Cheating Arsehole

I have to write this down as it’s pissing me off so much. I’ve been playing cricket again (I stopped for 13 years) for Kingstonian and it’s been OK, mostly I’ve bowled rubbish but it’s all about getting better and that’s happening-really slowly, and it’s really frustrating but I am improving a bit. Anyway, today I played against a team called Seveno and got 5 overs for 37 (no wickets, our wicketkeeper dropped two chances off me too to make it worse). It should have been 5 overs for 27 (at the most, I only went for one boundary) except for me being given about 10 wides. All bar two weren’t wides in any form of the game, anywhere in the world. They were about half a bat’s length from the stumps, in what is known as the corridor of uncertainty. In our games you umpire your own team, so if you’re batting lower down or you’re out, you have to umpire. The guy who was umpiring at my end had had some wides given against him that he’d complained about (not by me) and decided to even it up. He even told me that he kept calling me wide because we’d called him, and showed me a mark not even a foot from the stumps where he was going to call wide if we went outside it. It was ridiculous and it won them the game. Even worse, there’s a guy on our team who is an absolute dick, he’s about 65 and takes everything so seriously, as if it’s a Lord’s final we’re playing. It’s a friendly and the idea is everyone gets a game-whether you win or lose is supposed to be an afterthought. He spent the whole game barking instructions and whinging about anything we did. He doesn’t talk to half the team, makes racist remarks and doesn’t celebrate anybody else’s wickets, only his own. I hate playing when he plays as someone like that is the reason I stopped playing when I was a kid-that guy was, unfortunately, our coach, and his whole thing was winning. Not getting better at what you enjoy doing the most, not enjoying yourself at all really, just winning. So we did two hours of fielding drills one week and that was the week I left. I bet even the national side have a brief bowl or bat at the end of their training sessions. I don’t know if I’ll carry on playing in all honesty. I used to be good, and I could probably be OK again with more practice, but there’s too many negative things involved with it and I have to give up most of a day I ought really to be studying too, and pay £5 for the privilege. There are some good people there but there’s one dickhead in every group and this guy just spoils the whole thing for me, even without arseholes on the opposition calling me wide for bowling no more than 6-8 inches outside off stump. I’ve had a shit day, and this is my rant about it over. I’m no less pissed off than when I started really, so there’s been no catharsis, just frustration. It’s only supposed to be a fun game, that’s what they say anyway. I just don’t enjoy it very much when there’s so many arseholes involved.

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PhD

I’ve finally started my PhD. I haven’t given them any money yet though so it’s not all totally finalised, although given that I’m about to start writing a 2500 word overview of my subject (Contemporary Literature and British National Identities) and I’ve been reading all sorts of dry literary stuff for the last few weeks, I’ll be sorely vexed if they say I haven’t actually started properly. Gerry Adams has been the main focus of my reading so far. I find it very interesting, but then, I’m not really your standard dude I suppose.  It feels good to be using my brain again, anyway. I feel more like the me I like and prefer than I have for quite a while; I’m a learner, that’s what I am.

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Feed the Forss (and he will score).

Cracking win over Spurs and the perfect hat-trick from the legend that is Mikael Forssell, header, right foot, left foot. The poor bloke has had so many injury problems, let’s hope he stays fit and well from now on, although he maintains that for a long time last season and the start of this one he was fit but Bruce wouldn’t play him. Him and Faddy look like they could have a good partnership going and Zarate was again quality from the bench apparently. We could have done without Reading winning but walloping Spurs 4-1 should help the confidence no end. The Forss has a book out but at the moment it is only available in Finnish, apparently it is more like a philosophical tract than a football book! I’d get a copy for sure if it gets translated. It is all about what he went through when he was injured and how he got through it. If anyone tells you footballers are all stupid then point them towards the Forss. The guy is a living legend for us,  such a quality player. We all love him, hence the booing when he came off last week even though it turned out to be the right decision. He just demands respect for his loyalty in the face of some negative management, his attitude and the way he has come back from his injuries. It feels like he is one of us. He’s also a brilliant footballer so having someone like that representing you is great.

Very amusing to see a former Bluenose score the equaliser in the last minute against Villa too, nice work Nick. He doesn’t look or act like an Arsenal player and he was the first to stand up for Tiny too. Rich who supports Arsenal doesn’t rate him but I think he’s quality, just a bit lazy at times. He doesn’t look like he fits in with them so he should come back to us. He can stroll about then score a last minute goal against the Villa all he likes. The other games were a bit disappointing except for Fat Frank getting sent off and Derby holding Sunderland, a bit of a bonus for us. Newcastle losing was funny too. It’s getting a bit hairy down at the bottom but three or four wins and we could and should be fine. Pompey are up soon so no predictions for that although it’s winnable, and then Newcastle. It’s impossible to say what Blues will do on any given day but a few more performances like this weekend and we really ought to stay up. It would be brilliant to see Newcastle go down by the way. They won’t, they’ll pull a few wins out of the bag, but how funny would it be? To be fair anyone except us going down is fine. If it was Newcastle and Sunderland it would be a bonus but I’m not fussy.

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Tiny is Innocent!

