Thursday, 4 November 2010

Good Intentions

First of all, welcome back to ShareSport blog. For those of you don't know who I am, I'm the editor of our fledgling magazine and today's blog is, hopefully, the first step on a long and successful road for me and my team, who hope to bring our magazine to the forefront of online sports publications.

Anyone who would have logged on to the BBC Sport website this morning would have already seen the main headline of the morning so far surrounding England's World Cup 2018 bid.

BBC Sport understands that England's bid has been "significantly harmed" by the newspaper allegations made by The Sunday Times, that two of the FIFA committee members were willing to sell off their vote for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments.

This sort of incident follows a string of allegations that at times reek of hypocrisy by our national newspapers who have been well known for reporting stories regardless of their ramifications in areas that, they claim, they support. Case in point, England and the World Cup.

I'm sure that, for most, memories of disappointment still linger following England’s abject performance in the 2010 World Cup. This sense of failure is fostered by the sense of optimism that surrounds the England team going into every major event, but unlike other major events in the past - with the exception of Euro 96, perhaps - a sense of destiny seemed heightened ten fold, and who were the main co-conspirators for this hype and expectation? The media. Most notably the national press.

The national press didn't just close themselves off to just using the print media either. Television adverts appeared with former England manager Terry Venables singing "I believe" in an advertisement for The Sun, constant pull outs, magazine articles, public appearances, all building to a crescendo of expectation that even the most experienced of England fans couldn't help but get caught up in.

But cast your minds back a few months before the team had even landed in South Africa, when The News of the World revealed that the then England captain John Terry had had an affair with the former partner of a former team mate and fellow England international, Wayne Bridge.

Subsequently Terry lost his captaincy, the England camp, momentarily, was thrown into disarray and manager Fabio Cappello - who, let's face it, had had a comfortable, at best, ride so far as England manager - had a major decision to make and a camp that, so close to a major finals, had a crack that could fester into a major split.

Fortunately, on this occasion, Bridge took the high road and retired from international football, Cappello stripped Terry of his captaincy in a meeting at Wembley that lasted a matter of seconds and the issue eventually got buried under a tsunami of optimism, but not until every national newspaper reported the incident to death.

This incident is just one example of many that have gone before it where the national press shows how fickle it can really be.

You only have to look back to the previous World Cup in 2006, and look at the sting campaign that caught out Sven Goran Erickson just months before the England team set off for South Korea and Japan. Again, with the team saddled with the expectation of a nation the same national newspaper - on this occasion it's sister paper, The News of the World - being the catalyst in some sort of ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ agenda.

The ultimate goal of a newspaper, obviously, is to sell, and stories like these that grace the front pages as well as the back pages of the paper will get copies sold, but when you see articles like those that followed England’s exit out of the 2010 World Cup, headlines like "You've let your country down" adorning the front page, you have to question the right of the press to criticise when they are the first in the queue to bring the whole thing crashing down.

These incidents are normally synonymous with the tabloids, with the broadsheets like The Times, The Guardian and The Telegraph tending to be thought of as on a higher moral plane than the rest, but the exposé on the FIFA delegates by The Sunday Times has potentially gone one better than the tabloids had ever managed before, potentially throwing a spanner in the works of a tournament England haven't even got close to getting to yet.

It could be argued that what The Sunday Times found when investigating these is to the benefit of football's governing body, FIFA. Exposing corrupt individuals that have no place in the running of the beautiful game. However, FIFA, under the tutelage of the mercurial Sepp Blatter, is far from a straight edge governing body. Whereas we may see this incident as a positive, drawing out the corrupt and the irresponsible, the rest of the FIFA 'family' may see it another way, with one member of the 2018 bid team suggesting that "FIFA members feel they are being persecuted by the British media."

'You don't crap where you eat.' A blunt turn-of-phrase which best sums up this saga. The Sunday Times' intentions may have been good, but this has to go down as yet another own goal by the British press.

Considering the amount of pressure and expectation that is generated by our national press, you would think that they would do what they can to assist the team they laud so often and expect so much from. But as Blatter intimated last Friday, "one can ask whether such an action is appropriate, trying to set traps for people. It is a deeply rooted problem."

For once, I agree with him.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Freelance Flintoff

Written by Dan Etchells.

Andrew Flintoff’s decision to reject an England contract has caused quite a stir in the cricketing world.

