Wednesday, June 30, 2010

England's World Cup Exit...

Since England's very tame defeat in the 2nd round of the World Cup soccer people have again been scratching their heads wondering who or what is to blame. The most popular excuse in 2010 is that the English club teams have loads of "foreign" players instead of English ones. [These "foreign" players seemingly make the English players look better than they are.]

However, as far as I can remember, from following soccer since the mid '70's, this World Cup finish is the standard for the English national team. In fact, compared to some previous campaigns it's even better.

I don't remember 1974 but they didn't even qualify for those Finals. In Argentina'78 which I do remember (ticker tape was the "vuvuzella" of 1978) again England did not qualify.

Of course, there were little or no "foreign" players (apart from Scottish, Irish and Welsh) pre-1978. Indeed I remember the excitement when Ossie Ardiles and Ricaro Villa joined Spurs after the '78 World cup because it was so unusual. I can't remember the popular excuse for English failure back then. It was probably, "we need to introduce "foreign" players into the League to help improve us".

In the ensuing eight Finals England have got to the semi-finals once. Apart from that it's been a quarter-final exit or worse (they didn't qualify again in 1994).

All the talk about managers, foreign players, tiredness, the pressure from the Press etc. mask the real issue that something is very wrong with the coaching and encouragement of skills in the English game. And it has been that way for at least 40years.

It'll take a hell of an effort to correct it but, until they do, this is as good as it gets.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Simone Felice Returns...

Simone Felice had a very serious heart scare that required equally serious surgery. But he's on the mend and he joined his brothers for at the Clearwater Revival.

Here he is:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Good Day To Have Off...

Got to see the England/Slovenia game. England winning one-nil. The usual good crack of watching the wildly different views of the BBC panel against the RTE one. You really would think they were watching two completely different games. For what it's worth, my view is that Slovenia were poor but, while the better side, England couldn't kill them off and ended up "holding on" for a one - nil victory. Of course, seeing as their next game is against the old enemy Germany I expect they will do a lot better but you cannot foretell what nerves will do to them. Sadly I'll be working on Sunday (which also means I'll miss seeing Louth versus Westmeath in the Leinster semi-final).

After cooking dinner (grilled chicken breast, new-season potatoes and beans, since you ask) I stumbled across the longest tennis game ever at Wimbledon 2010. At 59 (yes, fifty-nine) games each in the final set, and after circa10hrs playing, they had to stop due to poor light. Fascinating.

Next up was Lennon Naked on BBC4. A drama about John Lennon 1967 - 1971. I'd read about this period in Lennon's life before and the programme didn't shirk away from displaying his descent into an (admittedly, already there) selfishness and nastyness. Coupled with his own sense of artistic and world importance it was quite painful to watch. It reminded me why I still prefer the early Beatles songs to the ones from Sgt. Peppers on.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The WORD's Summer Song Picks...

... from this month's magazine edition are now on-line.

Quirky and nice. Click HERE for a diverting moment or two.

Ray Davies is 66...

Ray Davies is one of THE great pop songwriters. A true melody maker. Here's one of my favourites:

Saturday, June 19, 2010

What I Did With Some Time-Off...

We had a mid-summer break for a few days. These are the places we hit:

THE BAILEY for Brother-In-Law plus his wife's 40th Birhtday Party.

Kildare Village Out-Let Store.

Hook Head Lighthouse.

To Dublin for two nights. Stayed in The Shelbourne Hotel. Sauntered down Grafton Street. Bought the new Divine Comedy and Mary Gauthier albums. Strolled around St. Stephen's Green in the sunshine. Visited Wilde statue. Drank the night away in THE DUKE pub. Visited The National Gallery to view the Taking Stock Exhibition (and very good it is too). Later walked around Trinity College.

Got pretty good weather.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Another World Cup Post...

... but this time by Tony Cascarino:

The World Cup Still Works...

The World Cup is about to start and I always look forward to it when it comes around. Soccer was the first sport I loved watching and it remains my sporting choice. British tv called it Football but that was too inaccurate for me because we also had Gaelic Football here in Ireland. I heard, years later, that Americans had the same difficulty with this description of the word "football" also.

But I have to go back. When I was a 7 year old I fell in love with comics. After a couple of months of chasing copies of TIGER & SCORCHER, BATTLE, WARLORD & BULLET, and after my Mam decided to give me 25pence pocket-money a week, I became a person who "booked" his comic of choice. I decided on the mainly sport oriented "Tiger & Scorcher". This meant having that week's copy of the latest edition waiting for me when I went up on a Thursday after school. The newsagent taking it from under the counter, with the name McArdle handwritten across the top right corner. I switched later to "Roy Of The Rovers", as he left the parent publication probably to make more money on his own. Little did I know that this was exactly the way real soccer life would turn out to be.

During those years I fell for Queen's Park Rangers because of their attractive stylish football, Stan Bowles, and because every tv station said they were "family friendly". But mostly because they were heading for the title; because my older brother followed them; and because I liked their strip.

As I've grown older, I've lost my taste for comics and any liking for the actual football industry. However, I now love getting texts from my 10yr old nephew about how his team (Arsenal) is doing, and how mine (yes, still QPR) are struggling to get to the Premiership. He really wants us to get there (but I'm sure it's only so Arsenal can wallop us).

So, I start to watch a month of football full of players I have no idea about; full of teams I don't know, and managers that are quite as mad as I remember managers to be. All commentated on by people that have no idea what will happen next.

Just like I remember football before we got swamped with over exposure, analysis and experts.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Mother Fuyer post...

I put up the great Dirty Red track MOTHER FUYER on a different site. Hopefully you'll enjoy it here:

Click HERE.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sex And The City by Kermode...

I know he's only on about the latest film but Mr. K says everything I want to say about the whole SATC franchise far better than I ever could HERE.