Football

Birthdays: Women and Children only

If it’s your birthday today, Happy Birthday from all of us here at SudoOne. (Just me then) I hope you get all the gifts you want and a cake especially for you. Unless you are a male over the age of 18. In which case, happy birthday mate. I haven’t got you anything because I’m not your Mum. If you are lucky I might buy you a pint. Men don’t do birthdays.

Embed from Getty Images

The male arrangement for birthdays.

I buy a beer, pie or coffee, if birthdays are mentioned at all. If not, all the men I know carry on as if their birthday was nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I refuse to work on my birthday. But this has more to do with me disliking work than anything else. Today is a work colleagues birthday. He is way over 18. He spent £50 feeding people who aren’t his friends, some of them hate him and yet will eat the free food (I didn’t). He works on phones, spent the majority of the morning telling customers it was his birthday. Now I know you have to build a rapport with the great unwashed but when your customer wants to do what he needs to do and hang up (Sounds like I work on a Sex line) your ‘special day’ matters diddly squat and mentioning it can come across as unprofessional.

Food rituals in the workplace are bullshit too. Its a unwritten rule that you have to bring stuff for your birthday, and you are judged on the quality of food you get, catering for all allergies in the office and watching out for those arseholes who will double dip the breadsticks. You are therefore a mixture of You, Jamie Oliver and Robocop.

I like other peoples birthdays. It gives me an opportunity to show the women and children in my life how much they mean to me. Really thats a grand total of three or so gifts (Daughter, Mother and the official photographer of the New York Yankees etc) But those are people I care about and people who I know appreciate what I got them. Not some people I happen to sit in a building with. Birthdays should be banned from the workplace. Which brings me to Yaya Toure.

Yaya Toure protegiendo el balon

Yaya Toure (centre) during a previous spell at Barca. Birthday Cake (not pictured)

I know this is a ruse. Yaya even tried to point it out himself. But for those who don’t know, Toure plays for Manchester City FC and his agent is saying that he will leave because they didn’t wish him Happy Birthday. In all reality he wants to leave because he can get a big bundle of cash from Barcelona. Thats fine with me. (Man doing job wants more money for working). However he does need to sack his agent for the “Birthday” plan because Yaya now looks like a bit of a dick. I hope he stays at Man City just for all the Birthday related chants he’ll get.

My birthday is in June by the way. Hint..

Advertisements

Bases Loaded: MLB.tv Across the Pond

Bases loaded, bottom of the ninth, two outs and the count is 3 and 2. It’s all down to this, if the ball is despatched into crowd, via the inky black night sky. The game is won. Miss, and the glory is theirs.

MLB on Apple TV almost like being there... well maybe

MLB on Apple TV almost like being there… well maybe

My first brush with baseball came with the launch of Channel 5 in the mid 90’s. Late night, after the low rent porn movies, I would sit and watch. I chose a team, based on name only; The Royals of Kansas City. The Royals also being the name of Reading FC.

Both sets of Royals during this period were less than good.. Also I can’t recall Channel 5 showing a single one of the KC Royals games. Now however, thanks to the glory of my Apple TV I can enjoy, every single strike out or homer of the MLB season regardless of whether I can stay up to see the games or not. My allegiances have changed somewhat. The draw of the Yankees and the influence of a friend who is far too wonderful for her own good, means that I now follow the boys from the Bronx.

MLB.tv is included on all Apple TV’s second gen onwards (and 39 other devices). It is a subscription service in the UK it costs £89 per year. I didn’t sign up for the whole year, because I wasn’t sure I’d get into it or if most of the games would be at stupid o clock so I signed up via MLB.com which lets you use Paypal to pay monthly. From there you sign into your account via Apple TV and you are good to go.

The MLB.tv subscription includes access to the great MLB At Bat App for mobile devices, which allows you to follow more action than you’ll ever have time for, wherever you are. You can enquire about that hitter whilst on the shitter if you so desire. You have stats, video and audio feeds.