You can certainly see why he doesn’t want to be tied to the England and Wales Cricket Board as it gives him the best of both worlds. He can pick and choose which games he plays for England and can also compete in the various Twenty20 franchise competitions around the world.

Nevertheless, there has been a lot of scepticism surrounding his decision to turn down a £30,000 a year contract. You would have to question whether it’s fair for Flintoff to miss the less glamorous one day internationals and then just walk back into the side for the 50-over World Cup and the World Twenty 20. The player sacrificed in favour of Flintoff will surely have something to say about it.

But by the same token how can you leave out arguably England’s finest player, when ready and available? Flintoff is probably the only player who could get possibly get away with turning down a contract because of his stature within the England team. Becoming a freelance cricketer doesn’t seem as though it will catch on because for most other players it could prove a costly for their England careers.

One thing you must admire about Flintoff’s decision is that he’s turned down a massive £30,000. Yes he has a £1 million contract with the Indian Premier League side Chennai Super Kings, however, £30,000 is a lot of money and Flintoff has prioritised the prolonging of his career over that.

At the moment Flintoff is recovering from knee surgery and is set to be back in action when England tour Bangladesh in February. He obviously feels that at this stage of his career he can make his own decisions about when to play and when to rest. Having played international cricket for 11 years he knows his own capabilities and doesn’t need the ECB to manage his schedule.

There’s no doubt that his decision is a risky one and if the England coach Andy Flower believes that it could have an affect on the unity of the squad, then it could backfire and bring a premature end to a glittering international career. He’s made his decision and will just have to wait and see whether it proves to be a good one.

Fab-ulous Turnaround!

Written by Jamie Holt.

What a difference 2 years make. For it was a rainy November night back in 2007 that England, led by Steve McClaren, capitulated at home to Croatia 3-2, and failed to qualify for their first major tournament for 14 years.

Not since USA 1994 had England and its fans felt as dejected - until a certain well disciplined Italian stepped into what many considered the most pressurised job in world football.

F.A Chief Executive, Brian Barwick, keen to avoid the circus that culminated in Steve McClaren’s appointment in 2006, quickly set his sights on the outgoing Real Madrid coach Fabio Capello.

Having just won La Liga with Los Blancos, Capello was sacked by Madrid for being too negative, a criticism labelled on him throughout his time at A.C Milan, where he remarkably won 4 Serie A’s in 5 seasons in the early nineties, but his renowned hard-line attitude was the attribute that most impressed Barwick and his delegation.

Capello’s first task after taking over in January 2008 was to appoint a captain, a figure head in the squad to which his team would replicate in attitude and commitment. John Terry was the obvious candidate.

Unease from the fans under McClaren led to nervousness and the squad seemed to have little cohesion or togetherness. This was something Capello also wanted to change, and used the five friendlies building up to the qualifying campaign to build a team spirit, and also mould a team in his philosophy. 4 wins and a draw didn’t do much harm for confidence either.

Qualifying started in much the same vein, an easy win against Andorra in the opener was followed by a magnificent 4-1 win in Zagreb, less than 10 months after McClaren was jeered out of Wembley against the same opponents.

This seemed to be a catalyst for hope amongst England fans, now firmly behind their team. And the wins kept on coming, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine were all soundly defeated, and with a certain style that led to England being top scorers in the 2010 qualifying campaign, finishing with a total of 34 in 10 games – 1 better than Brazil, who played 8 games more.

Capello had quickly found a formula that worked. Solving the Steven Gerrard - Frank Lampard conundrum by playing the Liverpool skipper on the left but ably supporting Wayne Rooney seemed the main masterstroke, but equally as decisive was the partnering of Wayne Rooney with Emile Heskey, particularly in the early qualifying games.

Rooney was given the liberty to play his own game, playing off and around Heskey, Gerrard and Lampard. This responsibility undoubtedly paid off, with Rooney topping the goal scoring charts with 9 in 10 games.

England qualified with 2 games to spare courtesy of another thrashing of Croatia, this time 5-1, showing just how far England have come under Capello.

But feet remain firmly on the ground, at least as far as the Italian is concerned. Defeat in Ukraine in the penultimate qualifying game wasn’t acceptable, and he let his team know about it in no uncertain terms.

