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Saturday 17th December 2011 Grease is the Word Tribute Show & Disco - £45.00 per person Wednesday 21st December 2011 Michael Jackson Tribute Show & Disco - £39.00 per person Thursday 22nd December 2011 90’s/00’s Night with Disco - £39.00 per person (Later Dinner Time of 9:00pm)
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Editor’sComment As you will have seen, Leicestershire County Cricket Club’s glorious t20 success has taken centre stage on our front cover and rightly so. In what was a heroic display for the whole team and the perfect send-off for departing legend, Paul Nixon, the Foxes claimed their first major trophy for five years, and usurped the headline shaping and making, Alastair Campbell, from page one of our publication. Our in-depth interviews with both Campbell and ‘Nico’ are well worth a read. As the celebrations die down from the County’s achievements, the autumn/ winter sporting season is back underway. With supporters of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers both brimming with enthusiasm and expectation, it was always going to be difficult for the players to realise the dreams of so many, so quickly. It will take time for both clubs to find the right blend this season. New arrivals at both King Power Stadium and Welford Road will need to settle, including City skipper Matt Mills and Tigers’ Mathew Tait, who reveal the decisions behind their moves. Many of Tigers’ finest are currently on the other side of the globe ready for World Cup action and we have gathered a panel of experts to preview the tournament. The inspirational Tanni Grey-Thompson features as this issue’s ICON, with the glamour provided by high-jumping model Steph Pywell and the grit by boxing star Rendall Munroe. We also catch up with Leicester’s singing/songwriting sensation, Jersey Budd, ahead of his highly anticipated second album and talk politics with Leicester’s Lord Mayor, Rob Wann. Issue 14 provides a chance to look back on recent glory and the careers of some legendary performers, as well as looking forward with keen anticipation to what will hopefully be a winter of great content for all of our sports clubs. Enjoy the read and enjoy the drama in the months ahead. Editor’s Comment in association with:
Lineup Soar Sport 08 Matt Mills 12 Jonny Walton 14 Paul Nixon 18 Leicester Monarchs 20 Mathew Tait 24 Rugby World Cup Preview 28 ICON: Tanni Grey-Thompson
30 Rendall Munroe 36 Anne Panter 40 Special Olympics Gymnastics 42 Steph Pywell Soar Health 49 Dean Hodgkin 54 Marc Sagal 56 NHS Stop! Smoking 58 SAQ® International Soar Lifestyle 66 InPictures: Leicestershire’s t20 Celebrations
68 Leicester’s Lord Mayor 72 Jersey Budd 76 SoarPoint: Alastair Campbell
Jon Reeves, Editor
Soar Magazine is produced by Soar Media Ltd Phoenix Square, Midland Street, Leicester LE1 1TG T: 0116 242 2851 E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.soarmagazine.co.uk Managing Editors: Dean Eldredge & Gary Webster Editor: Jon Reeves Design: Lewis Healey Advertising: Soar Media, 0116 242 2851 Photos: Soar Photo & PA Photos
Thanks: April Alcott, Chris Bramley, Jersey Budd, Will Burns, Alastair Campbell, Martin Crowson, Hayley Ellson, Celia Fisher, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Julie Gundry, Yvonne Haynes, Dean Hodgkin, Steve Humphries, James Hunt, Carl Jarvis, Tim Jarvis, Mikey Johns, Barry Lamble, Mark Laywood, Maureen Loughran, Matt Mills, Rendall Munroe, Kauko Nieminen, Paul Nixon, Anne Panter, Alan Pearson, Aimee Preston, Steph Pywell, Louise Ross, Marc Sagal, Hardip Singh, Mark Smithson, Mathew Tait, Nick Taylor, Jonny Walton, Rob Wann. The copyright of all material is owned by Soar Media Ltd and may not be reproduced or published without prior consent. Soar Media Ltd take no responsibility for the claims made by advertisers, nor all of the views expressed by contributors.
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Paul Nixon bows out in style as Leicestershire County Cricket Club win the t20 tournament at Edgbaston.
TAKING THE NEXT STEP After joining Leicester City in a big money deal in July, being appointed club captain within weeks and the almost instant comparisons to club legend Steve Walsh, Matt Mills is becoming accustomed to dealing with pressure and expectation. www.soarmagazine.co.uk
Still only 25-years-old, the dominant centreback has already played for eight clubs, including a period in the Premier League with Manchester City and successful spells with Doncaster Rovers and Reading. Linked with a return to the top flight throughout the summer, Mills took the decision to join Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Leicester City revolution for the next step of his career. It hasn’t all been plain sailing for Mills or the Foxes in the opening weeks of the season, but there are signs that the determined defender and his new team-mates are finding their feet and improving with every game.
for the next part of my career. The manager was obviously a big influence because, first and foremost, you’ve got to feel wanted and that was certainly the vibe I was getting from the manager and the club as a whole. Was it hard to leave Reading? It was a tough decision. I had a fantastic time at Reading. I’ve taken a lot of flack from the Reading fans but, at the end of the day, I had to do what was right for me and my future. My little brother has just signed there and I was delighted because he’s at a club where he will progress. They’ve got everything in place there to develop and get the best out of players.
It must’ve been a big boost to have been given the Leicester City captaincy, but does it bring extra pressure? The manager has given me the armband, but on a matchday everybody performs to the best that they can. Armband or no armband, I will always give my best. Sometimes, some people won’t be happy with that but all you can do is your best and be true to yourself. That’s the way I am and that’s the way I play. You have to play your own game and not try too hard at times. My first home league game against Reading was a classic example of that. When it’s against your old
Soar Magazine caught up with Mills to discuss his career to date, what brought him to King Power Stadium and dealing with the weight of anticipation surrounding the club. Firstly Matt, how are you settling into life at Leicester City? It’s always difficult when you move because you are moving out of a comfort zone and an area and a team that you’re used to, but that’s the challenge that I wanted. I feel the longer I’m here, the more I’m bedding in. We’re learning how the manager wants us to play and we’re learning each other’s game and that always takes time. I think the performances have certainly been improving and that’s encouraging, but it’s still early days. What was the thinking behind signing for Leicester? Was it true that some Premier League clubs were interest? There were offers from the Premier League but I felt that with what the club are trying to do - the owners’ ambitions, the facilities and the fan base - this is the perfect step
“This is the perfect step for the next part of my career.”
“There’s always that bedding in period and I feel like I’m coming to the end of that.” club you sometimes feel that you need to do more or try harder and that can actually hamper you. After being dropped for the Bristol City game I made a conscious decision to play my way and play my game. There are obviously huge expectations on the players this season, how do you deal with that? It’s been a strange one really. The expectation is understandable because we’ve spent money in the transfer window but I can’t understand or legislate for people not supporting the team. We need to be a unit on and off the pitch. I understand, I’ve been a fan and been frustrated watching England and things like that, but you’ve got to look at the bigger picture. We’re not in a knockout tournament, we are in a 46 game league season and there’s a long way to go. At Reading last season we were twelfth at Christmas and ended up finishing fifth and could’ve easily gone up, so there is a lot of football to be played.
The back five is made up of five players that haven’t played together before. I imagine it will take time to build an understanding? I feel like we’re getting stronger as a back five by the week, not only in games but in training. I feel the manager is getting across the way in which he wants to play. We’re learning about each other and learning a style of football, and I feel that’s getting better every day. You started your career at Southampton before a big move to Manchester City, what did you learn from your time in Manchester? It was a great experience. For a 19-year-old lad to move so far away from his family and friends and to be thrust into a Premier League squad is daunting, but it’s an experience I’ve learnt from. I’m a better player and a better person and it was fantastic to make my Premier League debut and be involved in a lot of games at a big club. The club was at a crossroads of whether it was going to stick with the squad and I was going to get my chance, or they were going to get bought out and the money would come in. Obviously the latter has happened and I moved on.
Which coaches have had the biggest influence on your career so far? The grounding I had at Southampton under Andy Ritchie and a French coach called George Prost was invaluable. I’d say Sean O’Driscoll at Doncaster was a key figure in my development, giving me games at 18 at Bournemouth and then taking me to Doncaster and really making me a focal point of a team that got promoted, that was a great time. Brian McDermott at Reading is an absolutely fantastic manager and a fantastic person and someone who I’m sure I will stay very close to and will do very well. You were born in Leicester before moving away, what have you made of the city as a place to live? I’ve moved to the area but my family aren’t here any more and whenever you move to a new area and you don’t know people, it’s difficult. The amount of games that we’ve had at the start of the season has been fantastic for me. Not only because I’m playing, but it’s kept me busy. There’s always that bedding in period and I feel like I’m coming to the end of that. Finally Matt, what are your main ambitions in the game? I set my goals four or five years ago and I know I’m on course and I’ve been ticking the boxes. I’ve learnt in the past not to voice my ambitions and I like to keep that in-house, but I’m very driven and I know where I want to go.
A man prepared to walk the walk rather than talk the talk, whose measured and mature demeanour off the pitch is in contrast with his all-action and passionate displays on it, Matt Mills is sure to be crucial to Leicester City’s hopes of reaching the Premier League.
A Christmas Spectacular at Leicester City Football Club Book now for our enchanting 2011 Christmas Parties Packages Include: Moroccan Theme, Three Course Festive Meal including ½ bottle of wine per person, Entertainment & Arabian Activities, Disco until 1am and Onsite Parking. *Price includes VAT. Back by popular demand - All Inclusive nights available at £55
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ALTON W Y N N N• JO O T L A W NNNY O J • TON Y WAL N N O J
GO JONNY GO Jonny Walton is a young man with a big future in the rowing world. Born and raised in Leicester, the 20-year-old Loughborough University student recently represented Great Britain in the World U23 Rowing Championships, competing in the men’s singles sculls. Walton gave an honest assessment of his experiences at the Amsterdam event. “It was a good performance but I wanted a little better. I’ve got another year at under 23’s so hopefully, next year, I’ll be able to make it to the A final. There were 28 entrants from all over the world with four races over four days. I missed www.soarmagazine.co.uk
out on the A final by 0.16 of a second, but my time was the fourth quickest overall.” As a youngster, Jonny enjoyed most endurance sports, but rowing soon took over, as he explained. “I had a go when I was 12 but they said I was too small and there was nobody to train me. So I came back when I was 15. I also did competitive mountain biking and cross country running. I was in the junior system for rowing and the coach, Howard Marsh, wanted to take me on. “I’ve been with Howard for the past five years now. We’re a really strong team and we bounce good ideas
off each other and trust each other. That’s one of the most important things, there’s probably nobody else that I’d trust to be my coach because I know him so well and what he says works.” The young rower’s parents also provided plenty of support in the early days. “Before I could drive, my parents constantly took me to rowing. I rowed on the Leicester canal, just by Leicester City’s stadium, before I came to Loughborough University, so it was constant trips there at weekends.” Jonny fits his training around studying a Sports and Exercise
Science degree at Loughborough University, but concedes that being surrounded by such top class facilities makes things easier. “The facilities here are fantastic and I couldn’t be at a better place, everything is perfect. Holme Pierrepont in Nottingham is only a 25 minute drive away but we’ve got a 10k river in Loughborough. Normally I get up at 6.30am and I’m on the water between 7am and half past. We normally have one or two water sessions depending on lectures, with three sessions in total. “It’s a hard sport because it requires so much training. I live with three other rowers and it’s always good banter. You have to make sacrifices. I don’t go out that much.
I’d much prefer to be on a podium than drinking, so it’s one of the sacrifices I’m willing to make.” Now a Go Gold Ambassador, Jonny detailed the support he’s received to date. “In my first year I won bronze at an East Midlands regional regatta and won the Chairman’s Trophy Award, and Go Gold have been really supportive ever since. The financial support has been a great help. I travel to and from Nottingham a lot so that’s one of the main things it goes towards.” There have already been plenty of highlights for Walton, who revealed that he prefers individual racing. “I went to the 2009 Youth Olympics
in Australia and the team won gold, silver and I got fourth. The year before, I won the European Junior Championships and last year, I went to the World Championships as part of a quad and was the quickest under 23 at the trial. “It’s nice to be in a crew but in a single everything is down to your own performance. It’s your best and worst enemy which I really like because you can really push yourself and set the marker of where you want to be.” Walton has already trained with the GB senior squad and has hopes of representing his country at the Olympics. “There are GB trials every two months with the final trials in April. After those I finished as the seventh fastest senior so the Head Coach, Jurgen Grobler, invited me to Caversham, where the seniors train. I narrowly missed out on making the senior squad, so it’s not a million miles away for me. “London 2012 is always going to be a bit of a long shot. It’s a possibility, I’ve just got to keep myself fit and free from injury, and then you never know. 2016 is a more realistic target as there will probably be a few retirements and they will be looking to bring the next generation through. I’d love to win an Olympic gold medal. That’s my dream. It’s a long way away at the moment, but I just need to keep training hard.” For more information on the Go Gold Talented Athlete Fund visit www.lrsport.org/gogold
“You have to make sacrifices. I’d much prefer to be on a podium than drinking.”
nce in a while, sport rewards one of the good guys. After over two decades in first class cricket, including 18 years with Leicestershire, Paul Nixon bowed out of domestic cricket in spectacular fashion on t20 Finals Day at Edgbaston on August 27th. It was the epitome of a fairytale ending for the Peter Pan of Leicestershire sport and the man affectionately known as ‘Nico’, as he coaxed and encouraged a team filled with experienced heads and talented youngsters to their first major trophy for five years. Nixon’s cat-like reflexes were once again on-show, with one of the more memorable catches of his career at a crucial time in the final against Somerset as the dream ending became a reality in spectacular fashion.
