Monday, April 30, 2007

Modbury (pop 1,553) is first to ban plastic bags-News-UK-TimesOnline

Modbury (pop 1,553) is first to ban plastic bags-News-UK-TimesOnline

Well done to the folk in Modbury, DEvon who've become the fist place in the UK to ban plastic bags.

This was my new year's resolution and apart from the odd slip up (Special offers on beer being the main culrpit) I've managed to go without using new plastic bags.

Every little helps.

Sad to see Northampton get relegated on Saturday...bit of a shame for a club with such a fine heritage and great, great fans in trouble but hopefully they'll bounce back (I do see a bit of 'Everton' in Saints it has to be said).

I do take exception to the BBC's rather insulting "How can one of the best-supported clubs in the land, with a spanking new stadium and a sprinkling of international stars, be slumming it next season with the Moseleys, Newburys and Sedgley Parks?" line.

Just putting a completely needless letter s on the end of a name doesn't mean you aren't insulting those clubs specifically. Aside from the snobby disrespectful attitude it entails it's just an annoying way of saying it. I do loathe incongruous pluralisation.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

and the winner is...

BBC SPORT | Cricket | Gilchrist stars in Aussie Cup win

So basically the world's longest presentation ceremony comes to an end. No-one even got near the Aussies. The final ended somewhat farcically but ultimately, from the outset of the competition all those weeks ago, there was only ever going to be one winner.

If I were going to be ultra picky the way the final ended with Sri Lanka chasing runs in rain and then near darkness meant there was never any chance of an upset. If the weather's not good enough then play it the next day...simple

This is a minor, minor niggle. No-one can say the Aussies were head & shoulders above everyone else.

England, at best, marked time throughout the tournament...never looked like putting together any real form after the Sri Lanka defeat. Pity as it would be nice to have all three world cups under our belts.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Everton 2-4 Man Utd

BBC SPORT | Football | Premiership | Everton 2-4 Man Utd

Footy is a cruel, cruel game.

It's really hard to take...After taking the game to UTd Everton came away empty handed. Not only that but the way results are going our season is crashing down round our ears which is such a shame. Spurs, Blackburn and Portsmouth all won and Bolton picked up a point. Our game against Pompey is vital but even that mightn't be enough if Reading's good form continues. Pompey were gifted the points by Benitez resting most of his team (Grrrr).

It had started so brightly....we bossed the game for the first 15 minutes. Stubbs hit a daisy cutting free-kick that looked to have been deflected into the net. The pace was furious on a gorgeous late spring day. Alan Ball would have been proud. Utd came back into it but we knew they would 1-0 at half time was always going to herald a storm. In truth the only thing we did in the second half was score....Fernandes blasted the ball into the net from the edge of the area. Fantastic really was. Goodison went mental with about 9 different songs ringing round the ground. The key moment was Turner's gifted them a lifeline back into the game. 10 more minutes at 2-0 and their pursuit of the game would have become desperate...instead they brought Ronaldo on and showed their class. Even then it took a Phil Neville own goal to equalise...Evertonians were gutted. After that it became a bit of a procession. Not aided by some fundamentally biased refereeing from Alan Whiley. You get the feeling we got caught in the Chelsea/Utd crossfire 'cause he gave us nothing all afternoon...understandable given the inevitable "I told you so" from Alex Ferguson had decisions gone against him. 4-2 and a slump into the Intertoto beckons.

Utd must be likes pigs in shit...on such days titles are won.

Best bit of Rooney abuse came from the chap sitting a couple of rows in front of us : "You're a scab'll always be a scab and that's the worst thing to be".

Heaven knows I'm miserable now.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Who's the greatest of them all...little curly Alan Ball


Gutted to hear the awful news this morning. Alan Ball has died of a heart attack aged 61. Absolutely immense player but, perhaps more importantly, a true gentleman. One of the people that absolutely everyone seemed to love.

Rest in peace Alan.

BBC Tributes
BBC Tributes

One year to the day that Brian Labone died another of the game's true gentlemen has passed away.

I Remember him on the pitch a few years back when he was getting inducted into the Millenium Greats. He just seemed really honoured to still be held in that much affection by people. When he told us how much the fan's support has always meant to the players it was just such a great moment.

He wasn't talking down to was almost like he was talking up to us. You wonder how someone that great can be so humble and affable and have such a touching insight...but by all accounts that was just him.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Marathon weekends

Happy St George's Day folks!

BBC NEWS | UK | Days to celebrate, by George

Went down to London at the weekend to see Fulham V Blackburn...lovely day and a fantastic setting for a football ground.

