A Pop Video

17 08 2011

It might be the Super Furry Animals and it may not be football but I like this;

Ans there’s a part 2;

I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking why Cheryl Cole can’t be more like this. Well my friends that would require imagination and Wor Cheryl has none of this magical quality.

Upon finding yourself in second hand book shops…

5 08 2011

Yesterday I found myself in Colwyn Bay’s premier second-hand book shop and it was like a treasure trove. Firstly I found these two photos from Llandudno’s football history;

The photos were not my only, or my best, find. This honour goes to the philosophical opus; “Kevin Keegan: Against the World” (only 5 pounds!!!). To find such a work of genius in Colwyn Bay was a shock, but to say it was a shock would be a gross, gross understatement. After reading this treatise on the human condition I just don’t know how it came to  be disregarded.

Behold the gems of insight……

“It’s in grim Iron Curtain cities that character is proven……”

“A whole combination of factors are to blame (for England’s 1970s malaise); one of them in Wembley itself. We play our matches on a foreign ground……”

“Lawrie McMenemy…… said of the need for “seven roadsWeeper and four violinists”………..You need a gambler and someone who is the soul of caution. A girl-puller must be balanced by one of nature’s monks. You need a clown, and he needs team-mates prepared to be the audience. You need card schools, and a few fellows who prefer paperbacks. Drinkers should be offset by teetotallers, the nightclubbers by loving husbands who go straight home”

“I’m a fan of (Alan) Ball only as a player, for there are aspects of his personality that don’t appeal to me…….”

“Another drawback to the home international series is what I call the “treason factor”. In all the camps players’ tiniest weaknesses are being revealed by club-mates to men who will opposing them in League matches a few months later.”

“The English attitude – or arrogance, if you like “We’re being set up here, with everything to lose and nothing to gain.” Our team tends to feel like a champion compelled to meet a club player for a worthless prize……….”

“Put any international team in the world on a pitch and, if you like, disguise their strip. And I will bet that after five minutes of studying their play I will name their nationality – and be right 9 times out of 10”

“I’ve called the Russian a set of robots, look at this picture and see if you agree”

“……Luckily I had the last laugh again!!!!”

With such unpolished gems out there I’m off to hunt more of them out. At the moment I’m really anxious to find “Kierkegaard and Me” by Alan Mullery and “Contemporary Art Criticism – My Take” by Ronald “CHOPPER” Harris.

Get out there, there’s a whole world to discover!

Another New Flag!

1 08 2011

This time we’ve taken inspiration from John Lydon and his Public Image;


Set adrift in a beautiful dream

16 07 2011

No Rupert, none of this shit;

Unfortunately Kelvin McKenzie would probably still be a cunt. Why the Sun is full of shite;

If only it were like this.

A couple of Bangor City questions

11 07 2011

Question number 1

On Wednesday Bangor City will have something in common with the following list of clubs, what is it?

  • Sturm Graz, Rapid Wien, Tirol Innsbruck, SV Austria Salzburg, Austria Wien, LASK Linz.
  • KS Dinamo Tirana, KF Partizani Tirana.
  • F.C. Dinamo Minsk.
  • Royal Antwerp, Standard Liège, K.A.A. Gent, K.R.C. Genk.
  • CSKA Sofia.
  • NK Zagreb, HNK Rijeka.
  • Apollon Limassol, Anorthosis Famagusta FC.
  •  AaB Aalborg, OB Odense, AGF Arhus, Esbjerg, Lyngby Boldklub, FC København
  • Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur.
  • B36 Tórshavn, HB Tórshavn.
  •  TPS Turku, MyPa 47, HJK Helsinki,
  • Lens, Auxerre, Marseille, RC Strasbourg, Bordeaux, Marseille, , Paris Saint-Germain F.C., AS Saint-Étienne, FC Nantes Atlantique, Olympique Lyonnais, OGC Nice.
  • FC Dinamo Tbilisi.
  •  Stuttgart, Hamburger SV, Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund Hamburger SV, FC Schalke 04, FC Koln, Kaiserslautern, Werder Bremen.
  • Budapest Honvéd, Vasas SC.
  • Keflavík.
  • Bohemians, Sligo Rovers, , Shamrock Rovers F.C., Shelbourne F.C.
  • Napoli, Sampdoria, Lazio, Bologna, Juventus, Maccabi Haifa F.C.
  • Floriana, Hibernians FC.
  • FK Ekranas
  • Union Luxembourg, CS Grevenmacher.
  • FK Vardar
  • FC Twente, SC Heerenveen, Willem II,
  • Cliftonville, Ards.
  • Rosenborg, Lillestrøm, Kongsvinger,
  • Górnik Zabrze, Lech Poznań, Ruch Chorzów,
  • Rapid Bucharest, Dinamo Bucharest, Universitatea Craiova,
  • Torpedo Moscow, Dinamo Moscow, FC Spartak Moscow,
  • Hibernian F.C.
  • Slovan Bratislava, MŠK Žilina, Košice.
  • NK Maribor, Olimpija Ljubljana.
  • Deportivo, Atlético Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, Valencia CF, Atlético Madrid, RCD Mallorca, RCD Espanyol.
  • AIK Solna, Kalmar FF, Djurgården IF, Halmstads BK, IFK Göteborg, Malmö FF.
  • Grasshopper Club, Neuchâtel Xamax, FC Basel, FC Luzern, FC Aarau, BSC Young Boys, FC Zurich, St. Gallen.
  • Trabzonspor.
  •  Shakhtar Donetsk.

Well the answer is quite simple – These clubs have played in all four of UEFA competitions (European Cup / Champions League – Cup Winners’ Cup – Inter-Cities Fairs Cup / UEFA Cup / Europa League – Intertoto Cup). Bangor City will become the first Welsh Club to achieve this feat.

Incidentally here’s the proof for Wednesday;

Question Number 2.

What does Bangor City player Mark Smyth have in common with the following list of players? 

Wayne Rooney, Gaël Clichy, Cristiano Ronaldo, Philippe Senderos, David Silva, Lukas Podolski, Mario Gómez, Łukasz Fabiański, Tranquillo Barnetta

Again the answer is very simple – All of those players played in the 2002 Under 17 European Championships and Mark played for England in those championships.

Incidentally, it’s funny how all players sound the same before the hype sets in;

“……when Mark Smyth found Rooney in acres of space and the Everton FC man had no trouble completing his hat-trick.”


Jesus Christ, what the f%&@ is that?!?!

3 07 2011

I was casually looking at the internet yesterday and I found the new England goalkeepers’ shirt;

If you’re wondering about the lower sleeves;

“The lower part of the arm on the goalkeeper shirt are also crafted with the specifics of the player in mind, with a tight kit offering articulation and compatibility with goalkeeping gloves”

It’s good to know that during the innovative design process they managed to remember to make a goalkeeper’s shirt compatible with the basic equipment of goalkeepers.

I thought Umbro were doing really well with their “Tailored by Umbro approach”; Man City looked classy, Wales looked stylish, even Northern Ireland looked smart in their rugby league-esque creation. Then they go and produce something like the new England goalie shirt. The last something I saw something that horrific was 1996;

Or as David Seaman saw it;

The red kit from the Semi-Final of Euro 1996. I had worn it before, the one with the stripy socks that made it look like I had two packs of refreshers on my legs. I remember before Euro 96 we were in the line-up for the national anthems and it was the first time I wore it, and I looked down the line and two of the opposition players were laughing at my socks. I was fuming. And then after the game a reported asked me what I thought of the kit, I said: “It’s shit!”

You might think there’s something about England’s goalkeeper jerseys  but it’s not just them. This picture features a Welsh kit from 1995;

In fact Umbro had an ignoble record of design horrors in the mid 1990s. Chelsea……



Are Umbro returning to the bad old days? I thought they were doing the right thing as they were producing clean, crisp and sharp designs. They even employed Peter Saville to design the present England shirt.

This was a brilliant step in good football kit design. Peter Saville is a great designer. He was  a partner in Factory Records and he produced some of the best record sleeve designs in music history, as well as other fantastic work;

He sounded a bit like this;

So why did he design the present England kit? Well he puts it like this;

 “…Football shirts are not about anything – this was about ‘something’ and it’s reach is massive. But I didn’t see how it could go the distance.”

The “this” that was “about something” was the addition of multi-coloured crosses on the shoulders;

The multi-coloured crosses were an attempt to use the shirt as  “a vehicle of cultural provocation“;

“It’s beautiful but it’s very loaded,” Saville claims of the design. Taking the cross of St George and rendering it in a rainbow of different hues is, he says, about acknowledging difference and promoting tolerance of those differences. “I was frustrated, along with many others, by the marginalisation of the cross of St George. It has acquired connotations that some of us don’t associate with and I find that frustrating because there is nothing wrong with it as a symbol. [The design] is a provocation. It’s not negative, it’s not aggressive, it’s not critical and I think it feels like England 2010. This is a country of lots of different people, get on with it.”

It’s the little things like that show the “Factory Spirit” – Subversion –  lives on, unfortunately I’ll bet the point was lost of England’s less intellectual fans. I’ll bet they thought the shirt was “a bit gay” because of the little detail.

Anyway why this slightly in-depth discussion about Peter Saville? Well it seems he doesn’t just design striking and iconic images, he designed the new England Goalkeepers’ kit as well.

Jesus Christ!

Welsh Premier League managers and the world cup – It’s a rich history!!!!

29 06 2011

I might as well come clean. I lied yesterday. I lied about the Welsh Premier League managers that have featured in world cup squads.

There are the three that everyone will know straight away. ex-Bangor City manager Graeme Sharp (Scotland, Mexico ’86), new Newtown manager Bernard McNally (Northern Ireland, Mexico ’86) – Read Mark Pitman’s blog post about him –  and ex-Inter Cardiff boss George Wood (Scotland, Espana ’82).

Mind you these are the only ones that everybody knows about (we can now add  Tomi Morgan to the list) there is a hidden history of Welsh Premier League managers at the world cup;

John Hulse

Hulse played for Australia in 1974;

Ken McKenna

As you would imagine from the name he is Scottish. He played for Scotland  in Italia ’90.

This piece of news is inexorably connected to two things; 1) Tomi Morgan’s appearances for Costa Rica. 2) Tomi and Ken’s long-standing grudge – it’s so bad they haven’t spoken civilly for years.

Many have thought that the bitter rivalry stems from that notorious post-match interview in 2006 when Tomi famously quipped  “Llansantfraid still had a soul when I was there” but this is not true. The feud goes back to Italia ’90, more specifically the match between Scotland and Costa Rica.

The start of what would become Welsh football’s most infamous feud is recounted by Bryan Gunn in his world cup diary; Three weeks on an Italian bench (plus other adventures)”;

“We were warming up at half time in case we would be needed. We were in one half and Costa Rica were in the other.

