When you wish change wasn’t always embraced

Good evening sports fans, I am liking this theme of discussion, so much so that we’re going to keep that line of conversation going. I am referring to the trip down memory lane, but in line with our website, it’s sports related.

Ladies and gentleman, the golden goal. The golden goal was the best thing, invented in knock out football. What is it? That will no doubt be the young ones who ask that. It’s ok kids, Uncle Sports Buff will tell you, the golden goal was how Euro 2000 was settled and still to me, remains one of the best finals to this day, for that very reason.

So, you play a game of football, it finishes all square, extra-time comes and like in park football that you would play as a kid with your mates, it was next goal wins! The score wouldn’t be 10-4 to one team, then that it’s, no this was neck and neck.

As a fan it was tense, the sudden death of it all, that’s what brought the excitement and nervous energy to reality. The near misses, the handballs or the penalties, lead you to think is this it, the golden moment if you like?

When the golden goal would be scored by the winning team of course, you would feel the excitement, but also the pain of the loser and in my memory that was Italy who had taken the lead in the game.

Unbeknownst to the common football fan (meaning the men in suits obviously thought of this), golden goal rule was dumped. Silver goal rule was introduced, but it wasn’t the same, the silver goal rule was a down grade from golden goal, as in the park football next goal wins, but this would be a mini match with in the first 90 minutes.

To put it simply, no good! It begged the question, why did they change it? O and whilst we’re on the topic as tonight is FA Cup day, with several ties being played, there’s no replays! *throws his coat down in rage*

That’ s where the romance of the cup is from! Ryan Giggs with his gorilla chest swinging his jersey over his head and running around in that tense semi-final replay moments before penalties were due to be taken, finding a moment of magic to win the game, but that’s no more .. thanks to some people!

Not all changes are terrible in sport, VAR. Yes, it’s used terribly, but the idea is good. That’s the only positive change in football I can think of. In European competition as of this year, away-goals rule no more.

Hello, Manchester United and Bayer Leverkusen in 2003, are we going to allow games to fade into the back of the memory. That tie was iconic! But now due to UEFA ruining a good thing, the away goals rule no more.

There is some solace, because the Cup Winners Cup was a tournament, but they cancelled and have now brought it back, so maybe there is hope? As I am sure you have guessed, a cricket article of this nature is incoming. So see you there!

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When you were forced to go in goal

Good afternoon sports fans, I hope you’re well, ladies and gents and looking after yourselves too. After reminiscing about my school days and school cricket, I have decided I want to carry on walking down memory lane.

This road is a one way street where forward is the only way you can really go. So with this in mind, (for those of you who are old enough) let’s take you on the journey of in school when as almost a form of subtle bullying, the smallest kid was put in goal.

To be put in goal, of course was seen as the ultimate punishment, as was being last pick or being a number 11 in cricket, or purely having to field and not bowl. One way to soften the chastening blow of being put in goal, after hours arguing, heads and tales or scissors, paper or brick games, the happy median was two goals and swap.

So of course, naturally in school football and even five-a side, the unfit one would jump at the chance to go in goal after five minutes of running and feeling tired (yeah that was me). But you would also get the one who would try to be Van Nistelrooy when he wasn’t in goal.

A certain someone *err herm me*, would be a master in the art of what in my day was called ‘goal-hanging’ . That’s not literal in the sense, don’t think I would hang goal nets on my washing line. I am referring to staying up front, the top-end of the pitch.

Tracking back? Yeah, we can only do that in up to three working days! But back to being the goal-keeper. Shots from the five-a-side halfway line, would ‘fly in’ with the keeper no where in sight, very sus indeed.

Before you know it, after four shots, this person would be ready to go back out of goal and in to the attack. Me, well for a big unit (let’s put it mildly) got down well and covered a lot of ground in my penalty box, I was like a panther who hadn’t gone for a run for some prey in a while.

Other football punishments, well it was when I was in the school team, was to be put in defence. O how I yearned to be the one stroking the ball into the net, but it’s not all sad as I did get the pleasure of scoring in penalty shoot-outs.

So there you have it sports fans, my memories of being summoned to be in goal. I am sure this still happens at a five-a-side pitch or school playground, or maybe this story is one that you can relate to. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Thanks to our partner fragrance one for giving our readers a discount! 

You can use my code F30SPORTSBUFF at checkout to get 30% off your entire purchase at Fragrance One! fragrance.one

The Sports Buff Support

Hello, good afternoon sports fans. I hope you’re well. We hear at The Sports Buff love telling stories and sharing them too. Alhamdulillah we have been operating for a year and we’re looking to solidify our website and help it grow too, but we need your support please. Whatever large or little amount you think you can spare, it’s still even bigger to us. With your kind donation/support we want to give a contribution to the local community sports hall, to help young kids do what they do best, have fun! Thank you for your support.

