London Fletcher makes Page 2's All-UK Team

Sat, Jul 9

Sure, we just celebrated the overthrow of British tyranny on these shores, but we do have to admit some dependence on the United Kingdom for our sports entertainment.

Wimbledon just ended, the British Open will soon tee off, and what would we Yanks do if we couldn't snicker at soccer hooligans?

Without further ado about nothing, Page 2 presents the All-UK Team.

Angelo Dundee: The boxing trainer most renowned for his work with Muhammad Ali has a few vicarious connections to the United Kingdom, one of which is his last name, which he shares with the Scottish city of 150,000. Born Angelo Mirena, he took after his brother, who became Joe Dundee in order to start a boxing career without his wary mother's knowledge. Angelo Dundee's distinguished tenure as a corner man included work with Michael Olajide, a native of Liverpool whose birth in December 1963 was somewhat upstaged by four other local lads. "She Loves You" was in its second week at No. 1 at the time.

London Fletcher: The highly respected NFL veteran has played linebacker for 13 years but has only one playoff appearance for his trouble. Of more misfortune is the fact that he has never played in London, even though the league has taken its act there for several years now. He is currently with the Washington Redskins.

Uwe Krupp: The 6-foot-6 defenseman is one of the few "UKs" in sports history. MLB, the NFL and the NBA are all devoid of those initials among players, in fact. Krupp was a part of two Stanley Cup-winning teams (1996 Avalanche, 2002 Red Wings) for which he played a total of 14 regular-season games in the ultimately glorious campaigns. That is not to say Krupp was lucky. His career was impeded by a series of back injuries, one of which kept him out of action for 1,036 days. He is now the coach of the German national team.

Dick Manchester: In a career that spanned 17 minor-league seasons (1912-20, 1924-31) with 15 teams, Dick never saw a place as large as Manchester (pop. 480,000), a hardscrabble city in north central England. Among the ballplayer's employers: the Albany (Ga.) Babies, the Petersburg (Va.) Goobers and the Moline (Ill.) Plowboys. Manchester persevered even though his itinerant career might have seemed hopeless enough for musical accompaniment from The Smiths, the Manchester band famous for such uplifting numbers as "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now," and "What Difference Does It Make?"

Ross Wales: Once upon a time, Olympic athletes really were amateurs, and that word wasn't pejorative. Wales was from Ohio rather than across the pond, but he might have been able to swim the English Channel at one point. After winning a bronze medal in the 1,000-meter butterfly at the 1968 Games in Mexico City, he enrolled in law school at the University of Virginia. He interrupted his studies to fight in Vietnam, returned to get his degree and went into practice.