At one point during half time a ball bounced several times near the halfway line. It came to  rest about a yard inside the half we were in. McKenna was the nearest of our players, Morgan was the nearest of theirs. Both men saw the  ball and both men wanted it. You could see a disaster unfolding.

Both men leapt at the ball but Morgan was quicker and won the ball. In fact he didn’t only win the ball he proceeded to showboat in front of McKenna  (remember this was the time before Lovejoy made showboating cool). This didn’t go down too well with McKenna as he hates this rubbish.

I could see the red mist descending around McKenna. After it had descended he tried to set about Morgan but Morgan was too quick, he avoided the clumsy attempts at capture. Kenny was normally so poised but you know what it’s like when you’re in a rage, your co-ordination is the first thing to go. 

The worst thing about it all  is the two players forget they were in front of a crowd. The duel became very personal. The most embarrassing thing for McKenna was that not only did Morgan evade capture but he also retained possession of the ball. Morgan’s touch was just too deft for the enraged and lumbering McKenna. I actually had to stop laughing at one point.

Morgan nutmegged McKenna over and over again. After the fifth nutmeg Morgan put one foot on the ball, looked down at McKenna, looked him straight in the face and then extended his hand before exclaiming “OLE” with a matador’s flourish. This was the last straw for Kenny and he arose like a volcanic eruption.

If the restraining presences of Stewart McKimmie and Ally McCoist had been absent blood will have been spilt on that Genoese evening. Luckily the second half was about to start and Morgan was due to replace their ineffectual number 9.

Unluckily for the rest of us Morgan was not finished. Early in the second half Morgan created what would turn out to be the only goal of the match with a cheeky backheel.

Instead of celebrating with the rest of his teammates. Morgan made a beeline for our bench, he pointed at Kenny before saying in what sounded like a Welsh accent, “That was for you Bollocks!!!”

Then he performed another matador flourish with his right hand. “OLE” said Morgan. “I’M GOING***@<>?  TO GET THAT PIECE OF F£$%^&*( COSTA RICAN S$*&” said McKenna. McCoist and McKimmie were again the peacemakers. Kenny finally got on to the pitch but didn’t touch the ball.

Anyway everybody knows that Scotland lost and this ranks as one of our most embarrassing defeats. Morgan wouldn’t let us humiliated Scots wallow in self-pity, he was intent on humiliating Kenny once more. He did his Matador flourish with his hand – “OLE!!!” once more, again McKenna was restrained.

Morgan wasn’t finished, he then began to cluck like a chicken, which only  further enraged McKenna. The last thing I heard was “Leave it Kenny, he’s not worth it” as McKenna was bundled down the tunnel.

Even then Morgan still wasn’t finished.  Archie MacPherson wanted  to talk to one of the subs after the game because he wanted a perspective from the bench. Kenny was the only sub willing to talk to Archie. Morgan stood around in the background clucking and perform what would go on to become his well-known “chicken dance”.

If you listen to the replays Morgan’s antics are very audible on tv. Again McKenna was restrained but this time it was by Archie. The last thing I remember about this was Morgan’s laugh echoing around the bowels of the ground, it was a chilling sound for every Scot there”

Neil Gibson

Neil Gibson is older than you think. He may look like he’s in his early 30s but he’s actually 48. In case you doubt this fact I should let you know that he was part the Austrian squad for Espana ’82. He was a raw nineteen year old at the time (you do the maths);

They say he learnt the effectiveness of cynicism in the “squalid non-aggression pact” that masqueraded as the West Germany v Austria match (both sides engineered a result that would allow them both to proceed at the expense of Algeria). They say he uses this match as a template for the Welsh Premier League matches his horrible little team plays.

A little known fact

28 06 2011

Earlier today prominent Port Talbot fan Mark Pitman asked a question without a question mark; “Bernard McNally is the second ever manager to arrive in the Welsh Premier League having previously been part of a World Cup squad.”

We all speculated, was it Ken McKenna? Was it Neil “The Gobshite” Gibson? Was it John Hulse? Was it Graeme Sharp? 

Well ladies and gentlemen, we were all wrong. The answer is Tomi Morgan.

 Tomi played for Costa Rica in Italia ’90, look at the photographic evidence!! (In case you can tell which one he is, he’s in the middle of the front row.)

No Jazz hands then?

28 06 2011

After scouring the world wide web for entertainment I think it’s the decent thing to share stuff when you find something good. 

I stumbled across the following video whilst looking for action of Bangor City’s European opponents HJK Helsinki. The video shows some HJK fans in full effect and it’s rather interesting stuff;

Nothing says “European Football” like fan groups using the medium of contemporary dance for the expression of primal urges.

That was the day that was

20 06 2011

6:55 am – I wake up with a head full of unshakable bleakness.

8:20 am – I walk to work in the lovely summer sun. The joy I should be feeling is masked by the darkness.

9.40 am – I log on to UEFA’s website to check time of draw  (Midday CET) I do this to check if they’ve managed to include Bangor City also  – They have. The doom clouds everything.

10:35 am – I get final confirmation from our man on the inside that Bangor are in a mini group of 12. We can draw BATE, Rosenborg, Wisla Krakow, HJK Helsinki, Malmo or Shamrock Rovers.

I have two emotions; Anger (Platini didn’t listen to me) and Hope (I’m not asking much; Shamrock Rovers, home leg first, both matches on Wednesdays). The darkness starts to have a silver lining. My sun is rising!

11:05 am – Second Qualifying Round draw commences. My sun is back, bring me sunshine, bring me Shamrock!!!!

11:19 am – Bangor City draw HJK Helsinki. Jesus Finland again. We are away first. I can’t go.

My worst fears are confirmed, I have a mental eclipse.

11:20 am – Despair has descended, Platini actually hates me.

11:34 and 10 seconds am –  HJK Helsinki’s more intellectual fans start leaving messages on Bangor City’s main message board;

– “What do you think the next happen now? RAPE TIME!”

“HAMMERTIME! will be a knockout in the first leg. “

– “Listen now you cunts! You’re shit and you now you are. I say that 5,6,7-0 atHelsinkiand maybe a draw away. I’m sorry but you don’t stand a change. You somehow won against Honka but you most certainly wonät win against us!”

“It’s rapetime! Bangor’s pub fatties will be in big trouble.”

– “It’s barbeque time!”

“We have Litmanen, Jari Litmanen! You have fatties, pub fatties!”

– “massage it with an egg! HJK to win on 9-1 aggregate.”

“Be careful when you arrive to Helsinki. This time it will not be funny village team in the forrest like Honka was. HJK is a huge club and they have notorious firm called sakilaiset. Avoid them if you can: http://youtu.be/DcpI16NQTNQ

– “We have won professional teams 5-0, 5-1 and 6-2 so far this season so I can’t see no reason why we wouldn’t hammer an amateur team on the field.”

“Most of your players are at work now and meanwhile inHelsinki.. The professional players are on the training field practicing for the next game.”

12:09 pm – The more sensible HJK fans have their say;

–  “I think most of the trolls you’re getting at the moment have nothing to do with HJK and more with you humiliating Honka last year.

Granted HJK is the most hated team inFinland(23 times champion). We expect to go through from this draw, but past results have shown there is no room for arrogance. See you in Helsinki and Wrexham?” 

“Welcome toHelsinkiand friendly apart from those monkeys like sakilaiset”! Most of the people will be nice”

12:35 pm – I curse the soul of Monsieur Platini.

12:50 pm – I curse the soul of Lennart Johnansson.

12:55 pm – I curse the soul of Artemio Franchi.

1:05 pm – I curse the soul of David Cameron.

1:30 pm – I curse the soul of Jamie Redknapp.

2:00 pm – I curse the soul of Harry Redknapp.

2:30 pm – I curse the soul of Louise Redknapp, and Tim Lovejoy.

3:00 pm – Our man on the inside tells me that they’ve switched the ties around. Now we are at home in the first match. Now I can go! NOW I CAN FUCKING GO!!!!

3:20 pm – Someone else texts me; “Nothing’s been confirmed yet, don’t book anything!”

3:25 pm – I wonder how long the flights to Helsinki will be available.

That’s inflation for you!

13 06 2011

About 18 months ago I tried to find the most ludicrously priced football products, let’s see if we can better that!

Football – A snip at £89.99  (£10 less expensive)

Shirt – Why not buy this natty box set (but with German shirts instead) only £249.99 – (£100 more expensive)

Boots – Get these cheeky little numbers for £279.99 (£139 dearer)

Gloves – Just look at these dreamy creations, only £109.99 (£10 dearer)

Yipeee, what bargains we can still pick up for the people’s game.

The season through the lens of the Jet Set

8 06 2011

I suppose I must apologise about this, you’ve probably seen most of these before.

Poetry Corner

6 06 2011
With a nod to H.M.H.B. and knowing wink toward M.N. I present this;

At first they came for the people queuing up for the latest Manchester United shirt

but I wasn’t in the queue for the new Manchester United shirt so I did nothing.


Then they came for ITV but I didn’t work for ITV,

I told them where Townsend was hiding.


Then they came for the opinionated radio commentators

but I detest opinionated radio commentators so I did nothing.


Then they came for the people who only remember they have local club before a big match

but I know where my local ground is so I did nothing.


Then they came for the fans that welcome oligarchs like saviours whilst wearing the oligarch’s national costume   

but these people are morons so I did nothing.



Then they came for the fans that go to a pub to watch Sky Sport News on a Saturday afternoon,

I can’t stand Sky Sport News so I did nothing.


Then they came for the badge-kissers

but I wasn’t a badge-kissers so I did nothing.


Then they came for the sneering Cockney touts

but I can’t sneer so I provided the authorities with a full description

 anonymously of course.


Then they came for the advertising execs helping companies to bring football to us,

I held the door open for them.


Then they came for the fans that wave when they notice themselves on the big screen  

but I remain aloof so I did nothing.


Then they came for the people who pepper their conversation with “QWA-LI-EEE”, “Different Class” and “Barça!!!”

but I don’t speak like a twat so I did nothing.


Then they came for the fans that you know didn’t like football 10 years ago but have a contact for premier league tickets

but they are beneath my contempt so I cheered.


Then they came for the women in pubs that scream when England are about to concede a goal,

I just covered my ears and did nothing.


Then they came for the people who boo at half time

but I don’t boo at half time so I pointed them out.


Then they came for the people who spend £40 on a match ticket and still leave with 10 minutes left,

I felt vindicated.


Then they came for the fans with outstretched arms

I cheered again.


Then they came for the people who use Soccer AM as a guide to life

but these people are obviously morons so they deserved to go.


Then they came for the people who taunt the opposition fans even though they weren’t singing in the first place

but I have a soul so I did nothing.


Then they came for the loudmouths for which everything  is ”Only Banter!!!”

but I think about what I say so I did nothing.


Then they came for the preening six-a-side showboaters,

I told them where to look.


Then, when they’d all gone,

 the world was at peace.

