Premier League

World View, to Dream a Dream.

Different folks have different ways of looking at things. Obvious statement of the year, well probably but I haven’t done anything on this blog for a while and I thought it best to tackle something obvious!

Some folks live a day at a time, others plan everything to the finest degree. Whilst I am certainly towards the planning end, i have no real master plan. No five year goal, no yearning for yachts by the time I’m 35. Bit of luck really as thats only two years away and I currently would be very surprised if I had more than £2.50 in my bank account. Toy yacht maybe!

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” Sang Mr Lennon. How true, there are lots of people who dare to dream. Often from a young age, people wanna win Wimbledon (yeah like thats gonna happen to anyone British.. what? He didn’t..) or they might wanna marry a footballer or a supermodel or even less superficially find a cure for cancer. These dreamers, focus on that dream. Live it 24/7. Won’t let up until it rests in their metaphorical sweaty palm. Good for them.

But is this dream chasing, long term goal setting really such a good way to live? Focus is one thing, but by it’s very nature it leads us not to value where we are in life or value the things we have currently over the things we might gain in the future. I’m not just talking about possessions or opportunities here either. People too can be picked up or shunned to fit in with a persons master plan, friendships. partnerships, marriages. All changed to chase those stars.

So, because of the dream. Just the dream, no concrete facts. You’ve turned down that great offer of work in Dubai because that dream is to work in San Francisco. Or you divorced your wife because she won’t have that third child you dreamt of. Who is to say that opportunity in Dubai wouldn’t have made you happier than San Fran. Who’s to say the new girlfriend you find yourself with is going to be able to have kids.

Live life.
Dream, if you want. Make sure that dream doesn’t close you off from what you have. That dream may be nowhere near as good as you thought and it may lead to you missing out on something better than that dream could ever be.

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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

(BDYBIS) 60 Million Dollar Season

Last April, something amazing happened. My mighty Reading FC won promotion to the Premier League by beating Nottingham Forest 1-0. A league title followed and we were once again the promised land.

A rainy bus parade Photo courtesy of the Resident Weeble

Time passes. The summer of sport progressed, with a lacklustre Euro 2012, followed by a spectacular Olympic games. So much so that the build up to the Premier League was not what it should have been in terms of excitement. Although as the season kicked off at home to Stoke City our return was complete.

We got a point on the board from that game. 1 point in our quest to gain a guaranteed 60 million pounds next year. You see this year is all about next year. The TV contract for the 2013-2014 season has been decided and the money invested will rise 70%. The bottom side in the Premier League next year will “win” 60 million. Which is more than Manchester City got for winning the title last year.

It is obscene. 60 million for being the worst. Although as a fan it’s got to be good news because even the boards at Rangers and Portsmouth combined couldn’t burn through 60 million pounds that quickly. At Reading currently, we are a well run club, so it should ensure we are competitive for years to come.

So as much as the scenes captured here in the promotion parade are great to relive, I don’t want to see them occur again. Because that will mean we survived, rubbing shoulders with the big boys.

Reading FC Champions Bus Parade from slowlycreepingdeath on Vimeo.

The Dream is Dead… Long Live the Dream

It is the morning after the afternoon before. The dust has not quite settled. The mighty Reading FC have fallen once more at the last hurdle to reach the promised land. I don’t usually write about football, as a game anyway. Partly because I feel the game conveys emotion much better on it’s own than I ever could and there are much better football writers than me. As this is “the richest game in domestic football” I feel I may as well give it a stab.

Firstly, congratulations to Swansea City FC, Players, Management and even those supporters moronic enough to try to break my wing mirror off my car (You won guys, why is that not enough) Look forward now to a tough season in the premiership with a team full of Chelsea and Real Madrid loanees, as Brendan calls in favours from Jose. No sour grapes though, over 90 minutes you were the better team.

In the previous blog I criticised Wembley’s ticketing policy for disabled fans. This criticism  still stands, however the view from my spacious seat was good. Even though after Swansea’s quick fire double I began to look for a hole to open up and swallow me. In a situation like that it is interesting to observe the reactions of people around:

  • Some shout all the louder, for that, at the end of the day is all we, as fan can do.
  • Some shout criticising everything, the ref, the players, the sky.
  • Some turn in to cheerleaders (minus skirts and pom poms mind) try and lift others
  • Some go quiet for a period of reflection, (with a inner hope that the next leap will be the leap home.. no sorry where was I)
  • Some do all these things.

I was the quiet type yesterday. Getting elbowed by the guy next to me every time he got animated. He was up and down like a Kangaroo in the mating season, sitting down with such force that he broke the seat. Funny and annoying in equal measure as my seat was connected to his and hanging on the wembley concrete work by a single thread. Swansea added a third and by Half Time and our chance of promotion shared the same chance of me having a functional seat by the end of game.

Half time in a daze, wondering if my team or me would wake up. Either would do at this stage, only one of our players seemed to have got off the bus in the first half, 1 vs 11 (12 at points, Mr Dowd the ref not on my Dad’s Xmas card list) is not fair really. Then finally at the start of the 2nd half, after a brief discussion with Dad about 3D glasses(when the game is not going your way, you talk about all kinds of things.) we scored. The largest sigh of relief masquerading as a cheer you will ever hear. Then we scored again, game on!

However it wasn’t to be, we came close as we hit the post. This changed momentum, and Swansea were awarded their second penalty kick of the afternoon to send a Welsh team into the English Premiership.

So the dream for another year is dead. Some players have played their last game for the club, some bit part players will now step up and become legends of tomorrow. Strange thing is that this statement would have been true had we won. Football is a moveable feast, with only die hard fans staying truer to the cause than they would to her indoors.

Football is a game about chance, fractions of an inch, the if’s, buts and maybes, that we try to eradicate from everyday life. The grey area that keeps us all alive, if life was black and white, it wouldn’t be life at all and there would be an app to speed us through the dark times.

Reading FC have appeared in 3 playoff finals. Won none. I said to my Dad that if we got to another I wouldn’t go. I think I lied.

Reading 2-4 Swansea City