Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Strictly Stressful Saturday!

I have come to a conclusion - Life is undeniably stressful on a continual basis, in otherwards all of the time!
Everybody is stressed 24/7, and the pressure to be successful is forever unforgiving!
Why is there so much emphasis on bringing home such a substantial slice of the bacon?
Is it in order to pay for.......the nanny, the chef, the housekeeper, the gardener, holidays to exotic far away destinations, the flash motor or two, the country retreat in Berkshire and the chalet in Verbier?

All for what? In a penny-pinching attempt to keep up with the Joneses.

That is of course in between the winter showers, the freezing days and nights, and all of the seven hours of daylight we get at this time of year!
Nobody has any spare time!
(Nobody has any manners! That is a whole subject in itself, but I'm not going down that road now, perhaps a topic for discussion at a later date).

Monday to Friday is habitually monotonous - up, work, home, eat, bed.....roll on the next day!

After a painfully busy first week in a new job that incorporated the standard 'virgin new boy' artificial pleasantries and introductions that accompany any new vocation, namely 'this is the coffee machine,' 'that's the bog,' 'meet the team' and the added bonus of 'we don't talk social topics of conversation to our fellow colleagues during office hours, irrespective of your persona.'

The reason, because these people are all so damm self-righteous, they live to work and do so assiduously, in between kissing the Company's backside.
All very noble......I think not!

Then only a few days into my first week the opening test of my own persona was bestowed upon me - 'The Xmas Work Bash' on Thursday evening, (where I must have known all of 3 people).
It was so appalling that I might just need counselling if I am ever to contemplate attending another one by choice!

Think Boy George meets the Spice Girls and allow a bunch of inebriated suits the opportunity to shrill, screech and whine away with the aid of a geriatric karaoke machine. Throw in some sesame toast and spring rolls smothered in acidic red ketchup, and wash it down with the poison of choice, tawdry vino and warm beer. All this on a dancefloor covered in rancid vomit.

Visualise, and the words cheap and nasty spring to mind!

And then to have to go into the office the next morning (Friday) pretending you enjoyed yourself and then finding yourself with no option but to agree with people you have never spoken to before (let alone know their names) that it was without a shadow of doubt the best soiree of the year - better than any Hollywood showbiz shin dig of the modern era.

The euphoria I felt as the clocked ticked around to 5.30pm on Friday was short lived for by the time I rocked up at home I felt too dog-tired to go out socially, and with the usual chores to do before footy on Saturday praying on my mind I decided on a relatively early night, so I could wake up fresh as a daisy in the morning and raring to go!

But I overslept on Saturday and time was against me. I looked at my 'to do' list, attempted to prioritize my chores and off I went with purpose.....initially.

First stop, the barbers, but inevitably on a Saturday there is a queue, not a substantial one, but a wait of sorts. As I leave I look at my watch and the pressure is on. I'm running late now.
The wait combined with not getting up as early as I had intended meant I had no time to do anything else.
I was due to meet the boys in a pub in South Norwood before the game at about 1pm for a bevy, and to watch our South London rivals, the Addicks hopefully get tonked by the Albion in the lunchtime kick-off on Sky.

The combination of heavy Xmas traffic and the propensity of public transport to let you down ( particularly it seems when you require it most) added to the frustration, and meant I arrived later than planned at the pub and as a result was faced with a heaving, dogged throng of like minded fans all wanting the same thing - beer!

To the match. 1-0 down early on to the Yorkies of Wednesday and the day was already spiraling inordinately downhill at rollercoater pace.
Wednesday fans are giving us plenty of stick but then we get an equalizer and a bit of respite.
In the 2nd half the tension mounts, the opposition graze the woodwork twice and Speroni dives full length to tip one over the bar - are we heading for a first defeat in eight games.....and thus spending the evening looking pitifully into the bottom of our post match beer glass for an answer?
No, because 17 yr old Sean Scannell comes to the rescue and gets the Eagles' winning goal a minute from time, with a sublime chip.

We breathe a huge sigh of relief, combined with a slight sense of 'we got out of jail' & then the inevitable elation that accompanies any positive result.
Off back to the pub to meet the boys again, one of whom has just become a father for the first time.
Who needs an excuse but we had one......lets paint the town red (& blue).

We leave sumptuous South Norwood about 7pm and headed at pace for the salubrious surroundings of The London Borough of Bromley.
Anyway three of us did, as we hailed a taxi to take us to one of our regular haunts.

Ten minutes later we were inside and comfortably perched at the bar.
We sank a few more pints, nailed some shots, toasted baby Alice umpteen times and then proceeded to get thrown out!
Ok so we were a little the worse for wear, but we were behaving, our language was clean and we were generally minding our own business.
It wasn't like we were manhandling the ladies, nicking other peoples drinks or riding unicycles through the bar whilst fire-eating.

Anyway there we are standing on the pavement outside scratching our heads - did we really get chucked out and if so why?
So I walked up to the entrance ushered to one of the meatheads on the door, who was then immediately joined by a fellow meathead and said in basic Anglo-Saxon English, 'Why did u throw us all out?'
I then said relatively calmly, 'my pal has just become a father and we were wetting the baby's head.'
He tells me my pal was asleep on the bar. 'No I said he did at one stage have his hands against his ears and elbows on the bar, but he wasn't asleep and so what?'

Feeling a little peeved and forlorn the three of us dejectedly trudged away shaking our heads in disbelief at the turn of events!

My pals and I on the odd occasion used to get thrown out of bars when we were in our teens & twenties, not in our forties!
So financially light and brassed off we headed our separate ways home and it was still only 10.30pm or thereabouts!

What a farce?

You go out to enjoy yourself, you're not bothering anyone, you're relaxing in good company and the above happens.

As I made my way home I considered my day.......then I reflected on all the stress, strain, tension, frustration, conflict, hassle, pressure and anxiety that had multiplied itself throughout the day.
It was a Saturday, no work, the opportunity to socialise with friends, watch footy, have a beer, and generally unwind.
The CHANCE to enjoy yourself away from the Monday to Friday rat race. FAT CHANCE!

As I neared my front door, Sunday was almost upon me, and I had calculated that there were only nine shopping days remaining until Xmas and I hadn't yet sent a card, let alone bought any presents!

Ok I'm a guy and we don't multi-task (according to women & scientists that is) and ok maybe, and perhaps in some people's eyes I had got my priorities wrong.
Maybe I should have forgone my real passion on a Saturday - not going to footy and meeting up with my pals, and instead gone Xmas shopping with the rest of the planet. But no I work all week, get up at 5.30 each morning, am I not supposed to use my weekends to do things I don't normally get to do in the week like socialize (work get-togethers definitely do NOT count).

With all the pressure and stress of my own weekend up to thus point, which had not included anything along the lines of shopping, household chores, or preparing for Xmas etc, I think work MIGHT in fact be more conducive to normality than one realizes!

Its predictable, admittedly dull, sometimes repetitive, but you know where you stand, what to expect, what time you start and finish, and of course it pays the bills......like next year's season ticket!

