Written by Sport

Washout

Guess who had a pair of tickets to Wimbledon yesterday? We stayed until around 4ish before deciding that there was unlikely to be any play and headed off home. Once we’d made that decision, you begin to hope that all play really will be cancelled, because you’d hate to think that as you’re getting on the tube at Southfields, the covers are coming off.
I was surprised to see later on, via the rather excellent interactive BBC TV coverage, that people were still sitting hopefully on Centre Court until around 7.00pm when the announcement was finally made.
You get the feeling that they knew this was going to happen somewhat earlier than they admitted it, but there’s catering companies who are banking on making money etc. In fact with no tennis on, they probably had a field day yesterday!
Still, we did get quite early word of play today via a friend who’s an umpire… Not that I was likely to want to queue today after yesterday’s fun. In any case, I don’t think I own enough Union Flags or crosses of St George to be allowed in on Centre Court today. I’ve got no problem with opening up the middle Sunday to all and sundry – but calling it the “People’s Sunday” is somewhat unfair. This morning there were the expected interviews with people in the queue going on about how this was a chance to let the real fans in to see play.
Uhhh… I’d say that the “real fans” are those who actually made the effort to enter the public ballot (I’ve done it in the past – it works – you get tickets), or play the game. We all know that tennis clubs can be snobbish affairs, but people who play the sport are quite entitled to get ticket advantages. The same happens in rugby and football. In actual fact, it’s pretty hard for people to get tickets to any of our major sporting events, unless you pay close attention to the rules, and get your applications in early, and maybe join the relevant organisations. When the England football team are playing Wales in the World Cup qualifiers and tickets are hard to come by, nobody’s going to say that it’s not fair that real fans aren’t allowed in.
Certainly, there’s plenty of hospitality, but check out the number of hospitality seats the new Wembley is attempting to flog – a terrible deal incidentally. It’s part of sport and it’s not nice, but when was professional sport ever that wonderful?
Still Henman won today, and I suspect that the moment his game was over, some people will have been leaving the ground to get back in the queue for tickets tomorrow. It’d be unfair to characterise them all as middle-aged women wearing large felt top hats garlanded with flags and wearing free Daily Mail waterproofs (free with your copy in the queue)! But characterise them all I will. OK – that’s harsh. There are also a lot of Aussies and Americans, but they’re outnumbered. The only other time you come across this same cross section of the country’s population is if you’ve ever had the (mis)fortune to ride the tube home around the same time that a Cliff Richard concert has finished at Earl’s Court. You see? It’s no coincidence that Cliff famously cheered up the Centre Court crowd on a previous wet Wimbledon.
And speaking of Cliff, I really hope that all the newspapers and media outlets that gave space to that ridiculous stunt (free reg. req’d.) involving Tony Blackburn were fully aware what they were doing. Unique, the company who own Classic Gold “Digital” (mostly available on AM) was founded by one Noel Edmonds. And wouldn’t you know it? This week also saw their annual results. Tony Blackburn just about admitted as much at the NTL Commercial Radio awards on Friday where he was presenting an award.