Fairytale Of New York

Last weekend in New York I could hear Frank Sinatra singing those immortal words, “Start spreading the news” as possibly the biggest British sporting story ever was taking place. 

In fact this story had been brewing for over a month and the person involved had already made plans to return home before the story had even unfolded. I am of course talking about the new rising star of British tennis and the soon to be crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year, Emma Raducanu. Just three months ago she was ranked outside the World’s top 300, after reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon she had moved up to 179. Since her win last Sunday she is now number 23. 

The question now, was this the biggest British sporting story ever? 

Well firstly this is all about opinions and possibly it’s to do with the sports that you or I watch more regularly. I also think you have to split these into two parts, team sports and individual sports and I’ve picked my top 5 in each. 

Firstly team sports and in the time honoured way, in reverse order.

Wimbledon beating Liverpool in the 1988 FA Cup Final 

Liverpool had just been crowned once again as champions of Division One and were the all-conquering giants of English football throughout the 1980s. With a team full of international star players, they were strongly expected and favoured to win the FA Cup by all the experts. Step forward unfashionable Wimbledon, who had been playing in the semi-professional Southern League just eleven years earlier, were derided by many pundits as being technically limited and dismissed as relying only on their strength, and were expected to have almost no chance of beating their illustrious opponents. They won 1-0 with a goal from Laurie Sanchez and were helped along the way with a penalty save from their goalkeeper Dave Beasant. I can still remember the quote from BBC commentator John Motson, “The Crazy Gang have beaten the Culture Club”.

England winning the Cricket World Cup 2019

England don’t win many World Cups in any sport, but 2019 delivered one in very dramatic fashion. 

After struggling to chase down a pretty modest New Zealand total, two incredibly lucky late sixes from Ben Stokes tied the match and sent it to a Super Over. 

Even that finished level and England won only because they had hit more boundaries over the course of the game. The rule which saw them won has since been changed.

London Olympics Super Saturday 2012

Team GB won three track-and-field golds in the space of 45 minutes at London 2012 on one famous Saturday evening. 

Jessica Ennis completed her heptathlon triumph, Mo Farah won the 10,000m, and there was shock long-jump success thanks to unlikely hero Greg Rutherford.  Three golds in 45 minutes were added to the three already won that day, making it six in total. 

England win the Rugby World Cup 2003 

England who were brilliantly coached by Clive Woodward and Captained by Martin Johnson overcame Australia in extra time on their home turf with a brilliant drop goal from Jonny Wilkinson. I remember Ian Robertson’s radio commentary “It’s coming back for Jonny Wilkinson, he drops for World Cup glory!” It still gives me goosebumps.

England win the Football World Cup in 1966

The year I was born and you’re going to be hard pushed to beat this one. Remember the song, “30 years of hurt”, well that was 1996 and to this day, 55 years later we still haven’t managed it. Best remembered for the hat-trick by Geoff Hurst and that “goal” that hit the underside of the bar and according to the goalscorer who I was lucky enough to interview once on the radio, it did cross the line! We also had that unforgettable commentary from Kenneth Wolstenholme “There’s some people on the pitch, they think it’s all over, it is now!”

Now moving onto individual Sporting achievements, once again in reverse order.

Andy Murray wins Wimbledon in 2013

Before 2013, no Brit had been crowned Wimbledon men’s singles champion in 76 years. 

But that summer, Murray conquered world number  one Novak Djokovic in the final on Centre Court and he did it in straight sets too. 

Bradley Wiggins wins the Tour de France in 2012

Great Britain had to wait 103 years for a Tour de France triumph, so when Wiggins wore the famous Yellow Jersey up the Champs-Elysee to win the race, it was quite a massive moment.  

Lennox Lewis the undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World

Along with Muhammad Ali and Evander Holyfield before him, Lewis is one of three boxers in history to have won the heavyweight championship three times. Muhammad Ali famously said to Lewis, “You’re the greatest one there is, like me.” George Foreman has described Lewis as “beyond doubt, the greatest heavyweight of all time.” Lewis’ decision to retire as the reigning heavyweight champion of the world in 2004 and he continues to be the last Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion.

Lewis Hamilton wins seven F1 World Championships 

In Formula 1 Hamilton has won a joint-record seven World Drivers’ Championship titles (tied with Michael Schumacher), and holds the records for the most wins (99), pole positions (101), and podium finishes (175), amongst others. From humble beginnings in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, he will, once he retires be the most successful F1 driver ever. 

Emma Raducanu wins the 2021 US Open in Tennis

I think from an individual point of view this has to be the greatest British individual sporting achievement ever and the reason is because she came from absolutely nowhere. The 18-year-old Raducanu won 10 matches in a row at Flushing Meadows, three in qualifying, seven in the main draw and is the first woman to win the US Open title without dropping a set since Serena Williams in 2014.

This was the first major final between two teens since Williams, 17, beat Martina Hingis, 18, at the 1999 final and the first between two unseeded women in the professional era, which began in 1968.

Raducanu is the first British woman to win a Grand Slam trophy since Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977 and Wade was in the Ashe stands on Saturday, applauding with everyone else. 

They say you shouldn’t mix politics with sport and I totally agree but some people including Gary Lineker were trolling out the fact she was a migrant once and that is a hot political subject right now. The facts are she arrived in the UK legally at the age of two from Canada with her Romanian Father and Chinese Mother. Why do people want to find faults in people immediately after they do something successful? Let’s enjoy and concentrate on the fact she’s an amazing tennis player and has an opportunity for an unbelievable career. 

