Thursday, September 30, 2010

As bad as the rest

Sadly, figures have caught up with the latest Fianna Fail conman and the cool clean hero that was Brian Lenihan is now lying in the gutter with the rest of his party cronies.

Over two years he displayed an aura of I "know what I'm talking about and trust me" and foolishly we did. Only those who pointed to his lack of a financial background doubted his ability to provide leadership and in time their judgements have been vindicated.

I wish the man no evil and I hope he recovers from his illness, I laud his ability and courage to stand up and face the music when others wouldn't, but I now urge him to get his naive face off the bloody stage. The World Bank and / or the IMF are on their way.

At Eye Level at the Lane

A new hero has emerged at the Lane - misses penalty, booked, scored, sent off and gets man of the match award.

Hail the Dutchman.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Leeds 4 Preston 6

Boys, we have got to get down to Elland Road while this stuffs going on. Looks like the old days are back.

Disappointing result for Leeds though, particularly having led 4-1 after 39 mins.

Keep an eye on this lad though - looks as though he could go places - impressed for Ireland when he came on as sub against Las Malvinas, and has scored some super goals in the Championship to date. Keith Tracey of PNE.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Follow me up to Carlow

Nice to hook up with Clifford on his side-trip to Dublin recently. Hopefully next time he will mask his disappointment at not meeting Mark Ryan better and show more interest in the non-rugby playing bores that we are.

In any event several stories were trotted out over dinner in Dawson Street - including one about the fabulous day when Rich tried to kill us all on the road between Carlow and Kilkenny. Fabulous because we survived the car crash, and then proceeded to get totally wasted in the nearer pub which conveniently was about thirty yards from the scene of the accident. Fond memories of Bob Hudson joining in a few glasses of his favourite whisky before driving us back to Dublin to start the journey again (in Clifford's car).

The little green Mazda was never the same again, and Rich decided it was time to settle down and get married.

A bridge too far

Everton's lowly position in the Premiership is attributable to their overdependence on their midfield and the inability of their forwards to rattle in a reasonable number of goals.

Jermaine Beckford is a case in point - looked smart around the higher levels of the First Division with Leeds, but a step up by two divisions was too much for him to take. Six weeks in and one penalty against Huddersfield to show for his endeavours, large questionmarks must be beginning to surface.

While we can point the finger at Beckford and his ilk, the real issue is Moyes who has to take the blame for continually bringing in below par performers to play up front or for being unable to instill the flexibility needed to allow the team to play in a manner not involving a packed midfield.

Jermaine Beckford, Andrew Johnson, James Beattie, The Yak, Louis Saha, and the list goes on and on. Big money signings who flopped - we all make mistakes I know - but the same one time and time again - I don't know. Everton need to rid themselves of this delusion that Moyes is a great manager working with limited resources - let's face it he's a plodder who needs to be shafted to allow the club return to its' expected position.

Nearer my God to thee

Inda Kinny’s appalling lack of judgement on the issue of pairing this week, and Labour’s triumphalism at their timely interjection, is another fine example of how fucked up this country’s political system is.

Why can’t all these morons realise that most of the rational people in the country don’t give a shit about who did what at Beal na Blath, or who was licking the stamps at the GPO in Easter Week. We want to bury the Civil War politics that have blighted this country for so long and we want leaders who will make decisions based on the common good rather their party’s perceived electoral standing.

It’s akin to the crew of the Titanic fist-fighting to decide who should get the prime position on the captain’s bridge to observe the Milky Way.


Monday, September 27, 2010

I want you to go forward ....... forward in time

Fuck, we could end up looking like this.

In a few easy steps from this:

Morpheus, Dickie Murphy, Pills and Topcat -in the words of the immortal Spud Murphy - to the church door and back.

Joxer goes to Stuttgart

Christy explains where the whole thing started.

Precursor to the Day of the Broudjies

Gerry mooches into my mott in Paris 1978 while I'm back in Dublin studying for the final BComm exams. Eat your heart out sucker he said as he rang me from the Gare d'Lyon.

