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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

Bacon's Bites: No such thing as 'bad publicity'... A strange thing happened at Wembley 2000 after Ipswich Town's win

It's complicated! Australia's Nick Kyrgios Photo: PA

It's complicated! Australia's Nick Kyrgios Photo: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

In his weekly column MIKE BACON takes a look at the actions of Nick Kyrgios, looks back at Wembley 2000 and says, UP THE WITCHES!

Nick Kyrgios, more controversy at the Italian Open. But at least he made sure we all knew the Italian Open was on! Photo: PANick Kyrgios, more controversy at the Italian Open. But at least he made sure we all knew the Italian Open was on! Photo: PA

They say there is no such thing as 'bad publicity'.

Well, I suppose if you were Gerald Ratner you may thing different.

But in the world of sport - and speaking as someone who has been reporting on it for almost 25 years - I have to agree, there is no such thing as 'bad publicity'.

I'm talking sport in general of course, not individuals, although invariably it's individuals who generate the publicity.

Take Nick Kyrgios.

Now, if you have read this column over the past few years, firstly I thank you for your endearing patience, and secondly you will also know I am actually a big fan of Kyrgios.

And the reason I am is because he brings the world of tennis into my front room.

John McEnroe, the temperamental Wimbledon and US Open Champion, known as 'Super Brat'. But he put bums on seatsJohn McEnroe, the temperamental Wimbledon and US Open Champion, known as 'Super Brat'. But he put bums on seats

OK, not always for the right reasons.

But at least Kyrgios gets me, maybe even you, talking tennis... Most other players on the circuit don't!

In a world where sports that used to be so accessible to the average man or woman are now swallowed up by satellite TV, sponsors and the gravy train, it's 'refreshing' that people like Kyrgios remind us the sports they participate in are still actually out there.

How much of England cricket's one-dayers with Pakistan have you seen?

Not much I'll wager.

OK, I'll try another - the US PGA golf at Bethpage Black Course, currently underway. Seen much of that?

No, didn't think so either.

Ronnie O'Sullivan reacts after missing a pot during day four of the 2019 Betfred World Championship at The Crucible, Sheffield. Photo: PARonnie O'Sullivan reacts after missing a pot during day four of the 2019 Betfred World Championship at The Crucible, Sheffield. Photo: PA

But back to Kyrgios.

Well, before the Australian kicked off in very big style, hurling chairs about and eventually forfeiting his second-round match with Norwegian Casper Ruud at the Italian Open this week, I didn't even know the Italian Open was on!

The Australian, 24, was in the deciding set when he was given a game penalty, reportedly for swearing, to trail 2-1.

He then kicked a bottle, threw down his racquet, hurled a chair on the court, picked up his bag and walked off.

Classic!

Boy would I like to watch him play tennis.

Not because of his petulant behaviour, but because clearly the man has something about him - that little edge we all inwardly like, while telling our friends we think his behaviour is disgraceful.

Ronnie O'Sullivan does it in snooker. A bit naughty at times, while being a genius.

You can turn your nose up if you wish.

You may also want to watch:

But sport has become far too 'sanitised' in recent years - the money available from sponsors and tournaments a big reason for players not to rock the boat in any shape or form.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not applauding Kyrgios from the rooftops. He's a silly boy.

But is he bad for tennis?.. No way.

Snooker's fiery star Alex Higgins, in action.  Alex was the first Ulsterman to hold the World Professional title, the first to win at his first attempt and the youngest to take the world trophy. Alex was originally named 'Kid Higgins' until someone said he was as quick as a hurricane.  But he had many highs and lows during his career on and off the table. Photo: PASnooker's fiery star Alex Higgins, in action. Alex was the first Ulsterman to hold the World Professional title, the first to win at his first attempt and the youngest to take the world trophy. Alex was originally named 'Kid Higgins' until someone said he was as quick as a hurricane. But he had many highs and lows during his career on and off the table. Photo: PA

The football play-offs are in full swing and I always remember Ipswich Town's win at Wembley against Barnsley in 2000 as they returned to the Premier League.

What a day that was.

To be in the press box at the Old Wembley that day was a dream come true.

All the reporters who had reported on all those famous games at the wonderful stadium over the years and suddenly there was I with laptop (slow) and pen.

It was wonderful to watch Town win but then all ended rather strangely for myself and colleagues Mel Henderson, Elvin King, Neal Manning and Dave Allard.

We were down in the tunnel waiting for players to come and chat - which they did.

No over-zealous club press officers in those days listening in to every word in case a player said something out of turn and inflammatory like... "We're better than Norwich".

Ipswich Witches Chris Harris ahead of Josh Grajczonek. The Witches have made a good start to the season    Picture: Steve Waller    www.stephenwaller.comIpswich Witches Chris Harris ahead of Josh Grajczonek. The Witches have made a good start to the season Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

After the players had finished chatting we headed out.

Up the tunnel towards the pitch. The stadium was empty.

We tried to go down a couple of walkways but couldn't find a way out.

"How we going to get out of here?", I remember saying.

We headed back towards the tunnel where fortunately there was still light... At the end of the tunnel.

A long, noisy day, but a very strange and quiet ending.

The Witches are doing well.

Back in the top-flight of speedway, Chris Louis' side are top of the Premiership.

And on Monday night they are at home to Wolves (currently second) in a league clash.

And it's live on BT Sport.

So, get up and get down to Foxhall Heath to watch it live.

Or tune in to BT to take a watch.

I know what I'll be doing.

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