Sunday, 24 June 2007

Cross border challenges

Well imagine my surprise when I walked into the Eurostar frequent travellers lounge in Paris this morning. There on the newspaper stand was le Journal du Dimanche with the front page headline: "PS: Tout sauf Ségolène".

I thought that looks familiar.

The paper reported that La Royal had decided not to attend a session of the Socialist party's national council in Paris, preferring to chill out a few hundred miles away in Angles-sur l'Anglin in her Poitou Charentes stronghold. She was down in her hood for the signing of a sustainable development contract with Pays des Vals de Gartempe et Creuse even though she was expected in the capital.

A Socialist Euro MP Benoit Hamon told the council back in Paris: "We're not going to go far as a party if it's such a trial to get all the leaders together."

Hey Benoit with such clairvoyance and common sense you're not going to go far in the Socialist party. Ségo is going on TF1 on Sunday night though to say inter alia that she's up for being the presidential candidate in 2012.

Sgt Major Sarko and his squad are probably feeling themselves locked in till 2017.

Wow. I wonder what Arsenal will be like then. Of more concern to their fans is what they'll be like in 2007-8 now that Thierry Henry is going to play for Barcelona next season.

As a Chelsea fan of diminishing interest, this news makes me think it will be easier for Chelsea to beat Arsenal. But since Jose Mourinho took over at Chelsea, they've rarely lost against Arsenal.

But I feel some affinity with Henry since he is described as a talismanic skipper and I have styled myself as my football team's talismanic midfielder.

That is where the comparisons end. He scored goals of such adventure that he will be missed by all fans of football and watching another of his wonder strikes on Match of the Day will be a thing of the past. I might go and buy the DVD of Thierry's hot shots.
Or I might sign up to the cable channel in France carrying Spanish football.

The Arsenal he leaves behind are a work in progress. Lots of potential but yet to flourish. The youngsters played Chelsea off the park at the beginning of the Carling Cup final back in February. But I thought they were too keen on beating Chelsea beautifully. It didn't work.

It was grey and wet as the train pulled into London. With weather like that you know it's time for Wimbledon. Roger Federer is going for his fifth consecutive crown. Can he put behind him the defeat in Paris? Simon Kuper's Saturday column in the Financial times says we could see a shift in power in world tennis if Rafael Nadal wins Wimbledon.

I'm not so convinced Nadal will conquer the lawns of the All England Lawn Tennis Club but he has looked the more likely world number one. But I guess that's based on the fact that he beat the world number one to win Roland Garros.

Hey Paul with clairvoyance and common sense like that you will go far as a journalist.

I will need to see their first couple of matches. That won't be easy as on Tuesday and Wednesday there's a conference on inter cultural dialogue at the Council of Europe in Paris.

Journalists from around Europe will be there talking about cultural differences and how we can all learn to understand diversity.

Well as a sports reporter, I'd better go and learn the Spanish for: Another brilliant goal from Thierry Henry.