Baseball itself for the uneducated English gent; Forget comparisons to Rounders, yes this is where the game originates but to compare it now is like comparing an iPad to a Newton. Think Cricket, think T20. If you stripped some of the English away from that and replaced it with some American English terms you’ll be halfway there. (My favourite term from last nights game was “Nowhere man’s land.” So no mans land then!) The game itself is not typical of American sport, there are long periods of action, at a low level (like cricket) but then it can change in a split second and be over quicker than an excited virgin. This is an American showcase but without the usual need to score a point every other second.

Yankee2WM

Thanks for the images.. you know who you are 😉

The Premier League take note. This is how sport should be delivered, all the games (for UK viewers, blackouts are in effect in North America) whenever you want. No adverts (yes really!) I want to be able to watch my team play, be it at the ground or via Apple TV in my pants. If you like Baseball or even have a passing interest. Well worth a look.

(WMB4X) If There’s Grass on the Pitch…

The World Cup, the premier football competition, the one they all want to win and unlike the World Series (which I know was named after a Newspaper) it is truly a global event. Because of FIFA’s global conquest to spread the game to all corners of the globe the 2022 tournament will take place in Qatar. That and a whole bunch of money, a ridiculous amount of money.

With every new major sporting event there comes redevelopment of the areas which will stage the pieces of history. London 2012’s Olympic Park would be a prime example of how they do things outside of football with a new stadium and aquatic centre built amongst other things.

Recently The Qatar supreme committee unveiled their ‘Olympic Park’, their ‘Wembley’.

This was designed by the same woman who designed London’s Aquatic centre Zaha Hadid. Very elegant and contemporary it is. However it does remind me of something, I was thinking it might be my dirty mind but it does remind me somewhat of a “lady garden” Now before I get accused of being a disgusting individual other folks have noticed this too and they have put this to the architect. She isn’t happy with the comparison. Stating:

“It’s really embarrassing that they come up with nonsense like this. What are they saying? Everything with a hole in it is a vagina? That’s ridiculous.”

That in itself is fair comment I suppose. However as I write this I am watching West Bromwich Albion play Aston Villa. Neither of those teams have a home ground that looks anything like a vagina, the Hawthorns and Villa Park both have “the hole” but I’ve never thought wow this place really shouldn’t be shown before the watershed. But art, and this art, is up for interpretation.

I have problems with this addition though:

“Honestly, if a guy had done this project, critics would not be making such lewd comparisons.”

I beg to differ. If a man designed something to look like a massive vagina people would mention it. Woman-kind would protest, some might even say how disgusting it was. The sex of the designer is irrelevant. I realise that architecture is not exactly an area where women are able to flourish as opportunities for high profile projects go to men and Zaha Hadid has probably had to work her arse off to get a foot in the door, but comments like this do little to aid the case of female equality.

I liken it to the “Is it because I is Black” comments of Sacha Baron Cohen’s Ali G or me blaming me not getting any hits on this blog because I am disabled. You can’t allow yourself that cop out, because it is not giving your critics a valid response and that leads to a lazy artist always unwilling to use the criticism to improve.

I think this stadium looks good. Zaha Hadid would have been much better off saying “A vagina you say, well now you mention it….”

Image from http://www.theregister.co.uk (I needed the image to illustrate my point please don’t sue me)


Please visit the Resident Weeble who likes a good stadium as much as the next man

(WMB4X) Gamer Growing Pain

I remember how I felt Christmas 1991. I had opened all the small boxes and cards, very disciplined for a 10 and a half year old. There was one big box under the tree, I thought this was strange because I had asked for and Atari Lnyx (Atari’s answer to the Gameboy) and that was tiny. I tore off the paper to reveal a Nintendo Entertainment System or NES. My parents thought I would enjoy being able to play on a bigger screen with my friends. It was a good call as the Lynx disappeared from market very quickly.