And there are still up to 8 places still up for contention in the 23 man squad bound for South Africa. It is Capello’s aim now to maintain those high standards set by his players throughout the build up to the World Cup – and beyond.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

United Gift Owen A Lifeline

Alex Ferguson, the sole architect behind United’s 23 year stretch of both domestic and European glory, has rarely been questioned for his signings, despite how much a flop they have turned out to be, but the recent arrival of Michael Owen has made many a critic and fan raise an eyebrow of concern. The ex England international - I say ex because he has only managed one cap under the newly appointed Capello regime and looks in no shape to feature again any time soon- has saw his career rapidly decline since the transfer back to our British soil, with an injury plagued stint at Newcastle United.

With the ‘Owen brochure’ doing the rounds a few weeks ago, it looked as if he would make do with the likes of Hull City or Everton at best, but when the great Scot asked to meet Owen for a spot of breakfast and offered the striker the chance to get his career back on track, how could he say no. It’s not like the 29 year old really needs the money, especially with the extortionate weekly pay check he was picking up at St James Park.

Nine out of 10 people have taken the negative approach to Owen making the surprise appearance at Old Trafford, but I, like the minority, think it might possibly be the bargain of the season -note bargain not signing. At the end of the day, Owen isn’t and never will be a replacement for the underrated Carlos Tevez, but a free transfer for an experienced player that just needs the confidence and a decent team around him who can actually play football, isn’t bad to say the least.

Fergie is expected to sign another striker before the new Premier League season commences, but a freebie is something nobody can turn down. He might not score 20 goals a season, in fact I bet on him not doing so, but I can guarantee he will turn out to be a surprise package for United. Once a predator, always a predator and Owen will surely rekindle that killer instinct we all know he has, under the influential Sir Alex Ferguson.

With the World Cup only a year away, it would be nice to think United’s coaching staff and medical team could get Owen in some kind of shape to play regular football and make an impression on the hard-to-please Capello, but that is still a pipedream at present. If anyone is more serious about quality within a team and the will to win games, United are at the front of the queue. It will be interesting to hear Capello’s opinion of the move.

At the end of the day, Owen will be a cheaper option than what Dimitar Berbatov turned out to be. I don’t expect Owen to be a starting option, until needed, and could possibly be seen as the fourth choice striker within the squad after Rooney, Berbatov and Welbeck. Ferguson likes to gamble with certain players, especially with the youth development that we have already witnessed during his time, but will this be his biggest gamble yet? Not at all, he doesn’t even have to play him or rely on him and with £60 million still left in the kitty from the sale of Ronaldo, Fergie has plenty of cash and time to bring in a suitable replacement for the United deportees this summer.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Valencia the New Number 7?

With Cristiano Ronaldo Madrid bound, it seems Ferguson has found the perfect replacement to fill the boots of the winking Portuguese international. Instead of spending thousands to fly chief scouts around the world, living off expenses to find the next big thing, all that was required was a mere 17 mile journey to neighbouring side Wigan Athletic. Yesterday, it was announced that Antonio Valencia would be the first signing at Old Trafford since Ronaldo’s £80 million Madrid departure.

Valencia 23, will be yet another youthful singing in Ferguson’s young empire, that has been built over the past five years. Refusing to spend over the odds for ever ageing stars, Ferguson opts to sign players under the age of 25. Instead of trying to fit a players style into an already suited United team, the Scot prefers to mould the player into what he is looking for. With Alan Hansen’s famous outburst “You’ll never win anything with kids” in 1995, United have proved that they can be successful year after year with ‘kids’.

The singing comes as no surprise, but will Valencia be able to fill the vacant number seven shirt at Old Trafford? Despite United fans being left with a bitter taste in their mouths since Ronaldo’s Judas style departure to Spain, they cannot deny what he has done for the club in his five seasons in England. Valencia will not need any time to adapt to the English game, like many foreign players do including Ronaldo, and will not ruin any chances of playing for his country with poor performances - it is only Ecuador at the end of the day.

The number seven shirt has been worn by the likes of David Beckham, George Best and Eric Cantona in its time, but has Valencia got what it takes to be in the same league as these superstars?

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Southgate, Gazza and Hurst

Last night’s disappointing result against Germany was just one fixture in the long list of encounters we have had with our old foe, although there not always that disastrous. Friendly fixtures - if there is ever such a thing - or World Cup crunch matches against German opposition will always receive a substation amount of media coverage, with The Sun traditionally opting for the England flag double spread pullout.

