Friday, May 27, 2005

Mersey beating

Is it just me but has Liverpool’s epic Champions League win been a rallying cry to all rubbish scousers? Phil Thompson waxed lyrical about how the club have the right to defend their title next season because there’s a magic surrounding them.

Some journo from the Liverpool Echo claimed that in heaven the famous Liverpool boot room (where a generation of Liverpool managers were schooled) got together at half time and conjured up a plan to get out of the 3-0 hole they were in.

My favourite was the fan BBC Breakfast followed to Istanbul. Billy, yes Billy, dressed in a vintage Liverpool shirt got to his hotel room and unpacked his Liverpool bedspread. He then pulled out his walkman so he could listen to his favourite song… “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.


Oh, and is it just me but do the words “Midge” and “Sting” actually want you to put in some effort into raising world debt?

Monday, May 23, 2005

Final analysis

Publicly at least, the Manchester United players were gracious in their Cup Final defeat on Saturday. This is despite all the TV pundits’ protestations that they had been robbed, having dominated throughout. The players themselves realise that there are two key elements to football, scoring goals and not letting them in. At no point did United have any disallowed goals which should have stood nor did Arsenal defend in any way illegally. In truth, Arsenal were better at not letting in goals than United were scoring them. Manchester United were unlucky if football is all about scoring goals, but that’s a big ‘if’.

The mooted protests from United fans over the Glazer take-over didn’t materialise because of, um, rain. Apparently about 100 fans marched towards the Millennium Stadium in protest, fractionally more than the number of Arsenal fans who dressed up as 1979 Cup Final hero Alan Sunderland. Unfortunately despite the hullabaloo it seems most United fans care as much about who owns the club as people who download Crazy Frog ring tones worry about the state of the British music industry.

The Not4Sale coalition, who have taken the fan responsible for resisting the take-over have been brilliantly blinkered in their approach to all this. For one, they are fourteen years too late, United have been for sale ever since they floated on the stock exchange… in fact many of the Not4Sale Coalition have taken full advantage of the fact that United are 4sale. They also think this is an issue of national importance. One claimed that all football fans should rally in support of United’s plight. Why, exactly? United have been an integral part, and beneficiary of, the Premiership, the Champions League, the European superclub alliance G14, snubbing, and therefore downgrading the FA Cup, belittling the League Cup by playing youth team players. Football competitions are now valued in money-terms. It’s made them a lot of money. This has not only made themselves very attractive to external investors in the club but they have raised the bar to the extent that in order to get in the Premiership/Champions League winning game you have to invest somewhere in the region of half a billion pounds to stand a chance of competing, for this read: Chelsea. In short they’ve deliberately polarised football, and now they’re upset about it.

Then there’s the tactical ineptitude in their protest. The plan was for fans to wear black at the Cup Final to signal the death of their club. The same colour the team wore on the pitch (United are innovators in global brand developing shirts which can be worn as fashion garments). Even if fans did fall in line, it wouldn’t have looked like a protest, it would simply have looked like thousands of fans supporting their team. It’s not a bad idea marking your feelings through thousands of people wearing a particular colour; a few years ago Rangers fans all wore orange to thank their Dutch contingent for a great season. It was so bright and obvious that they weren’t wearing their traditional blue; TV had to comment on it. If United fans really wanted to mark their anger at the situation, they should have worn sky blue, the colour of their arch Manchester rival City. Now that would have caused a stir.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Working my work

Work is potty at the moment, I don’t suppose I’m any busier than anyone else, but it seems to envelope my whole world at the moment. Things aren’t that bad though, people are very positive about what I’ve been doing and it is been recognised in cold hard money terms, which always helps.

There’s also a curious scenario where I’m easing into a position of some importance. This is not to gloat; it’s just that people seem to think I’m quite an important person to have on board when they’ve got things they want developed etc. I’ve tried analysing why this is; in my head I’m nine-years-old and hoping to play centre forward for Oxford United in the FA Cup final. Work is something I do until I get my call up. I’m never really sure about what I’m doing, I’m not particularly learned or organised. Usually, the things I say are backed up with analogies derived from football or the telly. So how does a big fraud like me get listened to? The traditional view seems to be “use management bullshit” and “be a big suck up”. I don’t think it takes you very far; The Ruffles Guide to Getting By is:

Say stuff like you know what your talking about, never say “I’m not really an expert in these things but…” or “I may be completely wrong but…” In the end, nobody really knows what they’re talking about, applying common sense without blinking usually wins.

Don’t be impressed by many people, but be impressed by some. I’m a pretty cynical bugger, so not many people get my worthless vote of confidence. But you have to selective. By not being impressed by many, but being impressed by some you’re effectively ranking yourself in the upper quartiles of the ability range. Amazingly, people seem to buy it.

... Oh, working hard and trying to be good at what you do also helps.

Monday, May 09, 2005

General erection

It’s difficult to know who won the battle of the Election coverage; I enjoyed BBC’s endless result analogies, especially the one where the three CGI generated main leaders were seen hobbling down Downing Street towards number 10.

Mind you, when flicking through the channels during a lull in the results I did stumbled across a serious contender for the title. Paramount were just introducing their next show “…and now, continuing our election night coverage, another edition of Badly Dubbed Porn”.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The lost people of democracy

Who are the people that make an election happen? What do the people who stand outside the polling booths do for a living? Why do they insist on taking your polling card number? What do they do with the information? Who analyses it all? Who makes the rosettes they wear?

Where do the people who check your card come from? What do they write on your card? Why do they punch it with a five hole punch? Do people really pass the information onto MI6 to keep us in check? Who are you? Why are you here? Stop reading this blog. Go away.

Who organises the boxes to get to the place where they count the votes? Who does the counting? Where are the adverts for these jobs? Why would you want to do it in the first place? Do they get paid? Who do they vote for? When do they vote?

Why do Sunderland South care so much about returning the first result? Who cares? What are they trying to prove? Who is it impressed by this? Is Sunderland South overrun by short macho repressed homosexuals?

Do the Monster Raving Looney Party still think they’re funny? No, really, do the Monster Raving Looney Party really think they’re funny?

How many visual analogies does Peter Snow need to demonstrate the state of play? Does he think its real? Who creates all these effects? Why do ITN insist on calling theirs ground breaking when every other channel has exactly the same thing? Why does Jeremy Paxman think disagreeing with everyone about everything is probing journalism? Why has Natasha Kapinsky been relegated to do doing the human interest behind the scenes reportage? Why do I need to ask?

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