tragically died.” Yet on this summer night in 1994, an even stranger fixture was about to occur. Russell Smith, sports editor at the Oxford OCTOBER 2013

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OLIGARCHS HARRY REDKNAPP Mail, recalls that the town was excited for the return of Joey Beauchamp, the young Oxford United winger who had just transferred to West Ham for a fee of £1.2 million – a lad surely destined for stardom with the Irons. Beauchamp’s new teammates consisted of tough international players like Ludek Miklosko, Alvin Martin, American defender Steve Potts and a crew of everyman sloggers keen to hack those snazzy foreigners in the Premiership for fun.

“THAT’S WHY THE TOP CLUBS WERE ALL AFTER ME” It is 1 March 2013. The 17.17 race at Monmore Green. Ballymac Clara explodes out of trap six like a dog possessed. By the first turn she is already placed second as the rest of the pack instinctively chases the electric hare zipping around the track. Bred from a champion stud, Ballymac is a young white bitch with distinctive black markings, and she thunders around the outside, ears pinned back, eyes bulging. This is her first major race, and expectations are high. On the final bend, she is ahead and romps home by an astonishing six and a quarter lengths, running 480 feet in just under 29 seconds. “Get in!” Joey Beauchamp, 42, yells at a television in a deserted Oxford betting shop as the handsome dog crosses the finish line. “It was only a small bet, but she won easy,” he says with delight. “I had 40 quid on her.” Beauchamp is no longer the lithe 23-year-old in the photographs he often parades on his BlackBerry. There, on the tiny screen, he wears the claret and blue of West Ham and is volleying a ball goal-bound. The picture in question is from the Oxford City match of 27 July 1994. “Darren Anderton went to Tottenham for a million quid at the same time I moved to West Ham,” Beauchamp says as he steps out into the street, clutching his scant winnings. “We were similar players. There was no real left-footed wingers in England before David Beckham; I was at the peak of my game. That’s why the top clubs were all after me.” His breath, visible in the cold air, disappears high into the night sky. “We honestly thought we had a serious talent on our hands in Joey,” recalls Mark Edwards, chief sports reporter at the Oxford Times. “The Oxford manager at the time said, ‘Joey could play for England.’ At the top of his game, no player could live with him on the left wing, he was that fast.” Beauchamp, the million-pound boy wonder, made his West Ham debut in front of a crowd of local admirers, friends and family at Oxford City’s ground. “But unfortunately,” he sighs, “everyone remembers the game for a completely different reason…”

“I ASKED HIM, WHAT SIZE BOOTS ARE YOU, SON?” Chunk, Bazza, Steve and Steve’s wife were sitting by a fence with the travelling West Ham fans when Redknapp emerged from the dressing room and greeted them. “Harry being Harry, he talks to people,” says Davies. “He said hello and all that. A few fans exchanged pleasantries. But there’s no airs and graces with Harry.” The first half kicked off like almost every other of the hundreds of West Ham games Steve had watched in his life, over the thousands of miles he’d travelled as a disciple of West Ham. “Lee Chapman was up front for us, on the edge of the area, and he went up against a little guy from Oxford,” recounts Steve. “Lee towered over him, but came down on his arse!” Steve was 70

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I WAS RUNNING OUT OF PLAYERS. THEN WE GOT ANOTHER INJURY, SO I SAID TO THIS GUY IN THE CROWD, ‘OI, CAN YOU PLAY AS GOOD AS YOU TALK?’ enraged. “Come on, you donkey, Chapman, you’re useless! Get up, you fat lump of lard!” he screamed at the striker. “If you’re watching your team and someone does something really daft, you won’t leave them alone for a couple of minutes,” explains Steve. “I think Chapman lost the ball again, he was tackled and got a cut on his shin. He went down, and I was shouting, ‘Come on! Get up, you donkey!’” Chapman was being hit hard by Oxford’s defenders. “He kept getting whacked, and I gave him crap for that,” adds Steve. Harry Redknapp delights in telling this particular yarn. Last time he shared the story it was on the TV show A League of Their Own, at Christmas last year. “There’s a guy next to the dug-out,” Harry told the host. “He’s got West Ham tattooed all over his arms and neck, he’s got the earrings… After two minutes, he started on me...” I thus knew, speaking to Harry at QPR’s Imperial College Sports Ground in Harlington, he’d have no problem slipping seamlessly into storytelling mode, and I wasn’t disappointed! “‘We ain’t got that Lee Chapman up front do we? I ain’t coming every week if he’s playing,’” giggles Harry, doing his best impression of Steve. “Half-time I made five substitutions, and we only had the bare 11 out – I was


TOP 20 ‘ARRY QUOTES 1 On signing pretty boy “Portugeezer” winger Dani... My missus fancies him. Even I don’t know whether to play him or f*ck him! 2 On West Ham striker John Hartson... John Hartson’s got more previous than Jack the Ripper! Davies was the first ever fan to be plucked from the stands and fielded in a football match

