Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Nice Christmas Gift

Lovely CD set from RTE for Christmas featuring all the greatest hits from Peig Sayers. Tracks include:

Taobh A

1. Ta mo athair marbh
2. Ta mo deirfuir marbh
3. Ta mo dearthair marbh
4. Ta mo mathair marbh
5. Beimid go leir marbh amarach
6. Ar aghaidh an balla le mo guna ar an urlar

Taobh B

7. An geimhridh deacair
8. An samhraidh deacair
9. Ta mo athair marbh (live version)
10. Ta na paisti tinn
11. Ta slaighdean mor orm
12. Ochon, ta crioch ar an domhain

This is expected to be a huge hit so get it early for Christmas.

Exercise your right to protset

My brother forwarded this lovely picture of the FF Minister's constituency office in Trim which was vandalised overnight.

Gardai are looking for an opposition party member or supporter who cannot spell. This has ruled out Enda Kenny and Olwyn Enright from Laois Offaly.

My money is on the Sinners.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Great team photo

Defending a free-kick

It's all a matter of where you position your handbag.

Sadly despite the higher jump by Kaboul in the lower picture, Baines still scored but at least our guys didn't look like the fannies over at the Emirates.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Poetry - Jerusalem by William Blake

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

FC United of Manchester

Brighton beat Woking in the first round replay so it's Gus Poyet's team that stand in the way of FCUM and a plum draw with Manchester United.

Fingers crossed for another shock.

The Germans are here

I need to mark this historic day with a little note on the churchdoor. In years to come when some high-powered blog summariser is designed and then used to chart public sentiment from this era, and notably from this day, I want my feelings to be thrown into the melting pot.

So the Germans arrived today. Not under cover of darkness but not exactly by invitation either. The Germans, along with a few French, Italians and worst still Austrians and Belgians. Fuck, just think about it - the Belgians arriving to sort our mess out.

Littered through history we have plenty of examples of our forefathers inviting foreigners in to help us win our freedom and to establish our sovereignty. Think of the glorious failures - General Humbert at Ballina and the Spanish Admada at Kinsale to name but two - all culminating in eventual success and our own independent State from 1921.

And now, what? We have to invite these foreigners back because we fucked the whole thing up and displayed to the world that we really haven't come very far from the days of the Famine. A peasant nation with an fundamental inability to adopt common principles of shared responsibility and obligation, a democracy centred on producing individuals driven solely by the achievement of personal gain, and the denial of personal culpability. Geldof was right - a Banana Republic, a septic isle.

So how did it happen? Several options on this - greedy developers, corrupt town planners, incompetent and criminal bankers, a flawed legal system - take your pick but when you've decided, ensure that your answer also includes the two simple evil words - Fianna Fail. Having ruled this country for close to eighty of its' years of independence, they created an inherent culture of me-fein-ism and cute-hoorism, translated into English as selfishness and devious dishonesty. Brown paper bags and padded envelopes in dingy planning offices, knowing embraces prior to the walk past homeless begging mothers on the way to the State car.

Can we hope that this disaster which has beset our country will bring one shred of good from it - the permanent demise of the Fianna Fail party? Would that it did - it might even be worth the price, regardless of the billions it will cost. But let's not count on this - their carefully constructed opposition to the inevitable bail-out is designed to give them the defence lines that they didn't want to bring the IMF in all along and the cuts that have been imposed were not of their doing. The die-hard supporters that still live in 1916 will believe it and the true test of our stupidity as a nation and people will come in counting how many others go along with this. Pray, oh pray, that the rest of the population are sensible and brave enough to see right from wrong and good from evil and to cast them into the annals of history, along with other outdated and now redundant organisations like the Home Rule Party, the United Irishmen and the Fenians.

These people have blighted our country for years and now they have destroyed it. Long may they burn in hell.