We went with our mate Rufus and his brother who is a mad Fulham fan. It was tense and nerves and lack of confidence kept The Cottagers edgy throughout a tight 1-1 (despite great support from a packed stadium). We had problem with the super-duper barcode ticket system (and the buck-passing staff) and so missed the kick-off but all things told it was a very good afternoon. Everton lost AJ early on at Upton Park and went down 1-0...this is a bad result as it means Reading, who won at the Reebok, are now well placed to overhaul us for the last UEFA Cup spot. Our tough run-in could well spell curtains for a European spot leaving us hoping to sneak into the Intertoto cup.

That night we went to The Fat Badger Pub for our tea. Very nice although perhaps not a fantastic as Giles Coren had made out. Enjoyed looking at the Timorous Beasties wallpaper.

On Sunday we watched the was a stinkingly hot day. I felt so sorry for the poor runners.

Didn't realise how much of a carnival the Londoners make it...great fun.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dismal England knocked out of Cup

Dismal England knocked out of Cup

Ugh! Don't really want to get into a rant about it all. Grim, grim, grim. Utterly dissapointing.


All we hope for now is that someone stops the Aussies.

Virginia Tech

BBC Report

A bit late getting round to writing about the Virginia Tech killings as it's difficult to get it into perspective.

It plays on your mind a fair utterly dark that lad's life must have been, what could have been done to help him or at least prevent him from doing what he did.

All those completely innocent lives just wiped out for being in the wrong place at the wrong time...all those families devastated in a moment 'cause of one disturbed person's hideously twisted view on the world.

Thoughts and prayers are with everyone over there.

God bless & Go Hokies

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Relegation...ooooh relegation

After an undistinguished single-season stay in 2nd tier of English rugby little old Waterloo are headed back down to National Division 2.

Quite frankly it was a season long pummeling by clubs with much better resources and infra-structure but that's life I suppose. It'd be harsh to say that the players got "found out" 'cause let's face it they are only amateur playing in a division that's dominated by the full-timers. Bedford snuck an England international into their line-up whilst Leeds were playing in the Heineken cup the season before running riot against our lot. There are of course clubs closer to our level and they were the games we should have targeted...a few leads were squandered, opportunities missed but ultimately they didn't do enough. One "8 pointer" victory coming against Moseley meant we were never really in with realistic chance of a Miracle of Castel di Sangro happening but the fantastic results against Cornish Pirates and Exeter Chiefs will go down into the club's folklore.

So it's back to Division 2 we go...Launceston, Blackheath and Wharfdale are more fitting company for our friendly little club. As long as the core of the team stay with us we'll be okay but bare in mind the spector of what happened to Orrell. As long as that doesn't happen our kicking won't have done us much harm...a bit of an adventure down at the deep end.

Going to see 'loo is always good regardless of the result or the speed and quality of the year hopefully I'll be a full member. I've only been going two promotion, one relegation but loads of thoroughly entertaining beer filled afternoons and hopefully many, many more.

The higher levels with razzmatazz and it's 8 foot tall forwards and Olympic sprinter backs are all well and good but for the time being I'll take my little clubhouse with it's real ale and open fire, the club shop with the scatty girl who never has change, players and officials mingling with the fans, announcements over the tannoy to see if an electrician is around to fix the floodlights, cheering as the cars by the side of the pitch get pinged by the ball, sarcasm pouring off our rowdy little brick terrace. This might sound like sour grapes 'cause, of course, it is.

We'll go down unlamented by the big boys...we didn't pack their stadiums with away fans 'cause let's face it hardly anyone in Liverpool goes the rugby. We didn't serve up fantastic, memorable matches 'cause let's face it we were out of our depth. We battled defence mainly. I never saw the team give up no matter how hard they were hit, no matter how much faster the opposition player was. For that I salute Mick Melrose, Dave Blythe, Freeman Payne and the lads.

It's hard to say we've enjoyed it but from what I've heard we were greeted warmly but all the fine, fine clubs in National Division One and I'd like to think we were equally welcoming to the away fans who tripped up to Blundellsands. Hopefully we'll be back and hopefully we'll have learnt and grown from the experience. In the mean time rugby, like life, goes on.

Honourable mentions to Exeter Chief's winger Jason Luff not only for his two tremendous tries but for having a good laugh with us on the sidelines and to the scallywag who when the ref awarded Waterloo and penalty after a string of decisions going Exeter's way, shouted "Oh well done that's not all you use your right arm for" (to the amusement of fans, players and officials alike).

Monday, April 16, 2007

The run in

That was a bit of a get-out-of-jail performance from Everton. It was a very poor game, Charlton were busy and battled and the blues looked a bit rattled. Ultimately it's nicking points in the last minute that keep seasons alive. McFadden's goal was pretty special too.

