Category Archives: football

Back home, I’ll be trying to avoid it

Totally the opposite to millions of football fans of course, who are already getting hopelessly over excited about the World Cup, which starts in Brazil on Thursday. Yes, I hate the sport, but lets face it, I can hardly ignore it, especially given the way its going to get pushed at work. Thankfully, most of the games will be late evening, or overnight, so avoiding them might be slightly easier than sometimes it is.

From all I gather, from the prices, and the comments, England arent expected to do well, judging by the prices on offer, it seems about 50/50 if they even make it out of the group. Unfortunately, in terms of annoying, and stupid phone calls, I doubt that will help much at work, but I can live in hope. And believe me, some of the price requests we’ve had already have been very stupid!

Who will win it? I could say, don’t know, don’t care, and it wouldnt be far from the truth. Stats, as I gather round the office would suggest that it will be a South American team, generally when its there, or in Europe, a team from the home continent generally wins. Probably explains why Brazil and Argentina top the betting!

To me, they are all a bunch of over-hyped, overpaid sportsman, generally intellectually challenged, and lets leave it at that. Fortunately for me, I’ll miss all the build up to the first England game on Saturday, as I’m not working, off to see Postmodern Jukebox in the evening. Match starts at 11.00, about the same time as I should be travelling back, so I should easily miss all the fuss, unless the train conductor insists on telling us all the score, I hope not! I doubt I will miss the build up to the other 2 games as easily, sadly.

The first full week of the tournament coincides with Royal Ascot, so that should cause staffing chaos at work, as we will need cover at both ends of the day, oh joy! And no, we dont have to dress up as they do for Ascot, that would be something…not! More thankfully, we dont have to dress as England football fans!

Oh fine, I’ll admit it, I have got a slight interest in the World Cup, even if I dont know (at present) what our selections are. We have got a pool running at work, and I have joined up with 2 of my workmates, to do a pair of entries. Beyond choosing the name of one of the teams (Double Whoopee, an early Harlow film) and picking Argentina to win it outright (to split a disagreement between the other 2), I’m leaving the picking entirely to the experts. Hopefully we can win something, but ¬£7 wont break me either way, if we dont.

Right, unless a footballer comes out as gay, or trans, dont expect me to mention the whole thing again! ūüėõ

The video, oh fine. Nearly half a century ago, England did the remarkable, and won the tournament. So 4 years later, someone had the bright idea of the squad, making a song before they left for the tournament in Mexico, and this was it!

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The end of the Winter Olympics, and Gibraltar issues

Well, pre Sochi, all the fuss was about Russia’s new ‘anti gay’ laws, and how they would effect the Olympic events. In all honesty, its been a bit of a damp squib really, despite certain countries (deliberately) sending diplomatic groups determined to say that, we are sending out all our LGBT celebrities, just to annoy you, Russia.

To be honest, what I’ve seen of the laws, the main thing Russia seemed to be concerned about, was grooming of youngsters, which I personally think is wrong, that everyone should be allowed to make their own choice, and not to make ‘anything’ homosexual illegal!

The irony I find in all this, was the British stance on the matter, because if they looked a little closer to home, they might decide to stay quiet about things. Gibraltar, so very British that you would assume their LGBT rules would match the UK. Wrong!

In fact, it took until 2011 before equality of the age of consent for gay males happened there. Work discrimination rules have been brought in, but for anything else, its under consideration, and will probably stay that way, as long as they can! As for transgender rights, oh please, dont go down that road. Putting it simply, it doesnt matter what you do, you cant change gender out there! So full sex change op, totally a true woman, but in the eyes of Gibraltar, sorry, you’re still a man!

How do I know all this? Well, a few years back, at work, the opportunity arose to move out to Gibraltar to work, when they decided to reshuffle (for want of a better word) the whole telebetting side of the firm. I wasnt really interested, but took a cursory glance, because if things were highly favourable, it might have been tempting to make a clean break, and start again. But, given it was just the opposite, I didnt take it any further. Of course the British government conveniently overlook this, and focus on Russia!

Of course, some folk have taken a look at the whole LGBT thing in Russia, and came up with a wonderful Canadian video, included in this next piece

As noted, some lugers werent impressed lol!