The road to Dublin

13 05 2011

With the Europa league final fast approaching let’s cast our minds back ten months. How did we get from Bangor’s epic victory to Dublin?

Here’s how;

2nd Qualifying Round   (15 July / 22 July)

Honka Finland  V Bangor City Wales  – Bangor City won 3-2 on aggregate

3rd Qualifying Round    (29 July / 5 August)

Marítimo Portugal V Bangor City Wales  – Maritimo won 10-2 on aggregate

Play Off Round   (19 / 26 August)

BATE Borisov Belarus  V Marítimo Portugal  – BATE Borisov won 5-1 on aggregate

Group Stage   (16 September until 16 December)

Group E

Dynamo Kyiv Ukraine  2  BATE Borisov Belarus 2
BATE Borisov Belarus AZ  Alkmaar Netherlands 1
Sheriff Tiraspol  Moldova 0  BATE Borisov Belarus  1
BATE Borisov Belarus 3  Sheriff Tiraspol  Moldova  1
BATE Borisov Belarus Dynamo Kyiv Ukraine 4
AZ  Alkmaar Netherlands 3  BATE Borisov Belarus 0

BATE Borisov Belarus  finished second in Group E

Round of 32  (17  / 24 February)

BATE Borisov Belarus  V Paris Saint-Germain France – PSG won on away goals

Round of 16  (10 / 17 March)

Benfica Portugal  V Paris Saint-Germain France –  Benfica won 3-2 on aggregate

Quarter Final   (7 / 14 April)

Benfica Portugal  V PSV Eindhoven Netherlands – Benfica won 6-3 on aggregate

Semi Final   (28 April/5 May)

Benfica Portugal  V Braga Portugal Braga won on away goals

Final  (18 May) 

Porto Portugal  V Braga Portugal – To be played in Dublin

Do you want to see my badge collection?

9 04 2011

Earlier I saw this photo on this website.

If you look closely at the Inter shirt Javier Zanetti is wearing you will notice that it’s covered in shirt furnitture. Thanks to Italian tradition and the modern way of doing things we can see Inter’s present status.

At present Inter are; 1. World Champions (The gold shield in the centre of the chest), 2. European Champions (The navy badge on the sleeve), 3. Italian champions (The shield above the nike swoosh – “Scudetto”) and 4. Italian Cup Holders (The cockade under the nike swoosh – “Tricolore”). In case you’re wondering the other badge is Inter’s club crest.

In days gone by it was so different. You would only see a Scudetto;

a “tricolore”,

a star (worn by clubs that have 10 championships),

or a combination of them.

Of course they may have worn a plain shirt,

or they could have worn a club badge.

But then was then, they were less complicated times.

The clutter of the contemporary Inter shirt is yet another sign of the commodification of world football; the modern badges signifying glory are expensively designed and copyright protected. 

Inter’s present shirt is yet another thing that makes you pine for the good old days, the time before “the man” discovered that everything needs a corporate identity.

The top kits of all time (according to the Jet Set)

5 04 2011

1. Wales 1984-’87

1. Wales 1987-’90

2. France 1984-’86

3. Barcelona Away, 1980s

4. Hungary, 1953

5. Juventus, 1986

6. Dino Zoff’s kit, 1982

7. Olympique Marseille, 1989-’91

8. Sampdoria 1990

9. Saint Etienne 1981

10. Uruguay 1990

10. Inter 1960s

Yesterday’s matters

27 03 2011

And in other news, world beater Phil Jagielka was good enough to play for a full 5 minutes (including injury time) today.

The possibilities, the possibilities

20 03 2011

When it comes to football matches there is one truly neutral moment;

This moment represents hope, it represents possibility. This moment gives the supporter the chance to dream, the chance to wonder. This moment offers the possibility of watching something special, something unforgettable, history. “We could….”, “We can…..”, “What if?”, “We can beat these twats!!” “COME ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

This moment also offers the possibility of false hope. It’s the last moment before things start to unravel, the last-minute before your dreams start to turn sour. It’s the time when your carefully formulated ideas are still following the plan….. It’s the time when the little voice in your head starts  feeding you doubts; “I don’t like this!”, “Oh bollocks, I thought he was suspended”, “I forgot our right back was injured”, “Why have we dropped  him?”, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this!”, “Oh Jesus, that dirty bastard is playing”, “Please let us get through this ordeal with a win!!”

Yesterday the positive and negative voices vied for my attention in a battle of attrition. This battle seemed a long long way away by the end of the match; The 5-a-side club professionals from the non-football club had oozed their way to victory. The braying simpletons in the stands taunted us as if they were proper fans of a proper club. If they were cogniscent of basic etiquette these idiots should be making public displays of contrition for not only tolerating this crime against football, but for justifying this marketing wet-dream of a football club.

Having said all that, we’re still top of the league, at the moment.

Message Boards aren’t what they were

15 03 2011

Earlier today I logged in to the WSC message board and noticed that someone had left me a message. It was a bit of a surprise to find that the message was as follows;

“You do come across on the forums as a bit of an arsehole – just saying.”

It had been sent by somebody that I’d never met. This person obviously didn’t agree with something I posted but as I don’t go around insulting people I wondered what had made them react like that. I think it may have been the way I questioned their Daily Mail-esque postings but I’m not sure. After a little investigation I realised that this person may have a chip on their shoulder; other people had received messages like this as well.

This is the trouble with message boards, people can use the anonymity of a username as a mask to allow them to act in ways that are totally alien to their “normal” lives. Yesterday, on a different message board I indulged in another discussion with another person that I’d never met, he also seemed  to hold a different point of view. First of all, he insulted the Jet Set’s flags;

“Donnt mention the flags haha!! BLUE army written in BLACK on a RED VIETNAM flag!! :lol: :lol: viva le Che, the communist mass murderer!! Communist filth!!”

I put him straight over the flag’s history and attempted to put him straight on other matters. He came back with;

“I do not need the history of Cuba, thanks. This is Britain :roll: Although I do now realise why you use the flags you do. I dont agree with communism/internationalism etc… I believe in National Democracy! So we would obviously disagree.

Franco haha :lol: The fact is, you are glorifying a mass murderer (regardless of what side of the political spectrum he falls) The same goes for the guys that have posters and t-shirts of Che. Its like me bringing a flag of Benito Mussolini to games! (im not a fascist by the way, just an example) Whats next for you guys then, flags of Lenin or Moa Zedong???” 

Again I attempted to put him straight (with the help of comrade Rude Bwoy) but he came back with;

“I have absolutely no interest in South American politics, communism is irrelevant to me as it will NEVER take off in the UK. I cant take you guys seriously, the 2 communists I know are absolutely bums and despise the people that do well for themselves (ive heard there conversations, amusing to say the least :lol: ). Losers turn to communism because they havnt done anything with their lives. I’ve encountered the Socialist workers party in swansea, all bums! Grow a pair and stop blaming the upper classes ffs!”

I tried to put him straight again. He didn’t come back today.

You have to ask why he bothered in the first place, neither of us were going to change our minds. In the end I just felt annoyed that I was dragged in. But that’s the annoying side to message boards, they draw in all manner of idiots

Be careful with  message boards, it’s a jungle out there!

My arms are shaking and my knees are weak

12 02 2011

The Welsh news has been telling me all week that today is a big big day for Welsh sport.

Because it’s such a mammoth day I’m acting like a man in a fuzzy tree. I just can’t stop wondering and worrying about our boys, are they going to win today? The Welsh news tells me that today’s match is a “MUST WIN MATCH!!!!!!”, I am worried, must win, if we don’t win the world is up.

I know the players got to the airport ok, the Welsh news told me. I know they got to the hotel ok, the Welsh news told me. I know they are worried, the Welsh news told me. I am worried, the brows seem furrowed. Rob Howley looked pressured, he was on the Welsh news looking worried. Warren was on the Welsh news looking worried as well. I am worried.

I’m worried about the pressure because the Welsh news told me. I’m worried about the 8 game losing run because the Welsh news told me about its importance. I’m worried about Warren’s effectiveness as the pressure bulids because the Welsh news told me he’s suffering. I’m struggling to see a way back to the glory, I’m struggling to sleep because of the disquieting news that I heard on the Welsh news.

There are some other thing happening in the world today but they’re not half as worrying, only I’ve forgotten what they are. I think I’ll go to watch a football match instead of worrying. Fuck You Welsh news.

Some proper football songs

11 02 2011

What’s in a name?

11 01 2011

We’ve just found the perfect ghostwriter for the autobiography of Welsh football legend Leighton James;

So Leighton James meet James Leighton!

He’s a legend!  He leads children across the road safely! He hates Savage! He was quite good too!;

It all happens in Llandudno!

8 01 2011

Did you know that there is a connection between the town of Llandudno and the match on the following clip?

Don’t worry if you have no idea, the answer is long-winded and a little esoteric.

The process of connection began with Bellone’s penalty in the penalty shootout. The clip shows us that the ball rebounded off the crossbar. hit Carlos, the Brazilian keeper, on the back and went over the line.

The process developed thanks to the fog of mystery; in 1986 nobody was sure when a ball should be declared dead after a penalty kick. You probably noticed the Brazilian finger waggers announcing their uncertainty in the clip.

At the time this issue was literally the slightly tepid potato of world football. I can hear you now, “This is all very well, but what does it have to do with Llandudno?” Bare with me, all will be revealed!

Now is the time to introduce the  body that reforms the laws of football, The International Football Association Board (IFAB for short), into our story.  The words of FIFA tell us this about IFAB ;

The first-ever IFAB meeting took place in 1886 when the English FA, conscious of the need for standardisation, invited their Irish, Scottish and Welsh counterparts to join forces to come up with a uniform code. Up until then, different rules had applied in different countries.

Since its foundation in 1904, FIFA, as football’s world governing body, sought to team up with IFAB. The first real steps were made in that direction two years later, in 1906, when Englishman Daniel Burley Woolfall became FIFA President. And although the 1908 and 1912 Olympic Football Tournaments were run under the FA’s supervision, FIFA began to take part in meetings from 1913 onwards.

Four representatives from FIFA and one each from England, N. Ireland, Scotland and Wales meet at an Annual General Meeting where they set out to identify, study and accept or reject possible alterations to the Laws.

This IFAB seems a little anachronistic doesn’t it? Generous people would say that the body is one of the few historical anomalies, or charming little quirks, that the onward march of commercialisation hasn’t managed to  destroy. Less than generous people would say that it’s one of the last vestiges of a Victorian worldview that told us Britannia ruled the waves.  

The composition of the board (Four members from FIFA, four members from the UK)  is so obviously outdated common sense doesn’t need much encouragement to suggest  questions like; “Why should England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales naturally exercise more power than the other 204 non-British football associations combined?”. The logic of such questions is hard to refute. Some groups and people use this logic to infer that the very existence of the United Kingdom’s four separate football associations should be questioned.

