Flushed with the success of another Saturday night at the boxing
- Credit: Archant
I wasn't lucky enough to hit Stratford for the Olympics last year, so the opportunity to watch boxing at The Copper Box venue was perfect.
Liam Walsh and Scott Moises were on the bill and were brilliant – the former in victory, the latter in glorious defeat against the red hot favourite.
The £55m venue – which hosted handball at the Olympics – is operated by Greenwich Leisure Ltd, located on the Olympic Park which is being redeveloped by the London Legacy Development Corporation.
So, nice venue, what about the parking? Not once did I see a sign for a car park, although I saw a lot of places that looked like car parks, except for the fences around them. And I saw a lot of people asking where to park. And I asked where to park. And I parked outside the Broadcast Centre, before spending the next few hours wondering what to do in the event of my car being clamped.
Curious, though, that a 7,500-seater venue doesn't have a car park. Fortunately it does have what looked like quite a lot of derelict land, if there is such a thing, with patches of grass missing and weeds starting to grow. Ideal for a car park (note to Seb or Boris, whomever – why not explore the idea of buying a lawnmower and a hoe).
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Maybe I am being picky, but the bits I saw of the Olympic Park, and granted it wasn't much, it looked a bit tired. I always thought the Legacy would start pretty much as soon as Mo and Co had left the building, so I just assume everyone is waiting to move in, like West Ham, or Leyton Orient, or whoever wants to play football in a half empty stadium.
Anyway, inside, the Copper Box is excellent for fans, with good tiered seating granting a great view, rather than rows and rows of ringside seats affording a view of the back of someone's head. The Farmy Army were in terrific voice again, which made for a great atmosphere.
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Curiously, a week earlier I had been at the Epic studios in Norwich for a local boxing show and I ended up interviewing Nathan Dale in a loo (saves getting in the way of the other fighters) – which accounts for the picture above. I have no complaints – I can listen to boxers talking all day, they are fascinating people. But I do worry about this loo thing becoming a habit.
At the Copper Box I was lucky enough to follow Liam Walsh and his corner into the dressing room area.
Liam was as good as gold and before he had changed was happy to talk about his fight. Trouble was, the other boxers had music blaring out as they pumped themselves up for their bouts so we had to find somewhere a little quieter. My short-hand skills deserted me years ago so I have to rely on a dictaphone and I had this horrible vision of replaying the tape ready to write my story and finding I had recorded 50 Cent instead.
But post-fight duties include stringent medical tests for boxers and a very vigilant doctor wasn't about to allow Liam out of his sight. That meant the corridor was out of the question. There was only one place we could go for a bit of peace and quiet. So we ended up in the loo again – me, Liam and the doctor.
You can make up your own jokes ...
Our angling correspondent wrote a superb farewell article this week on John Wilson, who is leaving Norfolk to live in Thailand (lucky man).
I have only one John Wilson story: he was once asked whether or not carp made good eating. Yes, he replied, and proferred a rustic recipe.
'Find a large log and set fire to it. Then, lay the carp on to the burning embers.
'After 15 minutes, turn the carp over and lay it on its other side. After another 15 minutes ... eat the log.'
John Wilson, with his permanent smile no matter what, was a terrific ambassador for fishing.
He will be missed.
A chap on a national radio station, just before Norwich City's game at Watford in midweek, said 'at Norwich, the fans love Chris Hughton'.
Not sure the degree of authority on which he based that judgement, but I suspect it was flimsy.
There are some managers who immediately grab you by the short and curlies and practically force you to like them – results help of course. The passion of Paolo di Canio is fine – you just don't need his man management techniques.
Paul Lambert combined results with overt passion and the fans loved him for it.
Hughton reacts differently, his team plays differently, which means some fans are struggling to warm to him. Strange, because he is a very decent man and I'd suggest his passion is the same.
He just shows it differently.