Little was he to know that the revenge would take a full four years to be delivered, on the infamous Day of the Broudjies in Amsterdam. More to follow in due course.

Job completed, he headed for the station - note the ever-present Roddie Wood in the background seeking to tempt him into a career in modelling (again).

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Poetry - I see his Blood upon the Rose by Joseph Mary Plunkett

A huge amount has been written of the Great War Poets over the years and many of these individuals were inspired to write by the horrors of the Great War from 1914 to 1918, in which they played so tragic a part. They are immortalised for their contribution to literature, and rightfully so.

During this same period, Ireland also had academics and scholars who were drawn into an armed struggle in pursuit of a cause they passionately believed in. The 1916 Rising saw the execution of two such men, Padraig Pearse and Joseph Mary Plunkett. Our national school education led us to believe that Plunkett composed the following poem the evening before his execution in Kilmainham Jail (and also that he married on the same day). Whether this is true or not, the piece of poetry is one of the educational remnants of my time in "primary education" and it remains as powerful now as on the day I first read it, short pants and all.

I see his blood upon the rose
And in the stars the glory of his eyes,
His body gleams amid eternal snows,
His tears fall from the skies.

I see his face in every flower;
The thunder and the singing of the birds
Are but his voice—and carven by his power
Rocks are his written words.

All pathways by his feet are worn,
His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea,
His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,
His cross is every tree.

Didn't you once used to be someone important?

The best part of the last trip to Liverpool was when Derek Mountfield taught us how to play the air-piano.

Blues hanging in there

Five games to go in the season and the Blues are hanging in there. Friday's trip on the new N9 was rewarded with a 3-0 victory over limerick, with goals from Willie John Kiley and Liam Kearney (2).

In third spot, four points off leaders Derry and one behind Monaghan who have a game in hand, it's hotting up for an exciting finish with next away game in Monaghan having vital significance.
Third goal last Friday was superb finish by Liam Kearney captured in the sequence of shots below.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Don't you just love this kind of guy?

Karl Power.

Superstar all-rounder.

Stories of the fake Togo team which turned up to play (and did play) a friendly against Bahrain recently brings you round to thinking of the maverick genius that is Karl Power. Anyone who gets himself banned from Old Trafford for life is a genius in my world in any event, but his antics there and elsewhere in the sporting world place him stratospheres above virtually all civilisation.
Building on the success of his appearance for Manchester United in a Champions League game against Bayern Munich, Power has since played at Wimbledon Centre Court against Tim Henman, stood on the winners podium at Silverstone (surprising Michael Schumacher) and attempted to bat for England against Australia at Headingley. Excuse the pun, but absolutely powerful stuff.

Whether the Togo team go on to achieve such success is debatable, but you have to admire their bottle. The game, won 3-0 by Bahrain, appeared on FIFA’s website, but the Togolese football federation (FTF) stated the players who had faced the Bahraini national team were not from Togo.

According to "Europe 1" a fake football agent, whose name or nationality is not yet known, sold the match to Bahrain, who are preparing for the Asian championships. The feeble performance of the squad during the friendly had stunned members of the Bahraini Football Association (BFA), who only found out the truth after the game. "The very bad game of the ‘Togolese’ players surprised us, but then to discover that we had been dealing with a fake team was incredible,” said a member of the BFA. Togo’s Sports Minister Christophe Tchao told Jeune Afrique that nobody back home was aware of the encounter. “We will conduct investigations to uncover all those involved in this case,” he said.
Long live Karl Power, and all those who seek to emulate him, Togolese or not. Let's face it the alternative is not worth thinking about - a team led by Emmanuel Adebayor? Thanks but no thanks.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Anyone who says Punk is dead, will be

In the late seventies, music was actually important to us, or certainly to some of us. Let's face it, who you liked or disliked was actually a very fundamental statement about yourself.

To illustrate this, I need only point to Steve Byrne, whose open and honest admission that he liked James Last blew his street cred early on, and condemned him to a life of ridicule and bullying.