However my parents didn’t keep their eye on the market because just over a year later in April of 1992 the Super Nintendo was released. Sounding like a spoilt kid now, but I got one Christmas 1992. I was hooked. I have always liked Sports games, so one of the first titles on my SNES was Super Soccer, an international football game. The first team you had to beat to progress through the game was Cameroon. I must have played Cameroon 50 times before I finally beat them. I stuck at it for hours after school and weekends. Fast forward 21 years and I now have a PS3 and I wish I had that determination.

The Last of Us, is a tremendous game. Cinematic immersive game play. It sits on my shelf, unfinished. My friend who has completed it tells me I am close to the end, but I’m stuck. I have played the same bit 6 or 7 times and I can’t get by it, so out it comes. My 10 year old self would have been blown away by the graphics but would have sat in front of it forever until it was done.

Why do I not have the same drive now?

It’s not like I have a major social life or better things to be doing. I do enjoy gaming and although it still gets bad press, it’s a legitimate a hobby as gardening or reading or whatever. It’s great for me cos it raises the heart rate and improves my dexterity.

Is it the games? Super Soccer was me vs the SNES, no online play, no linking to Facebook or a depressingly low Game Center score. On the PC, Grand Theft Auto for example, I completed GTA and GTA London and even more recently on the PS3 GTA IV (not with 100%) but that took me ages to get over the finish line. Years I didn’t play. Now GTA V, you have three protagonists, a fully functional stock market and massive online environment. Now instead of enjoying beating up Whores I’m looking at a stock market screen. I miss the simple fun.

Maybe games aren’t for me. Maybe they are for people with more dextrous fingers and unlimited free time. Like me when I was 10.


Please visit the blog of the Resident Weeble who is always on top of his game.

Justice for the 96…. but no respect

15th April 1989, Sheffield England. FA Cup Semi Final day. Liverpool vs Nottingham Forest. All that should have been lost that day was the hope of an FA Cup Final place. As it was it was a day that caused 96 people to lose their lives. It has been a long fight for the fans of Liverpool Football Club to clear the names of their fallen, who were blamed for the Hillsborough disaster. A fight which continues some 24 years on.

Today we played Liverpool at the Madejski Stadium. (0-0 Final Score) We observed a minute silence for the 96 who lost their lives at Hillsborough. I thought although time has moved on, the game that we share and the love for our respective clubs shall forever remain. Thankfully there are now safety regulations in place that should prevent such a terrible disaster occurring again. All seater stadiums, Police surveillance, prohibited items. Fireworks and flares for example are not allowed, by stadium rules. Fans found with such items could face a football banning order (stopping them attending any match anywhere in the UK) or even prison.

So “Justice for the 96” sang the Liverpool end. Rightly so.

“Lets all do the conga, cos Maggie is no longer.” OK Macabre but I can see why Liverpool fans might rejoice in the death of a woman who presided over a botched enquiry into the death of their loved ones. Football humour has always been dark.

However. At kick off, a certain section of Liverpool fans let off a huge red smoke flare. Then at various points during the first half let off fireworks. Both prohibited by stadium rules, and endangering the wellbeing of others in their end. Police did nothing as far as I saw, there were no loud bangs in the second half so I assume either the Police did something quietly at half time or simply that there were no more fireworks to be set off.

There are two sets of double standards here as far as I can see. Firstly, if Reading fans even as much as stand up during the game they are told instantly by stewards to sit. Liverpool fans stood throughout. If a Reading fan took a flare into a away ground. They would be looking at a night in a cell. Apparently it is ok for Liverpool fans.

The second set of double standards is the issue I have most problem getting my head around. 96 people died, but they did not die in vein. Because of those people we now have a better game to see, in better equipped and safer venues. A game which can be enjoyed by all, safe in the knowledge that for 99% of the time the only thing that will be hurt at football is pride.