3 On West Ham’s Ivory Coast striker Samassi Abou... He don’t speak the English too good. 4 And there’s more... The lad Abou went home to the Ivory Coast and got a bit of food poisoning. He must have eaten a dodgy missionary or something. 5 On tactics... I sorted out the team formation last night lying in bed with the wife. When your husband’s as ugly as me, you’d only want to talk football in bed. 6 On a training ground bust-up between West Ham’s Alvin Martin and Matthew Rush... I’ve seen better fights at a wedding. 7 On West Ham’s UEFA Cup chances... Where are we in relation to Europe? Not too far from Dover. 8 On his time as a West Ham winger in the sixties... Even when we had Moore, Hurst and Peters, West Ham’s average finish was about 17th. This just shows how crap the other eight of us were! 9 On over-priced, under-performing foreign signings... With the foreigners it’s more difficult. Most of them don’t even bother with the golf, they don’t want to go racing. They don’t even drink.

running out of players players. Then we got another injury, so I said to this guy in the crowd, ‘Oi, can you play as good as you talk?’” The rest of the tale is hallowed football folklore. “I slung a leg over the barrier and Harry walked me down the tunnel,” says Steve. “What’s your name, son?” Redknapp asked, sizing up this apparent hooligan. “I couldn’t believe it. Inside the dressing room, the players were sat down resting at half-time.” West Ham were 2-0 up, but the team was carrying injuries. “Then Harry says, ‘Lee you’re off; Steve you’re on.’” Chapman, shirtless, just nodded. “I asked him, what size boots are you, son?” Redknapp recalls. Our kit manager then brought Steve a uniform. “Alvin Martin was sat next to me, and as I stood up, he smacked me on the back of the head, like a little livener,” says Davies. “We come on up the tunnel

10 On the danger of signing players from videos... I tape over most of them with Corrie or Neighbours. Most of them are crap. They can f*cking make anyone look good. I signed Marco Boogers off a video. He was a good player but a nutter. They didn’t show that on the video. 11 On missing out on the signing of a global superstar he had on trial at Upton Park... Andrei Shevchenko didn’t pull up any trees. 12 On Southampton (and now Stoke) striker Kenwyne Jones... He took a knock on his ankle but we played him some Bob Marley reggae music and he was fine!

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Oxford City, managed by former Oxford United defender Mike Ford, finished 10th in Conference North last season

and I still thought Harry was having a laugh with me. I didn’t think I was actually gonna get on, or I thought I might get a minute or two as a joke.” The crowd broke into applause as the teams appeared once again, and the second half soon kicked off with a shrill whistle. “I didn’t come out of Oxford’s half,” laughs Steve. “I was playing up front with Trevor Morley, goal-hanging! It was f*cking quick football. This was a step up from Sunday league, to say the least. Oxford play Saturday football – I played Sunday football, pub football. “I got a few touches, including a pass from Alvin Martin; I remember he called out my name in his Scouse accent. I was blown away. ‘Stevie!’ he shouted, and he sent the ball pinging to my feet. It had such pace on it, nearly knocked me over.” Steve concedes he was out of his depth, trying to keep up with international players and fighting the urge to steal a glance over to the stands where his wife, Bazza and Chunk were watching in disbelief. “I didn’t get any shots on target because I never got a moment’s peace. This wasn’t like park football. The defenders just didn’t leave you alone.” When the stadium announcer saw Steve take to the field, he sent an assistant down to get the name of this new signing so he could announce it to the crowd. “I said to the guy, ‘You not been watching the World Cup?’” Redknapp tells me. “That’s the great Bulgarian Tittyshev?” “It didn’t feel natural at all – that’s what people always ask,” says Steve. “I was just trying to stay calm. After the first five minutes, my legs were shaking; I was playing for West Ham! After that, I tried to get on with things. I was running on adrenaline, and was so worried about f*cking up. I played a safe game, made a couple of passes hooking up with the 72

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centre-half, Martin” – who, Steve says, was “solid as a rock” – “and Beauchamp, who was hot property at the time.” In fact, Beauchamp scored a cracking goal in the 65th minute, a top-corner screamer, which was sadly ruled offside. “From my point of view there was one clear highlight,” recalls Davies. “All of a sudden we were on the attack. The ball went out wide – I’m sure it was Matty Holmes on the wing – and we pushed forward. I had two defenders in front of me and I was just sprinting forward...” Steve didn’t purposely split the defenders, but neither was marking him too tightly, and he just flew forward, fast out of the traps. He picked up the ball from Holmes, and a clumsy first touch took him and the ball into the penalty area. Suddenly, thousands of eyes fell upon him as he escaped the pack. He was, for a moment, an image from a poster on the wall of his childhood bedroom.

