Edition number 10; dateline 30 November 2007

Learning of legacy together
As The Leisure Review is publishing on St Andrew’s Day this month, the team at Row Z have donned our tartan trews, opened the shortbread and were picking our nails with our skein dhu when a story serendipitously arrived from our diminishing circle of friends in Scotland. It seems that as part of the 2014 legacy, Glasgow will be bringing a sports development conference to the city in June next year. The theme will be “moving ideas into practice: Scotland and the Commonwealth learning together” and the date is 12-13 June. Although the flesh is not yet on the bones and last year’s equivalent event did not attract a huge following, we are sure this one will be a huge success and have put the date in our diary in the fond hope that we can squeeze a press pass out of the organisers.

August dates in the diary
Sideliner is indebted to TLR subscriber Ian Wakefield, business development manager at the Institute for Sport and Recreation Management (ISRM), who last week ensured we received the excellent round up of industry news that goes out as the ISRM newsletter. For once it carries an original story about the Loughborough institution, an organisation that has just delivered its 76th annual conference. The event has broken with recent tradition by selling out and being held at a holiday camp. Disappointingly, there is no sign yet of a picture from the medieval dinner that was the highlight of the two days. However, we were delighted to hear that so much fun was had by all that next year this august 76-year-old bastion will be holding its annual get-together at Alton Towers.

August anatomy: the options
And while on the subject of our back-washing brethren, there was much concern at the back of the stand at the tenuous grasp on anatomy shown by new ISRM president Pauline Kelleher. We recognise she may have been misquoted so we will cut and paste from the offending release: “‘At the top, we have strong leadership, staff, governance structures, financial stability and effective business planning processes in place to support the ever-increasing membership base.” We respectfully suggest that with your head supporting your base, Pauline, you are either an Antipodean, a gymnast or your head is up your arse.

Caledonian dreaming
And to even things up, an ISPAL story from the edges of the Scottish Sports Development Conference. Row Z has occasionally taken issue with the Institute of Sport and Leisure but it seems we are not on our own in harbouring some doubts regarding the newest professional body on the block. We hear from Scotland that the recent Crieff-based industry get-together had a brief plenary discussion about the future of the profession north of the border. It seems that Stewart Harris, chief executive of SportScotland, spoke from the platform of all things professional and praised “the get up and go” of the organising group. When it came to questions a senior manager stood to enquire that since ISPAL “has failed in Scotland” did Mr Harris have any plans to fill the void? So far, so bad for the Anglo-centric body but when Harris replied that while he wouldn't use the word ‘failure’, he would venture “that its not looking too good just now” you could hear nails being hammered into coffins the length and breadth of Caledonia. Harris then threw the gauntlet down to the people in the room, the organising group itself and the wider industry to fill the vacuum that ISPAL's failure and ISRM's indifference is currently leaving. Watch this space – the soi-disant professional bodies certainly are.

True grit: getting up to finish fourth
Sideliner was spared the embarrassment of watching the England football team spawning endless e-mail ‘jokes’ about their inability to… well, just their inability. Like so many other right-thinking and trendy people, the team at Row Z are boycotting the higher echelons of the people's game and failing to go and watch our local side instead. Of course, we still look for Southampton’s result every Saturday but they are hardly ‘top flight’ by anyone's standards and are currently doing their level best to get back to park football. What has stirred us to comment on the international scene is the suggestion of Gordon Brown that instead of bothering with the European Championships in 2008 the UK teams all play in a one-off Home Nations competition. The old gaffer that does the Row Z garden tells us that the competition was something of a highlight in its day, pitching the likes of George Best and Derek Dougan against Bobbies Charlton and Moore, and allowing a string of Scottish midfield dynamos called Johnson and/or Henderson to kick lumps out of Mike England and Ron Davies (who played for Southampton!). What would you rather watch: Wales v England at the Millennium for a place in the final or England reserves wandering around Wembley in another lacklustre friendly for money? For once The Broon is talking sense and we're backing him all the way to Windsor Park and the 3rd/4th play off.


Row Z
The view from the back of the stand


last edition


other news

contact Row Z

an independent view for the leisure industry








about us

contact us