Asia, Countries, Europe, Ireland, Sport, UK

My Sporting Weekend – You’ll Never Walk Alone

Unless you’ve been living under a rock then you’ll know by now that Liverpool have won their first league title for 30 years… you’ll never walk alone.

Which is of course their salute to each other and when I say ‘their’ I do of course mean ‘our’.

Because we used to live in Liverpool and the Son and Heir was born there and took the team with the city’s name in it as his club.

Setting the pace

Little would Gerry & The Pacemakers know when they released their cover of the Rogers and Hammerstein song from the musical Carousel in 1964…

The Celtic Way.

But this song would become the most famous ‘football’ song in history.

Interestingly too it is shared with the first British winners of the European Cup, Celtic.

Liverpool may be obvious because Marsden is a Liverpudlian.

Celtic tribe

And the-then manager Bill Shankly is said to have swooped on the song when he met the singer.

But Glaswegian giants Celtic is less obvious and in fact dates to 1966 when the two teams met in European competition.

Yellow wall: Borussia Dortmund.

There has never though been any rivalry over the song between the two clubs whose fans have enjoyed a long bond with each other.

The anthem has been taken up by teams abroad with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp’s former club Borussia Dortmund playing it.

Ja beauty

And as you know my mantra when going anywhere is to seek out where they play and pray…

And whisper it around the Westfalenstadion but my football education in Germany has been in Munich.

The Feyenoord Legion

There are of course two teams in the city and 1860 also play at the Allianz Arena along with Bayern.

The Dutch too have embraced YNWA.

With the Liverpool stadium speaker George Sephton giving FC Twente the song when they moved stadiums.

Dutch of magic

While Feyenoord and SC Cambuur have also taken the song to their hearts.

I’ve been all over Dutch football since I adopted them as my ‘second team’ after watching Johan Cruyff’s side of the mid-Seventies.

In Bruges

And Dutchland since I became old enough to organise my own holidays Pictures of Amsterdam and George Clooney and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel and

In fact wander around Europe (as I do for you, dear reader) and you’ll find more nationalities walking on with hope in their hearts.

Belgian waffling

Brugge is a delightful Medieval city of canals, culture, chocolates and churches In Flanders fields and

But it also has a link to Liverpool as it was Brugge who lost to Liverpool in the English club’s first European Cup final in 1978.

But who came away with a song, You’ll Never Walk Alone.

The others are more random but the destinations are right up my street.

Walk this way

I guess it makes sense that CD Lugo, in Spain’s Second Division, should have taken it as their song.

As they hail from Galicia, Camino heartland and A pilgrim’s prayer.

Why it’s the song of PAOK in Thessaloniki, Indonesia’s Bali United and Japan’s FC Tokyo then that’s one more reason to check out…

Athens’ My Greek odyssey little brother, and

America, Asia, Countries, Cruising

My Sporting Weekend – Olympic ‘sports’

It might have escaped your attention but Swedish pole vaulter Armand Duplantis broke the world record this week.

Which beggars the question: what’s the point apart from the bit at the end of the stick?

I mean who pole vaults anyway, or shot putts, or throws discuses?

Bending over backwards.

Field of screams

Javelins have their place… partly because of bonkers Tessa Sanderson who I interviewed in my first job and the force of nature that is Fatima Whitbread.

They could make it even better if they were to time it to when the long-distance runners were on the track.

Long jump? Nothing exciting has happened since Bob Beamon jumped out of the pit.

And high jump? Since Dick Fosbury flopped over the bar in the Sixties.

Give it a hurl

Home run

Baseball: I’m surprised it isn’t in the Games already but it hasn’t been since 2002.

But seeing that the Japanese are pretty good at it..,

Anyway, because I’ve got some game from the Washington Nationals… if the UK team want a Joe DiMurtio.

And check out my Washington adventures Easy DC.

Capital: Slugger Murty

Chairman of the board

For flip’s sake

Skateboarding: Born out of the old outdoor swimming pool in Venice Beach, it should remain there.

Venice Beach life should be experienced though as should Muscles Beach but they wouldn’t introduce body-building, would they?

Aw, hell, I’ve only gone and given the IOCC ideas.

And also check out

Kicking on

Karate kid

Karate: I’m only surprised it isn’t.

I never got near the oul’ Martial Arts other than having a dressing gown which was dangerously close to a Del Boy fashion item.

Hardly a spectator sport

Get your rocks off

Sport climbing: I don’t even know how they judge this.

But I do know a crowd who do… the Coloradans who spend their days climbing the Rockies.

And their evenings getting stoned at their craft beer and organic restaurants… Go West and

Everybody’s gone surfin’

Surfing: And here’s another newbie that I’m pitching myself for.

After roadtesting the Royal Caribbean Flow Rider in Barcelona.

And then throwing some shapes at Surf City USA, Huntington Beach

I’m only surprised the Japanese haven’t tried to get sumo wrestling included… I’d watch that.

Visit and



Countdown to Japan: Monkeys

There will be Pumas and Wallabies, Springboks and Bears and Eagles… it’s the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The Bears are the Russians but you’d probably work that out with my help.

And the Eagles the Americans. Again, that’s self-evident.

But what of the host nation, the Japanese?

Well, no, they don’t take their name from their indigenous animals but their flower, the Cherry Blossom.

But if you get the chance then you’ll want to see some wildlife when you’re there.

And like these monkeys they do come up pretty close.

Flyin’. Photo by Ivandrei Pretorius on

Craic with a macaque

Yes, to give them their Sunday names they are macaques.

But we know them better as snow monkeys.

Travel to Jigokudani Monkey Park in Nagano Prefecture and you’ll see the hot spring bathing wild monkeys in their natural habitat.

You’ll need to be around in December to see them surrounded by snow… who knows you may decide to stay, or even come back?

But you’ll not miss out in the Autumn either.

Whooper Swans

Stick your neck out

There will be plenty of whoops in the rugby but these guys are whooping all the time.

Or why else would they get their names?

These fellas live further north in Hokkaido and are one of the heaviest flying birds weighing an average of eight to eleven kilogrammes.

They migrate to Japan in the winter settling in the Hokkaido Prefecture.

Where they spend most of their time in the water as their legs can’t support their weight.

Steller’s Sea Eagles

Swooping in

The Americans won’t like it because we all know that everything is bigger and better in the Oo Es of A.

But these fellas are the largest eagles in the world with a 2.5m wing span.

If they swoop down by you you’ll get a closer look at their white and chocolate brown livery and yellow beaks.

Or you might have turned tail by then.

Each winter they gather on the north coast travelling to the Nemuro Peninsula in Hokkaido to hunt for Pacific cod.

We’re advised to take an ice drift cruise from Nemuro or the fishing village of Rausa.

Again it’s probably the wrong time with you being there for the World Cup.

January and February is better so put it in your calendar.

Red-crowned Crane

Something to say

Over half of the world’s red-crowed cranes call Hokkaido home with just 3,300 wild cranes across the planet.

The Japanese believe they are lucky and bring happiness, longevity and peace.

Though from the looks of them they appear to be making a lot of noise.

They can be found in Japanese folk tales, paintings, prints and decorated sliding doors called fusuma.

Kushiro City, Tsurui village and Akan village are three major feeding sites.

Again the best sightings are between November and March.

So maybe it’s best just to book your return trip to Japan to see its natural wild life.

And in the meantime celebrate the menagerie of rugby players grunting and running around the field.

Japan National Tourism Organisation promotes Japan. Visit,,

And I’ve been keeping you up to date with other aspects of Japan and deals out there…,,