THE LEGEND OF STEVE DAVIES, THE COURIER FROM MILTON KEYNES In the history of professional football, no supporter had ever emerged from the terraces to represent their team. That’s not to say fans have never influenced a sporting result. Jeffrey Maier was a 12-year-old American baseball fan who became famous when he deflected a batted ball in play into the Yankee Stadium stands during Game One of the 1996 American League Championship Series between New York and the Baltimore Orioles. Meanwhile, there’s footage of Fernanda Maia, a quick-thinking Brazilian ball-girl, setting up a goal with a deft pass to a Botafogo player in the Campeonato Carioca final between Botafogo and Vasco da


I GOT A FEW TOUCHES, INCLUDING A PASS FROM ALVIN MARTIN; I REMEMBER HE CALLED OUT MY NAME IN HIS SCOUSE ACCENT. I WAS BLOWN AWAY. ‘STEVIE!’ HE SHOUTED, AND HE SENT THE BALL PINGING TO MY FEET. IT HAD SUCH PACE ON IT, NEARLY KNOCKED ME OVER. Gama. The closest story to Davies’, though, is that of music fan Scot Halpin, who became a rock ‘n’ roll legend when he attended the Who’s sold-out show at San Francisco’s Cow Palace in November 1973. The 19-year-old rock nut, then living in Monterey, California, bought a pair of scalped tickets for the show. When drummer Keith Moon collapsed for a second time due to drink and drugs, Halpin was invited to the stage and filled in for an entire set, drumming with his heroes. But what happened that night at Court Place Farm in the 71st minute was even more remarkable. It made a legend of Davies, the unassuming courier from Milton Keynes. Sadly, Steve’s magical moment occurred before camera phones and YouTube. Almost every West Ham fan can tell you his story, yet there exists little evidence of what exactly happened. I first tried to find the truth 10 years ago, but in the dusty archives of the Oxford Mail, my first port of call, the brown envelope that should hold the match reports from 1994 is empty. I then wrote letters to some 200 people named Steven Davies in East London and placed an advert in a West Ham fanzine that read: “Are you Harry’s fan?” No one replied. Eventually, I found documentation of the game in London, hidden in the bowels of the British Library on microfilm that one must request access to a week in advance. There, you can trawl through ancient issues of British tabloid newspapers. Turn a lever and English news of the 1990s plays out like a primitive phenakistoscope of tabloid scandal and kiss-and-tells. Margaret Thatcher grimaces; topless models, with hair in perms and lips painted red, flash their wares. I also contacted Steve Bacon, West Ham’s loyal photographer, who had to hunt through years of negatives to find Steve’s moment of fame. The correct Steve Davies finally came forward when a house fire destroyed his precious memorabilia in 2011. Searching an Oxford City online forum for evidence of that day, he found my appeal, from many years before, for him to speak about the game. Three months later, in freezing March, I flew over from Los Angeles, where I now live, to Oxford. On an icy field, Steve nervously re-creates what happened. He takes me to the corner of the pitch where he watched the first half of the game, and where Harry called him out. Steve was the loudest voice in the crowd – the only supporter passionate enough to be noticed in the stands at a pre-season game. And then he talks me through what happened in the 71st minute. Half an hour previously, he had been sucking on a cigarette in the away supporters’ end, swigging from a bottle and considering a third beer. Now he’s taken the pass in stride and is in front of goal; Oxford City’s veteran keeper Colin Fleet is bearing down on him, palms out, head down. The summer sun has dropped low beneath the bare trees on the horizon, painting the entire scene gold and casting long shadows. “I just hit it,” he says with a shrug. “I hit it like nothing else. Know what I mean? I belted it.” The ball whistled low, past the outstretched hand of the keeper, and ran into the bottom corner of the goal. Steve says he wheeled away in celebration, arms extended, head bent with disbelief. On the side of the

13 On wayward Tottenham striker Darren Bent... You will never get a better chance to win a match than that. My missus could have scored that one. 14 On even more wayward Portsmouth striker Benjani... After shooting practice yesterday, I had to drive up the M27 and collect four balls. 15 On Iain Dowie... By the look of him he must have headed a lot of balls. 16 On referee Steve Tanner... I never walk in after games and complain about a referee but this guy is scary. 17 On Arsenal being reduced to 10 men against Southampton... Van Persie obviously thought ‘Why take the piss out of poor old Southampton? I’ll get sent off and make a game of it’.” 18 On England’s 2010 World Cup campaign... The future for England looks a bit scary to me. No one should kid themselves England are overloaded with fantastic talent coming through. They’re not. 19 On dodgy players... The sad part is that the ones who do well want to go, but you can’t move the ones who are useless. 20 On being a wheeler and dealer... No, I’m not a wheeler and dealer. F*ck off! I’m not a wheeler and f*cking dealer. Don’t even say that. I’m a f*cking football manager! field, Redknapp turned around and looked briefly to the heavens. “It was like time stopped still – it was the greatest moment of my life,” admits Davies. Somewhere in the crowd, Bazza and Chunk were losing their minds. Steve Davies had scored on his West Ham debut! “After that, I was exhausted. I was on 30 cigarettes a day back then,” he adds. “I wouldn’t condone it. I had a couple of smokes and a few beers in the first half, didn’t I?” He admits his goal was not spectacular: “I’m not gonna butter myself up, but they all count.” And when the full-time whistle blew, West Ham had won 4–0. Steve strolled down the tunnel with the rest of his teammates, jubilant. Then, as suddenly as it began, the fairytale was over. The kit manager wouldn’t let Steve keep his No.3 shirt – they’d need it against Newcastle the following week in the Premier League. And 25 minutes later, he was back in the Cavalier with Chunk, Bazza and his missus, stuck in traffic on the road back to reality. OCTOBER 2013