In trying to place the blame for this mess I take an interesting diversion to recall the comments made recently in the Irish Times about the roles our private schools played in creating this debacle. The suggestion being that places like Blackrock, were intent and still remain intent, on producing individuals who aspire continually to achieve the pinnacle of success in chosen professions ("get to the top at all costs") while substantially ignoring the core values of integrity, dignity and ultimately charity and philanthropy. Schools which perpetuate the problems associated with influence and favour -- who you know not what you know - through their old boys network.

You might say that Mike and I have a greater peripheral guilt on this than you two legal eagles because we sent our kids back to this place, but remember we've got higher point scores on the charity front by a long way. We had genuine intentions in going to the School for the Deaf in Stillorgan whereas you guys went simply for the false glory of belting the ball past a kid who was a quarter your size and unable, through no fault of his own, a disadvantage from birth, to argue that your first touch was taken in a blatantly offside position. But then I suppose you are lawyers.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Brotherly Love

The strange case of Justin and John Fashanu merits a little examination and comment.

When Justin took his life in May 1998 in a lock-up garage in Shoreditch, London, a primary contributory factor lay in his fear of prosecution by the US Authorities following a homosexual encounter with a minor in Maryland earlier that year. Justin, the older of the two brothers, was clearly not a stranger to controversy and inappropriate behaviour, having been convicted of driving offences and of falsifying stories about himself and Cabinet Ministers in an effort to earn cheap money from the tabloid press.

He was also not a stranger to confronting the media and challenging public attitudes, particularly when dealing with his own sexuality. Openly gay, his tendency to frequent homosexual night clubs in Nottingham after his move from Norwich was believed to be the cause of deep-rooted friction with Brian Clough and a reason why (having scored 35 games in 90 games for Norwich) he only played 32 times for Forest (scoring a meagre 3 goals) and began his downward spiral in football (and maybe life) when he left the City Ground.

We then look at his brother, John, and start by examining his current website which outlines him as a sportsman, TV personality, ambassador, businessman and basically all-round cool guy. We all remember him as the male side-kick to Ulrika Johnson on Gladiator - the programme which brought the term “macho” to a new level. Not many gays appeared on Gladiator over the years, I bet.

Add to this image John’s role as a member of the Crazy Gang at Wimbledon in the late seventies and early eighties and his four years learning his trade at Oswald Mosley’s Millwall in the East End of London. No doubt he had to “compensate for his colour” down at the Den by showing other traits familiar and popular with the homophobic, racist and violent fans whom they call supporters. Poor Gary Mabbutt was to learn about these traits at a fixture at the Lane in 1994 when Fashanu’s elbow very nearly cost him his life in one of the most cynical and horrific challenges the Premiership has ever seen.

Justin remains the only footballer in the history of the Premiership to “come out” - a fact that says more about the homophobic nature of the game than the laws of mathematical probability. Our beautiful game remains littered with a class of supporter, and player, whose singular focus is on conformity to their norm, and mindless hatred towards anyone who fails to meet their standards. Think of the dangerous Neil Lennon twins in front of us at Goodison. Is it any wonder that other gay footballers have not had the courage to confirm their sexuality when so much in football still centres around the behaviour and preferences of the mindless?

Going back to John’s website, you really are left scratching your head. How can a man who publicly disowned his brother when he learnt he was gay, describe himself as “playing a keen role in a raft of charities focusing on the needs of underprivileged children. In the past he has held the post of UNICEF Ambassador for Africa, as well as working with Barnardo’s, Yanga (Street Children Care International), CenterPoint, and Jubilee Action (Against Child Prostitution) to name but a few.” John then goes on to advise us that “He soon found that he was personally involved in over thirty five individual charitable organisations.”

Something just doesn’t add up, and while I’m quite prepared to give John Fashanu the benefit of the doubt and credit him for the good work he does, I just wish I hadn’t got the lingering thought of that dark garage in Shoreditch in my mind as I read his list of achievements. Charity is supposed to begin at home.

I need to finish on a football note - do you know what, (and here’s the beauty of it all) - in his more successful career John Fashanu never came anywhere near to displaying the skills his older brother did – all John’s goals were built on physical power and aggression where he buried the ball, defender and keeper in the net from three yards - no doubt after a precisely punted free-kick or corner. Ireland in the Nineties.

