2014 promises much in the way of sport, and now that the unfathomably elongated Festive period has finally come to an end, we can get on with it.
Apart from emergency plumbers, nurses and footballers – of course – society has stretched this period or ‘holiday’ as some call it, as long as it reasonably can. And when, like this year, new year falls on a Wednesday, excuses are cheekily found to stretch it out a little more.
No such luck for those footballers though. They, or some managers at least, have been complaining about playing too much football, and we all find it difficult to sympathise with people who earn thousands a week. In their defence, five 90-minute matches in 15 days is a solid workload, and bodies know nothing about a thriving bank account. If it’s tired, it’s tired.
We might feel an inkling of pity for poor Tim Sherwood though, the new Tottenham manager, who had to pull teeth to get his deal, a laughable 18 month contract. What a show of faith that is, the Tottenham board more or less saying: “We’re not sure you are good enough, but we can’t think of anything better to do right now.”
Who knows why they even bother with written contracts nowadays. The moguls in football could do with realising that success requires time and stability for a leader to make his mark. This misguided way of thinking just about sums up the financial discordance that is rife in football today. If they’re not careful they will run out of managers.
Arsenal and Manchester United have been individual in this respect, having given Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson long tenures, and by not sacking their man after the first negative period that befalls them.
Success now seems to have to be instantaneous everywhere. Tennis players tend to have more coaches than hot dinners, and the latest example of it is in cricket.
After one bad tour the positions of Andy Flower and Alastair Cook are under threat, despite the fact that they have helped steer the team to world number one status in recent times.
2014 might look a bit rocky for such men, but the squash horizon looks bright and has started strongly in the region.
This time of year is all about the juniors and the Pontefract Junior Open, taking place in between Christmas and the New Year, was supported by the cream of UK and world talent.
It preceded the British Junior Open – the biggest junior tournament in the world – which finished yesterday in Sheffield. And to add to the busy period, the Northern Masters championships took place in Pontefract over last weekend.
Another group of players from Rothwell squash club deserve a shout of congratulations for wasting no time after Christmas by organising a 26-hour squash marathon for St Gemma’s Hospice last Friday and Saturday. A superb money raising effort by them.
From a personal perspective, we professional players will be hoping they can get rid of the snow in time for the first event of 2014, my favourite of all, the Tournament of Champions in New York City, which begins on the January 17.
And there is much to look forward to in this country in the next few months. The National Championships take place in Manchester in February, the Canary Wharf Classic in London in March, and the British Open in Hull in May. If you can’t manage to get tickets for those, then don’t miss booking for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July/August 2014.