Monday, December 31, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
Man U (spot on)
Chelsea (spot on)
Newcastle (spot on)
Reading (spot on)
West Ham (nearly)
Man City (way out)
And for the drop...
Derby (spot on)
Fulham (spot on)
Quite pleased with that. I'll go so far as to say that Man Utd will still win it. Spurs will get into the top eight. Sunderland will stay up and I'm sticking to that bottom 3. Man City will finish 4th.
It's strange watching your own team amidst the mutterings and analysis of home fans, especially when we equalised in such controversial circumstances. I think City made Rovers look like mugs in the first half. Our conclusion was that we were stuffed unless Brett Emerton was restored to right back, and that Morten Gamst Pedersen was replaced by Jason Roberts.
So, half right. Zurab was skinned by Petrov four times and paid the price. I think the tactical switch was good insight from Mark Hughes. There have been a fair few Rovers fans slating Benni McCarthy on here, but I think he changed our options in the second half and we always looked threatening. He is a class player and he looked totally committed to the cause. At the end, we could have stolen it completely. Roque Santa Cruz and David Bentley were superb again.
It's amusing to sit here now, watching Sky Sports News, with Mark Hughes smiling and praising the ref and linesman. My view of our manager was that he spends far too much time berating the officials and not enough time communicating with the team. It makes him appear graceless and surly. I wish he wouldn't do it.
And in due respect to the many, many Marple-ites who follow the home team, I think they're the best City side I've ever seen. Yes, even better than the one featured in the programme who battered us 6-0 in 1983. A strongman in midfield - a fit Hamann - could prove all the difference and they could finish in the top 4.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Eamon reckons the trip to Millwall was scary, though mainly through reputation. A walk through Liverpool was genuinely the most violent with scallies flashing the blades and asking you the time.
And me? Any trip to t'Turf. Like this, here.
We're off to the Temple of Doom on Thursday to see us try and hold on to our good record there.
The stewards at Rovers had a word with knuckle head and potty mouth two rows behind. They then tried to intimidate me at half time and at the end of the game, fingering me for "grassing on them" to the stewards. Scumbags. I'm determined not to let these racist arseholes spoil my family's enjoyment of the football.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
I got the wine yesterday from here. The guest stalls at Stockport market were very impressive, especially the one from Lancaster Smokehouse. The Morecambe Bay potted shrimps went down very well.
Borders yielded a nice haul of last minute presents, and a wry chuckle at this. A Christmas card with all copies of The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.
Today, I was getting the BIG PRESENT for the boys ready while Rachel went into Marple on foot. We're now stocked up and Nick Lindley from Deli Select is once again considerably richer as a result of our cheese and pate craving.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Joe laughed like a hyena at Ronnie Rosenthal. Louis loved the Rene Higuita crab kick. Max roared at Robbie Keane when he scored at the expense of some hapless keeper.
It cost about twenty quid and it will be ruined in days. I then spotted the Danny Baker VHS in an Oxfam charity shop in Marple (I've been living rough) and do you know what, they like it better. It cost 25p and the machine we play it on will pack up before it has a glitch.
Simon Hawkins, here, reviews the current crop of rubbish in this flooded field.
Couldn't make it up, world's gone mad, blah blah blah.
What has happened to our defence?
Does Morten Gamst Pedersen have a groin injury?
Since when has Stephen Reid been a right back?
If Zurab is going to be playing against Chelsea on Sunday in his first league start, then why was he not introduced last night?
Does Benni McCarthy know where the goal is?
Is David Dunn completely fed up with all his team mates, or just Savage, Perdersen and Mokena?
When playing a team reduced to ten men, why persist in playing David Bentley as a free man when he's only ever been effective on the wing, where he can pull the opposition out wide?
Mokena and Roberts have said they want to leave. Who's next?
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Thought Story of the Blues or Sinful might have made an appearance, but overall it was one of those really magical public expressions of goodness that makes you feel warm on a cold night.
I tell you what, if this is a shape of things to come then this Capital of Culture year is going to be alright.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
The temporary gypsy camp at Rose Hill station has moved on. If anyone knows any of the people concerned could they pass on the message that the forgot to take a few things.
