Love Island v the beautiful game – there’s room for both | Simon Carter

It was, even by the high standards we have set since June 2016, a remarkable few days in British society. Incredible things happened last week:•One of our most well-respected newsreaders, Alistair Stewart, had to stand down after being found guilty by that venerable institution, a Twitter kangaroo court;

Sunday, 2nd February 2020, 8:00 pm
CHAT: Demi and Nas from Love Island, a constant source of office banter Picture: ITV

• Mrs Brown’s Boys was somehow chosen ‘Best Comedy’ at the National Television Awards (conclusive proof the British public cannot be trusted with any vote);

• And Ann Franke’s diary entry for last Monday was brief and to the point: ‘Today I said the most ridiculous sentence ever uttered in England.’

I hope that’s what she wrote. Ms Francke is head of the Chartered Management Institute, a professional body of managers. Intelligent people, yes? No.

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Certainly not Ms Francke; she believes office banter about football and other sports can exclude women and lead to laddish behaviour such as talking about who they copped off with on Saturday night.

‘It’s very easy for it to escalate from VAR talk and chat to slapping each other on the back and talking about their conquests at the weekend.’

Wow, Mrs Francke said that. Seriously, she did. We’ve all been there, lads, haven’t we? Within seconds of discussing if Sadio Mane’s shoulder was offside in a brief chat by the photocopier, we’ve escalated to lurid tales and ‘whey-heys!’ about scantily-clad girls and nightclub toilets.

Where I sit at The News there are more conversations about L*** I***** than the beautiful game. Perhaps I should move nearer the sports desk.

Ms Francke added: ‘A lot of women, in particular, feel left out. They don’t like either being forced to talk about them [sports] or not being included.'

Well, I don’t like L*** I***** but I’m not going to complain about colleagues discussing it. Each to their own.

Hopefully that’s Ms Francke’s Warholian moment been and gone. Thank God for that. Or, as I said to a female co-worker, thank Lionel Messi for that…

Of course there’s still magic in the cup… for minnows

Something else happened last week that should have been the talk of The News office – namely, Pompey’s cup draw.

They say there is no magic left in the cup any more; they say it has been stripped of the glamour it once possessed.

But how can that be when Pompey are handed a home tie against one of the greatest clubs in English football?

I can’t wait, and I’m sure Pompey fans can’t wait either. Counting down the days already… counting down the days until my home town club, the club I have supported all my life – Exeter City – come to Fratton Park to knock Pompey out of the Trophy.

I guess the FA Cup draw against Arsenal isn’t bad either…

When winter was winter and boys became men overnight

Last month was one of the warmest Januarys on record. Greta Thunberg might have a point, you know.

It used never to be like this. When I was growing up we had some severe snowfalls. Winter was winter. February 78, winter 78/79, winter 81/82, winter 84/85, January 87... all saw the south of England carpeted with the white stuff.We just got on with it, though. I trekked 40 minutes to school (which steadfastly refused to close) up one of the steepest hills in east Devon; aged just 12, in January 1982, we did cross country running in the snow – WEARING A T-SHIRT AND SHORTS*.Life was very different back then. Harsher in some ways, yes, but life lessons were easier to come by.* I thawed out in March.