Anyway I'll be there next Saturday, at football that is, not doing chores or Xmas shopping!

Friday, December 07, 2007

'Capped & Crap' - The All-Time Worst England Team.

Since the recent debacle of the national team in failing to qualify for the European Championship Finals of 2008, I felt it only right and topical to put together my 'all-time worst' team to don an England shirt.

These players are by no means the only 'time wasters' who should never have been selected to play for England, but in my opinion they remain the most 'inept' examples.
However I understand that every football fan will have their own thoughts and views on the subject, so I would therefore encourage you to leave me a comment if you feel I have chosen a player who in your opinion does not deserve to be included, or quite the reverse, if you feel I have left out a player who should most definitely be a candidate for England's 'all-time worst' XI.

This topic took up a fair bit of time in terms of research and deliberation.
Surprisingly however I have not included any of the squad from the infamous 3-2 defeat to Croatia on the 21st November 2007.
This says a lot about either my delusional state of mind in thinking that the current crop of players have at least the potential to succeed, or just how bad the players I have chosen really were!

All the players chosen are from our era, as I did not think it was fair to deride players that you or I have never seen.

Even at their peak this 'incompetent' bunch would have struggled to win a Sunday pub league.

Dave Beasant

David Bardsley...Zat Knight...Steve Foster...Paul Konchesky

Michael Phealan...Barry Venison...Andy Gray...David White

Peter Ward.........Michael Ricketts

Dave Beasant - 2 Caps, v. Italy in 1989 in a friendly & v. Yugoslavia in 1989 also in a friendly (both as a substitute). At the time he was playing club football for Chelsea.
David Bardsley - 2 Caps, v. Spain (as a substitute in 1992) in a friendly & v. Poland in 1993 in a World Cup qualifier. At the time he was playing club football for QPR.
Zat Knight - 2 Caps, v. USA (as a substitute in 2005) in a friendly & v. Columbia in 2005 also in a friendly. At the time he was playing club football for Fulham.
Steve Foster - 3 Caps, v. N.Ireland in the Home Championships, v. Holland in a friendly & v. Kuwait in the World Cup Finals, all in 1982. At the time he was playing club football for Brighton & Hove Albion.
Paul Konchesky - 2 Caps, v. Australia in 2003 in a friendly & v. Argentina in 2005 in a friendly (both as a substitute). Against Australia he was playing his club football for Charlton Athletic & against Argentina he was playing his club football for West Ham.
Michael Phealan - 1 cap, v. Italy (as a substitute in 1989) in a friendly. At the time he was playing club football for Man Utd.
Barry Venison - 2 Caps, v. USA in 1994 in a friendly & v. Uruguay in 1995 in a friendly. At the time he was playing club football for Newcastle Utd.
Andy Gray - 1 Cap, v. Poland in 1991 in a European Championship qualifier. At the time he was playing club football for Crystal Palace.
David White - 1 Cap, v. Spain in 1992 in a friendly. At the time he was playing club football for Man City.
Peter Ward - 1 Cap, v. Australia (as a substitute in 1980) in a friendly. At the time he was playing club football for Brighton & Hove Albion.
Michael Ricketts - 1 Cap, v. Holland in 2002 in a friendly. At the time he was playing club football for Bolton Wanderers.

Between 1980 & 2005 these players amassed a total of 18 Caps, (8 of these as substitute appearances), all bar 4 of these caps were won for appearances in friendly internationals, & they combined to score a total of 0 goals.

Why did the England managers at the time select these players?

Beasant was nervy & error prone, Bardsley was nondescript, Zat Knight was over-rated, Steve Foster was both cumbersome & slow, & compounded his lack of ability by wearing that preposterous headband. Paul Konchesky made two appearances both in friendlies, both times as a substitute, with nearly three years elapsing between his debut and his only other appearance. Michael Phealan looked a half-decent player at Norwich but became a laughing stock at Old Trafford, Barry Venison with his long flowing peroxide hair looked more like 80's pop star Limahl out of Kajagoogoo than a footballer, Andy Gray was selected on the basis of getting to the 1990 FA Cup Final & David White was never ever a player of international class. Peter Ward was picked because....he was a 'style icon' with his permed hair & Michael Ricketts was selected on the back of a scoring streak at Bolton that ended when he earned his only cap and became an 'international.'

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Fine Art Of The Goal Celebration

Who knows where it all started?

Charlie George lying flat out on the Wembley turf after firing the winner for Arsenal against Liverpool in the 1971 FA Cup Final?

Most celebrations are modest and merely involve the goalscorer being congratulated by team-mates, however over recent years the amateur dramatics of the modern day goalscorer has become almost as momentous as the art of scoring itself, as players & teams alike try to outshine their colleagues whether it be within their own club or that of another.

Players must spend hours thinking up, then rehearsing or practicing their celebrations and routines!

In many cases these celebrations don't involve just the goalscorer, on occasions the entire team get involved in complicated routines.

Perhaps the most bizarre team routine was Chelsea's reproduction of a classical painting following a goal by Roberto de Matteo.

One of the most memorable choreographed celebrations came when Paul Gascoigne scored against Scotland during the Euro 96 championships. He lay on his back while other England players (including Teddy Sheringham and Gary Neville) grabbed water bottles from the touchline and poured water into his open mouth. This celebration mimicked a controversial pre-tournament incident when England players were photographed in a nightclub, sitting in a dentist's chair having alcoholic drinks poured down their throats.

The 1982 World Cup saw one of the most memorable celebrations of all-time from Italian midfielder Marco Tardelli after he scored Italy's second goal against West Germany in the final. With tears in his eyes, he sprinted into his own half, fists beating against his chest, tears pouring down his face, screaming his name as he shook his head wildly. This is also called the 'Tardelli cry.'

Another famous celebration, especially in the United States, is the shirt-stripping moment by American Brandi Chastain after she converted the winning penalty in the 1999 Women's World Cup final against China. The image of Chastain with her shirt off and revealing her toned tummy and her sports bra, immortalized on the covers of Time, Newsweek, People, and Sports Illustrated, is one of the most famous in women's sports history.

In 2006, Peter Crouch's 'robo-kop' goal celebration became a fad across England, and at the same time added a new and grim chapter to the annals of terrible goal celebrations.
His 'robot dance' which was first unveiled after the Liverpool striker scored England’s third goal in a friendly against Hungary, was supposedly a reprise of Crouch’s 'performance' on the dancefloor at the Beckhams' gala party the previous weekend.
The call from 'Strictly Come Dancing' was, one presumes, not forthcoming.

Other famous celebrations in England include the Aylesbury United team, nicknamed The Ducks, going down on their knees, and waddling in a line, with their elbows flapping.

Basir "Bas" Savage of Brighton & Hove Albion celebrates by performing either the standard moonwalk, the moonwalk 360 or the side glide. This has gained him a regular spot on TV's Soccer AM with the section 'I Wanna be like Bas.'

Craig Bellamy of Liverpool celebrated his goal against Barcelona, simulating a golf swing, due to media speculation into a fight between him and teammate, John Arne Riise, at a karaoke night near their training ground in Portugal, where he allegedly tried to hit Riise with a golf club.

