DCSIMG

Armstrong may be sorry, but he shouldn’t be forgiven

CHEAT - Lance Armstrong

CHEAT - Lance Armstrong

I am not a fan of cycling, and have never really taken a serious interest in the Tour de France.

But I have always been aware of winners of the event, and legends of the sport of cycling, and legends didn’t come much bigger than Lance Armstrong.

But the American seven-times Tour winner finally admitted this week that he is a cheat and a liar. A fraud, a charlatan, a fallen idol.

He admitted in a television interview with Oprah Winfrey on Thursday night that he had taken performance-enhanching drugs in all seven of his Tour wins.

Armstrong did say sorry a couple of times as he chatted, but I got the feeling he didn’t really mean it.

Indeed, I got the feeling Armstrong was eventually saying sorry because he had no other choice, he had nowhere else to go. It was his only option.

I think his appearance on Oprah was Armstrong’s simply the first step on him getting his life back on track.

He only did it in a bid to benefit himself.

As it has always seemingly been with this let-down of a human being, the interview was all about Lance Armstrong.

Not about the damage he has done to the sport of cycling. Not about the titles and glory that he and other cheats like him have denied clean competitors.

It was all about Armstrong, the first step on trying to get himself accepted by the general public again so that he can resume some kind of career.

As I say, I am no cycling fan, and never idolised Armstrong as millions around the world did.

But cheats like him always make my blood boil, and he deserves to be left to rot in the sporting wilderness for a while longer yet.

Armstrong has said sorry, and he may well mean it, but he doesn’t deserve any forgiveness yet

NOW WE’LL SEE IF GUARDIOLA REALLY HAS THE MAGIC

Pep Guardiola has signed a three-year contract to be the new coach of Bayern Munich, with the former Barcelona boss set to take up his post this summer.

I doubt there ever been a football coach whose stock has been higher that the Spaniard’s after his trophy-laden spell with the Catalan giants, but I think only now will we see what Guardiola is really made of as a manager.

At Barcelona he was blessed to be working with a set of players that may well go down as being their best team that has ever played the game, with the world’s best footballer in Lionel Messi as its focal point.

There is a case for saying that any coach worth his salt would have enjoyed the same success as Guardiola did at the Nou Camp.

But now Guardiola is going to have to impose his philosophies and brand of football on to a set of players that haven’t been brought up the Barcelona way. Now don’t get me wrong, Bayern are obviously far from being mugs and have some brilliant players, but they are not Barcelona – and they don’t have Messi.

It will be interesting to see if Guardiola can work his magic in Munich. Or indeed to see if he possesses any magic at all.

FOOTBALL FANS SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO ENJOY A PINT AND WATCH THE GAME

Ipswich Town chief executive Simon Clegg has put forward a proposal that alcohol should again be allowed to be supped by fans as they sit in the stands at football grounds.

And I reckon it’s a good idea.

Since the Sporting Events Act of 1985 was passed, the drinking of alcohol on the terraces or in the stands while a football match is played has been prohibited, with the sale and consumption of alcohol at football stadia severely resticted.

As the law stands, fans can drink in the bars on stadium concourses on matchdays, but they are not allowed to take drink to their seats.

And it’s even worse in Scotland, where the sale of alcohol is prohibited inside football stadia full stop.

Such a law does not exist for most other sports in the UK, with supporters able to enjoy a pint or two while watching events such as cricket and rugby union.

So why not football?

Those against such an idea would claim it would cause trouble, and that football supporters aren’t responsible enough to drink during a match, that they can’t be trusted and the bad old days of hooliganism would return

But that’s just rubbish.

Now I am not saying that fans should be able to pile into grounds armed with a bottle of Whisky or a six-pack of Special Brew with the intention of getting off their faces (as was sometimes the case back in the 1970s), but why not have regulated sale of alcohol inside grounds?

If anything, the law as it stands is more problematic as it probably encourages binge drinking, with fans rushing pints down their necks in the pubs and stadium bars so they can get to the ground or their seats in time for kick-off.

I think that if football fans were allowed to drink in their seats, then the pre-match rush disappears, everybody can be more laid back and relaxed about things, and can enjoy their matchday experience more.

ADKINS DESERVED MORE FROM UNGRATEFUL SOUTHAMPTON

What an unbelievable decision by Southampton to sack Nigel Adkins, the manager who dragged the club up from npower League One to the Barclays Premier League.

The Saints relieved former Scunthorpe boss Adkins of his duties on Friday - just a couple of days after the team had come from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Chelsea - and announced Argentine Mauricio Pochettino, the former coach of Espanyol, as his replacement.

I am not sure how the Saints chairman Nicola Cortese can seriously justify what he has done, but he did have a go and said: “This decision has been made with the long-term ambitions of Southampton Football Club in mind.

“Whilst we acknowledge the contribution Nigel has made during the past two years, for the club to progress and achieve our long-term targets a change was needed.

“Mauricio is a well-respected coach of substantial quality who has gained a reputation as an astute tactician and excellent man manager.

“I have every confidence that he will inspire our talented squad of players to perform at the highest possible level.”

Now, I have nothing against Southampton, and I certainly have nothing against their supporters, but I certainly won’t be shedding any tears if this now goes completely pear-shaped and Saints are relegated come May.

And if that does happen, Cortese will have nobody to blame but himself.

COMMON SENSE PREVAILS AS KOMPANY RED CARD IS OVERTURNED

I’m delighted to see Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany’s red card he received for his tackle on Jack Wilshere overturned on appeal, because as far as I’m concerned it wasn’t even a foul by the Belgian international, never mind a dismissal. It was just a great tackle.

 

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