And if I’m quoting songs then it has to be “Fairytale of New York”.

Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend! 

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com 

Mallorca Never Stops Delivering

Forat de Mallorca

I’ve been lucky enough to live in Mallorca for just over 30 years now and even for such a small island I’m still discovering new things. When I take the boys for their football matches, it’s a great opportunity to get out and about and admire the island. Take this week, I was scrolling through Instagram and the photo above came up. I had to look twice at the picture as I couldn’t actually believe what I was seeing. 

A whole in the rocks that totally mirrors a map of the island of Mallorca! When I posted the same picture on social media, I discovered I wasn’t the only one who didn’t know this existed. 

Forat de Mallorca is situated in Pollensa in an area that can only be reached by sea. There’s a great story as to how it was created. Legend has it that the hole was created during a pirate attack in 1582, after a cannon shot sculpted the silhouette of Mallorca in the rock. I’m going with that as nobody has come up with anything better and as I work in Pirates let’s stick with it. 

Sometimes you tend not to appreciate where you live but that’s difficult to do that here. Take my drive to work. It takes me past the sea and the beautiful Port Adriano housing some of the best yachts and boats in the World. The well renowned golf courses of Santa Ponsa and T Golf and when I get to the radio studio I’m looking out over one of the best beaches on the island, Magaluf. You might snigger but believe me there aren’t many better on the island. Magaluf may have a bad name but the beach and it’s promenade are one of the best. Put it this way, Nikki Beach has 13 of its luxury beach clubs all over the World including Miami, St Tropez, Barbados and Dubai. They could probably have had their pick of anywhere on the island but they chose Magaluf beach for the one here in Mallorca. 

There is no doubt that people come back on holiday year after year as Mallorca does have everything but in the past 18 months that might have been forgotten. Those that know me, know I’m very passionate about the island and what it offers and I sometimes get exasperated by how we are marketed as a destination. I’ve written countless columns and blogs on the island and it’s advantages as a holiday destination. But there’s something that we need to be wary of as it has no doubt become more popular since the pandemic. I’m talking about the “Staycation”.

According to the Cambridge dictionary a staycation is a holiday that you take at home or near your home rather than travelling to another place.

In most people’s eyes though they don’t think about staying at home or near to their home, Depending on where they live they’re thinking of Devon, Cornwall, the Lake District or Scotland. So in reality that isn’t a staycation. 

There is something that Mallorca can guarantee that the UK can’t and that’s the weather. Lots of family and friends have told me that the weather in August was awful but strangely enough as a write this they’ve got great weather. No good now though considering the kids have gone back to school. A staycation doesn’t come cheap as lots of people have told me. I also think people want to try and be somewhere else in the World with different cultures, cuisine, scenery and nightlife. 

I think the only problem for us is the traffic light system and the different test rules there are. However I read a report in The Times this week that the Government are talking about changing the traffic light system to red list countries only and people who have been double vaccinated will not have to have any tests on their return to the UK. That is rumoured to be happening at the end of this month. 

Mallorca in my opinion is still one of the best holiday destinations anywhere in the World. An island with turquoise blue waters, secret coves, soft golden sands, lush green foliage, rugged mountains, picturesque villages, amazing cuisine, an up and coming wine industry, bustling nightlife and a vibrant capital city. We’re also an island in the Med only a couple of hours flight from most European cities. 

Let’s look forward to a bumper 2022.

Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend! 

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com 

“It’s Been A Great Season?”

I don’t know if you’ve noticed like me this week the Governments push for positive tourism news? I’m all for it if it’s true but I’m sceptical. 

The Balearic President has told us it’s been a great season, there were reports that the number of tourists visiting Spain in July were up 78%, comparing to July 2020 (when there was hardly any).

Palma de Mallorca International Airport has apparently recovered this month of August 2021 up to 85% of the air traffic it supported in pre-pandemic times in August 2019, due to the progressive growth of national and international traffic to Mallorca.

Forecasts indicate that during this month about 3.9 million passengers have passed through the Mallorcan airport, a figure very close to 4.2 million in August 2019. Likewise, aircraft traffic will have been around 25,000, for the 28,790 of 2019, according to AENA data.

There’s been a “massive” drop in unemployment in the Balearics in the month of August.

Another thing that came out of a Governmental meeting this week was “maintaining flights is vital to extending Mallorca’s tourism season.” There’s quite a few things to pick through here, as although the headlines look good, I think it’s always good to go deeper into the detail. 

Firstly are they trying to get this good news out now because we are in September, it’s normally the beginning of a wind down to winter?

Whilst in Ibiza this week President Armengol stated, has been “much better than expected.” It has been a “very good” season, backed by a “very significant effort” to make it so.

With regard to nightlife, a sector which is of course closely associated with Ibiza, Armengol thanked the “huge effort” to understand the situation caused by the pandemic. By foregoing its business, “the collective” has been helped. So here’s the problem, the nightlife industry isn’t going to accept another season of closure. Whilst some have adapted and trialed daytime events, there is no doubt the clubs make their money from what they’re famous for, being nightclubs. Let’s remember that is two fold and in reality the Government needs them too. The Nightlife Sector generates a whopping 20 billion euros, according to the National Federation of Leisure & Entertainment Businesses, or FNEOE. That can’t be ignored for much longer.