Tottenham Hotspur striker Robbie Keane has one of the more distinctive goal celebrations in the modern game, running to one side of the field to perform a round-off to a front somersault on the pitch, ending on one knee, and then mimicking the firing of a rifle or an arrow from a bow after he scores.

Australian players sometimes 'box' the corner flag, Rocky style, in celebration of a goal. Most notably Tim Cahill, who ran to box the corner flag when he scored Australia's first ever World Cup goal in the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Now you can witness the Cahill celebration anytime he scores for his club side Everton.
The corner flag is often used by players to celebrate a goal. Roger Milla the Cameroon International famously used to dance around the flag, while Lee Sharpe posed around the corner flag after scoring, using it as a microphone as he mimed to a song in celebration.

A player rocking his arms from side to side, as though rocking a baby, usually signifies that the scorer recently became a parent, whether or not for the first time. This is a classic celebration, a beautiful moment of tender paternal love.......er in the midst of the maelstrom of a World Cup tournament match!
Brazil striker Bebeto’s baby-rocking celebration of his goal against Holland in the 1994 World Cup finals is condemned not for itself, but for the license it gave every footballer who has managed to procreate, to burden us with their indecorous familial bliss. And as we all know, there is nothing worse than other people’s babies. The whole genre, however, was redeemed by Fred, Lyon’s Brazilian striker, who during a Champions League game at last gave it a different spin by concealing a 'dummy' in his shorts, which he promptly stuck in his mouth upon scoring.

'Diving' onto the pitch with arms and legs outstretched. Supposedly first done by Jürgen Klinsmann, shortly after he joined Tottenham. Klinsmann was actually performing this goal celebration to satire his own (in his belief unjustified) reputation for diving to win free-kicks and penalties. It became known as 'doing a Klinsmann.'

Albanian-born Finnish striker Shefki Kuqi jumps with arms open wide in the air and then falls down in the grass, landing heavily.

There are some celebrations which are distinctive if only for the fact they are banal and monotonous.

Such celebrations include:
The scorer putting a finger to his mouth, as if telling the (opposition) crowd to be quiet.
The scorer putting his hand to his ear, taunting the opposing supporters for having suddenly gone silent following his goal.
The scorer kissing the club badge on his or her shirt, to show his or her love for the club.

In recent seasons, The Football Association have tried to crack down on some of the more enthusiastic celebrations in the FA Premier League. If a player incites the crowd and/or takes his shirt off after scoring a goal he is likely to get booked by the referee (e.g., Bastian Schweinsteiger during the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Marlon Harewood for West Ham after scoring in the 2006 FA Cup Semi-Final against Boro, and Carlos Alberto Gomes during the 2004 UEFA Champions League Final, to name but a few).

This can cause huge controversy if the player has already been booked, since he would then be sent off. Similarly, in American women's soccer at school and collegiate levels, the practice of taking the shirt off to celebrate a goal (made popular by Brandi Chastain), has been prohibited.
However, some players get around this rule by pulling the hem of their shirts over the head, without taking the shirt off entirely, but this is not always overturned by the referees as shown by Italian Stefano Farina, referee of the 28th October 2006 famous Milan Derby which Inter won 4-3 away in San Siro, he gave Marco Materazzi a second booking and thus a red card for doing that exact act after Materazzi gave Inter a 4-1 lead over Milan.

Jumping into the crowd is also a bookable offence ('deliberately leaving the field of play without the referee's permission', as identified in Law 12), one which caused Arjen Robben to be sent off in a Premier League match in 2006. Shevchenko and Carlos Tevez also got booked when both dived into the crowd in Premier League games in 2007.

In 1999 former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler was fined £60,000 by his club and the FA Premier League for having celebrated his penalty goal against Everton by getting down on all fours and miming the snorting of cocaine off of the white touchline. Although it was seen as Fowler's response to being accused of drug abuse in the tabloid press, then-manager Gérard Houllier famously claimed that he was merely imitating 'a cow eating grass' which, Houllier claimed, teammate Rigobert Song had regularly joked about in training.

If you click on the 'article title' at the top of this piece you can view a short video compilation of varied goal celebrations from the sublime to the ridiculous & in some cases downright dangerous!
'Artists' include: Kanu, Gazza, Crouch, Bellamy, Cahill, Cisse, Fowler & Robbie Keane.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Watch The Clip Of Last Saturday's Superb Sky Sports Soccer AM Soccerettee 'Mhairi'

Last Saturday morning for the first time in several weeks I allowed myself some 'me' time before I left for footy, and I took the opportunity to watch Sky's Soccer AM. I have to say this week's show was particularly first-rate!

I have in the past attached clips to my blog of Soccer Am Soccerette's strutting their stuff, to allow for a prescription dose of morning hormonal male drooling.

This week's soccerette segment was one of the better ones, true slapstick comedy and the salient ingredient was of course Mhairi, a gorgeous 21 year old sassy Scottish lass, resplendently leggy and wearing a skimpy pair of buttock hugging shorts to accentuate her virtuoso pins!
For the record she works in recruitment and supports her local team, Hamilton Academicals.
Mhairi is in fact the first Scottish babe to appear on the show this season.

The banter during this part of the show was priceless - the emphasis unsurprisingly one of a Scottish flavour, with a 'Braveheart' slant of sorts.

I thought it was highly amusing and without a shadow of doubt justifiably worthy of of a place on my blog. It turned out to be compulsive viewing.

For those who saw it first time around, you know it's worth another look, and for those who missed it for whatever reason, I have it here just for you!

I have not published a clip of a Soccer AM Soccerette on my site for nearly six weeks so take five minutes out, put your feet up and and see the enchantingly divine Mhairi in this comic spectacle!

To watch it just click on the 'Link' below.


Friday, November 09, 2007

Mobile Diarrhoea

Am I the only person that feels slightly embarrassed or at least somewhat uncomfortable using my mobile phone in public, in particular on public transport, such as crowded trains and buses.

Last evening (Thursday) I left work in London early, for an appointment, and as a result caught a train from Cannon Street station that left about an hour earlier than the one I would normally catch on a typical working day.
As a result I experienced the seated position on a train for the first time on my journey to or from work since.........penicillin was invented!

I will forgo sitting again in future!

The train was busy, not 'sardine' like busy! There were maybe half a dozen empty seats dotted about from which I could have chosen to sit, but I had the misfortune to park myself next to a woman who 30 seconds after I did so, removed a mobile phone from her bag and surgically attached it to her ear for the entire length of my journey.
The combination of sitting adjacent to the woman in question and the penetrating shrill of her voice meant I could quite clearly hear both parties involved in the conversation.

Normally I try to avoid any idle chitchat on my mobile phone whilst on public transport.
This woman on the train however seemingly wanted the whole carriage to know her business, and how dull was she? The answer, mind numbingly sterile!
In her monotone, arid, inarticulate dialogue she spent the best part of half an hour on her mobile to her partner to inform him she was..........

