Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Snow, snow, snow...

Snow, snow, snow..., originally uploaded by MichaelGT.

We were only saying the other day, after I'd been out in a five minute blizzard, that we don't get snow like we used to around here anymore. You get five minutes of strong snow that sticks and then... Well, it stops snowing and before you know it everything's gone.

Hmm. So much for that idea. No one in our street is going to work today as you can't get out of the driveway. Good on one hand, shite on the other. Oh well.

At least it was nice and sunny in South Africa as England managed to scrape a draw in the first test. I'll do a full, proper post on that later, but for now, let me just say that things don't look that bad if a) Bell finds some form b) Bell gets told to go home or c) Pietersen realises he's not the big "I am" and pays attention to his team mates. Kevin, if you're reading this (yeah, right), the non-striker makes the calls about running. Not you after you've just played the shot. If he shouts no, stay there, don't be a dick and get yourself out. I'm just glad Trott got his bat down.

Full marks to Colly once again for an heroic performance.

Right, I'm off for some pavement skating, if I don't post before (and I probably won't) then have a good Christmas everyone. Eat, drink and get rat-arsed.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Happy Lancashire Day to you all

A brief post this time (just to let you know I'm still alive...) to celebrate Lancashire Day.



Know ye that this day, November 27th in the year of our Lord Two Thousand and nine, the 58th year of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Duke of Lancaster, is Lancashire Day.

Know ye also, and rejoice, that by virtue of Her Majesty's County Palatine of Lancaster, the citizens of the Hundreds of Lonsdale, North and South of the Sands, Amounderness, Leyland, Blackburn, Salford and West Derby are forever entitled to style themselves Lancastrians.

Throughout the County Palatine, from the Furness Fells to the River Mersey, from the Irish Sea to the Pennines, this day shall ever mark the peoples' pleasure in that excellent distinction - true Lancastrians, proud of the Red Rose and loyal to our Sovereign Duke.




As I've said before, I'm not the Queen's biggest fan, nor the biggest fan of the Royal Family in general, but that's not the point. The point is that today is a day to celebrate this wonderful County and it's people, it's culture, it's history and it's landmarks. A true land of beauty stretching from the River Duddon to the River Mersey, from the Irish Sea to the Pennines. Don't believe what many tell you about the County now being smaller - Cumbria (parts of), Cheshire (parts of), Merseyside and Greater Manchester were all created as administration areas, nothing more. It's about time people realised that.

Still, many do and it's a day to wear your Red Rose with pride. Squeeze in a pint of Wainwright if you can, as well! And I'll leave you all with the following 'tale'...

An American decided to write a book about famous churches around the world. So he bought a plane ticket and took a trip to Orlando, thinking that he would start by working his way across the USA from South to North. On his first day he was inside a church taking photographs when he
noticed a golden telephone mounted on the wall with a sign that read "$10,000 per call".

The American, being intrigued, asked a priest who was strolling by what the telephone was used for. The priest replied that it was a direct line to heaven and that for $10,000 you could talk to God.

The American thanked the priest and went along his way.

His next stop was in Atlanta. There, at a very large cathedral, he saw the same golden telephone with the same sign under it. He wondered if this was the same kind of telephone he saw in Orlando and he asked a nearby nun what its purpose was. She told him that it was a direct line to heaven and that for $10,000 he could talk to God.

"O.K., thank you," said the American.

He then travelled to Indianapolis, Washington DC, Philadelphia,Boston and New York. In every church he saw the same golden telephone with the same "$10,000 per call" sign under it.

The American, upon leaving Vermont decided to travel to England to see if they had the same phone. He arrived in Lancashire, and again, in the first church he entered, there was the same golden telephone, but this time the sign under it read "40pence per call."

The American was surprised so he asked the priest about the sign.

"Father, I've travelled all over America and I've seen this same golden telephone in many churches. I'm told that it is a direct line to Heaven, but in the US the price was $10,000 per call. Why is it so cheap here?"

The priest smiled and answered, "You're in Lancashire now, son - it's a local call".