The game was notable for Charlton and England striker Darren Bent taking a shot on goal from inside our area and it going out for a throw his own half. That really does take some doing.

After the final whilstle a little kid popped out of the Gwladys St and ran the length of the pitch to where Tim Howard and James McFadden were celebrating in order to hug them.

It's a bit naughty but understandable when you are star-struck little kid and your hero has just done this :

I know the UEFA cup is cack but it would still be an achievment. We are fifth now with the fiftth best attack, defence & goal difference in the league. Our run-in is tough though...if you write off Utd and Chelsea we only have two games left.

If we get 4 points out of West Ham & Portsmouth I'd say that's enough. Spurs will probably overhaul us...I reckon we'll hold off Bolton. Reading and Portsmouth have left themselves with a lot to do. It's 3 from 5 for the UEFA cup places (the FA Cup final line-up meaning 7th in the league goes into the mix. Considering our injuries this season hats off to Moyes and the lads whatever happens now being in 5 at this stage is fantastic.

Premiership Table

At the bottom it is stupidly tight. Fulham have a tough run-in. I think Wigan and Sheffield Utd might just do enough but The Cottagers need to turn it round sharpish 'cause that 3 point cushion will disappear rapidly if they don't get some points on the board. So glad Everton aren't down there!

Silver Birch wins Grand National

Silver Birch wins Grand National

Not too bad with the old Grand National. Anne and I both put a couple of bets on. I had Hedghunter & McKelvey and Anne plumped for Longshanks & Silverbirch.

One and Two can't be bad. 90 odd quid winnings. My horse was bearing down on Anne's during the run-in but if it had of overhauled it it'd have cost us a load of cash. We watched the race in my cousin Peter & Jackie's so we gave their kids (Sean & Megan) a bit of our winnings but we are still doing pretty well.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Easter report

Enjoyed a pretty nice Easter weekend...lovely weather and lots of sport, beer & food.

On Saturday we'd watched Waterloo and Sedgely Park partake in some comedy rugby and play out a throughly entertaining try-fest (31-43). 'loo lost as always but they scored some good'ns. van deVenter gave away two ridiculous tries but chipped in with two of his own. It was a gorgeous day so although the result went the wrong way for us you can't complain too much.

Everton gave away a stupid comedy goal (all our defenders except Lescott stepping forward in unison in an almost perfect offside trap...d'oh!) at the Reebok Stadium but came back to draw 1-1. Bolton aren't high on anyone's Christmas card list (dodgy agents aside), a team of thugs playing awful hit and hope, foul and complain football orchestrated by a fat, crook...and to that their concrete stadium, James Brown goal music and the guys running up and down the touchline with flags it all makes for a club you don't have a lot of affection for. Diouf is the pick of the bunch, nasty over-the-ball stamp on Neville and an outrageous attempt at handballing the ball into our net...not even a booking. Vaughan ended up with a nasty injury after an accidental clash whilst trying to take a shot, he actually severed an artery but hopefully it won't be too serious now he's out of hospital.

Didn't see much of the game as we were in the pub drinking with some friends and then went to Bistro Jacques on Hardman Street on the recomendation of our friend Dave. It was very, very good. I think it's an offshoot of the also tremendous Bistro Pierre down on Matthew Street.

Tuesday night involved Man Utd V Roma...I don't mind admitting it was a privelige to watch. For the first ten minutes it was fairly tight but once UTd had scored and took the pressure off themselves it was a true masterclass. Hats off to them, I think they'd have beaten any team you'd care to name that night. Chelsea did well too, albeit it much less spectacularly than Utd. No team has it easy in Valencia's Mestella Stadium but a fantastic second half performance saw them go through. Three English teams in the last four (liverpool easing past PSV)...European footy isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Easter is the time ofthe season that seperates the men from the boys. Utd and Chelsea both look very impressive but not infallible. Arsenal look to be just waiting for the end of the season but I suspect they'll hold on to 4th. Everton are in the dogfight with Spurs and Bolton but the European places could dip as low as 7th depending on how the FA Cup goes. Down at the bottom it's frighteningly tight. Watford have gone but West Ham and Charlton are making a good fist of it. This leaves Wigan, Fulham and Sheffield Utd hopelessly out of form at just the wrong time. Chris Coleman, a manager who I have a lot of time for, has paid the price for his team's plummeting form. Wouldn't like to put money on who's going down this season.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Defender's night off

I had a feeling as the train got into Kirkdale that we had no business playing a footy game at 7:30 on Good just felt odd. Don't want to soudn too pious but it's meant to be a solemn day after all. Bearing in mind the gutting late defeat against Spurs on Ash Wednesday "No good will come of it" I thought.

