Tag Archives: Phil

50 Greatest British sports stars of all-time: 40-31

In the second part of Kureen’s top 50 British sports stars countdown we look at numbers 40-31. Check out 50-41 by clicking here.

*Article profile picture courtesy of Louis Swann.

40: Christine Ohuruogu

Christine Ohuruogu

Revelling on the big stage, London born Ohuruogu has won 400m gold and silver medals at the last two Olympic games, adding to two World titles gained in 2007 and 2013.

Her career was in danger of going horribly awry in 2006, with a one year suspension from athletics the result of three missed out-of-competition drug tests. A 2009 MBE reflected her figurative rehabilitation in the eyes of her peers.

39: Steve Davis

A perceived lack of personality held Davis back from super stardom, as he romped gleefully towards half a dozen world title wins during his 1980’s pomp.

Conversely it is for defeat that he is best remembered by casual fans, his 1985 epic with Dennis Taylor ending 18-17 to the bespectacled Northern Irishman, as Davis crumbled from 8-0 up, eventually missing a decisive final frame black, with a still unrivalled 18.5 million BBC 2 viewers tuning in until almost 1am for the climax.

38: Gary Lineker

The ‘Match of The Day’ anchorman came within a spot-kick of equalling Sir Bobby Charlton’s England goalscoring record, fluffing a penalty against Brazil that would have drawn him level with the 49 scored by the Manchester United legend.

Still, 48 goals in 80 international games, a World Cup golden boot, and prolific scoring stints with Barcelona, Spurs, Everton and his beloved Leicester City all contributed to a wonderful football career that ended prematurely due to a toe injury.

37: WG Grace

‘Doctor’ William Gilbert Grace was the first celebrity of cricket, once refusing to walk when bowled out in a friendly match, replacing the bails and telling a disgruntled bowler “they’ve come to see me bat, not you bowl!”

Beyond the bravado Grace was a terrific all-rounder, whose First Class batting average of around 40 accompanied a bowling average of 18, and was all the more impressive due to the state of the uncovered pitches of the time. He played his final Test match in 1899, finally hanging up his whites in 1908, aged 60.

36. Phil Taylor

Depending on which side of the bed you lay upon ‘The Power’ either shouldn’t make the list due to a lack of perceptible athleticism, or should be placed far higher due to an unrivalled 14 world championship titles.

It is for his relentless quest for perfection at the oche that he deserves to be recognised, in total securing 40 major title victories. At the age of 55 his skills finally appear to be diminishing, but with a brimming trophy cabinet and 10 televised nine-darters in the bag his legacy, and financial security, have long been assured.

35: Sir Leonard Hutton

One of England’s most headstrong cricket captains, and arguably their finest ever batsman, Yorkshireman Hutton broke team-mate Wally Hammond’s Test record score by compiling a 13-hour innings of 364 against Australia in 1938.

Sir Leonard Hutton plaq

That mark stood for 20 years, and remains an Ashes record today – Hutton relishing contests with England’s arch rivals, also winning both of his series against Australia as captain. Remarkably he achieved all of this despite prime years of his career being lost to the Second World War, where he additionally suffered significant wrist and forearm injuries.  

34: Sir Gordon Richards

The only jockey to ever be knighted, Sir Gordon Richards was the British flat racing champion on 26 separate occasions during a 33-year career that included almost 5000 career wins.

As the only major event he hadn’t won, the Epsom Derby became an obsession for Richards, and in 1953, in his final dash for glory, he was finally able to add the trophy to his collection, storming to victory on 5-1 joint favourite Pinza.

33: Tanni Grey-Thompson

Grey-Thompson boasts one of the most decorated careers of any athlete, her 11 gold medals spread across four Paralympic games from 1992-2004.

Hailing from Cardiff, Wales, the future wheelchair racing icon was born with spina Bifida, eventually heading to Loughborough University in pursuit of athletic excellence. This was accomplished, and a 2005 promotion to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) was as much recognition of her service to disadvantaged people as it was her sparkling career on the track.

32: Virginia Wade 

Famed for her 1977 Wimbledon singles title, Wade boasts a 100% success ratio in solo Grand-Slam finals, winning all three that she contested. The only reason she doesn’t make the top 20 is due to her era not being among the strongest for the women’s game.

Her place in the hearts of British sports fans was assured via US (1968) and Australian Open (1972) singles victories that saw her rise to world number two, as well as four doubles slams, but her legacy was truly cemented by that win at SW19. 

31: Matthew Pincent

The often overlooked half of the Redgrave/Pincent dynasty, Matthew Pincent was an outstanding rower in his own right, earning gold at four consecutive Olympic games between 1992 and 2004.

Ten more gold medals at world level established him as one of the greatest the sport has ever seen; that he will forever be viewed in Redgrave’s looming shadow owes more to his colleague’s incredible achievements than any shortcomings in Pincent’s own makeup.

As we hurtle rapidly towards the top 30, let us know what you think of parts one and two. Come back tomorrow to find out who filled positions 30-21.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

CM Punk: Pioneer or cry baby?

CM Punk’s words have divided fans of ‘sports entertainment’ and pissed off numerous former colleagues in the past week; Dom Kureen takes a look at the straight-edge 36 year-old’s departure from World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and belated subsequent revelations.