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AN ALLEGORY FOR HOPE In the Magdalen Arms, Oxford, the waiter drops two plates of battered haddock in front of us. “What’s this?” Steve says, prodding the massive fish. “A whale?” It’s nearly 20 years since that game, and the former West Ham striker still has his head shaved. He has been divorced and remarried. His new wife, Tammy, thinks that to strangers her husband might look “a bit psychotic,” which his friends find amusing. He has a dry wit and disarming sense of humour. After modestly recounting his brief but spectacular playing career, he asks me: “After all this time, why did you keep chasing me?” I explain that his story is an allegory for hope. That game against Oxford City happened to be the last time Beauchamp ever played for West Ham. Citing homesickness, he left the club after just 56 days. The Hammers had paid more than £1 million for his services, and in one of his only appearances he had been outplayed by a

£300-a-week courier from the crowd. He was transferred to Oxford United’s rivals Swindon, infuriating his home team’s fans, before returning to Oxford in 1995. He played 238 more games for his local side before his career fizzled out. In 2010, Joey told the Oxford Mail that he had never wanted to join West Ham in the first place: “Oxford made it very clear they would go bust if I didn’t move; they had no money. What was I supposed to do? I could never have lived with myself if I rejected West Ham and Oxford went under.” Was the real reason Beauchamp ended up representing his hated rival, Swindon, a secret plot to save the club he dreamed of playing for as a child? If it was, the fans haven’t yet realised it: “I still get abused by Oxford fans to this day about playing for Swindon,” he told the Oxford Mail soon after being arrested for drunk driving. But Beauchamp fought back and this year took his first real job after attending a seminar for unemployed former soccer players: he works in a betting shop. “I’m playing football tomorrow, actually,” he tells me. “I’m turning out for a local pub team called Northway. I’ve got 36 goals this season. I’m their top scorer!”

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT…

Injury somewhat cut short Beauchamp’s career in 2002, but he still makes the occasional cameo for Blechingdon Reserves

The week after Harry Redknapp took the audacious step of putting a West Ham fan on the field, the club promoted him from assistant manager to manager. It is not known if the two events were related. By 1999, he had pushed the Irons to their second-highest finish: fifth place in the Premiership, qualifying to play in Europe. Spells at Southampton and Portsmouth followed, and Harry even took the latter to their first FA Cup final in 69 years in May 2008. Portsmouth won 1-0. He led Tottenham Hotspur to the Champions League, becoming Premier League Manager of the Year. Last season, he was in charge of Queen’s Park Rangers, but he couldn’t save them from relegation to the Championship. Speaking from his Range Rover (a familiar interview venue), at the end of a stressful season, Redknapp is driving toward his vacation spot on the English coast. “I was hoping he could play good,” he tells me. “I wasn’t trying to make him look silly. I thought I’d make his day. I could see he loved West Ham. He’ll never forget it as long as he lives. He came on, ran around, loved it, scored a goal. He played for his favourite team!” After his West Ham debut, Steve returned to his normal life, but with a new outlook. Back in the smoke-filled pubs for the West Ham games, he was now Steve Davies, the legendary fan who came from the crowd to score for West Ham. In the Boleyn pub, he would joke about his “long and distinguished career”. But at work, something had changed. He plucked up the courage to strike out on his own, launching a courier company. “I kept the business small,” he says. “I done all right out of it, I suppose. I had three drivers, all earning decent money.” As we finish our fish supper, Steve, who still follows West Ham home and away, presses a final cigarette into the ashtray and tells me he has a small confession to make. He runs a hand over his shaved head, visibly embarrassed, and announces, “My goal was disallowed.” He smiles roguishly. “I was two yards offside. I ran up to the ref and told him, ‘You bastard, you spoiled my dream!’” WITH SPECIAL THANKS TO...

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D E G N A R ER V O R ORT SP

uring a lobster lunch at the international press launch for the new 2014 Range Rover Sport in the United Kingdom, the happy chappy from Land Rover proclaimed: “You’ve driven on motorways, in a restricted military test zone, blasted through a gravel track, taken in fast and tight B-roads, negotiated mud and bogs, cut across rivers and been put through extreme acceleration and braking tests. But now it’s time for the ultimate challenge – to drive our car through the fuselage of a Boeing 747!” “Whattt???” I responded, spitting out my food. Yet this was no practical joke. As quickly as you can say ‘indigestion’, we were ferried to Cotswold Airport in Gloucestershire, where Land Rover had bought and converted an old Boeing 747 into a 4x4 obstacle course. Driving up a ramp at the back we manoeuvred into the tight fuselage,

EVER WONDERED WHAT IT’S LIKE TO DRIVE A $50K LUXURY SUV THROUGH THE BELLY OF A JUMBO JET? FINDS OUT!