Wednesday, 30 September 2009


Well, it's been a while since I last did one of these. Over a month, in fact. Seeing as I've had grief off a few (well, one person. Cheers Damo) about it, I decided to stop being so lazy and write.

Well, it's been a strange month. Still no job and, would you believe, my Jobseeker's Allowance is due to run out because I've been claiming for 6 months. Fucking wonderful. It's nice to know that, after a few years of putting your money into the system you're entitled to only a minute percentage of it back. I'd love to know how those who live off it manage to make their way around the system. But hey ho. I suppose I really, really need to get off my arse and get anything I possibly can, now... Hmm.

The cricket season is at an end. Lancashire managed to somehow scrape a respectable fourth place. However, it masks a mediocre year of unachievement once again and something needs to be done. It does seem that Moores is taking steps to ensure things are going to change from next season and new blood seems to be the order of the day. We just need to see if he actually acts on it. Or, more to the point, if the committee will allow him to act on it. Could look to blood some of the seconds, too, their performance in the two finals shows that they're ready to step up to first team standard. They certainly played like the first team, anyway...

England's performance in the ODIs against Australia is best forgotten, although unbelivably they've managed to secure a semi-final spot. How? Who knows. England have been crap at one-dayers for years now and refuse to change their style of play to adapt. And I fully expect that to show up once again in the semi-final. Oh well, at least we're not South Africa. The best ranked ODI side in the world choke again. Heh.

Football's best avoided at the moment, too. United have played this evening and, not only have I not watched it, I've no intention of watching highlights and I don't even know the score. I'll find out tomorrow. Or when I next look on Facebook. I just can't get excited this season, although when I do watch a game I enjoy it. I guess the past 4 years are catching up with me... And Michael fucking Owen in the number 7 shirt doesn't help either. What a fuck up that is.

FC United are still going strong, though. Although with a patchy start to the season we've seen an increase in spoilt brats wanting changes in management, playing staff and the way the club's structured because we're not getting instant success. Fucking idiots. It's a shame people just can't grasp the ethos of the club, even though they've been following it since the start. Still, I guess some people were just born to be pricks.

My life has seen an ever-present take a major step back into prominence recently, too. Something that's always been there, always been big, but taken a back seat over recent years. Video games. I know, you either love 'em or loathe 'em, but I bloody love 'em. And bugger me, aren't they taking over my existence again. Mind you, Sony's trophy system doesn't help. For the unitiated, trophies are awarded for various achievements in games. There's bronze, silver and gold trophies, depending on how hard the achievement is judged to be. Retail games (i.e. ones you buy in a shop, not downloadable games) have a platinum trophy, awarded for getting all other trophies in the game. These all add up to your gaming level and you can use it to compete against, compare with and taunt other people.

And that's exactly what's happened. Myself and Alan have managed to turn it into a, still fairly friendly, contest. I keep bragging about my platinum trophy, whilst reminding him that he hasn't got any. Yet. In order to keep the bragging rights, I'm playing games constantly and looking at ways at trying to get another platinum. And then another. Christ, I've even considered playing the Hannah Montana game it's that bad! Addicted? Oh aye. And bloody good it is too!

I have to mention the fact that it's my friend Nicole's third wedding anniversary today. Three years, Jesus. Three years since I was in Canada for the first time. Three years since I saw my favourite person in the world finally get the day she'd waited so long for. I was as happy as I possibly could be about something happening to someone else and I'm just glad that, with a little help, her and Steve have managed to make it this far. Here's hoping there's many, many, many more of these to come.

This is going to sound like it's related to the above, but it isn't... Well, maybe a small percentage... There's been a lot of things going on recently that have constantly made me think about still being single. And not necessarily in a good way. It's all well and good being able to do what you want, when you want but it'd be nice to have someone else there to do stuff with. I always thought I'd be settled by now. Should've known. Although I've vowed not to dive head-first into feelings for anyone from here on in. When you spend around two years getting to know someone, get it in your head that things are going perfectly and she can't say 'no' when you ask her out only to find out she's got a boyfriend... Well, it kinda knocks you back a little bit. Don't get carried away and you can't get hurt. Simple, in theory.