THE FAIRYTALE ENDING To pay tribute to a true legend of local sport, Soar Magazine met Nixon on the eve of that epic day of cricket, caught up with him the week after the night before, as well as recapping a classic interview carried out with Paul for our first ever issue back in 2008. So, after playing at such a high level for so long, what was the retirement tipping point for the 40-year-old?
“I’ve been contemplating it for a while. My mind wanted to do things that my body wouldn’t allow. It was getting tougher to maintain the standards I wanted. I didn’t want to go into games thinking I could be letting the lads down and once it gets to that stage, it’s time to move on. I felt the right time to go out was after a big game.” Nico first joined Leicestershire back in 1987, making his first-team debut two years later, but also had an enjoyable two-year spell with Kent in 2000. “I wanted a two-year contract and Leicestershire weren’t prepared to offer me that. We’d just lost Alan Mullally, James Ormond was being tapped up by Surrey and Chris Lewis wasn’t in a great place, so our good side was starting to break down. I thought that we’d peaked,
and I was right. I was offered a contract by Kent and they virtually doubled my wages and wanted me to play for England, and I’d never heard that before. “It was a big decision to move but I loved my time at Kent. We won the Sunday League and then I went away to play my first winter for England as Alec Stewart’s number two, so things were moving. It was what I needed at that time of my career.” After two years down south, Nixon returned home to Leicestershire, so what have been some of the highlights during his Grace Road adventure? “Winning the Championship in 1996. It’s the true test of your abilities and we did that so convincingly in 17 two-day games.
We batted once on ten occasions, which is phenomenal and I don’t think will ever be beaten. The space we were in as a team, as a unit, the balance we had and the mindset of the players, and we’re close to that now with our t20 team.” Making the breakthrough with England is something that fills Paul with pride and a smile takes over his features when recounting memories of representing his country and a famous World Cup appearance in 2007. “I’d been on tours as Alec Stewart’s number two but going to Australia knowing you’re going to play, you can really get your head around everything. I made my debut in t20 in Sydney, in front of 46,000, with all the Barmy Army down one side of the ground. They are very special memories, like my first stumping on Mike Hussey off Monty and making my one day debut in front of 89,000 in Melbourne. “Getting the call for the World Cup was special. I’d kept wicket nicely in Australia, but under performed with my batting. We were always
After a career filled with such consistency, it’s difficult for Nico to pick a time when he was at his peak, but it’s an easier task to identify some of the best players he’s faced and lined up alongside. “One of my best years was 1994, I got 1,000 runs and I went to India on an England A tour also when I played for England in 2006 I had a good year. I averaged 50, playing well with the bat and keeping well.
20 or 30 behind and I tried to make that up and didn’t give myself a chance. I thought I’d give myself a chance at the World Cup, get a feel for the pitch rather than trying to hit the first ball out of the ground. “I remember some of the press complaining about it being seven weeks long, but I can tell you, as a player, seven weeks wasn’t long enough! They are awesome memories. That reverse sweep against Murali at a crucial time and Brian Lara’s last game, when we had a great run chase and knocked off over 300 in 50, watching KP hitting the ball out of the ground.”
“The best I’ve played with is probably Rahul Dravid, but Virender Sehwag is the most talented and gifted, no question. Against, in terms of batsmen, Brian Lara was a genius. I once played in a John Paul Getty select eleven against the West Indies. Lara got 130 before lunch and Robin Smith, who was first slip next to me, had told him every shot to play. He’d say through mid-off for four, long for six, fine sweep, and Lara would play them… he was that good. The best quick bowler I ever faced was Malcolm Marshall and the best spinner was Shane Warne. Murali was a massive challenge but Warney had everything.”
Paul was appointed batting coach for the remainder of the season, a role he’s keen to continue in the future to utilise all of the expertise he’s soaked up over the years. “I really enjoy coaching. I’ve played four decades of cricket, I’ve seen the changes and seen all the Leicestershire kids grow up and come into the side. I held Josh Cobb as a baby - when you think of that, you know it’s time to go! “It’s something that I care about. I’ve met good coaches along the way, Bobby Simpson and Jack Birkenshaw and Tim Boon at Leicestershire, and John Wright and Jonny Verity at Kent. “I’ve had a nice blend to take the best from and put my own tweak
on it, with my passion, enthusiasm and my communication skills. Hopefully coaching will be a niche for me, I really enjoy it and one or two clubs are interested but I would like to stay here. I enjoy Leicestershire, I know I can make a difference and hopefully budgets will allow me to carry on.” Coaching is clearly on the horizon, but Nixon is still keeping his options open for life away from the crease. “I’m involved in a big project in the Bahamas called Paul St. George, which is going well and I’m finishing off my autobiography. My wife has a new stylist company called Stick and Ribbon, which is a personal styling and shopping service.” After spending over half his life in
the county, Leicestershire people have certainly taken Paul to their hearts, and he will always treasure his relationship with the supporters and some of Leicester’s sporting stars. “The Leicester people love their sport and they’re blessed with great sporting sides. When we won the T20 at Trent Bridge in 2006, Martin Johnson was there all day and by the end of the two semi-finals and the final, he was absolutely blottoed! I don’t think he could hold the trophy up he was that gone! They were great times and I’ve had a great affinity over the years with Austin Healey, Pat Howard, Geordan Murphy, Leon Lloyd, Martin Corry and Joel Stransky, who rented our house. They were all great lads. I used to train with them. I’ve been in the second row next to Johnno, bounded on with the ABC club and they squeezed the living daylights out of my ears!” Moving from past to present, the words of one Tigers legend summed up Leicestershire’s recent T20 success. “As Austin Healey once told me, all fairytales need a sprinkling of magic. We’ve always had belief that we can do it and to do it on that big stage was fantastic. All of the guys were great throughout 17 games and for it to come down to that was phenomenal. I was so pleased for Josh and Hoggy and for me to
“I’m lucky, I’ve had a great journey and I’ve loved every minute of it.” www.soarmagazine.co.uk
take a great catch off Kieron Pollard meant a lot to us. Pollard finishes games and there’s not a ground in the world big enough when he gets going. The whole day was just a dream come true. “I’ve still not really had chance to reflect on the achievement and let it sink in. For the young lads to have won it on the big stage and now go to India is brilliant for their futures. Financially, it’s terrific for the club to be in the Champions League.” Nixon is looking forward to playing his part in the Champions League, but before looking too far into the
future, how would he like to be remembered? “Somebody with a will to win, a good guy who gave a lot to the game and his team-mates. For me to have an ending like that, you couldn’t have dreamt it. I’m lucky, I’ve had a great journey and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ve worked hard, and you try and make things happen, but I couldn’t have dreamt of what would come my way.” We couldn’t have summed it up any better ourselves.
Classic Quotes When we spoke to Nico back in the summer of 2008 he gave us an insight into his early sporting years… “My first memories were of playing football and rugby. I actually captained all three sports at county level. My breakthrough came in 1987, when Leicestershire’s wicketkeeper, Phil Whitticase, picked up an injury. I was offered a trial for the 2nd XI and earned a playing contract with the club. Two years later I made my first-team debut. “I always knew, since I was a kid, I’d play international cricket. Everything I’ve done in cricket was geared to reaching that standard, which began with sprint training as a teenager until 11pm and has seen me play in Australia and in a World Cup.”
Cycling Royalty Leicester Monarchs are one of the most successful sports teams in the county, but there’s every chance that even the region’s most passionate sports fans may not have heard of them. Based on Slater Street in Frog Island, the club has been in existence for 52 years. The Monarchs’ Glover Park track, named after club legend Harry Glover, is exceptionally well maintained, with an immaculate track, covered seating - with seats donated from the Carling Stand at Leicester City’s old Filbert Street ground - and an area for refreshments.
“The closest thing you can get to motor speedway without an engine”
Club Secretary, Tim Jarvis, explained the basics of the sport and talked about the popularity of the club. “It’s just like motorbike speedway. You have four riders in a race, you start in the starting gate, and you just race each other for four laps. You are allowed to elbow and shoulder charge, so it’s quite a physical sport. “We’re not cyclists even though this is a cycling club. Virtually everyone is a motor speedway enthusiast. This is the closest thing you can get without an engine.
“We have about 60 members but a lot more people come down to the track. We have riders as young as seven, going up to 58-yearsold. Our veterans team won the British Championship this year and our ladies team have been British Champions for the last five years.” The Monarchs’ first team ride in the Premier League, which hosts many of the world’s best riders. One of the local lads is Tim’s son, Carl Jarvis, who is a five-time British junior champion. Carl has been racing since he was seven and explained the buzz of cycle speedway. “It’s a sport for life and nothing else really compares, nothing beats the rush of cycle speedway. Contact is legal and necessary most of the time. It’s such an adrenaline rush. As soon as the tapes go up and you start accelerating, you’re not thinking of anything else but trying to win.”
General Manager, Will Burns, is proud of the Monarch’s international calibre. “Leicester is almost the national centre of the sport. We’re the city with the most world champions, including David Hemsley, the sport’s most successful rider, and now we have the current world champion, Lukasz Nowacki. We’re hoping to host the World Finals in Leicester in 2015.” Anybody wanting to try cycle speedway with Leicester Monarchs can attend Glover Park during a Tuesday night training session. The club will lend you a bike and a helmet, and qualified British Cycling coaches are on hand to show you the basics.
For more information visit: www.leicestermonarchs.co.uk
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WITH THE RUGBY WORLD CUP KICKING OFF IN NEW ZEALAND, LEICESTER TIGERS’ HIGHEST PROFILE SUMMER SIGNING, MATHEW TAIT, CAN REFLECT ON BEING RIGHT AT THE COALFACE OF THE ACTION LAST TIME AROUND, AS HE WAS JUST A WHISKER AWAY FROM SCORING A CRUCIAL TRY IN THE 2007 WORLD CUP FINAL... www.soarmagazine.co.uk
athew was adjudged to have been dragged into touch before his dive across the line in the Stade de France showpiece, as England eventually lost to South Africa. Fast forward four years and its all change for Tait who has fought to find his best form through various injury problems in recent seasons. A versatile performer, Mathew can play at centre, wing and full-back and will add even more depth to a Tigers squad bursting with talent. Still only 25-years-old, since 2007, Tait has played for Newcastle and Sale and will be eager to announce his return to the big time with the big boys of English rugby. Tait explained how he’s settling in at Welford Road and how the club has measured up to his preconceptions. “It’s been good so far. I’ve been down since February, so I know quite a few of the guys here. There are quite a few of the ex-Newcastle guys here as well, so that has helped. Things are going well. Preseason has been good and I have been able to enjoy it.
“Everything has matched the expectations I had of the club. The success of the club is well founded and I wanted to be a part of that. That is an appealing factor and when Leicester said they were interested in me coming down here, I jumped at the chance. “The expectation here is higher because of the success that the club has had. That’s not to say that the other clubs aren’t ambitious, but the players, the coaches and the supporters demand that success here constantly. That’s the major difference.” Mathew reminisced about how his love affair with rugby started and who influenced his early career. “I was at Consett Rugby Club, back with my parents in Durham. A primary school friend’s dad was a coach there. We just decided to go down one day and I have been playing ever since. I was hooked from the start. “My parents traipsed around the country to county matches and divisional games. They were my influences more than anything. I enjoyed watching Brian O’Driscoll when I was growing up. That seems strange now, having played against him.” Tait is relishing the chance to be part of a winning team after some tough seasons with both Newcastle and Sale. “My last couple of years with Sale weren’t that great. We were fighting relegation and I had a couple of years like that at Newcastle as well. “It makes you realise how much
Not an Average Rugby Player… Away from the pitch, Mat is one of the Aviva Premiership’s more intriguing players. Not content with his already impressive sporting achievements, Tait is studying a complex degree and aiming to complete his commercial pilot’s licence, giving himself plenty of options when the time comes to hang up his boots. “Well, it’s all got to come to an end at some point, so it will be nice to have something lined up. I’m halfway through my Biomedical Science degree up at Newcastle, but I’m behind because of time constraints. I tried to take it up again in Manchester, but even part-time I was struggling to do that. I’ll hopefully finish that at some point. “As for the pilot side of things, I’ve really enjoyed that. I’ve not been up for a few weeks as I have been sorting things out down here. I’m hoping to do my commercial licence at some point as well. “They are just two things that I have always been interested in. I had a pilot lesson up in Newcastle and really enjoyed it. I went along to the local aerodrome and got hooked on it. It’s nice to have something away from rugby and something that provides a thrill of a different kind. I love it. I’d do it every day if I could – but it’s quite expensive.”
better it is to be winning games! When you lose, whether you feel you played well or not, it sucks to be on the losing side.” Mat enjoyed his time at Newcastle, making the breakthrough as a youngster and being surrounded by influential characters, like Jonny Wilkinson. “It was great. He has been a big help to me throughout my career so far. Initially it was as a mentor and somebody to talk to, but then as a friend as well. There are also guys like Matt Burke, who was at Newcastle for a few years. He was a huge help because of his experience. He was such a good player – and if you were willing to take the time to speak and listen to
him, he would always be available to talk to you.”
scoring chance in the 2007 World Cup final against South Africa.
