Tony Hart R.I.P.

Legendary TV personality and artist Tony Hart died in the early hours of Sunday morning at the age of 83. I remember coming home from school and watching Hart Beat (running between 1984 and 1993) which inspired me to draw and create artwork throughout my youth. Sadly I never really continued my artwork as I grew out of my teens but creativity is in my blood because of artists like Tony Hart and Rolf Harris. Who could forget Hart’s creation; pencil box dwelling Morph and later Chas along with the gallery and that annoyingly addictive tune that went along with it. Hart was forced to give up art last year after a second stroke robbed him of the use of his hands. For someone who was so passionate about art, it’s hard to accept not being able to create artwork ever again. The man himself said that not being able to draw any more is “the greatest cross I have to bear”. He may not have been on our television screens for the latest generation to be inspired by his skill and personality but I have fond memories of watching Hart Beat throughout my childhood! I doubt that anyone can truly better his achievements!

Is relegation on the cards for Argyle this season? Plymouth have only claimed one point from five games and by manager Paul Sturrock’s own admission that’s relegation form. It was more bad news from the City Ground as Argyle were beaten 2 – 0 by the home side. Forrest ran out comfortable winners despite the Argyle edging out the possession stats. Argyle’s problem is the lack of genuine goal scorers, the lack of goals at our opponents end is putting massive pressure on our defence and defensive mistakes are becoming more frequent. The phrase “can’t hit a barn door from two feet” springs to mind when describing our forwards. The club is massively over budget and what do we have to show for it, 27 goals from 27 games and a goal difference of -4. Argyle have taken a big step backwards this season, it really seems that Paul Stapleton’s wallet is drowning in this league of ex-Premiership teams with much bigger bank balances and resources. And there is questions over Sturrock’s pedigree at this level of football, he was great at [what is now] league 1 and 2 level but hasn’t shone at all at Championship level! I hate to say it but that backstabbing Judas Ian Holloway definitely was our best manager at this level!

Remember a few blog entries back I said that Manchester United were Liverpool’s biggest rivals for the Premiership title? Well it seems that has come into sharp focus now as United top the league after Liverpool’s 1 – 1 draw with Everton in the Merseyside derby. United went top of the league on Saturday after 1 – 0 wins against Wigan Athletic and Bolton Wanderers and still have a game in hand over Liverpool and Chelsea. The London based team also won at the weekend beating Stoke City 2 – 1 at Stamford Bridge to move within two points of Liverpool. Is the pressure starting to get to Rafa Benitez now the second half of the season is underway? The Spaniard refused to sign a new contract unless he has more control over football matters at Anfield. At the moment, Benitez has to answer to chief executive Rick Parry when it comes to matters of Liverpool’s academy in Kirkby. Many Liverpool fans seem to think that Benitez is more focused on European glory than league success as in his tenure at manager at Anfield; he has done well in Europe but relatively poorly in domestic competition. Is this year going to be more of the same? I really hope not but Liverpool’s good run in the league has stalled a little in recent weeks, too many draws with teams that really aren’t even in the same class as the Reds. The net result of this weekends results is that Liverpool sit in 2nd spot level on points with United but two goals adrift on goal difference and two points ahead of Scolari’s Chelsea!!

Another year of Formula 1 is about is kick off, the season may not start until March 29th but teams are launching their new cars and they look kinda weird with the new aero regulations. The cars look a lot narrower, longer and the rear wing seems tiny compared to what we have been used to over the years. The front wing seems rather oversized compared to the rear wing. Some people like the new look, some people dislike the new style of F1 car, I fall into the latter category. But the big news is that McLaren’s Ron Dennis is to step down as team principle of McLaren before the start of the new season. Dennis will hand over control to Martin Whitmarsh on March 1st 2009 but will not be leaving the McLaren group, he’ll take up a position of executive chairman of McLaren only having an advisorary role in race day operations, the final decision will come down to Whitmarsh. It will seem strange not seeing Dennis on the pit wall but the 61 year old has decided after 28 years as head of McLaren it’s time to step down, he certainly has earned his “retirement” winning multiple drivers and constructors championships!

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