Held up at the office - No.
Experiencing transport problems - No.
Feeling unwell - No.
Had won the lottery - No.
Had run off with her best friend's hubby - No.

Try dinner!
Yes, half an hour discussing pizza. I would like to point out that she was no wafer thin model and no average sized, well proportioned curvaceous woman.
She was big, not huge but bigger than is healthy!

You may wonder where one might might find half an hours material on the subject of pizza? No problem!

Here we go.......What brand of pizza, what toppings, what base, what size, what side orders, what time, what deals were currently available, what means of obtaining the pizza - collection or delivery?

What a farce!

Even as we went our separate ways I could feel my heart pounding, my head thumping, my blood boiling. I was livid, exasperated, absolutely seething!

How irritating, rude, inconsiderate, uncouth, selfish, egotistical, disrespectful,
conceited, vulgar and common are these people?

Mobile phones are like a rapidly disseminating disease. They are ubiquitous.
With the the pace and hullabaloo of modern day life they are quite simply an irritant, I for one could happily do without.

They should at best be banned on trains, at worst there should be 'phone only' carriages or 'phone free' carriages for people who wish to avoid listening to futile conversations and nauseating ringtones.

Next time you feel yourself about to be drawn into a tête-à-tête, not dissimilar to my recent experience, do yourself and the other people around you a favour - think again!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

'From Russia With Love' - The Kremlin

To the Enklish editor.

Good Evenin Zar,
May I say a chilly hallo from Moscow.
I vill keep this brief but I have many peoples to thank.

Thank you....to The Enklish feetball team, I have niver bin to Austria or Switzerland.

Thank you....to McClaren (Steve not Mercedes).

Thank you....to Muddlesbrough for giving you McClaren.

Thank you....to Paul 'Anne Bancroft' Robinson.

Thank you....to referee Luis Medina Vantalejo, sponsored by Abramovich.

Thank you....to the Enklish FA for agreeing to play on plastik.

Thank you....again to McClaren for being cumpletely taktically inept.

Thank you....to the fans for spinding your hard earned loose change in our City and getting a beeting, on and off the pitche.

Thank you....Macedonia for zero-zero at Old Trafford last October.

Thank you....again to the FA for flooding your League viv foreigners and we for flooding the pitche.

Hail.....Tchaikovsky, Pushkin, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Yeltsin, Putin, Gorbachev, Catherine the Great, Brezhnev, Korbut, Sharapova, Karpov, Kasparov, Bubka, Rasputin......to name but a few!

God bless: The Queen, Brown, Prescott, Livingstone, Benny Hill, Brotherhood of Man, Porky Parry, The BBC........

You Enklish people, hinjoy next Summer.
Don't think Austria and Switzerland, more Alton Towers and Southend-on-Sea.

Have a large Stolichnaya on us, and thank you.

Vladamir Rosstoffski

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fashionably Fed-Up!

On a busy commuter train home from London the other evening I overheard a fascinating conversation between two middle-aged guys.
One was telling the other how he had been out in a bar the previous evening, and an attractive vivacious woman he had never met before came up to him completely out of the blue and openly asked him if he was a Londoner.
Before he could answer she said, "You must be, you look fed-up."

People pre-suppose the hypothesis that smiling is good for you because it makes you appear more attractive!
I suppose it is probably safe to say smiling temporarily relieves stress, and by smiling it in turn raises the cheekbones and reduces that wrinkled effect on the face that tends to be associated with a puckered brow.

I presume the logic behind this theory emanates from the hip, sun soaked, well chiselled plastic fantastic inhabitants of Cali-for-ni-a, who have never done the 'commuting lark' on a daily basis!

Some of the world's so called most attractive men are a bunch of cantankerous morose individuals.
Take actors Clive Owen and Colin Firth, or ex-Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho. They all have contorted faces that ooze pain and anguish, as if they are required to help solve or ease the issues of third world debt!

Some of the world's most gorgeous or lusted after women have or have had partners with visibly grumpy faces.
Look no further than Madonna's hubby Guy Richie or Kate Moss's ex squeeze Pete Doherty and her latest flame James Hince. All of them sour faced and glum looking.

So perhaps smiling is 'overrated.'

If you go to a bar in London and stand there looking bored, at best irritated you become the 'object of desire' - sophisticated, powerful with an air of supremacy.
It has almost become acceptable to display an aloofness towards someone who has caught your eye by pretending not to notice them or by ignoring them. A form of reverse psychology.

Perhaps 'rejection is fast becoming an aphrodisiac'

So if your keen look mean!

Now I don't smile a great deal myself and I know this for a fact because for years it has been remarked upon, although more often than not it has been done so in a polite manner rather than a vulgar or critical one.

So after hearing this two-way conversation on the chuffer, on my arrival home I immediately headed straight for the bathroom.
I turned on the light switch above my shaving mirror rather than the main one.
I feel it works as a safety net mechanism by diluting the intensity of what the main light might reveal.
However I still couldn't hide from my reflection. I was indeed looking awful - gaunt, haggard, drawn, ghost like, macabre!

Yes I WAS definitely looking at the 'epitome of a native Londoner.'

Friday, October 05, 2007

'My Goal Of The Week' - Elano Blumer for Manchester City

Now I know how all footy fans love to see a 'special goal' perhaps a bicycle kick, a long mazy run involving beating several players before unleashing an unstoppable shot, a diving header, a long range volley, a sublime piece of ball trickery, etc.......but sometimes you can't beat a stupendous free-kick hit with fearsome power and deadly precision.

That is why this week I have selected 'My Goal of the Week' as just such a gem. It was scored by Manchester City's Brazilian international midfielder Elano Blumer, (right) during their 3-1 victory against Newcastle on 29th September 2007.

It was the 26 year old's first goal for City since his Summer transfer from Ukranian side Shakhtar Donetsk.

As you will see from the video the ball was hit from nearly 35 yards out, and was travelling at a speed of 76mph.

Some dead-ball strike!

Click on the 'Link' below to see Blumer's stunning free-kick!


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Watch The Clip Of Last Saturday's Superb Sky Sports Soccer AM Soccerettee 'Millie'

Saturday's Sky Soccer AM was a stonker!

How do I know......well the planned awayday to see my beloved 'Eagles' was aborted due to unforeseen circumstances.
Basically one of the lads accidentally 'cocked up' the travel arrangements to Burnley. In a nutshell he bought train tickets for this week, not last week!
We've all done it haven't we......I think!

However it did enable me to get to watch the whole of the show, in it entirety for a change.

This week's Soccer AM Soccerette was the enchanting Millie. She was 26, apparently single and from Cheshire.

All good so far!

That was until she appeared from behind those sliding doors......stood in all her glory wearing of all things, a Man U shirt!

Immediately I lept off the settee and began berating the TV.
No I yelled, please tell me I'm seeing things, this can't be true, rewind.....do something, call social services, call a doctor, anything!

Why I hear you cry?

