Sunday, 24 June 2012


The only thing England need to learn about taking penalties is you need a big pair of bollocks.

Compare Youngs penalty to Pirlo's? Young hit it harder and in a straighter line. Yet even as they stood to take them I knew Young would miss and Pirlo would score. Why? Because Pirlo looked confident and Young looked like he was afraid of Andy Carroll's reaction if he missed.

It is the same confidence that lets the Italians retain possession. There players aren't better than ours, but they aren't full of fear. When you are full of fear the space looks smaller and you fall deeper and deeper and create the problems that you imagine will happen. We managed to put fear into the Italians in the first 20 minutes but after Pirlo came into the game it calmed them down and we started panicking.

So come on England, everybody says you played with heart but now you need to play with bollocks as well.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Slow down, get a job...

Not much been going on, other than me starting a new full-time (spit) job, working for somebody else.

After a few years being self employed the discipline of doing what I am told is now something I am having to re-learn, but it is nice having a guaranteed pay check at the end of the week. In these times of fiscal uncertainty it is a decision I had to make for my family, who deserve security, ahead of my own interests. That isn't to say I don't intend to carry on trying to sell my creativity, it is just going to occupy less of my time for the next few months.

So I would like to apologise for the slowing down of the blog. I will be writing more regularly again soon, and maybe even on topics people want to read about. But until then I humbly beg for patience from the people who have taken the time to read my humble words.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Hodgsons Army

Sorry, but this is another football blog (albeit my first in a while).

I had the joy of watching 70 minutes of England vs France yesterday and to all those who have doubted the appointment of Hodgson as England manager I put to you this performance proves he is the right man for the job.

Before the tournament people have written England off, and with good reason. A change of manager with only two friendly matches to prepare, Rooney missing for two matches, a host of injuries including Lampard and Barry, two players with a more than reasonable claim to be in the centre of Midfield and let us not forget the existence of John Terry. Oh, how I try to forget the existence of John Terry, the ultimate embarrassment to being English.

Yet watching against the French the England team displayed something they have rarely displayed for most of the last 20 year. Heart. England have always been known as a passionate, committed team and this has made up for our technical weakness against countries which have a more cultured or tactically aware football mentality. Yet since Venables in 1996, other than a brief period under Keegan where he displayed that heart wasn't everything, we have been trying to emulate other European nations in our mentality. Keeping the ball, trying to defend one goal leads, being timid when the game is crying out for courage.

Against the French we showed an awful lot of heart and defensive discipline and organisation. Yes, we fell back into the bad habit of defending deeper and deeper when we had a lead to protect, but other than that 10 minute patch at the end of the first half we looked like a team that could defend all day. The organisation is astounding when you consider that for most of the previous 12 years we had managers who had received their footballing educations in Italy, home of defensive organisation, and we had never looked capable of defending a lead during that time. But it was the return of English heart that was the most wonderful to behold.

Let us not forget that France have now not lost for 22 games, a phenomenal run in international football, and are on form one of the best teams in world football, yet for 90 minutes we matched them and deserved our point. More than that we had several chances to take all 3 points. OK, there were a few scares, but that is something we have to expect from a team with the attacking options of France.

Nobody is yet saying that England are among the favourites for this tournament, but if England can keep showing the never-say-die trenches spirit and add just a little bit more quality going forward then we can at least look forward to leaving the tournament with our heads held high rather than leaving in ignominy and shame.

And looking forward, when Hodgson has the chance to shape his own team, things have a slightly more positive taste than they have for many years.

 Goodbye Golden Generation, hello hope.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Responsible parenting.

There are times when being a responsible parent leaves little to be desired.

While you have to admire the sheer self-centredness of people like the 19 year old who was so upset that her partner was arrested for drunk driving with her baby in the car she got stoned then drove home at midnight, forgetting her baby was strapped into his travel seat on TOP of the car. All credit to her, she noticed the baby was missing when she got home. The jubilee weekend will see pubs across the country welcoming families to join in the festivities. A small number of these families will get totally drunk and will lose forget about their children, other than maybe grabbing a couple of packets of crisps for them to keep them quiet. They will enjoy the weekend.

It was difficult to keep keep these in mind today when I found myself at a pelican crossing in torrential rain. Ever since he has been old enough to walk I have been showing him that you press the button and wait for the green man before you cross. We got caught out today in the rain. It was only a 5 minute walk to the shop so, while my son was in full rain gear including hood, cap and brolly, I was in a thin jacket and hoody. The rain, rather predictably, started when we were half way to the store. By the time we got to the crossing I was soaked, cold and miserable, and my three year old rain excitedly to press the button to cross the road.

There was not a single car in site, there hadn't been all the way up the road. Most people were too sensible to be out in the weather, or if they had ventured out they were in a pub getting drunk with their loved ones. It was sorely tempting to cross the road with him and ignore what I had taught him. It was easy to think about all the drunk families who, in all likelihood, would suffer no ill consequences from their irresponsibility, other than years from now the probability their children will be emulating them.

With these thoughts I looked at him and the temptation went away. I might be teaching him how to cross a road, but being a parent teaches me anew about responsibility everyday.

He didn't choose to come into this world, and the unwritten contract parents sign is to love, protect and nurture our children. Getting rained on is a small price to pay to help him grow up the right way.