Cricket Not Football: UK’s National Sport

cricket-peteWithout a shadow of a doubt, the United Kingdom is one of the world’s biggest football nations. Quite surprisingly, however, it isn’t the country’s national sport. With superstar athletes and teams renowned all over the world and fans that are much too passionate, it’s no wonder why people would assume such.

But which sport holds the title? The answer is cricket. Surprised?

Cricket is a bat-and-ball game that has been around since the turn of the 16th century where it began as a children’s game mainly in England and Commonwealth countries. The name originates from the old English term “cryce” to mean a crutch or a staff. Today, it is played in over 120 countries all over the world.

Played by two teams of 11 players in grassy, large circular areas between 114 and 160 meters in diameter, the game involves using a flat bat, a small hard ball, and wickets. A player bats the ball and runs to score while the defenders can get a player out by bowling and hitting the wicket, catching a hit ball, or running the player out.

A cricket bat is often made of willow, fitted with a cane handle and a rubber grip and measures 38 by 4.5 inches. In contrast to baseball, the bat is flat and elongated. On the other hand, the ball is made of alternating layers of cork and wool covered in leather. It is 9 inches in circumference and weighs between 156 to 163 grams.

If football has FIFA, cricket has governing bodies too namely the ICC which stands for the International Cricket Council and the IWCC or the International Women’s Cricket Council.

The ICC governs over 70 member countries worldwide. It organizes the World Cricket Cup which occurs every four years. It likewise pays visits to its member countries, promotes the sport, maintains its code of conduct and qualifies umpires among others. The IWCC functions on a similar note and likewise holds world championships.

The United Kingdom is home to numerous renowned and celebrated cricket athletes. For instance there’s Alastair Cook who plays for Essex. At the age of 31, his highest score is a glaring 294. There’s Joe Root too who plays for Yorkshire County Cricket Club and England and currently second in the ICC rankings to Steve Smith.. At the young age of 19, he signed a 3 year contract after having been spotted at the Under-19 games.

 

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Tony Bloom, the Falmer Stadium and the Amex

falmer-stadiumAnthony Grant “Tony” Bloom did more than what was expected of him ever since he sat as the Brighton and Hove Albion F. C. chairman in May of 2009. A self-professed football aficionado and supporter of the club, he wanted to give something that’s beyond mere support and so he thought: Why not give them a home?

It’s been a rough twelve years of no home for the club. It’s no secret that its original home for decades, almost a century even, was the Goldstone Ground located in Old Shoreham Road, Hove 4. The 26th of April in 1997 was the last game played in which Brighton beat Doncaster Rovers 1-0. From 1902 to 1997, it had admitted 22.9 million fans to 2,174 games.

To try and clear the club’s debts, then chairman, Bill Archer, his chief executive David Bellotti and the rest of the board sold Goldstone Ground in a feeble attempt to avoid bankruptcy. Unfortunately, the sale wasn’t that lucrative or profitable and it even left the Seagulls without a home as no alternative ground was planned and lined up. From 1997 to 1999, the club had to share the Priestfield Stadium in Gillingham which was a good 70 mile drive from Brighton. After which, they played at Withdean Stadium.

Tony was born in 1970 and grew up in a family of football and Albion fans. As he became one of the club’s major investors and stockholders, he saw the need and the thirst of fans for the Brighton and Hove Albion F. C. to finally have a home.

After buying majority share and succeeding Harry Dick Knight in 2009, Tony helped personally finance the construction and development of the Falmer Stadium located in Falmer, Brighton, East Sussex in England.

In December 2008, construction officially began. The KSS Design Group, London-based architects, was delegated to design the new stadium while the Buckingham Group was signed into the contract as the official constructor.

The keys were handed over and the stadium was opened to the public in July of 2011. It was then renamed and is currently known as the American Express Community Stadium or the Amex for short. Total construction was reported to have reached £93 million with a total seating capacity of 30,750. It was because of this that Tony Bloom became a much loved chairman by the club and its fans alike.