I’m interested to know about the numbers at the airport and how they are reported. Firstly look at the wording and phrases, “forecast” “about” “passed through” “aircraft traffic will have been around 25,000” so it’s not an exact number. “Passed through” wouldn’t actually mean they are coming to Mallorca as a lot of people pass through on their way to another destination. Have they taken an average number of seats on a plane and multiplied by the number of planes that arrived? It seems that way. A lot of people in the travel industry and that were travelling particularly in July and August were telling me that the planes weren’t full and load factors weren’t as strong as predicted. I made a point of looking for flights in August and found quite a few for 9.99€ per person. In August? I’ve never seen it before. 

I said last week that for some businesses, especially the higher end of the market the season has been good but for the majority it’s about trying to survive until next season. I’ve been banging on about winter for years now and still nothing was done. That was in the good times, so what makes you think that after a pandemic where airlines & hotels who have lost millions are all of sudden going to keep flying and stay open in the winter months? As much as I would like it to happen, it’s not going to. So to come out of a Governmental meeting this week and tell us that “maintaining flights is vital to extending Mallorca’s tourism season.” I find that a staggering statement. If you went into most school classrooms and asked the same question you would probably get the same answer. 

You’re probably saying ok smart arse what would you do? Well firstly I’d get my facts in order and secondly I’ve commented countless times on summer and winter tourism. I wrote about winter tourism on the 15th of May last year giving a whole list of ideas that can be used. If you missed it, let me repeat. 

So what can we offer? We’re an island in the Med only a couple of hours flight from most European cities. We have to change the chip from sun, sea and sand although we do have days that are still suited to that. Also I’m not saying a week or two weeks as some of these ideas can be done in a long weekend.

Hiking: Mallorcas natural beauty and terrain make it a hikers paradise.

Cycling: The majority of professional cycling teams use Mallorca as a training base. 

Horse Riding: Natura Cavall offer some amazing riding experiences with the Sunday Times travel section doing a full feature on them this summer.

Football: Real Mallorca currently play in La Liga and Atlético Baleares play in Primera RFEF. 

Shopping: There are a number of shopping centres including Porto Pi, Mallorca Fan and Mallorca Fashion outlet. Palma the capital offers the ardent shopper an unbelievable array of shops including El Corte Inglés, Zara, H&M and lots of designer boutiques. 

Sights: Palma has some truly beautiful sight-seeing opportunities including the Cathedral, Bellver Castle and the Es Baluard museum of Modern & Contemporary Art to name just three. 

Restaurants: I challenge you to find a better City than Palma for its diversity of restaurants in beautiful surroundings. 

Local Fiestas: famed across the island, every month there’s something happening. 

Wine: has become a big industry with wine tours and fairs all over the island.

Excursions, winter excursions are all about sightseeing including the Soller train, Caves of Drach and the Palma City sightseeing buses. 

Putting the above into a monthly plan. 

November, there’s fiestas celebrated all over the island. Just after Halloween Muro hosts the Pumpkin Fair, Caimari has its Olive fair, Mancor de la Vall entertains the Mushroom Fair. There’s also Sa Pobla’s Agricultural Fair of farming exhibitions, arts & crafts markets and a horse show. There’s a new wine fair in Santa Maria del Cami which is a fabulous event to sample some the island’s local wines.

December, Christmas fairs pop up all over the island including Pueblo Espanyol, Port Adriano and Puerto Portals. The capital Palma is a wonderful place to shop but also to dine in some of the best restaurants in Europe. 

January, sees the fabulous Three Kings celebrations with the one in Palma being the most spectacular. In the middle of the month there’s the San Sebastián Fiestas the patron saint of the capital with big bonfires and concerts occupying the main squares of the city, followed by the legendary fire runs.

February, sees the landscape transformed by almond blossoms with an almond blossom fair in Son Servera. Palma is a perfect City to celebrate Valentines. 

March, Carnival arrives on the island with a huge procession in Palma and other celebrations across the island. 

April, Easter falls in the middle of the month meaning an early start to the Summer.

Do I think this will happen? No, because they’re too blinkered and can’t see beyond the summer. 

All that I said in May 2020. It’s alright saying something for the headlines, how about doing something about it instead?

Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend! 

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com 

A Gift That Should Keep On Giving

We are nearly at the end of August and with children in the UK returning to school next week the major part of the summer is over. September is normally a good month for couples and students so let’s hope that is the case. I’m writing this before the UK announces any changes to its travel restrictions but most experts are predicting that the Spain and the Balearics will remain on the amber list. Covid numbers here are starting to fall again which is good news and our double vaccination rate is at 70% of the population. 

Thoughts must now turn to Summer 2022. It would be nice to keep the summer going for as long as possible that was talked about early in the season but I personally can’t see it happening. For me too much thought has gone on the short term and not enough thought has gone into the long term planning of tourism on the island. 

Most of our lives revolve around social media especially in the younger market. Let’s remember we should still be encouraging the younger market to come to the island, I’m not talking about drunken tourism here but the youngsters will be the lifeblood of our island for years to come. They’ll end up bringing their own families here and it becomes a cycle that keeps on turning. 

The Tourism Minister Iago Negueruela said on Monday that while the tourism season has not been a typical one, it has still been good – “much better than we had anticipated”. I don’t quite know what he anticipated but I imagine the percentage of businesses that would rate the season as “good” would not be a high one. It is true that the higher end of the market has been good but for the rest of the market it has been a struggle and some businesses haven’t opened at all. In most cases those businesses haven’t opened since the end of October 2019. There now has to be a clear plan and path to 2022. 

A few things have happened over the last couple of weeks that the authorities should be grabbing with both arms, as they are presents that don’t come around too often. And even better than that, they haven’t had to spend a Euro to get them.