After making his England debut at the tender age of 18 - the day before his 19th birthday, with a baptism of fire against Wales - Tait had to learn some pretty harsh lessons pretty quickly.
“Getting caught short by a secondrower was pretty embarrassing to be honest! It is one of those things. I was two yards away from scoring a pretty reasonable try. You can convince yourself either way, looking at the video highlights. South Africa deserved to win the whole thing in the end, because they won all of their games and played the tournament a lot better than we did.”
“It didn’t go ideally, but it made me realise what was expected at international level. I look back on the whole thing now with great fondness. It makes you realise how much work you need to put in to perform to that level on the pitch, and that is the one key thing I learned from the experience.” Another painful memory for Tait in the white of England was that try-
Those frustrations and the taste of the highest level of international rugby has only made Mathew more determined to prove himself for his country, but his priority is to establish himself with Tigers first. “My main aim is to get in the team, play well here and try and cement my place for when the guys get back from the World Cup, because they will all be hungry to get back involved. “It will be great just to wear the Tigers shirt. I’m looking forward to it. It’s been a while since I’ve played a game after I injured my shoulder in January. “There are still lots of things that I want to achieve. First and foremost in my mind is just getting into the Tigers team and cementing my place in the starting line-up. If I am performing well, then international honours will hopefully follow. But it all stems from playing well for Leicester Tigers.” A young man who has already experienced so much in his career, Mathew Tait is now at the perfect club to realise those domestic and international ambitions. For more information about Leicester Tigers and the latest ticket info visit: www.leicestertigers.com
THE WORLD IN UNION With the seventh Rugby World Cup underway, fans all over the globe are relishing the prospect of seven weeks of pulsating international action.
There is more than just a slight Leicester Tigers flavour to the England World Cup squad with six of Welford Road’s finest jetting out for the rugby showpiece.
Leicester Tigers legend Martin Johnson is tasked with leading England to glory, and after lifting the trophy as captain in 2003, ‘Johnno’ is well equipped to do just that.
Ahead of the tournament, we have put together a special preview with the help of a panel of local experts, who have given their thoughts on England’s chances in New Zealand.
Mathew Tait, Leicester Tigers and England
Neil Back, Head Coach of Rugby Lions
George Chuter, Leicester Tigers and England
World Cup Finalist in 2007
Leicester Tigers and England legend, and 2003 World Cup Winner
Part of the England Training Squad ahead of the 2011 tournament
“I think that England will do well. They have a good group and will have learnt from the Six Nations, in the games against Ireland and South Africa, that they have to have a plan ‘B’. England have a good, exciting group and I am sure that they will do really well.”
“Not every team that goes to the World Cup truly has the opportunity to win it, England are certainly one of the teams that can, but you’ve got to win seven games on the bounce and England, over the last couple of years, haven’t done that. They fell over South Africa in the autumn which was a massive disappointment and I went to Dublin to hopefully cheer them on to the Grand Slam and they were well beaten on the day. Hopefully those painful lessons will build the mentality and the strength of character that they will need to win a World Cup.”
“On our day we’ve shown we can compete with some of the best teams in the world. Form can go out of the window at a World Cup. We were a prime example in 2007 when we went into the tournament off the back of a terrible Six Nations and two or three years of complete unrest in terms of players and coaches, and ended up in the final. “The core of this squad has been together for a year, so they’ll be getting there. I suppose, ideally, we’d like to have another year and another 10 tests under our belt as a squad so we’re more settled as a unit, but this World Cup has come at a pretty good time and we’ve got a lot of young confident guys.”
formula. I think they will make the semi-finals where a rejuvenated Australia are likely to be their opponents. If they are at their peak by then, they can go on and win the tournament.”
Leicester Mercury’s Senior Rugby Correspondent, Martin Crowson, also provided his views on how Martin Johnson’s men will fare in New Zealand and gave his tips for the tournament. England… “I think England’s biggest game, funnily enough, will be against Scotland and not their opener against Argentina. Argentina looked undercooked and unfit against Wales - and England should be able to exploit that against an old pack to get their campaign off to a winning start on September 10th. “Romania and Georgia should be pushovers but the Scots always raise their game when they play the Auld Enemy. I still think England will win and progress to the last eight where anything can happen.
“They are likely to play France in the quarter-finals and, although Les Bleus are known for not travelling well, they have such strength in depth and such a big pack that it will go down to the wire.” “It is difficult to predict just how far England can go. If they can iron out their inconsistencies – and they do have the easiest of any of the four pools – they can find a winning
Tips “You still have to back the All Blacks on home soil but they have a history of choking on the big occasions and with the pressure of home expectation and media on their shoulders, that is a distinct possibility again. The Aussies have already beaten them recently and will fancy their chances again.” Watch out for… “Leicester Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi could be the star of the tournament if England have a good run, while Aussie fly-half Quade Cooper is great to watch with his vast set of skills. Samoa could be a good outsider to get your money on because they have too many quality players not to make an impact and, on darker matters, ‘combative’ Springbok lock, Bakkies Botha, should see plenty of yellow cards.”
England’s Pool B Fixtures September 10th – Vs Argentina September 18th – Vs Georgia September 24th – Vs Romania October 1st – Vs Scotland Quarter-Finals October 8th or 9th Semi-Finals October 15th or 16th Final October 23rd
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TANNI GREY-THOMPSON Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE, has been one of the modern era’s most inspirational sports women and one of the most talented athletes of her generation. During a glittering career the Welsh wonder won an amazing 16 Paralympic medals, including eleven golds, held over 30 world records and won the London Marathon six times in ten years. The Loughborough University alumni answered your questions about her sporting, academic and political achievements... What are your memories of studying at Loughborough? Simon, Hinckley I made many good friends there. Although the sports facilities were good, I found it quite hard to access some parts and spent a lot of time training on the roads around the campus. Being in an environment where sport is a major factor does help focus your training. I found Leicestershire to be a really friendly place. You’ve been an inspirational character for many people over the years, but who has had the biggest influence on your career? Melanie, Leicester All my coaches have had a massive influence. My first coach, Roy Anthony at Bridgend, was there at the start of my career. He hadn’t coached a wheelchair athlete before and we learnt a lot together. Jenni
Banks, an Australian who coached me for many years, was incredible, instilling a belief and dedication that I never lost. My last coach was my husband Ian, who brought a great technical expertise to my training. My earliest inspiration was a racer called Chris Hallam. He had flowing blond hair and wore a leopard print racing suit and was quite outspoken. When I saw him win the London Marathon in the seventies I knew that I wanted to race. What was the proudest moment of your sporting career? Rob, via email Winning the gold medal in the 100 metres in Athens. I had an awful first race and lots of people had written me off, but with the support of friends and my coach, I proved them wrong and won my next race, the 100 metres.
Was it a tough decision to retire from competitive action when you did? Chris, Loughborough I always thought that my body would let me know when I’d had enough. My shoulders and elbows were taking a lot of punishment and it was the right time to retire.
Photos courtesy of www.tanni.co.uk
How much are you looking forward to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London next year and do you wish that you could take part? Karen, Nuneaton It’s going to be wonderful. If I were younger it would be marvellous – a Games in Britain – what an experience for everyone taking part. I am lucky though, and as a member of the LOCOG Athletes Committee, I have taken part in the planning of almost all the aspects of the Games from the athlete perspective, from the transport to equipping the athlete’s village. I feel a big part of the Games. Will having the Paralympics in the UK help raise the profile of the sports and the athletes? Sophie, Lutterworth Definitely. Watching the Paralympics, I hope, will bring about a greater understanding of disability sport. Facilities have improved a lot. However, we still have some way to go – we need to get more young disabled people taking part and enjoying sport. Can you put into words how it felt to be honoured as a Dame? Todd, Burbage It was amazing. To be recognised for what you have given to your
remember being in government – it’s quite strange at times. How do you manage to find a balance between your private life and of your professional commitments? Jenny, Rutland I have a good team supporting me, and I speak to my daughter each day when I am working away – although at times she is much too busy to speak to me!
sport, not only in competition, but behind the scenes, in the administration of sport, was a great feeling. My father was so proud to be at Buckingham Palace. You studied politics at University, so it must be great to now have an involvement in the political world? Gurinder, Melton I don’t think my politics professor would have thought I would ever be in Westminster! I am still a little stunned myself when I meet someone famous in the corridor at the House of Lords, or speak in a debate with Lord Kinnock, or Lord Lawson – these are people I
Has your daughter shown an interest in sport? Siobhan, Coalville My daughter loves swimming, gymnastics and netball, also piano, clarinet and guitar. She is trying everything. We would never actively push her into becoming an athlete – after all, no-one else can do the training for you! It’s something you have to want to do yourself. What are your remaining ambitions? Alan, Enderby I have always wanted to beat my husband (coach and wheelchair racer) in a race – I think that is one ambition that is not going to be realised. For more information about tanni and visit: www.tanni.co.uk
After the biggest fight of his career ultimately ended in disappointment last year, with world title defeat to Toshiaki Nishioka in Japan, Leicester’s most high profile boxing talent, Rendall Munroe, is determined to come back stronger than ever and make an even bigger impression on the world stage. Training with the same intensity he has always shown, there is a renewed focus about Rendall, who has taken his professionalism to another level under the watchful eye of conditioning expert, Hardip Singh, and recently signed the first sponsorship deal of his career, with boxing giants Everlast. Looking back on his world title shot, Rendall is philosophical about an experience he considers a huge learning curve. “If they gave me a re-match in Japan I would take it hands down. He’s pound for pound the best 8st 10lb there is and I managed to stand toe to toe with him for 12 good rounds. There were a few hiccups but I’ve proved I’m good enough to fight at world level. “I learnt that it’s not all about strength. When you step up to a
new level people make you make mistakes and that’s what Nishioka did. He used my strength to his advantage. He’s the best I’ve ever fought. He wasn’t the biggest hitter but he was sharp. They say the fast punch is the one that will knock you out because you won’t see it, and he was fast.” Munroe’s first fight after losing to Nishioka saw him return to winning ways with a 12 round victory over Andrei Isaeu for the WBA international super-bantamweight belt in April, a performance the boxing bin man was satisfied with. “It was a case of proving to myself that I’m not all about fighting, I can box as well. I injured my hand in that fight, which was a bit of a blessing in disguise. I could’ve stopped him in the fifth or sixth, but my trainer told me to outbox him in 12 rounds, which I did. I showed another style. I’ve got more skills than any boxer, I’ve gone back to the drawing board and everything’s looking good at the minute.” Having spent the majority of his professional career under the stewardship of promoter, Frank Maloney, Munroe elected to join the Hatton Promotions stable in March and has high hopes for the future.
“We’re waiting to see what they come with. The Hatton’s idea was for me to have two fights and then come back for a world title fight, but things have slowed up because nobody wants to fight me. I’ve proved how good I am and a lot of people are trying to hide away. It’s down to the Hatton’s to sort it out. “Maloney was talking about six and eight round fights. I’d just put my name on the board as one of the best in the world, how could I go back to fighting six and eight rounds? This opponent had won three of his six fights and I’d be fighting him in Sunderland. It didn’t really make any sense and Maloney wanted me to sell tickets! People had been to see me box the best in the world and he wanted me to fight someone who had won three fights.” Still as obsessive about his fitness as ever, Rendall talked about how his training has developed over the years and, at 31, why he believes there is plenty more gas in the tank.
“I’m the next Bernard Hopkins! I think I’ll still be going when I’m touching 50.” www.soarmagazine.co.uk
“My training has changed loads over the years. I’m working with Hardip Singh on the diet and the conditioning side. I used to go to the gym, work with my trainer and then go home and go for a run, and that’s changed.
“It’s about following dreams and I attract new fans every time I box.” “I’m the next Bernard Hopkins! I think I’ll still be going when I’m touching 50, with the work Hardip does keeping me in shape. I live well, the only bad side for me is that I love Caribbean food, which is the heaviest food, but I don’t drink or smoke. I like to go out now and again, but all the lads laugh at me because I’m ready for home by 2am. “There’s plenty left for me, I’m still learning. I didn’t turn professional until I was 24 and a lot of young boxers turn pro at 18. At 31, I’ve just stepped into the bigger league. I’m still fit and there’s nobody out there to match me. You get some of the young’uns wanting a race and they’re not meeting me!” Someone keen to give back to his local community, Munroe received an Honoured Citizen Award of Leicester in January and regularly offers his services as a mentor at local schools. Rendall explained what his loyal fans mean to him and how he intends to remain a man of the people. “The fans are the ones for me. It’s about following dreams and I attract new fans every time I box. At the weigh-in in Japan, I could see a lot of fans and a lot of friends. I’m in a hard man’s sport but those things get to you and when they called out my name and I got on the scales, I had to take a deep breath. “I’m a down to earth guy and I talk to everyone. A few weeks ago my Mrs and I were shopping in ASDA and some old bloke came up to me, saying he needed to shake my hand, so I shook his hand and he asked what I was doing there, he thought I’d have somebody doing
few times because I’d run out of petrol and was determined to get to the gym. All the hard work is paying off now.” my shopping for me! “A lot of the kids look up to me and appreciate what I’m doing, and their parents do, too. I talk to the kids on a level where they understand where I’m coming from. I came from the streets and I’m saying to the youth that it doesn’t matter what background you come from, if you want to do something in life, you just do it and I’m your proof.” There’s good reason for the super bantam-weight’s grounded attitude, it comes from a steely determination to succeed having overcome every barrier put in his way. “It doesn’t seem like five minutes ago that I was driving to the gym with three coats on because my car had no heating, and my manager had to tow me off the motorway a
So what would be the dream fight for Rendall, a big money match-up in the States? No, the answer is the opportunity to fight in front of his loyal fans at the home of his beloved Leicester City. “I want to be a World Champion and fight at King Power stadium. People talk about Las Vegas and the MGM, and they would be nice, but with the support everyone gives me in Leicester, I want to fight in front of my home crowd. I’ve had 24 professional fights and never boxed in my home city. A world title fight in Leicester would be the one for me. To fight in my own back yard would be a dream.”