England v Germany matches to remember:

1966 England 4 Germany 2
The last and the only time we have won the prolific World Cup, courtesy of a superb Geoff Hurst hat trick and a Martin Peters strike. Victory on British soil made it that it that little bit more special.

2001 Germany 1 England 5
The previous year, England had come out second best at Wembley, which resulted in Kevin Keegan’s resignation, but in September of 2001 England got their revenge in magnificent fashion. Michael Owen’s hat trick, alongside a goal a piece from Steven Gerrard and Emile Heskey left the Germans stunned in Munich.

1996 England 1 Germany 1
Another tournament held in England, and another Germany team trying to stand in our way of cup glory, but this time they succeeded. With Baddiel and Skinner behind us, it seemed we go all the way until Gareth Southgate missed the crucial penalty to send England crashing out of Euro 96.

1990 England 1 Germany 1
The original ‘Euro 96’ in terms of a semi final place, Germany, and a shocking penalty display, and who says history doesn’t repeat itself.

You May Have Won The Battle, But We Won The War

Timeless World War encounters, endless World Cup scuffles and now a European scrap to be added to the numerous times that England have gone to war - no pun intended - with arch enemies Germany. After seeing off the hosts in the semi finals, Stuart Pearce’s side booked their place in the final at Malmo New Stadium, in a tie the nation would love to see replicated in South Africa next year.

Missing key players through suspension, Pearce was forced to make difficult alterations. These absentees proved to play a major part in England’s downfall, as Germany clinched the game with ease to set a new record of largest goal margin in the final of the tournaments history.

As well as the desire for glory, squad players surely couldn’t help think that an impressive tournament might improve their chances of making the 23 man squad for next year‘s World Cup, especially with Pearce having a huge influence in the selection process.

England’s most capped player, James Milner, will most defiantly have given himself a good chance of making the provision squad, if not the actual squad, despite not making an actually senior appearance.

Theo Walcott was the surprise selection in 2006 and since then has become a senior squad regular -when fit - but an average tournament for the Arsenal attacker means he could face uncertainty about a regular starting place.

Since the arrival of Shay Given at Eastlands, Joe Hart hasn’t make a single appearance for City and cleverly made the smart move to Birmingham City ready for next season, ensuring regular first team football, and lets face it, Birmingham are going to have a lot of shots against them.

Although the World Cup is a staggering 345 days away, if I was to step into Capello’s expensive Italian leather shoes, I would pick the following 23 man squad:

David James
Robert Green
Joe Hart

Ashley Cole
Rio Ferdinand
Glen Johnson
John Terry
Matthew Upson
Kieran Gibbs
Micah Richards

Gareth Barry
Steven Gerrard
David Beckham
James Milner
Frank Lampard
Joe Cole
Theo Walcott
Ashley Young

Wayne Rooney
Jermain Defoe
Emile Heskey
Peter Crouch
Kevin Davies (I wish)

Friday, 26 June 2009

Federer 27 going on 21

Considered the best tennis player of all time, Roger Federer shows us no sign of slowing down just yet. After commentator John McEnroe yesterday used the phrase ‘veteran’, when mentioning Lleyton Hewitt, it made me ponder just how long Federer has left on the international circuit.

The Aussie, who fought off fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro, is only a single year older than the world number two. With Federer aiming to represent his country at London 2012, as well as expressing his desire for his first child to watch him play, we could find the Swiss to be around for some time.

Like any sport, the earlier you can develop as a champion, the better. Pete Sampras, who Federer recently equalled in Grand Slam wins, didn’t call it a day till the age of 32, shining light on the possibility of many more potential titles to come for the 27 year old.

His ability is unquestionable as good as it has ever been, but the physiological factors are against him. I’m not saying he’s turning into an old man, whose speed and power weakens over time, but he will have to alter his style of play against the up and coming young guns, who are hot on his heels.

Federer’s experience will shine over the next few years as he will make his opponent do the majority of the work, not that he doesn’t already. With the correct diet and training, we could see a David Beckham or Paulo Maldini of the tennis world, competing at the highest level.

After turning on today’s match against Kohlschreiber and witnessing the first game, that of course Federer won with two aces and not dropping a single point, he’s got the potential to take his Grand Slam record deep into the unknown.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Pearce the Friendly Psycho

After going through my morning routine, which consists of shower, shave and Sky Sports news, I was happy to sit down and enjoy the latter with a nice bowl of cornflakes. With only one day remaining till England’s young guns face hosts Sweden in the semi final of this year’s European Championship, it was no surprise then to see the stern, serious face of Stuart Pearce being grilled by journalists.