Shawn Mendes might not be a name that is instantly recognisable to all of you out there but believe me his popularity is Worldwide. 

He is a 23 year old Canadian singer and songwriter who is known for hit songs like “Stitches”, “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” and his collaboration with Camilla Cabello “Señorita.”

He released his new single “Summer of Love” on the 20th of August and where did he decide to film the video for the new single? Here in Mallorca. If you’re not sure about the reach he can generate, let me fill you in. He has just over 62 million followers on Instagram, 26.5 million on Twitter, 16.5 million on Facebook, 7.6 million on TikTok and since he shared the video on You Tube 6 days ago it has been watched 10 million times. 

There are some beautiful shots of Mallorca both inland and by the coast. He even did a pop up event marketing the single to his fans in Manhattan New York by saying, “Mallorca vibes in NYC for the #summeroflove” 

Love island may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it made its way into on average 3 million homes in the Uk every evening. Giving the island a perfect platform. It has 3.4 million on Instagram, 1.2 million on Twitter, 1.3 million on Facebook and it has 1.5 million subscribers on you tube. ITV boss Kevin Lygo insists Love Island has “many more years” despite a ratings fall. 

Although 2.8 million people tuned in to watch Liam Reardon and Millie Court be crowned winners this week, that was down 22% on the last summer series, in 2019.

Asked if the best days of the show were behind it, ITV director of television Lygo said: “I think this is a pattern that you see when new programmes come along and they are huge phenomenons. On catch-up it’s… the best performing series ever. I’m sure it will return to the island next year. 

In an interview this week, actor Michael Douglas said “Mallorca is the place I love most in the World.” Yes that’s right, Michael Kirk Douglas the American actor and producer. Who has received numerous accolades, including two Academy Awards, five Golden Globe Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award, the Cecil B. DeMille Award, and the AFI Life Achievement Award. 

He along with his Wife Catherine Zeta Jones have a holiday home here on the island on the West coast. They have been posting pictures and videos on the Instagram accounts all summer which together total 5 million people. 

There are three different examples of how popular Mallorca is and more so now than ever, we are looking at a Worldwide audience. 

It’s time for our Government to act as soon as possible.

Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend! 

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com 

What Happened To The War On Terror?

Think what you like about our politicians and their handling of the pandemic but surely they couldn’t have got their handling of the withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan more spectacularly wrong? 

I really don’t know where to start, it’s a total mess. 

The Afghanistan story goes back to firstly to 1919. Although Afghanistan was never part of the British Empire, it gained its independence from Britain after the signing of the Anglo-Afghan Treaty in 1919, a treaty that granted complete neutral relations between Afghanistan and Britain. 

This ushered in a new era of friendly British-Afghan relations.

Fast forward to December 24th 1979, which I remember from school was when the Soviet Union(as it was known then) invaded under the pretext of upholding the Soviet-Afghan Friendship Treaty.

The treaty was signed in 1978 and the two countries agreed to provide economic and military assistance. Afghanistan borders Russia and was always considered important to its national security and a gateway to Asia. Russia had long tried to establish strong ties, holding interests there for centuries.

A 1978 communist revolution in Afghanistan and its subsequent one-party state, run by head of the communist party Nur Mohammed Taraki, was extremely unpopular with the Afghan people and the Soviets attempted to bolster it with the treaty.

However, in September 1979 Taraki was overthrown and killed by members of the Afghan Communist Party who were unhappy with him.

So, in December Russia entered Afghanistan to re-establish a government closer to its desires.

The subsequent 10 year war has been described as ‘Russia’s Vietnam’, with the country sending in thousands of troops, spending millions, and ultimately retreating. The militants who they were fighting were known as the Mujahideen and ironically were backed by the United States, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, and the United Kingdom.

The war created a breeding ground for terrorism and the rise of Osama Bin Laden. So the West were ultimately to blame for what followed.

Which we all know by now became known as President George W Bush’s “War on Terror” and the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 was a direct response to the attacks of 9/11 on America. The US and its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) allies prepared to invade when the Taliban refused to hand over Osama bin Laden. 

Twenty years later from May 1st the US began to pull out followed closely by NATO and basically that should have been that and they all lived happily ever after. Well not quite because this is Afghanistan and as soon as they started to leave the Taliban moved in to take over with hardly any resistance from Afghan forces. So much so that by this week they pretty much had control back of the whole country including the capital Kabul. 

Recent figures put out by the British government put the total cost of major operations in Afghanistan in the low twenty billions.

But independent analysts think the true operational cost could be around double that figure. And this is without trying to count the additional costs to the health service of caring for wounded veterans over their lifetimes.

The major cost though isn’t money, it’s the human cost.  Over the last 20 years of deployment in Afghanistan there have been 457 deaths of UK armed forces personnel. The question needs to be asked, has their sacrifice been for nothing? Well it would seem so as the position of the country seems to be exactly as it was when they began. Not only are there the deaths of soldiers but of the ones who survived many are suffering Post Traumatic Stress Order(PTSD). Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks, and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt. They may also have problems sleeping, such as insomnia and find concentrating difficult.

These symptoms are often severe and persistent enough to have a significant impact on the person’s day-to-day life.

If that isn’t bad enough what about the abandoned people of Afghanistan? Anybody who helped the coalition forces or was part of the Afghan Army must be fearing for their lives. It isn’t a great outlook for Women and children too. The Taliban say they are willing to change but I think the jury will be out on that one. Let’s see if we return to the terror attacks that started all this 20 years ago and in the meantime Governments around the World should be hanging their heads in shame. 

Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend! 

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com 

Jab Seekers Allowance?

Life slowly but surely seems to be getting back to some sort of normality. Here in Mallorca I get the feeling that finally we are now living with the virus, rather than stopping everything to fight it. One of the factors that is helping is the push for vaccinations. Right now 73% of the population has had one jab and 63% have had two jabs. 

Both of my boys have had one jab and have their second jabs next week. We gave them their own choice and both wanted to have it. We still haven’t seen our families since December 2019 and both the boys know that we will need to be double jabbed to travel and they are desperate to see everyone at home. 

I have taken both of them for their jabs at Germans Escalas in Palma and there are lots of young people having their jabs which wasn’t the case when I went for mine. Once you get double jabbed you can pick up a certificate either online or at Son Espases Hospital in Palma. It’s very easy and you just follow the signs once you get there. Since Wednesday this week you can now go to certain centres without an appointment. This applies to the Son Dureta, Inca and Manacor centres only and there are specific times from 4pm to 7pm.

One thing that has gone under the radar in the past week is that the Balearic Government have said that any child over the age of 12 years that wants to compete in any sporting competition from September here on the islands will have to be double jabbed. As you may know my two play football and will be ok but I’m not sure denying kids the opportunity to play competitive sport if they’re not double jabbed is the right way forward? I’m not an anti-Vaxer as I’ve been jabbed twice but putting that pressure on kids? I’m not so sure. I fully understand that the clubs and authorities don’t want an outbreak amongst teams and therefore a possible halt to training and games like before. But I think we are all aware that whilst reducing the risk, the vaccine doesn’t fully stop you getting the virus. It’s a difficult call like it is with vaccine passports but if it’s the only way then I suppose we will have to go with it.

I think most countries around the World are pushing the vaccines as this seems to be the only way back to normality but there are a few that are offering “incentives” to get them done.

In the Uk ride-hailing firm Uber will send reminders to all users in August urging them to get vaccinated and will offer discounted rides and meals on its Uber Eats platform for young people who have the vaccine. Deliveroo will also offer vouchers, while Bolt, another taxi app firm, will offer “free ride credit” to vaccination centres.

In the USA President Joe Biden is urging local governments to offer $100 to the newly vaccinated.

In Hong Kong, which struggles with affordable housing, developers are raffling off apartments. Anyone who is fully vaccinated can enter the draw for one unit, which is 449 square feet and worth about US$1.4 million. Almost half a million people declared eligibility on the first day in June. 

In Moscow, which is battling a surge in coronavirus cases, anyone who received the first of a two-dose vaccine up until July 11th were entered into a draw with five cars worth 1 million roubles being given away every week.

In Germany, stalling vaccinations prompted a search for new incentives. Among the most successful so far appear to be free sausages! At a vaccination center in the eastern state of Thuringia, the combo of Bratwurst and Pfizer, recently prompted a surge in appointments.

Could all this be seen as a jab seekers allowance? Sorry I’ll get my coat!

As I said above we seem to be getting on with our lives, yes of course there are still restrictions like face masks and everything shutting at 01.00 but it’s manageable. We’re now able to do things that we couldn’t 12 months ago. I went to the Kool & The Gang concert in Port Adriano and it was so refreshing to listen to great music in beautiful surroundings again. This weekend Real Mallorca start their La Liga campaign with a maximum crowd of 8,775 people not enough for all the season ticket holders which number 14,500 but another opportunity to watch something that we weren’t able to do this time last year. Probably for me the most enjoyable is watching my boys train and play football again. This time last year we weren’t even allowed in the ground but now things are different and long may it continue. 

Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend! 

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com 

Mental Health In Sport

Gary Bloom with Swimmer Rebecca Adlington

This is probably one of the most difficult subjects I have covered since I began writing. When it comes to sport I would say I have a pretty good knowledge of most, although the Olympics has introduced me to some new ones. However when it comes to mental health in sport I have to admit I have no idea. But with so many high profile cases in the past couple of months I felt I had to look into it. The sports of tennis, gymnastics and cricket have been rocked by some of their biggest stars coming out saying that they needed to take a break. Naomi Osaka, Simone Biles and Ben Stokes have all cited mental health as an issue in their chosen sports. Now of course anyone can have an opinion on this but I felt that having no knowledge of the subject, I needed an expert to explain it all to me. 

On Monday I was listening to Hawksbee & Jacobs on Talksport and the subject of sports mental health came up and they were interviewing a Sports performance Psychotherapist called Gary Bloom. He spoke so eloquently about the subject that I knew he was the man I needed to speak to. I contacted him and we chatted together on Tuesday.

Two things to explain first, who is Gary Bloom and what is Sports Psychotherapy?

You will probably recognise Gary Bloom from his very distinct voice, as a football commentator he has provided commentary mainly in World Cups and also the Olympics. For many seasons, he was a commentator on the iconic ‘Football Italia’ programme on Channel 4 with James Richardson. He hosts the award-winning show “On the Sporting Couch” on Talksport and is the main commentator of the DLS game series. As a psychotherapist, he works for Oxford United and is the only psychotherapist currently working in first team professional football. His first novel “Keeping your Head in the Game,” is ten stories of sports people in therapy and was published in February 2021 by Penguin Random House. 

Sports psychotherapy focuses on improving sports performance by addressing anxiety, lack of concentration, and other issues that may arise for both amateur and professional athletes. It can include individual sessions with athletes as well as group work incorporating teams and support staff.