Similarly, Gerry's brief flirtation with Sacre Bleu was no more than an aggressive attempt to detract from the hideous mistake he made a few years earlier when choosing the Bay City Rollers. Sacre Bleu were safe ground because no-one knew who these guys were or what kind of music they played. A trawl through the annals of Irish rock reveal that they were formed in 1978, released two singles in 1979 and, maybe not surprisingly, disbanded in January 1980. Probably something to do with that year's big freeze. They also incidentally had a drummer called Al (Harpo) Cowan........

It was little wonder that the odd time Gerry would enquire of them in his "breaking the ice routine", the astonished interviewee, generally dancing around her handbag at the time, would respond with a bewildered "Who?" Inevitably, the next Gerry would see the same mott would be when Brian was pulling the knickers off her in the cloakroom.

Mike's choice of music was more subtle, and more likely to appeal to the fairer sex. The connection between Mike and The Stylistics is explored elsewhere on this blog, but let's not forget that his beautiful rendition of Sundown by Gordon Lightfoot would bring many a long night to a close in the summer of 1976. Guaranteed to send Karsie into a spin.

But back to the advent of Punk which is where I wanted to start.

In 1979 the question was not whether you were into punk or not - it was assumed you were - it was were you "The Clash or The Jam?" Both were part of the revolution in music which we experienced and while only the Clash can be described as a pure punk rock band, both expressed anti-establishment sentiments and spoke of political and social dissatisfaction and in instances, anarchy. Both obviously aware of the imminent arrival of Margaret Thatcher.

I clearly sided with the The Jam, and while their lyrics were softer and less confrontational than other punk bands, they nevertheless delivered a vivid description of life in dull, mundane, seventies England. The Clash were angrier and more immediate, but Weller's language, matched to vibrant sound, was close to perfection.

Cop a load of That's Entertainment:

A police car and a screaming siren
pneumatic drill and ripped up concrete
a baby wailing and a stray dog howling
the screech of brakes and lamplights blinking

Thats entertainment

A smash of glass and the rumble of boots
an electric train and a ripped up phone booth
paint splattered walls and the cry of a tom cat
lights going out and a kick in the balls

Thats entertainment

Days of speed and slow time Mondays
pissing down with rain on a boring Wednesday
watching the news and not eating your tea
a freezing cold flat with damp on the walls

Thats entertainment

Waking up at 6 a.m on a cool warm morning
opening the window and breathing in petrol
an amateur band rehearsing in a nearby yard
watching the telly and thinking 'bout your holidays

Thats entertainment

Waking up from bad dreams and smoking cigarettes
cuddling a warm girl and smelling stale perfume
a hot summers day and sticky black tarmac
feeding ducks in the park and wishing you were far away

Thats entertainment

Two lovers kissing at the scream of midnight
two lovers missing the tranquility of solitude
getting a cab and travelling on buses
reading the graffiti about slash seats and fares

Thats entertainment

The Clash for their part had London's Calling, Rock the Casbah and Should I Stay or Should I go? Gut-wrenching stuff - inspirational - and were it not for the fact hat I was close to qualifying as an accountant, and still wearing clothes bought by my mother for me, I would certainly have thrown caution to the wind and put the safety pins through my eyebrow.

But sadly, I hadn't got the balls. Another big regret in life.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Shrek at Everton

All the hullabaloo about Wayne Rooney's extramarital activities, and his lack of respect for the England supporters at the World Cup, hide the truth behind why his return to Goodison today would have been such a torrid affair.

The reason why Rooney is hated on Merseyside goes back to Hillsborough and his subsequent decision (admittedly several years later) to sell his story in an exclusive to "The Sun", the newspaper which had lied and made scurrilous observations about the behaviour of the Liverpool fans on the day of the Hillsborough disaster.

From the Guardian in 2004:

"The 18-year-old's decision to sell his life story - 'world exclusive' - revelations that he and his fiancĂ©e love each other, watch EastEnders and have a dog called Fiz - for £250,000 to the Sun and its sister paper, the News of the World , was guaranteed to test his folk hero status like nothing else. As in 1992, when Liverpool manager Graeme Souness took the paper's shilling, radio phone-ins were jammed. Fans wrote letters or emails saying they were 'sickened'. Red-blue rivalries on the field were irrelevant: Everton and Liverpool fans are united in hatred of the Sun.

