21 08 2014

Tonight Wales will play England in a women’s world cup qualifier in Cardiff. Last week the FAW sent me an e-mail that contained an advert for the match;

Wales V England

You can tell that the qualifier is a serious match from the “I”M DEAD SERIOUS ABOUT THIS” faces. You can tell that football is officially the most important thing ever created because the “I”M DEAD SERIOUS ABOUT THIS” face has become the default setting in football advertising.

If football had listened to the Jet Set’s Christmas Message in 2010 it wouldn’t be suffering from po-faced arrogance. If they had listened to us football would remember that footballers have relatively enjoyable jobs and that it has the potential to cause moments of communal ecstasy.

Society needs smiling football faces yet there is seriousness across all levels of the sport, from the premier league……

Kit advert 1

kit advert 5

kit advert 8

….to the championship…..

kit advert 2

kit advert 4

kit advert 6

…..and beyond.

Kit Advert 14

kit advert 3

Kit advert 15

kit advert 18

kit advert 19

Football seriousness is virtually a pandemic.

kit advert 7

kit advert 9

kit advert 11

Kit advert 17


kit advert 12 Australia

I don’t know what effect the advertising industry hoped to create with their pantheon of simmering impatience and brooding polyester but I started to wonder what all these posturing dickheads were angry about, were they waiting for something?

Thankfully there are redoubts against the relentless onslaught of seriousness.

Kit advert 10

Cheer up football clubs, you don’t deserve to be taken that seriously. #LOADOFPOFACEDBOLLOCKS

Erstwhile heroes and the “Indepedence Debate”

20 08 2014

When I was younger Ian Rush the Flint goal machine was a bronze statue of a hero. Deadly accurate, fancy Nike boots and moustache, he had it all, he was the full package. Back then it was easier to have heroes, the banter on social media was but a pipe dream of a yet to be formed diseased mind.

They say you should never meet your heroes but I still engineered a crossing of our paths. It was seven years ago and a hot Sunday of deepest summer. I was a volunteer at a football tournament and Rushy was due to make a public appearance with the Charity Shield.

My heart sank as soon as I saw his McDonald’s polo shirt and not even the shiny presence of the Charity Shield could mend my broken heart. After a couple of hours I thought about sidling up to him for an autograph but a scowl transmits a thousand words so I decided against briefly infecting his personal space. Being a perceptive kind of chap I could tell that he didn’t have any spare time to return my leveraged teenage fawning.

The aphorism that warns you about meeting your heroes doesn’t go far enough, you shouldn’t pay too much attention to their words or actions either. Last week Cian from the Super Furry Animals tweeted that Rushy had put his name to a letter – Be warned this link takes you to a Daily Mail article – that encouraged the people of Scotland to think twice about voting for independence.

Rushy is right up there with lovely luminaries such as……….Kirstie Allsop, Gyles Brandreth, Will Carling, Bruce Forsyth, Dr. Fox, Rod Liddle, Sir Cliff Richard and Sting. The list is also full of people whose names I was really disappointed to see. It’s always disappointing when my projections are off beam.

It’s rather puzzling to see Rush claiming affinity with the idea of a united kingdom when he earned Europe-wide fame as a proud player for a nation that wouldn’t exist if the United Kingdon had a national football team. How did he score so many goals with clay feet?

I can’t understand why the objectors care so much about Scottish independence, it hasn’t really got anything to do with them. Scotland’s decision will be Scotland’s democratic decision. I struggle to see why the issue matters to them. Would they remain a member of a club that they’d stopped enjoying simply because irritating television presenters and Robbie Williams ex-lyricist told them that they sort of minded they were considering leaving the club? The letter is little more than condescending little Englandism.

Now that I’ve criticized the objectors for having an opinion on this matter, here’s my ten pennorth. As far as I see it the independence vote it’s a wonderful opportunity for a group of people to do two things; 1) Throw off the shackles of the medieval system of monarchy. 2) Put distance between themselves and the Etonian mafia, as Limmy’s tweet shows.