- A caravan (bashed)
- Two empty gas canisters
- A mattress (torn)
- A formica chest of drawers (smashed)
- Full bin bags (several, split)
- A rope
The Ancient Greek used to say they had a duty to leave the world more beautiful than they found it. I don't think it applies here.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
I get press releases from Manchester University, but none with quite the impact of this one.
A former Kenyan slum child who found University of Manchester prospectus leaflets in a dustbin will finally achieve his dream of gaining a Masters degree tomorrow (13 Dec).
Sammy Gitau discovered the documents inside a discarded cardboard wallet decorated with the University’s name in a well-to-do neighbourhood near his home in Mathare, Nairobi 's oldest slum district.
Sammy read references to his country on a page about a course based at the University's renowned ‘Institute for Development Policy and Management’.
And after a struggle of epic proportions he’ll receive the accolade on Thursday. Aged 13, Sammy became his family’s breadwinner when his father, who brewed illegal alcohol, was killed in a hammer attack.
After he was beaten by angry mobs for thieving he became a drug seller in 1997, hitting rock bottom when he overdosed on cocktail of drugs soon after.
Even after he was accepted on to the course, Sammy was forced to take on the UK immigration service, which after hearing about his limited schooling, refused to believe he was a genuine student.
The ruling was overturned seven months later.
Drawing on his experiences, Sammy established a community resource centre which lobbies for fresh water and an electricity supply, as well as helping young men to come off drugs and find a job.
A group of wives of local and international officials - including the wife of the head of the Kenyan EU delegation Monica Quince - helped Sammy to convert cargo containers into classrooms from which he could teach skills to disenfranchised youngsters, such as carpentry and computing.
And it was another EU official Alex Walford who encouraged Sammy to apply to the University’s School of Environment and Development to take the MSc in the ‘Management and Implementation of Development Projects’.
He said: "After the drugs put me in a coma, I remember hearing hospital staff telling me I was going to die and when you are dying, you make a deal with God.
"You just say, get me out of here and will do anything. I will go back and stop children going through the same kind of life as me.
"This may be the end of the first part of my journey, but it certainly isn’t the end of the road.
"In my field work last in July this year, I was able to share and set some foundations of how best to work effectively with slum communities.
"It is the hope and the trust in the eyes of my people that strengthens and ensures me of great success in future.
"I have big plans for the centre – I hope to expand the project into other areas of Nairobi.
"Who knows, it be may a model which can be emulated across Africa.
"If it wasn’t for my amazing experience and support from my friends at Manchester University and constant support from donations around the world, this dream would never have become a reality."
Sammy’s University programme director, Dr Pete Mann said: "I found it humbling to teach Sammy - it really is a remarkable achievement.
"In class, he was reflective, thoughtful and creative - a very successful student.
"A development project or agency can only benefit from one who has witnessed so much adversity yet brings such intense spirit of endeavour on behalf of others.
"We have only begun to hear from Sammy Gitau."
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I love Christmas and all it represents. So I was therefore amused to note that Nigel Hughes has started to read it and has reviewed it and responded in great spirit. A flavour is here:
I'm not usually very outwardly religious but the infuriating, mean spirited, too-big-for-his-boots, not-quite-as-clever-as-he-thinks-he-is, boffin-type way he scoffs at the average everyday folks who happen to go to church has got me so riled I thought I should do something about it, so I did.
A link is here.
It's even more amusing to read here, that Dawkins describes himself as cultural Christian.
If you have no real knowledge or skill set and you’re lazy and full of shit but you want to make a decent wage, then journalism’s not a bad career option. The great thing about it is that you don’t need to know anything. I mean this whole notion of journalism school—I can’t believe people actually go to journalism school. You can learn the entire thing in like three days. My advice is instead of going to journalism school, go to school for something concrete like medicine or some kind of science or something and then use the knowledge you get in that field as a wedge to get yourself into journalism.
A link to the full piece is here.