Despite unflattering opinions the IFAB continues to meet on an annual basis. The venue rotates amongst the membership therefore Wales hosts a meeting every fifth year. I’m sure you’re ahead of me now…

The IFAB connects the penalty, the slightly tepid potato and Llandudno. The full answer to the question at the beginning of the post is………..

In 1987 the annual IFAB meeting was held in the Bodysgallen Hall, Llandudno and they clarified the matter of the penalty……..DAAAAAA DAAAAAAAAAAAAAHH;

Prior to a change in the Laws in season 1987/1988, the Penalty-Kick Law 14 was not clear in defining when a penalty kick had been completed; both when time had been extended at the end of a half to allow for the taking of a penalty kick, or when kicks are being taken from the penalty-mark to decide a winner after a match had ended in a draw.

The so-called ‘Madrid Law’ (more correctly the Mexico Rule!) sought to minimise future confusion, following a controversial penalty goal, scored by the French player Bruno Bellone in the classic 1986 Mexico World Cup Quarter Final game between France – Brazil. 

The French player Bellone, hit the crossbar during the penalty shoot-out, and the ball came back out and hit the rear of Brazil goalkeeper Carlos and went into the goal. The Referee allowed the goal to count, and France went on to win 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw following extra time. The Referee was Ioan Igna (Romania), and his linesmen were, Vojtech Christov (Czechoslovakia) and Lajos Nemeth (Hungary).

There was a lot of controversy about the French penalty kick at the time. But it was the Scottish Football Association who successfully sought clarification, by proposing the following Law 14 (Penalty Kick) change that was accepted at the 100th International Football Association Board (IFAB) meeting held at Bodysgallen Hall, Llandudno in Wales on Saturday 13th June 1987.

The approved text, was inserted at the bottom of the first paragraph of Law XIV, page 31 of the revised 1987/1988 ‘Referees’ Chart and Players Guide to the Laws of Association Football’, and was as follows: 

“When a penalty kick is being taken during the normal course of play, or when time has been extended at half-time or full-time to allow a penalty-kick to be taken or retaken, a goal shall not be nullified if, before passing between the posts and under the cross-bar, the ball touches either or both of the goalposts, or the cross-bar, or the goalkeeper, or any combination of these agencies, providing that no other infringement has occurred.” 

At the same time, the following words, were also added to the end of the F. A. Board Decisions No. 6 paragraph as shown in italics below: 

“When a match is extended, at half-time or full-time, to allow a penalty kick to be taken or retaken, the extension shall last until the moment that the penalty-kick has been completed, i.e., until the referee has decided whether a goal is scored or not, and the game shall terminate immediately the Referee has made his decision.” 

In other words, IFAB decided that something was alright unless it wasn’t alright. You can see why the confusion around this issue arose;

“Previous to season 1987/1988, the wording originally introduced by the IFAB on 17th June 1901 at Llangolen Wales, only referred to a goal being allowed if the ball touched the “goalkeeper” before passing between the posts. It made no mention of the ball bouncing off the framework of the goal and then deflecting into the goal off the goalkeeper.”

The connection between FIFA and Llandudno is deeper than this single meeting; the IFAB visited the home of the Jet Set on 4 prior occasions; June 1966, June 1956, June 1937 and June 1932 . You could check out the IFAB archives here in order to find out what they got up to but I’ve taken the trouble of finding out for you.

– In 1932 they decided against substitutes and redesigning the area into a square shape but decided in favour of international referees wearing blazers of “distinctive” colours. After this hard work they had a nice tour of “Saxon” north Wales that ended with tea in the Dolbarden Hotel. The “Ladies of the Party” had a “morning programme” written for them.

– In 1937 they proposed adding an arc to the area, which was adopted. This was followed by another tour of north Wales and entertainment “for the ladies of the party”., including a visit to “The Shops” where “The Ladies” could “…make hunting whilst the going is good”

– In 1956 they still decided against substitutes but they decided that children of 17 were not to be considered as full professionals. The entertainment this time consisted of a trip to “Betwsycoed” but there were no special arrangements “for the ladies of the party”.

– In 1966 they really tried to introduce substitutes but referred the matter “back to the committee of Study for further evaluation”, they decided that a crossbar was needed to judge whether a goal had gone in and that the goal could only be made of metal or wood. They also decided that refs for internationals would be paid £18, linesman would be paid £9. For entertainment they could eat a “Bombe Cymru”.

– In 1987 football’s Godfather and his stooge turned up. Yes Havelange and Blatter managed to  make it all the way to the cherished home of the Jet Set. All of a sudden I feel dirty. There was no sign of entertainment this time so we’ll have to imagine how they entertained themselves…….

………Blatter promenading down Llandudno’s pier before buying a bargain book…………..Joao in the Golden Goose amusements trying to cause an avalanche of 10p pieces by tipping up the coin pushers……………Joao trying to force Sepp to leave the fruit machines alone but Sepp says; ” They’re going, they’re going!! (In French of course)”

We’re surprised that Llandudno’s tourist board haven’t thought of using these images to promote LLandudno around the world.

It’s funny to see the effect that Llandudno has had on the world of football!

Making a display of it

23 12 2010

The Jet Set likes a good display as much as the next connoisseur of ultra-dom but we had to think twice when somebody sent us this example on facebook.

The action is taken from an under 12s tournament. At first we thought it was a bit much as the action was taken from a kids tournament. Yes it was impressive, and the ultras had gone to an effort, but it was a bit misplaced. Those kids didn’t need the pressure of all that.

Then we pondered some more and regressed to childhood. I think the Jet Set would have loved such support for Llandudno’s Under 12s in our day. With this support we might not have lost the 1988/’89 League Cup Final, maybe if we hadn’t lost that match the Jet Set would be now thinking about potential testimonial opponents after a glittering playing career in the England, Italy and the Bundesliga. All we needed was a springboard to the stars I tells ya!!! We could have been somebody, we could have been a contender but what did we get? All we got was a one way ticket to Prestatyn…..

Ahem!, back to the clip. The kids playing in it would have probably enjoyed playing in front of such a backdrop. It’s an experience you can embroider anecdotes with for decades to come. But is it good thing or a bad thing  that the Poznan fans made such an effort for a tournament which only has real meaning for the young players in it? While it looks impressive does the clip highlight people who care that little bit too much about football?

In the right context, a European game for example, this amount of effort looks very impressive. The Man City v Lech Poznan match in the Europa League shows the habit the Poznan fans have for making interesting public displays.

Seeing the first clip reminded us of other footage of out of place ultra displays, like this basketball match between Panathanikos and Benetton Treviso for example;

This kind of clip may look strange to British eyes. In mainland Europe multi-sports clubs are common (Remember when Sir John Hall tried a similar thing in Newcastle) and as such a fan of the football sections in these sporting clubs could also be a fan of the Handball, Basketball or Roller Hockey sections as well. It’s probable that the Panathanikos football ultras and basketball ultras are the same people, judging from the fact that the name “Gate 13” features quite prominently in the basketball clip.

It’s a shame this kind of display choreography didn’t develop in Britain but it’s probably a good thing that it doesn’t happen in children’s matches, screaming parents usually make more than enough noise. 

When do you go home?

15 09 2010

Making a decision about when you should leave a football match seems to be easy. It’s an easy decision because of two simple facts.  1) Matches last 90 minutes, with a 15 minute break. 2) Everybody knows when they start. Therefore most people would realise when they need to go home. (Regular match goers gain an instinctive feel for the passage of time, they just know when the action is nearing its end.) But football matches are not equations, they involve emotions and emotions cloud logic, even the Jet Set has been reduced to a confused state.  

Generally speaking there seem to be three main choices asto when you leave a match; You can go before the crowds, you can go with the crowds, or you can go after the crowds. The choice made can highlight personality traits.  

The EARLY RISER is the safe type, they like their tea warm, their toast crust-free and their slippers close to the remote. The WALLFLOWER goes with the crowd. They’re the mob, responsible for Conservative election victories and the enduring television career of Clarkson. The ROMANTICS are the ones that keep hope alive. They stay until the bitter end, savouring every moment of glory. Needless to say the Jet Set falls into the last category. You could despise the EARLY RISERS for their safety first attitude, for their pessimism, for their need to flick between Cowell and Lloyd Webber on Saturday evenings, but you can admire their courage in going against the grain of the WALLFLOWERS, although this admiration may not last long.

Quite simply unless there has been a pressing issue over public transport the Jet Set have remained within the ground,  We’ve never felt  able to leave early, even when Wales have been losing 5-1 at home, even when Bangor  have been 5-1 down in Rhyl, even when Wales were losing meekly to Finland….. We are stayers!

Some call us misguided, some call us stupid, some have addressed us with worse names than that but we can’t help hoping for better, hoping for the impossible to pass. What wonders we have seen with such an outlook!!! The 2008 Welsh Cup Final, Bangor cITY 2 Llangefni Town 2 (Bangor were still 2-0 down in the 88th minute), the 2010 Welsh Cup Final……..

We have met others who take a different view, like the people we saw in Bergamo who paid roughly £200 for a taxi from Milan (about an hour from Bergamo) as soon as Wales were losing 2-0, or the friends of ours who feel the need to save a whole 15 minutes on the way home. You have to wonder what people like this have missed down the years.

Using clear-headed logic also backs up our outlook. If we were inclined to leave when things looked hopeless we’d have been cheated out of so many happy memories. We can’t imagine being anything other than stayers.

 The whole idea is captured by this well-written piece from When Saturday Comes.

“After 55 minutes of Scotland’s Euro 2012 qualifying group game with Liechtenstein last Wednesday, I made a promise to myself. If the score remained Scotland 0 Liechtenstein 1, I would never watch another game of football as long as I lived. I wouldn’t look at scores, or tables, or anything. If people started talking about football, I’d stick my fingers in my ears and start singing “Giiiiiiirls just wanna have fun” in a really loud and annoying way until they moved off. But of course the score changed, and Scotland gloriously won the game with a brilliantly contrived 97th-minute header. The most amazing thing about that goal, though, was the number of fans still in the stadium to witness it.

Why, you wonder, had most of them not already left in disgust after burning their kilts, bursting their bagpipes and casting one last glance at Hampden before vowing never to return? A cynic might say: “It’s because they thought 1-1 was actually quite a good result for Scotland, and they were just waiting to applaud their boys off the park.” But there’s another reason. They simply couldn’t leave the stadium. Whether it was a desire to see the winning goal or just morbid fascination, it seemed that at the end of the game, the stands were heaving with jubilant, and massively relieved, fans. Who will now always be able to claim that they were there “the night we almost lost to f***ing Liechtenstein”.

