Friday, 16 March 2012

Meanwhile, away from Cheltenham......

I’m sure that most regular readers of this blog will be spending a fourth successive day with thoughts only for the rolling Gloucestershire countryside and matters equine. The high point of the national hunt season seems to be, once again, gripping the sports fan, whether a horse racing connoisseur or ‘once a year’ enthusiast.

Personally, I’m a couple of quid down, but remain frustrated about missing a wager whilst distracted by work matters, typically the one big winner I would have had - Son of Flicka in the Coral Cup. I’m sure many others will have similar tales to tell.

But it seems that whilst we all stay within our Cheltenham cocoon, another major news story has emerged to shake the British establishment to its foundations. How am I aware of this fact despite never lifting my head from the Racing Post for days? Through a quick check of my own blog. The stat counter shows that yesterday had more page views than any single day since 2009, and a mighty (by my standards) 160 visitors in the day.

I assumed that my recent Sugar Ray Leonard piccy may have been the answer to this mystery, but a delve into the stat counter shows an overwhelming onslaught of google image searches for the term ‘Emma Jesson’. By swiftly switching out of racing mode back to the real world, I found that Emma’s ‘beau’, one William Roache (born 1932), has been putting it about at a rate most rabbits would be proud of over the years. Bill, or ‘Ken’ as more than one of his conquests referred to him, at first glance seems to have admitted to 1,000 liaisons (that’s about 20 a year over 50 years). He actually admitted to over 100, and was pushed to ‘not denying’ it may have been nearer 1,000. But that’s not as good a story, is it?

Surprisingly, many of my new weather-presenter obsessed readers also stayed around to read a few more pages. I hope they found something of interest.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

This Never Happened In Lichfield

I was just strolling towards the nearest betting shop window in time for the Cheltenham opener earlier today when I came across this rather popular book-signer.
Yep, a real life legend - Mr Sugar Ray Leonard!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Writer's Block

An opening appears in my busy schedule for a blog update. But what to write about? Things currently filling my head –


I hope the Tory voters are feeling pleased with their government’s decision to close Remploy factories, based on an idealogical idea of an ‘integrated workforce’. In practice, they’ve just kicked thousands of disabled people in the nuts. Cunts. Anyway, too angry to write with any purpose on his one, move on…

Manchester United

Would Rafael or Johnny Evans get a place in the line-up of any decent Championship side? Doubt it. Maybe Fergie’s main weakness is loyalty. (But covering plenty of ground better said by others, so..)


I’m sure I’ve got a good post in me about the blue plaques seen around the city, particularly those with a music or sport link. But a bit more research required.

Damaged goods.

Managed to dint my laptop lid, and smash the face of my I-phone, all within 7 days. I hate damaging my possessions. Don’t get me on to cars….

Betfair Forum

In the end, someone did the job for me. With thanks to ‘The Mover’, a little piece from the football forum which nearly all exchange users will recognise, particularly if you’ve spent any time on the forums. Not within the spirit of blogging maybe, but more entertaining than anything I could come up with this morning:

When Not To Bet – The Road To Perdition

It's getting late, the last live football on the telly has just finished. Confirmation of this has been reached by flicking through all the channels. You curse under your breath that with all the satellite channels you subscribe to there is not one damn live football match on. You know damn
well there will be a game on somewhere but no it's just not on the telly. "f'em I will find one online" you hear yourself saying as you open up some more tabs.
Ok plan B is needed. A quick loading up of livescore or futbol24 and you find a match is coming up. Oh good its FC Dogsbollox against FC Shoitepile. A quick scan of the Betfair markets and yes it's there. A quick look at the odds reveals Dogsbollox at 1.3 and Shoitepile at 10's. "This looks like a money spinner" goes through the mind "Dogsbollox must be like Barca". All I need to do now is find out where Dogsbollox are as you know full well it's important that you at least know which country they are from and how high their ground is above sea level before you can even consider entering the in-play thread on the forum.

A quick google search and Dogsbollox are found to play in the Philippines Premier Leaga Uno. A quick look up on soccerstats reveals Dogsbollox are top of the league and unbeaten in 10, great stuff. Oh but hang on where are Shoitepile? Oh damn, it’s not a league game it’s the Copa del Carp and Shoitepile are from the Malaysian Poop League. Oh well fear not the forum will know about this sort of match and I need to get on quick before it starts.

So in you go to the "Dogsbollox v Shoitepile" thread and sure enough there are some posters in there with their bets and match analysis. Some poster called "donemyconkers" is going full bank
on Dogsbollox and "gettheforkinthere" is going in big on goals. Great stuff it's on Betfair video and now I know my bets are on Dogsbollox and goals.
So all loaded up and ready for the kick off with total confidence of a home win and goals. Suddenly "donemyconkers" posts asking what colour Dogsbollox are. Oh fcuk goes through the mind, hes the guy that posted about full bank on Dogsbollox and he doesn't even know their home kit. Even though I'm in the same position having bet on Dogsbollox and not knowing which team they are I wait patiently for a reply so I can see who is who on the vid. 15 minutes of the match goes by and someone called "nailedon" posts it’s going to be 0-0. How can this be when
"gettheforkinthere" has gone big on goals goes through the mind.