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School cricket explained

Good afternoon sports fans, it’s me The Sports Buff. I pray you’re well, looking after yourselves and are in good health! Having taken inspiration from my article of when I turned into prime Wasim Akram here : https://the-sports-buff.com/2022/02/17/when-i-turn-into-prime-wasim-akram/ .

In that particular article I talk about the fond memories of back garden cricket. In this article, we talk about a brand of cricket which stems from the back garden cricket. School cricket, if you were in a school like man saw portable wickets used, or if you’re extra creative a wall would be used and the wicket would be drawn on to the wall using chalk.

Yes you’re reading that right. The chalk wickets, shall we call them, lead to a lot of arguments. Whether or whether not it hit the wicket would lead to arguments till the cows came home.

The hard duke ball? No no, tennis ball or a tap ball if you’re extra creative. Men round the bat and the unusual form of dead ball as kids would walk past or near your ‘wicket strip’ thus getting in the batsmen eyeline and in turn the batsmen getting distracted.

If the ball hit those chalk wickets, it’s out! But the batsmen would call ‘dead ball’. If the bowler would bowl and lose grip of the ball having seen people walk into the batsmen’s eyeline and then seeing that very batsmen launching him for a six, then obviously it’s a dead ball. The batsmen, would naturally see it different, of course.

O and the umpiring? What umpiring? Welcome to the world of no stumpings, run-outs with no third umpire and there isn’t no-balls. Beamers of course does get clamped down (when the batsmen screams at the bowler challenging and asking him what are you doing?).

I was referring to the front foot no-ball. There’s a coin toss, but as this ‘pitch’ never needed to be laid with heavy roller or a light one, the captain always batted first. Have a bat (as that’s fun) and don’t worry about it after that.

It’s been over 20 years since I have played school cricket, or play ground cricket, have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments.

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You can use my code F30SPORTSBUFF at checkout to get 30% off your entire purchase at Fragrance One! fragrance.one

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The PSL is over, I am not crying you are

Depending which part of the world you’re from, the debate of which T20 League is the best will divide opinion. Ask people from Australia, they will say (some of them at least) that the BBL (Big Bash League) is the best.

The same with an Indian or a Pakistani. Talking of Pakistan, yesterday on 27th February, approximately at 6pm UK time, Lahore Qalandars were crowned champions of the Pakistani Super League for the very first time!

That’s the beauty with cricket and to be more precise franchise cricket, where in the case of the Qalandars, they lost to Multan Sultans in the first knock out game, but due to the nature of the format, they would get a second chance after dramatically defeating Islamabad United in the eliminator.

But now with the PSL over, what now cricket fans? Well, South Africa are (at the time of writing) in the process of forcing a win against World Test Champions New Zealand, as well as Sheffield Shield cricket.

Not enough? Well, there’s women World Cup cricket and in just five days Australia and Pakistan play a test series in Pakistan! How cool is that? Answer, very! Especially with Rawalpindi to be one of the venues too.

Sixteen long years, since The Baggy Green played in Pakistan, home to one of the most passionate vocal supporters in the world. Hang in there cricket fans, let’s find some cricket re-runs of T20’s and watch The Sports Buff’s Out In the Middle videos, to keep you going.

I have your back guys, you’re welcome.

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Back garden football, where everyone is Messi

Hello, good afternoon sports fans, it’s me your Sports Buff, the knowledge hub for all matters sport. I hope you’re well, looking after yourselves and if you’re in the UK, staying clear of storm Gladys!

Gladys is a fitting name for a storm, they’re feisty in nature, so they cause a storm in their own right! Sports fans, carrying on from the same vein of me turning into prime Wasim Akram.

Football, is known as the beautiful game and is played by millions, maybe billions. From astro turf pitches to the dusty streets in the third world, football is arguably the most popular sport played.

But what about football in the back garden. The broken windows from trying to do a ‘Ronaldo free-kick’ (R9 for me in my day, not CR7). The times the car alarms would go off too when the ball would hit your neighbours car! Sorry Joe and Una, that’s you lol.

The plus side of back garden football, if you’re me and play with your seven-year old nephew, you morph into Messi. Low-sense of gravity and scoring goals for fun. The tricks, the nut-megs- I am sure it’s something that the PSG man would clap and admire from the sidelines if he saw me strut my stuff.

Let’s forget the panting out of breath I would do these days after 15 minutes, then yeah back garden football is something I excel in. The saves I make from my nephew’s shots and the ‘screamers’ I wack into the top corner of our makeshift goal.

Yes he’s like two foot smaller than I am, but hey Fabian Barthez was a diminutive goalie and he had a superb career. So you see, size doesn’t matter. As good as back garden football is for the tricks and flicks you can do, in my case with my nephew, nothing will be quite like back streets football.

Coats making the goal posts, and the iconic next goal wins, even though the team that calls next goal wins is losing 10-3 or something of the sorts. Thank you for joining my journey of nostalgia.