What a fine advertisement for the standard of defending in Premiership the game was. The 4 doesn't flatter Everton at all but the 1 certainly does. I suppose we deserved to win, that much isn't up for debate but it's difficult to remember an occasion when Everton's defence looked that shaky. I don't want to be a glass-half-empty sort of chap but every single time Fulham got a corner or set piece we looked all at sea.

We probably should have been in the lead fairly early on but we got ourselves in a mess, conceded a corner and before we'd got any semblence of organisation we were a goal down. The reaction from the blues was superb...we knew this was a game we couldn't let go if a European place wasn't to slip from our grasp. First Carsley then Stubbs chipped in with great glancing efforts into opposite far corners (a sweeping shot for Cars & a header for Stubbs supplied by Lescott and Arteta respectively). A great strike from Vaughan made it 3-1 at the break but every time Fulham got the ball wide we looked decidedly dodgy and had no answer to their mobility.

This wasn't just typical Evertonian fretfullness, Fulham were creating good chances and there were numerous let-offs for the blues before Victor Anichebe finally broke their resistance by finishing off a good team move (that he himself had helped build).

An injury to young Victor left us with 10-men towards the end, he tried to play on whilst hobbling...the Evertonians urging him off the pitch lest he do himself further damage...whilst you hope he's okay it allowed him to recieve warm applause from the Gwladys St and slap hands with the fans as he limped past. It was nice moment as was the joyous reaction to his goal from his mate Vaughan (who'd been substituted by this time). Moyes had said that he didn't need to set targets for the players 'cause he overhears them setting them for themselves. It was apparent tonight...Fulham were spririted and should have scored more but in the battle of the ropey defences we took at least some of our chances. Man of the match for me was Carsley...he was everywhere despite having a bandaged head wound. He's having a great season and he's not alone. Come on you blues! This reports sounds a bit gloomy but the ovation afterwards was one of genuine pride and joy...we were all thoroughly happy chappies as we met up with our mates outside the church and headed to Orry's for a quick pint...we were chuffed with the win but certain things we take for granted. We have a good defence this year, it's just odd to see them un-solid. Ah well no harm done.

We are fifth as it stands...the best a club in our position can realistically hope for in our G14 dominated league. It's great to be truly proud of our side...there is plenty to be disappointed about this season but we have been solid and efficient all season...we've not had to heroically snatch games at the death. We've just won them unspectacularly...we've let a lot of games slip, but for that it could be a tremendous season, as it is it's just a very good one. That'll do me. My cousin Daniel doesn't get to go to the games much, him and his dad are isolated Evertonians in the red, red side of our family...He was there last night and had a smile a mile wide when he got into his mum. Oh Everton we love you.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Happy Easter

In case I don't get another chance have a happy & Holy little Easter. In between all the various masses I'm on for footy, rugby, cricket on the radio and two nice afternoons drinking beer. Can't be too bad.

Happy Catholic

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Underdog's come up short

England-Sri Lanka

Wow...Just got in after watching the Chelsea/Valencia game. Our mate Rufus texted the bad news about England. Being realistic & pragmatic thats a fantastic underdog performance by England. They were by no means favourite going in that game...The bowling was creditable and fielding top-notch. Our openers continue to fail but other players are stepping up to the plate (so to speak).

Losing by two runs against an in-form side....So near yet so far. Brilliant stand by Bopara and Nixon.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Sports report D'duh, d'duh, d'duh, d'duh, d'duh d'd'd'd'duhhhhhhhh...

(That might be lost on you if you don't liston to BBC Radio 5live.)

Well Everton did that annoying Everton thing AGAIN. A goal to the good at half time, not totally bossing the game but considering we were away from home we were doing well. Playing some nice stuff too. A second goal for us and an easy win looked like the most likely outcome but the second half rolled around and we went completely on the back foot. Okay we knew Villa were going to come at us...Charlton & West Ham's mini-revival meant they had to but why do we never react? Why, when defending a lead, do we never seem to impose ourselves this season?


Great performances from Lescott and Howard amongst others but another 2 points dropped in a maddeningly familiar fashion.

Great to see Lescott get his first goal...he's been truly immense this season...He's my player of the year so far (sorry AJ).

Over the weekend we had fantastic results in the Heineken cup for Northampton and Leicester.

Northamton in particular deserve a tonne of credit for raising their game to win down in San Sebastian. Hope they can pull it round and avoid relegation.

It is truly sickening that the French and English clubs are willing to let this fantastic competition die just out of petulant greed.

That'd be a great, great final.

I found this whilst doing a Google image search...happy, happy days :

No idea who's done it but my hat is doffed. Although it's slightly inaccurate in that there are some fans left in the away fans section. ;) :) :P