I can’t believe the amount of stick Martin Taylor has been getting for what was simply an unlucky accident. Eduardo’s foot was planted, and that’s what caused the injury, not a particularly bad or malicious tackle. Tiny was a little bit slow getting to Eduardo, that’s all. It was a booking at worst but the referee hung him out to dry by sending him off based on how bad the injury was, not on the tackle itself. Now we’re without Tiny for our next 3 games and even worse Ridgewell is injured too so we may have a Schmitz and Jaidi pairing which we haven’t tried before. Tiny should be able to play in our next game, simple as that, but the ref shat on him and then Wenger made it so much worse with his ludicrous comments about banning Tiny for life. What an absolute wanker. I hope Arsenal win nothing this season, a minority of their fans have been setting up groups and petitions against Tiny, but they’ve been led by their manager and some of their players, notably Fabregas who said we were a rugby team. The penalty at the end of the game made it worse for them probably but one criticism of Arsenal is that they can’t take it when things don’t go their way and it seems that is totally right. Gallas was an embarassment (not for the first time this season) at the end and the lunge at our fans should have been punished.

As for the game itself, Muamba said that if we had 11 men on the pitch we’d have won and he’s right. Faddy was brilliant for us and Zarate played really well when he came on. I thought we defended really well bar five minutes when we imploded (the first goal was a foul, too) and Taylor was quality in goal again; let’s hope he keeps it like that and starts to command the box again like he used to. Faddy might make the difference for us this season, and now Kapo is injured I’d like to see Zarate get a start, maybe alongside Faddy with McSheffrey on the left. Basically though, if Reading and Fulham can keep losing I’ll be happy, we can pick up points here and there and hopefully by the time the Villa game comes around we’ll be safe and we can just go out, enjoy it, and roll them over. I can dream…

One Martin Taylor…

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Flu

I’ve now been ill for pretty much two weeks with what I can only call flu although it might be loads of different things coming together to make one dodgy illness. Basically I’ve not been sleeping, I haven’t wanted to eat, I’ve been sweating all night although I’m cold, and a combination of the three has left me ridiculously weak. I went in to work yesterday and lasted about 25 minutes. Even the idea of actually attempting to string a coherent sentence together helping anyone was well beyond me. I just had to get going as fast as I could, it would have been embarassing if I wasn’t past caring.

Also, I’m in a bit of a slump London-wise. I want to go home for a bit but I can’t. I might go home this weekend but it would mean missing my mate’s wedding and another mate is down from Middlesbrough for the first time in about a year on Saturday. I just keep seeing the Rotunda in my mind and it means home and being comfortable…I was supposed to go back last weekend but I couldn’t manage the journey so I missed out on seeing Blues play Arsenal, and also the night out we had planned for Friday. I also missed seeing Rich and Vicki the weekend before as I was lying in my pit too ill to move, so it’s not been a great few weeks all round. I just think that as soon as I’m at home and feeling comfortable I’ll get better. It might not happen that way but I can’t help thinking it. Somehow I’ve associated being here with being ill.  Just a few days away might make all the difference.

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End of an Era

So, Steve Bruce is off to Wigan. He’s been in charge at Blues since before I finished uni (the first time) and I’ve spent a lot of time over the last six years hoping he’d do things he didn’t do, wondering what the hell his tactics are about, and despairing at his bizarre substitutions. I’ve also rejoiced at the inspired signings he’s made, enjoyed it when he’s had a pop at referees and other managers, and generally invested a lot of my hope in him…and now he’s suddenly going to a lesser job at a lesser club, just like that.

I’m looking forward to seeing who we get as our next manager, and hoping our penny-pinching owners (two of the richest men in British football) don’t do it on the cheap. I’ve also been looking back on the Bruce era and for all the mistakes he’s made, and the fact he’s off because he’s bottled this job, I can’t dislike the man. He’s been there for the two Stern John goals that remain the only times in my adult life I’ve been truly ecstatic. He signed Gary McSheffrey, Jermaine Pennant, Mikael Forssell, Nicklas Bendtner (OK, only for a year), Geoff Horsfield, Stern himself, Christophe Dugarry…he was there for four fantastic victories over the Villa, for the Enckelman own goal, for the play-offs, and for Seb Larsson’s goal in our promotion game last season, which remains the best goal I’ve ever seen live. He’s present in some of the best memories I have. I can’t just cut him out…

…and yet, last Sunday when we huffed and blowed so badly against Villa, I couldn’t help thinking it was mostly his fault. He picked Palacios despite the fact his mind must have been on his kidnapped brother. He left Forssell on the bench and went 4-5-1 at home in our biggest game of the year. He left Kapo on despite him not even trying, and he took Jerome off when he was just starting to look dangerous. Talking to other fans around us, the consensus was that things had just gone stale. It was time to move on, and the affair was at an end. I won’t go too heavy on the metaphors, as non-football fans might not appreciate it, but it feels like when you’ve been with someone a long time, been through all the ups and downs, and suddenly, without warning, you just can’t take any more. You just want out, and all that shared history means nothing. Something snaps…and that’s what has happened for Brucey. So, cheers Steve, and thanks for all the good memories. You’ll get the applause you deserve when you’re next at St Andrews, and I just hope the next manager gives us moments like those Stern John goals.

Brucey positives: Sir Stern, McSheffrey, Dugarry, two promotions (although one shouldn’t have been necessary), Pennant, Bendtner, Upson, Horsfield, beating Villa four times, de Ridder, King Kenny, Jerome, Walter Pandiani…

Brucey negatives: Selling most of the above (especially Pandiani), letting Andy Johnson go, losing to Villa in the last three, a needless relegation, Chris Sutton, Nicky Butt, Salif Diao, 4-5-1 at home, buying Vine then never giving him a chance, leaving Sheff on the bench, selling DJ Campbell, losing Savage, Damien Johnson…

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