That dream is still alive for the likeable Munroe whose enthusiasm and popularity seem to grow with every fight.
At the heart of local sport for 10 glorious years
As one of the region’s leading business advisers, we are also totally committed to the sporting community. That’s why we’re delighted to sponsor Leicester Ladies Hockey, Leicester Speedway and Leicester Tigers. 1 Colton Square • Leicester LE1 1QH t • 0116 262 9922 • e • firstname.lastname@example.org www.cooperparry.com
FOOTBALL INVESTMENT STRATEGY As Leicester City’s owners continue to invest in the club, both on and off the pitch, aiming to ensure immediate and long-term success at King Power Stadium, Leicester City Council are also maintaining their commitment to local grassroots football. To address the decline in the number of people playing football, the council has been at the centre of an innovative football partnership development project to improve local facilities, encourage more people to participate in football and build healthier communities. Thanks to a pro-active approach by Leicester City Council, working in partnership with the Football Foundation, Leicestershire
and Rutland County Football Association, NHS Leicester City, Sport England, UEFA Jubilee Fund and local partner football clubs, much needed investment has resulted in the completion of eight of the starting eleven schemes, with two more currently being constructed. Bob Stretton MBE, Chairman of Aylestone Park Football Club, spoke about the impact the new developments have had at the Mary Linwood Playing Fields site. “Aylestone Park have 26 teams playing at the site from the age of six to men’s teams. There are eight other local community teams, so people that didn’t have a pitch but are now playing up here and there’s
a Saturday morning academy that has 80 kids every week. We also run fun weeks and allow community use in the day for local residents. “We often have as many as 200 people playing football here in the evenings. On an average weekend we’ll have seven games on a Saturday, so 210 people playing football and 12 games on the Sunday, meaning well over 200 people playing again, so it’s getting plenty of use. Men, women and children use the facilities and it’s been fantastic so far. “It’s given the people that come here a pride in the facilities. It’s all brand new and they are looking after it.”
After the original plan to develop the well-publicised Aylestone Meadows site was refused planning approval, the council reconsidered its options and decided to redevelop the Riverside College site and bring the Aylestone Playing Fields back into use. During each process local residents and members of the community have been consulted and had the opportunity to air any concerns they may have about the new proposals. The final piece of the jigsaw for the £11.2 million Football Investment Strategy is to develop a flagship facility in the south of the city. Aylestone Playing Fields has been identified as a suitable venue with seventeen dilapidated grass pitches set to be brought back into use and the addition of a new changing room accommodation block on site. To compliment a new clubhouse with changing rooms, artificial turf pitch, flood-lit grass pitch and car parking will be built on the vacant Riverside College site. The added benefits of hosting these new facilities on land at Riverside College will enable Ellesmere College, a specialist sports college for pupils with learning disabilities, to maximise the daytime use of the state-ofthe–art football facilities in their expected move across from their present location in Braunstone. Mark Laywood, Sports Project Manager at Leicester City Council, has been pleased with the progress made so far and explained the forthcoming developments.
“By reusing the Riverside College and an area on Aylestone Playing Fields previously used for football, we are regenerating the area and the new facilities will help revitalise both sites.
The current timeline for completion of the Football Investment Strategy is as follows: Rushey Fields Playing Fields - Open Overton Road - Open
“It’s a split site. At Riverside there will be a four to six changing room block with a club house and fullsize astroturf and grass floodlit pitches. The Aylestone Playing Fields site is going to be built on the footprint of the existing football facilities. It will be a more natural site with a grass pitch and new changing rooms.
Beaumont Park - Open Victoria Park Ball Court - Open Cossington Recreation Ground - Open New College Playing Fields - Open Mary Linwood Playing Fields - Open St. Andrew’s Ball Court - Open Aylestone Recreation Ground – Under construction and due to be open around the end of September Hamilton Park - Under construction and due to be open around the end of September
“We have been consulting local residents, groups and organisations throughout the process and will continue to do so. People have been positive but it’s important we continue to listen to concerns and do what we can to come up with solutions to any issues raised.”
Riverside College / Aylestone Playing Fields – An alternative proposal is still in the public consultation phase
For more information visit www.leicester. gov.uk/ footballstrategy
REACHING THE GOLD STANDARD A
s part of the hugely successful Leicester Hockey Club and a member of the ever-improving England and Great Britain teams, Anne Panter has become accustomed to striving for excellence every time she steps onto the pitch.
programme for two years and we’re now ranked fourth in the world.
Her thoughts on team GB’s chances at next year’s Olympic Games provide an insight into that mentality.
Now aged 27, Anne’s journey to the top of the sport she loves, began at first school.
“We have a culture and an ethic in our squad that, everyday in training, we have a gold standard. That means everything we do, we do it to the standard we need to be winning gold at the Olympics next year.
“I started when I was 8-years-old. My PE teacher was a massive influence and she was passionate about hockey, which rubbed off on me. It had the best mix of everything; it was physically demanding, skilful and exciting to play.”
“We were ranked ninth in the world going into the Beijing Olympics and ended up finishing sixth. To improve, we decided we needed to live in the same place and train together every day, and the results have been brilliant. We’ve had the centralised
“We’ve got really experienced players and some truly world class players. If I was another team looking at our side, plenty of players would give me cause for concern. It’s nice to have them on our side.”
Anne progressed through regional and national youth ranks whilst playing for her local team, Kettering Ladies, before leaving to further her career. “When I was 16, I needed to play at a Premier Division side to improve. Leicester, as well as being the closest, were also the best. They had internationals like Jennie Bimson and Sarah Blanks, who I really looked up to, and the thought of training with them made joining Leicester a no-brainer.” The committed defender talked with pride about the ethos and philosophy at Leicester. “One of the reasons for the club’s
“It really matters every time you put on a Leicester shirt.” success is massive loyalty from the players. Two seasons before I joined, they club had been relegated. When most clubs get relegated their international stars jump ship, but that wasn’t the case at Leicester. The players wanted to get the club out of that situation. They bounced straight back and won the Premier League two years later. “We have eight players who are part of the centralised squad, based at Bisham Abbey, and all of the girls decided to stay at Leicester and make the journey back up the M1 twice a week. That shows the loyalty, it really matters every time you put on a Leicester shirt.” For more information on Anne, read her regular blog at: www.soarmagazine.co.uk
THE FLYING FINN
Photos: Steve Dixon Photography
The Breedon Aggregates Leicester Lions have experienced plenty of upheaval during their first season back in competitive speedway. Multiple rider changes, as well as the appointment of a new team manager, Jason Attwood, has caused plenty of disruption, but new captain, Kauko Nieminen, remains confident that an improvement is just around the corner.
phoned me, I was pretty much sold straight away. It felt like the right decision. “I didn’t know a lot about Leicester speedway before but I’ve only been positively surprised. It’s nice to be captain and I hope I can do the job well.”
“I haven’t had the best of times this year in the Elite League and I thought that doubling up with a Premier League club would be the way to go and when Jason Attwood
The backing of the passionate Lions support is something that has impressed Nieminen. “We need to get back to winning ways and hopefully we can win a lot of meetings when the second set of fixtures start. It’s really nice to see a lot of fans and they’re still behind us, considering how we’ve been doing recently. It’s a really big crowd and they are really good fans. Hopefully the fans will keep backing us and hopefully they will be smiling at some point.”
The 31-year-old Finnish rider, who also competes in the Elite League for Lakeside Hammers, joined Leicester in July. He has already impressed the Beaumont Park faithful and has quickly adjusted to life with the Lions. “I’m enjoying every minute of my time in Leicester. The weather’s played a part in quite a few of the meetings, which we can’t do anything about, but other than that, it’s been awesome.
my career and we’re all gelling very well. There’s no complaints about that, that’s for sure. We’ve got a good team spirit but we just need to score some points.”
“I’m enjoying every minute of my time in Leicester.” One of several new arrivals in recent months, Kauko conceded that it’s taking time for the team to hit top form, but isn’t making any excuses. “It’s not easy but I know a few of the guys in the team from earlier in
Most of Leicester’s speedway fans are just content to have the sport they love back in their city, but with the determination of Kauko and the other new riders, there should be many more reasons to be cheerful in the future. For more information on Leicester Lions visit their official website: www.leicester-speedway.com
LAMBLE’S HIGH HOOPS
Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders centre Barry Lamble is something of a rarity in British basketball.
playing since secondary school. He admits to having no previous knowledge of the sport before picking up a basketball.
A talented player, Lamble was born and bred in Somerset, going on to study at Bath University before playing in Worcester. In a sport which is still populated by many American players, Lamble truly represents British basketball.
“I was 14-years-old when a friend of mine dragged me down to a Saturday basketball session. The coach came up to me and said ‘oh, you’re tall, would you like to come and play basketball at a higher level?’ So I went to play basketball at an academy in Taunton and it all started.
“I feel proud at being a British player, but feel proud that I have managed to achieve my goal. My first coach said to me ‘you will go far in the game’, to which I said ‘yeah, okay’ – I didn’t think much to it.
“The only other experience I had of basketball was playing NBA Jam on the computer, so I was wondering why the ball wasn’t setting on fire when I took a shot!”
“I kept moving up and went to Bath University. I played in Division One for a couple of years there and enjoyed it. I went to Worcester for another year before getting the call from Leicester who asked me to come up and play. I am very proud to be a British player playing basketball.” It’s been a long-term love affair for Lamble, with a sport he has been
The 28-year-old has just signed on for his sixth campaign as a Leicester Riders player, working under head coach Rob Paternostro and assistant coach LaTaryl Williams – two men he also played alongside in the red jersey during the early days of his lengthy career at the club. “We’ve signed a few decent players this year and it is a hugely exciting season. I think that Rob has signed
some really exciting young players and I’m looking for a top-four finish this year.” A player signing on with the same organisation for six successive seasons is virtually unheard of in British basketball. “I’ve come to really like Leicester. I have to admit that I wasn’t sure when I first moved here, but I now live in an area which suits me better and I am settled, which makes it an easy decision to keep coming back here. What’s happening on the court helps as well, as I’d like to think that we have been progressing every year.
“The different players that we continue to bring in always help in training, with each of them giving different pieces of advice. We had some veterans in the team last year, such as Tony Windless and Rob Youngblood and they really helped me a lot.” The close season has been a busy time for the 6’10’’ centre, who works as a teaching assistant when not training or playing for the Riders. “I’m a TA in Queensmead Primary School in Braunstone. I will work there until the end of the summer holidays and then I go away for a couple weeks, before coming back and getting into the gym every day to get fit for the new season. I can’t spend as much time doing extra training as the other players, so it’s late nights in the gym and early mornings.” The future looks bright for basketball in Leicester, with talks ongoing regarding the building of a new facility, which would become the team’s new home and allow for games to be televised and increased attendances, something Barry welcomes with enthusiasm. “Over the last five years, Leicester Riders have just progressed massively. They’ve gone from a team looking close to dropping out of the league to a team that can hopefully be one of the main contenders. A new stadium would be a huge lift for the team, the organisation and the fans. It has been several years since Riders won a trophy. We want to put that right this year and bring one back to Leicester.” In recent months, the new Olympic Basketball Arena has been opened and staged trial games, with teams
“It has been several years since Riders won a trophy. We want to put that right.” including Great Britain competing. It has the potential to present the game of basketball to a new audience, something that excites Lamble. “I can’t wait for the Olympics – and not just the basketball. The Olympics being in England is great, but I followed the GB team in the tester games for the new basketball arena. It looks absolutely amazing and it has the potential to gain so much exposure. Great Britain has players like Luol Deng, a huge NBA star, coming over to represent GB. That will hopefully get everybody involved in English basketball and everybody will want to watch.”
Leicester-eyes, however, will remain fixed on the Riders this season and with a team filled with characters like Barry Lamble, celebrations could well start before the Games begin in London, as the Riders aim to taste medal success of their own.