Lastly, anything that annoys Rangers Ultras can’t be bad.

Aug 9 050

You’re targetting the wrong person chaps.

16 08 2014

Come August a football fan will be patronized by every other advert they encounter, the advertising industry appears to think  every single football fan is part of a flock of unthinking sheep.

Exhibit one

Aug 9 013

No-one loves the modulations and discordant notes of free-form football more than the special one. Oh yes, if there’s one person in the world of football that loves unpredictability it’s José Mourinho the spirit-crushing master tactician, the genius that can literally plan every second of a football match. You can tell that Jose loves unpredictability during the convivial interviews after Chelsea defeats.

Exhibit two

Aug 13 063

It seems that Murdoch’s TV channel doesn’t merely pay for the broadcast rights to the Spanish league, without them Real Madrid wouldn’t exist.

Exhibit three

Murdoch’s tabloid sized comic claims to literally “feel football”.

The Sun accepts love hurts in ‘We Feel Football’ campaign ahead of Premier League return

The devotion and emotional turmoil football fans experience, week in, week out, takes centre stage in The Sun’s latest TV ad ahead of the Premier League kick off on Saturday 16 August.

Created by Grey London, part of WPP’s Team News, the creative aims to promote The Sun’s football coverage and introduces a new line that will underpin the newspaper’s football-based communications throughout the season – ‘We Feel Football’.

The centrepiece TV advert is set to 1970s power ballad ‘Love Hurts’ by Nazareth, giving recognition to the fact that in football for every winner there must be a loser and for every moment of ecstasy there are equal moments of despair.

“For a large number of Sun readers, the back page is their front page. We speak for the football lovers, with an insatiable, endless appetite for the game – despite having their hopes built up and then crushed, time and time again. And yet, they always come back for more. As always, The Sun provides a voice and an active support for the fans – in print, in digital and on video – and we, like the fans, feel football,” explained David Robinson, marketing director at The Sun.

Pulse’s Martin Kalina directed the 60 second flagship snapshot of the heartbreak felt by those with a blind love for the beautiful game, with 30 second edits also set to run.

Of Kalina’s work Dave Monk, deputy ECD at Grey London, said: “We wanted a director who really understood the tragedy and raw emotions of the football fan. Fresh from experiencing a heartbreaking defeat in the World Cup Final, Argentinian director Martin Kalina brought a load of talent and a bucketful of tears with him.”

In addition to the TV creative a 10 second spot reminding fans of The Sun Goals app will also run alongside a 10 second spot promoting The Sun’s ‘Dream Team’.

A dedicated Scottish Sun TV campaign, which includes Scottish Sun columnists and former footballers David Provan and Andy Goram, will air north of the border.

We all know that Murdoch’s tabloid-sized comic has always “felt football”.


I’m not a fucking sheep marketing dickheads.

“That there London” in 2014

15 08 2014

Impatient public transport consumers, hipster encrusted pavements and the world’s finest museum of looted artefacts are just three of the reasons why I love the city that never sleeps with a passion it’s not possible to measure.

While I unconditionally love London I realise you can’t turn your back on the place for a minute. I know that the jaunty little bookshop of yesterday will invariably become tomorrow’s outpost of the Jacamo empire.

On Wednesday I was trying to find a Stanley Kubrick Bluray boxset somewhere, anywhere, on Oxford St but there were only rows of retro replica shirts that felt like tea towels where the DVD shelving should have been.

Thankfully I didn’t require a cricket bat by royal appointment from Piccadilly or a distinctive football shirt from Carnaby Street as I may not have been able to withstand the disappointment . The big cut price polyester mark of Big Cut Price Mike Ashley hung like a pall over the crowded metropolis, you could see it in dissatisfied every face on every street

In 1978 Paul Weller told us of a bomb on Wardour Street. In 2014 there’s a starbucks on Wardour Street.

Aug 13 160

I love you London, but you don’t make it easy darling.

A short break from seedy Blatterworld

8 08 2014

All it took for the world weariness to briefly vanish was a glimpse of some European trophies.

