Edition number 11; dateline 18 December 2007

Duly noted
Apologies all round following the St Andrew’s Day Row Z. First off can we apologise to ISPAL who we referred to as “the Institute for Sport and Leisure”, somehow losing the Parks bit. How did that happen? And to be fair to both of them we also need to apologise to ISRM. Last time out we wrote a sentence which if read carelessly might suggest that our friends from Loughborough were guilty of “selling out”. Even we don’t report stories a full year after they have happened and the thing that got sold out was of course their conference. Congratulations on that by the way. By way of apology we publish a snap from the conference dinner of the year showing what we take to be three of the UK’s finest pool managers getting in the spirit of the thing. You don’t look at all daft, chaps.  It was also suggested that our final apology should be to the FA for insulting the England football team by suggesting they were less than proficient. Well, we like receiving suggestions so keep them coming.

The Ghost of Sports Development Past
With Christmas just a week away Sideliner has been granted a boon by the mighty Editor and for once the column is resplendent with a photo. To your right you will see a snap taken during the 2005 NASD National Sports Development Seminar. Having been stored in the sun, the photograph is fading somewhat but the perceptive amongst you will be able to discern a number of other things that are fading. Look closely and you will see three blue shirts, the uniform of the conference organising group that year. The smiley boy and his less jolly chum in the foreground are easily recognisable as Scott Hartley of Sport England and Rob Wallis, leader of both the conference organising group and the Greater Warwickshire Sports Partnership. Beyond Rob, and harder to discern unless you have the next image in the sequence, is the cheery mien of Richard Ward from British Canoeing and Rob’s successor in the seminar-delivering hot seat. Now why, I hear you ask, apart from short-term nostalgia, would we print this particular image? Simply because Scott, Rob and Richard, not to mention NASD, have all left us. April 2005 was only two and a half years ago but since then the industry has carelessly discarded, misplaced or just lost three of its brightest and best. Ward exchanged his nationwide responsibilities for a local post in the NHS, Hartley jacked a very well paid job at Sport England, married his sweetheart and hied off round the world, while Wallis left an influential post at the “heart of the sport system” and took his entire family to see what the rest of Planet Earth had to offer. And on top of that NASD has been merged into oblivion in the black hole of aspiration that is ISPAL and, from what the grapevine is saying, will soon be followed by the National Seminar itself. Did we say “Happy New Year”?

It’s the Lycra
Does it say more about Rugby League, Widnes Vikings (a Rugby League team) or Gavin Henson that, with the Welsh wunderkind facing prosecution for alcohol-inspired ‘disorderly conduct’, the Vikings are keen to sign him up? With all the genuine class acts plying their trade in the Guinness Premiership, Magners League and the Heineken Cup, could they not have picked someone for whom the words ‘self-regarding show pony’ could not have been penned? Or do they just think he’ll look good in Lycra?

God bless us, every one!
And so we come to the final piece in the final Row Z of 2007. Obviously thanks are required to all our contributors and both our readers; heart-felt best wishes should be offered to all in the spirit of the season; and reminders are going to be issued to do something for people who are less than fortunate than you are. Sideliner will be sending paper-based Christmas cards this year as (a) the whole “we’re giving to charity instead” thing is clearly humbug and terribly twee to boot; (b) it affords the opportunity to scratch the old fountain pen over a vellum substitute, which we like; and (c) IKEA were flogging Christmas cards for 3p the dozen last January and they all have to go somewhere. But YOU are going to make a donation to The Big Issue or in Sideliner’s case T’Big Issue in t’North as we have our own oop here, sithee. Not only is homelessness scary, debilitating and soul-crushingly lonely but “The Issue” is doing its best to keep sports development officers in work by using football and other sports and physical activities in their work, so it’s a back-scratching thing as well. And before you turn the page and forget, ponder this. Three “Issue” vendors were asked three questions: where are you spending Christmas; tell us something significant that happened to you this year; and what are your plans for 2008? And three of their answers were: “Well I’m torn [between] Danzic Street in Manchester but now its only open for four days over the holidays… Then there’s the Dome in London. You can go and sleep there the whole time it’s open, see the doctors, get fed and get yourself sorted out basically”; “I saw one of my daughters this year”; and “I’m going to try and get my own place.” Pocket. Hand. In.


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