Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Parochial Sports News

As you may be aware I've been an Arab, that is a Dundee United, supporter all my life. I grew up in through the 80's when United were a force in European football with famous wins against such teams as Barcelona and FC Benfica. It was a great team full of character and brilliance and it's brightest star for me was Paul Sturrock who was one of the greatest left-wingers of his time and a fantastic guy. One of the highlights of my young life was being a ballboy for the team in a European game even if I'll always be remembered as the lad that threw the ball to the wrong team, much to the hilarity of the whole city which was watching the game on Scotsport.

Suffice to say Sturrock is one of my greatest heroes so it was a bit of a blow recently to recently learn that he has been suffering from Parkinsons for eight years. At times like this you need to get things in perspective and Sturrock helped us Arabs do just that on Saturday after United beat Plymouth Argyle, the team he manages, 1-0 in Saturdays pre-season friendly.

This has caused quite a bit of controversy in the City of Discovery with many Dundee fans expressing shock and the Lord Provost saying he was 'disappointed' with the comments. I'm with Sturrock on this one though,

Sturrock later apologised if he had caused any offence and said his comments had been intended as banter.

He said, “My remarks were entirely tongue-in-cheek.

“If I have offended anyone I apologise but it was just banter, the sort of thing I’ve been on the receiving end of for the last 25 years whenever I’ve been out on the town in Dundee.

“I have no ill feelings towards Dundee fans and was deeply touched by the kind messages of support I received from them last week when I revealed I was suffering from Parkinson’s disease.”

In the end it's all fun and nothing more than you'd hear in the pub between mates who support the opposing teams. Anyway Sturrock is a mere amateur when it comes to controversy involving United. To see a true professional at work observe the legendary Sir Jim McLeans method of dealing with stupid questions, it's worth watching the whole 3 minutes for the buildup to the climax.

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