Get to Know More About Tony Bloom

tony-bloom-hoveA lot of people would recognize the name Tony Bloom. It’s no surprise. The man has in fact made a name for himself. An investor, a businessman, a sports fanatic, a football club chairman and a philanthropist, he is probably the ultimate slashie. Are you ready to get to know more about him? Well we are!

He’s the Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club chairman.

Just like his grandpa Harry and his uncle Ray who served as vice-chairman and director respectively, Tony became affiliated with the Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club as its newest and current chairman since May of 2009.

But even before succeeding such post from Harry Dick Knight, he already became one of its major investors and stockholders almost a decade prior specifically in the year 2000. As one of its biggest benefactors, he helped finance the American Express Community Stadium and the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre from his own pocket.

His contributions and achievements for the club have eventually led him to be voted as the “Brightonian of the Year” in 2009. Surely, his efforts did not go unnoticed.

Football runs in his veins.

Sure he’s no coach or athlete for the matter but his affiliation and love for the sport goes a long way back. As mentioned, he is the third generation from the Blooms to have served a post in the Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club. That’s over forty years of passionate service from his family.

As a kid he would often recall watching matches at the Goldstone Ground, something that he never outgrew of. But of course today, the matches he watch are now held at the 30,750 seater stadium he helped personally finance as mentioned earlier.

He founded and supports charitable organizations.

Quite a number of years back, Tony has vowed to help end or at least relieve the effects of poverty. With that he built the Tony Bloom Charitable Trust which has currently been renamed and is now known to be the Bloom Foundation. It’s main cause is to provide and offer grants to causes and institutions that fight poverty and its effects in the United Kingdom and the developing countries in Africa and Asia. Furthermore, he has supported and sits as a trustee in another organization called the OMS. The OMS which stands for Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis is a foundation built and spearheaded by his wife Linda who has been diagnosed with MS fifteen years back.

 

Tony Bloom An OMS Trustee

Tony bloom albionTony Bloom is more popularly known as the Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club’s chairman. He’s contribution to the sport and to the club is beyond magnanimous. But aside from that, the man is also celebrated and acknowledged for having a big heart.

Several years back, he founded the “Tony Bloom Charitable Trust” which targets the relief and prevention of poverty in the UK and the developing countries in Asia and Africa. At present, it is known as the “Bloom Foundation” with trustees, Linda Bloom, Adam Franks, Marc Sugarman, Marcelle Lester and Tony himself.

But apart from fighting poverty, Tony has also fought Multiple Sclerosis together with his wife Linda who has been diagnosed with the condition about fifteen years ago.

Linda built up the OMS Foundation which stands for “Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis” which aims to help individuals with the said ailment and to help them make guided and better decisions in the improvement of their lives and in taking their condition under control. Her husband, Tony, has been a proud supporter of the cause. In fact, Mr. Bloom ran two Brighton marathons to raise awareness and funds for the charity specifically during 2011 and 2015.

Multiple Sclerosis or MS is said to affect about 100,000 individuals in the United Kingdom. All over the world, only 0.0357% is said to have it making it one of the rarest conditions in the planet. What makes the battle against it harder is the fact that it has no known cause or cure. Studies are still being had about it and the medications and treatments provided are merely to improve the lives of people having to live with it and helping them learn cope with its effects.

Common symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis include dizziness, fatigue, vision problems, balance problems, bladder issues, muscle stiffness, spasms, slurring, speaking problems, emotional instability and depression. Based on statistics, those diagnosed fall under the age bracket of 20 to 40, are female and live in the countries with the colder climates.

Linda Bloom was fortunate enough to have had her condition under control with the help of proper diet, adequate exercise, self hypnosis, meditation yoga and an evidence based diet and lifestyle approach developed by Professor George Jelinek. Both Tony Bloom and Linda wanted to spread awareness and aid to those who have been suffering from MS too, thus the OMS Foundation came to be.

5 Words Synonymous with Tony Bloom

tony bloom chairmanTony Bloom is a man of the hour. With so many accolades and achievements in tow, he’s one who definitely has a spotlight shining on him at this very moment. But there’s more to the man than what many people know. Today, we shall find out what those are as we tackle the five different terms that we deem synonymous with the man. Here take a look.

