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The US F1 boom and the death of a racehorse; our favourite sportswriting this week

Plus the Milan mind lab and more…

Image: DPA/PA Images

1. “The rain pelted the headstone, leaving streaks on the black marble and mirroring the misty eyes of the 100 or so admirers who had come to say goodbye. None of them knew the deceased well. Many had seen him only on television.

They lifted plastic shot glasses filled with Kentucky bourbon to the gloomy heavens and murmured melancholy toasts to the departed, Medina Spirit.”

Some intro. The New York Times’ Joe Drape on the death of a racehorse.  

‘There was an escape, though, when Ferguson stormed an infamous party at Lee Sharpe’s house in Altrincham at which Giggs was an attendee too.

2. Taylor says: “Me, John O’Kane, and Raph Burke [all trainees] were upstairs and heard a voice and realised it was the gaffer. We were like: ‘Oh, crap.’ He was bawling, kicking everyone out. Then, he says: ‘Right, is there anyone upstairs?’ We all looked at one another and thought: ‘Oh, shit, please don’t come up.’ We couldn’t wait for him to go so we could get our arses home.”’

The Guardian’s Jamie Jackson meets Lenny Taylor, the forgotten man of Man Utd’s Class of ’92

3. ”The last thing anyone was expecting out of it was a headline. But lo and behold, the bould Branagan had some things to say. His county’s hammering by Monaghan the previous weekend was always bound to come up but rather than passing off a few empty bromides about it being a tough time for Down football, Branagan loaded up his paintball gun and set off on a splatter spree.”

Malachy Clerkin, in the Irish Times, on Kilcoo/Down and GAA press events

4. Formula One is an American sport. I do not mean it belongs to Americans: The heartbeat of the schedule will always be races at the crown jewel European tracks. The drivers will always be majority European. The guys who work at Ferrari will always look unbelievably Italian and take long smoke breaks. F1 is an American sport because it dovetails so well with what Americans value: superstars, fast cars, bingeable streaming shows, hot people, the ability to change a tire, and drinking outdoors. 

Kevin Clark explains the American F1 boom, on the Ringer. 

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5. “Franco Baresi. Roberto Donadoni. Roberto Baggio. The names are synonymous with AC Milan’s glory years. 

They are also etched into the memory of every Italian fan who witnessed the country’s World Cup penalty shootout defeats of 1990 and 1994. 

All three spoke of the trauma they felt over missing their spot-kicks. All three sought solace in the ‘Mind Room’, Italian football’s first psychology laboratory. 

Backed by Silvio Berlusconi and hailed by a succession of Milan managers from Arrigo Sacchi to Carlo Ancelotti, the Mind Room helped underpin an unprecedented run of success as the Rossoneri won 21 major trophies during the 23 years it was operational from 1986.”

Thanks to the member who shared this in the Behind The Lines WhatsApp group the week; the story of the psychology lab behind one of football’s great club eras, by John Nassoori of the BBC.   

 

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