Oh, and one last amusing piece on Gibraltar. Today was the draw for the qualifying groups for Euro 2016 (Football), and for the first time, in the draw, Gibraltar. Firstly, the top seeds were drawn into groups, and Spain were drawn into Group C. Next to be drawn were the minnows, also known as the 6th seeded group, including Gibraltar. Guess which group they came out for, that they should have gone into? Yes, Group C! After a few, err, diplomatic words, they went into Group D instead. For anyone who doesnt understand why, try looking up Spain, and Gibraltar together on Google lol!

Added footnote, which I’ve just found. The first openly gay athlete to play in the ‘Big 4’ US sports.

http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/24454370/report-jason-collins-expected-to-be-in-uniform-for-the-nets-tonight

he has played in the NBA for years, as the report says, but this is his first match since coming out. Good luck, Jason

Its a shame, does it always have to be the way?

Yes, if you use a few cryptic clues there, you can work out the video, if not, just read on.

Yesterday, I finished work at 6.00, the last shift before the holiday, which actually started today, but more on that during the week. So therefore I was lined up to get the 6.40 train back to Huddersfield, on a train starting from Newcastle, and heading to Manchester.

Now, the football fans, or indeed, people like me who have to know about football will know that there was a match yesterday afternoon, between Newcastle, and Manchester City. if you dont know, and care about the result, look it up, I know Man City won, but beyond that…That isnt what this blog is about, unsurprisingly.

Yes, when the train rolled up, more or less on time, which is something for Trans Pennine Express, it was pretty full, and yes, full of football fans at that. No, I had no problems with anyone on board, but…we were also greeted by 6 Transport Police on board, and not hard to work out why, lets face it. Now, dont get me wrong, things have improved dramatically from how they were with football hooligans 30-40 years ago, but even so…

I didnt see any actual problems in my carriage, though the underlying atmosphere amongst the football crowd wasnt pleasant. My main amusement was 1 guy, with one of those e-cigarette things, who clearly wasnt certain whether he could ‘smoke’ it on the train or not (I neither know, nor care), and trying to do so surreptitiously. Judging by the police reaction, he was either fine, or they were more concerned with other issues!

Sad to say, their radios crackled into life, just before we pulled into Huddersfield, and when the doors opened, all moved forward to the front carriage, I heard someone saying that there were threats of trouble in the tunnel, so they were taking no chances, clearly. To me, its just a shame that grown men still have to act like animals on board a train, just because they like football, and seemingly like alcohol too!

No, I’m not suggesting that away fans shouldnt travel, though in these days of blanket TV coverage (Yes, it was on Sky), do they really need to? What might be more practical though, is a total ban on alcohol on such trains, and not just in terms of actual drink. In other words, if someone is showing signs of being drunk, and aggressive, stop them travelling! They wouldnt do it again, thats for sure! But no, in the real world, in a land when football is seemingly king, its not going to happen, is it?

The video, as I say, there’s been a few clues

Football players are wimps!

So, yes, fine, I know, you want to hear about Thursday night, but you’ll have to be patient, as something far more entertaining is happening.

OK, unless you’re an NFL fan, or you live in the Philadelphia area, you may not get it, so let me explain. Over here, it used to be the running joke that 2 spots of rain, and cricket would come grinding to a halt, at a professional level at least. Not quite sure if that was strictly accurate, but pretty close to it, all the same. Things have changed nowadays at least, though when it gets bad enough, they still come off the pitch.

Football (soccer for my North American readers) does at least tend to be played in the rain, though pretty often it doesnt take too much before the pitch gets waterlogged. As for the arrival of a flake of snow, well, thats it!

Tonight, on Sky Sports, they are showing the match from Philadelphia, and to say its snowing, would be a mild understatement, its an absolute blizzard there. But have they called off the match, or even delayed it? Hey, no! They play on. But yes, before you ask, its not really been the best game to watch, pretty much the opposite in fact. One score in the first half, wouldnt be surprised if thats not it for scoring in all honesty!

Oh, and in Green Bay, they are playing, and the current temperature is 11F (minus 12 for Brit’s).

So please, the next time they say soccer players are brave, playing in ‘whatever’ conditions, dont believe them, they have it easy!