Gary says Sports Psychotherapy is a relatively new discipline, compared to sports psychology which has been around for many many years. This looks at performance in sport and how to get those “marginal gains” which helps athletes progress and become more successful. A sports psychotherapist looks at the well being of an athlete, what’s going on in their personal life, what makes them tick and in their psyche that creates an individual and makes them successful. We all have what we call life events such as bereavements, break ups, losing our jobs, illness and his job is to make athletes feel better about themselves. Gary’s mantra is happier athletes perform better and it’s the same in any other walk of life. But nobody so far has gone into sport and said we know you’re not playing well, why? Which is where Gary comes in.

When it comes to high performance sport, athletes do their work under critical spotlight. The examination at the elite level in all sports can be crushing and can be very difficult to deal with. We’re not born with the skills to deal with this so why not use a sports psychotherapist to help? If you pull a hamstring you see the Physio so if something isn’t right psychologically in your head then why not use a sports psychotherapist? The problem is that it’s perceived right now as a weakness and immediately puts doubt into a coaches mind. There’s a fear in sport that this sends out the wrong message but why shouldn’t you ask for help? 

If Simone Biles, Ben Stokes or any of these elite athletes say they need a break then they obviously do. You might say it’s because of playing too much sport, but usually there’s a back story too. It could be relationship issues, a dispute with someone within their club or even the club itself, loss of form or coming back too early from injury. It’s up to Gary to find that issue, deal with it and in the majority of cases performance does improve. 

Social media is either a necessary or unnecessary evil aligned to the problems of these athletes. Because in reality they are biting off the hand that feeds them. More followers & likes bring greater sponsorships for these people, however this can also bring greater criticism. Simone Biles has 6.7m followers on Instagram, Naomi Osaka has 2.8m, Ben Stokes has 1.7m. You can argue they shouldn’t go to together but unfortunately we are in a World where they do and social media companies should be held to account more. 

I was interested to hear Gary’s thoughts on young people trying to enter the higher echelons of sport. His advice was enjoy it and tell your parents to back off. Most young people go through a tunnel from the ages of 12 to 17 years as there are so many influences in their lives, like peer pressures, friends who are less talented who will be teasing them, academic studies and even boyfriends or girlfriends. At this point Gary quotes the Pink Floyd song “leave those kids alone!” and let them enjoy it. Because the minute they stop enjoying it, they will stop playing and all the positive influences they get from amateur sport like socialisation and team building will be lost. When your kids ask you how did they do,(which is the first question I get asked after every game from my kids)tell them to speak to their coaches as this will help them progress. That doesn’t mean ignore them, praise them to the hilt and tell them how proud you are of them. But you’re not the one they need to impress going forward and their coaches are far more qualified than Mum or Dad. Be happy that they are participating in something that improves not only their health but their well being too.

I learnt so much in my 15 minute chat with Gary and I do realise that mental health issues are not just relevant in sport but in all walks of life. Especially after the last 18 months of the pandemic it’s been tough for a lot of people. It’s important to know that there are people out there that can help like Gary but also the support network of your family and friends is important if you’re finding it difficult to reach out to somebody. 

I did mention it earlier but Gary has released a book, which is definitely worth a read. 

He explains, ‘In Keeping Your Head in the Game we peer into this highly confidential world. We follow the journeys of ten athletes in their therapy sessions with me, from a rugby player arrested for a drunken brawl, through a homesick cricketer on tour, to a snooker player struggling with his feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.

Structured around the emotions we all experience on a daily basis – shame, anger, fear, jealousy and envy, love – chapter by chapter, the book reveals, explains and attempts to resolve the inner traumas that have an impact on the performance of these sports personalities. Seeing how they overcome their demons is a powerful way of tackling our own and, as I always say, happier players play better – in sport and in life.’

Gary can be contacted via his website https://garybloom.co.uk 

With the advent of Zoom he now talks to people all around the World. I hope like me you found this talk informative and helpful. I will post the whole interview on my Facebook page over the weekend. 

Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend! 

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com 

Inspiring A Generation

My earliest recollection of the Olympics is 1976 in Montreal when I was 10 years old. Team GB won 13 medals in total and probably the most famous was David Wilkie winning gold in the Men’s 200m breaststroke. Moving on on four years to the Soviet Union as it was known then and it was another famous swimmer Duncan Goodhew who took gold in the 100m breaststroke. Five years later I would be lucky enough to meet him on a weekly basis as he used to do a guest appearance at the Butlins I was working at as a Redcoat. We also used to get from the World of Judo, Brian Jacks who won a bronze at the 1972 games in Munich. You may remember him more from the TV show ‘Superstars’. That continued when I joined Pirates, firstly through the artists, we’ve had a few Olympians from around the World with the most recognisable being Francesca Fox who played Captain Scarlett and was part of the GB Rhythmic Gymnastic team at the London Olympics. Then through our Charity Premieres and people who’ve visited us on holiday. These include the swimmer Sharron Davies, the 100m runner Linford Christie, Gymnast Louis Smith and probably the most famous, diver and newly crowned gold medalist Tom Daley. To be honest a more down to earth and nicer guy you would struggle to meet. Tom has been to Pirates on many occasions and despite his fame he would stop for anyone to do a photo. I was so pleased for him that at his fourth Olympics he has finally won a gold medal. Diving is a brutal sport and like all events it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to reach the top. Lots of reality series have been created where celebrities try to master a sport but the one that didn’t really work was, if you can remember it was ‘Splash’. The celebrities performed each week in front of a panel of judges and a live audience in an Olympic-size diving pool with the result each week partly determined by public vote. Gabby Logan and Vernon Kay presented the show, whilst Tom was the expert mentor to the celebrities. The show received generally poor reviews from critics after its premiere, including “utterly awful”, “a new low for television”and “probably the worst programme ever screened in primetime”. There you have it in a nutshell, to become a sports man or woman takes years of practice and cannot be recreated in 5 minutes for a TV programme. 