Monday, December 10, 2007
But what really made the day sour for us was the potty mouth who sits in seat 49, row C. The occasional burst of swearing at a ref is understandable and you kind of live with it. I'd hope they might temper it for the sake of the kids. But calling Carlton Cole of West Ham "f****** black c***" five times, is completely out of order in any circumstances.
When we asked, please, think of the children. We just got a volley of abuse to get off to the family stand as he's been there for 10 years. I suppose that's OK then. Can't make my mind up about what to do next.
The whole 'elf and safety and claim culture mood can cause you to avoid the risks involved in a Christmas do, but we are determined not to ever let that get in the way. Pip pip.
Friday, December 07, 2007
Thought you'd be interested in the morning I've had today at work at HMP Lancaster Castle. We're taking part in an initiative that's been started by a certain Billy Bragg that raises money to buy guitars for use by prisoners 'doing time' in HMPs around the country. The Castle is one of the first prisons in the country to have taken part in this so far. Prisons that have received the instruments are then visited by Billy. So there we are this morning, myself, a couple of other officers and about 12 prisoners just sat chatting with Billy and watching him play. He did The Jam, Clash, Bob Marley and a couple of his own, finishing, of course with A New England. A marvellous morning's work!
A link to more information on this is here.
Report in today's Daily Post is here.
The book The Mersey: The River That Changed the World is available now from here. An exhibition of Colin McPherson's photographs from the book is now on at Albert Dock.
We actually missed the start as it took us 2 and a half hours to get from Manchester city centre to Albert Dock. Awful weather and awful traffic. The price of a successful city?
Thursday, December 06, 2007
It will be officially opened by Guest of Honour, Michael Heseltine on Thursday 6th December 2007 in the Albert Dock’s Grand Hall. Proceedings will start at 17.30 and continue through to 19.00. Lord Michael Heseltine has a long standing relationship with
“This will be a superb exhibition and one which, I am sure will be extremely popular with both
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
The whole casual thing is still of interest to me. Neil Tague maintains that the lads who dress at football don't fight, and those that fight don't really dress. The Clone Island look so beloved of throwbacks who like to do both is particularly hideous and goes against a lot of what was innovative and experimental about this wildly misunderstood era of culture and fashion.
I don't go mad for the gear like I did when I was young, but I still like a pair of classic Adidas trainers, a good parka coat and a Lacoste t-shirt. I also tend to like something classic from here, or here.
Monday, December 03, 2007
The interviewer, Tim Jonze, started asking about music, etc, but the subject of immigration came up. Bizarrely, he has asked for his name to be removed from the feature.
He says, in a nutshell, that he won't come back to live in England because it is "a terribly negative place". And that this is possibly because "Other countries have held on to their basic identity...England was thrown away..." as a result of uncontrolled immigration.
As if to re-iterate one of Morrissey's points, that this is a subject that dare not speak its name, the paper goes on to draw some fairly harsh conclusions likening him to the BNP, which is absurd.
My view: an out of touch popstar who exists in a rarified world tries to comment on a country he hasn't lived in for far too long (he uses Knightsbridge as an example, for God's sake). A paper which has always sought to occupy a moral high ground hasn't the maturity or the sense to grasp that and has thus defaulted to student-style politics and crude sloganeering.
There's a link here, to more hissy fitting from Morrissey's "people" and a strange legal threat that isn't a threat at all.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Sadly it appears to have been removed. I did click on it through YouTube, but I bet it wasn't cleared for copyright.
Anyway - it was very funny.
And those Geordie fans. I scoff at all this greatest fans in the world stuff. It smacks of self pity and poor excuses. In an era where only one of three teams ever win the league it seems to me that any team's fans are destined to be "long suffering". A big city club is always going to have a big following. We have four other "town" clubs in the Premiership or Championship within a twenty mile radius whose natural fans would never choose to come to Rovers in a way that the average Geordie is a Toon Army fan by birth. Fair play though, in contrast to their silence and booing of their own team they made a lot of noise yesterday.
They've forgotten that Rovers fans have forgiven Alan Shearer now. The signing of his name used to be a taunt. Now it's a reminder that the greatest centre forward of his generation has one medal to his name. Premiership champions 1995.