Matthew Engel

America – socialism’s sporting stronghold

The worst team in American football are the Cincinnati Bengals. Last season they won two games and lost 14. If they were an English football team, we know what would happen. They would be slung out of the premiership in humiliation - it would be a disaster for the club and maybe (as in the case of Sunderland) for the whole city.

Daddy’s dead but his car is fine

Over huge swaths of the Unite States, country is about all you can find on the car radio - all those songs about tormented love, mommy going away or daddy dying, calculated to make the toughest among us break into floods over the steering wheel as we head through Texas or Tennessee.

The US is so parochial

There are two greetings used by members of Her Majesty's sporting press when they greet each other on a foreign field at the start of an event.

Ten-pin fans bowled over

You will be delighted to know that the day has finally arrived to bring you up to date with news from the world of ten-pin bowling, which must hit the top 10 list of the most boring spectator sports in the world. It is now successfully doing something about it.

Bringing aid and the Bible

It could only happen with a United States invasion. Poised behind the troops, waiting for a signal that Iraq is safe enough for them to operate in, are the evangelical Christians — carrying food in one hand and the Bible in the other.

The man who will rule Iraq

It is probably most accurate to call him Iraq’s president-elect. The moment President Saddam Hussein falls, Jay Garner will take over, with the kind of sweeping power over the whole of Iraq that even Saddam has been unable to exercise for the past few years.


It is more than 30 years ago now, though it seems like yesterday. A Republican president, much derided by liberals, was in the White House and his opponents were being lashed by the right-wing attack dogs, led then by the vice-president, Spiro Agnew.

An incompetent bunch of rankers

They say no good deed goes unpunished and, boy, sometimes one has to keep learning this lesson the hard way. To explain: eight years ago, as editor of Wisden, I first proposed the idea of a simple and comprehensible Test match world championship.

The US: Canada’s national obsession

Now where on the axis of evil can we be? The country's long-reigning leader thinks the president of the United States is contemptible, a sentiment heartily reciprocated. The leader's official spokeswoman directly insulted President George W Bush, and she was repudiated only grudgingly.

Meet the new Zionists

At first sight, the scene is familiar: one that happens in Washington DC and other American cities all the time. On the platform, an Israeli student is telling thousands of supporters how the horrors of the year have only reinforced his people's determination.

Cowboys play a weighting game

With great regret it is necessary to report the departure from the upper reaches of American football of the Western world's most extraordinary-looking professional sportsman, one Aaron Gibson.

US troops sent to Cote d’Ivoire to rescue trapped children

About 200 United States special forces troops were sent into Cote d'Ivoire this week to try and rescue American children who have been trapped in a school in the city of Bouake for almost a week. French soldiers were also heading for the city.

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