Tuesday 24 February 2015

Songs to ban at football stadiums

1)  "he scores when he wants" -  discriminates against players who don't score.

2) Singing a player's name  - also very discriminatory. nobody sings the fans, the pundits or the owners name
3) Singing that your club is the greatest team in the world -  this is biased as it puts down other clubs

4) Singing that the referee doesn't know what he is doing (even if his name is Martin Atkinson) is unjust and abusive as no consideration is given to the referee's feeling

5) Singing 'we are top of the league' - is inequitable as it puts down other clubs

6) Singing that your club won the league at some shit hole is shows lack of consideration as some other clubs that have never won anything and are unlikely to ever win anything

7) Singing that your club is going to Wembley is unfair and insensitive to the feelings of clubs that are not  going to Wembley and might never go to Wembley

8) Singing you fat bastard - this is actually actionable and discriminatory towards all fat bastards. Not sure what happens if they are actually fat and happen to be bastards
9) Finally, Arsenal fans need to be banned from singing the worst discriminatory and abusive song ever. 'She whore a yellow ribbon'. This song is invidious and is sexist. Any Arsenal fan who sings this song should be sanctioned by the Women Liberation Army & the SMP (Social Media Police) 
10) Insert your own suggestion here  

Monday 23 February 2015

Chronicle of 10 Chelsea Horror Tackles.

1) John Terry on James Milner  - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogQ31ergU_8
April 2010. Worse than tackle on Matic. Yellow card to Terry.

2) Micheal Essien on Andy Carroll - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wS9nYTZ_lb8
May 2012. Not even a yellow for Essien. I leave you to judge which is worse. Tackle on Matic or tackle on Carroll

3) Cesar Azpilicueta tackle on jedinak - https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=622261027891668
October 2014 all he got was a red card. Was this criminal. This was a week or two after the Chelsea players almost maimed Alexis Sanchez at Stamford Bridge

4) Marko Marin horror tackle on Stephane Mbia - https://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/news/football-marin-seen-red-horror-tackle-121249214.html
January 2013 All he got was a yellow.

5) Ramires ugly tackle on El Ahmadi of Villa http://www.marca.com/2014/03/16/en/football/international_football/1394973921.html
March 2014. Was this criminal

6) Mikel Obi disgraceful tackle on Mikel Arteta - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46ngU8nACR8
December 2013

7) Another one from Micheal Essien on Didi Hamman - http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/europe/4498924.stm
December 2005 fortunately UEFA acted on this tackle. Essie is 'good' at tackles like these

8)  Gary Cahill hammer tackle on Sone Aluko's puny legs - http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/news-photo/gary-cahill-of-chelsea-challenges-sone-aluko-of-hull-city-news-photo/460410064
December 2014. What did Cahill get for this violent attack?

9) Same 'gentle' Gary Cahill on Harry Kane - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4G062aDH-Cs
January 2015. I will be in jail if i did this to anybody. No punishment to Cahill

10) Baby faced Oscar on fellow countryman Lucas - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYJojHRg-10. December 2013.
No card for horror show Oscar

Bonus point - Please tote up Chelsea red & yellow cards and compare the Mourinho years with the non mourinho years.  

The Deification of Sam Allardyce

I never fancied Big Sam as a manager. Nothing to do with his ability. Just that for some reason at Bolton, my perception was that he knew how to get results against Arsenal. And that used to be so annoying and infuriating. Sam also enjoyed winding Arsene up.

Tony Pulis was on my list of mangers I don't fancy. He also had a measure of Arsene especially at The Britannia (nothing has changed there). I softened towards Tony when he took on the Crystal Palace gig as through a few friends, I have a soft spot for Palace.

Also in my 'don't fancy that' hall of fame is the great Satan himself - Jose Mourinho. The number one enemy of football according to UEFA. Still waiting for FIFA to confirm the UEFA award. Another one was Sir Alex. As he is no longer a manager, I can shamefully say that the man was a genius. He could turn eleven school boys in to a trophy winning side and he did this over and over again.

Back to Sam. Since he left Bolton,  he has managed Newcastle, Blackburn and now West Ham. Before Bolton, he managed Limerick, Blackpool and Notts County. Prior to Limerick, he was an Assistant Manager / Player at West Brom. In all Sam has managed for over 24 years.

Everybody who appears to know Sam in the football trade talks of his professionalism in a positive way. Also in the public space, Sam is hailed for his pioneering use of Prozone stats, his ability to get the best out of many ageing football superstars who made the Reebok Stadium thier home during Sam's time at Bolton. However of importance to many a English Premier League owner and fan is that Sam can (somewhat) guarantee your club Premier League survival. This last accolade is shared with the Premier League survival merchant that is Tony Pulis.

On the negative side however are the long ball tactics label attached to Sam's team and to a certain extent, the physicality of his men on the playing pitch. They are like an albatross on Sam's neck.

In addition, there is a perception of sorts that Sam is arrogant and full of himself. He has recently claimed he is the most sophisticated manager in the Premier League. Recently one of his good friends, Phil Brown said Sam was even better than Arsene Wenger.