There are fans who have faith and fans who don’t. The fans who don’t are the ones who leave early. Personally, I’m like the Scotland fans. I just can’t leave, no matter how bored or disillusioned I am. I once tried to leave a Swiss Cup semi-final between Grasshopper and amateur side Red Star Zürich – Grasshopper were 6-0 up, there were five minutes to go and the stadium was seven-eighths empty. But I was still worried I might miss something, like Red Star scoring six goals in five minutes. Or, failing that, a bald eagle landing on the pitch, or the referee dropping his shorts and mooning in the direction of FIFA HQ. You just never know, do you? And so after exiting the stand, I kept stopping at the stadium portals and standing there to see out the game’s dying moments. And I just caught sight of Grasshopper scoring a seventh. Yep, looks like they’re through.

I thought of this again on Saturday as Everton fans celebrated their second goal in stoppage time to claim a draw against Manchester United. I was mainly thinking of all the fans who’d left already, because there were a lot of empty seats. I was imagining what they felt as they heard the first muted cheer from outside the stadium. “Ah, a consolation goal, ah well, 3-1, 3-2, what’s the difference, there’s no way a team like Manchester United give up two goals in injury time… [hears massive, unrestrained, gobsmacked roar]. Oh great, we got a point. Hooray. I’m glad for us, I really am. But why did they have to wait until I left before they scored twice? And why did I leave early? [Holds head in hands and collapses to the floor] Why did I do that?”

And that’s what I utterly fail to understand. Why would you pay £25, £35, £45 or more for a ticket to a 90-minute football match and then not watch the whole thing? Of course, the historical precedent of being 3-1 down to Man Utd with just two minutes of stoppage time to play could lead you to logically conclude, as a pessimistic Evertonian, that this will be another bad Saturday and you’d rather beat the traffic than wait to see the sight of glory-spoiled away fans cheering at the final whistle. But for most fans, there are only a few moments when you get to unleash wild, unfettered screams of crude joy in the company of several thousand others who are simultaneously going nuts. You have to work for those moments of collective glee. As in life, you endure hours of tedium and disappointment, but just occasionally you’re rewarded with a treasured moment of surprise and delight. In fact, it’s all we live for.” Ian Plenderleith

You have to weigh up the minutes saved and the potential memories lost, who wants to rush back for Saturday night tv anyway?

As it’s Sunday

20 06 2010

Here’s a song from Adam and Joe

Cabanga, Cabanga my friend

13 06 2010

Yesterday afternoon I was buying lunch in one of Bangor’s petrol station and I saw a poster; “If you Believe, it will happen –  CABANGA”.  There were also CABANGA car stickers on the counter so I enquired what CABANGA was about. The attendant didn’t know, the other person behind the counter didn’t know either but she ventured a guess, “I think it’s about the world cup”. I looked again at the sticker, it had a football featuring a red cross on it, so it was an England thing. What the hell does Cabanga mean?

Well, “Cabanga is an African word meaning ‘to think’ or ‘imagine’ – dependent on the context. The word has its origin in the Bantu languages of southern Africa, specifically Zulu…”. Why was this word on car stickers? Well, it seems that England’s glory rests on chanting this word and there is a campaign to encourage, harmless enough really. Why I found the stuff in Bangor, a small city in WALES, is a pertinent question.

Cabanga? Sounds a bit like Gouranga. Chant Gouranga be happy, chant Cabanga be hopeful. Both aspire to making people  happy. Gouranga on posters is famous for defacing motorway bridge, Cabanga on car stickers could be famous for defacing cars. This brings to mind a classic lyric from Half Man Half Biscuit, from the song “Twydale’s Lament

“Gouranga Gouranga, yes I’ll be happy, when you’ve been arrested for defacing the bridge.”

While we’re on the subject of music, it’s Sunday and here’s another song.

A moron speaks

9 06 2010

Behold this triumph, we found it whilst surfing the internet.

World Cup Fascism
By Dennis Hale (bio)

The FIFA World Cup TV spots, in the run-up to the opening events later this week, have been touting the ability of international football (what we dim Americans insist on calling soccer) to change the world for the better. A sport played on every inhabited continent, World Cup football has a universal appeal. It seems logical, then, to associate it with “internationalism” and the idea of everybody getting along famously. To further this impression, the FIFA ads show us soccer players of many ages and races engaged in sweaty sportsmanship, which we are led to believe can only lead to world peace.

But is this claim supportable?

For those who hope that World Cup football will bring us all together, here is (to borrow a phrase from Al Gore) an inconvenient truth: since the beginning of World Cup competition in 1930, every Cup winner has had a fascist government at some point in its history, though not always at the time of its Cup victory, with the single exception of Great Britain, which won the Cup in 1966 (in overtime, with a disputed goal, against Germany). This fascist connection is clearly not what the FIFA campaign has chosen to emphasize.

It is not enough merely to have been governed by a tyranny – no communist country has ever won the Cup, despite the best efforts of Soviet-style sports bureaus.

Apparently, only fascism is compatible with international football success.* And more often than not, the World Cup finals feature competition only between fascist or formerly fascist regimes: e.g., Argentina & Germany, or Uruguay and Brazil. In 2006, each of the countries in the final four had fascist connections: Italy, France, Germany, and Portugal. Countries that have never had fascist governments rarely make it to the finals: besides Great Britain (once), the only continuously democratic governments to compete in the final round have been Sweden (once) and Holland (twice).

The grim details are in the list below – for anyone who can explain them. I cannot. There is nothing intrinsically fascist about soccer – it’s just another game in which players move a ball back and forth across a rectangular game space. NFL-style football, with its heavy use of military metaphors (the “blitz,” the “shotgun”), body armor, and helmets, would seem to be a much better candidate. But nobody plays it except Americans and Canadians, who have never shown any serious interest in fascism.

But if you like betting on sporting events, this might be news you can use. Let’s see if the tradition continues.

1. Uruguay: ruled by the Terra regime, 1933-1938, and by military dictatorships, 1973-1985; won in 1930 (defeating Argentina) and 1950 (defeating Brazil).

2. Italy: ruled by Mussolini, 1922-1943; won in 1934 (defeating Czechoslovakia), 1938 (defeating Hungary), 1982 (defeating Germany), and 2006 (defeating France)

3. Germany: ruled by the Nazis, 1933-1945; won in 1954 (defeating Hungary), 1974 (defeating Holland), and 1990 (defeating Argentina).

4. Brazil: ruled by the Vargas regime, 1930-1945, and by military dictatorships from 1964-1982; won in 1958 (defeating Sweden), 1962 (Czechoslovakia), 1970 (Italy), 1994 (Italy again), and 2002 (Germany).

5. United Kingdom: never had a fascist regime, won in 1966, defeating Germany in overtime, with a hotly disputed goal.

6. Argentina: ruled by Juan Peron, 1945-1955, and by military dictatorships, 1976-1983; won in 1978 (defeating Holland) and 1986 (defeating Germany).

7. France: ruled by the pro-Nazi puppet regime in Vichy, 1940-1944; won in 1998 (defeating Brazil).

* I admit to a somewhat broad definition of “fascism”. But all of the regimes listed here as fascist had these traits in common: they suppressed civil liberties, abolished competitive elections, crushed or controlled labor unions, extolled violence, and drew their support from middle class voters fearful of labor radicalism and economic chaos. They were also nationalist in their appeals and, to varying degrees, anti-Semitic.

That’s an awfully long way of saying that you don’t like football. It’s obviously a crackpot article but what can you expect from a person that wrote an article called “Why Health Care is not a right“? The Jet Set may appear to hate the World Cup but at least we try to apply a little logic to the situation. 

Let’s deconstruct his argument. The main thrust of it is; Football is Fascist. This is wrong on so many levels. The Jet Set, the Hibby Boys, Low Profiler, FC United, Bangor City fans, in fact just about all football fans apart from Real Madrid , Rangers, Chelsea and Lazio ones would be mortally offended at such a concept.

The facts of his arguments are shaky at best. Only 4 out of 18 World Cups have been won by countries ruled by a dictator or junta. (Italy in 1934 and 1938, Brazil in 1970 and Argentina in 1978.).  Two of those tournaments were engineered by dictatorships to produce a glorious victory for the state (1934 and 1978) so that’s only two truly Fascist triumphs.

Only an idiot would say the Vichy regime is even partly responsible for a victory in a football tournament held 54 years after it’s collapse, that’s right FIFTY FOUR YEARS.. Only a moron would say that Uruguay’s first World Cup in 1930 was the result of a fascist dictator that came to  power three years AFTER the win. Exactly how was Lothar Matthaus the product of the Nazi period?

Silly old Jet Set, aside from the obvious cases of manipulation and gamesmanship we always assumed that the winner of the world cup possesed at least a modicum of talent. As fascist dictatorships tend to try and control things, how would they control the production of world-class sports performers and ensure that their’s were better than anybody else’s? For example Germany didn’t do as well as they thought in 1938, and that was after they’d absorbed the skilful Austrians.

The tone of the article is irritatingly dismissive, what he seems to be saying is; “Football is sooooo beneath us. As football is Fascist and we’re not football fans, we can’t be fascist”. His definition of fascism is so  wide that parts of American history could qualify America as partly fascist in outlook.

Here’s a short list, the creation of Living Space on the Western Frontier by John Wayne and the other cowboys, the McCarthy witch hunts, the denial of civil Rights to Black Americans, threats to people on strike in Reagan’s first administration, we could go on.  But America haven’t won a World Cup these examples can’t be fascist in any way. 

The article emanates from an irritating American sub-culture, the vehement anti-soccer mindset; “Soccer is Communist“, “Soccer is full of criminals,”, “Soccer is wrong plain boy, I’m off for a lyching, yeeeeeee haw!!!!!”. Basically Soccer Sucks because Soccer is like soooo Un-American.

Why do these people get so aeriated? They don’t have to like soccer, I mean football. Besides since when has it been impossible to appreciate more than one sport? Even knuckleheaded American Football has its good points.

It seems that talking bollocks is a truly international concept.

A nice World Cup

8 06 2010

When one is busy spouting off  one may forget the good things in the world. Last month we read something on  the site of our comrades, The Hibby Boys, but it slipped our minds shortly afterwards.  You’ll have to forgive us, even the most broad-minded soul can forget there is more than the bastardised football culture we swim in. The post was about the Anti-Racism World Cup.

Suddenly remembering this kind of thing magically restores your faith in humanity. If only more people would remember that we are capable of doing good things, if only more people would remember that we’d don’t have to accept what comes our way. If only, if only.

During the World Cup there will be an undoubted rise in patriotism, this will probably lead to xenophobia and racism. We can fight this by not giving in to it. The Anti-Racism World cup reminds us what we’re up against;

“In todays society fascism is a movement of force against the working class irrespective of where they are from. Fascism is opposed to all attempts by the working class to organise themselves, it opposes trade unions  mobilizing instead the most backward sections of the working class along racial lines to act against their own class. Fascism is the strong arm of the capitalist system and is generally only mobilised fully in times of greatest need. It is a blunt instrument of last resort and notoriously difficult for the middle class and rich backers of fascism to control once the genie is out of the bottle.”