Leicester Riders first home game of the 2011/12 season is against Milton Keynes Lions at the John Sandford Sports Centre at De Montfort University on Saturday October 1st with a 7.30pm tip-off. For ticket information visit: www.leicesterriders.co.uk
MAKING A DIFFERENCE After achieving success in his chosen sport, former Special Olympics Great Britain and Leicester gymnast, Chris Bramley, was keen to give something back. Showing as much determination and dedication as he once did on the apparatus, Chris has now turned his attention to coaching other promising gymnasts. A veteran of several top level competitions, including the Special Olympics, Chris has now passed his Level One Gymnastics coaching qualification and is sharing his experience with local youngsters. Chris, who volunteers during sessions at the Leicester Leys Leisure Centre and at St. Matthews, once a week, talked about his passion for gymnastics and what inspired him to transfer the skills he has honed into coaching. “I was about three or four when I started at toddler gym in St. Matthews with my mum. I was there for a bit and then started to go on Mondays. I stopped for a while before coming here to Leicester Leys on Saturday. I really enjoyed it and I’ve been doing it ever since. “I enjoy everything about gymnastics. I’ve seen people come and go and some have been here all the time, it’s nice to meet new people. I’ve enjoyed the competitions and I’ve travelled all over the country. Coaching is good because I coach the people I was competing against and help them. If they’re doing well in a competition, I know that I’m helping them.” www.soarmagazine.co.uk
“If they’re doing well in a competition, I know that I’m helping.” - Chris Bramley Leicester SOGB Gymnastics coach Yvonne Haynes, who also works for Leicester City Council, has been there for every step of Chris’ gymnastics journey, something Chris is extremely grateful for. “Yvonne’s always been there through everything. I’ve known her since I was very young and now I’m able to coach with her as well.” A very proud Yvonne also paid tribute to Chris for his commitment to the sport.
“Chris started with me when he was about three. He’s too big to support on the apparatus now so he took the decision to do coaching instead. I’m very proud of Chris because I’ve seen him come through some not so good times to doing really well for himself.” Yvonne began coaching in 1982 and first started the gymnastics group in 1989, the year the Special Olympics were first held in Leicester, as she explained. “I was working with children with special needs but in those days
other. For example, if their children are having problems at school then the parents can advise each other.” there were no younger gymnasts so I had an older group and the oldest was a chap called Joey, who was 44. “After the Leicester games a lady whose daughter had Down syndrome asked if I’d set up a gymnastics group and that’s how it came about. I set this group up on Saturdays with smaller groups of six and seven and it’s just grown.” Every Saturday morning about 20 children, with different learning disabilities, attend the Leicester Leys Leisure Centre to take part in the sport they love, and with the help of Yvonne, Chris and other volunteers, they develop their technique, meet new friends and become more confident.
The gymnastics group has been a source of inspiration for several generations of children, but Yvonne is keen for this legacy to continue well into the future, through Chris and hopefully with the help of a little extra investment. “We’d like to have our own fully set up gym. We do this every Saturday morning and it would be fantastic to have it all set up when you come in. We waste 45 minutes setting up and that could be spent doing gymnastics. Obviously, some more money for equipment would be great as well. “We could also do with some new volunteers and new gymnasts. Anybody interested should come
down and speak to us. The younger the children are when they start, the better. We’ve had some five or six-year-olds that are probably too young. Seven and older is fine and it doesn’t matter if people are complete beginners.” For parents of children with learning disabilities or anybody wishing to help out as a volunteer, details of the gymnastic classes are listed below.
Saturday Leicester Leys Leisure Centre 9.45am to 10.45am Beginners session - boys and girls/ 7 years old upwards only 10.45am to 11.45am Advanced level gymnasts/club members only
Wednesday: St. Matthews Centre 4.30pm to 6.00pm Advanced level gymnasts/club members only For further information contact: Yvonne Haines on Tel: 0116 2290272 For year-round sports training and competition for people with learning
Yvonne provided more detail about what the young people and their families gain from attending the group.
disabilities visit: www.specialolympicsgb.org.uk
“It’s about enjoying it and that’s what we say to them when they get to competitions. Three of them have been to the World Games in the last three years which is a great honour and it gives us good satisfaction, but it’s for them, not for us. They’ve done really well. “They’re happy and they’re lovely to work with. Also, their parents become friends and help each
A MODEL PERFORMER S
teph Pywell isn’t an average athlete. She is as committed to training and sporting success as anybody at our interview venue - Loughborough University’s High Performance Centre - but away from the track, the 24-year-old high jumper has dabbled with modelling, television work and even competed in Miss England. Now one of Britain’s top jumpers, Steph almost took up the sport by accident, but had a feeling
she’d excel at the event after first honing her jumping technique in a rather unorthodox manner, as she explained. “I did horse riding and would put jumps up in the garden and pretend I was a horse, I know it sounds silly! I used to run the 800 metres and joined Retford Athletics Club when I was 13. At one athletics meeting they suggested I did high jump. The first thing I thought was that I could jump the green wheelie bins in the garden, so I was confident I’d be good at jumping! I didn’t have any spikes but I ended up being the highest jumper for my age.” Steph has taken influence from those closer to home throughout her career as well as being inspired by some of British athletics most talented performers. “My parents were a big influence and my coach, Terry, at Retford Athletics Club taught me my high-jump technique. Other people
“I always seem to jump well in London… hopefully that will continue!” www.soarmagazine.co.uk
who have inspired me include the Swedish high jumper and world record holder, Kajsa Bergqvist, and Paula Radcliffe and Kelly Holmes. Watching Kelly Holmes win those two Olympic medals brought a tear to my eye and made me want to compete at an Olympics.” So how did Steph go from competing on the track to taking the high jump to being part of Miss England 2010? “My friend put me forward to go for Miss Newark. I wasn’t too keen but I made the final 15. I went down to Southall Race Course, did all these different rounds and ended up winning! I couldn’t believe it when they told me I was going to Miss England. I wasn’t sure if it was for me, as I was a tom boy growing up and there I was at a beauty pageant, but I had a fantastic time. The girls are not what you’d think. I didn’t know how big Miss England was at the time. I came seventh out of 60 girls which is massive. “I’m starting these boot camps called beauty with a purpose. I’m in talks with Miss England to go
around the country talking to girls from the age of 12 to sixth form about how they feel about their body. It’s important to show people how fitness can change your life.” Pywell remains extremely focused on achieving sporting excellence and whilst reliving the ups and downs of her career, her steely determination becomes clear. “The highlights have been going to
the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, winning the English Schools Competition and winning three British Championships. Overcoming so many injuries has been a highlight too. I suffered two double stress fractures in my back, which took me two years to come back from. “I was told it wouldn’t heal and that was really horrible at such a young age. I’ve had six injuries now and
they’ve all been major. I’ve come back from them all and got back to the level I was at before, if not better. “It is really difficult. I was rubbish when I first started again. I knew I had to get over 1.90m but couldn’t get over 1.70m. I’d train all day, until eventually it all clicked. This injury was so major, I wasn’t sure if I’d get back and in my first competition I equalled my personal best of 1.90m. I knew I was on my way back and all the hard work was worth it. I overcame that and I will overcome every injury.” Despite being based at Loughborough University, Pywell isn’t in the same privileged position as many of her contemporaries, with a lack of funding hampering her preparations for London 2012. As well as focusing on her sporting career, the Newark-born athlete works part-time as a personal trainer and at an after school club, but remains positive for the future. “I do struggle a bit because I was taken off the UK funding so I have to support myself but luckily I have a sponsor in London who helps me and I have the best physio in the country, Mark Buckingham. I’ve got a nice structure going into the Olympic Games. “Hopefully I can make the Games and make the final. It will be my first Olympics if I get there, which will be quite daunting. I always seem to jump well in London, though, I don’t know why but hopefully that will continue!” Certainly one to watch in the future, both on and off the track, Steph Pywell is the girl next door with model good looks and the determination and dedication to realise her dreams.
In association with Bikram Yoga.
Club, Coach and Volunteer Education Programme Sept 2011 - July 2012
Looking to improve your club and help it achieve CLUBMARK accreditation? Keen to develop your coaching? Then take a look at our new local programme of workshops running from September 11 - July 12.
• Safeguarding & Protecting Children
HOW K O O B O uk T t.org. rspor
w.l ac.uk e: ww lboro. @ Onlin t r o : lrsp 4 888 Email 09 56 5 1 0 : Tel
• How to Coach Disabled People • Equity in Your Coaching • Coach Manager Training • Come into Coaching • Emergency First Aid for Sport
Find out more about LRS... Find us on Facebook Follow us: LR_Sport www.lrsport.org.uk Our shared VISION: ‘Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland, the most sporting and physically active place in England by 2025’
ONLINE NOW... • Alesana Tuilagi • Abdul Razzaq • George Chuter • Rendall Munroe • Lord Sebastien Coe • Peter Shilton
LOG ON TO WATCH NOW! 47
BREAKING THE CHAINS OF TRANSMISSION. HIV is still spreading in Leicester, Leicestershire and the UK.
Why? It’s simple. Many people have partners that they trust, so they stop using condoms. But, they do not know their HIV status, whether they have HIV or not. People can be infected with HIV for several years and not know about it. It is spread when people have unprotected sex and do not know their HIV status. So, although the partners are faithful, they are still at risk of HIV if they both do not know their status. Perhaps a previous partner has been infected and undiagnosed – the chain doesn’t need to be long. Break the chains of transmission by getting tested – and then look after your HIV status. If you are negative – no HIV, you can make sure you stay negative by using condoms and staying safe. If you are positive, you have HIV, you can stay well by getting the medication and support you need and stay safe by using condoms. www.lass.org.uk. Tel 0116 255 9995 Charity Number 1023914
If you put yourself at risk, make sure you get tested – don’t get caught in the chains of HIV transmission. Get a Rapid HIV test at LASS.
STRETCHING YOUR HORIZONS Warm-up vs. Stretching – The Confusion
Dean Hodgkin investigates what flexibility is, why sports people need it and how they can achieve it. In its simplest terms, flexibility refers to the total range of motion of a joint or group of joints. Flexibility, which differs from person to person and from joint to joint, encompasses all components of the musculoskeletal system, including the connective tissues that largely affect the extent of movement around a given joint. However, extreme range of motion around a joint can present an injury risk, so the goal of all stretching programs is to optimise joint mobility while maintaining joint stability.
Dean Hodgkin was voted Best International Fitness Presenter at the One Body awards in New York and is a former three-time world karate champion. For more hints and tips on fitness checkout his range of workout DVDs at www.deanhodgkin.com
Factors that Influence Flexibility There tends to be a decrease in flexibility with ageing, largely attributed to a loss in elasticity in the connective tissues surrounding the muscles. Due to this loss of joint mobility, older people are more susceptible to injury from vigorous physical activity. Regular stretching exercises can minimise the effect. Females tend to be more flexible than males, generally due to anatomical variations in joint structures. Flexibility is specific to each joint. For example, cricket bowlers demonstrate good flexibility in their upper torsos but are generally stiffer in the legs. An increase in body temperature increases range of motion, whereas lowering body temperature is associated with a decrease in flexibility. Resistance training, in which exercises are executed through a full range of motion may help to improve a person’s flexibility.
The warm-up and stretching part of a training session should not be confused. The warm-up is physical activity that raises the temperature of the blood, muscles, tendons and ligaments. The goal is to prepare the body’s freely movable joint structures for vigorous physical activity while reducing the risk of injury. The warm-up is best accomplished with a full-body rhythmic activity such as a low-to-moderate intensity cycling, walking or jogging. This segment, approximately five minutes in length, should be intense enough to increase body temperature, but not demanding enough to cause fatigue. Stretching exercises, to increase range of motion, are best practised after the session. The temperature of the soft tissues is most likely elevated, making this time ideal for increasing flexibility.
The Benefits of Stretching 1. An increase in functional range of motion 2. Reduction of low back pain 3. Reduction in the incidence and severity of injury 4. Improvement in posture 5. Delay in the onset of muscular fatigue 6. Increase in the level of certain skills
A NEW LEASE OF LIFE
Ifestyle Fitness offers local people the chance to enjoy activities at seven Leicester City Council Leisure Centres for free, as part of their 60 Plus campaign, as well as giving people with existing health problems the chance to change their lifestyle through the GP Referral scheme. In this case study with local Leicester resident, James Hunt, who is over 60 and has been part of the GP Referral scheme, we hear how the facilities and support on offer have transformed his life. After recovering from a series of heart attacks, James was referred to the Heart Smart Group at Leicester’s Spence Street Leisure Centre.
Being referred to the Heart Smart group from the hospital was the best thing to happen to me after having my heart and lung problems. I was a bit apprehensive but there was no need, I was soon made to feel welcome by the staff. They really know their stuff, you work at your own pace and people in the class help you along. April Alcott (pictured above), who takes the class, guides, monitors and advises you all the way through. Being so unfit was a handicap at first but after a month I was feeling much fitter and now I can do most of the exercises. Although my lungs are still a problem, I can ride my bike most days and swim once a week.
Please contact your nearest centre for more information or visit www.leicester.gov.uk/sports www.soarmagazine.co.uk
My story is in no way unique, there are many in my class the same as me. All of them, young and not so young, are treated with the utmost care and respect by the instructors and staff at Spence Street. Before I started at Heart Smart I developed type two diabetes, but I now find that doing my exercises has helped me manage it well. Exercise at the Heart Smart group is important to me, I find that making friends and chatting makes for a good atmosphere. After spending most of my working life in the building trade and being made jobless at the age of 60, I spent a lot of time in front of the TV, which resulted in heart attacks and many weeks in hospital. Now, with April and the gang, I’ve had a new lease of life and must say a very big thank you to April, Kate and all at Heart Smart.
September is Older Persons’ Month in Leicester. Many activities are free for those aged 60 and over who live within the Leicester city boundaries, including… • Fitness Suites • Aerobics • Yoga • Badminton • Squash
• Swimming • Aqua-aerobics • Pilates • Table Tennis
SPLASH As part of the City Mayor’s 100 days programme pledge,
Leicester City Council’s free swim initiative for young City residents aged 16 and under will re-commence from
MONDAY 17TH OCTOBER - FRIDAY 21ST OCTOBER. Take the plunge and stay active and healt hy for
For further details, contact your local leisure centre.
