Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Applaud Alves, he's made the racists look like morons

I HAVE heard and read an awful lot about Dani Alves since Sunday night when he ate a banana.

Nothing wrong with that you might think, except he (a mixed race gentleman) ate it after it was thrown at him by a moronic waste of oxygen called a Villareal fan.

I won't insult anyone's intelligence by explaining why this is a hateful gesture but the column inches and debate since then has been staggering.

Many footballers and people in public life have eaten the yellow fruit to show their support, instead for the rich levels of potassium!

But some, ironically including anti racism campaigners, have said tougher actions should have been taken and the incident reinforced the problem of racism.

Rubbish! Dani Alves made the idiot who threw the banana look like a complete moron, if we as society make people who do things like this look stupid they will stop doing it.

No one wants to look like a tool on a public stage! If you feel the need to point out someone is different because of the colour of their skin, creed, sexuality or beliefs then I am sorry you are part of this progressive world.

To Dani and everyone else who has or is encountering racism, take them on with gestures not violence.

Whether its becoming President of the United States or eating a banana and then taking a corner kick, showing that vile insults won't stop you is the best way of getting back at the Neanderthals.

They'll die as morons, you might achieve everything you dreamed of!

Bravo Dani, bravo!

What happened to the ‘Happy One’?

When Jose Mourinho returned to Chelsea in the summer, he told the world he was now the ‘Happy One’ more than the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’.

It certainly seemed to be based on truth, hounded away from Madrid, not adored in Milan despite winning the Scudetto and a Champions League trophy – the Special One returned ‘home’.

But lately, the happy one is more ‘Mr Grumpy’ and it shows a side of Mourinho which has proven very unpalatable to many but overlooked by his many fans, including me.

When he arrived in England, I became a fan instantly – yes he was arrogant and cocky but my god did English football need someone like that!

Certain aspects such as his behaviour with Anders Frisk and Frank Rijkaard could be brushed to one side because he was good value and mostly charming.

But time in Milan and the frying pan which is life as a Real Madrid manager has made Jose bitter, angry and yes, a somewhat unpleasant man.

I stress, I am a fan, but in the last few weeks I think Mourinho has behaved pathetically and drew the wrong attention to himself and to Chelsea.

I normally back the British teams in Europe after Arsenal have been eliminated but tonight I could not wholly back Chelsea.

My opposition to a few players in the team is probably well-known but generally I did not want Mourinho to succeed tonight.

The exertion of pressure on referees, the bitter interviews, the search for malice in otherwise innocent questions in post-match interviews is frankly boring.

I hope Jose has a holiday this summer, I hope he shapes the Chelsea team to his way – at the moment he is dealing with a AVB, Rafa, Carlo Ancellotti hybrid of a team.

But I hope he remembers why he was so loved first time around and relaxes a little more next season and shows a little more respect to opposition managers.

Jose, this is not Madrid, our press pack are great fans of you, your supporters are totally behind you, let’s see the happy one next season hey?

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Newark – Farage’s great gamble?

Will he or won’t he? Will Nigel Farage stand and win the safe Conservative seat of Newark, give David Cameron a massive headache and rock British politics.

Or will he stand, lose and next year we will go back to talk about Labour, Conservative and the Liberal Democrats.
That’s the dilemma facing the UKIP leader tonight, stand and win and he grabs a paintbrush and to paint a new political picture from the UK.

Lose and we might all go, ‘well they aren’t up to much are they?’ – a huge bodyblow less than 12 months from the General Election.
Or to borrow from Blair, is there a third way? Could the party have Diane James line up for the seat, fresh from a very good performance in Eastleigh?

She is an incredibly articulate woman, a plain speaker and, unlike some, does not have any faux pas to hush up.
Farage could then take to the airwaves, explain he wants to focus on UKIP’s Euro election campaign and doesn’t want to be ‘part-time candidate’ and ‘the people of Newark deserve more’.

Unlike Eastleigh, Newark is safe Tory country giving UKIP a clear run at the Conservative vote, Farage can take the temperature of things are going because if she loses, well it was a 16,000 seat majority….

If she wins, Cameron gets a bloody nose and, allied to predicted poor Euro results, the Prime Minister could find himself distracted in the weeks ahead.
And wouldn’t Farage fancy a seat in the Home Counties anyway and the glory of beating the Conservatives on General Election night itself?

Saturday, 19 April 2014

The Moores has not made me merry

UNLIKE some of the media and certainly the ECB, I am not embracing Peter Moores and Alastair Cook ‘future of English cricket’ mantra.

Never before has a coach who was removed first time round been given the job for ‘a second go’, but then never before has a player been declared ‘unavailable for selection’ and not be injured, retired or banned.

This ‘future of English cricket’ mantra being spouted by Paul Downton, the new managing director of the ECB, is complete fallacy.

The new coach is someone sacked five years ago while the captain is still in position despite leading the team to a 5-0 whitewash in Australia.