A Man U fan from the North-West for heaven's sake, that's why!
As far as I was aware all Man U fans live in places nowhere near Greater Manchester. They are more likely to be found in far flung geographical locations usually requiring a 'Lonely Planet' guide book, such as Barnsley, Biarritz, Beijing, Bangkok or Bombay.

I digress. Also making a cameo appearance with Millie the Soccerette was the well rounded Neil 'Razor' Ruddock, who I have to mention I also saw on TV this week, on what can only be described as a bizarre but mildly amusing 'Celebrity Wife Swap.' The ex-footy player was with his very own piece of eye-candy in the shape of a twenty something glamour model. No surprise there then!
The unexpected but entertaining aspect of this particular wife-swap programme was that 'Razor' had to go and spend a week with Pete 'You Spin Me Right Round Baby' Burns, while Pete's male partner spent the week with 'Razors' rather alluring other half.

Anyway back to Soccer AM and after calming myself down with a beer, Millie went on to remove the offending red shirt thus displaying her ample charms, before elegantly parading down the 'runway.'
In addition she also showed off a couple of her very own party tricks. The splits in high heels followed by a demonstration of the 'bridge' body position.......leaving 'Razor' gooey eyed and foaming at the mouth, and me just open-mouthed and feeling old!

So if you missed that part of the show on Saturday, for whatever reason or want to see it again, then just click on the 'Link' below, and see Millie in a variety of positions.

Luxuriate in!


Monday, October 01, 2007

Friday, September 28, 2007

'My Goal Of The Week' - Marta Vieira da Silva for Brazil at the Women's World Cup.

'My Goal of the Week' was scored by Marta Vieira da Silva on 27th September, for Brazil against the US during their semi-final match in Hangzhou, China at the Women's World Cup 2007.

Marta, only 21 (pictured right) was born in Alagoas, Brazil and plays her club football in Sweden for 'Umea IK.'

She is the 2006 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year, was runner-up in 2005 and is currently the World Cup's leading scorer with seven goals in just five games.

Marta scored twice against the U.S, her second a magnificent individual effort in the 80th minute. Taking a pass from Renata Costa outside the penalty area, and with her back to goal she deftly flicked the ball with her left foot over both her head and that of U.S.defender Tina Ellertson to break into the box. She then cut back inside to avoid defender Catherine Whitehill, before firing a low 12-yard shot with her right foot into the bottom corner of the net to put Brazil 4-0 up.

Brazil's 4-0 rout of the Americans in the semi-final played in front of 47,818 at Hangzhou Dragon Stadium, saw the U.S teams 51-match unbeaten run come to an end.

Now Brazil will play tournament favourites Germany in the Final on Sunday 30th September at Shanghai Hongkou Football Stadium.

The U.S. will face Norway for third place on Sunday in a match that will precede the Final.

Click on the 'Link' below to see Marta's audacious strike!


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Watch The Clip Of Last Saturday's Superb Sky Sports Soccer AM Soccerettee 'Emily'

Again I missed last week's Soccer AM show as I spent most of the my day in the pub either side of watching Palace win a five goal thriller against Sheffield United.

However in doing so I had to forgo seeing the lovely Emily strutting her stuff as the shows Soccerette......and what a hum dinger of a babe she turned out to be!

I can forgive her for being a Wolves fan, because she had a pair of pins to die for......they went on forever and a day!

So if you missed that part of the show on Saturday, for whatever reason or want to see it again, then just click on the 'Link' below, and see Emily in all her glory.



Monday, September 24, 2007

London BAR King - 'Paradise By Way Of Kensal Green'

After an unutterable quantity of sport and alcohol this weekend I decided on Sunday to try and ease my gargantuan hangover at the curiously named 'Paradise by Way of Kensal Green' public house on Kilburn Lane, West London.

For the record I established the name is in fact from the final line of a poem called 'The Rolling English Road' by G. K. Chesterton.

Anyway the purpose of my Sunday jaunt, particularly in my rather fragile disposition was to join the pub regulars at the recently introduced 'Bloody Mary Sunday Club' in the delusional hope of installing life into my......lifeless body!

It sounds fine until like a piece of DIY furniture you examine it in more detail and then decide that this is going to be a little trickier than one initially anticipated.

The reason being that when you go in and ask for a Bloody Mary they ask you which of eight recipes you want.....and then if you would like to make your own!!!
For heavens sake when did a bartender last ask you to pour your own pint?

It's just far too much to try to cope with!

So instead I opted for a chilled glass of Chablis from the impressively extensive drinks list, took a look at the food menu, then scrutinized the surroundings and atmosphere for good measure.

The food menu could be best described as modern, Mediterranean stroke Asian, but refreshingly resonant with its traditional British cuisine on Sunday lunchtimes.
The food coming out from the kitchen looked impressive without being pretentious.

The atmosphere was relaxed and the crowd could be best described as mixed!

As for the interior, well the décor is gloriously chaotic.
It could be described as flamboyantly tasteless and alarmingly garish to the extent of oozing vulgarity.
Wandering across the sanded floor boards into the calming lime-green interior you’ll notice capriciously placed plaster angels and solid urns dotted about as if placed there on a whim.
The walls are covered in an assortment of numerous modern canvases with funky chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, casting shadowy halos over the bohemian interior. In the midst of all this obvious manifestation of expression, Paradise still hangs on to a welcome trace of British pub.

For fans of the great outdoors they have a garden with heaps of character and a terrace area, thus creating the perfect all year round hang out.

A quirky, wacky kind of venue. The type of place you might go once a month if you wanted something a tad different, or your local had gone a bit stale!
It's an experience......full of atmosphere, with a wide-ranging selection of beers, wines and cocktails. The food looked good, and then of course there is always the 'Bloody Mary Sunday Club.'

'Paradise By Way Of Kensal Green' is located on: 19 Kilburn Lane, London W10 4AE
Nearest tubes: Kensal Green or Queen's Park.
Opening Times: Mon to Thurs: 12.30pm-Midnight,
Fri and Sat: 12.30pm-02:00, Sun: Noon-23.30

Food served: Mon to Sat: 12.30-16.00 and 19.30-23.00, Sun: Noon-21.00
Children allowed.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

'My Goal Of The Week' - Abby Wambach for the United States at the Women's World Cup.

'My Goal of the Week' was scored by Abby Wambach on 14th September, for the US against Sweden during their Group B match at the Women's World Cup 2007.

Abby, 27 (pictured right) from Rochester, New York finished fourth in the voting for FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year in 2006.

She hit both goals in her sides 2-0 victory against Sweeden, the first from the penalty spot.
Her 2nd goal however in the 58th minute combined terrific chest control with an absolute sublime half-volley.

Now the US will play England in the quarter-finals this Saturday 22nd September.

Click on the 'Link' below to see Abby's wonder strike!


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Watch The Clip Of Last Saturday's Superb Sky Sports Soccer AM Soccerettee 'Sammi'

Each week I am hoping to publish the video clip of Sky's Soccer AM Soccerette strutting her stuff!

The main reason for this is that I often miss the show, as I did last week while I travelled to Norwich early Saturday morning to consume large quantities of Norfolk ale, either side of watching Crystal Palace.......and by heck does one need copious amounts of alcohol if you are brave enough to follow The Eagles at the moment!