On a lighter note, I've re-found another little hobby recently. Comics. Mainly online ones, but I've started thumbing through others as well. It started mainly with Kevin Smith's films and stuff (Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy... There's three, go and have a look and them and the others if you've not already) and was accelerated by Star Wars and Watchmen, the latter being utterly superb, I have to say. And the online stuff's always ace, especially when you find a new one to read. Suddenly, you find you've gone through 9 years of comic strips in less than 48 hours...

- Superbly written stuff, although it's not been updated regularly for a while.

- Hillarious. Read it from the beginning and enjoy. Oh - and the Amiga computers are at the heart of the strip and project. What more do you want?

http://www.ctrlaltdel-online.com/index.php - My latest find. Brilliantly written, very funny indeed and sums up gaming and gamers really well indeed. Might not mean much to those who don't play video games, but it's worth a look.

And so, the sun sets on another evening. I won't leave it as long before I blog again. I promise.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

"Is that the Ashes? Yes, England have won the Ashes."

Well bugger me with a fish fork. Did anyone really think we'd not only win back the Ashes, but do so in such an emphatic manner? After the depression of Headingley it's been unbelievable to come back up to such glorious highs. So much so that it's all quite surreal. None of it seems to have sunk in just yet.

That last-gasp survival in Cardiff seems a long, long time ago now. No one that day thought we'd win the bloody series and it looked like we were just delaying the inevitable. With hindsight, that seemed to be the moment that gave England the belief that they could win back that little urn.

Everything just seemed to click at the Oval. Strauss, Bell, Trott and Swann getting some good scores - excellent in Trott's case, a hell of a debut. Broad getting a Michelle, Flintoff's brilliant run-out of Ponting... Everything fell into place.

Of course, there's now questions of just where do we go from here? Flintoff will be missed greatly and, of course, there's still huge question marks over many in the side. South Africa will be a much harder ask for our players. Will they be up to it? Who knows? But for know, it's just time to sit back and bask in the glory.

Have that you Aussie bastards.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Cricket, bloody cricket

Well, it's been a while since I've posted about the Ashes, so I may as well stick my nose in considering the way things are currently balanced.

I've already commented on the first win at Lord's since 1934, but I'll touch on it again. It was a fantastic moment and I don't think anyone really thought it would come as emphatically as it did. Flintoff was majestic once more - we're going to miss him hugely after this series, something that was all too clear at the Oval, but I'm getting ahead of myself. I did wonder, briefly, if another cricketing related event that hasn't occurred since 1934 would now take place this year... It didn't last long.

So then we moved to Edgbaston, at a time when Birmingham was struggling with the weather. And this time it worked in Australia's favour - England surely would have won that game had it not been for the bloody rain. But, the Aussies can say the same about Cardiff, so I guess we're even on that front.

And then... Headingley. What can you say? An utter, fucking disgrace. A complete debacle from start to finish. When a second innings partnership between Broad and Swann puts on more runs than the entire team did in the first innings... Well, it's beyond belief, isn't it? Bopara and Bell should never wear the shirt again and the rest of England's middle order need a long, hard look at themselves. Bring in Key? Trott, maybe? Neither of them could do any worse. Also, and I never thought I'd say this, but we do miss the South African Twat as well.

At least it looks as if Flintoff's back for the Oval. The problem, of course, being that it's a notorious batting track. It'd be easy for Australia to bat England out of the game in the first innings. Mind you, 200 runs would probably do that! It's not over, obviously, and in two weeks time I could be posting on here celebrating a marvellous victory. But I'm certainly not getting my hopes up.

As for Lancs... Well, we've made maximum batting points for two Championship games in a row! Unprecedented in recent times. It's just a shame that we couldn't get a win in either game, although the tie at Hampshire was rain affected. We seem to be in a good position after the first day against Durham, so who knows? It won't end up being our year - in fact, it'll all go the way of Twenty20 bowl outs, probably - but it's nice to see that we're finding some form again. Fingers crossed it'll carry on into next season.

As for my own career, still not played properly since the Mudhutters Cricket Club's (that's the MCC to you) first ever victory, in the third year of existence. There's only been two games, I couldn't make one due to being in Cardiff. The rest of gone down the pan thanks to the weather, including tonight's scheduled game. Ah well, at least you've got a blog post out of it, right? Had plenty of net sessions though and am collecting the bruises. Who says it's an easy game to play?