Admiring the answers that the gaffer gave to both English and Swedish press, I got the impression that he held an healthy relationship with the media, especially with the response to Sky Sports Andy Burton: “You’ve been in the England camp and we’ve spoke on and off the camera.” His approach to the media is a credit to him and the country. Happy to answer any question with complete honesty, it’s no surprise that we don’t see much of his name dragged through the national press, linked with scandal and bust ups.

His calm and collective personality matches his managerial style. Pearce guided the under 21’s to semi final disappointment two years ago, but is confident he can go that step further this campaign.

As well as being the under 21’s manager, he is also the coach for the senior team, with many believing that he is the next England manager in the making. He, himself, is not getting too carried away and insists he still has a lot to learn in the business. He seems to keep the Premier League bad boys in check, but to be fair I wouldn’t like to get on the wrong side of a man that’s nicknamed Psycho.

With the FA and Pearce meant to have met a gentleman’s agreement over an extended contract, we could hear a Mike Bassett “Four more f**king years” outburst if he can guide them to the final in four days time.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Murray Speaks the Truth

Andy Murray’s unprovoked outburst at the lack of depth that British tennis players are producing seems slightly harsh, but yet a close reflection of reality. This past year has seen all aspects of Murray’s game improve, but while he rises up the world rankings, he advances alone, being the only Brit inside the ATP world 100.

Murray is in the same boat as 13 other players inside the top 100, who fly the flag alone for their country. His frustration at his fellow country men comes after yesterday’s victory over Robert Kendrick, which has resulted in the 22 year old being the only Brit remaining in the tournament.

The absence of British talent from Wimbledon isn’t just a modern phenomenon. Although we have the world’s greatest tournament - maybe slightly biased - we can not come close to produce the remarkable talent of Fred Perry, the last Brit to triumph at Wimbledon, but why does this seem to be the case?

The majority of the world’s top 100 is full of players from eastern Europe and neighbouring developing countries, despite the lack of facilities or funding. In Britain, tennis will never be able to shed its middle class image and while this the case we will struggle to encourage youngsters into the sport.

Tennis is often seen as a social activity, rather than a competitive sport, with schools and colleges rarely putting any dedicated effort into taking the game further. With the funding available through the LTA, the main problem seems to be lack of identifying the talent at a young age.

While we continue to put all our eggs in one basket, we should be focusing on the development of teaching tennis through the educational system, that way we could identify natural talent at a young age and risk the chance of going without a British champion for another seven decades.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Wimbledon Fashion Week

While every blog, forum and website across the country will be swarming with Andy Murray’s victory over Robert Kendrick - it’s no shock to the system really, considering the 73 places between the two. One matter that has grabbed my attention over the past few days, is the peculiar clothing attire that certain players are modelling.

Roger Federer’s chic waist jacket, Serena Williams’s stylish trench coat and even Murray’s retro Fred Perry look has given tennis an unusual, but smarter appearance. It seems that style and impression has always played a major part in the English tournament, and in recent years we have been witness to blazers, trousers, cardigans and even manbags, mostly courtesy of Federer.

The warm up period prior to matches seems to have turned into a catwalk show, with players showing off their array of bizarre outfits. These clothes are obviously not suitable for playing in - not that they’re ever designed for it - but they don’t care as long as it gets the crowd and viewers remembering the name of the sponsor afterwards.

Wimbledon’s fashion statement just shows how the world of tennis is evolving, especially with players taking up role of the designer, and even having time off the sport to do so. Whatever next will we see on display, shirt and tie? Evening gown frock? Or even Murray showing his Scottish heritage with a kilt? Or will the ladies get their ultimate fantasy, with players deciding against any top at all?

Gareth Hock in Paradise White

What drives the modern sports star to the edge of insanity? Is it the constant pressure of success? Maybe the media invasion of personal affairs? Or even the harsh reality that comes with failure? Today it was reported that Wigan and England forward, Gareth Hock, has been tested positive for the banned substance cocaine and has been provisionally suspended by the Rugby Football League, pending an investigation.

Cocaine isn’t the typical drug associated with the game of rugby, but more you would relate to the rock n roll lifestyle of the likes of Motley Crew and Kiss. You often hear about the odd athlete being caught in the act enjoying a smoke, but the happy powder is one that’s becoming more frequent in the lifestyle of the professional sportsperson.

