The formula for great entertainment

YOU have to be a mathematician to appreciate sport these days, it seems. It is no longer good enough to say perhaps that was a great game or, if it s England footballers playing, what a load of rubbish . No, now you have to bear in mind [(VxPxR) + A] x

YOU have to be a mathematician to appreciate sport these days, it seems.

It is no longer good enough to say perhaps "that was a great game" or, if it's England footballers playing, "what a load of rubbish".

No, now you have to bear in mind [(VxPxR) + A] x (VFM) to really appreciate what you are watching.

Psychologists have come up with this scientific formula to determine what makes the perfect game of sport.

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They reckon it provides a definitive answer to any armchair or terrace debate.

Here's how it works.

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The V stands for Visual excitement - how closely contested the game is/drama and unpredictability/importance of the game to the spectator.

P is for Performance of the teams/players.

R is Rules of game upheld - good refereeing and sportsmanship.

A represents Atmosphere of the game - emotion/excitement/loyalty of the fans/what is at stake.

VFM is Value For Money - cost of ticket, seat position and view.

Rate each of these five factors on a scale of one to five (where five is excellent) for a points score.

So there you have it. And you should not miss too much of a game while you are fiddling around writing all the figures down and working out the final tally.

The people who came up with this used the formula to identify Britain's top ten sporting contests of the last 50 years.

Surprisingly, Stevenage Boro's clash with the not-so-mighty Newcastle United in an FA Cup round a while back did not make the list.

Before seeing it, I would have guessed England's famous victory over Germany in the 1966 World Cup final must be top of the pile but it only came third.

The number one spot went to 2004 Athens Olympics men's coxless four final when GB won gold and Steve Redgrave picked up his fifth consecutive gold medal.

Runner-up was the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics decathlon in which Daley Thompson won gold and set a new world record.

Just for the record (see if you agree) the fourth to tenth places went to Seb Coe and Steve Ovett's battle in the 1500m final at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, the Football League decider between Arsenal and Liverpool in 1989 (remember who won?), the Ashes series final test at The Oval last year when England emerged victorious, Paula Radcliffe winning the London Marathon in 2003, the Rugby World Cup final Down Under in 2003 (another England win), Europe retaining the Ryder Cup this year and the clash between Steve Davis and Denis Taylor in the 1985 World Snooker Championship final.

Talking about momentous achievements, did you hear about the Bedfordshire vicar who set himself the task at the weekend of playing his way through the hymn book to raise money for a toilet at his church?

He had to get through 630 hymns which he expected to do in six hours.

So the effort was obviously no flash in the pan.

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