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Karachi Kings trying to do a Schalke

Hello and good afternoon sports fans! How the devil are we? Well, if you’re like me and you will say in the sporting sense, life is brilliant! PSL (Pakistan Super League) is on and return of the Champions League too, *sips on coffee with bliss*.

But for those of you who are fans of PSL side Karachi Kings, your team is living a nightmare! I liken their current plight to German giants Schalke? If I try and share my logic behind the thinking, then it’s not as dramatic as you think.

The Kings, who were PSL winners, just two years ago are actually trying their best to mimic the Gelsenkirchen side in this years tournament. Schalke, two seasons who were relegated and narrowly avoided Tasmania’s infamous record.

Karachi, who are captained by Pakistan captain Babar Azam, who replaced former skipper Imad Wasim has over seen a very dismal campaign. To put in perspective, they’re staring at beating Quetta Gladiators’ unwanted record (four points in a season, the 2021 season) as the lowest in the tournament’s history.

With two games to go, they can mathematically match it only. One silver lining to Karachi Kings’ campaign was that IPL team Chennai Super Kings had a disappointing campaign. The season after that, they won the tournament. Here’s to hoping (for Karachi Kings sake) history repeat doesn’t repeat itself.

Again thanks to our partner fragrance one; 

⁣We are in partnership with Fragrance one. So, for all your perfumes (men and women) they have you covered! On top of that, they have a massive scented candles range too! 

Hey! You can use my code F308IL5PI at checkout to get 30% off your entire purchase at Fragrance One! fragrance.one

When I turned into prime Wasim Akram

Hello and good afternoon, sports fans, fans of the intellectual game (cricket). It’s a case of cat and mouse, survival of the fittest and also of the mentally strongest. That’s the challenges of a professional cricket player.

The need to eat well, sleep well and train well is key to gaining an edge in performance. Another issue that needs to be mentioned, which many might not appreciate so much is the mental side.

Weeks and sometimes months away from families in an isolation bubble is arguably a bigger test than the match themselves. When I put it like this, I admire even more what the professional cricket player does to make it.

So, when I say I (in back garden cricket) bowl like prime Wasim Akram, this statement naturally needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. The batsmen I bowl to is my seven-year old nephew, who with the greatest respect to him has an average of 15, if that.

But I can only bowl to what batsmen is in front of me right? A tennis ball, is the makeshift kookaburra that we play with. No umpire (well it’s me and I am fair .. honest) and also no LBW’s in this format too.

It’s free hits when I feel like it and wide Yorkers I get to perfection 😆😉.

My yorkers and that movement I extract way from the right-hander deserves admiration, just how I make the ball dance. Why o why, didn’t we get this on camera???? To sound like Jay from The Inbetweeners, yeah I am going to say when it comes to batting I am like the king of swing.

Finding the boundary and ‘hitting over the rope’, has been no problem. Sorry dad for hitting your car! But at least I didn’t do a Matthew Horne all those years back and smash your car window!

Just like the great man (Wasim Akram) I too hit a double century. He of course smacked 250 against Zimbabwae all those year ago and me, 207 against my nephew who charmed with his cuteness to persuade me to retire on 207.

It was a sunny day, so let’s say it was a flat track and not a bowlers surface. Thank you ladies and gentleman, that’s the story of how I turned into prime Wasim Akram.

Again thanks to our partner fragrance one; 

⁣We are in partnership with Fragrance one. So, for all your perfumes (men and women) they have you covered! On top of that, they have a massive scented candles range too! 

Hey! You can use my code F308IL5PI at checkout to get 30% off your entire purchase at Fragrance One! fragrance.one

The football is back

Hello and good evening sports fans. Reading that title, you will be forgiven for thinking that we’re in the summer and the date is mid August. As plausible as that is to assume that, this is not actually the case.

In Europe, football does annually have a two-week break (some more), but in England this is just the second year that they have introduced this. The break is only in the Premier League from our knowledge, football in the lower Leagues has been continuing as normal.

From the end of the season to the start of the season is approximately two months, maybe even touching three. However many months there is between the end of the season and the start of the new season, it seems like years.

The two-week mid season break, which was brought in last season after calls from Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp to bring in, will give a welcome break to footballers who are playing more football, season upon season.

Scotland, just like the rest of Europe have had the winter break for some time. To have a break is good for recharging the batteries. Cricket and to be more exact, the domestic T20 Leagues do have rest and breaks, but they tend to be just for a few days.

The ongoing PSL, that is currently going on, which will resume tomorrow after a two-day break as the tournament moves to matches solely in Lahore, has been missed by yours truly. It may only be two days, but it felt like two months!

Welcome back PSL, we missed you!

Talking of missed, that won’t be you lovely readers. Why? Simply because, we as a way of saying thank you are giving our lovely readers 30% off fragrance one products.

As my way of saying thank you. You can use my code F304O02Z1 at checkout to get 30% off your entire purchase at Fragrance One! fragrance.one

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