Sports correspondant & historian
For the next four weeks, Sideline Sid weekly piece is being written from the other side of the world, as Sid and Mrs Sid go on their big OE.
We arrived at Heathrow Airport in London last Friday and long haul flying has given Sideline Sid a new an appreciation of what boring means.
Last weekend the finish to the English premiership football season took over the sporting headlines. You wouldn’t have known that the last leg of the IRB Sevens was being held in London, where the New Zealand team was striving to again win the Sevens World Series title.
As it turned out, there couldn’t have been a better script, to capture the drama that took place, before Manchester City grabbed their first championship in forty four years. Entering the final round of the season, City just needed to beat QPR (Queens Park Rangers) to finish with a better goal aggregate than arch-rivals Manchester United, to claim the silverware.
However, a United win against Sunderland and a City defeat would hand the title to Manchester United. While United were in front at Sunderland and finished with a one nil victory - City were trailing with the clock ticking down. A late City goal took the game into extra time at 2-2 before they finally clinched the title with their third goal deep in injury time.
There was ample evidence of the City victory on the streets of London, with plenty of City supporters wearing their Blue shirts in noisy celebrations of joy and happiness.
On Monday we made the journey to the holy grail of Tennis - journeying to the All England Tennis headquarters at Wimbledon. There are few words that can describe standing in the centre court at Wimbledon where history has unfolded year after year.
There is real anticipation building at the home of tennis, with the championships as it is simply called, kicking off in early July followed by the Olympic events just a couple of weeks later.
Probably the best twenty pounds that we will spend in London, gained us entrance to the Wimbledon Tennis Museum. You could almost smell the sweat and drama over the years when we were escorted into the centre court stadium. While it was very different when All England Tennis Club moved to its present situation in 1922 - nowadays the main court has a covered roof and seating for thousands.
As you pass into centre court you pass the honours boards, which tell the tale of the champions over the decades. 1968 was a watershed year, as it was the first open championship which gave entrance to the professional players for the first time, with Rod Laver winning the first men’s singles open crown. Previously the men’s singles was known as the All England gentlemen singles which dated back to 1877.
The museum tells the tale of tennis over the years that has its roots back in the late 1500’s. There is a vast array of Wimbledon memorabilia over the decades, with displays of early uniforms and rackets particularly interesting.
The displays of epic encounters tells the tale of real battles for tennis supremacy. There is a special display of the marathon fifth set in 2010 between John Ishner and Nicholas Mahut, which lasted eight hours 11 minutes. A myriad of new records were established with the encounter referred to “as the endless game”.
Another outstanding display is the hologram of John McEnroe, which makes you believe that he is in centre court changing room, talking about some of the great matches and rivalries over the years.
There is a New Zealand connection on the honours board, with one of the early champions being Anthony Wilding, who won four Wimbledon titles from 1910 to 1913. Also an honorable mention in the video highlights of games over the years of Chris Lewis who beaten by John McEnroe in 1983.
Seeya at the Game