After watching the diving final in particular, don’t let anybody tell you the Olympics isn’t worth watching. I admit the opening ceremony wasn’t that great and lacked the atmosphere of a crowd. But since then the sports I’ve seen have been thoroughly enjoyable and the excitement for me is definitely there despite the lack of crowds. 

There are some sports I wouldn’t normally watch but when the Olympics are on I’m transfixed. They include rowing, swimming, diving, taekwondo, BMX riding and of course I love the athletics. 

Other sports I wouldn’t have in the Olympics include tennis, football, golf, basketball and baseball. The thing is different sports around the World have different meanings to different countries. As you know I love football but i haven’t watched a game yet but in South America they value it as high as the World Cup. 

New sports this year are surfing, skateboarding, karate and sport climbing. Some you might question but the IOC (International Olympic Committee) are looking to attract a younger audience. At the next Olympics in Paris they’ll be break dancing and this week I spoke with Paul Hamilton the personal trainer who works out of the Shambhala Gym in Santa Ponsa. He told me that Thai Boxing will be at the next Olympics too. As a former Thai boxer and President of the UK Muay Thai Federation, Paul has been negotiating with the IOC and finally his dream has become a reality. 

Lots of Olympians have trained here in Mallorca in recent years as we have great weather and amazing facilities. Unfortunately when I spoke to Matthew 0’Connor at the Best Swim Centre in Colonia San Jordi he said that because of Covid and travel restrictions there hadn’t been as many come as usual. But many of the swimmers had been before Covid and in previous years he’d organised the team GB divers training camps in Palma at Son Hugo. Other sports I’m aware of that have had countries training for the Olympics previously are cycling, sailing, gymnastics, tennis, boxing, Athletics and I’m sure there’s more. It’s always been something I think the authorities should seize on and promote more. Particularly in the low season. 

The message that was pushed at the London 2012 Olympics was to ‘Inspire a generation’ and quite a few of the athletes competing in these games drew their inspiration from London. Don’t let clowns like Piers Morgan tell you that a Gold Medal is all that matters. It takes years of sacrifice, hard work and dedication to even make it to the Olympics, let alone get a medal. You can see what it means to the athletes, their trainers and their families after they’ve competed. Remember that most of them haven’t been able to train in normal circumstances because of the pandemic and after building up to it last year it was cancelled. Which means they’ve had to retrain and be ready for this year. They should be applauded loudly not derided as most of us mere mortals of which I am definitely one couldn’t get anywhere near their achievements. 

Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend! 

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com 

You Deserve Spain?

Sometimes I wonder who puts our promotional campaigns together and the phrases that they come up with. The latest one is ‘You Deserve Spain’ from Turespaña, the public body, attached to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism through the Ministry of Tourism, that are responsible for marketing and promotion of Spain as a travel destination in the world. 

This campaign coincided with “Freedom Day” in England, last Monday, July 19th, when all restrictions imposed by the pandemic were over and people with double vaccines could travel to amber countries, such as Spain, without having to comply with quarantine on their return. It is a campaign for the strongest source markets such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Netherlands and Poland. The €8 million campaign is mostly digital, although in some markets it will be boosted through print and outdoor advertising. From Monday, videos of the campaign could be seen in Piccadilly Circus in London.

It sounds like a lot of money and in all honesty I’m not sure the message is right. You could flip it and say ‘Spain Deserves You!’ But I’m sure there’s better, as for me it has a slightly negative connotation. I do hope someone hasn’t come up with a phrase in another language and used Google translate. In fact I don’t think you need words, pictures alone would sell Spain to me. If I’m in the middle of London, it’s either raining or too hot that you can’t cope and you’re probably stuck in a traffic jam. Words are not going to convince me that Spain deserves me but pictures of beautiful beaches, cuisine, wine, mountains, etc are more likely to. It’s a well known fact that images are far more powerful than words and our brains react far more positively to them. Even if the campaign did portray those images then the words don’t match for me. 

I remember commenting before about a campaign that was launched here in Mallorca using Rafa Nadal, which I think was back in 2009. Whilst it bagged Rafa a few million euros they put him in such obscure photos that you would never have known he was in Mallorca. 

Whilst I’m desperately trying to remain positive about this season the more I’m hearing the less positive I’ve become. I always like to be glass half full but it looks like it’s going the other way and close to running on empty. Apparently 75% of hotels in Magalluf and Palma Nova are open which is good but we need to know the occupancy in these hotels. If I drive from Pirates within 5 minutes I can see 6 hotels closed, Atlantic Park, Don Juan, Guadalupe, Room Mate Olivia(Barracuda in old money) Sol House, and BH (which in reality is a four hotel complex). That’s a lot of beds that are not open which would normally feed into the resort. Of course anything is a boost on last years washout but is it good enough? Everyday there’s speculation of traffic light changes, restriction changes and it’s difficult for anyone to get into a routine. If the truth be known with the number of infections we should be in red as our numbers are worse than countries that are in red. It seems that the Government are trying to limp through to the end of August if they can to at least get some business in. If that comes with harder restrictions in September though I’m not sure how the local population will react. Interesting report out this week is that the current coalition Government would lose an election if it was held right now and be ousted by the opposition PP and the far right party Vox who could govern in a coalition themselves. It seems that the Government’s handling of the pandemic and particularly the tourist industry hasn’t gone down too well with voters. 

