Friday, March 30, 2012

Have you paid your property tax?

While we're scurrying around looking for the few bob to pay our property tax (shouldn't have slagged the English fans at Italia 90 about paying the poll tax), Brusselsblue is engaged in the trivia of theatre with several sold out shows at British Council in Brussels.

Looking rather his age don't you think?

Friday, March 23, 2012


Where is this?

The superman from Brewery Road

Gerry's tracking of the great and the good is becoming a little frightening - you can't even hide in the technology pages of the Irish Times without him tracking you down. God help us if any of us end up on the Criminal Courts page.

But fair does to him in spotting our emigrant superhero John Deutscheskule O'Farrell as he gave it welly to a bunch of Silicon-breasted dolls in Americay and tried to drum up a few bob for the itinerants back home. Lording it over technology valley with billions to lash around, it's hard to recall the memory of him sponging lifts all over the place from Art at Webcars and refusing to pay for his round nine times out of ten in the late seventies.

To his credit at least he is trying to help out and you won't see him coming home to plunder the last few national treasures we have - the delightful taste of warm soda bread; fly-fishing on the Corrib; and reciting Yeats from a bar-stool in a quaint snug just off Grafton Street. He's leaving that to others closer to home.

My lasting memory of Moneybags O'Farrell is him being refused drink by a scutty little barman for being underage (and him 24 or older) - by fuck they'd happily serve him oodles of Bacardi Breezers now, until he was lying in the gutter outside the megapub, like most of the rest of the future saviours of this country.

So come back John, all is forgiven.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Why, why, why, Delilah?

Stoke City doing what they do well at the Lane last night. A frustrating night.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Ten people I'd love to have met - Alfie Conn

I thinking of the ten people I’d love to meet / have met, the list wouldn’t be right if there wasn’t a Spurs hero in there. Let’s face it by my current estimation thinking about Spurs accounts for about 30% of my waking time.

The player I have gone for is not one of the established stars but he is repeatedly top of the Spurs fans voting charts as ultimate club cult hero. He also hit my consciousness at a very, very relevant stage of my life, in the final months leading up to the Leaving Certificate (trauma number 1) and as Spurs faced relegation for the first time since I was born (trauma number 2). I dealt with the first trauma myself and Alfie Conn sorted out the second one for me.

The Spurs fansite mehstg (my eyes have seen the glory) in its’ tribute to Alfie describes the run-in to the 74/5 season well and the matches referred to are vividly etched in my mind – so much so that I can remember where I was when the results came. Sweetest, for obvious reasons was the Chelsea game, which was followed on the radio in Rich Hudson’s house in Waltham Terrace.

From mehstg:

Spurs were in desperate trouble during that season, but Alfie managed to keep the crowd enthralled by his brilliant skills and flair. He scored a sensational goal as Spurs beat Wolves 3-0 at the Lane and was absolutely brilliant throughout the game, leaving Spurs just six games to go to stay up. A 1-0 away win at QPR was followed by a 2-1 home win over Luton. When Spurs went on to lose 2-3 at Burnley, things looked bad. However, Alfie lifted Spurs to great heights in the next game at home to Chelsea when 50,998 watched the game. Chelsea had both the Wilkins brothers in their team, with a young Ray Wilkins as captain. His brother, Graham was sent off and Spurs survived the pressure well to win 2-0 with Alfie Conn again brilliant in his dribbling and shooting and creating chances for the others from the wing.

Now there were just two games to go. A 0-1 reverse at Highbury against Arsenal left Tottenham having to win the last game of the season to stay up. It was at home to Leeds on Monday 28th April and Leeds had a European final to play later that week. Spurs were absolutely brilliant that night and Alfie's skills inspired Spurs to a 4-2 win and he bagged one of the goals. The others were scored by Cyril Knowles (2) and Martin Chivers.

It had been a breathtaking end to the season and Alfie had been in inspiring form as Spurs stayed up. Conn had made 17 League starts in the season and scored six goals. The next season Alfie suffered an injury and made just eight appearances in the starting line-up as Spurs finished 9th. His final season for Spurs was in 1976-7, when he made just 13 appearances.

