WIMBLEDON 2012 was certainly eventful for Andy Murray and, although he eventually came up against possibly the greatest tennis player of all time, I hope the manner in which he accepted defeat on Sunday will have increased his popularity.
Although it had to, because I was actually quite shocked at the levels of anti-Murray feeling leading up to the final.
We seem to have this endless debate about whether he is Scottish or British – apparently emanating from when asked back in 2006 who he wanted to win the World Cup, Murray replied “anyone but England”. He also famously, allegedly, wore a Paraguay football shirt at a time when England played them.
Almost, but not quite. Perhaps people should remember how old he was when this happened, 19. And can anyone reading this say they never said anything in their teens, or even older, that they shouldn’t have?
His comments were almost certainly tongue-in-cheek football banter. I’ve almost made a, albeit part-time, writing career out of them but, as I well know, there is always someone that will put a different spin on what you say.
Today, I firmly believe that while he is proud of his Scottish heritage, he sees himself as British. He lives with a English young lady, so any thoughts of a rabid hatred of anything south of Hadrian’s Wall is a bit wide of the mark.
In less than a month, he will compete for Great Britain, not Scotland, in the Olympic tennis tournament, and, hopefully, winning the gold medal for Britain might get a few more of his detractors on his side.
Exciting times at the Albion, with intense transfer speculation.
The arrival of former England international Wayne Bridge last week might have raised a few eyebrows outside the club but, again, highlights the obvious ambition of the club.
Even before the arrival of Bridge, the rumour mill was in over-drive as to who would be joining the Poyet revolution at the Amex.
At the time of going to press, the rumoured “gem” signing still has to materialise. A possible £5million purchase of Huddersfield Town’s Jordan Rhodes has been much debated, including an alleged tweet from the player confirming the possibility of the deal.
Clearly, Twitter is open to hoaxes, anyone can open an account, under any name, so perhaps we shouldn’t at times read much into that mode of communication. But, then again, there is the old adage about no smoke without fire, so watch this space.
Amongst other speculation is the alleged return of former striker Colin Kazim-Richards, seven years after he left the club under a cloud after falling out with then boss Mark McGhee. Another filler for a slow news day, or mischievous fans putting two and two together and coming up with five?
Not forgetting Joe Cole on loan from Liverpool!
Needless to say, while in the darkest times at the Goldstone, Gillingham and Withdean, it was never dull supporting the Albion, it still certainly isn’t but, thankfully, in a different way.
Someone who has seen both good and bad times at the club is Michel Kuipers, who has been rewarded with his service to the Albion with a testimonial game on Tuesday, August 7, against Reading.
Tickets are currently available from the club, either at the box office or online.