I have covered many sports during 2018, including football, rugby, cricket and formula 1 – what a sporting year it turned out to be. As we approach the Christmas and New Year festivities I thought it would be fun to have a look back and try to decide which sports progressed in 2018 and which failed to excite or inspire us – see if you agree. Football
2018 saw Manchester City confirm that they were the benchmark for all teams in the Premier League.
The start of the current season saw City ease majestically into their campaign and as I write they once again top the league, continuing to play scintillating football in the style which their manager, Pep Guardiola demands.
Liverpool lead the chase to prevent consecutive Premier League titles for City with Spurs, Chelsea and recently Arsenal, all desperately trying to hang on to the blue side of Manchester.
The other side from Manchester continue to move backwards under the stewardship of the once admired Jose Mourinho and their demise is unmissable viewing as the majority of football fans tune into United games only to see what disaster will befall the team and the manager next! I do not believe Mourinho will be there at the beginning of next season.
England of course thrilled, inspired and made us proud again during the long, hot summer when ‘our boys’ made the semi-finals of the World Cup. Gareth Southgate’s revolution continued into the Autumn with England winning their Nations League group and qualifying for next summers finals in Portugal where they will face Holland for a place in the final – pubs and bars throughout the country will be ordering additional stocks in June!
Cricket The year began with England’s one-day team at the pinnacle of world cricket as the number one side on the planet and they continued to dominate this form of the game with emphatic series wins against Australia (twice!), India, New Zealand, Pakistan and most recently, Sri-Lanka. Eoin Morgans team have absolutely dominated one-day cricket this year and look in very good shape for next years World Cup on home soil. England’s test team, led by Yorkshire’s Joe Root have made steady progress throughout the year and despite some poor performances in early 2018 have ended the year with a home series victory against the worlds number one team, India and a whitewash of Sri-Lanka which sets us up nicely for a tour of the West Indies during the early part of next year, and the much anticipated test series against the Old Enemy, Australia.
Rugby Eddie Jones’ England team have confused and frustrated us during 2018.
We began the year on a fantastic unbeaten run but finished with a very poor 6 Nations campaign which threw optimism for next years World Cup in Japan out of the window.
Has Jones’ management style or coaching skills been found-out, or is the second half of the year just a blip as we march towards a World Cup win reminiscent of that magical day in 2004 when we put the Aussies to the sword in their own castle!
Frankly, I haven’t a clue; but I’m hoping England sort out whatever the current issues are and return to dominating the northern hemisphere in time to take on The All Blacks, South Africa and Australia in Japan.
Formula 1 Not a great year for F1, with Lewis Hamilton and the all conquering Mercedes team boring us to another driver and constructors title. F1’s new American owners will be desperate to make 2019 more exciting and competitive.
In conclusion – a fabulous, exciting, exhilarating and enthralling 2018 for sport which saw the country proud of their sporting heroes again – I would suggest that football and cricket took huge steps forward in the nations eyes. Rugby remained confusing for us but we live in hope – and F1 went backwards!
Have a fantastic Christmas and New Year!