99% because there is always that 1% of people. Morons who don’t have a thought in their head. Don’t sing of Justice for those killed at a football match, whilst standing, running up and down the stands without a care for those around you. Don’t sing of Justice and light a flare, a flare which induce an asthma attack and kill someone. Don’t sing of Justice and let off a firework which could explode and kill one more of your own.

I’m sure those 96 would be proud.
Liverpool

 

He Used to Manage Slough.. He’s Not a Royal Now

Loyalty in Football it’s a rare thing indeed. Always an agent that can get you a better deal than you are on, at a more prestigious club. Players, managers everyone involved and why not. Almost everyone wants to progress and make as much money in the process just as this was any other industry. But it’s different.

Lets say you work a manufacturing plant, managing a small team of 25. When you were appointed in 2009 their work was shoddy and disorganised, no-one brought your product. Your predecessor was an arrogant man with a God complex who wanted to re-invent the wheel. You had been working under him. You did your bit quietly and professionally making a good impression on those who would become your team.

You stabilise the ship. Getting your team to produce some very good work, with minimal expenditure. It is not quite on a consistent level yet but that’s ok. Your products are gaining a good market reputation, and even when some of the best manufacturing operatives moved on to seek out opportunities in Germany you still manage to galvanise the team. Quietly working with a great passion and professionalism.

A year or two goes by. Your team missed out at the 11th hour on a huge contract worth in excess of £90 million. The CEO keeps the faith, and a year later you win an industry award and the new Russian owner nails his colours to your mast and gives you a new contract. Manufacturing with the biggest and brightest lights in the industry. In this line of work you would be given time to stabilise, maybe even fall back a little and consolidate for another assault on new markets. You are lauded as your industries leading light and your company is proud.

If you are in football you get the sack.

Brian McDermott turned down an approach in February 2012 from the then Premier League club, Wolves, to stay at Reading and “finish what I started” which he duly did. Winning the Championship for only the second time in the clubs history. Earlier this week he was sacked.. I have waited a few days before writing this piece. I am so angry. Granted results haven’t been what they should have been this year and the club does sit join bottom of England’s top flight. However I am disgusted that Brian’s loyalty (been with the Club since 2000) and work counts for nothing.

Just after Christmas, Southampton, a team who gained promotion by finishing second behind us last year, sacked Nigel Adkins. I have to admit I don’t like Southampton or Adkins. I laughed. I thought that is a poor way to treat a manager who has got you so much success. That would never happen at Reading. We are a well run club, not prone to press the panic button. How wrong I was.

Brian took us from the brink of Division One (Third tier of English football) to the Premier League. He did it not by spending millions on prima donnas but by building a close knit team of players, displaying a quiet air of determination to WNG (Win Next Game) He is a man who lives and breathes football and always acted with the best interests of Reading Football Club in mind. Thanks Brian for all you achieved and the memories which you helped create. I wish you every success and I hope you find a club which treats you with the respect your talent deserves.

Save us from Di Canio.

Brian McDermott: Out on his own

Brian McDermott: Out on his own

(28 DW) The Crying Game

I’m absolutely terrible. Amy Pond has just found out that Rory the Centurion has been protecting her for 2000 years. A wonderfully written and touching story, but can someone please explain to me why I am sat watching it with tears streaming down my face. It’s TV. Not only that it’s TV I’ve seen before. Alas it’s not only Doctor Who.

Martin Clunes (him off Men Behaving Badly) recently narrated a documentary for ITV called the Secret Life of Dogs. Now anyone who knows me or has read this here bit of cyber space for any considerable amount of time knows I love my dogs. I would suggest anyone give it a watch. (I can’t believe I am recommending anything on ITV) There are some really heart wrenching stories about how people relate to their dogs. This again caused me to well up.

At football. As a celebration of last seasons successes (we won the league!) the PA guys have put the below video together…

This, if I’m not careful, gets me too. I however have to keep my shit together cos I’m in public grr manly man.