Leicester City Council is working in partnership with Leicester NHS PCT to develop health walks across the city. Natural England defines a health walk as ‘a purposeful, brisk walk undertaken on a regular basis’. Taking part in regular walking can be very beneficial to people’s health, it is free and city residents are now being encouraged to participate in health walk groups. Currently, there are a small number of health walk groups, but a walking co-ordinator will be in post soon to recruit volunteers to be trained as health walk leaders and develop health walk groups across the city, starting from community venues to include leisure centres and children centres, and to work with businesses to offer lunchtime walks for staff. It will be a great opportunity for residents and workers within the city to join different health walks during their lunch breaks and after work to de-stress.
WALK A MILE IN YOUR SHOES WHY WALK? Walking keeps your heart strong and reduces your blood pressure. It is the perfect activity to improve the health of your heart because:
For more information on other health walks across the city please contact the Sports Regeneration Team on 0116 2333127.
• You can do it anywhere and any time • It’s free and you don’t need special equipment • You can make new friends • You can start slowly and build up gently • It helps you manage your weight • It makes you feel good • It gives you more energy • It reduces stress • It helps you sleep better With more than 20 parks and hundreds of open spaces to visit, NHS Leicester City and Leicester City Council are urging residents to
put on their trainers and get walking to make steps in the right direction to a healthier heart. Deb Watson, Director of Public Health for NHS Leicester City and Leicester City Council, said: “Walking is the perfect activity to improve your heart health because it can be done anywhere, it’s free and you don’t require any special equipment. It gives people a chance to get outside, build up their level of fitness at their own pace and make new friends.” One example of a walking group is Let’s Walk Braunstone, who meet at the Stable Block in Braunstone Park at 10.30am on Mondays. For more information, contact Anita Robinson, Parks Officer at Braunstone Park, on 0116 254 8467.
DISCOVER YOUR TEAM’S IDENTITY V
isionaries, dictators, collaborators, micromanagers... how do leaders with such wide-ranging styles, philosophies and approaches all find ways to succeed? In this issue, I will focus on identity. My notion of identity requires an existential approach, one wherein we extract the organisation’s defining and most meaningful qualities and beliefs, including, but not limited to, values, goals, aspirations and legacy. There are more strategic elements in defining one’s identity. In addition to knowing what your organisation wants to accomplish, you have to know how you will achieve it. Consider the 2010 World Cup. Teams with clearly defined identities who were cohesive and aligned, performed well, while those with confused identities and dysfunction performed poorly. Spain and Germany had very successful tournaments and both had clearly defined
identities. Spain with their beautiful possession game and Germany with their high-tempo, expansive, no-fear approach. Identity and style of play are no coincidence. Here is what Germany coach, Joachim Löw, said about his team.
2. Define Your Strategy
“We have to look at our style, our play, our intentions. We thought about what football we wanted to display, what philosophy we wanted to follow, and how we’d implement that. In terms of personal qualities, it is vital that players possess willpower, a sense of commitment, self-confidence and the ability to assert themselves, as well as a character beyond reproach.”
Think of this as your style of play, your game-plan. Leave room to be flexible and adjust when needed.
To better define your own team or organisation’s identity, I offer two suggestions:
1. Know Your Story Who are you? Where did you come from? What do you stand for? How do you want to be thought of? Aim for an authentic description, in the form of a story, about your organisation and what kind of legacy you hope it leaves behind.
How will you win? What tactics will you deploy? What advantages will you leverage? What competitive advantages exist? What vulnerabilities will you need to protect?
Make time to think purposefully about identity. I can’t think of anything much more important or valuable. Let me know what you learn.
For more information on Winning Mind visit: www.thewinningmind.com
Winning Mind’s clients have included... Liverpool FC, US Army Recruiting, J.P. Morgan, New York Rangers, Atlanta Braves, the Chris Evert Tennis Academy and the United States Marine Corps.
0116 255 9633 55
G N I P STOP ? G N I SMOK W
hether you’re thinking about stopping smoking yourself, or you have a friend who needs some pointers, this 5-point list could help make a difference in tackling a habit that is just waiting to be kicked.
1 Exercise is a distraction.
When you’re stopping smoking, the times when you don’t have anything to do are risky. Doing something physical fills the time positively and takes your mind off lighting up.
makes you feel 2 Exercise more alive. Whether it’s from a sense of achievement, or just from the release of endorphins, you buzz that bit more after an exercise session, and that provides protection against sliding back into habitual smoking.
keeps your 3 Exercise metabolic rate up. The more lethargic you are, the more weight you put on. This is a risk when you stop smoking too, because there’s a temptation to pick at sweets and biscuits when you have an urge to smoke. Exercise contributes to effective weight-management.
reminds you to 4 Exercise drink water. No one does physical activity without regularly sipping pure clean water. This is good for flushing out the post-smoking toxins, and a water-bottle mimics the hand-tomouth action that you might miss from smoking.
surrounds you with 5 Exercise health-aware role models. It’s encouraging to see other people working hard to improve their fitness, wherever they are on their journey STOP! is working with Leicester City Council sports and leisure centres to remind you that you are entitled to the benefits of both exercise and stopping smoking. They are your local services. STOP! team members can tell you where your nearest access-point is. Call them on 0116 295 4141 to hear more. If the phones are busy, just keep trying!
STOP! offers: • • • • •
Up to 12 weeks’ support Friendly one to one sessions Times and places to suit you A personalised plan Products that really help
Leicester City Council Sports Centres offer:
n a c e W u o y e v gi ! d n a h a 0116 295 4141
• • • • • •
Swimming Zumba Squash Weights Badminton Fitness equipment
If you want to find out what’s available locally, either for yourself, if you want to stop smoking, or for free training at work on how your team can help to reduce smoking rates in Leicester, call the STOP! team on 0116 295 4141. For more information please visit our dedicated STOP! Smoking web page at: www.soarmgazine.co.uk/ stopsmoking
HELPING LEICESTER STOP SMOKING
PRINCIPLES OF SAQ® TRAINING
With Alan Pearson, Managing Director of SAQ® A number of years ago, as Director of Rugby for Leeds and the Malaysian National Rugby Team, I inherited teams that were small in stature but possessed players with great speed, agility and explosive acceleration. The problem was that when we were drawn into a physical brute force game against bigger opposition, we would invariably be beaten. But, when we played a fast, explosive multi-directional game with minimal mistakes, not only did we win, we won in style and the game was exhilarating and exciting to watch. This is when I started scouring the world in regard to the development of speed, agility and quickness and how it could be made sports specific. The wonderful acts of speed, agility and quickness and how they are applied within games is the difference between winning and losing. In the past, often thought to be a God given gift, it was generally neglected on the training field.
functional sports specific manner. You should train as you mean to play. The SAQ® Continuum was designed to be the foundation of the development of functional multi-directional speed and power. This consists of: •
• Training would consist of long slow running, yet managers wanted players that were fast and explosive. To perform fast, to be multi-directionally explosive and agile you have to train this way, with and without the ball, in a www.soarmagazine.co.uk
Dynamic Flex – warming up on the move, stimulating and preparing the neuro-muscular system for performance. Mechanics of Movement – the development of running form for all directions, including acceleration, deceleration, jumping, turning and side-stepping. Inversion – this is where we speed up the neuro-muscular messages to the muscles, thus increasing the speed of feet and hands, improving agility and control. Accumulation of Potential – bringing together the previous components to develop patterns of movement. Sport can be considered in clusters of movement patterns. Explosion – the development of multi-directional explosive acceleration over the first few yards. Expression of Potential – putting the newly developed movement patterns into a competitive functional game situation.
Today, managers and coaches want players that are quick, fast and explosive - first to the ball, first to press and first into space. Modern science and technology in sport has given coaches the ability to analyse all aspects of the players’ and teams’ movement, speed and contribution in a game. These statistics have underlined that teams who are quicker, faster, more powerful and agile, are the winners.
For more information on SAQ® International visit: www.saqinternational.com
SAQ’s clients have included Barcelona FC, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, the England Rugby Team, Castrol and Nike.
Swim When You’re Winning
Sir Peter Soulsby’s decision to bring back free swims to Leicester made quite a splash this summer. The City Mayor pledged that local children and young people would have the opportunity to swim for free at the City Council’s Leisure Centres throughout the summer holidays as part of his 100 Days Programme, which laid out 100 pledges that he and his cabinet aimed to fulfil within his first 100 days in office. The scheme began on Monday July 18th and ran until the end of the summer break, ensuring that free swimming was available to all young people living in the city, aged 16 and under.
Sir Peter Soulsby explained the decision to bring back free swimming in the city. “Free swimming in Leicester was incredibly popular. We are committed to helping make Leicester a healthy and active city. We wanted to bring back free swims for young people to offer a fun activity that will encourage them, and their families, to stay active and healthy during the summer.” Councillor Piara Singh Clair, Assistant City Mayor, who is responsible for leisure and sport,
added: “I am delighted that so many youngsters have taken up the offer to swim for free. With increasing pressures on family budgets, I’m sure it is a welcome relief for parents facing the challenge of keeping their children entertained.” The City Mayor’s pledge to bring back free swimming will be extended to the schools’ half-term break in October. For more information, and a detailed timetable of all free swimming sessions, visit www.leicester.gov.uk/freeswims
Sessions were offered at the following Leicester City Council pools: • • • • • • •
Aylestone Leisure Centre Braunstone Leisure Centre Cossington Street Sports Centre Evington Leisure Centre Leicester Leys Leisure Centre New Parks Leisure Centre Spence Street Sports Centre
Over six weeks during the summer, 30,000 free swims were taken up by young people. In the first week, 4,400 young people swam for free and in the second, the number increased to 5,465.
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GFORCE supplier of choice for Corporate Sevens again.
The 2011 Corporate Rugby Sevens
“Although we were not competing last
company to Grahame Gardner Ltd.
Tournament held at Welford Road
year we all really enjoyed the event and
Harry Greenlees, son of Gymphlex’s
followed on from the success of last
decided we should take the challenge
founder, captained Leicester Tigers
year, featuring top teams from some
and take to the pitch for this years
and gained International recognition
of the biggest names in UK business.
event. Unfortunately my playing days
with Scotland. As well as being
Once again the event organisers
are a thing of the past, but my boys
the man who launched the Tigers
selected Gymphlex to create the
did not let me down. They performed
Supporters Club, Harry also introduced
bespoke playing kit from their esteemed
exceptionally well – it must have had
Sevens rugby to England from his
GFORCE collection – and just to show
something to do with those wonderful
playing days north of the border.
how well the garments perform, the GFORCE team went on to scoop top honours by winning the cup! Held on Friday the 3rd June, the
shirts they were wearing. Well done Tigers Events for once again organising a fantastic event, and well done the GFORCE team for what can only be
Launched in 2009, GFORCE presents high quality professional sporting apparel to the Club, Team and School Sports Market with quick
Corporate Sevens featured teams from
described as an incredible performance!”
Caterpillar, Hilton, Jaguar, HSBC and
The GFORCE team fought their way
orders of just 10. GFORCE supplies
up through the qualifying stages,
to clubs throughout the UK including
going on to secure a confident victory
Cricket, Dance, Football, Hockey,
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Nine of Leicester’s young athletes recently returned from the International Children’s Games with an impressive seven medal haul. It was the 45th annual International Children’s Games, which welcome young people aged 12 to 15 years-old, from all over the world, to compete in an Olympic-style competition. The Games, which are recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and are the biggest of their kind in the world, provided a chance for a selection of the city’s elite athletes to get a flavour of top level international competition. Taking part in three events; swimming, badminton and golf, the talented youngsters competed over a five-day period between August 3rd and 8th in Lanarkshire, Scotland.
Golf Adam Khan Swimming Harriot Cooper, Ellis Kube , Elliot Tointon, Harriot West Badminton Lucy Gilkes, Stefan Roy, Megan Sell, Mantej Singh Bahra
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT All of the athletes were highly recommended by their respective national governing bodies for consistently high standards of performance. The whole team impressed, but it was Leicester’s young swimmers that repeatedly hit the podium, claiming four silver medals and three bronze. Each of the swimmers, came home with a medal, as Harriet Cooper won three silver, Harriet West two bronze, Ellis Kube a silver and Elliot Tointon a bronze. Golfer, Adam Khan finished fifth, only just outside of the medal places, and the badminton players reached the quarterfinals of a highly competitive competition. Elite athletes from all over the world, including the USA, China, Germany and Iraq, took part in the event as a total of 1,300 competitors and coaches represented 77 cities from 33 countries.
It was the first time that Leicester had taken part in the event and Surj Virk, Leicester City Council’s Sports Regeneration Manager, who attended the Games, talked of his experiences. “It’s inspirational for young people to represent their city in an international games and it’s an event with real prestige. I spoke to one of the coaches from the Cleveland, USA team, and he said they’ve been competing at the Games for five years and have only won four medals, so for our team to win seven in their first attempt is a fantastic achievement. “As well as our young swimmers, badminton players and golfer, I’d also like to pay tribute to the coaches and parents who volunteered their time, in particular, Sajid Khan, Suzie Bown and Anna Gilkes.” The next International Children’s Games is to be held in 2012 in South Korea. Further details on this year’s event can be found at www.icg-lanarkshire2011.com
Read our exclusive interview with the ultimate spin doctor, Alastair Campbell, on page 76.