Sam's somewhat derisory comments about the "West Ham way" and some of his comments dismissing the aggro he was receiving from the West Ham fans in their promotion year is perhaps further evidence or indication of Sam's alleged arrogance.

Last season, it was widely speculated that the owners of West Ham kept faith with Sam because the massive pay off clause in his contract. Having successfully navigated last season and now in the final year of his contract, it has been suggested that here will be a parting of ways at the end of this season. Many pundits and fans (especially of other clubs) have criticised this. They believe West Ham will suffer if they sack Sam.

I have a slightly different opinion and this is why:

1) Appointment of Teddy Sheringham as Forwards Coach. It has been speculated that this idea was forced on Sam. However both Sam & one of the owners have confirmed that this is not the case (http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/west-ham-cochairman-david-sullivan-defends-appointment-of-teddy-sheringham-as-attacking-coach-as-he-reveals-former-striker-was-sam-allardyces-choice-9545556.html) Please note that the West Ham owner clearly stated that the aspiration this season is a top 6 finish.

It would appear from that the owners wanted the idea of a forward coach implemented and Sam had to buy into it but was allowed to appoint the forward coach.

2) In July 2014, I was driving home late at night and David Sullivan came on Talksports Sports Bar and yanked the rug off Sam's feet by saying something different on Ravel Morrison to what Sam had said earlier at a News conference in New Zealand. If you missed it, here is the link (http://talksport.com/football/exclusive-west-ham-want-keep-morrison-despite-allardyces-desire-sell-midfielder). That for me was an indication that Sam was on his way out. The fact that Sam has been proved right on Ravel Morrison notwithstanding.

3) Despite the fact that the season started brilliantly with the acquisition of Valencia, Sakho, Kouyate & Song, West Ham are currently 8th, 5 points behind the team in 7th. A poor performance in the last round of the FA cup and no wins in the last 5 matches. The owners will feel they have supported the managers with funds and with their desire to finish in the top 6 and challenging for a top 4 place, lying in 8th position will be considered not good enough.

In my opinion, the owners by above action & comments have made Sam's position untenable. This is the equivalent of the 'sleeping on a couch' moment in a marriage / relationship.

As a fan or a pundit, you might disagree with the West Ham owners and their reasoning. I have heard some people call them deluded. However what you can't disagree with is that the Davids and Lady Brady have put their money where their mouth is. They have invested in the club and are entitled to be aspirational. They did not become millionaires by aiming low. They no longer want fish and chips. They prefer foie gras.

As far as I an see, the owners of West Ham have decided that they want more than Premier League survival. They want to win trophies and become established members of the Premier League elite. Is this risky? definitely. Would it certainly end in pain? Nobody knows. Give it time and we will know if the decision of the West Ham owners is / was the right one.

For premiership survival they pay Sam a lot. He is reputed to be the 13th highest paid manager in the World. Yes nobody forced West Ham owners to pay him this salary but the end of a contract is the perfect time to look into what they are getting for the bucks they pay and to decide if it is time to change supermarkets. It is a relationship that appears to have run its course. Forcing both parties to stay together is a waste of of every body's time.

For someone with Sam's exalted level of self confidence selling him as a manager who guarantees Premier League survival is an insult. For the remuneration he commands and the experience he has, Sam should be delivering trophies and performances like the early season form of West Ham as a matter of course. I hasten to add that if Sam leaves West Ham, he will not be short of job offers and the wish of the deluded Arsenal fan who came on Talksports a few months ago might be fulfilled. Sam might be begged by Stan Kroenke to succeed Arsene Wenger. After all Sam is better and more sophisticated.

Sunday 15 February 2015

Football Clubs & the Managerial Sack Race

Stuart Pearce recently lost his job at Nottingham Forest. His position became untenable as results on the field of play were somewhat poor. It is the nature of the manager's role in a football club. Your head is on the chopping blocks if you don't get the result.

I generally do not agree that poor result is anyone person's fault although I understand the concept of taking responsibility. It appears to be conventional wisdom that this is what Managers sign up to. Take up a role even if it is at a crap football team, results stay the same or worsen, you are out of a job.

However, it appears there is always a reluctance by the Chairman or the Board to pull the trigger and understandably as a result of the money involved, there is little chance that the manager will volunteer himself for the chop. Appears some managers have in the past like Ian Holloway at Crystal Palace last season. But he appears to be in the minority. From what I read, there are a number of reasons why clubs are usually reluctant to sack their managers

1) The pay off  (reluctance to pay or difficulty in agreeing the pay off amount) Like in most commercial contracts, the party that cancels is obliged to compensate the other party. It appears most Clubs don't want to pay a big fat wedge to a departing manager who for all intents and purpose has failed. For example, there was speculation last year that the West Ham owners were reluctant to pay off Big Sam something in the region of £5m as they felt that the money could be used to improve the playing squad. It appears Sam dodged the sacking bullet as a result of the sum involved.