Just what is wrong with me. When I was a teen I wasn’t tearful, OK I was quite whingey little bastard when I was small, but I was me. I had lots to be upset about! Am I releasing some kind of female hormone? That comment isn’t as sexist as it sounds. Am I less of a man because I have a compulsion to cry at things? I feel a bit of a fool, but it’s natural to me so who says I can’t show a bit of emotion.

I suppose I could suppress  it and in 20 years come back and murder my family… yeah cos thats better.


Please check out the work of my 28DW Comrades at The Resident Weeble and A Piece of Pandemonium 

28DW: Peter Odemwingie, The Deadline Day Cowboy

The sun set over White City in London. Loftus Road home of Queens Park Rangers (QPR). A visitor came from up in the Midlands. Odemwingie was his name. A football sharpshooter with a talent for scoring goals, a talent dwarfed by his self confidence. A man who at 31 years old has yet to win any major honour. So you can see why he would want to join QPR, who are currently flying high….. at the bottom of the English Premier League. His current club West Bromwich Albion (WBA) sit 9th.

Odemwingie, is in a 3 way rotation battle at WBA with Chelsea loanee wonderkid Romalu Lukaku and ex-Reading legend Shane Long. Odemwingie is currently not getting as much football as he would like. During the January football transfer window, he asked to be made available for transfer. This request was declined. West Brom want to strengthen not weaken the squad. Understandable.

31st January. Transfer Deadline day. A day on which Sky Sports news presenters earn their corn. Come 11pm all deals must be done after this point no transfers are allowed (aside from Free Agents and emergency loans) A day in which traditionally Harry Redknapp (the current manager of QPR) has done a lot of business. A day where Odemwingie turned up “unannounced” at Loftus Road.. West Brom having not given their permission for QPR to speak to him.

He gave interviews to Sky Reporters, along the lines of “I’m pleased to be joining QPR” “Football Challenge…” blah but without the club that pays his wages agreeing, no move could take place. Odemwingie turned his car around and headed back to Midlands.

Now I am torn. At first when I heard this I was disgusted with the complete lack of respect the player had/has for his club, which he will apparently “always love” the move is clearly motivated by money. The carrot has to be pretty big if you are joining a team who could be relegated. I have since slept on it and thought some more. My disgust mellowed somewhat.

Photo by Ben Sutherland, Flickr. Odemwingie (second Right)

Maybe Odemwingie, I thought, really hates the day to day work at WBA. We have all been in jobs we hate. Maybe he loves the Saturday afternoons, scoring goals, the fans. But training sessions and the West Brom tea lady really bring him down. We will never know. Rumours are that West Brom would have let him go if they found a replacement, had this happened Odemwingie was just making sure that his move had plenty of time to go through. Being early for his 2 O’ Clock if you will.

As fans we expect players who wear the shirts of our dreams to share the same passion and commitment for the club. A few do, Tony Adams at Arsenal, David Beckham at Manchester United two that spring to mind. But for the majority football is a job. As with any job if you are not liking where you are, if there is a route out. Anyone would work hard to try and take it.

As for what happens now – play on the theatre that is professional sport.

 

Please check out the work of my 28DW Comrades at The Resident Weeble and A Piece of Pandemonium 

Teaching the Kids to “Play” the Game

It’s not often I find myself agreeing with Robbie Savage (ex Wales, Blackburn, Derby etc Footballer, now BBC Pundit and Presenter of the BBC 5 Live 606 Show) Robbie as a player and a pundit delights in being controversial. He was a player you hated if he played against you, but loved if he wore your colours. A character in a sea of blandness, a Simon Cowell on X-Factor, a twat who is compulsive viewing rather like a Panto Villain.

By TuborgLight (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Last night I listened in to 606, in the bath if you must know. I only tend to listen when Reading win, so I’ve only caught it a few times this season. Robbie said this:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p013zscj (Sorry it’s probably UK only)

To summarise for non UK readers (yeah the millions of you!) Robbie said that as a professional a player should foul an opponent deliberately, taking a yellow card in the process to prevent a goal.

