Monday, 20 January 2014

Congratulations Australia, shame you couldn't win any respect

THE ASHES are over, the ODI’s are also pretty much finished, England are in disarray but yet I cannot appreciate Australia, particularly Michael Clarke.

This is not sour grapes, Australia deserved to win 5-0 as England were awful and to be honest a 5-0 spanking ought to be handed out in these one day internationals.
Mitchell Johnson is reborn, Ryan Harris defied his knees and produced bowling spell after bowling spell to kill England and in Chris Rogers, Australia had their own fairytale for everyone who thinks they will never reach the top.
But the manner they have gone about this series has left a lot to be desired, play hard yes, but downright bullying is plain stupid.
In the first test, Clarke threatens to break Anderson’s arm, great! Why? Australia were one wicket away from winning the match with plenty to spare, why not remind Anderson how much his team-mates have let him down?
Verbals continued in the second test, ignoring the fact Johnson was ripping through England like knife through butter.
And in the third test match, David Warner (a particularly odious individual) runs to the umpires when England dished out some verbals. Again fine, except Mr Warner has made it his life’s work to be as unpleasant as possible.
Even when the Ashes were done, Johnson sought to have a strop when Kevin Pietersen backed away while he was running in. This is pretty much common place the world over but you wouldn’t have thought so give Mitchell’s verbals in the aftermath.
And finally on Sunday in the third ODI, Eoin Morgan stood his ground when caught and made the umpires check whether the catch was clean. Again, rightly or wrongly, it’s a tactic employed the world over but again Clarke weighed in with a verbal volley.

Australia have won convincingly this winter but Clarke has gone down in my estimation and crossed the line a few times.

In 2006/7 Ponting and his team played hard but let their cricket do all the talking and steam-rolled England. They go down as one of the greats, I doubt this team will.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Fault on all sides in Plebgate row

So the officer who said he heard Andrew Mitchell MP call a police man a pleb now admits he didn't and made it all up.

The end? Nope, other officers are facing hearings and one indeed is actually suing Mr Mitchell for libel.

The whole episode is a mess and listening to Newsnight last night you would think the whole blame lied with the police.

Wrong, every side involved with this needs to take a long hard look at themselves and consider whether they could have handled the matter better.

The police will need to investigate what happened, why and look at ways to avoid these damaging set of stories every appearing again.

I don't know what sparked what happened, would not like to guess either given legal cases and investigations are ongoing but something occured that night in Downing Street of which we have no doubt.

Mr Mitchell should look at himself as well, no doubt he should fight his corner but let justice do the talking not press conferences with his friends and friendly MPs going on Newsnight to 'fight his corner' ie besmirch every police officer.

And the Prime Minister really ought to think before he next speaks on this matter. His condemnation of the police officer was fair enough but Mr Cameron must remember he removed Mr Mitchell from his role as chief whip.....

The time has come to try and draw a line under the whole sorry episode and for the Prime Minister to seize the moral high ground, seek a meeting with Metropolitan Police chief Bernard Hogan-Howe.

Show leadership and support for Mr Mitchell Prime Minister and show both parties can move past what has been a sorry affair.

Pressure on Moyes is laughable

READING some of the headlines this week, you would think Manchester United were 18th in the Premier League, out of the Champions League and playing the dullest football ever seen.

The reality of course is they are five points off the top four, through to the last 16 of the Champions League with a very winnable tie and one goal down in the Capital One Cup semi final.

Yes they are not pulling up any trees in the Premier League, yes Old Trafford is not a fortress at the moment and yes they are out of the FA Cup already.

But really, what did we expect?, Moyes to walk in and lead United to ten points clear in the PL, dominate every competition they were in and for everyone to say Fergie should have knocked off sooner?

Give me a break! May saw the end of an era for everyone associated with Manchester United when Sir Alex rode off into the sunset. The biggest effect? His players have relaxed, no longer in fear of Fergie's hairdryer or being made pariahs by the best manager this country has seen.

And Moyes is reaping that, quite simply some of the players at Old Trafford have taken their foot off the gas because Moyes is not Fergie.

Don't get me wrong, I think Moyes has made two massive mistakes since taking over. Signing Fellani was a blunder, he should have done everything he could for a year or two to distance himself from Everton.

Buying Fellani was an attempt to help bring some of the Everton methods into the dressing room, fine David but you won nothing at Everton while the dressing room you inherited has won PL and Champions League titles in recent years.

Secondly, Moyes is seemingly on a one man mission to blame Premier League referees for everything that's happened this season. Which again is great David, except for the fact Ashley Young is the biggest diver in England.....

And finally, Fergie's prescence at games is an 'unsettling influence'......errrr so pensioner attends football match regularly and makes team play badly.

'Thanks Sir Alex for everything but if you wouldn't mind never watching Manchester United again that would be just lovely'....give me a break! Who told the Old Trafford crowd to 'get behind the team and support OUR new manager'???? Oh that's right, Sir Alex himself!

You can level plenty of criticism at Fergie, you can never call him a hypocrite.

Whatever happens this season, Moyes needs time to build his vision. He can't do that in five months...

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Win the league? I don't care, this has already been a top season

DO I want Arsenal to win the Premier League this season? Of course I do, will I moan if they don't? No, of course I won't.
The 'experts' don't think we can win the league, despite a first half of the season which has seen wins over Liverpool, Spurs and Newcastle and draws with Chelsea and Everton.
Yes we lost to Man United and were thrashed by Manchester City (who hasn't been?) but the point being is this season Arsenal have put themselves firmly in the top four.
This is a strange Premier League offering some strange results, if that continues then who knows? Arsene Wenger could end the trophy drought with his fourth PL title.
Chelsea have to go to Anfield and the Etihad before the end of the season, Man City have to travel to the Emirates and to Old Trafford in pursuit of the title.
Anything could happen between now and May, but if Arsenal miss the title but finish top four, this will be a top season...
Why? Because for the first time in a long time, the men in red and white BELIEVE they can mix it
with the best.
The past few seasons they have meandered along, normally around fourth or fifth before a herculean
like charge from March onwards for the Champions League space.
This year they bounced back from the apocalypse on day one against Aston Villa to be a surprise member of the top three.
Why? Ozil's arrival was huge, an organised and coached by Steve Bould back four and of course Rambo having a season to remember.
I adore Ozil, but for me if we are celebrating a league title or the FA Cup at the end of the season I shall congratulate Arsene on re-signing Mathieu Flamini.
Together with Arteta, the Frenchman has provided a barrier meaning Rambo, Wilshere, Ozil, Rosicky, Walcott can go and make incisions in the opponents defence.
More than that, he's given us something we have lacked since Gilberto Silva left, a ball winner who doesn't mind the odd yellow card....
Gooners, expect nothing, just get behind the team for the rest of the season, ignore the experts and who knows, we might have to have a party in May!

Resolutions I intend to keep in 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Been rather quiet on here because of work and well, to be honest, I haven't had a lot to say recently.
But new year, new start and have a couple of resolutions I intend to keep in 2014. Firstly to be much much calmer, getting old now and all this getting worked up is not helping anyone!
Had a rather quiet and calm Christmas and feel rather wonderful for it so let's see if we can roll it into 2014 as a whole.
Secondly, I want to be a better person, rise above hate as John Cena says and just be a good son, husband, cousin and friend to everyone related to me or who knows me.
A lot has gone by in 2013, I intend to leave it there, we start afresh now and let's see what happens this year.
Whatever you have made for your resolutions, I hope you can keep them! Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, good luck, good health and every happiness.