Shahzad Sheikh

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which was set up with angled ramps. Once inside, Land Rover has crafted a pretty challenging (and extremely quirky) little course designed to test the rock crawl mode of the Range Rover Sport’s Terrain Response 2 – a patented system which allows drivers to switch between several modes to optimise performance on a variety of surfaces. The first thing you notice when driving a large SUV into an airplane is just how tight the margin for error actually is, and Land Rover didn’t help matters by parking an old school Defender right inside the cargo doors. There was an off-camber ramp to help you navigate around this irksome car-troll. Next came a set of uneven ramps intended to test the Ranger Rover’s 4WD technology, before a chilling climb (the kind those drop-down oxygen masks are intended for) into the 747’s upper deck, where I got a quick glance of the pilot’s cockpit. To finish, the Range Rover’s Hill Descent System was employed to exit down a steep decline, fortunately without a crash-landing. So why did Range Rover bother with this elaborate 747 stunt? Well, it wasn’t just some cheesy declaration that the 2014 Range Rover Sport is ‘ready for take-off’. It was to prove, beyond doubt, that the vehicle is the perfectly 78

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evolved love-child of a sports car and an off-roader – the ultimate utility vehicle. The Sport, as my trip to the UK revealed, is capable of conquering the Welsh hills or mud baths of Hertfordshire, and can do so at frightening speeds. At face value, the car looks like a bogstandard Range Rover, yet 75 percent of its parts are unique to the Sport. It’s 149mm shorter and 55mm lower than its big brother and weighs about 45kg less. It also has a powered foldaway third row of seats, ideal for large families, and a lever instead of the Jaguar-style knob to shift gears. In addition, the Sport is 420kg lighter than the 2013 model, thanks to its new aluminium architecture. At 4,850mm, it is 62mm longer too, yet that’s still considerably shorter than most seven-seat SUVs. The greater interior space results in 24mm of extra knee room in the back. With off-roading firmly in mind, the 2014 Sport also has shorter overhangs at the front and rear, giving it better approach and departure angles. And staying true to its rough and ready heritage, it boasts an incredible level of wheel-movement and articulation. You would expect the car to be a serious off-road machine, yet this is also the fastest Land

The car is the perfectly evolved love-child of a sports car and an off-roader – the ultimate utility vehicle.


20 2 014 014 4 RA AN NG GE E RO R OVE VER S SP P PO OR O RT Pric Pr icee:: Sppoortt 5.00 SC Dyna Dy nami am miics c : $11300k Sport Sp Spor orrt 55..0 SC SC Auuttoobbiooggrrapphhyy Dynnaami Dy am miicc:: $115552k 2k 2k EEnnggiine Engi ne: 5. 5.00-lilitr tre V8 V8 Suppeerc Su rcha harg rged ed, 55110b 100bbhp hp @6,000000-6 @6 -6650 500, 50 0, 460 60lbb ft 60lb @2,5 @2 ,500 000--5 -5,,550000rp -5,5 rpm TTrrannsm mis isssiion on: Eiigght on: h -sspeeed ed auto au to, fo fouurr-w wheeeell dririve rive ve Perffoorrma Pe manc nce: e: V8: 8: 0-1000k 00 ph ph in 55..3s 3s, 3s, 2 5k 22 5 pphh (25 250k 0kph 0k kpphh opt ptioona nal)), 14.77LL//10 14 100 Weigght We ht: 2,31 ht: 2,31 2, 310k 0kg kg

Rover ever. Granted, it couldn’t quite keep up with the Boeing 747 on the runway, but it is quick enough to give you that stomach-dropping sensation that it just might take off. The 5.0-litre V8 Supercharged engine produces 510bhp and propels the car from 0-100kph in just 5.3 seconds, making it a member (give or take 0.3s) of what I like to call the ‘five second SUV club’. If all that’s not enough, the Sport is rather easy on the eye. It’s sleeker than the larger Evoque and more elegant than the ‘Big Daddy’ Range Rover. Along with looks it also boasts street cred. The engine noise – which is deep and purposeful – reflects this. Once moving, the Sport lunges forward with the poise and energy of an athlete – a sensation hard to come to terms with when you consider the mass you’re actually piloting. You can leave the superb gearbox to do its own thing, knock it across to sport mode or, better still, work the paddles yourself. There’s never any shortage of torque, and if anything there is perhaps a little too much ‘oomph’ when off-roading. I discovered this first-hand whilst scrabbling through the kind of swamps only Shrek would feel content in! Even with everything dialled into mud mode, churning up loads of the foul stuff in the forest sections, it was far too easy to overdo it with the throttle. If you weren’t careful (and I wasn’t) you could get totally buried in slime. Once towelled off, and before tackling the 747 (which was an end-of-trip treat), I was also let loose on a gravel track. Kept in Dynamic mode, the Sport kicked its back around corners with glee, doing a very good impression of a rally car.

Back on the road, the electronic power steering could be a tad more feelsome, but it is faithful in accuracy and response and you find yourself diving harder and further into corners, and leaning more heavily on the excellent brakes than usual. Scrubbing off big speed is not a problem and piling it back on is simply a matter of burying the throttle and listening to that sucking sound as the world fuel reserves run dry! Obviously the Sport rules supreme on the motorway, and when you want to just kick back a bit, the multitude of driver aids, including adaptive cruise control, keep things moving while you bask in the glory of the 1,700W 23-speaker stereo in your 14-way adjustable seats, with little wind or road noise intrusion. Needless to say, this car is packed with all the toys you could wish for (including rear entertainment for kids). The latest Range Rover Sport really lives up to the ‘Sport’ part of its name. It was something of a chink in its armour before, because as good as previous models were, they always had to whimper off to the back of the car park whenever super-SUVs like the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, Mercedes ML63 AMG (and even the far more affordable Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8) pulled up. Now, the Sport can finally go fender to fender with each of these performance-wise. I have always maintained that if you’re going to buy a Range Rover, plunge for the proper manly version. However, the new Sport – which can at last not only keep up with a Cayenne, but leave it buried when it comes to the sticky stuff – has won me over. If you want a fast, stylish off-roading destroyer you would be ‘plane stupid’ not to buy one!