Anyway this week's soccerette was the lovely Sammi, who will be of particular interest to Villa fans.....that's fans of Aston Villa NOT Valencia's David Villa!

As always it's entertaining stuff and probably the best part of the show. So if you missed it on Saturday, for whatever reason or want to see it again, then just click on the 'Link' below.



Friday, September 14, 2007

Got A Date? - Need A Chic Place To Eat?

Now being a South East London guy the social butterfly in moi rarely sees me venture to South West London, mainly as I have no relatives or close friends from that part of the world.
However this week I was in the locality sampling the delights of 'Napket' - on a blind date!

To describe Napket as a cafe is to restore the true meaning to the word, and if fashion could be captured in an edible format, it would probably look like Napket.

This setting is without doubt the recreation of café society in London's King's Road. But refreshingly that doesn't mean the cafe itself is as pretentious as the people walking past it's exterior.

Unlike so many eateries which place such a heavyweight emphasis on 'the look and feel' Napket concentrates on serving up fine cuisine. The food is delicious, imaginative and superbly presented.

As a date place, it fits in nicely either as a place for a spot of brunch or alternatively for a quick post-work appetizer.

For a start if your date looks like the something out of a horror movie, at least
there are pictures of pretty people on the walls to divert your attention.
For the more vulgar, ill-bred person there is a facility to plug your headphones into the iPod sockets situated on each table, for those who would rather hum along to say Janet Jackson's 'Nasty' or Rihanna's 'S.O.S (Rescue Me)' and pretend they are elsewhere!

The date itself was er.....forgettable. Not bad enough to require the iPod service, but not good enough to require a second bite of the cherry.....enough said!

The venue although diminutive (only 25 covers) seeks to dazzle with subtly rather than in your face extravagance. It is well designed with glossy dark surfaces and glass chandeliers.

To enjoy such sophisticated surroundings and fine food one would think that it could leave your wallet feeling severely distressed, but not a bit of it, Napket is indeed excellent value.

'Napket' is located on 342 King's Road, London SW3.
Nearest tube: Sloane Square.
Opening Times: Mon - Thurs: 08:00 - 21:00, Fri - Sun: 08:00 - 22:00.
A meal for two is about £25.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Cataclysmic/Catastrophic Player Signings - Part Two:

Expensive foreign signings have had their fair share of bad press over the years and rightly so in some cases!

Winston Bogarde's career at Chelsea remains one of the most farcical of the modern game. Dutch international Bogarde was signed by Gianluca Vialli from Barcelona in 2000. He made only two League starts for the Blues over a period of four years, during which time he earned an estimated £7m in wages, handsome reward for training with the youth team all week, and going shopping or ten pin bowling on Saturday afternoons.

Newcastle signed Spanish international defensive 'hardman' Marcelino from Real Mallorca in 1999 for £5.8m. He made just 15 League appearances in three and a half years for the Magpies, and missed almost a whole season with a damaged finger before leaving the club on a free transfer.

In 1997 Crystal Palace signed Italian forward Michele Padovano from Juventus for £1.7m. In a year at the South London club Padovana scored once in 12 appearances, never played more than two games in a row and eventually left on a free transfer as Palace were relegated.
To rub salt in the wound after his departure, Padovana then returned to Selhurst Park to claim £1m in unpaid wages from the club's administrators during a financial crisis that almost saw Palace go out of business.

One more illustration of the 'foreign import syndrome' that has blighted our national game occurred way back in 1995, when Notts Forest became the first English club to sign an Italian international. Boss Frank Clark signed striker Andre Silenzi from Torino, as a replacement for Liverpool bound Stan Collymore.
However Silenzi spent most of his 15 appearances strolling suckily around a small area of the pitch, and his time ended in acrimony as he refused to return to England after a loan spell at another Italian club side Venezia. By the time his contract was cancelled the beanpole target man had scored a total of two cup goals and had cost bankruptcy bound Forest nearly £3m.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Cataclysmic/Catastrophic Player Signings - Part One:

Disastrous/shocking/appalling/dreadful/unforgivable/deplorable/inexcusable/diabolical/indefensible..........or just simply plain awful signings are nothing new!

Ever supporter of every club side has had to suffer the ignominy at the ineptitude of a 'big money player' coming to their club and 'flopping spectacularly' after having splashed out an exorbitant amount in transfer fees (and wages).

What often adds to the humility is when the said player is then shipped out to another club, usually for a fee substantially less than initially paid out, in some cases to a rival local club AND he then becomes an instant hit!

What is even more exasperating is on his return to your club he plays a blinder and/or scores the winning goal in injury time!

Recently, expensive foreign imports have tended to stand out, but even back in 1938 Arsenal caused public outrage by spending a then record £14,000 on Welsh forward Bryn Jones. A fee considered so inflated that questions were asked in The House of Commons. After a year of undistinguished performances Jones was spared another season by Hitler's invasion of Poland.

The mid-1990's were a particularly low point for the British game.
Notable poor Premiership signings include Ade Akinbiyi, for whom current Crystal Palace boss Peter Taylor paid Wolves £5m while he was manager of Leicester City. Akinbiyi failed to score for seven months!

In 1994 Joey Beauchamp moved to West Ham from his hometown club Oxford United for £1m. He never actually played a single game for The Hammers, before two months later returning the 50 miles back west on the grounds of homesickness.

Hammers manager Harry Redknapp's most notorious signing remains 'Mad' Marco Boogers, a Dutchman signed on the basis of a highlights video sent to the club by his agent!
Needless to say Boogers stay was eventful, if very brief.
In only his second appearance, coming on as a sub against Man Utd he was immediately sent-off for a violent tackle on Gary Neville.
He promptly disappeared and was discovered several weeks later hiding out in a mobile home in a Dutch caravan park.

Before the start of the Premiership bad signings often stood out, almost more so!
Man Utd and Man City both paid more than a million pounds to Notts Forest and Wolves respectively, for Gary Birtles and Steve Daley.
Birtles took almost a year to open his account at United before being sold back to Forest, and Daley was off loaded to Seattle in the USA, after just a season at City for next to nothing.

Part Two to follow.......

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Monday, August 20, 2007

Awayday Jolly - The Sweet Smell Of Saintcess!

With the lack of material on this site of late, due to my pc packing up I now have an opportunity to share with you a recent event that was indeed the buzz I felt on the opening day of the new footy season.
It arrived on Saturday 11th August and it did so in style, as myself and around 3,000 other Crystal Palace supporters headed down to the South-Coast on a balmy late summers day.

The day began about 10.30am when I met my pal Kevin at East Croydon train station for the first stage of the the journey to Southampton (Saufamptonne, if your from Sauf London of course) wearing my club colours, with a copy of a red top newspaper under one arm and a four-pack of lager under the other.
We hopped on a train to Clapham Junction to join the fast service to Southampton Central.
On our arrival at CJ we were greeted by a throng of red and blue shirts lining the platform. It was if we had hired a 'private' train to ourselves.
I felt the buzz inside of me. The new season was upon us!

