Author Archive for Alex Dimond

14
Mar
09

Is Martin Johnson Suffering From ‘Tony Adams Syndrome’?

by Alex Dimond

 

MJ — Still much to learn about coaching?

MJ — All part of the masterplan?

 

Another Six Nations encounter, another batch of yellow cards, another defeat for England. The defeat to Ireland at Croke Park may not have been entirely unexpected — indeed, the 14-13 was both a flattering and misrepresentative scoreline — but England’s failure to really perform for much of the match will still be a source of great disappointment.

The real annoyance for many fans is that the team does appear to have some genuine quality in the squad, quality that should be capable of challenging for the Six Nations trophy. The likes of Delon Armitage, Joe Worsley, Lewis Moody, Phil Vickery and Andy Sheridan — to mention a few — will likely be expecting a place in the British Lions squad when it forms later this year. For England, however, these players are simply not reaching their peak.

Continue reading ‘Is Martin Johnson Suffering From ‘Tony Adams Syndrome’?’

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08
Feb
09

Wales Start Six Nations Defence With Solid Win Over Scotland

by Alex Dimond

Tom Shanklin was the first to break Scotland's defences

Tom Shanklin was the first to break Scotland's defences

 

Wales kicked off the defence of their Six Nations crown with a solid 26-13 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield.

For 65 minutes it was an impressive and professional performance from a Welsh side that many have tipped to complete a historic second consecutive Six Nations Grand Slam. They sucked in the Scottish defence and spread the ball out wide at will, creating problems for the opposition defenders that they struggled to deal with.

In the last 15 minutes, however, Scotland offered glimpses to suggest to the vocal home fans that they could go on to make an impact in the reminder of the tournament.

It was potentially a huge banana skin for us today, so we are just glad to get off the mark with a win,” said Welsh captain Martyn Williams, who was standing in for the injured Ryan Jones. “Scotland are never going to lie down and let you walk all over them. The good thing is there a lot of things for us to work on, and a lot of things to improve.

Continue reading ‘Wales Start Six Nations Defence With Solid Win Over Scotland’

22
Dec
08

Sam Allardyce Reveals Unsavoury Side After Blackburn Debut

by Alex Dimond

Big Sam — dishonest?

Big Sam — dishonest?

 

On Saturday Sam Allardyce enjoyed the perfect start to his Blackburn managerial career, enjoying a 3-0 win over fellow strugglers Stoke City. 

For many, the result itself was the story of the weekend — marking as it did the return to form of a side that had begun to look dead and buried under Paul Ince.

For others, however, it was Allardyce’s post-match actions that were the most intriguing. Ever since a 2006 Panorama documentary — one that suggested “Big Sam” and his son, Craig, had accepted bungs as part of transfer dealings while at Bolton Wanderers — Allardyce had resolutely refused to talk to the BBC.

On Saturday, however, Allardyce was more than happy to speak to the BBC’s John Murray at great length after his side’s “near perfect” win.

Continue reading ‘Sam Allardyce Reveals Unsavoury Side After Blackburn Debut’

10
Dec
08

Is Guardiola Taking Risks Ahead of First Real Test?

by Alex Dimond

Guardiola — probably knows what he is doing...

Guardiola — probably knows what he is doing...

 

So far so very, very good for Barcelona manager Josep “Pep” Guardiola.

His side sit proudly atop La Liga, and are comfortably through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Having replaced Frank Rijkaard — the manager who brought the 2006 Champions League trophy back to the Nou Camp — in the summer, a lot of pressure was on the unproven Guardiola. Having had no previous jobs, the former Spanish international’s only coaching experience was gained last season while working with the Barcelona B squad.

Yes, Guardiola was an outstanding player for the club (he played 263 games for them), but could he possibly replicate such feats as a manager?

Well, after an initial rocky spell — the Catalan giants failed to win either of their opening two league matches — the answer so far seems to be a resounding yes.

Continue reading ‘Is Guardiola Taking Risks Ahead of First Real Test?’

09
Dec
08

Schmid Sees Areas For Improvement After Esher Defeat

By Alex Dimond

 

Esher Rugby — as surprised as anyone to feature on The Equivalent...

Esher Rugby — as surprised as anyone to feature on The Equivalent...

 

Esher’s Director of Rugby Mike Schmid remains upbeat, despite Saturday’s narrow 13-18 loss against Bedford Blues.

The defeat leaves the Surrey club 13th in the table — eleven points from safety — while Bedford move up to 4th. Schmid believes that the match was even tighter than the scoreline suggests, and hinged on a couple of key moments:

“When we strayed away from the plan, we let ourselves down at key times,” the former Canadian international said. “The difference in the first half was our sin bin [David Millard, for not retreating at a penalty], and they took their try scoring chances. We had two chances, and didn’t take either one.”

Despite being 15-3 down just minutes after half-time, Schmid was encouraged by what he saw in the remainder of the match:

“In the second half we controlled the tempo, and we controlled the game. I think the people that were watching saw a team that was doing everything to win a game.”

Nevertheless, Schmid believes the team has a lot of room for improvement, particularly in attack. “When we get into the opposition third, we have got to come away with more points than we are,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Schmid Sees Areas For Improvement After Esher Defeat’

08
Dec
08

What We Learned This Weekend… Premiership Week 16

With the terrible puns, Alex Dimond

E-boo-ue? Oh dear....

E-boo-ue? Oh dear....

 

Welcome to this week’s “What We Learned This Weekend”, where an inquisitive eye is cast over some of the key storylines that have emerged from this weekend’s Premier League action.

 

The Pressure is Getting to Blackburn’s Ince

As the fallout from Roy Keane’s shock departure at Sunderland (verdict: the Irishman is a quitter) begins to subside, the press are obviously keen to whip up a new story surrounding another manager’s precarious position. As a result, the spotlight has well and truly fallen on Paul Ince.

Yes, Ince has not had the greatest starts to life at Ewood Park, but that does not mean he is already deserving of the sack. After all, Rovers lost their most influential player in the summer—David Bentley—and one of the finest goalkeepers in the league—Brad Friedel—without being able to spend much money improving the squad.  

As a result, what could the board and fans expect? Was Ince ever really going to approach Blackburn’s 7th place finish last time out?

Continue reading ‘What We Learned This Weekend… Premiership Week 16’

06
Dec
08

Should a Man Enjoy The X Factor?

by Alex Dimond

 

The X Factor — okay for a man to like?

The X Factor — funny stuff.

 

As I sit here, in my comfortable yet somehow sterile room, one question of extreme importance keeps running through my head. It’s the sort of question that probably used to keep Boutros Boutros Ghali up all night, when he was UN Secretary-General.

As a man, is it alright to like The X Factor?

I know, I know — I should be focusing on more important matters, like the 3,000 word essay I need to get finished by tomorrow. But right now, as Eoghan (although everyone insists on calling him Owen) prances around the stage performing a cheeky ABBA number, I can’t help but wonder whether I should even be watching the show, let alone enjoying it.

Continue reading ‘Should a Man Enjoy The X Factor?’




"The Equivalent is so full of in-jokes, it must only be funny to the authors themselves" - Keith Somerville, as quoted in Sleeveless Top Enthusiasts Weekly.

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