The Olympics Diary – Day Three – The Fast and The Furious

Fourteen years ago to the day I stood in front of my close friends and family and agreed to wed the Current Mrs Fuller. Despite her claims yesterday that going to watch the Tennis at Wimbledon was the “best day of her life”, it was a day full of fantastic memories for me and one I look back on every 1st August with fondness. Every year we try to celebrate it in a different location. In recent years we have had the excitement of a day on Barry Island, the canals of Birmingham and even a trip to see Cardiff City v Valencia. I know how to spoil a girl.

But this year what better way to celebrate our XIV Anniversary than a trip to the Olympic Park to get our daily fill of history. The ticket gods had been kind to us and we had manage to snaffle a couple of Water Polo tickets to go with our Handball ones (many thanks to the Daggers Diary team who had procured those for us last year).

Handball – now there is a game I would love to see more of in this country. I had been lucky enough during my time spent in Copenhagen to see the game played first hand in one of the best domestic leagues in the world and had loved watching the fast flowing game. I may have been slightly swayed in my admiration for the game by the fact the two teams I watched were young, female and blonde but even so it was a great event. Hopefully the packed arena in the Olympics will kick-start an increased interest for the sport in this country.

Water Polo on the other hand I had no idea what to expect, neither did any of the Fuller girls. I must have looked convincing when I told the Littlest Fuller’s that the game was basically Handball played on inflatables in the pool. They believed me and an idea for a new Olympic sport formulated in my head. Everyone I spoke to about the game told me it was “nasty”….The girls had seen a couple of games on Monday afternoon and confirmed that the female version was in no way ladylike.

An early start saw us drop the Littlest Fullers off at their child minders before we made the very easy journey to the OIympic Park via the DLR from Woolwich Arsenal. It seems this was the route into the park that the public ignored because every time we used it it was empty. Just over thirty minutes from leaving the house we were walking through security into the Park and heading for the Copperbox. Continue reading


Come feel the (lack of) noise

Faced with watching another potential Dagenham and Redbridge defeat and some winter sunshine watching the world’s best team, it is not hard to understand why Brian and Dagenham Dan headed for the beaches of Barcelonetta, the monuments of Gaudi and the cathedral of football, The Camp Nou.

Last year, Dagenham Dan and I were able to make a couple of trips out to the Catalan capital to watch a team that would by the end of the season, be European champions. Since then, Barcelona arguably made the squad that they had last season even stronger, with the summer signing of Cesc Fabregas. However, it hasn’t gone all their own way in the league; a defeat last weekend to Getafe meant that they are now three points behind Real Madrid (and have played a game more), who finally seem to be justifying the huge expenditure that has transformed the team over the last couple of years.

This doesn’t disguise the fact that the Spanish League is rapidly becoming, like many of the major leagues in Europe, a two-team affair. Clubs like Villarreal, Valencia, Atletico Madrid and various others are now battling for third place, and the last couple of places in the bloated Champions league. In 2009/10, Barcelona finished one point ahead of Real, but their final point’s totals (99 and 98 respectively) were miles ahead of the third place team. Granted, that was an exceptional case, but the gap between the top two and the rest is widening to almost embarrassing level. The Spanish national team may be the best in the world, and present European and World Champions, but like England, it’s league is not entirely the competitive nirvana that some might have us believe. Continue reading

Handball Referee!

The lengths we go to to find some sport anywhere in Europe is worthy of an Olympic Gold medal sometimes.  After being denied a game of any sorts at the weekend we headed off back to our normal job on Monday morning in Copenhagen, and after a few flight (and airport) cancellations we eventually made it to our desk at 11am Tuesday morning.  And what did we have to look forward to after work?  Trading Places (the Eddie Murphy variety and not the crap reality TV show) with Danish subtitles and a Frikerdeller or two.

That was until someone started chatting about the performance of the Danish Womens National Handball team in the recent European Championships who lost in the semi-finals against eventual winners Norway in front of a sell out crowd.  and next month sees the start of the Men’s World Cup in Sweden no less where the Danes will compete against those big Handball nations Algeria, Bahrain and Tunisia as well as lesser lights of Germany, Sweden and of course World Champions France. “When can we go?” was the obvious answer! Continue reading