  1. Celebrated Brightonian

In 2009, Anthony Grant “Tony” Bloom was voted and awarded as the Most Outstanding Brightonian of the Year for his accomplishments, contributions and achievements particularly in the field of football. More about that in the coming items.

  1. Football Enthusiast

The sport was born into the young Bloom’s blood even at his birth. Born in the 1970s in Brighton to a family of football aficionados, Tony developed and inherited the love for the sport. At a young age, he would often watch matches with his relatives and considers it to be a massive family affair.

  1. Brighton & Hove Albion Chairman

In 2009, he succeeded Harry Dick Knight as the chairman of the Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club aka the “Seagulls”. He holds the position up to this day. As a matter of fact, even his association with the club was written in his blood. Tony is actually the third generation of the Blooms to have held a significant post with the Seagulls. In the seventies, his grandfather Harry served as vice chairman while his uncle Ray was director during the eighties. That’s three generations and over forty years of their family and football!

  1. Investor and Businessman

Before sitting as its chairman, Tony was first a major stockholder and investor to the Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. back in 2000. He even helped personally fund two significant structures dedicated to the sport and to the club. The first was the American Express Community Stadium, the home of the Seagulls, and the second was the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre. Both are now currently operational and have long since opened their doors.

  1. Philanthropist and Humanitarian

Anthony supports two major causes. He firs founded the Tony Bloom Foundation, which seeks to relieve and solve poverty in the UK, Europe and the developing countries in Asia and Africa. At the same time, he supports the charity founded by his wife Linda to which he is also a trustee called the Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis (OMS) Foundation.

Tony Bloom and His Football Legacy

tony-bloomAnthony Grant, more popularly known as Tony Bloom is the current chairman of professional association football club Brighton & Hove Albion aka the “Seagulls” or the “Albions” that is based in the city of Brighton & Hove, East Sussex in England. His many contributions to the sport and the club have earned him the title of “Brightonian” of the year in 2009.

During the 1970s in the English seaside resort town of Brighton that is about an hour south of London by train, Bloom was born into a family of Seagull fanatics who have supported the said club emotionally and financially for more than forty years and over three generations. This makes it a no brainer as to why he developed a love for the club at an early age and used to attend matches at the Goldstone Ground.

Tony’s grandfather Harry Bloom who was a known motor trader and hotel owner, was vice-chairman to Mike Bamber during the Seagull’s historic rise from the old Third Division to the First Division of the Football League. Harry’s son and Tony’s uncle Ray, was also a club director in the 1980s.

In May of 2009, Tony Bloom followed in the family’s footsteps and football legacy by being the chairman of Brighton & Hove Albion after succeeding Harry Dick Knight who held the post from 1997 to 2009.

But before he even held the post, Tony had already devoted a lot of emotional and financial investments to the club. Let’s take a look at this using a timeline.

In the year 2000, he first became a major investor and shareholder of the Brighton & Hove Albion. He continued to be a benefactor the following year and even personally financed the construction of the American Express Community Stadium, nicknamed as “The Amex” and also known as the Falmer Stadium, a football stadium near the village of Falmer in Brighton and Hove that serves as the home of Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. The said stadium opened back in 2011. He further helped finance the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre which opened in 2014.

Tony’s time as the Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club Chairman was nothing short of spectacular. The football club has risen significantly. Previous mismanagement that almost brought it close to relegation from the Football League to the Conference in 1997 and 1998 was so yesterday. In fact, such has already been overshadowed by the current accomplishments and undertakings. From a club which had just avoided relegation to League Two playing at Withdean Stadium, to a reputable Championship Club, complete with its very own stadium and training complex, the American Express Community Stadium and the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre respectively, the football club has come a long way.

Tony Bloom’s significant contributions and investments to the club is his football legacy. This is also the very reason why we was voted and awarded in 2009 as the “Brightonian of the Year”, a title he so very well deserves.