Aug 6 002


Aug 6 013

Even though seedy Blatterworld – semi-pro financial doping, ubiquitous corporate language, “History has shown so far that boycotting sport events or a policy of isolation or confrontation are not the most effective ways to solve problems” – regularly lances my sense of contentment I retain a sense of romance in my heart.

I gazed at the trophies and promptly left seedy Blatterworld.

I saw a pitchful of Celtic fans in Lisbon and Phil Thompson leaving the trophy in his local in 1977, I saw van Basten, Rijkaard and Kluivert, I saw Waddle’s volley against Milan and George Best dribbling around the Benfica defence. I saw the glamour of grainy footage with a flashing R in the corner of the screen.

Not even the security guard auditioning for a Spinal Tap tribute band – “Don’t even breath on them!!” – could rain on my trip away from seedy Blatterworld.

Up yours Blatter!!

Llandudno celebrates the start of the Great War

3 08 2014

When I saw the yellow roads signs on Mostyn Street last week I couldn’t think of a more fitting way to celebrate, I mean commemorate, the start of great war.

WW1 Llandudno March

100th Anniversary of the Start of World War 1 March through Llandudno on Sunday 3rd August 2014

August 2014 will see the 100th Anniversary of the start of the First World War. However, we in the Royal British Legion, North Wales, believe that it would not be appropriate to commemorate, on a large scale, the start of what was to become the greatest loss of life we have ever known. However, we also believe that everyone should be reminded of the start of this terrible conflict. With this in mind the RBL North Wales are organising a march through Llandudno, on Sunday 3 August 2014. Those taking part will muster at 1000 hrs at the Coach Park and then march, with two bands, through the town to the War Memorial. Here we will hold a short service before marching off down the Promenade.

The parade will be made up of Veterans, drawn from the many Service Associations across North Wales, members of the Armed Forces, public services (police, fire brigade etc) and Youth Organisations. In 1914 many young men marched to their recruiting places behind the local village/town/city band; to remind people of this we will be including both the Llandudno and the Buckley Town Bands.

We have already contacted a number of those who will be involved in this parade, including the Lords Lieutenant of Clwyd and Gwynedd; all have given their support as part of the Armed Forces Community Covenant, for what we believe will be a simple, but moving, ceremony. We hope that in 2018 we will hold a larger event to remember all those who gave their lives 100 years ago so that we may enjoy the freedom that we, and our children, have today.

I would be grateful if you could inform me, using the address/form below, whether you, or your organisation, would wish to take part in this ceremony.

David Drysdale, Lt Col RM
President Colwyn Bay Branch RBL
Event Organiser

Then I went to Marks and Spencer’s – to look for cords – and saw an advert for candles on their front doors;

We’re encouraging everyone in the UK to turn off their lights between 10pm and 11pm on 4 August 2014 – leaving only a single light or candle for this symbolic act of reflection and hope.

Limited edition Centenary candleYou can buy your limited edition Centenary candle now from M&S online for £4, with all profit coming to The Royal British Legion.

We hope to light one million candles across the UK to remember each and every one of those Service men and women who gave their lives in the war to end all wars. Please join together with us to create a unique national moment for the United Kingdom and The Royal British Legion. Find out how you can get involved here.

Westminster Abbey will be leading the nation with a First World War vigil liturgy which will be broadcast live on the BBC.

We’ve put together some resources to help you organise a commemorative event in your local area. Find out more about how to organise a LIGHTS OUT event here.

The commemoration of the war to end all wars, with its 37 million casualties, should probably involve a little solemnity but the British Legion has opted for “Lights Out Events” with resources – paper hats and crackers? – instead.

The simple act of remembering through quiet contemplation is so 20th century. Everything has to be an event nowadays. In 2014 using unofficial candles to celebrate the start of the great war with a LIGHTS OUT EVENT™ is the faux pas to end all faux pas.

You can see an unnerving celebratory tone to in the following quote from the organizer of Llandudno’s event;

In 1914 many young men marched to their recruiting places behind the local village/town/city band; to remind people of this we will be including both the Llandudno and the Buckley Town Bands.