2) Emotional reasons - the Stuart Pearce case comes to mind. His appointment was steeped in emotion. Psycho as he is affectionately known was a club legend. Although he has had an indifferent managerial career (in my opinion) there was the expectation and the hope that his reign will be a success. Unfortunately it didn't happen as planned. From media reports emerging following his sack, it is clear this was one decision delayed for emotional reasons.

3) Absence of a suitable alternative -  Although not substantive managers, the appointments of Chris Ramsey of QPR & John Carver of Newcastle as managers till the end of the season appears to fit nicely into this category. All the noise emerging from both QPR and Newcastle when Harry & Alan left respectively was about searching for a new manager. To turn around and not appoint a full time manager suggests they couldn't find a suitable manager or the manager they wanted wasn't available.

4) The manager shields the owner and serves as a lighting rod - Alan Pardew as the Newcastle manager was a good example of this. The more the Newcastle fans focused on Pardew, the less attention Mike Ashley got.

Whatever the club's reason (s) are for sacking or delaying the sacking of a manager, it would appear that the system is stuck in the middle ages. Club owners waiting for managers to come to them to say "it is not working. I want to leave" might happen more often if the manager knows he will get a fair outcome and pay off. But if the same owners want the manager to also waive his right to a lucrative pay off. Its not going to happen. Do turkeys vote for Christmas? From what we now know, Paul Lambert offered himself up for the sack but the owner of Aston Villa was reluctant to pull the trigger. Did he want Paul to walk away with less money than he was entitled to. Fat chance.

Perhaps football clubs might to insert clauses in manager's contracts that allow both parties part ways  if pre agreed results / performance levels are not achieved. If this were to happen, the pay off is then significantly less than if a manager was fired because of change of ownership or if the owners don't fancy him any more or for some other farcical reasons that only football owners can come up with.

Sunday 1 February 2015

Creating New Identity for Criminals in the UK

The justice system in the UK is something to be lauded despite its numerous challenges. In this trying economic times, finance is a big challenge with government spending cuts. There are also philosophical challenges with two dominant strain of opinions - 'lock all criminals up' or 'try some other form of rehabilitation'. Even within the 'bang them all up' brigade there is a realisation that we don't have enough prisons and that some criminals come out of prison with even more advanced skills.

Other challenges that impact on the criminal justice system includes population growth, multicultural society and the criminalising of some behaviours by our law making system. All of these issues are weighty topics worthy of discussion in their own right. Maybe on another day.

I however want to touch on a different aspect of the criminal justice system today. The idea that criminals are deserving of a new identity to protect them. Where did this idea come from? I have tried hard this morning and all I could find is somewhat summarised in this article (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/7361451/Venables-protected-by-rare-identity-ban.html) . Yes the same Dame Butler - Sloss that we rejected as the Head of the Child Abuse inquiry was apparently the first person to use the lifelong anonymity order for criminals.

Granted this was because a child was the criminal. But since then, the largess has been extended to adults. One of such beneficiaries include - Maxine Carr (She was 27 when she decided to provide an alibi for the murderer of 2 children) and the child murderer and later adult criminal who used to be known as Jon Venables.

To a certain degree, I understand why children who commit vile crimes are given new identities. There is a view these might help them rebuild their lives. You might be tempted to ask if they really know what they were doing? Also for very young ones, their is still a chance they can be genuinely rehabilitated. I however disagree that protecting their identity or giving them new ones has anything to do with human rights. I firmly believe that when you take away the human rights of others, you lose the right to yours. No ifs. No buts.

However what is the point of given new identities to adult criminals. Same issue of human rights? Sorry I don't buy that. These adults (except those with genuine mental health issues or those with the mental age of a child) knew what they were doing and they should be dealt with accordingly. If they have serious and verifiable mental health issues, they should be in a psychiatric ward somewhere receiving proper treatment. If they have the mental age of a child, they should be subject to appropriate care orders if there is a chance they might harm themselves or others.

Back to adult criminals. If the reason they are given new identities is because they would be harmed by the relatives of their victims. This is clearly WRONG. If I go out and slap a gang members' girlfriend in a crime infested backwater somewhere, I am likely to be stabbed in the neck and probably die. Should I be granted a new identity by the CPS for my foolishness as the knife in the neck will deprive me of my human rights? I think a resounding NO is the answer to that question. So why should future Maxine Carrs receive any protection. They are adults, they knew what they were doing, they suffer the consequences. Simple.

The intriguing one is that of Mr Venables. He got one identity as a child murderer. He 'ballsed' it up and he has been given another one as an adult. Is there a limit to the identities we are willing to give him. 10, 20 or a 100? At what point will the criminal justice system cut him loose? At what point will the system decide that perhaps his criminal behaviour was nothing to do with his youth when he killed a toddler but a sign perhaps that this is one person that doesn't deserve our collective protection and rehabilitation? I think maybe our patience (STUPIDITY?) has no end.

As far as I am aware, this system and this society thrives on taking responsibility for our actions especially as adults, I am sorry this is not compatible with creating new identities for adult criminals.