English international Matt Stevens, was banned for the same reason earlier this year, claiming: “Many athletes – like most of us – like to let off a little steam from time to time.” Surely having the right to demolish the opposition and bring them to their feet, by near enough any means, is stress relieving enough. The sport of rugby itself should be like a drug to the players that have dedicated their lives to play the game - that’s the reason they got involved in the first place.

With alcohol and marijuana having hangover effects on the human body, the increased number of athletes that turn to the mama coca is increasing to let off the ‘ever rising pressures of the game’. Wendell Sailor, Martina Hingis and Richard Gasquet - allegedly - have all fallen victim to the illegal substance.

If sports stars are tempted to turn to the movie star drug, then they must question their dedication to the sport, as there is always up and coming youngsters that will happily fill their boots if given the chance.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Robson goes into Further Education

We all know exactly how daunting it can be leaving secondary school for that all important, but necessary, leap to the real world, whether it be for further education or in search of that life pursuing ‘perfect job‘. The reality though can be hard hitting, one minute your king of the school, the next, your at the bottom of pack amongst the geeks and the rookies. One person who knows what I’m talking about, is wild card Laura Robson, who turned up to today’s match against Daniela Hantuchova on No 2 court after taking the huge step into the women’s game.

Despite being only 15 years of age, as we are reminded at every opportunity, she was not too far out of her league. Last year’s girls champion was the youngest player in the women’s draw since Martina Hingis in 1995, but with many expecting it to be a very one sided game, Robson had other ideas. 456 places lay between the two and after the first set, which Robson triumphed, it didn’t appear to be that obvious.

Although in the end the Slovak managed to use her years of wisdom and experience to claw back the game and ended up winning the next two sets, Robson showed positive signs that in a few years she could be a force to reckon with. A superb serve and a hungry apatite will do the youngster no harm in her pursuit for tennis glory.

The big step has already been taken by Robson, who must now start again at the bottom and work her way up but one thing is for sure, time is on her side.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Murraymania Begins

After a remarkable victory last weekend - to become the first Briton in 71 years to win at Queens - it seems Murraymania has been kicked into overdrive, as Wimbledon rapidly approaches. If you rewind just a measly 12 months ago, the British number one was ranked out of the top ten in the world and had never been beyond the fourth round of any Grand Slam tournament. But, with less than a week to go until the only Grand Slam to be played on grass gets under way, the 22 year old’s fortune has rocketed.

Murray’s ever joyful face has been, and will continue to be, in every national newspaper on a daily basis, with the hysteria adding to the already over hyped Murraymania. The British press are doing what they do best, putting unnecessary pressure on out best hope before a major competition.

With confirmation that the number one seed, Rafael Nadal, will play no part in the English tournament, which he was dominant throughout last year. His exit is no real shock, as Nadal was also forced out of Queens with a similar knee injury, but it does mean that the World Number one will be the first champion not to defend his SW19 crown since Goran Ivanisevic skipped the competition in 2002.

Murray must see his chances increased after learning of Nadal’s exit and that Roger Federer will be in the second half of the tournament, meaning that the only time Murray can face the Swiss is in the final - what a final that would make.

We must recognise that even if Murray isn’t successful - we all hope that’s not the case - his game is ever improving and this time next year we could be talking about Murray breaking into the top two…and the year after? Seems I’ve been sucked into the Murraymania as well.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Final Farewell to Silverstone

Sunday draws a dramatic end to the home of British Grand Prix, as Silverstone will host its last ever race on the Formula One calendar. The Northamptonshire circuit as been on the F1 calendar since 1950, when it was the first race in the newly created World Championship.

The two final Brits involved in Sunday’s 191 mile race will be looking to mark the historical occasion with victory in front of a home crowd.

Last year’s World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, is no stranger to a podium finish and when the rookie driver won last years event, he became the second Brit to triumph at Silverstone since the turn of the millennium. Hamilton joined the likes of John Watson, Damon Hill, Johny Herbert, Nigel Mansell and the great Sir Stirling Moss.

With current leader Jenson Button in superb form, it will be difficult for Hamilton to re-enact last season’s display. Button, despite being in his ninth season in the sport, has yet to make any impact at Silverstone, but with the Brawn driver running away with the Championship, it seems we may say a final farewell with a British winner.