A brief mention on other sports: The rugby season is going on far too long, let's get it over with, I've had enough of watching Salford now. And the football season has started again too bloody quickly. I can't be arsed with it yet.

A brief mention on the job situation: It's shit.

A brief mention on life in general: Meh. "I want the one I can't have and it's driving me mad" is the lyric of the moment.

Monday, 3 August 2009

A thin line part 2...

Well I enjoyed writing the last piece that much I thought I'd try to give it a happy ending. Not quite sure this bit works as well as the other one did (to my mind) but hey, it's "closure" of sorts!

It had been a lovely day once again and, so far, everything was going well. The usual weekly evening ritual was about to take place yet again and, as he walked up to his spot, he noticed that she was here again. But this time there were less people around to get in the way and he was sober. Not to mention that there were a few others around who had been missing last time. They always spoke to him, and seeing as they were stood talking to his intended target, getting into a conversation with her would be much easier.

And so it was.

Early on in the evening the conversation was sporadic, but shared with others. Common ground was touched upon numerous times which brightened his evening up no end. There was plenty of laughing and joking with light-hearted mickey-taking breaking down conversational barriers further. And so, later on, when the opportunity arose to talk to her on her own, he waited for the right moment... And stepped in.

Suddenly, all the heartache from the previous encounter was forgotten. They talked about many things, they laughed, they shared a few serious moments and his heart was buoyed by it all. She looked magnificent, not that she ever looked otherwise, and the sight of her smile coupled with the odd comforting word during the conversation made him feel so much better about life. For once, the world and all of its problems seemed much, much brighter.

This time, parting was easier. A hell of a lot easier. And he did not make a mess of anything. He knew he would be seeing her again next week, which also made him glad. On the way home and in the days after he thought about her, as he usually did. Only this time there was no pain, no anguish, no thoughts of 'if only'. Just a gladness that they had talked and talked well. That their friendship, albeit occasional, felt much stronger than after the last debacle.

And, because of that, his heart was gladdened, filled with joy no less, and there was a bounce to his step.

He knew he could now move on.

Le Fin

Monday, 20 July 2009

And did those feet...

When Ivo goes back with the urn, the urn;
Studds, Steel, Read and Tylecote return, return;
The welkin will ring loud,
The great crowd will feel proud,
Seeing Barlow and Bates with the urn, the urn;
And the rest coming home with the urn.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I'm not the most patriotic person. There's plenty about the modern Englishman that I hate - the 'little ingerlunder' syndrome and the distinct lack of respect for other cultures that pervades many these days. I don't follow the English football team and I only mildly follow the England/Great Britain RL side. I don't follow the Union team, either, but that's mainly because I can't stand the sport anyway. However, there is one team and one event inparticular that brings out the Englishman in me.

And here we are, two games into the biggest sporting event of the summer, year, century, millenium and so on. Well, since the last Ashes series and until the next one, that is. The hype before this series has been phenomenal. The "Spirit of 2005" and so on. Funny how nobody's mentioned the last series in Australia though, isn't it? And there was people hyping England up beyond imagination, whereas most of us weren't giving us a chance in hell.

So we moved onto Cardiff. And thought we had a reasonable first innings score. Until the Aussies looked like they could bat on to a 1000 runs. Heroics from Collingwood, Panesar and Anderson saved the day and pushed Ponting into a hell of a wobbly at the end of the game. Now if there's anyone out there who's the last person to babble on about the "Spirit of Cricket" then it's that tosser. And I'm privileged to be able to say I was there for the last day. Although, those of you who actually read this thing regularly will already know that from the last photo entry. A marvellous day's entertainment.

And so we moved onto Lord's. The ground where we hadn't beaten Australia since 1934. Again, we got a good total in the first innings, but was it going to be enough? One fantastic spell of bowling later and another decent knock to put the game seemingly beyond Australia (I never doubted the follow-on decision, honest...) and everyone said yes, it was. Until the fourth day finished with them 313-5 and everyone getting a wee bit twitchy. Thank God Flintoff and Swann did the business this morning, then. The hoodoo broken and a stranglehold on the series. Marvellous.