Conn was a maverick, with dirty unkempt looks which embraced sideburns and long hair (a la 70’s) and an individual style of play which actually promised the unpredictable. The kind of skill that is beaten out of players nowadays. He was lovingly and humorously arrogant, not in a manner that is spawned by continual success but more out from an apathetic I don’t give a damn attitude. Robin Friday springs to mind.

Surprisingly Conn was Bill Nicholson’s last signing for Spurs and he also chose Celtic ahead of Rangers when leaving England to go back north purely because of the influence of Jock Stein. A peculiar affinity between two hard-working gentlemen of the game and the wayward genius. In many ways, not dissimilar from Best’s relationship with Matt Busby.

And so, Alfie, great to meet you, tell me about your days at Spurs………...

View across the city from the belltower

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Everton wearing green

Ten short years

And what of Everton this week? An abject performance against Liverpool and further proof that they appear to be able to do everyone a favour except themselves. Victories against City, Chelsea and Spurs are laudable but must be viewed in tandem with countless derby failures over the years and poor results against weaker teams - this season home defeats to QPR, Bolton and Stoke and draws against Blackburn and Norwich have cost them 13 points. Thirteen points would put them above Chelsea and in Champions League contention.

And then there's the debate about Moyes and his future at the club after ten years. Rumour suggests Spurs are likely to come knocking once Harry follows the yellow brick road. Does Moyes want to aim for something higher or is he afraid of a challenge which no longer has the excuse trapdoor of "no funds available".

His coaching style is apparently totally contrary to Redknapp's, focusing on discipline and rigidity in structure. Harry as we've seen with Bale and Van der Vaart prefers to allow his players greater flexibility in where they go and, as evidenced by his continuous decisions to play Modric out of position, expects the players to be able to adapt to the situations evolving around them. Moyes is regimented, Harry flamboyant and I'm not talking here about paying taxes.

I have to think that Moyes to Spurs would be a bad match for both parties - Moyes is too honest and genuine a man for Spurs, and Spurs are too good a footballing organisation for Moyes. Neither deserve each other. Hopefully sense will prevail.

The King is dead, long live the King

Are Chelsea not getting a little bit carried away over admittedly fine victory over Napoli yesterday evening. Let's face it - recovering from a two goal deficit, with the added psychological benefit of an away goal, against the fourth placed team in Italy shouldn't be beyond the aspirations of the top five or six teams in England.

I have to think the verbiage from Terry and Lampard wasn't about the game last night, but a parting shot at AVB and a message to all about who's in charge at the club. Certainly watching Terry give the tactical instructions to the team following his substitution, while Di Matteo stood there transfixed, was fairly indicative of the power balance and to the "neutrals" among us was the only sour aspect of an otherwise enthralling encounter.

Good luck to Chelsea in the draw tomorrow.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Familiar face

Everton scout at Mise le Meas Junior's game.

Legion of Mary re-established

Under the watchful eye of Malachy (library - "stop laughing please Brian"), the Blackrock College legion of Mary re-grouped on Saturday morning and decided as a first project to pay a trip to the deaf boys in Brussels who don't seem to hear our pleas for more money. While it is recognised that this is a case of selective deafness, ("similar to the army" remarked Turlough the actor), it was nevertheless deemed to be a good cause because let's face it these poor boys have lost all touch with their roots and desperately need to re-establish some form of reality in their lives again.

IT WAS NOTED that Clancy, Coll and Murphy would do some work to try rehabilitate the deaf boy in the real world again.

Mise le Meas Junior strokes home his penalty

Normal service restored?

Following our maulings at the hands of Bray, Rovers and Wexford hopefully it is back to normal service with a thrilling 3-1 victory over Limerick, themselves strong favourites for promotion. Two goals from Willie-John Kiely and another from 17 year-old Sean Maguire won a pulsating game and sent the home crowd home in raptures.