Yes, let’s celebrate the glee with which young men leapfrogged down to their recruiting offices!!! Let’s celebrate an atmosphere like this;

“…..civic pride and community spirit prompted cities to compete with each other and attract the greatest possible number of new recruits.

This boosted the already heady scent of patriotism that saw men queuing outside enlisting posts within hours of war being declared, their ‘moustached archaic faces / Grinning as if it were all / An August Bank Holiday lark…’ (Philip Larkin). The Times reported that it took the recruiting officer at Great Scotland Yard 20 minutes to get through the waiting crowds on 4 August; by 7 August mounted police were necessary to keep control.

In Accrington, recruitment began on 14 September, with 104 men accepted for service in the first three hours. Brothers, cousins, friends and workmates enlisted together and within ten days the Accrington Pals had reached full strength of some 1,000 men. The situation in Sheffield was similar. Doors opened on 10 September and the new battalion reached full strength in only two days, no doubt encouraged by the optimistic placards reading ‘To Berlin – via Corn Exchange’ where the recruitment was taking place. The Sheffield volunteers, like so many others, were a cross-section of society, including stockbrokers, students, journalists, clerks, teachers and shop assistants.”

Is the unknowing headlong rush to be killed something to be celebrated? The organiser’s quote most like refers to the groups of friends that enlisted together, the charmingly entitled Pals’ Battalions. This was the fate that befell quite a few Pals’ Battalions;

“The battle on 1 July marked the army’s greatest single loss in its history, with 60,000 casualties, of which 20,000 were dead. The Pals Battalions suffered accordingly: of the 720 Accrington Pals who participated, 584 were killed, wounded or missing in the attack. The Leeds Pals lost around 750 of the 900 participants and both the Grimsby Chums and the Sheffield City Battalion lost around half of their men.”

Is this level of death something to celebrate with a jovial marching band? The British Legion should gone whole hog and asked Kellogg’s to sponsor a celebration called “Remembering the GRRRRREAT War with Frosties”

It beats me how you can celebrate a war with a jovial marching band. War is death and destruction, whether you lived in Ypres between 1914 and 1918…..



…..or live in the Gaza Strip in 2014.

If a necessary war led to an indisputably noble conclusion there are nebulous crumbs of comfort to be found but where was the nobility in the outcome of the first world war? The curtailment of Germany’s imperial aspirations is scarcely enough, especially when we consider the fact that the post-war treaties allowed Britain and France to broaden their empires.

What kind of world did the victorious powers create? They planted the seeds of World War Two in the post war treaties and allowed hyperinflation and poverty to ruin millions of ordinary lives. As for Britain, it took an even more destructive conflict before the British ruling class felt able to provide a welfare state and create that home fit for heroes.

Where is the need to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One? Don’t we already have Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day every November? Do we need another day?


The power of advertising

31 07 2014

You can see some wonderful adverts when you’re sat in Rhyl bus station.

Jul 31 046

God bless television!!!

Jul 31 044

God bless television again!!! I’m not saying they hype things up but how was the match featured in the advert “season defining”? According to the internet the word “define” is defined as;

1. state or describe exactly the nature, scope, or meaning of.
2. mark out the boundary or limits of.

I’m not quite sure how that match marked out a boundary or a limit and I’m not sure how it described the nature, scope or meaning of last season either. I didn’t watch it so I’ll assume that it was a “good match” due to the scoreline.

We need a bit more truth in football related advertising. The Man Utd advert should have said;

“Look maggots, just forget that your pathetic local football club exists, come and pay us for some reflected glamour instead.”.

It would have been beautiful if the BT advert had said ;

“Please buy a BT sport subscription as you may be lucky enough to see some good matches. Obviously there’s a chance you might also see a few goalless draws but I’m afraid that’s the luck of the draw. Football matches rapidly evolve because they are reactive to the single events that happen within the matches”

If only That Modern Football could handle the truth.




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