So, where does that leave us? Well, who knows. Brett Lee threatens to come back at some point, which will turn the Aussies into a different animal. But, if we can keep a fit side together and keep the momentum going, then... Well, we've got a good chance. I'd quite happily have it piss down for the next few weeks instead, mind.

Come on the England.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Build me up, Buttercup...

The teams I support have a nasty tendency to build me up before bringing me back down to Earth with an almighty crash. This weekend has provided a perfect example of that with Salford RLFC putting in a fantastic performance and beating St. Helens and Lancashire CCC crashing and burning in the Friends Provident Trophy Semi Final.

Salford don't seem to know what kind of a team they are. We've beaten Leeds away, Hull away in the Cup, Huddersfield away before capitulating to them at home, Bradford at home, Saints at home after doing poorly in the away game, Warrington at home... Yet we've put in some poor performances elsewhere when you'd think we should've stood a chance. This weekend has built everyone up and people are getting a little carried away in some sections. Yet you know we'll probably struggle away at Celtic this weekend. Ah well, it promises to be a good weekend away, but more of that later.

Lancashire. Such a wonderful start to the season. A start that promised so much and now? Well, poor form in the Championship was no real surprise I guess but Sunday's meek surrender to Hampshire was just horrible. Putting them into bat in glorious sunshine was the first mistake. Batting poorly and not looking urgent in the run chase was the second. Dreadful. Still, Worcestershire at OT this week in a Championship game starting Friday. If we can't beat them then we are in trouble. Hopefully we'll have a points-fest to get a bit of confidence back in the camp.

And I finish with a mention of the Ashes and the weekend ahead. I'm currently watching England struggle through against the Aussies in the hope that they can drag this game out as long as possible. Not just to save the game, but also that after the Celtic Crusaders game on Saturday I'll be stopping over in Cardiff and going to the fifth day on Sunday. Promises to be a marvellous time, I just hope I see some cricket and something good for England.

But, once again, it's them hopes being built up. Don't break my heart...

Saturday, 27 June 2009

A thin line between reality and fantasy...

I've always been interested in writing, to the point where I was constantly told I should've done English in college and maybe beyond. I decided the people telling me that didn't know what they were talking about. Probably a big mistake, to be honest. Still, the interest has kept up to the point where I've done the odd bit of fiction here and there, but nothing major. In an attempt to expand my horizons I thought I'd give something like this a go, although with not having too much experience in this kind of writing I decided to make the setting around two people going to the match. It seemed to work - after all, that is one area that I'm pretty comfortable with! Hope this reads alright and someone, somewhere enjoys it.

The sun shone brightly as a beautiful day did not look like ending even at this stage of the evening. It had been a glorious day so far and the sunshine had put him in a good mood as he wandered up the steps, pint in hand, to take his spot. Not even the thought of what was going to happen on the pitch was enough to knock him off his stride, so what else could?

Then, suddenly, he realised. She was here. For the first time in months.

'Oh for fuck's sake', he thought. This was not what he needed right now. But there she was, summer dress on, looking radiant. And there he was, half cut, sweating like a proverbial pig in the sweltering heat and with a large group of his mates inbetween himself and her.

What to do? How to approach this delicate situation? He could not just go striding off to talk, he would never hear the end of it. Not to mention the fact that she would probably find it a little unnerving. Time to play it cool, other people would move around, you both would need to move out of the way of anyone coming past, so rely on that to get close and it will be easy to look across, say hello and start a conversation.

Some hope.

She stayed talking to her friends. He could hear her speak over the chatter of everyone else. The sound of her beguiling voice was some comfort, albeit a slim one. He strained to listen, but it was no good. Conversation was flowing far too well amongst his own group to pay any real attention. Although, that did work favourably for him in some instances. The odd louder joke or comment did draw her attention towards their direction. But then their eyes would meet briefly, a smile would be shared and then their gazes would be directed back towards the pitch.