FIFA see their role in almost similar terms;


Develop the game. Improve the game of football constantly and promote it globally in the light of its unifying, educational, cultural and humanitarian values, particularly through youth and development programmes. Football development means investing in people and society at large. Football is a school of life.

Touch the world. Take world-class football action and passion at all levels to every corner of the planet through our 208 member associations. The broad range of competitions shows the many faces of football, spearheaded by the FIFA World Cup™.

Build a better future. Football is no longer considered merely a global sport, but also as unifying force whose virtues can make an important contribution to society. We use the power of football as a tool for social and human development, by strengthening the work of dozens of initiatives around the globe to support local communities in the areas of peacebuilding, health, social integration, education and more.

We don’t want to question the vision of men like Jack Warner and Sepp Blatter but lads, we’re sorry, we trust the sentiments of the Anti-Racism World Cup more. Their words haven’t been formulated in a fashionable Swiss PR agency.

The Anti-Racism World Cup is a timely event, its main part is a football tournament;

“For the last three years teams have travelled from across the world to play against teams from various ethnic minority groups and from local communities in Belfast and across Ireland.

Last years tournament involved over 500 local people and 100 international guests and was a showcase for Anti-Racism against a backdrop of an upsurge of racist attacks in Belfast.

This year we intend to bring more teams to Belfast, including for the first time a Palestinian youth team, and we intend to make the tournament the largest anti-racist event in Ireland in 2010”

So just after Blatter and his cronies (more about them later in the week.),  are banking their gifts from Adidas and Budweiser, Donegal Celtic will be proving another world is possible. Hurrah for that.

Was it always thus?

7 06 2010

We see two interpretations of the headline “Measuring your life in World Cup milestones“. 

Interpretation number one;  the world cup is an important thing.

Interpretation number two;  if you think your life can be divided into world cups your values are so far out of kilter with polite society you should never go out.

The Jet Set prefers the first interpretation so we got to thinking; how would the article look like if we wrote it? We had a think about it and saw the article to as a chance to rediscover lost joys. It would be chance go beyond the cynicism and bullshit that plague the mind of the Jet Set. Could we do it?

Our story would start with Espana ’82. The only thing we recall about this tournament Czechoslovakia, proudly their  badge in the middle of their chest,s versus somebody. We seemed to enjoy Mexico ’86. Luis Fernandez was a hero and we liked Maradona’s dribble around Belgium but this one‘s a bit hazy too. 

Our memories were limited at this stage but our love was total. Ladybird books were our Mills and Boon, Panini provided the glue in our relationship and a film called Hero was our Pretty Woman.

For some reason we were thrilled by Italia ’90 and we tried not to miss a game. It was all great, from the rush home to watch Cameroon v Argentina, to supporting Germany, to cursing Gary Lineker’s second penalty against Cameroon, to marvelling at Yugoslavia v Argentina. With help from Match we kept a world cup log book.

Following USA ’94 led to unexpected failure in the lower Sixth Form exams, watching Holland v Saudi Arabia at midnight isn’t ideal preparation. In this world cup our main interests were cheering on Romania’s opponents and hoping that Italy would get dumped on their arses (a smug acquaintance had tipped them). Seeing a goal collapse in a Mexico v Bulgaria match and watching the Police chase OJ Simpson during the Switzerland v USA indoor match are two of our more cherished memories from this tournament. One month after the tournament ended we left our school, shamefaced and dishevelled.

We spent  the 1998 and 2002 World Cups ensconced in leafy academia. During this period we slowly fell out of love with the simple joy of watching international football. The world cup now seemed to transform erudite sophisticates into laddish xenophobes. This sordid sense will never be expunged from our psyche, the disappointment is burnt into our memory. It’s disappointment is on the grandest scale imaginable, the failure of humanity to aspire to a dignified existence

During the last two world cups we have gradually felt the taint of hysteria upon society’s shoulders, it goes without saying that the situation is now almost intolerable. As you will have noticed, this time we’re trying to ignore the world but resistance is futile when you’re surrounded by gingerbread men wearing rice paper England kits.

If the Jet Set were  measuring its life in world cup milestones it would show an early descent into grumpiness.

As it’s Sunday

6 06 2010

Here’s a bit of music.

Watching the World Cup

4 06 2010

Recently somebody typed “Where to watch the World Cup, Llandudno” into a search engine and they were directed to this blog. We feel that we should have an answer in case any else comes this way with a similar question.

So, “Where can one watch the World Cup in Llandudno?”

If you possess a TV we’d suggest you watch the world cup at home, we advise this for several reasons;

Firstly, the volume will be lower, you can turn down the irritating commentators and you can avoid the morons who like to shout and not speak.

Secondly, as your home is your castle, your sanctuary, you will avoid  anti-social types; the morons with painted heads, the idiots with the flags, the bandwagon jumpers who take the matches inexplicably seriously, the xenophobes etc etc. Basically you will avoid the dickheads that are drawn to the world cup because everybody else is.

Thirdly, if you fancy a break from the action your house will be full of things like books, DVDs and board games so you’ll have something to do. Go for a run!!!!

So who are we going to get then?

5 05 2010

Now we’re in Europe a trip awaits. Who will we play?

It could be any of the following at the moment.

Club – Already Qualified

Club – Club in position at present

  • Ukraine 5th placed team in Ukrainian Premier League – Karpaty Lviv
  • Netherlands Winners of the European competition Playoffs (Either Roda JC, Heracles Almelo, Utrecht or Groningen)
  • Romania 5th placed team in Liga I – FC Steaua Bucharest
  • Portugal 5th placed team in Portuguese Liga – Vitoria de Guimares
  • Turkey 4th placed team in Turkish Super League – Besiktas
  • Greece 4th placed team in Playoff Group from the Super League Greece – (Either Olympicos, PAOK, AEK Athens or ARIS)
  • Scotland 4th placed team in Scottish Premier League – Motherwell
  • Belgium Winners of Europa League Testmatch – Genk / Westerlo v 4th or 5th placed team from championship playoff
  • Switzerland 4th placed team in Swiss Super League – Luzern
  • Denmark 3rd placed team in Danish Super League – AaB
  • Bulgaria 3rd placed team in A PFG – Lokomotiv Sofia
  • Czech Republic 3rd placed team in Czech First Division – Jablonec
  • Norway 2nd team in Norweigan League – Molde
  • Norway 3rd team in Norweigan League – Stabæk
  • Austria 2nd placed team in Austrian Bundesliga – Rapid Vienna
  • Austria 3rd placed team in Austrian Bundesliga – Austria Vienna
  • Serbia 2nd placed team in Serbian Super League – Red Star Belgrade
  • Serbia 3rd placed team in Serbian Super League – OFK Belgrade
  • Israel 2nd placed team in Israeli Premier League – Maccabi Haifa
  • Cyprus 2nd placed team in Cypriot First Division – Anorthosis
  • Sweden 3rd placed team in Swedish League – IF Elfsborg
  • Slovakia 2nd placed team in Slovak Super League – Slovan Bratislava
  • Poland 2nd placed team in Polish Premier League – Lech Poznan
  • Croatia 2nd placed team in Croatian Premier League – HNK Cibalia
  • Finland Finnish Cup Winners – Inter Turku
  • Finland 2nd in Finnish League – Honka
  • The list looks a bit like last year‘s. Therefore like last year we’ll be hoping for Vienna.

    After yin comes yang…..

    8 04 2010

    On one hand we saw this in Colwyn Bay, which is in Wales. (Yes that’s right WALES. You know the place that has its own football team)

    On the other hand we also saw this;

    England Football Shirts could be BANNED at pubs

    ENGLAND shirts could be BANNED at pubs

    England football shirts could be banned at pubs screening live World Cup matches.

    Killjoy British cops have urged landlords to bar anyone wearing a Three Lions top, as they want to avoid a repeat of the violence that has marred previous events, particularly if England lose, Some Tabloid owned by an Australian reports.

    “We often hear of a loss of pride in Britain, now cops want to ban the England shirt. It”s like saying anyone who wears one is a yob,” said a fan.

    The advice comes in a letter from the Metropolitan Police to pubs in Croydon, South London.

    Among World Cup guidance, it suggests “dress code restrictions – example no football shirts”. It also urges using plastic glasses and door staff.

    Pubs are not obliged to follow the advice, but it warns: “Police will not hesitate to use powers under the Licensing Act should we find you are not actively supporting the prevention of crime.”

    If ever there was proof that the universe has the power to correct itself, it’s surely this. Look at the idiots in the picture, it’s rather obvious that some of them have never smelt a cup of bovril on a winter Saturday.

    Soy Uruguayo!!!!! Vamos muchachos!!!!!!!!!!!

    4 04 2010

    It’s World Cup year and here is our team;

    Or to put it another way;


    29 03 2010

    Whilst we were in One Stop last week (other convenience shops are available) the contents of the magazine rack caught our eye. We came across the NME, Mumford and Sons were adorning the cover. Now we’d heard about them on the wireless. They’re a new group that could be a smash in the hit parade. Just before we turned to the Gig Guide we noticed that a band member was wearing a distinctive scarf.

    As you can see it’s green and yellow and it’s obviously a football scarf. Now he could be a Norwich fan or even a Caernarfon fan but we think due to the nature of certain bands, trying to look cool and contemporary, it’s probably a protest scarf from Man Utd fan groups. This started us reminiscing about the link between football and music.

    Not being the sharpest cultural commentators in 1995 we thought that Oasis and their love for Man City was the starting point. (We had forgotten about New Order and Italia ’90 for some reason). Then Euro  ’96 came along and everybody seemed to be a “geezer” with an allegiance. Britpop was cool and so was football. The rest as they say is history; Kasabian get to wear the new England shirt before the players, Starsailor can frequent Anfield pubs and hold their heads up, Doves and Badly Drawn Boy find themselves in the same row of the City of Manchester Stadium………..

    Of course this is not a modern thing, musicians have always been drawn to football and vice versa. This history is celebrated on the  Football and Music site.

    When we thought about the subject we realised that some of the Jet Set’s all-time favourite bands have links to football in a spider’s web of connections……….

    First of all our favourite band, SUPER FURRY ANIMALS. We first noticed they liked football in an S4C profile of the band called “Poptastic“. In one part they were filmed watching Wales lose 7-1 in Holland. In the video of “Play it Cool” Gruff and the boys gained some revenge on the powers of world football; Wales hammered Brazil.

    Their love of football is not purely ornamental. We have actually seen some or all of the Super Furry Animals at numerous Wales matches and even at Farrar Road. Our awe prevents an introductory advance even though they would fit in with the Jet Set.

    Then there’s HALF MAN HALF BISCUIT. Like everybody else we had a vague recollection of their existence but it wasn’t until I saw them on the late-night Danny Kelly sports programme  “Under the Moon” that I first came across them in the flesh, so to speak. Remarkably they were playing in the West Shore Social Club in Llandudno a few years after that. This turned out to be was one of the Jet Set’s favourite ever gigs. The cutting humour in their lyrics won us over, they seem to view life the way a person should; there should be no tolerance of knobheads or snobs. The reference points won us over totally. 