Shahzad Sheikh is editor of Motoring Middle East. For more information about his work go to motoringme.com or email him via shahzad@motoringme.com.

OCTOBER 2013

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CLASSIFIEDS

YOUR GUIDE TO SPORT IN THE MIDDLE EAST BASKETBALL MPAC SPORTS The UAE’s No.1 basketball academy Location: Abu Dhabi

+971 5 0142 9330 info@mpacsports.com mpacsports.com

Lithuania’s Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte and Aussie MacKenzie Horton won 12 medals between them at last month’s FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Dubai

BOXING HADDINS GYM Abu Dhabi’s premier fitness centre Location: Zayed Sports City

+971 5 0800 6492 info@haddins.com haddins.com LE MERIDIEN DUBAI Box on the beach Location: Garhoud

+971 4 702 2430 info@lemeridien-dubai.com lemeridien-dubai.com

CRICKET ICC GLOBAL CRICKET ACADEMY The place new Tendulkars are born Location: Dubai Sports City

+971 4 448 1355 iccgca@dxbsport.com iccglobalcricketacademy.com G FORCE CRICKET ACADEMY Grass roots cricket at its best Location: Karama

+971 4 396 9994 jasapara@emirates.net.ae gforcecricketacademy.com MAX TALENT Maximise your talent Location: Dubai Sports City

+971 4 283 1705 info@maxtalent.org maxtalent.org

FOOTBALL AL AHLI SPORTS CLUB Dubai’s top football club Location: Airport Road

+971 4 672 122 info@al-ahliclub.com al-ahliclub.com AL NASR LEISURELAND Appreciate the infinite pleasures of leisure Location: Karama

+971 4 337 1234 alnasrll@eim.ae alnasrll.com CARLTON PALMER ACADEMY First-class coaching by ex-pros Location: Nad Al Sheba

+971 5 0284 5061 kirkcpfa@gmail.com cp-fa.com

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DUBAI FOOTBALL ACADEMY A world-class training facility Location: Sports City

+971 4 425 1111 football@dxbsport.com footballacademydubai.com DUPLAYS Play sport. Be social Location: Dubai Media City

+971 5 5224 0187 info.dxb@duplays.com duplays.com

INSPORTZ Air-conditioned indoor sports facility Location: Al Quoz

+971 4 347 5833 insportz@eim.ae insportzclub.com

INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL ACADEMY UAE’s largest grass roots football family Location: Al Barsha

+971 4 454 1683 info@ifasport.com ifasport.com JEBEL ALI CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE The pitches the pros use Location: Jebel Ali

+971 4 883 0828 chris.brown@jaihotels.com jebelali-international.com MANCHESTER CITY SOCCER SCHOOL Are you the next Aguero? Location: Zayed Sports City

+971 5 610 9187 simon.hewitt@mcfc.co.uk mcfc.co.uk


+974 4 4960 7777 info@dohagolfclub.com dohagolfclub.com DUBAI CREEK GOLF & YACHT CLUB The wettest track in the UAE Location: Dubai Creek

+971 4 295 6000 info@dubaigolf.com dubaigolf.com MANCHESTER UNITED SOCCER SCHOOL Learn football the United way Location: Airport Road

+971 2 449 8480 muss@manutdsoccerschools.ae manutdsoccerschools.ae SOCCER CIRCUS The world’s first football-themed tourist attraction Location: Mirdif

+971 4 231 6275 info@soccercircus.com soccercircus.com

GOLF ABU DHABI CITY GOLF CLUB Boasts the UAE’s first two-tiered range Location: Al Mushrif

+971 2 445 9600 office@adcitygolf.ae adcitygolf.ae

THE ELS CLUB Els, Westwood and McIlroy all train here Location: Dubai Sports City

+971 4 425 1010 golf@elsclubdubai.com elsclubdubai.com EMIRATES GOLF CLUB Home of the Desert Classic since 1989 Location: Emirates Hills

+971 4 380 2222 info@dubaigolf.com dubaigolf.com JEBEL ALI GOLF RESORT & SPA Unique, affordable and enjoyable Location: Jebel Ali

+971 4 883 6000 jagrs@jaihotels.com jebelali-international.com

AL BADIA GOLF CLUB Golf with a festival atmosphere Location: Festival City

+971 4 601 0101 albadiagolf@ichdfc.ae albadiagolfclub.ae AL HAMRA GOLF CLUB Excellent value and an even better course Location: Ras Al Khaimah

+971 7 244 7474 info@alhamragolf.com alhamragolf.com ARABIAN RANCHES A true desert challenge Location: Emirates Road

+971 4 366 3000 golfacademy@arabianranchesgolf.ae arabianranchesgolfdubai.com DOHA GOLF CLUB Qatar’s hidden gem Location: Doha