The video, something apt for Philly

That time of year again

Yes, alright, I know the NFL pre season play started last week, but today marks the Bills first foray into play, and at the moment of writing (30-13 in 3rd quarter), its going surprisingly well. Of course, as the cynic in me would point out, when they were reaching the Superbowl 4 times, we used to lose virtually every pre season game, so…who knows? 4 weeks from now, we will know a lot more, and 6 weeks from now, I’ll be watching a game or two hopefully while in the US. Of course I might get to see some on Sky Sports before then, but anyway…

No, I dont expect anything amazing from them, but for a few more weeks at least, I can dream.

The other ‘funny moment’ tonight is that I’ve got the US PGA golf on TV, coming from…Rochester, New York, where I was in April. Well alright, just outside the city, at Oak Hill, Pittsford, but its given as a Rochester address lol! ūüėõ I will always have fond memories of my time there, thats for sure. Given that I never got to Buffalo, I might still get back there sometime of course, would be nice.

And yes, the other regular occurrence fast approaching at this time of year, my next holiday trip to the US, back to Richmond in Virginia, after 13 years! Still less than the gap between visits to Rochester, so… Meeting up with Kate again will be really good too. And yes, guilty, next years destinations are all planned out too, if not sure which order yet, but it should be Albany, and Kansas, all things working out. So many possibilities for 2015 though, no idea how that will all play out yet, but pretty much all east coast, or mid west at most, which will please my old body.

On other matters, no, I havent seen the photo book display yet, hopefully soon, and I can post something here.

Oh, and on a more depressing front, the Premier League football season starts next week, ah well, cant have everything, I guess?

Right, given most of what I’ve talked about, the video is topical. But its not the original artists, but these are two young ladies I could quickly become a fan of. Hopefully medical people wont get a surprise with the tagging here lol!

Goodbye ESPN America, I will miss you

To be honest, I dont watch an awful lot of TV with sound. Before that confuses anyone, given where I work, we have masses of screens on, for the racing, for the football (soccer) and other sports, but for obvious reasons, given its a call centre, we dont have any sound on, 99% of the time. Yes, there are a few occasions when the sound goes on, but not very often.

At home, where I can have sound on, the viewing is limited. Pretty much BBC News, Sky Sports (mainly for cricket), and ESPN America for Baseball, College Football, and other things. Sadly for me, tomorrow is the last full day of ESPN America on TV. Why, its something that annoys me even more, is because of Football on TV politicking!

Basically BT Sports have bulldozed in on the football market, and have bought up the ESPN channels over here, and are only keeping the main channel in action.Even if they do (seemingly unlikely) continue to show baseball, there is no agreement with Virgin Media, so its gone for me anyway.

Let me explain. Most of the Premier League football up to the last season was on Sky Sports. ESPN had 1 or 2 games as well in a week, as well as showing plenty of other football. I didnt care, never watched the channel, as people know, I cant stand football! But I did watch its sister channel, ESPN America. Mainly for the baseball, yes, but other things too. As well as college football, they do some fantastic documentaries in the 30 for 30 series. Only Sunday, on an early shift, I sat engrossed as I watched a feature on a 1962 college football team who remained unbeaten during the season, but that was barely the feature of the film. Yes, it was Mississippi, in the days of segregation, about the first black pupil at the college. Oh wow! Unbelievable now to think that 50 years ago, in the Deep South, that was still going on. Did you know Michael Jordan played baseball, as well as basketball? I wouldnt have done, but for another film in this series.

But seriously, apart from the baseball, which I will seriously miss, there is one gem that I will miss just as much. You’ve probably missed it, its broadcast at 6 am, then again at 7 am, Tuesday to Saturday over here, and its called Around The Horn, hilarious stuff. Mainly because of one man, a genius called Woody Paige. The rest are good, but when Woody is on, its crazy!

So all I can say is, thanks ESPN America, for all the good memories, I’m going to miss you.

For those of you who have never seen Woody in action, here’s your chance

I know I’m not a football fan, but…

Even so, it would be wrong of me, as a Yorkshire lass, not to mention the culmination of a certain football event last night. Yes, incredibly, Bradford City of League 2 are in the Capital One Cup Final at Wembley next month, after knocking yet another Premier League team out last night, Aston Villa. Apparently they have now beaten more top flight teams this year than one team in the Premier League, crazy or what?

No, I didnt watch it, credit me with some taste, I cant stand football! Well, actually, in the dim distant past, I have been to games at Valley Parade, but that was when relatives, and indeed myself, thought I was male, and therefore should do ‘men things’ like going to football matches. And being that my original roots were Haworth, they were the local team, so it was them I was taken to see. No, I dont remember anything of those early games, all I know is the ground has changed considerably since then.