The match nears half time and it's still 0-0. Dogsbollox are down to 10 men and Shoitepile have a corner. It rebounds off 5 players before hitting the crossbar and going in off the back of the goalies head. 0-1 Shoitepile. You curse at the screen as the Shoitepile backers post Booooooooom
and GTFI in the forum. How can this be possible? Dogshoite are far better team than Shoitepile, they must be they were 1.3 ffs. Half time 0-1. But wait, whats this? "donemyconkers" is going to
bed! with a full bank on Dogsbollox? How can this be? "gettheforkinthere" replies saying good night and hes off as well as he can't see any more goals and he's greened up from the first goal to finish off a good day.

With hopes fading with the loss of "donemyconkers" and "gettheforkinthere" it goes through your mind that the goal was lucky and even with 10 men Dogsbollox will surely get back into this as its the Copa Carp for god’s sake. Half time comes, the score still 0-1. Shortly after half time a penalty to Shoitepile and you decide you've done your dough and it's time for bed if it goes in. Sure enough in it goes. The laptop lid gets slammed down and you go to bed promising yourself not to get involved in the Copa del Carp again and that it's a mug cup for mug teams.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Alternative Universes

I hope everyone had the opportunity to watch last evening’s terrific documentary about QPR – ‘The 4 year plan’.

What a shambles the whole Ecclestone / Briatore ownership was. Flavio Briatore, in particular, stood out as chief imbecile amongst a group living in the above mentioned ‘alternative universe’. Amongst many ‘mouth open’ moments -

  • Paul Hart, the sixth manager put in charge in under eighteen months (including caretakers), sounding fed up and defeated in his first press conference ( he lasted under a month )
  • Mikele Leigertwood, put in front of the press as a long-serving pro alongside the newly incumbent Neil Warnock. ‘What’s it been like for the last couple of years, Mikele?’ ‘A nightmare’.
  • The laughable chairman Gianni Paladini, clearly scared in the presence of Briatore, noting how unlucky the board were to have chosen five ‘idiot’ managers in a row.
  • Paladini and Briatore discussing how they could text their in-game instructions to a manager.
  • Board member Amit Bhatia, a puppet for ‘8th richest man in world’ Lakshmi Mittal, hosting a money-saving meeting where a £1/head drop in the cost of executive box meals was discussed in detail as a worthwhile saving which may avoid selling players!

My favourite moment was when Warnock somehow managed to get the team to the verge of promotion, despite the board’s attempt to hijack everything with the ‘Faurlian’ ownership issue. During the match where a point was needed for promotion, things were going poorly at half time. Briatore was apoplectic – ‘idiot coach’, ‘coach doesn’t want to win’, ‘coach doesn’t know what he’s doing’. This obviously being the coach who had gained 78 or so points during the season. What a knob.

The most astonishing fact about the whole documentary was that those shown in it allowed it to be subsequently televised to the world. (Shakes head incredulously).

I don’t know how the Tony Fernandes era will turn out, but it can only be an improvement over his predecessors. Although I may have said something similar about Portsmouth.

Having returned to an old subject – Neil Warnock – some may have noticed that my ‘Bete Noir’ of football managers is now in charge of my own club, Leeds United. He is therefore in tandem with that most unlikeable of club owners, Ken Bates. And he’s made a cracking start by writing a fawning and flattering review of Saturday’s opponents, Southampton, before the game. Good for his own team’s confidence then? Southampton won.

It brought me to the thought of fans’ allegiance. I’m Leeds born, but now live 200 or so miles from Elland Road. I dislike the manager. I dislike the chairman. Most of the decent players are sold off on a regular basis. So why do I have to support Leeds? Is it possible to change allegiance?
At age thirteen, probably. But at forty-six? I’m fairly close to the grounds of Crystal Palace, Millwall or Charlton. But could I ever have that instinctive passion for my team, when they are newly adopted? The answer is probably no. I have too much history – my first match in the ‘73/’74 championship-winning year, a foggy ’75 night in the European Cup, the piss-poor mid-eighties teams, followed by the Howard Wilkinson team’s mighty rise to the championship, debuts for Cantona and a teenage Speed, the Ridsdale/O’Leary ‘living the dream’ years. These events are part of your life, never forgotten, and therefore I think I’ll have to get used to cheering along Neil and Ken, or become a ‘Blackburn-style’ fan, mercilessly booing my own team. Now there’s a thought…….