Consequences of Cantona’s kung-fu kick, Kobe Bryant’s greatness and more of the week’s best sportswriting

Eric Cantona against Crystal Palace in 1995.

Source: EMPICS Sport

“Nixon was less fortunate. With the driver panicked, the coach windows smashing all around him, the 35-year-old from New Addington had been attempting to climb on to the moving bus when he was struck on the head by a brick. He stumbled under the rear wheels of the vehicle.

“Despite the best efforts of Kelly Downing – a local student who had just completed a first-aid course, and who had emerged from her house across the road in a bid to help – plus one of the United fans and a police officer, who attempted mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, Nixon passed away close to where his memorial now stands.”

Dominic Fifield of The Athletic looks at how Eric Cantona’s king-fu kick on Matthew Simmons led to the death of Crystal Palace fan Paul Nixon.

Kobe Bryant [file pic].

Source: Nuccio Dinuzzo

My final correspondence with Kobe came just a couple of weeks ago. I was working on a story regarding a legendary play that Jackson had run for him while he was with the Lakers, and I asked if he could share some memories about how it worked.

“Can’t right now,” Kobe texted back. “My girls are keeping me busy. Hit me up in a couple of weeks.”

If only I could.

ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan writes about her memories of Kobe Bryant and his legacy in basketball following his tragic death.

Gary Lineker.

Source: Mike Egerton

“In his new acceptance of Brexit, can he now see any advantages in leaving the EU? “I’m hoping there will be. I haven’t seen any yet. We might become a unified nation and throw the flag around.”

“Lineker offers a weary smile which is soon replaced by sheer pleasure as he turns to the game he loves. “We’re seeing football that’s unprecedented for a variety of reasons but, obviously, there’s the influence of Pep and of Klopp. They’re contrasting, but they’re both exhilarating. They are certainly in the top five coaches, perhaps even the top two, in world football. Their different styles add to the rivalry. I love them both but Klopp’s probably more engaging. You can see Pep’s pretty intense in his post-match interviews. He’s hard work whereas Klopp can always put it on. I guess we’ve seen Pep’s dark side.”

In conversation with The Guardian’s Donald McRae, Gary Lineker offers his thoughts on Brexit and football.

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch.

Source: Wilfredo Lee

“More than anything, Lynch cultivated the aura of a CEO. “We get a Christmas card from him and his family, and it looks like the cover of a Gap catalog,” said Burkhardt. When Fox’s tape guys saw a shot of Lynch standing on the field before a game, they’d joke, “Oh, there’s Lynch.

“He looks like he’s running for office.” Indeed, when Lynch lived in Colorado, he was sized-up as a potential political candidate, according to one pal. “God Bless America” could have been part of his stump speech and the name of his super PAC.”

Bryan Curtis of The Ringer writes about John Lynch’s journey to becoming the general manager for the San Francisco 49ers.

Rathfarnham native and Dublin midfielder Michael Darragh Macauley has, through his community work in the north inner city, come to know the area well.

It has always nagged at Macauley that people so close to Croke Park are effectively locked out of the GAA.

“People in the inner city have a different relationship to the sport,” he said. “They’re not attached to a club. There are geographical reasons and infrastructure reasons – that all goes into the mix.

“AFLW is not the biggest threat to women’s football. If we want to raise the standard of our intercounty game then the structure that transitions players from 17- and 18-year-olds to senior intercounty players needs improving.

“When a player finishes at minor level and doesn’t immediately make the senior team, is that it, is it over for her? How can we keep her in a system that will coach her to develop the physical, technical and tactical capacities the game demands and the mental and emotional characteristics to manage the rigours of training and playing at intercounty level?

“The number of players that leak out of our intercounty player pathway every year is far greater than the 18 that will miss six months of training because they are playing in the AFLW.”

Dublin players celebrate after winning the 2019 All-Ireland final.

Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Former Dublin goalkeeper Cliodhna O’Connor addresses fears within the LGFA towards the Australian Football Women’s League [AFLW] in the Irish Times.

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