    As for their connection to football; First of all watch the above link. Then they’re Tranmere fans through the thick and mostly thin (“the tube affair” for example – about halfway down the page), they run out to the same music that Tranmere runs out to (the Rockford Files theme) for example. Finally there are the song titles; “The Referee’s Alphabet“, ‘All I want for Christmas is a Dukla Prague away kit’“I was a Teenage Armchair Honved Fan” “Friday Night and the Gates are Low” and our favourite; “Bob Wilson Anchorman”

    MANIC STREET PREACHERS.  Not an obvious choice but there are connections. Nicky Wire once captained Wales schoolboys and was offered a trial at Arsenal. They appear to be interested in football enough to include “Can’t take my eye off you” in their set list. This was the song that accompanied BBC Wales’ coverage of the USA’94 qualifiers. As James said on Millenium Eve;”This song always reminds me getting beaten by Romania….”. They also changed the lyrics of their song “Everything Must Go” to “Bobby Gould must Go” when that idiot was in charge of the Welsh side. (Go to the bottom of this page if you want a listen).

    STONE ROSES. They didn’t make any explicit references towards football in their songs so I was under the impression that they didn’t care for football. The only reference about football I was aware of happened during the Newport comeback gig in 1995; omeone threw a Cardiff City shirt onto the stage and Ian Brown put it on. Even though this act nearly caused a riot Browny seemed unfazed by it all, if memory serves he claimed he didn’t understand football.

    We left it there as it’s not unknown for bands to be left cold by football (The stereotype goes thus, the kids into the arty school subjects are usually the shy sensitive kids that don’t like getting muddy in P.E.). However with further reading it turns out that Ian Brown is a big fan of Man Utd, Mani is as well for that matter. Mani actually sold his scooter to buy tickets for the 1999 European Cup Final. Browny also sponsored a local football club.

    THE FALL. Well-known City Fan Mark E. Smith has not only made references to football in his songs like “Kicker Conspiracy” he once famously took part in FINAL SCORE.

    So ends a small journey through the connections between football and our favourite bands.


    Adding a bit of colour to proceedings

    16 03 2010

    (Take this entry as the antidote to last week’s parade of morons. A.K.A Why Football Fans are……..Interesting People)

    One may assume that the link between football and its fans is umbilical but that’s not strictly the case. Association football began without fans and the sport spread around the world without fans. That’s not to say that people didn’t like the sport  of course.

    Fans became necessary when clubs needed people to help them pay the bills for professional footbal, in fact they were more than necessary – they were vital. Other people have made the point that football clubs are nothing without fans and when you think about the statement it’s an obvious one. If there were no fans every game would become a glorified kick-about. (From humanity’s point of view this may not be a bad thing. In fact it could be brilliant, football would become a method of expressing creativity without the pressure of competition, a pressure which has bastardised the sport.)

    Fans have never been mere drones, they’ve never been happy to just prop up the ambitions of ambitious local butchers and retail magnates. Fans have always shaped football, or if not that at least they’ve shaped the way people deal with the sport. Nowadays fans can even  rescue football from grey commercialisation and other dark forces, FC United for example.

    Fans have been particularly effective, and very creative, when they have  influenced the look of football.  Below there are a few examples of their value to the sport. Fans bring colour, they bring noise, they create friendship. In short they bring the carnivalesque to football. Not only does the carnival look amazing but it’s also great fun to be part of it. Long live Football!!!


    St. Pauli

    FC United


    Olympique Marseille

    A.C. Pisa

    Flag Day, Flag Day, Flag Day!!!!

    25 02 2010

    On Saturday the supporters of Bangor City Bangor City are having a flag day. It’s a good chance to show our support in that special Blue Army way. Some highlights may include;

    Famous Bangor City Fans

    7 01 2010
    Number 3
    (In an occassional series)

    The Scientist Charles Darwin

    Misguided Misanthrope

    5 01 2010

    This world chips away at people. Day after day people annoy you. Footballers do things to annoy you, politicians do things to annoy you, shop workers do things to annoy you, taxi drivers do things to annoy you, inanimate objects do things annoy you. If you let it all get you down you will be a bitter and twisted wreck. Some recent Jet Set posts may hint at this feeling; “Existence Fatigue”.

    After consulting our spiritual guru we have used the ancient art of reflection to remember that people can be nice, we have also remembered that football can be nice too. Meeting Carl again started the process. Football, when looked at from an enlightened view, can be regarded as the glue that binds people together.

    Watching football only works properly as a collective, not a solitary, activity. Going to football on your own will never feel as good as it does when you’re with others. By going on your own it can seem as though you are doing something merely out of habit whereas even the most boring of matches can be enlivened by a comedian friend or a chat, and god knows the amount of times that a match has got in the way of a good chat. 

    Matches need to experienced in the flesh as well. By watching matches on TV you may see fantastic skill, fantastic goals and fantastic players but football matches are not works of art to be considered. Although you can enjoy matches with mates present it will never be the same as seeing one in the flesh and watching one on your own is a hollow experience.

    Enjoying football is about more watching 22 men on a bit of grass, it’s about fun, a bit of nervous anticipation and a lot of enjoyment. Football is about enjoying the company of others. Therefore football can be the glue that binds people, take the story of how Carl and the Jet Set first met.

    Picture the scene….Next to some plastic seats in Downtown Graz…..

    ………..The Jet Set were trying to tie a flag to a fence. The crack Austrian security staff  sternly refused to countenance its display, the flag  was “Too Politisch”. We acquiesced to avoid offending Jack Warner. Carl and his wife could see the hurt in our crestfallen faces so they began a consoling chat. After the match a few beers were quaffed and even though our encounter was cut short, (The Jet Set had to undertake a mad dash across Graz, with the Wales mascot and his dad, to catch a train), our paths have crossed several times since and it’s always a pleasure to catch up. That’s  the network of Wales fans. I could be in Cardiff chatting with Carl, or Gary Pritchard, or Gary from Rhos, or Rhys, or Ian, or Haz, or the people I met prior to our piss shower in Milan, or even the people who I only know via a nod, or even Carl. I know that I’d never have met any of these people without football.

    Then there’s Bangor, it would be impossible to enjoy the matches properly without the presence of likeable people. Every Bangor fan will be able to recall several memories that bring forth a smile, these memories will involve the antics of their fellow fans. Football brought us likeable people together!!

    FC Midtjylland and Bangor City, now there’s a case of friendship overcoming geography. All it took for several of  us became Midtjyalland fans for the night against Manchester City was an impromptu kick-about in the late Danish evening, some Hawaiian shirts and a friendly European draw. After the game we were labelled lucky charms by the FCM fans and offers of Danish hospitality were legion. The borders of Europe, and the North Sea, may have separated us but football had brought us together.

    Our flags have helped to make people friendly, even if it’s only through curiosity. Nigel from Port Talbot wouldn’t have said hello without the flag, Hywyn would never have said hello on the plane to Austria if I had been flagless in Rhyl  the previous day. Even Rhyl fans have remarked about them in a friendly way. Without football none of this would have happened, we wouldn’t have had the flags for a start.

    The final piece of the jigsaw; a group of comrades from Scotland have wished us a happy new year. If this doesn’t show the positive power of football then I don’t know what does. Two groups that have never met share a common bond, and it’s through football, sprinkled liberally with political comradeship.

    So a very  happy new year to the Hibby Boys, in fact a happy new year to everybody.

    Have a look at the Hibby Boys’ site, up on the right.

     ‘mon the Drum!!

    The Jet Set Review of 2009

    31 12 2009

    Not bad

    We’ll be coming, we’ll be……

    14 11 2009
    Wales 3 Scotland 0

    We saw our first Tartan Army members at Flint, just after they’d boarded the luxury 2 carriage cattle train to Cardiff. He was quiet but his tartan trousers weren’t. We’d heard a few rumours about the number of Scots travelling down and this confirmed it, they were even getting on in north Wales! We spent the journey cursing the inaccuracy of the BBC weather forecasting service. It told us “Sunny spells” yesterday, it pissed it down instead.

    When we got to Cardiff the rain was absent. Were they actually right? The Tartan Army flooded the streets. By the time we’d been in a taxi for 3 minutes we must have seen 50 kilt-wearers. Just after we’d thrown our bags  into our luxury 1 star hotel the rain began to fall. Luckily I was wearing the thinner jacket of the two I’d packed so I had nothing to fear from the prospect of constant rain. As we waited at the bus stop a football genius informed his mate; “I wish I’d put £30 on Wales to lose today, Scotland are better” He obviously wasn’t going to the match. He must have been keeping his shirt safe for when we’re good again.

    We found the Owain Glyndwr pub full, to the rafters, with the Tartan Army. They were very jovial and a complete contrast to the last time I’d seen this many away fans in Cardiff; “THE ENGLISH”. Consequently there was no invading swagger, no Stone Island and none of the post-imperial masculine identity issues, just a lot of drinks flowing.

    After about half an hour you could see that the Tartan Army was an apt name; everybody seemed to be wearing a kilt and a Glengarry cap with a feather in it. You could discern ranks in the army too. The ordinary foot soldiers just wore a replica shirt with their kilt, the NCOs wore a Retro shirt (with or without a retro tracksuit jacket). Officers wore a traditional Piper’s Jacket. They had decorations too; badges of countries that they’d seen. The longer your service the more badges you had. The Tartan Army is also an inclusive institution, women feature prominently and they have their own uniform; a tartan skirt and boots. We left after a Scotsman told us we were going to lose 2-0 with hand gestures.

    Just as we were queuing for our train tickets they arrived. “WE’LL BE COMING, WE’LL BE COMING!!!” they thundered. Who’d have thought that Station entrance hall had such good acoustics. It was impressive and slightly annoying at the same time. We got on the train with some Scots and it was very entertaining listening to them. Some people may look on them as a cliché but they seemed too much like football fans to be a cliché, although there were a few people wearing rugby shirts. Their presence turned the day into the most enjoyable one that I’d had in Cardiff for ages.

    With the match taking place across the road from Ninian Park we saw it’s demolition at close quarters. Areas like  these have a history that expresses itself through the ground. In the name of progress this history is obliterated, it changes from a monument to the shared experiences of thousands to a shell of twisted girders and rubble. When you think about it  it is always very sad to see historic grounds in such a state. The new ground looks good although in the daylight it looks a bit indentikit. When the sun sets the ground takes on a more spectacular look. The outside is covered in panels that look ordinary in the daylight, they scream “cut-price covering darling!”. However, when the lights are on the panels are illuminated. They add an interesting and slightly haunting detail to the ground. It’s not quite the Allianz Arena but then it’s definitely not the Riverside either.

