If John Fitzgerald Kennedy was still alive he would be 100 years ago today. I was ice skating at a college party in Nottingham when I heard the news of his assasination in Dallas TX, and almost a year later I found myself taking photographs in Dealey Plaza and looking up at the Texas Book Depository on a trip around the world, having hitch hiked across Scandinavia, taken the Trans Siberian Railway, ship to Yokahama, across the Pacific and via Vancouver, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, Tucson, Yuma, Mazatlan, Acapulco, Mexico City, San Antonia, San Angelo, Austin, Dallas and onto Washington DC. New York City. Iceland ..and home.
Seven days ago at the Manchester Arena, 22 mostly young people, as young as 8 years old were slaughtered after attending a concert. Tweny one years ago I was a couple of hundred yards away at the FAN EMBASSY set up by the England Fans organization during the 1996 European Football Championships. I had left by bag there after enjoying a cup of tea and picking up a friend at the airport and driving down to Wembley to watch England beat Scotland 2-0 with an incredible goal from Paul 'Gazza' Gascoigne. A 2,500 lb bomb planted by the Republican IRA blew up local buildings including the Arndale Centre. The IRA had called the police 45 minutes earlier. Nobody died but many were injured. I never did get my bag back !!
THE SHOW ALWAYS GOES ON. The centre of Manchester and a new Arndale Centre were built. Three days after the carnage at the Arena, Manchester City Women beat Chelsea a mile away at Academy Stadium on the Etihad Campus in FAWSL 1.This weekend we had marathons and games in the city center and 50,000 fans attended an outside concert at OLD TRAFFORD...NOT the Theatre of Dreams but down the road at Old Trafford cricket stadium, home of Lancashire CCC, .local favourites The Courteneers, Charlatans, Blossoms.
It has been a weekend of sport and mostly football at Wembley that has entertained us this Bank Holiday. For me the highlight was not the FA Cup Final victory of Arsenal v Chelsea at the new Wembley Stadium but Sunday's FL Division ll play off final at the same stadium. My home town Seasiders, Blackpool FC beat Exeter City 2-1 in front of only about 25,000 fans to take them immediately back to Division l. 5 years ago I was at DW Stadium of Wigan Athletic on the opening day of the Premier League as The Tangerines beat Athletic 4-0...and for an hour they were top of the EPL.. TERRIBLE OWNERSHIP has decimated Blackpool with many loyal fans staying away from Bloomfield Road and refusing to spend any money to benefit the Oysten family.
Under such conditions, where away fans have often outnumbered home fans, it has been an AMAZING SEASON for manager Gary Bowyer and his staff and quad. NOTHING WILL CHANGE under the present ownership. This afternoon Huddersfield Town 'Yorkshire's Club' defied the experts and beat Reading in the Championship play-off final winning 4-3 on pks after a goal less contest. www.htafc.com The German manager is David Wagner. A German-American who actually played 8 times for the USA national team on the advice of Thomas Dooley to coach Steve Sampson.
The Terriers will not only play in the Premier League for the first time, via the play-offs but will earn at least £170 million and join Newcastle United and Brighton who made it the easy way.They were in the old First Division, the top tier from 1979-72 when they played at the old Leeds Road stadium before their move into the current architectural masterpiece since 1994. They share in with Huddersfield Giants rugby league club. Called Kirklees Stadium after the local council, It is named after its sponsors John Smith's brewery.