"Jesus Christ, I'm making a right mess of this. How the fucking hell am I at least going to say hello?"

It didn't get easier. The eye contact and shared laughs got a little more frequent, but the latter was more of a communal happening throughout everyone nearby. It was not enough.

"Bollocks to this, I'll collar her on the way out, even if it's just a quick 'alright, how you doing?' That'll do, it's conversation."

So, he waited. Patiently. Until, finally, his chance came as she moved past him and looked up with an expression that summed up everything they'd just seen.

"See you next year," she said.

He smiled. And laughed. He watched her walk away, resplendent in her flowery dress. Pining. And then, she was gone. For who knows how long. He stood there and pondered the situation, the moment, the missed opportunities. Then he had a sudden realisation.

'Did I just fucking laugh? Oh wonderful, I've just made a right cunt of myself and it'll be too fucking late to try and explain my way out of that one next time I see her. If I see her. If I could explain it. Bollocks.'

And so, he left. And wondered. He knows full well that she will never, ever be his. There is still a faint hope that things might change eventually, but in reality friendship was all he asked. But making a fool of himself like that on the increasingly rare occasions he saw her was going to do him no favours at all.

And he knew it.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Heroes in a half shell...

Heroes in a half shell..., originally uploaded by MichaelGT.

I've been undergoing a bit of a regression lately. Retro is definitely in.

I'm too early for a midlife crisis, surely?!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

I know this is late...

But I've been a bit busy lately.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that, if you voted for the BNP, you're a c*nt.

This country's problems can not be solved by kicking out anyone who's black.

The BNP have no other realistic policies in place that would make a positive impact on the country.

Think on next time. If you voted for them, be ashamed and next time vote for someone who can make a difference. If you didn't vote at all... Get off your arse next time.

Monday, 15 June 2009

I don't like cricket...

I don't like cricket..., originally uploaded by MichaelGT.

Riverside Stadium, Chester-le-Street, Durham. Durham CCC v. Lancashire CCC

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Cup Fever

I've left this a few days after a week of Cup Fixtures captured my, and a few others', imaginations in order to let it all sink in.

It started off full of hope and optimism as we took our seats on the Saturday to watch Lancashire in the Quarter Final of the Friends Provident Trophy against Essex. We'd been beaten twice already in the group stages by the southern gits, so surely this had to be our time? Right. A superb victory meaning we've got a home draw against Hampshire in the semi-finals. Lord's beckoning? I hope so, no trophy (I'm not counting second division titles as trophies, not for anyone) for ten years means you start to get a little desperate for success. It's been a great start to the season on all fronts, here's hoping something comes off in one competition. Although if we win the Twenty20 I hope there's also a more meaningful trophy to go with it...

Then we got to Wednesday... The final of the European Cup, Champions League, Coupe des Clubs Champions Européens, whatever you want to call it. Manchester United's fourth final, the chance to win our fourth European Cup. To join an elite list of clubs at the top of European football. Only someone didn't seem to tell United this. Outplayed and outclassed by a superb Barcelona side who deserved their win. Nothing more to say. Funnily enough, it didn't hurt as much as it was clearly going to when we on the cusp of losing in Barcelona and Moscow. Maybe because we've now got a respectable number of European Cups. Hah. How arrogant does that sound, considering most people will never see their side play in Europe? Oh well, you know what I mean. Either way, Cup Fever was a little dampened at this point...

And so, Friday. Salford's Challenge Cup Quarter Final tie away at Wigan. The giddy-o-meter was off the scale amongst Salford's support and we took a following of around 1,500. Typically, though, we came up against a good, in-form Wigan side who took us apart. Wembley? It's the shittest ground in London that we'll never get to see, as the song goes. The club as a whole met the ground below them again with a fucker of a bump. Still, concentrating on league form improvement isn't a bad thing, I just hope we can kick on from the good few weeks we've had.

So - after all of that, the only club left that's giving me any hope is Lancashire. Makes a change. Let's just hope I'm not back on here in a few months bemoaning the way it's all gone tits up...

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Never in my lifetime...