We are in a situation right now that rather than just be selfish and protect ourselves and our individual countries we need to get as many people double vaccinated around the World. Plus there needs to be a worldwide Covid airport check system as it seems to be different not just to the country you are travelling to but which airport you are travelling through too. Surely someone can come up with a body Covid detector like they have at airports to detect whether you’re carrying anything you shouldn’t. That can’t be beyond the realms of man or technology? 

I hope I’m wrong with my pessimism but I don’t think I am. 

Let’s not forget though that Mallorca is still offering exactly what it should be right now which is hot days and balmy nights. If you’re having trouble sleeping in this weather then here’s a few tips to keep cool at night.

  1. Ensure there is a good airflow through the house. Open windows on both sides to allow the air to pass through.
  2. Close blinds and curtains in rooms that are exposed to direct sunlight. The shade will help the room stay cooler.
  3. Have a lukewarm bath or shower before bed to encourage your core temperature to drop, or alternatively put lukewarm water in a hot water bottle and place the soles of your feet on it.
  4. If using a fan, place a bowl of ice chilled water in front of it to cool the stream of air it’s pushing around the room.
  5. If you are using a cotton sheet ensure it is as low a thread count as possible as the higher the thread count, the less breathable it is.
  6. Finally don’t worry too much about it. The biggest thing that prevent us sleeping in hot weather is the thought of “I am too hot to sleep”.

Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend! 

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com 

Double Standards

Were we really surprised that Mallorca and the rest of the Balearic Islands went from the Green watchlist to Amber? There’s definitely a case of double standards right now. After 18 months of no business for the majority of the hospitality industry and lockdowns and curfews for the last year for all of us. Why is nobody taking the can for the Spanish student debacle? Around 5,000 Spanish students allowed to party for a week with no social distancing and now we’re in a mess. I’m not saying they are totally to blame but if the laws were put in for the English and Germans, why not the Spanish? In February 2020 there were new laws for the so called “excessive zones” of Magaluf, Playa de Palma and San Antonio. Now I don’t know many people who were against the rules that were put in. But how can it be that in Magaluf for instance, there are some hotels in the same area as all the bars still offering all inclusive but the bars themselves can’t? Anybody of any age can still book these hotels and get totally plastered on drink included in what they’ve booked. 

Even if they haven’t booked it the hotels will allow them to buy it on arrival. People who are not on an all inclusive package in their hotel can walk into the next resort of Palma Nova and be offered an all inclusive package by any bar as they too aren’t in the Red Zone. So on the one hand you’re trying to curb the Tourism of excess which is very commendable and should be encouraged but you’re then allowing hotels in the same area and surrounding zones to carry on regardless? Am I missing something here? We’re either all in this or not, you can’t get half pregnant! 

I have to say I loved every part of the Euros. The England team put pride and joy back into our country not only there but around the World for all expats like me and the boys. Unfortunately it was ruined by a minority of the “fans” which I’ll come to in a minute.

It’s easy for us on the outside to put blame where it’s not justified particularly at Gareth Southgate. 

But ask yourself a few questions. 

Did we think we’d make to the final? No

Did we score too early in the final? Probably 

Were Italy the best team? Yes

Did we pick the right penalty takers? For me, no doubt they were the ones who stood up. Not only that, something else which actually never really got reported as Southgate took all the blame. Was the fact that he did also mention that they had of course been practicing and that was the order they had come up with. 

Look at the players that missed, some say they were too young to be burdened with such responsibility. Hang on they’re players at the top level, in the team and therefore playing in the final. Remember the old adage, “if you’re old enough, you’re good enough”.

Jadon Sancho, probably one of the most exciting talents for the future and Manchester United have just paid £73 million for him.

Bukayo Saka, as an Arsenal fan I can tell you huge things are expected of him in the future and he was Arsenals player of the season.

Marcus Rashford: A star at Manchester United and I had to listen to some clown in the bar I was saying how rubbish he was. Really? After all he’s done outside of football in the past year? He forced the Prime Minister to commit £120 million for free school meals and he happened to have missed a penalty. His work over the past year has proved there is more to life than football. 

Let’s face it penalties are a lottery, ask France & Spain. Me and my boys were trying to pick the 5 penalty takers and the only one we agreed on was Kane. 

I’m also glad to hear that Facebook and Twitter are finally handing over details of racist trolls who abused the players. I would ban them from attending any football match for life and if need be lock them up. This needs to be stopped and the most severest of punishments handed out. 

After so much flack Southgate got for picking an injured Harry Maguire, I thought he was immense. And who else thought he’d be taking a penalty? Two goalkeepers wouldn’t have got to that one. 

Talking of keepers, one person who didn’t get the credit he deserved was Jordan Pickford, he saved two of the five penalties and the save from the normally reliable Jorginho was world class. He’s come a long way in the last couple of years and I’m surprised none of the so called big six is looking at him as their goalkeeper. 

I also think Southgate has picked a great back room team including his assistants Steve Holland, Graeme Jones and Chris Powell who all undoubtedly have added great knowledge and advice. 

It was a great roller coaster ride and it ended not how we wanted it to.

I’m gutted of course but life goes on and I think we’ll be all the more prepared for Qatar 2022. 

Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend! 

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com