Of course, one of the big reasons for that, was the tragic fire that engulfed the ground in May 1985, and the loss of 56 lives. It was meant to be a day of celebration, it turned into a day of tragedy. I was hundreds of miles away, working in Somerset at the time, but I knew people who were at the ground that day, thankfully they all survived. Given these were the days before TV’s were allowed in betting shops, the details I got at the time were hazy, but I was able to catch up on events on the news later. The other big change was when stadiums became all seater, and it has to be said, it was strange sitting in a stand, where I used to stand and watch them play when young.

By the time I moved back up to Yorkshire in 2005, I was all but officially female. I knew by then, just a way from finalising things in any way, but football was not a girl thing, and I had no great interest anymore. I did go once more, soon after that, but that was it, I’ve never been in the stadium since, and now I dont even bother to watch football at all, unless I really have to at work lol! Alright, at home, I watched the penalty shoot out against Arsenal, but only because it got mentioned on Facebook, which I looked at, at the right time, but that really is it. Will I watch the cup final? Only if I’m at work I suspect lol! You never know, if they win it, you might get another football posting out of me yet lol!

Right, the video. Well I tried pot luck, typing Bradford City in the search thing at You Tube, and it came up with this. I wouldnt blame you for not listening, but the option is there if you desire.

Oh, and somewhere, I’ve got a very old style Bradford City shirt, probably from the turn of this century, or thereabouts. I guess on February 24th, it might get worn again, but probably not!

They think its all over, well the first one is at least!

Yes, I know, some would say the Olympics are over, and I suppose in a strict sense, they are. The ones that are to follow are the Paralympics (or however they deign to spell it), but its the same venues, the same amount of BBC hype, so…

Thankfully I’ve managed to avoid most of it, though I was guilty of watching a bit of the athletics Saturday evening, but that was really the main bit I saw. My excuse for that, things finally did calm down Ssturday night, so while tidying up a few things, I switched it on. At least it enabled me to settle a few athletics bets at work while doing so. But that really pretty much has been it. I’ve seen the odd bits on TV, but follow it closely, no chance! And the soccer has naturally been avoided like the plague lol!

At least one thing seems to have come out of it, Britannia still rules the waves, at least when it comes to rowing and sailing! One thing I avoided totally (apart from news highlights) was the hulabaloo of the 2 ceremonies topping and tailing the sporting party, I’m sure I’m glad about that. In the sense of the medal table, no great shocks, with USA top, and China next. GB third, but after last time (and with home support) I think that was pretty expected too.

So next, in about 2 weeks (so they tell me), we get the Paralympics. I have no idea if my firm plans to have several thousand betting options on this, but nothing would surprise me. Worse for me, in the interim, the overpaid hype that is the Premier League starts on Saturday, letting those massive egos, and small brain cell counts, known as footballers loose. Even worse are the people who think everyone is interested in the game, some of us couldnt care less! I dont know, or care who “Fred Bloggs” plays for, neither do I know exactly what league teams are in, and nor do I want to. But people just assume I do, because they do!

Yes, rant of a middle aged woman lol! But 5 weeks from now, for a while at least, I’ll forget them completely, thank goodness. How long for, lets wait and see!

Right, the video! I did consider something by the Animals in tribute to football fans, but lets be a good girl for once. So lets have a classic Kinks moment, one that came totally out of the blue at the time. Lets face it, there was plenty of this at the closing ceremony last night, though sadly without the mops!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gs2kFrGluKs

Anyone for tennis?

Yes, I know we are in the middle of Wimbledon fortnight by now, but better late than never! At least Euro 2012 is now over, though just to cheer me up, qualifiers for both the Champions League, and Europa Cup start this week, what a depressing thought!

No, tennis isnt a big sport for me, though I have my perverse moments when I show interest in Andy Murray, even now. And alright, it does help in the sense that the cricket is rained out again tonight, shock horror with this awful summer we’re having here.

And guess what? Its raining at Wimbledon, but there is still live tennis, on one court at least. But lets not talk about those men playing tennis now, lets talk ladies tennis. Back in the old days, there were lady tennis players who made me look feminine. And that was long¬†before I even realised that¬†I wasnt really a guy, it has to be said. There were one¬†or two who were all woman (one was so buxom,¬†she must have had a very strong bra!), but¬†a good number of them looked like some of the male players lol! Oh, and shock horror, a good number of them were lesbians, either openly, or slightly less so. Stories got out, but, as nothing was official… Oh, and of course, one transgendered player, Renee Richards.