CM Punk with Vince Mcmahon

CM Punk, aka Phil Brooks, walked out on World Wrestling Entertainment after the 2014 Royal Rumble event took place in Pittsburgh in late January, only breaking his silence last week as the subject of a podcast interview with good friend Colt Cobana.

Having walked out a full six months before his contract was due to expire, Punk cited the fact that he was officially an independent contractor with no obligation to stay put, later suing Vince McMahon’s company for not honouring royalty cheques.


Some points of note made by Punk during the near 2-hour podcast were;


He had worked his final dates in poor health, dry heaving and with broken ribs.


He suffered a concussion in his final match at the Royal Rumble, but continued working the match, referring to WWE’s concussion tests as “bullshit” after they tried to make him run the ropes to prove that he had in fact been concussed.


The WWE chief doctor continually misdiagnosed an expanding growth on his lower back, feeding him so many antibiotics that he actually defecated into his trunks during a match.


He was placed in a feud with ‘Steroid guy’ Ryback, who was so clumsy and useless in the ring that he caused Punk to suffer the afore mentioned broken ribs and messed up a spot where he was supposed to drop him onto a table, missing it and dumping him face first into the floor.


He was sent his official termination papers on the morning of his wedding day, having received a peculiar text message from the company’s executive vice-president ‘Triple H’ a couple of days previously.


He hired a vicious lawyer after the termination/wedding incident and won a case against WWE, refusing to disclose the details of the settlement, Punk revealed that he got ‘everything he wanted’.

All in all it was a fascinating listen for fans of CM Punk or wrestling in general. There didn’t appear to be any punches pulled, and the man who held the WWE heavyweight title for an astonishing (in the modern era) 434 days was both articulate and engaging.

Still, his comments left a sour taste in the palettes of a clutch of those who received dishonourable mentions during the piece.

Ryan ‘Ryback’ Reeves took to Twitter with a series of tirades, the muscle bound former Tough Enough contestant was consequently told to remove some of these by the powers that be in WWE.

Company owner Vince McMahon was himself the subject of a podcast only days after the initial dialogue had been divulged by his former employee, with ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin posing the questions this time.

Going out live on the WWE Network, Vince was relatively candid and apologised to his besmirched former standard bearer, insisting, amongst other things, that the timing of his release was merely a coincidence.

Ryback: CM Punk suggests the zits on his back are more than oily skin.
Ryback: CM Punk suggests the zits on his back are more than oily skin.

Meanwhile, Punk himself gave a follow up interview on Cabana’s Art of Wrestling show, suggesting that it would be his final word on the subject. The second stanza was inevitably less insightful than the first, but did seem to suggest that he wouldn’t be stepping back into the ring any time soon, albeit his wife AJ Lee remains an active member of the WWE roster.

Above all, Punk made a good case for WWE talent forming a union, with their current scenario void of basic medical insurance and guaranteed contracts.

Unfortunately that change is unlikely to occur for the foreseeable future, with the English speaking wrestling circuit monopolised since McMahon acquired his two main rivals World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling back in 2001.

As for the man born Phillip Jack Brooks, writing as a fan I would love for him remain in the public eye in some manner. Such is his charisma and flair for storytelling that it would be somewhat lamentable not to witness those traits flourish on a widely visible stage of some description.

More likely the self-proclaimed ‘best in the world’ will disappear from public conciousness, with circa $20m in the bank and a thrifty lifestyle he has no need to work again, a self confessed loner, it would be more of a shock at this point if another sabbatical from the spotlight wasn’t forthcoming.

…And for a man whose views during a podcast temporarily broke the internet when all the servers went down on relevant websites due to overwhelming traffic, that’s no mean feat.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Phillip Joel Hughes RIP

South Australia cricketer Phillip Hughes was pronounced dead during the early hours of Thursday, 27 November, 2014; a full two days after he had been struck on the the neck by a fierce bouncer from New South Wales seamer Sean Abbott during a domestic match in Sydney.

Phillip Hughes

Hughes, who was set to earn his 27th Test cap the following week, was widely regarded as a player with his best years in front of him for the ‘Baggie Greens’, departing for the final time a few days prior to what would have been his 26th birthday.

The video footage is unsettling, albeit grainy, as the seemingly initially coherent Hughes appears to shake off the blow before collapsing head first into the turf, as opposition players rapidly wave medics towards the stricken batsman, who had hitherto been imperious on his way to an unbeaten 63.

Hughes made a memorable start to his international career as a fresh faced 20 year-old, terrorising an exceptional South African bowling attack with a series of outstanding performances that belied his novice status, to conclude the series with a couple of hundreds and an average in excess of 75.

As his star grew he was increasingly scrutinised and a flaw against the short ball meant that he received plenty of sweet chin music for the rest of his top level tenure, with England in particular using the half-trackers to dismiss him cheaply on numerous occasions.

Unfortunately he never fully conquered this glitch and was routinely peppered with short stuff, even in his final innings, with the conclusive delivery he faced sending shudders through the foundations of the cricketing and sporting landscape.
The official cause of death is vertebral artery dissection and is plainly a freak occurrence, with only 100 other cases reported, and only one previously relating to a cricket ball.


Phillip Hughes 3

Phillip Joel Hughes’ demise will leave a dark cloud over the cricketing panorama for the foreseeable future. Widely regarded as one of the most engaging characters on the scene, he passed away when on the cusp of truly fulfilling the immense talent he was blessed with.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.