THE WAVE MUSCAT A Greg Norman links course that is making waves Location: Muscat

+968 2 452 4649 info@thewavemuscat.com thewavemuscat.com TOWER LINKS The most underrated club in the UAE Location: Ras Al Khaimah

+971 7 227 8555 membership@towerlinks.com towerlinks.com YAS LINKS The UAE’s top track Location: Yas Island

+971 2 810 7777 info@yaslinks.com yaslinks.com

HORSE RIDING HOOFBEATZ Horses and humans in harmony Location: Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club

+971 5 0181 0401 info@hoofbeatz.com hoofbeatz.com

ABU DHABI GOLF CLUB Unleash the Tiger in you Location: Sas Al Nakhi

+971 2 558 8990 info@adgolfclub.com adgolfclub.com AL AIN EQUESTRIAN, SHOOTING & GOLF CLUB Shoot balls and bullets Location: Al Ain

+971 3 768 4888 info@aesgc.ae aesgc.ae

THE ADDRESS MONTGOMERIE Address your golf swing here Location: Emirates Hills

+971 4 390 5600 info@themontgomerie.ae themontgomerie.com

MARTIAL ARTS

JUMEIRAH GOLF ESTATES The Race to Dubai ends here Location: Dubai Sports City

+971 4 390 3333 info@jumeirahgolfestates.com jumeirahgolfestates.com ROYAL GOLF CLUB Bahrain’s premier golf destination Location: Riffa

+973 1 775 0777 golfevents@theroyalgolfclub.com theroyalgolfclub.com

SAADIYAT BEACH GOLF CLUB One of Gary Player’s finest creations Location: Saadiyat Island

+971 2 557 8000 info@sbgolfclub.ae sbgolfclub.ae SHARJAH GOLF & SHOOTING CLUB Where golf is never over-Sharjed Location: Sharjah

+971 6 548 7777 info@golfandshootingshj.com golfandshootingshj.com

DUBAI AIKIDO CLUB Live the Samurai dream Location: Al Wasl Road

+971 5 0795 2716 aikido.jr@gmail.com aikido.ae DUBAI LADIES CLUB Fight in a tranquil ambience Location: Jumeirah Beach

+971 4 349 9922 marhaba@dubailadiesclub.com dubailadiesclub.com

info@shotokanuae.com shotokanuae.com

MOTOR SPORTS FERRARI WORLD Ride the world’s fastest rollercoaster Location: Yas Island

+971 2 496 8001 sales@faraleisure.com ferrariworldabudhabi.com YAS MARINA CIRCUIT Home of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Location: Yas Island

+971 6 559 9999 customerservice@yasmarinacircuit.com yasmarinacircuit.com

POLO DUBAI POLO & EQUESTRIAN CLUB The place for camel polo Location: Dubai Studio City

+971 4 361 8111 info@poloclubdubai.com poloclubdubai.com DUBAI POLO ACADEMY Learn the world’s oldest team game Location: Arabian Ranches

+971 5 0887 9847 info@dubaipoloacademy.com dubaipoloacademy.com

RUGBY ARABIAN POTBELLIES True barbarian rugby in the Middle East Location: Jebel Ali

+971 5 6603 1989 francoscott@hotmail.com arabianpotbellies.com DUBAI EXILES An ‘exilent’ club Location: Al Ain Road

+971 5 0459 5693

MUAY THAI War on the shore Location: Sheikh Zayed Road

+971 5 5311 3503 info@muaythai.ae muaythai.ae ORIENTAL KARATE & KOBUDO CLUB Kicking ass since 1987 Location: Airport Road

+971 2 445 7375 karate@emirates.net.ae orientalkarate.com SHOTOKAN KARATE UAE’s first Japanese sports centre Location: Sharjah

+971 6 554 6160

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SPORTS CALENDAR 6 OCT, FORMULA ONE: KOREAN GRAND PRIX

27 OCT, FORMULA ONE: INDIAN GRAND PRIX

6 OCT, RACING: PRIX DE L’ARC DE TRIOMPHE, LONGCHAMP

28 OCT-3 NOV, TENNIS: PARIS MASTERS

7-13 OCT, TENNIS: SHANGHAI MASTERS

29 OCT, BASKETBALL: NBA SEASON STARTS

12 OCT, RACING: FUTURE CHAMPIONS DAY, NEWMARKET

31 OCT-2 NOV, CRICKET: WESTERN AUSTRALIA V ENGLAND, PERTH

13 OCT, FORMULA ONE: JAPANESE GRAND PRIX

31 OCT-3 NOV, GOLF: WGC HSBC CHAMPIONS, SHANGHAI

17-18 OCT, SWIMMING: FINA WORLD CUP, DUBAI

2 NOV, RUGBY: ENGLAND V AUSTRALIA, TWICKENHAM

20-21 OCT, SWIMMING: FINA WORLD CUP, DOHA

3 NOV, FORMULA ONE: ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX

22-27 OCT, TENNIS: WTA CHAMPIONSHIPS, ISTANBUL

3 NOV, ATHLETICS: NEW YORK MARATHON

24-27 OCT, GOLF: BMW MASTERS, SHANGHAI

4-11 NOV, TENNIS: ATP WORLD TOUR FINALS, LONDON

26 OCT-30 NOV, RUGBY: RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD CUP

6-9 NOV, CRICKET: AUSTRALIA A V ENGLAND, HOBART

chairman@dubaiexiles.com dubaiexiles.com DUBAI FROGS ‘Oui nide iou’ Location: Umm Nahad