    The match was good, all Wales. Take that bloke at the bus stop!!! After finding their feet the Welsh team went through the Scots team with ease. Ramsey was the hub and a joy to watch. Mind you it was all a joy to watch. A volley from Edwards, a header from Church and a dribble from Ramsey were the goalscoring methods. We should have had a penalty but the ref must have taken pity on the Scots. It was a great first half and left me excited for the goal feast in the second.

    We moved seats so that the wind would feel less cutting, Wales friendlies are great for choosing seats. The goal feast didn’t happen but Wales tried, Earnshaw had a few shots that were narrowly wide. I can find matches like this to be a little frustrating, they promise a record-worrying score but it doesn’t happen. Then you’re left to think about other things; “Why the wind is blowing your flags when you can’t feel the wind?”; “Where are the fans?”; “Oooooh, I’ve always wanted one of those 1970s scarves, will I see one on the way out?”; “Why are the Cardiff fans still booing Swansea players?”; “Why can’t the Welsh Fans sing songs like the Tartan Army instead of “You’re so shit it’s unbelievable” and “Easy, Easy, Easy” with added claps?”; “Why don’t we have songs like the Tartan Army anyway?”; “Do I go to friendlies so I can tick grounds off?”; “Is going to football a reasonable activity for a person to do so often?”; “How long does corduroy take to dry in South Wales?” etc etc etc.

    The evening felt strangely warm when we left the ground. I found that scarf I’d been after for like, forever. A charming night in Cardiff followed, except for the bloody students in Wetherspoons. Not content with taking 5 minutes to give their full drinks order (pissing off all and sundry at the same time), they had the cheek to indulge in a singing contest with some Tartan Army members. Worse still, they chose to sing England songs in that bloody accent that students use to communicate. It was all liiike soooooo, liiike annoying. I don’t remember Students being soooo like annoying in my day. Luckily we left shortly afterwards.

    Well it’s nice to know what you think

    12 11 2009

    This has been knocking around cyberspace for a bit now, I found it on the WSC Messageboard.

    “Dear Players of Grimsby Town FC,

    I am writing with regard to my absolute astonishment and disbelief as to the sheer magnitude of your complete lack of talent and failure to carry out the job for which you are paid to do.

    I am not aware of any swear word or other derogatory phrase in my current vocabulary which comes close to a description of your ‘performance’ (and I use that term loosely) this afternoon, but let me just say that you have collectively reached a level of inadequacy and ineptitude that neither I nor modern science had previously considered possible.

    In fact I recall a time, in my youth, when I decided to call in sick at work and instead spent the entire day in my one bedroom flat wearing nothing but my underpants, eating toast and wánking furiously over second-rate Scandinavian porn. Yet somehow, I still managed to contribute more to my employer in that one Andrex-filled day than you complete bunch of toss-baskets have contributed to this club in your entire time here.

    I would genuinely like to know how you pathetic little píssflaps sleep at night, knowing full well that you have taken my money and that of several thousand others and delivered precisely fúck all in return.

    I run a business myself, and I believe I could take any 4,000 of my customers at random; burn down their houses, impregnate their wives and then dismember their children before systematically sending them back in the post, limb-by-limb, and still ensure a level of customer satisfaction which exceeds that which I have experienced at Blundell Park at any time so far this season.

    You are a total disgrace, not only to your profession, not only to the human race, but to nature itself. This may sound like an exaggeration, but believe me when I say that I have passed kidney stones which have brought me a greater level of pleasure and entertainment than watching each of you worthless excuses for professional footballers attempt to play a game you are clearly incapable of playing, week-in, week-out.

    I considered, for a second, that I was perhaps being a little too harsh. But then I recalled that I have blindly given you all the benefit of the doubt for too long now.

    Yes, for too long you have failed to earn the air you’ve been breathing by offering any kind of tangible quality either as footballers or as people in general. As such, I feel it’s only fair that your supply runs out forthwith.

    I trust, at this precise moment in time, that Mr Fenty is in his office tapping away on the Easyjet web site booking you all one-way flights to Zurich, complete with an overnight stay with our cheese eating friends at Dignitas. Don’t bother packing your toothbrush – you won’t need it.

    In the event that our beloved chairman can’t afford the expense (understandable given that he’s soon going to have to assemble a new squad from scratch), then I am prepared to sell my family (including my unborn child) to a dubious consortium of Middle Eastern businessmen in order to pay for the flights. Christ, I’ll drive you there myself, one-by one, without sleep, if I have to.

    Failing that, understanding that most dubious Middle Eastern businessmen are tied-up purchasing Premier League football clubs, I ask you to please take matters into your hands. Use your imagination, guys – strangle yourselves or cover yourself in tinfoil and take a fork to a nearby plug socket, or something. Just put yourselves and us fans out of our collective misery.

    So, in summary, you pack of repugnant, sputum-filled, invertebrate bástards; leave this club now and don’t you fúcking dare look back. You’ve consistently demonstrated less passion and desire than can commonly be found within the contents of a sloth’s scrótum, so frankly you can just all fúck off – don’t pass go, don’t collect your wages, don’t ever come back to this town again.

    I look forward to you serving me at my local McDonald’s drive-thru in the near future.

    Yours sincerely

    A very disillusioned Mariner”

    It neatly encapsulates a fans’ frustration but it also shows how some people can take things a bit too seriously. It’s only football man!! I don’t think that activities that are practiced ostensibly for enjoyment should end in rants like this.  I bet the soft sod is back for the next home game.


    10 11 2009

    To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, here’s a photo of some football in an People’s Palace of Sport.


    So it can be nice too

    7 11 2009
    Aston Villa 5 Bolton Wanderers 1
    Premier League

    It’s useless to resist the Premier League, it will ensnare you eventually. The method that hooked me was the granting of free tickets. I would have preferred them for a European game, as advertised, but Villa managed to eliminate themselves from the Europa League. I offered my free pair to a Villa-supporting friend, Gaz, and he gladly accepted them. I had a choice of 5 games, all glamourous; Hull!!!!!! Bolton!!!!! Gaz chose glittery old Bolton on account of a weekend off. Then Neil had a thought; “Why don’t you get another ticket and we’ll go thirds”. I was £7 lighter but i had a Premier League ticket in my pocket.

    Motorway services are the epitome of market capitalism. You turn up hungry, they provide the food, you pay the inflated, nay extortionate, prices because you’re trapped there. Wimpy still exists!!! Proust may have eaten a Wimpy burger once, the chopped onions on my Burger reminded me of childhood parties and green milkshakes. The services usually give you a flavour of which teams are playing on a Saturday, except this Saturday of course. We saw one carload of Bolton fans and two supporters, of an indeterminate team in stripes, waiting for a lift.

    Motorway travel is great fun usually but it can lead to boredom on rare occasions. Next time you’re bored why not play, “How many Villa fans can you spot?” and the journey will fly by. We spotted 14 and I got the prize for the most morbidly obese. Strangely a lot of people didn’t seem to be going to a football match.

    Parking was easy to find by the time we got there. We parked in the car park next to  the Aston Villa Leisure Centre. I vaguely remembered that this used to be some kind of music venue. “Seen Better Days” was the politest euphemism available, it’s very sad how time passes.

    We found a nice pub in claret and blue. They were showing the Edinburgh derby and Poppy Fascism is alive and well up there too. Note to clubs; if you’re going to wear a poppy on a polyester football shirt it may be an idea to choose one with a stronger adhesive as several players had become divested of theirs. It was 0-0 when we left. This was not good for Neil, he had Hearts to win on his coupon.


    Gaz left the merchandise tent with a half Villa / half Wales T-shirt and we all went in. I was in the upper tier of the same stand that I occupied during the Rapid match. The upper part was so clean and homely!! The simple addition of rubber flooring made all the difference. By the end of the game you could see the difference that all of the cleanliness had made. I had been surrounded by pleasantness and politeness, then to top it all,  I didn’t meet 1 nice steward, I didn’t meet 2 nice stewards, I didn’t meet 3 nice stewards. I met 4, yes 4,  very nice stewards. I even discussed the Swansea versus Cardiff match (they were showing it on the conviniently located TV screens) with one, he liked Cardiff!! Maybe the one’s working below are sick of  the wet weather and the morons so they can appear to be less than cheerful. I’d asked for a seat on an aisle because of my usual leg space/leg length ratio problems. It was only when I arrived at the correct row that I found my ticket was for the middle of a row.

    After the silence for Remembrance Day we were off. Villa began well and scored early into the half. They doubled this lead just before half time. During the intervening period Villa were far superior but due to Bolton’s crappiness this wasn’t difficult. Despite their superiority Villa contrived to make things difficult by not taking the opportunities they had created.


    James Milner looked very good. He was industrious (you couldn’t tell if he was a winger or an extra defender at some points), skillful and he hit some wonderful long passes. Bolton, on the other hand, plodded up the pitch. Their passing was tidy but they usually reached a dead end when they went past the centre circle. Kevin Davies wandered around like a child denied attention but still seeking to impress. On the rare occasions Bolton manufactured a good move it seemed to involve their winger Lee Chung-Yong. Lee looked like he could have caused Villa a few problems but didn’t get as much of the ball as he should have. If this is the standard fare on offer it’s no wonder that Bolton have a meagre(This is the blessed Premier League after all) amount of away fans.

    Even so Bolton managed to score somehow. The ball was saved, it may have struck a post, Friedel may have got a touch to it but he was helpless to prevent the ball crossing the line. Due to the nature of the goal part of my brain assumed that there must be something wrong with the goal. Friedel must have had the same thought; his body language said “Referee, you can’t allow this effrontery to stand, it’s not cricket!!” The second half promised to be interesting.

    I had a chat with one of the nice stewards at half time; my war wound was flaring up and I required a seat on an aisle. You know, like I’d asked for!! Could he help me? He said that he’d do his damnedest!! My ally and I spotted several likely candidates but, due to the nature of the modern football fan, half-time refreshments were still being consumed by a large number of inconsiderate people. “Those are free!!” No they weren’t. “What about that one? The one under the man with the scarf?” It wasn’t free. My ally eventually found me a place 2 rows up from the front. My knees almost cheered!!

    Villa scored their third goal shortly after half time. Carew had it, then he didn’t, He was going to slip, ooooooh he’s still on his feet, Cahill will stop him, no he won’t, “Megs!!” It was quite the most skillful stumble you’re ever likely to see. Then Villa had a penalty. “Don’t let Ashley Young take it!!” implored a young fan. Milner strode up purposefully, the keeper saved. Sidwell fired at an open goal, he hit a post. Milner scored whilst falling. Would we see a clean goal at this end?  Cuellar flicked the ball past the keeper for Villa’s fifth. We had our clean goal!

    It was a very happy car on the way home. Gaz was happy with the result, Neil was happy with his ticket and I was happy to have rediscovered faith in humanity. There are nice people out there, even in the Premier League!!


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