Sunday 26th April 1992. I was settling in front of the tele at my Grandma Holdsworth's house. I was still only eight years of age and the Football League was coming to the end of the first season that I really, truly, properly remembered. Others had been a blur, a mish-mash of random memories. I knew I was a United fan, but this was the year when it finally took hold. Things really started to matter. And, even by then, even at this tender age, I knew what winning the Championship meant. I knew how big a 25 year wait was for the title. Jesus, 25 years, that was a lifetime to my childhood mind! And so, I knew how important it was to win at Anfield and keep the title chase alive.

One thing that hadn't sank in at this point was the hatred for Liverpool Football Club and everything around it. The significance of eighteen titles hadn't hit home. Just winning the damn thing once was all that mattered at this moment in time. All that, however, was about to change. Two hours and two goals from Ian Rush and Mark Walters later and I felt sick, I was dizzy... And my hatred for Liverpool FC had been cemented. Forget any other aspect of the history between the two clubs, my feelings for those down the other end of the East Lancs can be traced firmly back to that day.

Twelve months later and I'm back at my Grandma's house watching an Ice Hockey game, I believe, on the BBC using small portable tele in her bedroom. Nerves are, again, taking hold and it was mainly an exercise in keeping my mind clear. And then - it appeared at the bottom of the screen. "Aston Villa 0 - 1 Oldham Athletic 1. Manchester United are the Premier League Champions."

We'd done it. 26 years of waiting over. Fantastic, wonderful, let's go to Anfield and crow about it. And crow we did, apart from one banner sticking in everyone's throats.

It'd gone from "fucking hell, we'll never win the league" to "fucking hell, we'll never catch those scouse twats up." Catching up and overtaking them seemed a long way away. Add that to 4 European Cups to our paltry one and... Well, it makes you sick just thinking about it, doesn't it?

Fast forward to the 16th of May 2009. Lots of things have happened. Liverpool have added one European Cup to their total, but haven't won the Championship since 1990. Manchester United, on the other hand, have not only won an unprecedented treble, and added another European Cup on top of that, and have the chance to defend that title in Rome and win it for a fourth time and have won two World Club Championships, but also, more importantly... Have just won their eigtheenth English Football Championship.

18 times. It's something that I've heard so many times growing up. It's a day I've long since looked forward to and prayed for. I've felt sick when we've not won it and looked back thinking "well, if we'd won it then we'd be level... And if we'd done it there we'd be ahead." It's a day I thought would never come, that seemed so many, many years away. And now we're there. Equal on Championships with Liverpool and, domestically, the most successful English side ever. You could argue that, with the two World titles in there, we ARE the most successful English side ever. But that won't be accepted until we're at least level on European titles.

That, in itself, is another post altogether. Growing up with 4-1, then 4-2 and then 5-2 being thrown at you was sickening. Suddenly, though, 3 seems a lot closer to that second magic number and with a 50/50 chance of one more... Well, sense prevents me from getting carried away. The most important thing to remember and enjoy at this moment in time is the fact that, after many years of suffering, abuse and crowing from all at Liverpool FC... Manchester United Football Club are Champions of England for the eighteenth time. And that is a fact.

Monday, 30 March 2009

That joke isn't funny anymore...

Life has one uncanny knack of biting you on the arse when you least expect it. And when you've not really got much of chance to bite the bastard back, an'all. So it was when the words "you're getting made redundant" filtered through my ample ears...

Well, alright, for the pedants amongst you that wasn't the exact phrase used at the time, as there was more than one of us. But that was the general gist of it. And so, a few weeks later after a load of stress, tension and a much-needed week off... And I'm now stuck with the harsh reality of being out of work and needing to find something sharpish.

I signed on today for the first time. Strange experience, although I'm looking forward to going to the upstairs office even less so. And the fact that I've got to cease claiming whilst I'm in France for a few days is a bit strange as well. "You won't be available at 24 hours notice for an interview." I'm going away for a fucking weekend. Ah well, at least watching Salford RLFC will take my mind off it.

Ah. Salford. I'm not sure there's too much I can say on here without making every other word a swear word. Although, admittedly, that'd be normal for myself. All I will say is this - we're going backwards rapidly. Nothing's changed since McRae came in and unless something changes soon we're snookered. It's going to be a long three years until the next franchise announcement.