BE INSPIRED BY LEICESTER’S PARALYMPIANS Inspire LeicesterShire aims to maximise the benefits of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games for the people of Leicester and Leicestershire. We believe that London 2012 will be a Games for everyone. With the opening of the 2012 Paralympic Games a little under a year away, now is a good time to highlight Leicestershire’s Paralympic athletes and promote the many sporting opportunities available across Leicestershire for disabled people. Thursday September 8th is International Paralympic Day and tickets for the London 2012 Paralympics went on sale from Friday September 9th. This will be your opportunity to be part of the biggest show on earth and witness the fantastic talents and skills of the world’s top disabled athletes.
Some of Leicestershire’s Paralympic athletes from the past, present and future described what the Paralympics and sport means to them… my main ambition to win the gold medal in London and to keep pushing my world record.” Dan Greaves, Paralympic discus silver medallist and world record holder. (main above pic)
“One year to go and the thought of competing in London is becoming overwhelming. Sport has had such a huge influence on my life and I can’t think of anything I would rather be doing. If I’m selected to swim for Great Britain in London, I would be the proudest person alive, it’s my ultimate aspiration.” Michael Reeve, potential Paralympic visually impaired swimmer. (above) “Representing Great Britain was a major highlight and it is now
“I was privileged to compete at the 1992 Paralympic Games, which was a truly unforgettable experience. I would like to see more disabled people involved in sport at a local level.” Jayant Mistry, four-time Paralympian and Wimbledon Champion. (above)
Find out more about all of these areas of activity and more at www.inspireleics.org.uk Follow Inspire LeicesterShire on Twitter and Facebook
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ome things are just meant to be and once cricketing legend Paul Nixon announced that his last competitive display in domestic cricket would come in the finals day of the Friends Life t20 tournament; you knew that Leicestershire’s name was written on the trophy. After two stunning and gutsy performances against Lancashire and Somerset, ‘Nico’ and the boys were crowned champions and became the first county to win the t20 tournament on three occasions. Soar Photo were careful to avoid the spray of champagne as they captured the magic of the day… In association with:
For more information on soarphoto visit:: www.soarphoto.co.uk
WANN DIRECTION One of the more interesting characters to have worn Leicester’s Mayoral regalia in recent years, Councillor Rob Wann has experienced all the highs and lows that local politics has to offer, but remains determined to continue serving the city he loves. Soar Magazine met with the Lord Mayor in the impressive surroundings of his town hall office to talk through his political journey, the challenges and privileges associated with the role and his plans for the mayoral year.
Rob was appointed as Leicester’s Lord Mayor in May and is extremely proud of the position. “I found out two years ago, after 25 years of being a councillor through some pretty tough times. Making decisions on De Montfort Hall, Phoenix Square and Aylestone Meadows, was particularly tough, but decisions have to be made. “After all the years you’ve served as a politician, to have a year off, be apolitical and represent Leicester and its citizens is a massive honour
and one that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. “I’m really enjoying it. This is a very busy role with a lot of ceremonial and official engagements. The main thrust is visiting charities and voluntary organisations and saying thank you on behalf of everybody in the city.” A veteran of the City and County Council, Wann has dedicated his life to local politics. He spoke passionately about what drew him to the career and recounted some of the highlights.
“I was a county councillor for 13 years and have been a city councillor for over 25 years. You begin a career in politics because want to make a difference and you want to serve. I wanted to see change in the area that I lived. It’s all about social justice and making sure people get a good deal. “Being Chairman of the Police Authority was a big job and I was Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority. It’s a huge responsibility and all of a sudden this rugby playing lad from Braunstone was chairing the Police! I did that for seven years and went onto the National Police Forum. “I was Chief Whip at county level and, in the city, I’ve chaired leisure, covering things like the closure Granby Halls because of the asbestos. In this term, there are a lot of big decisions with the budgets. One of the great achievements is that we’ve managed to retain frontline services.” After the country was hit by riots in August, the response of the people of Leicester provided a source of great pride for the Lord Mayor. “The amount of work we do embracing a multi-cultural city helps. A few months ago we had the EDL (English Defence League) demonstrations and we handled that. I think the citizens were absolutely fantastic and the message was that we won’t have that in Leicester, we’re above that. “The way the police dealt with the recent riots in Leicester was amazing, we handled it correctly. We had an operation that involved the youths being taken home and in some cases their parents were absolutely shocked. I started off
“I’m extremely proud of Leicester and I don’t see me ever leaving.” being extremely disappointed but finished up quite proud of how we dealt with it and the clean-up operation.” A huge sports fan and a keen horse rider, Wann believes that sport has a major role to play in society, outlined by his work on the Football Investment Project and the Sports Partnership Trust. “I watch the Tigers, the cricket team and Leicester City and sport is one of the major things in Leicester and it brings people together. I was extremely lucky to have been able to go through the Football Foundation for £11m of investment to help provide the new football facilities. We also started a Sports Partnership Trust, which includes Leicester City, Tigers and representatives from the other clubs, and that’s working very well. We’ve now got a direct link to the clubs and they can play a huge role in promoting health and wellbeing.” Rob Wann is a man clearly passionate about his city, whose pride in being Lord Mayor is as conspicuous as his smile, but what does Leicester mean to him?
“Home. It always amazes me what a friendly and great city this is. The people are brilliant, whether I’m at the working men’s club in Braunstone or a temple in the city, there’s just that sense of home. I’m extremely proud of Leicester and I don’t see me ever leaving.”
The Lord Mayor: A Day in the Life…
8.30am - Picked up after getting home from last night’s engagement at 1.15am 9am - At John Lewis with the kids from Chernobyl 11am - Media interview and paperwork 12pm - Correspondence meeting 1pm – Visit to local care home for the elderly 3pm - Meeting with the Police Commander for the City Evening - Event at the Indian High Commission in Birmingham until 11pm The Lord Mayor has chosen The Royal Anglian Regiment Benevolent Charity for his 2011/12, for more information see page 68.
There are Bronze, Silver and Gold Lord Mayor’s Appeal Supporters’ Packages, for businesses to sign up for. The cost of the packages start at £250. Details are outlined below.
Bronze - £250 •
THE LORD MAJOR’S APPEAL Leicester’s Lord Mayor, Rob Wann, has chosen The Royal Anglian Regiment Benevolent Charity for his 2011/12 Appeal. Councillor Wann explained the thinking behind the decision and encouraged local businesses to back the cause. “I am delighted, with the support of Helen Gray, to have launched my Charity Appeal, which I am dedicating to the Royal Anglian Regiment Benevolent Charity. “The Royal Anglian Regiment, our County Infantry Regiment, have a proud history and have The Royal Leicestershire Regiment, ‘The Tigers’, as their forebears.”
Window Sticker - “Supporter of the Royal Anglian Regiment Lord Mayor’s Appeal” - To be displayed at premises Two private invites to the Territorial Army centre for lunch after Remembrance Sunday The right to use the appeal logo on your headed paper Appeal promotional material
Silver - £500 The appeal will help support Leicester and Leicestershire soldiers from the Regiment who are injured in the line of duty, many with long term disabilities and those who fall on hard times when they leave the Service, and the Lord Mayor is keen to raise awareness and generate support. “I would make a particular plea to businesses to support this appeal to ensure that the sacrifice of so many of our brave young soldiers from this county are making now, will never be forgotten. I thank you for any support you can provide.”
As Bronze, plus… • Royal Anglian plaque • Two tickets to the Lord Mayor’s Charity Mess Ball in April 2012 • “Lord Mayor’s Appeal” lapel badges
Gold - £750 As Bronze and Silver, plus… • A further two tickets to the Lord Mayor’s Charity Mess Ball in April 2012 • A further two private invites to the TA centre for lunch after Remembrance Sunday • A further four “Lord Mayor’s Appeal” lapel badges Donations can be sent to: Lord Mayor’s Royal Anglian Regiment Benevolent Charity Appeal The Royal Anglian Regiment TA Centre, Ulverscroft Road Leicester, LE4 6BY
You can also donate on line at www.justgiving.com/ lordmayorsappealranglian If you require any further information or wish to invite the Lord Mayor to attend an event please contact the Civic Support Office, 2nd Floor, Town Hall, Leicester, LE1 9BG, call 0116 2232000 or email lord.mayor@ leicester.gov.uk
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Leicester-born singer/song writer Jersey Budd is back in the limelight after making headlines for all of the right reasons following the release of his debut studio album ‘Wonderlands’ in 2008, which received critical acclaim. The last time Soar Magazine spoke to the talented musician, he was in the process of writing material for his eagerly-awaited follow-up. However, one year on, and several appearances at Leicester City’s King Power Stadium later, Jersey is back in the studio, back performing live and back in the spotlight as the release date for his second offering draws closer. It signals a new dawn for Budd, who admits that the album – whilst keeping true to the sounds he made his own on his debut record – takes his music back to it’s most raw. “Over the past few months, I have been demoing the second album and working with various producers to find the right one to work with. We’ll start to record the album later in the year, and we’re hoping that we can release it at the beginning of next year. “The album will be different to Wonderlands and I could tell that from the moment I started writing it, as I had more influences coming through. We have stripped it all back. The first album was very heavy with strings, but this album www.soarmagazine.co.uk
FROM WONDERLANDS TO DREAMLAND has more of a raw rock and roll feel. There will be the sound of dirty guitars and it’s the kind of sound I want; keep the solos in, keep the choruses and keep the melodies – but take away some of the soft beauty of the strings.” As Jersey talks of working on his new album, he generates an air of excitement. It’s the voice of a man who truly loves music and is happiest when he is recording and performing. Things are about to get busy for Budd. In the weeks leading up to recording his next album, the singer, who grew up in Countesthorpe, has released a
charity single with some of his heroes, whilst also preparing for a return to the stage. In recent weeks, Jersey’s cover of the classic ‘When You’re Smiling’, made famous by Louis Armstrong and an anthem of his beloved Leicester City Football Club, has finally been released. Jersey was joined by some of City’s stars who recorded vocals for the track, which will now be sold to raise money for charity. “We actually recorded the track back when City reached the play-offs with Nigel Pearson as manager. When the lads came in, it was a surreal moment. I’ve met the Gallaghers and Paul Weller – my music icons, but to meet my football icons was strange. Alan Birchenall was also there, and I felt I had to get them motivated to do it all. However, they all got it and were great. I still have the pictures of the day on my wall. Paul Gallagher, Richie Wellens and Steve Howard were all fantastic. “I’m delighted it’s been released. It’s been a long time coming, but the main thing is that people buy it and help raise as much money as possible for some great local charities. The money raised is going to ten different charities under a banner called ‘One In A Million’. The initial reception has been great, with even Manchester United and Leeds fans letting me know that they like the song. I’m proud of it and I hope that people support it.” Jersey’s musical passion comes to the fore when he’s on stage performing, and fans will soon be able to see him in his element once again. In what will be his first full gig for over two years, and with a new band in tow, Jersey will be playing material from his eagerly awaited second album, as well as tracks from ‘Wonderlands’, at Leicester’s
Auditorium on Saturday October 22nd.
Smiling’ at the end of the night with me!”
“You have no idea how much I am looking forward to this gig. Most of it will be new; a new band, new songs. I’m excited to finally be playing my new stuff, which feels like a natural evolution from my first album. It’s going to be a cracking gig and I want everybody to be there in what will be an intimate surrounding.
It’s quite easy to believe that Jersey’s return to the stage in Leicester next month could be the start of something very special for one of the city’s most talented performers.
“Maybe I’ll get on the phone to Paul Gallagher and see if he’s available to come and belt out ‘When You’re
Tickets for Jersey Budd’s one-off gig at the Auditorium on Saturday October 22nd are available now at priced at £8. Fans can also follow Jersey on Twitter, by searching for
“I’m excited to finally be playing my new stuff”
FRESH, DELICIOUS FOOD – IT’S AS SIMPLE AS THAT
You would expect food of such high quality to be served at prices to match, but that is not the case, as Nick explained. “We have great offers. Our lunch deal allows people an item off our lunch menu, plus a soft drink, served in ten minutes, for just £5. Alternatively, if you have more time, you can enjoy two courses for £11.95. We also have exclusive offers through Facebook and Twitter” Standing strong amongst the competitive nature of Belvoir Street’s local bars and restaurants is the innovative Fat Cat Café Bar, renowned across Leicester for its masterful cocktails and relaxed atmosphere. Fat Cat Café Bar now offers a sumptuous menu of dishes, freshly prepared and cooked, without the need to wait. Using fresh local produce, the venue also provides a fast service, but with an emphasis on creating food that tastes as good as it looks – and they are doing it in style. Manager Nick Taylor, talked about his vision for Fat Cats. “For anybody who may have come to Fat Cat Café Bar before, the
menu has changed a lot. We are using fresh produce and keeping it simple, serving burgers, wraps and sandwhiches - good hearty English food. “We still offer à la carte dishes, but we have tailored a lot of our specials and lunchtime menu to people that want something simple, fresh and delicious”.
With service times between 11am and 10pm from Monday to Saturday and 12pm to 7pm on Sunday, and an exciting reputation as a fantastic bar for all customers, their fresh quality food is taking Fat Cat Café Bar to a whole new level.