So go on John, have a look at the BBC Goal of the Season from 1980 and marvel at the skills your deceased brother had. Don’t you wish you had half the skills?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Games People Play

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

The sepia toning on these 1979 photos is not deliberate - it's just reflects the poor quality of developing from Conn Cameras in Dame Court. To develop a roll of film in those days was close to £10, an alarming price by today's standards.

The Day the Music died

So sad to see the departure of Ray Wilkins from Chelsea this afternoon. Let's face it for our generation, this man was Chelsea. A shining light in a team festooned with mediocrity. Chelsea in the mid-seventies.

And what happens today? The unrelenting march of the oligarch continues and years and years of history, devotion and dedication goes out the window. South London is in tears - or maybe not.
Does the current generation of fans down the Kings Road even know what the Shed meant and how much Butch contributed to its' aspirations and dreams? I think not. Yes his picture is on the wall in the Harding suite - beside Leboeuf; Gallas; Zola; Vialli and the Czech guy ("what was his name again)? My father used to watch Wilkins play they say, in between sips.

Ray remember this - to some of us you were vital, as important as Status Quo and tartan scarves tied to the wrist, Rod Stewart's "I am Sailing" and Britt Ekland. Your memory will linger at the Bridge always, and if only you had got rid of that nasty little habit that developed at training in recent years, there's nothing to say you wouldn't have been with us forever.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Magic of the FA Cup and Rochdale

At the start of the season, I decided to track Rochdale's results this season, a token gesture to acknowledge their second promotion in the history of the club, and only the second time that they had ever played outside the bottom division of the Football League. To date their results have been up and down, with the team currently nestling in mid-table in Division 1.

Last Friday night brought their notable season head-to-head with the fairy-tale season of another club - FC United of Manchester, the team formed and owned by the Machester United supporters who objected to the take-over of the Old Trafford giants by the Glazer consortium.

Now in existence five years, FCUM play their football in the Northern Premier League. Their progress this year in the FA Cup has been remarkable, and on Friday they came up against local rivals Rochdale AFC in the 1st Round Proper. A 3-2 win with a controversial goal in the 93rd minute now leaves them with one round to negotiate before fate will surely play a part and they will be drawn at home, in the third round to who else but Manchester United. After that, the rest will be history.

The controversial winner came amid claims that the goalscorer, Norton, has kicked the ball out of the Rochdale keeper's hands before scoring. Shades of George Best and Gordon Banks at Windsor Park.

In the 2nd round FCUM have been drawn away to Brighton or Woking who drew 0-0 on Saturday.

An interesting footnote to the game is that the match was shown live on ESPN, who paid FC United of Manchester £67,000 for the rights. The money, which starts to inch FCUM away from their amateur status and into ranks from which they fled, is to be used to build a new ground for the club.

Let's hope the underlying ethos remains the same in the new location and that ESPN and Sky and whomever is next, don't go spoiling the dream in the long-term.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Remember this?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

No mister, if you do that you'll detonate an atomic bomb

From today's Irish Times.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

European Champions - you're having a laff

Inter Milan packed off home with consumate ease; Bale value increased by £5 million (he will be let go despite what Harry says) and who's on top of the group, say who's on top of the group?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Just how hard was this man?

You have to admit, whether it was battering intruders in his house, head-butting policemen at taxi-ranks, or sorting out moaning defenders, Big Dunc had a rather direct style. Four convictions for assault, three months in jail and nine red cards over the course of his career are testimony to this approach.
A strong believer in keeping Everton at Goodison, his attempts at public debate on the matter with Brusselsblue were politely declined.
Quote Duncan:
"During my time at Everton, Goodison Park came to feel like a second home, with the supporters of the club, and the people of the city becoming a second family to me. If you were to take Everton out of the City, I firmly believe the club could no longer call itself the ‘People’s Club’ and I give my whole-hearted support to the campaign to keep Everton in the City."
And who's to argue against that?