Nowadays not only are seemingly the vast majority thoroughly hetro, a number of them take time out to have babies! And yes, alright, a good number of them are quite pretty as well. Alright, there are still those like Serena Williams, but…lol, far¬†less of them!

When I was at school, and for a few years afterwards, I went to a day at Wimbledon, but that was a very long time ago. Funniest memory of that, on an outside court, I watched a match involving a young, slightly loud qualifier from the US, not really taking much notice at the time. But everyone took notice of him for many years to come after that. His name? John McEnroe! And I saw him play his second ever match at Wimbledon, hows that? Ah, the memories.

The video, slightly obtuse, given what the lyrics actually¬†‘suggest’, but the video features exercise, and does include Olivia Newton John swinging a tennis racket, so…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWz9VN40nCA

Oh no, not a month of football (soccer), aargh!

Warning, tongue in cheek posting lol!

Yes, this blog will be all about that boring football tournament that starts tomorrow, and goes on for the best part of a month. But dont run away screaming, this will be less than adoring of the game, and certainly any comments made on the teams etc will be far less than knowledgeable! So why do it, because I’m going to have put up with this rubbish for a month, so lets have some fun with it.

I know, I work in the betting industry, in a call centre, but that doesnt mean I enjoy every sport. Cricket, dont deny it, and Baseball and NFL, pretty much addicted as well. Others including Horse Racing, Snooker, Golf and Rugby League, I can take in reasonable sized chunks. But Football, or Soccer to my American friends, cant stand it. Possibly not helped by having to deal with shop staff in certain areas of the country (specifically Liverpool and Glasgow) who think everyone should be as keen on football as they seemingly are.

So no, before you ask tomorrow, we arent offering odds on how many times Gerrard spits on the pitch, or on which boot Rooney laces up first. Please, get a life, and use a braincell before ringing up and asking these truly idiotic questions. Equally we arent betting on how many of the team will actually sing the national anthem.

Some readers might think I’m being less than serious here, and granted, none of these have been asked…¬†yet. But some equally inane questions, I’m afraid so!

Mind, the guys at work are just as bad at times with football. Yes, I can understand their need to have the pictures on a large screen, maybe 2, one at each end, but do we really need it on 6 screens out of 8. Yes, its happened before!

Right, rant over, be prepared to be entertained with some truly clueless previewing, from someone who knows little or nothing about the teams. Comments re favourites etc apply to my companies website, so might not follow everywhere.

Group A, not hard to see why Russia are favourites, their club teams have a decent record in Europe, though whether this is down to home born players, not a clue! I guess Poland are next in the betting because they are the home nation? But twist my arm, Czech Republic second team through

Group B, they arent top of the betting, but Holland for me. Would love to see the Germans go out (long standing thing for Brits), but suspect they might get past Portugal, and Ronaldo’s massive ego.

Group C next. Spain are a certainty to get through here, and before the latest scandal, Italy were certain to join them. I know, Ireland are in this group, but seriously, they arent that great. Neither are Croatia (as far as I know) but lets face it, there is a 50% chance Italy will implode totally, or they will be so resolute, they’ll beat Spain! Me, I fancy the former in all honesty.

Group D, which French team are turning up? The ones that would struggle to beat Guam reserves, or the ones who could beat Brazil? No idea, until they play lol! England will mess up against someone, just a matter of who, and if it matters. Ukraine (the other host team) being in this group makes it even more of a mess, so any guess who is going through.

Seriously, for the tournament, Spain are favourites for a good reason, judging by results. Twist my arm, Holland are my fancy, Russia if you want a bigger price are a bit of a dark horse, with a seemingly soft group. Therefore top scorer, Van Persie seems obvious.

But seriously, my best bet for the whole tournament, ignore it completely, and hope it all just goes away. Unlikely, but I’m entitled to a wish, arent I? Sadly I wont be able to avoid it at work, but certainly will at home.

Oh, the song. One of those songs by so called celebrities that the football fans go out and buy, just because its about football. My vote would be not to click on it, dont say you werent warned if you do!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jd74Vx2u1R0