The food delivers on the bar’s promise, with Nick showcasing some of his simplest dishes for Soar Magazine’s benefit. Whilst complexity may be sacrificed, the food makes up for it in taste. The basic beef burger is cooked to perfection, remaining tender and yet full of flavour with seasoning to accompany the taste of the freshly cooked and prepared beef. The chicken salad wrap is presented magnificently, providing a fresh and flavoursome experience, whilst chocoholics will be satisfied for days by the homemade chocolate brownie.
For more infomation... FAT CAT CAFE BAR, 41 BELVOIR STREET, LEICESTER, LE1 6SL, 0116 2553610 www.fatcatcafebars.co.uk
FAT CAT cafe www.soarmagazine.co.uk
OFFERS SUNDAY SESSION Come down to Fat Cat Café Bar every Sunday, where selected items on our menu are available on a 2-4-1 basis. So why not enjoy two delicious meals and pay for just one? And that’s not all; 2-4-1 Sundays also include some of our fantastic cocktails – providing the perfect way to end your weekend! This offer is available all day every Sunday.
20% OFF TIGERS FANS Leicester Tigers fans can either enjoy a fantastic start or finish to their match day, with everything on Fat Cat Café Bar’s menu available at 20% off! Just present your match ticket for the Tigers’ game – whether the lads are playing at home or away from Welford Road – to receive your discount.
CHRISTMAS MENU & PARTY RESERVATIONS 2TH NOVEMBER - 24TH DECEMBER 2011
BOOKING EARLY FOR CHRISTMAS IS THE BEST WAY TO AVOID DISSAPOINTMENT. WHETHER IT’S A CHANCE to say goodbye to university friends before the break, or celebrate with family or work colleagues, Fat Cat Café Bar is the perfect place to hold your Christmas get together. When dining from our Christmas menu between Thursday November 24th and Wednesday December 7th, customers will receive half a bottle of house wine, per person, FREE! We have a delicious Christmas menu on offer, with some great twists on old favourites and something different for those who have had their fill of turkey.
the soarpoint with ALASTAIR CAMPBELL Words by Jon Reeves
ne of the biggest names in modern day politics and one of the most influential characters in Tony Blair’s Labour government wasn’t even a politician, but as Blair’s Director of Communications and Strategy for six years, Alastair Campbell, was at the forefront of many of the decisions that shaped both domestic and foreign policy... Arguably the most eminent and powerful spin doctor in the history of British politics, the 54-year-old has already led a full and varied life and enjoyed a successful yet often controversial career. As a writer, journalist and media strategist, Campbell has left an indelible mark on the landscape of UK politics. Some of Alastair’s formative years were spent in Leicester after moving from Yorkshire as a youngster. In an exclusive interview with Soar Magazine, Campbell recounted his time in the city, as well as giving an insight into the highs and lows of both his career and his private life. Jon Reeves: Firstly Alastair, what are your memories of living in Leicester? Alastair Campbell: My first memories were not great. I grew
up in Yorkshire but we had to move when my Dad, who was a vet, had a bad accident. He had to leave private practice and joined the Ministry of Agriculture and got posted to Leicester. We moved in December so I remember it being cold and having to start school at City of Leicester Boys Grammar, mid-term, which is never easy. I got into it after a while but, I must be honest, I always preferred the north. JR: You’re a big football fan and supporter of Burnley, did you ever watch Leicester City? AC: I did go to see Leicester a few times, usually when Burnley were there. I went to loads of Burnley games and at school I refused to take my Burnley scarf off in lessons. One of my German teachers also supported Burnley - Mr Mason. I remember going to see City v Arsenal and I saw my first skinhead.
Lenny Glover lived near us in Evington and he used to walk his red setter by our house every day, so I always took an interest in his marks out of ten in the papers. JR: Who was your biggest influence growing up, both personally and professionally? AC: Personally it was probably my parents and other relatives. Professionally I can point to a lot of journalists, mainly on the Mirror, including my editor Richard Stott who also edited my diaries. Sadly he died a few years ago. JR: Did you always want to be involved in media and have you ever had any desire to become a politician? AC: I have next to no journalism in my background but I always loved words and loved writing. My first ever media interview was with Radio Leicester when I was a student but they felt I needed formal training. I did that with the Mirror Group which then owned local papers in the West Country. I got into political journalism in the 80s and was very friendly with Tony Blair from when he became an MP. I have often thought about standing for Parliament myself but in the last four elections, there have always been other pressures - Tony, Gordon Brown, my family preventing me at that particular time.
JR: You’ve been a writer, a journalist and worked in politics, but which roles have given you most satisfaction? AC: Hard to say. I look back on what I did with Tony Blair and I am happy I did it but if you read my diaries it is clear I wasn’t happy a lot of the time. I got a big buzz out of what we did in Northern Ireland and Kosovo. I never enjoyed the election campaigns but I know I made a difference. I got a big kick out of writing my first novel, All in the Mind, which opened up a whole new area of activity for me, campaigning in the field of mental illness. JR: Has talking and writing openly about your battles with mental illness and addiction helped you deal with those issues? AC: Definitely. I have never regretted being open. I think as a society we need to get to a position where we can be as open about mental health as physical health. Only then can we end the taboo, the stigma and the discrimination.
JR: You’ve worked with some big characters over the years. Which have been the most formidable and most impressive in action? AC: Tony is the most impressive UK politician I met, Clinton probably the foreign politician I liked best. In sport it would be Lance Armstrong and Sir Alex Ferguson. Alex is a close friend and a great guy. JR: Which professional achievements have given you the most pride over the years and what are your biggest regrets? AC: Probably helping Labour win three elections, helping Tony Blair regarding Kosovo and Ireland and also the team I built. I regret that my own relations with the media became so bad, culminating in the row with the BBC during which David Kelly took his life, and also that my partner and kids paid a price for my obsession with doing the job in the way I did. JR: Is it frustrating that Tony Blair’s reign seems to be
inextricably linked to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and do you think that will always be the case, or will history go on to remember him for his political achievements? AC: History is not the same thing as passing and current media moods. History will look at Ireland, Bank of England independence, minimum wage, Sure Start, the biggest school and hospital building programme, devolution, and civil partnerships. I could go on and on. I also believe Tony’s foreign policy will be judged more kindly in the future. JR: What do you make of the phone-hacking revelations and News International’s reaction? AC: The revelations are bad for them and for the press as a whole. Their handling of it has been woeful. I hope that what emerges from all this is a new settlement that sees politicians and journalists doing their jobs without fear or favour. The beneficiaries of that will be the public.
“I believe Tony’s foreign policy will be judged more kindly in the future.” www.soarmagazine.co.uk
“I regret that my own relations with the media became so bad.”
JR: You do a lot of charity work. Being able to have that kind of involvement with organisations like Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research must be one of the better by-products of celebrity? That and getting to play football alongside Diego Maradona… AC: Playing with Maradona at Soccer Aid was unbelievable. I did a speech on happiness at Birmingham University recently and said the week of that event was one of the
happiest of my life. I loved every minute of it. I work mainly for two charities - LLR because my best friend and his daughter both died of leukaemia and mental health campaigns like Time to Change. JR: How do you relax away from work? Is sport is a big part of your leisure time? AC: I am writing this on an exercise bike! I cycle most days, run fairly regularly and play in charity football matches. JR: Finally, Alastair, what are your remaining ambitions? AC: I would like one of my novels to be made into a film. I would like to think I have one more big job in me but I am not in a hurry. Oh, and I would like to be manager of Burnley FC. I have finally given up on the idea I might play for them.
Management, though - yes I could do that. Perhaps Sven could put in a word!
Even for a man that has already achieved so much, perhaps football management might be just out of reach for Alastair Campbell, but a return to the forefront of UK politics is far from out of the question… watch this space.
EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT ...
Walking around Leicester’s vibrant Braunstone Gate, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to watering holes or locations to feast. However, there is one venue that caters for both of the above and delivers much more, whatever the time or day.
Natterjacks Bar and Kitchen offers delicious food, a plethora of beverages and an environment which suits everyone, whether you are looking for an energetic night out, a relaxed meal, a quick bite to eat or simply somewhere to grab a cup of coffee. Presented with an accreditation at the 2011 Best Bar None Awards, Natterjacks takes its visual inspiration from classy ski bars, New York diners, continental venues and traditional England at its heartiest, creating an experience www.soarmagazine.co.uk
which is sure to generate a buzz every time you visit. From the moment you enter, Natterjacks makes an overwhelming impression. Smooth lighting, classy décor and a variety of sounds create a relaxing atmosphere, whilst the bar’s friendly team of staff ensure your experience is enjoyable, as both students and permanent Leicestershire residents are catered for. Mouth-watering food is available with something to satisfy your appetite at whatever time of day. Whether you’re waking up after a heavy night and need that allimportant breakfast, or crave a Sunday roast dinner, Natterjacks delivers. As well as homemade burgers, and juicy steaks, favourites such as pies, curries, chilli and warming winter casseroles are on the menu. Natterjacks dub Wednesdays ‘West End Wednesday’ and create a whole new flavour and experience for visitors. An incredible menu includes something of an American theme, with nachos, chilli dogs and mini-burgers partnered alongside various flavours of popcorn and
Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. And, if that wasn’t enough to get your mouth watering and eyes bulging, selected cocktails are available at three for £6. It provides the perfect night out, especially for the student residents of the West End, with everything available at affordable prices. All students are entitled to a regular discount all year round, even more so on ‘West End Wednesday’, whilst non-students can also benefit by gaining a West End VIP card. Drink is undoubtedly as important as food, and Natterjacks has much to offer. From draught and bottled beers, such as Corona, Peroni and Singha to fine wines and champagnes, the bar also boasts an experienced cocktail team, who deliver an exciting range of flavoursome concoctions as well as twists on classic mixes. The extensive menus are designed by Ryan Tailor and Andy Groves. Popular choices include the Cherry Almond Mojito, Passionfruit Lynchberg and Mclovin. On Sundays, the venue provides an ideal setting for family roast dinners, with a variety of roasts served between 12pm and 6pm.
See page 82 for special offers at Natterjacks like rugby, football, tennis, golf and athletics.
All food is locally sourced and of the highest quality, delivering on presentation and full-on flavour, with desserts and dishes, such as paté, soups and lasagnes, all home made. A variety of homemade burgers and juicy steaks are available Monday through to Saturday, with food served from 11am until 9pm Monday to Thursday, 12pm to 7pm on Friday and from 11am until 7pm at weekends. With autumn just around the corner, Natterjacks are set to unveil a new menu incorporating traditional home-cooked classics and fresh dishes from around the globe. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of live music, which includes acoustic sessions, bands, open-mic nights and specialist DJs. Sporting events are also regularly screened, such as major tournaments and international competitions in sports
Natterjacks offers an incredible variety for customers, but is also an integral business within the Leicester community. The venue hosts various charity events, including quiz nights in aid of Wishes4Kids, hosted by Leicester City Club Ambassador, Alan Birchenall, whilst also supporting Rainbows, LOROS and ProstAid. A special value filters throughout the company, which is run by Julie Gundry. Julie’s father, Tony Lander, was previously a director of Leicester City Football Club - another organisation close to Natterjacks. The venue has held the club’s Christmas party last year – something available to all customers.
Natterjacks incorporates everything that is great about Leicester. A venue rich in culture and with something for everybody, it is a place that needs to be experienced first hand to be fully appreciated. All of this plus much, much more.. • Speciality coffee & homemade cake • Freshly blended smoothies & shakes • Free Wi-fi • Heated outside decking area • Group bookings available • The bar also sponsor Leiceser City Academy and England under 19 star George Taft
City legend Birchenall, who is also an ambassador for Natterjacks, gave his backing. “It really is a fantastic place. Very rarely can you go to a place and it be a perfect setting for everything, whatever time of day, but Natterjacks have got it absolutely spot on. The work they do with other local organisations and charities shows the fantastic people they have working there.”
52A Braunstone Gate, Leicester LE3 5LG 0116 2553380 www.natterjacksbar.com firstname.lastname@example.org
FREE DESSERT or GLASS OF HOUSE WINE Enjoy a FREE delicious dessert or a glass of our house wine when you order one of our special Sunday Roasts. Offer is limited to one voucher per-person. Natterjacks Bar and Kitchen reserve the right to withdraw this promotional offer at any time.
TWO PITCHERS OF DRAUGHT BEER or COCKTAIL ON US! With any Christmas bookings of
Planning your Christmas get-together? Why not join us at Natterjacks and you can enjoy two pitchers of one of our selected draught beers or cocktails for FREE!
TEN people or more Offer is limited to one voucher per-booking of ten persons or more. Natterjacks Bar and Kitchen reserve the right to withdraw this promotional offer at any time.
4 FOR 3 ON OUR FULL ENGLISH BREAKFASTS Offer valid on Saturdays and Sundays only (11am – 12pm). Offer limited to one voucher per-booking of four persons. Includes a complimentary cup of tea or coffee
Planning your Christmas PRE-MATCH OFFER FORget-together? LEICESTER CITY
Why not join us at Natter& TIGERS SUPPORTERS jacks and you can enjoy Natterjacks’ MADE two pitchersHOME of one of our BURGER with fries andor a pint* selected draught beers cocktails for FREE!
£7.95 * Selected draught
Natterjacks Bar and Kitchen reserve the right to withdraw this promotional offer at any time.
Natterjacks Bar and Kitchen reserve the right to withdraw this promotional offer at any time.
Forwww.soarmagazine.co.uk more information see pages 80 & 81