Archive | ITV4 RSS feed for this section

ITV…Best of Enemies – Roy Keane vs Patrick Viera

12 Dec

There was a time when the English Premier League was dominated by two teams, Manchester United and its London rival, Arsenal FC. For close to a decade, between 1995 and 2003, the Premier League title was swapped back and forth between these two teams.

Many great players featured in those title-winning teams, Theirry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Eric Cantona, David Seaman, David Beckham, Paul Scholes amongst others. At the beating hearts of the two teams stood two men, Roy Keane and Patrick Viera. They were both midfielders, both captains and both very, very very tough tackling, dominant and abrasive footballers.

Whenever the football fixtures brought Manchester United and Arsenal together during those years, the match was guaranteed to be explosive and not just in the football sense. In these matches Viera and Keane were Centurions leading out their legions into battle and both men led from the front not shying away from confrontation both on and off the pitch. Their most famous confrontation was on October 2004, when a ruckus in the tunnel at the end of the game involved lots of shoving and barging and slices of pizza being used as weapons, and invariably dubbed Pizza-gate, with Keane and Viera very much in the mix of things.

Ten years later both men are back face to face, much older, a few pounds heavier and a lot more mellower than their younger selves. The setting was a disused warehouse somewhere, both men squared up to themselves, smiled.. and then began an hour long reminiscence of thier days in top flight football, this was ITV4′s documentary Best Of Enemies.

It was clear that there was much mutual respect between the two, and both saw their exploits over the years as a necessary means to an end, rather than an end in itself. They talked about their relationship with their respective Managers, the best players they played with and the battles between Arsenal and Manchester United.

If you are football fan this is an entertaining documentary and worth a watch. IF you missed it is still on ITV Player.

ITV’s Sports Life Stories…Fabrice Muamba’s miracle

5 Dec
Fabrice Muamba, then on loan to Birmingham Cit...

Fabrice Muamba (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can’t really remember the last time I watched ITV4, it is possible I have never actually watched it. I can’t even think of a single programme normally broadcast on the channel, or at least I couldn’t till today.

While skimming the channels I came across their Sports Life Stories and today’s was on Fabrice Muamba.  Fabrice Muamba was not a widely celebrated footballer, if you weren’t into the football the chances are that before the 17th of March,2012 you would never had heard of him.

The tragic events of that day changed all that. On that day Fabrice Muamba slumped on a football pitch at White Hart Lane,  North East London in front of a crowd of tens of thousands and for all intents and purposes was medically dead for 78 minutes. That he survived was incredible, that he seems to have suffered no lasting brain damage is a miracle.

Sports Life stories followed his life up to to that pivotal point as well as the immediate aftermath.

We learnt about his early life in Lubumbashi and later Kinshasha both in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We learn how his father left for England on the back of political upheaval in his home country leaving behind his wife and children. We learn how Fabrice eventually joined his Father in this new country only to find out his Dad had a completely new family as well.

His love for football and maths,  his struggle to learn English and his determination to play for Arsenal, his love for his now wife, Shauna, and his son.  How he downloaded the national anthem from the Internet to learn by heart when he was called up to play for England’s U-16 team. These all provided the backdrop to that eventful day in March this year.

It was the quater-finals of the FA Cup played between Tottenham Hotspurs and Bolton Wanderers at Tottenham’s home ground.  41 minutes into the match with almost no one around him Muamba collapsed and  within seconds it became clear this was not just a muscle sprain or cramp it was something much more serious.

I remember the day as I caught the incident on one of the rolling news channel and even from my home the atmosphere was palpable. No one can be really sure how Fabrice Muamba survived, but the combined effort of the Tottenham Hotspurs team doctor Shabaaz Mughal, the Bolton Team Doctor Jonathan Tobin and a Cardiologist from Lodon Chest Hospital Andrew Deaner who happened to be in the crowd and all the other medical staff contributed greatly.

From the moment he collapsed and went on life support  the nation and the football world held its breathe. It was not till to 2 days later that the first signs of a miracle began to emerge. Dr Dearner recalls how after Fabrice began to show signs of consciousness he visited him held his hand and asked him “Whats your name?” “Fabrice muamba” he replied,  ”I heard you’re a good footballer” his reply “I try”.  At that point the hope of a full recovery became reality.

He indeed went on to make a full recovery and we see two more poignant points in his life.

His return to White Hart Lane, to the spot where he “died” and was given a second chance.  As the crowd cheered  Fabrice struggled and failed to hold back the tears.

We also see as he makes an honest woman of Shauna, who had stood steadfastly with him over those trying periods.

It was a beautifully produced documentary and reminder how we should make the most of the life we live.