Leading the condemnation of the deal is Jimmy McGovern, writer of the TV drama documentary Hillsborough. He said last night: 'Footballers today are on massive wages because 96 fans died at Hillsborough and Lord Justice Taylor had to drag the game into the modern era. Footballers should never forget it. Local lads especially. Locally born footballers have an enormous responsibility to the Hillsborough dead. That is hard, I know. They are only young men. But, tough, they have it. So for Wayne Rooney to sell his story to the Sun is a disgrace.'

It was nice to see Everton's comeback knock the wind out of United's sails today with the two late goals. It was an awful shame Rooney wasn't there to do the walk of shame to the dressing room after the game. Hopefully, hopefully - another time.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fantasy football

Well, football is back to normal after the slight diversion for the Euro 2012 fixtures.

Spurs need badly to get back to business with a win at West Brom, while Chelsea will be expected to keep their 100% record at Upton Park. Everton's position in the bottom three looks safe with the imminent visit of Man Utd to Goodison.

The Fantasy Football challenge sadly has been reduced to two, and frankly boys, there's no competition developing. After three weeks I hold a 27 point lead in the main competition and a staggering lead of 80 in the "I know the score" competition.

Gerry this badly needs your presence and Mike 4th spot is still free. Come on boys, get the finger out. We can start the scoring again from whenever you join.

The code is 1444049-286881

It was the draw in table football everyone wanted to avoid.

What the hell was poor Pele doing with these reprobates? I bet he went hope with bruises on his chest and a joint hanging off his lip.

Poor bastard - I wonder did they ever give him a go of the bars?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I want you to back, back in time ......

June 1991.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I, said the sparrow ......

Admittedly only Andorra but nevertheless......

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Got a ticket for the match - if so celebrate!

Poetry - Remembering the Nineties by Kevin Higgins

Our hair got smaller and the TV went on
forever. We waited
for the Stone Roses' second album, or watched
Party of Five. In Washington,
committees gathered to frown
at what had gone on in the President's trousers.

Northern Ireland paused for
what would eventually become
a fully formed thought. Rwanda
was a machete with names on it,
that sounded nothing like ours.
We protested French nuclear testing by
sampling South African white
wine's new found innocence.

Osama bin Laden was a rumour
no one believed and Saddam Hussein
an occasional burst of stomach acid
up the oesophagus. We could board planes
without anyone having to see us naked
through a machine first, and made our No
to apathy heard by not bothering to vote.

While we planned trips to places
we couldn't yet pronounce, politicians bickered
about the Romanians begging on Shop Street.

History was in the bathroom
putting on her new face.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My First Confession

I made my home debut in front of a packed Gladys Street End on a bitterly cold Saturday in December 1965. I was both nervous and cold so I decided to wear my leather jacket in the hope that it would hide my shivering. I played alongside Roy Wernon and Alex Young, who both commented on how stylish I looked in my brown Duberry moccasin shoes with the tassels on the top.

I remember waving to my old school mates before I took the field, a small gesture of appreciation for what they had taught me on the playing fields of Stillorgan. I only wished that Barry Foley could also have been there to witness this proud moment.

We were up against Huddersfield that day, a team well known for mixing it, and before long my suede baggies (tailor-cut) were in complete shit. On that day I put Roy Ellam's name in my little black book and vowed that someday I'd get him back for wrecking my beautiful tweeds.

We won 2-1 and I played my part - the second goal, a piledriver from a young Howard Kendall, (just signed from Preston), ricocheted off my glasses into the bottom left hand corner of the net. I gave a quick glance to the line, saw the flag was down and raised my arms aloft - holding that brown cashmere scarf proudly in the air. I threw off my brown leather jacket to reveal a blue t-shirt with the message bright and clear -"Everton for Kirkby".

And the crowd, they all chanted my name.
Except for one.