If you managed to click the link (well done) you will have also heard several kids coaches phoning up and bemoaning this standpoint. Because it is breaking the rules. Yes I suppose it is, but it’s playing the game. One caller who’s call was not included in it’s entirety went on to compare this viewpoint with the cheating exploits of Lance Armstrong. Mr Armstrong has was not punished immediately with a yellow card, Mr Armstrong pleaded his innocence until the very last, and his actions were entirely in his own interest. Robbie is advocating “taking one for the team.”

We appear to have a warped view of fair play in this country. I have heard many a tale of schools football where one player has scored 10 goals in the first half of a game, only to be taken to one side by the coach and reprimanded for “being unfair” to the other kids. A solid player is valued in the English game rather than a player who is brilliant. Lionel Messi would have been rejected by English coaches because he is small. England would be proud it seems to produce 100 John Terry’s before one skilful player slipped through the net.

Part of professional sport is knowing how far one can bend the rules, to gain an advantage. It’s part of any game, it’s part of the entertainment,, the boxer who wins the mind game before the fight, the cricketers sledging. Diving is cheating, deception of the referee to gain an advantage, bending the rules too far. Fouling (with no intent to injure) to break up play and maybe stop your team conceding is not. It’s high time that we stopped teaching kids how to play the game, and started teaching them how to win, not at any cost, but win, and not stifle skill, talent or desire to triumph.

MK Dons vs The Real Dons

Yes it’s a football post. But even those of you who aren’t fans of the beautiful game maybe interested in this so stick with it.

Pretend for a moment that a cornerstone in your life disappeared, a thing you like to do with your friends every week upped and moved away overnight. 70 miles (or so) by road away. Meaning that to do your thing, you faced a 140 mile round trip and 120 minutes in the car. You’d be pretty annoyed. Particularly if your chosen thing had been around for a good time in the local area, being successful.

In 2001 Pete Winkelman decided to move Wimbledon FC to Milton Keynes, a relatively new town with no football club of any note. In their old guise Wimbledon had won the FA Cup against all the odds beating the then all powerful Liverpool in a memorable Wembley final. Wimbledon have always been the ultimate underdog story, at times homeless, but striving with almost a English war time spirit to survive. The crazy gang era of the 80’s and 90’s started the careers of Vinny Jones and Denis Wise, two of the original “love to hate” characters that set the English game apart from the more polished La Liga or Serie A.

I have just watched the new Wimbledon, AFC Wimbledon founded in 2002 by fans after their club was ripped away from them, lose to MK Dons (what their Wimbledon became) 2-1 in the FA Cup. AFC Wimbledon has risen from the bottom of English football to reach the forth tier in a remarkably short time. This FA cup meeting was the first in the two clubs history.

As I watched on the TV I was amazed by how many fans MK Dons have. I know football is popular and people will watch games on park lands all over the UK but most Football Clubs here are older than America! Families go back generations supporting the same club, it’s part of peoples DNA a religion of sorts. One based on blood sweat and tears rather than lies and conjecture mind.

I have to come clean here. I am the football equivalent of a born again christian. Until I was 14 I supported Tottenham Hotspur, despite living in Reading. I regret this. My family had a tradition of supporting Spurs so I went with it. In 1994 I went to Elm Park with my Dad, since that day I have been loyal to my home town club. Back to MK…

Who are these people? Who did they support before? Did they even like football? Watching them celebrate their teams win is rather like watching a football movie, someone yelled action and all the crowd extras jumped up and down. Actors for hire. This might be unfair, but football is a game steeped in tradition. A badge of honour, cliche but a truism, for all the changes in Football from being a working mans game to the big business opportunity it has become, the fans remain just as their fathers and grandfathers did. Just paying more money.

MK Dons, there but for the grace of God go I.

Promotion 2012.. or 1912

Promotion 2012.. or 1912