It may have been a Saturday but as with most train journeys nowadays there were no seats.....well there were seats, but they were all taken!
In fact in truth we had to push and squeeze ourselves just to get onto the train itself. The doorways were packed with suitcases, anything up to three or four feet high.
Most generous of the travelling tourists we thought as some of us climbed up onto them and sat precariously on the mounds of luggage, necking the first beer of the day.
The look on the owners of the suitcases was priceless. Their faces dropped like canines that had lost their bones. But they were not going to say anything!
Confront a group footy fans on a train, necking beer in between exercising our vocal cords for the match ahead. Far too intimidating I would guess.
More fool them for any one of us would have respectively relinquished our hazardous positions if asked.
The majority of us either sat on the floor or lent on each other, the space was so limited!

One hour 20 minutes later, we arrived at Southampton Central and having joined up with some of our other pals at CJ or as we were being ferried out of the station we only had one thing on our minds - liquid refreshment,( it was a hot day!). We decided to head straight for the town centre rather than get the shuttle bus to the ground - it was only about 12.30 for goodness sake, and we had also made a loose arrangement to meet some more pals in a bar called 'The Standing Order.'
Anyway off we purposefully strode bypassing the cultural sights which rendered zero on the Richter scale, but the humour and banter was top draw all the way.

Now this bar was supposedly a 10 minute walk away from the station, smack bang in the middle of the town centre. Simple enough one would have thought, but oh no, half an hour later and gagging for a drink we found ourselves still aimlessly and vacantly wandering around the streets hopelessly looking for the bar in question. We had politely asked the well dressed locals of the town, who in turn just pointed and told us to keep walking, so we re-grouped and decided to pursue an alternative method of finding this particular venue.
Who did we feel would know the location of the local pubs and bars best?
Yes the local 'down and outs.' So we approached a couple of guys fitting a description not dissimilar and they couldn't have been more helpful or more precise.
Having discovered 'The Standing Order' was a part of the JD Weatherspoon chain they not only told us where to find this particular pub but also 'The Bright Water Inn' and 'The Giddy Bridge' also owned by the same chain.
They were quite charming, and we were most grateful in turn.
Five minutes later we arrived. The pub had a good mix of rival fans, the banter was light-hearted, the sun was out, the beer was flowing and it was just under two hours to kick-off!

As the time approached to move on and head for St. Mary's we all agreed to disagree as to the best way to get to the stadium. As a result it became a case of see you at the game, as some stayed to keep on re-fueling, others slopped off to look for a taxi, while myself, Kevin and six others left and headed in the same direction all the other fans were going.
To be fair this time we found ourselves on course, and even had time to stop off in 'The Anchor,' an old-fashioned ale pub for one final pre-match livener.
Although obviously outnumbered by about eight to one, a sea of red and blue was highly evident and the fans were in good voice, as we approached the impressive St. Mary's stadium. We walked around the outside of the ground to join the near 3,000 Palace fans in the Northam Stand.

Let the game commence!
We were sitting behind the goal in line with the corner flag, the Saint's fans were no more than 50 yards away to our left, and we gave them some stick from the very first minute. In fact we didn't sit down all through the game as what was to follow you usually only dream of.
Southampton, one of the favourites to go up, at home and up against Crystal Palace, 25-1 outsiders to win the Championship....we said on the way down we would settle for a point.
I don't think Taylor or the players had read the script, and the most unlikely of heroes emerged in the shape of James Scowcroft. Five goals in total for the whole of last season, he scored twice in a minute in the first half as Palace took control and the Saint's defence played like something out of a 'Wickes' advertisement. We looked very comfortable, but watching Palace is the ultimate rollercoaster, and in injury time in the first half Southampton nicked a goal back.
2-1 at half-time but as we queued for a lash and more alcoholic refreshment ( yes this was a stadium where the facilities meant you could achieve both during the interval ) you could sense murmurs of discontent among the fans.
Before the game all of us would have settled for a 2-1 lead at half-time but in a bizarre kind of way we felt we had thrown away our advantage by conceding late on in the half.

The second-half began, you could sense the Southampton fans felt their team could turn this one around, but our fans were still in good voice and we looked reasonably in control. Speroni had to tip one over as he had done equally athletically in the first half, but otherwise Southampton to be honest offered little more.
Then with about 20 minutes of the second-half gone it was not a case of whether the Eagles were going to win but by how many!
Scowcroft hit his third, his first hat-rick since 1998, and a couple of minutes later Saint's fans began to leave as Morrisson made it four.
We were delirious, we childishly waved good-bye to the opposing fans, sung our hearts out to the final whistle and at the end gave our players a fantastic round of applause.
How often do you go away from home, on the opening day of the season, watch your team win 4-1 against supposedly far superior opposition, on a beautiful sunny day and..........it doesn't get much better!
We all went for a couple of celebratory beers in a pub not far from the station before heading back to London.

But the night was young!
Four of us went back to East Croydon, headed for the 'Porter & Sorter' next to the station, sank a few more libations before deciding what to do next!
Kevin and I were now really reved up, so we said our good-byes and headed into Beckenham to party on. Still in Palace colours and pretty hammered we thought we would probably get thrown out of anywhere before we got in, but no it was only about 8.30pm and Patrick's bar let us in as if we were regulars.
Now it has to be said that this is a bar with a signed and framed Palace shirt hanging up, so maybe we had made a good choice.

Feeling elated and on cloud nine from such a cracking day out Kevin suggests it's time to wheel out the plastic and pop the champagne to celebrate. Not wishing to spoil the moment, he duly comes back from the bar, ice bucket, flutes, bubbly and........spouts those immortal words, 'Ladies would you like a glass,' as we suddenly 'seemed' to have become very popular in a heaving bar in the space of a few minutes.
A couple of middle-aged drunken footy fans under the influence maybe, but sober enough to enjoy the moment.
The night went on in much the same vain and they had to literally kick us out in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The only problem was we were probably two of 150 other people in the proximity all wanting a minicab home.
At this point we decided to draw stumps, it was late, well early to be precise and we each went our separate ways and 'walked' home.
It was nearly 4am when I hit the sack but what more can I say except......

Great Game!
Great Fans!
Great Day!

Apologies To Readers Of This Blog.

Due to my pc 'crashing and burning' about ten days ago and with the ISP from hell, I have been unable to access my computer and internet to write any articles of late.
Please bear with me as I expect this problem to be rectified shortly.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Why Agents Cruise Jordan, & Can Afford To Drink Cristal Champagne, Care Of The Palace!

While it gives me absolutely no pleasure in reading the latest report regarding the fees paid to football agents, I would think it will leave Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan in particular, absolutely seething!
Anyone who follows 'The Eagles' or reads the national press knows his stance and feelings of superciliousness concerning the behaviour of Players’s Agents.

After all they are simply ‘advisors’ and advise they indeed do, but in many cases pretty badly. They habitually prey on naive young professionals, extorting outrageous sums of money, they describe as ‘fees’ for doing quite often very little, in an effort to further line their already opulent pockets.
Surely parents, fellow professionals, managers and chairman alike can see this!

