Barcelona inspirational

Adaptable: Jamie McDonnell can tackle any style of opponent
Adaptable: Jamie McDonnell can tackle any style of opponent
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I RARELY watch any football once the curtain has come down on Doncaster Rovers’ season until the pre-season games get under way in July.

By the time May comes around, and having covered well over 50 games in the previous 10 months, I am ready for a break from the sport.

As well as both enjoying watching and reporting on traditional summer sports, it means that my batteries are recharged as far as football is concerned when the action kicks-off in August.

I know lots of people can’t get enough of football and take advantage of the fact that you can now virtually watch it 12 months of the year on television. But, as I say, I prefer watching such as athletics, tennis, cricket and golf.

The one exception I make is the Champions’ League Cup final - though I still prefer the original format.

The first ever European Cup (as it was known then) final I watched on television in 1960 featured the legendary Real Madrid side of the late 50s and early 60s.

Their style of football - totally different to anything I’d seen before - made a huge impression on me as a youngster and I always tried to play like the stars of the Madrid side in kick-abouts with my mates.

I hope that Barcelona, who gave Manchester United a footballing lesson in Saturday’s final at Wembley, will inspire today’s youngsters to copy their eye-pleasing style of play in a similar way.

Although much has changed in the sport over the last 50 years or so, there is very little difference (unless my memory is playing tricks) between the way the two Spanish giants of their respective generations play.

I remember making the claim in a report on one of Jamie McDonnell’s early fights - I think it was his third - that he could one day end up as a world champion.

Since then he has gone on to win, and successfully defend, both the Commonwealth (on Saturday) and European bantamweight titles and will probably get a shot at a world title in the next 12 months or so.

Only time will tell whether the 25 year-old is good enough to make the final step, but I see no reason why he can’t.

He has shown over the last 12 months that he can successfully adapt to fight any type of opponent.

Jamie will be the first to admit that he wasn’t the most dedicated boxer when it came to training earlier in his career.

But the way he now buckles down to training is evident every time he is called upon to go 12 rounds - as was the case on Saturday at Sheffield.

He might not have been at his sparkling best, but he was boxing to orders and stuck to the script to get the job done,

Some of the top young tennis players in the country have been in town this week competing in the Doncaster Spring Open at the club’s Bessacarr base.

Doncaster’s head coach and tournament referee John Willis decided to hand out ‘wild cards’ to some of the club’s promising youngsters who otherwise would not have had a high enough ranking to take part in such a prestigious tournament.

They all made early departures from their respective events, but the experience of performing on the ‘big stage’ against established tournament players will stand them in good stead next year.