+ 971 5 0452 9596 im@aen90.com dubai-frogs.com DUBAI HURRICANES Cooking up a rugby storm Location: Al Ain Road

+971 5 0578 1479 hurricanepauly@hotmail.com dubaihurricanes.com JEBEL ALI DRAGONS Play with fire Location: Jebel Ali

+971 5 0657 9827 woodtj@emirates.net.ae jebelalidragonsrfc.com SHARJAH WANDERERS Over 700 active members Location: Sharjah

+971 6 566 2105 swsc@eim.ae sharjahwanderers.com

SAILING ABU DHABI INTERNATIONAL SAILING CLUB A cosmopolitan sailing experience Location: Abu Dhabi Corniche

+971 2 681 5566 sailing@adimsc.com adimsc.com ABU DHABI SAILING CLUB Your home from home Location: Meena Zayed

+971 2 673 1111 info@the-club.com the-club.com

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DUBAI OFFSHORE SAILING CLUB Internationally acclaimed sailing club Location: Umm Suqeim 1

+971 4 394 1669 administration@doscuae.com dosc.ae

SWIMMING AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL SWIM SCHOOLS Get an aquatic education Location: Fairmont Dubai

+971 4 386 5718 swim@aiss.ae aiswimschools.com

CLUB JOUMANA Caroline Wozniacki sometimes swings by Location: Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa

+971 4 814 5555 jagrs@jaihotels.com jebelali-international.com THE RITZ-CARLTON DUBAI BEACH CLUB Tennis in a five-star environment Location: Ritz Carlton Dubai

+971 4 399 4000 dxbrz.leads@ritzcarlton.com ritzcarlton.com

WATERSPORTS

HAMILTON AQUATICS Learn to swim Location: Jumeirah

+971 5 0250 5216 info@hamiltonaquatics.ae hamiltonaquatics.ae MUSHRIF PARK Dubai’s largest, oldest park Location: Mirdif

+971 4 288 3624 info@mushrifcentralpark.ae mushrifcentralpark.ae STA AL WASL SWIMMING ACADEMY Become a stronger swimmer Location: Al Wasl Club

+971 4 446 7400 swimming@vipeduc.com vipeduc.com

TENNIS CLARK FRANCIS TENNIS An ace academy Location: Garhoud

+971 5 6719 7042 tennis@clarkfrancistennis.com clarkfrancistennis.com

AL BOOM DIVING Leading dive operator in the UAE Location: Al Aqah Beach Resort

+971 4 342 2993 abdiving@emirates.net.ae alboomdiving.com CLUB MINA 500m private beach and club Location: Le Meridien Mina Seyahi

+971 4 399 3333 club@lemeridien-minaseyahi.com lemeridien-minaseyahi.com DUBAI AQUARIUM An underwater zoo Location: Dubai Mall

+971 4 448 5200 enquiries@thedubaiaquarium.com thedubaiaquarium.com DUBAI WATER SPORT ACADEMY Try your hand at some of Dubai’s

wackier water sports Location: Dubai Marina

+971 5 0478 0114 info@bristol-middleeast.com bristol-holding.com EASY DIVERS EMIRATES Enjoy an underwater adventure Location: Emirates Hills

+971 4 447 2247 info@easydiversemirates.com easydiversemirates.com EMIRATES DIVING ASSOCIATION Inspiring people to care about our oceans since 1995 Location: Dubai Creek

+971 4 393 9390 diving@emiratesdiving.com emiratesdiving.com GLOBAL SCUBA DIVE Go on a diving break to Oman Location: Oman

+968 2 469 2346 enquiries@global-scuba.com global-scuba.com MONTY’S ROWING SCHOOL Getting fit is just a stroke away Location: Al Boom Tourist Village

+971 5 0738 0910 details@montysrowingschool.com montysrowingschool.com NAUTICA 1992 Fish, windsurf, paraglide and kayak Location: Mina Siyahi Beach

+971 5 0426 2415 info@nautica1992.ae nautica1992.ae 7 SEAS DIVERS UAE’s oldest dive centre Location: Khor Fakkan

+971 9 238 7400 bestdive@emirates.net.ae 7seasdivers.com



EXCLUSIVE: CHAD LE CLOS COLUMN: ANDREW STRAUSS TUITION: WAYNE ROONEY AED 15

FOR THE SPORTING CONNOISSEUR

Issue 12 October 2013 mesportstalk.com

FIVE-TIME NBA CHAMPION KOBE BRYANT PLANS TO SLITHER ON INTO HIS FORTIES

PLUS IS GARETH BALE WORTH £85M? HOW JOOST VAN DER WESTHUIZEN IS TACKLING DEATH THE DAY HARRY REDKNAPP FIELDED A FAN

PUBLICATION LICENSED BY IMPZ

ISSUE 12 t OCTOBER 2013 t mesportstalk.com

BLACK MAMBA


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