Moving on. England in the West Indies... Hmm, again, not really something that's going to cheer me up! The Test Series was a facinating thing to watch, with England suffering from a mixture of bad luck and dodgy captaincy decisions. Strauss needs to learn when to declare, something which would've saved us the series. But never mind. The one-dayers seem to be more of a concern. The South African Ego being my main bugbear... I'm sorry, but drop him. His scores in this series have been woeful (12 in the first ODI,17 in the second ODI, 12 in the Twenty20, 3 in the third ODI) and he's being carried in the team on the off chance that he might pull off something brilliant to win us a match. When did that happen in any form of the game? Anyone else with that record would've been 'rested'. That bellend seems to have immunity. It's no wonder we struggle at times.

Anyway, I'm getting myself wound up, so before I leave, a word on FC United of Manchester. Some superb performances, including a 3-2 win away at Marine on Saturday (you scouse bastards!) have put us firmly in with a chance of getting into the play offs. The financial consequences of going up are another story for another time, but the fact that we've pulled our season out from nowhere to be in this position is a thing of wonder. Not bad for a bunch of Judas twats who'd have packed it in within 6 months.

Right, I'm off to squander my giro...

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Chirpy Chirpy Tweet Tweet...

Twitter. This time yesterday I didn't have a fucking clue what it was. A few hours later I'd signed up even though it looked / sounded boring. Another few hours later and I'm looking at which celebrities I can stalk, how to link it to my Facebook and wondering what updates I can post that will make me sound interesting. Yeah, I know, not a lot!

It's amazing how something so simple can be so addictive and interesting. The fact there's a host of celebrities that you can follow on there is an obvious contributing factor. Whether you just want to follow someone famous because you find them interesting or just because you fancy the pants off them, then it's all there for you to take advantage of. So to speak. And yes, I am doing both!

On a more serious note, the dreaded 'R' word that's been doing the rounds during this recession came to the fore last week. A bit of a blow, but not too unexpected. Just currently trying to drag myself back up and decide whether I'm going for work or education. I doubt I'm going to get a large enough pay off to bugger off around the world for a few months, which is a shame. But still, got to make the most of a bad situation - and it's an overall situation that looks like it'll be affecting the world for a long while yet.

Ho hum. Time to go home... If you're a Twitter person yourself, look us up. Ginger_Michael. I'm not promising anything interesting, but still, massage my ego, would you? I like to feel wanted.


Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch Changes...

They said it would never happen. Some people have spent their lives trying to stop it from happen. Others never dared to even dream that it might. But, yesterday afternoon, watched by millions of people worldwide, it happened. A black man was sworn in as President of the United States of America.

Whilst the world is still not a perfect place and there are still those who see white as the superior race (and, indeed, other ways around, too. Racism doesn't just work one way, let's remember that) yesterday was a huge step forward for the human race and one of the most historic moments that's ever come to pass. In years to come, as well as "where were you when JFK got shot?" people will be asking "where were you when Barak Obama became President?"

Considering events in 1955 when Rosa Parks sparked a bit of a hoo-haa by refusing to let a white passenger have her seat on a bus, Martin Luther King's struggles in the Civil Rights Movement and countless other things you could also mention, to now have a black man as the most powerful man in the world... Well, it was, at times, unthinkable.

But what does it mean to the wider world? Well, it sends out a great message of hope. A man who's been through so much, a man who has been, in the past, shunned for the colour of his skin is now in charge of the most powerful country in the world. A man who wants to change America, and the world, for the better. A man who wants to see an end to the occupation of Iraq, rather than continue to stay there and hunt for oil or carry out some revenge mission on behalf of his dad. A man who's ideals and policies can, indeed, turn the world around from the current climate of mistrust, crisis and terror.

But, as a man who's not too politicised (is that even a word?!), that's a discussion that should be expanded on elsewhere, at another time, by someone else. ;-)

Personally, I'm just glad to see that there is, for once, hope in the world. And it goes to show, nothing is impossible. I wonder if Rosa Parks believe this could happen that day she stayed in her seat?