Yet both have been paired together? It’s frankly bizarre and the ECB have effectively said Cook should be absolved of any blame when truth be told the buck should stop with him.

Moores also talked about being ‘open’ and ‘connecting’ with people, yet the moment KP came up it was clear there was no way back for England’s outcast.

My question is what has made ‘the outstanding coach of his generation’ suddenly attractive to an employer who jettisoned him five years ago?

The answer? He doesn’t like KP and fits the ECB anti KP mantra being spouted from every orifice, leaving facts behind.

So as a result we have a coach and captain who have blocked the route for KP to come back and already sent a message out that opinions and challenges to authority will not be welcome.

It’s a dangerous combination as in any team sport, not every member of a team will say yes, sir no,sir three bags full sir.

Is Wayne Rooney someone who comes in, does his job and goes home again? No he’ll speak out if things are going badly.

Look at cricket, were Gower, Boycott, Botham ‘easy to manage’? Of course not, but they were integrated into the overall set up to help win test matches.

This winter was not down to KP, it was done to a complete failure of the English cricket set up. From no one spotting how Trott was feeling, to the leadership on the field and to the atmosphere off it.

England didn’t lose 5-0 because they are a bad cricket team, they lost because  everything off the field was in near chaos.

Moores and Cook are the future? Don’t make me laugh!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Liverpool would be worthy champions

YESTERDAY's win for Liverpool against title rivals Man City propelled the Reds closer to their first title in 24 years.

The emotion at the end is understandable, there are many at Anfield who know how much a Premier League title is wanted.

And in this, the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy, a Liverpool title win would be especially poignant.

However you view it, and I have no interest in debating it, 96 football fans went to a football match and never came home. That is not a fate which should befall anyone.

At times yesterday it felt like Liverpool were accompanied by some higher power in their quest for victory.

But to simply suggest fate is on their side does Liverpool, the players and an exceptionally talented manager in Brendan Rodgers an injustice.

The team have come from nowhere to be one of, if not the favourites, for the title. If you had suggested that in August you could have been carted off to the nearest dark room!

Would they be worthy champions? Oh yes and I say that as an Arsenal fan!

Have they spent ridiculous amounts of cash to get where they are? No not in comparison to Man City and Chelsea

You barely see Rodgers annoy the FA or another manager like Mourinho is capable of or blame referee's like Pellegrini sometimes does.

Yes he slandered Lee Mason for his 'bias' but was soon more than repentant for what was a stupid comment.

Do they play nice football? Oh hell yes, the destruction metered out to the likes of Arsenal, Everton and Cardiff this year proves that.

Rodgers and his loyal on-field generals in Gerrard, Suarez and Sturridge are on the cusp of something very special.

I for one will be cheering them on to the title.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Javid promotion welcome but weakens PM

SO Sajid Javid is the new Culture, Media and Sport Secretary replacing Maria Miller.

On the surface it's a great move from the Prime Minister, David Cameron. A working class British Asian in a very high profile role.

Additionally Sajid is a great communicator, I should know as I spent two years covering his election and early days as Bromsgrove's MP.

It's at this point I will brag just a little, so impressed with his passion I predicted he would increase an already large majority...he did!

I have no doubt either that should the Conservatives lose the General Election next year, Sajid is an excellent 'outside bet' to become leader...

Whatever job he does he does well, a hard work ethic was driven into him by his father. I'm sure the same will apply to his culture brief .

However, I can't help but wonder if the PM has rather weakened his hand somewhat. 

The theme of next year's election will be the economy.

Given the Chancellor doesn't really devote that much time to the media, economic issues have often been left to Sajid to defend and defend well.

In a campaign where George Osborne will be managing election campaign as well as the economy, Sajid's absence could let Labour back on to the battlefield.

That remains to be seen though, congratulations to Sajid, good luck in your new role!

Do or die time

YES it's got that bad that a perfectly winnable FA Cup semi final against Wigan has got us Gooners nervous

Partly because of Wigan's rather good win over Man City but mostly because it's all gone rather wrong for the Arsenal.

Two months ago we were top of the league, motoring in the FA Cup and doing alright in the Champions League.

Then Arsenal went to Anfield and were demolished by a raging Red tidal wave...though let's not dwell on that hey?

Put simply Arsenal have to win tomorrow and probably the final to save this season. Failure and being beaten to fourth is too much to contemplate!

The record away against the top five this season is simply horrific and what's even more worrying is teams seem to know how to set up against Arsenal now.

Do you think Uwe Rosler's side will just 'have a go' or be set up to blunt Arsenal and then hurt them? (It's the second one...)

Wigan have nothing to lose and that makes them dangerous, remember Birmingham City???

Of course I think we will win, however should there be one more catastrophe round the corner then tomorrow could see the end of an era.

I have no doubt Arsene Wenger is stalling on the contract to see how the rest of the season goes.

Defeat tomorrow may just make his mind up for him....