Harris Sportsthoughts

Thoughts about Sport

Political Football

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I will never begrudge a wedding invite even though the seven I have received for this summer may have inflicted heinous collateral damage on my sports viewing for the period. So it was that I wincingly cross-checked my diary against my sporting calendar fearing the worst. Imagine my relief when the World Cup schedule made it home unscathed. Like a man who has survived getting caught in a meteor shower without an umbrella.

The producers, stage managers and runners working on the televised leadership debates that are being broadcast as part of the election campaign may not be so fortunate. Since Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth accidentally disclosed the election date yesterday, it has become rapidly clear that a potential clash is brewing between these political showdowns and the semi-finals of the Champions League. I suppose in a society with a robust respect for democracy, there really isn’t an issue here. But we all know that football is more important than politics, so it may be that it’s Brown and Cameron that are shunted across the TV listings.

There could be a solution to all this: cart the great triumvirate of party leaders up to Old Trafford or the San Siro or wherever, and combine the two extravaganzas. Steve Rider has proved himself a versatile performer and could stand in for Dimbleby; they share the same fluffy gravitas. The interval could be separated into segments of football punditry and political debate. Admittedly Gordon Brown’s beloved Raith Rovers fell a little short of Champions League qualification, but I’m sure he would venture forth an opinion on the game if pushed, he does on most things of spurious import. Cameron has probably only ever played the Eton Wall game in terms of sporting endeavour, but he’d clearly relish the chance to boost his ‘everyman’ qualities.

And then into to some hardcore political sparring. I’m sure I speak for the nation in looking forward to Andy Townsend put forward his forthright views on ‘broken Britain’ and the planned cuts in public spending. Now there’s an event to get in your diary.


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