Greed is their food of love. It’s a set menu.

In a previous life they were probably all failed insurance salesman, who drove bottom of the range company four door saloons, with their fibre mix jackets hanging up in the back whilst listening to dolphin music.

Their idea of an evening out is meeting up in a once fashionable now re-furbished wine bar and drinking non-vintage champagne straight from the neck of the bottle.
I digress, and bad taste is not an excuse to abuse, just one to avoid.
However this does not change the fact that morally they are evil self centred individuals, whatever their taste!

The Football League's annual report into payments to these so called 'middlemen' reveals agent's fees paid by clubs outside the Premiership rose by nearly £1 million last season.

The report exposes an outlay of £8,584,321 - compared to £7,660,028 in 2005/06, a rise of over 12% on the previous 12 months!

Championship winners Sunderland topped the table with £881,594 spent on agents.

As if to emphasise Jordan's previous disquiet on the matter, it has been revealed that his own club were in fact, 'major victims' of these unscrupulous rogues.
Crystal Palace were London's biggest spenders, forking out £433,818 in fees, followed by QPR (£192,340), Millwall (£111,140) and Leyton Orient (£53,000).

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Football Club Nicknames

With the new footy season only three weeks away and pre-season friendlies and club tours well and truly upon us, I thought it might be time to write a short piece on a source of information that every football supporter can relate to........club nicknames.

The tradition of football clubs having a nickname often extends back to when the club was first created.

In Britain, football club nicknames basically fall into five broad categories:-

1/ Colours - not very imaginative for obvious reasons, e.g The Blues, The Reds, The Sky Blues.

2/ Animals - only slightly more creative, e.g The Rams, The Tigers, The Foxes, The Lions, The Terriers.

Birds are a particularly popular choice, e.g The Eagles, The Seagulls, The Robins, The Magpies, The Owls, The Canaries.

3/ The Town's Traditional Industry - e.g The Hatters, The Irons, The Railwaymen, The Silkmen, The Saddlers, The Chairboys, The Glovers, The Tractor Boys, The Cobblers, The Blades.

4/ Local Landmarks - e.g The Minstermen, The Imps, The Spireites.

5/ The Obscure - Often endlessly debated and ultimately incomprehensible, e.g The Baggies, The Monkeyhangers, The Shakers, The Pilgrims and Posh.

A glance through the League's nicknames is still a pretty reliable guide to 19th-century industrial England, when you could safely assume that shoes came from Northampton, chairs from Wycombe and saddles from Walsall.

From the 1960's some clubs began to discard nicknames that they felt didn't convey the right kind of image.
Such clubs included Chelsea (formerly The Chelsea Pensioners, now The Blues), Crystal Palace (formerly The Glaziers, now The Eagles) and Reading (formerly The Biscuitmen, now The Royals).

Bristol Rovers are officially known as The Pirates, but more commonly as The Gas, after the gasworks next to their former ground at Eastville.

Fans of Everton and Manchester City are these days reluctant users of their given names, The Toffees and The Citizens respectively.

Swansea City, officially The Swans, have also adopted the town's nickname of The Jacks, allegedly after the 1930's lifesaving exploits in Swansea docks of a black retriever called, unsurprisingly Jack.

Charlton have without doubt the least conclusive or decisive club nickname in the league, flirting between The Robins, The Valiants and The Addicks.
The Addicks is a corruption of the word 'haddocks' and named after a local fish and chip shop, and also apparently because a local fish man would shout 'haddocks'..........all very odd!

In 1997 after leaving their Roker Park ground, Sunderland formerly The Rokerites decided to be known as The Black Cats.

More recently a few clubs have adopted more snazzy go-getting names, such as QPR's 'Superhoops', Wimbledon's 'Crazy Gang' and Scottish club Livingston's 'Livi Lions.'
Thankfully football has been largely immune to the American-inspired rebranding efforts that have affected some sports, including rugby league and to a certain degree limited overs cricket.

Scotland has it's own tradition of colourful nicknames, most of which are attached to the more unassuming clubs e.g Forfar (The Loons), Montrose (The Gable Endies), and Arbroath (The Red Lichties).

The general rule of thumb is that the bigger the club the less likely it is to have an intriguing or unusual nickname.
Notable exceptions outside of Britain might be Real Madrid (The Meringues) and Juventus (The Old Lady).

Monday, July 09, 2007

London BAR King - 'Dirty Martini'

Last time I sat down to write a piece on drinking in London it was 'Flaming April.' Perhaps that was the kiss of death as the venue I suggested was al fresco on a moored boat.
Now nearly three months on, after enough rain to have sunk the vessel in question, and in typical pessimistic fashion I have decided to write off this so called 'Summer' (all due of course to global warming and my larger than life carbon footprint!!!!!!!!!!)
A more apposite experience all things considered might be to therefore venture below 'sea' level in order to find liquid sustenance.

May I suggest then getting down to 'Dirty Martini' in Covent Garden, as I did last Thursday.
This idyllic intimate milieu is ideal if you want to avoid being seen (maybe its our caveman instincts), but sometimes you want to go out and circumvent the goldfish bowl experience aka that of a large, uncomfortably busy, ear-splitting, boisterous bar or pub.

'Dirty Martini' is in Russell Street, and although it is right in the centre of the tourist zone and literally only yards from the market itself, it is unexpectedly chic.
The lighting is cool. Being an underground retreat it is dim and moody with the odd splash of blue uplighting here and there.
The booths are lined with burgundy leather sofas and low stools and there are areas of bare brickwork in amongst mirror clad columns.
All this gives it a dark almost eerie effect, but at the same time it also helps generate a tranquil, serene, almost calming atmosphere.

Not surprisingly at 'Dirty Martini' the tipple of choice is the 'martini' itself, and boy oh boy do they know how to mix one.
Having been a cocktail bartender in a former life, a martini has minimal ingredients but is a 'bastard' to make..... WELL!

They have a 'happy four hours' from 5pm to 9pm and a first-rate martini in The West End for £3.95 is plenty good reason to get down and dirty!

Monday, July 02, 2007

C.P.F.C Pre-Season 2007 - Fixtures, Results and Scorers.

Friday 13th July Chelmsford 0 Palace 2 Freedman(2) - Away
Saturday 14th July Bromley 2 Palace 2 Own goal, Green - Away
Tuesday 17th July v Aldershot 0 Palace 2 Watson (pen), Kuki - Away
Friday 20th July Dartford 0 Palace 3 Fletcher, Green, Ifill - Away
Saturday 21st July Barnet 2 Palace 3 Own goal, Watson, Ifill - Away
Tues 24th July IFK Gothenburg 1 Palace 2 Ifill, Scowcroft - Away
Fri 27th July Oddevald 1 Palace 4 Dayton,Martin,Morrison,Watson - Away
Tuesday 31st July Palace 1 Watson (pen) Anderlecht 1 - Home
Saturday 4th August Palace 0 Everton 0 - Home

*All kick-off times are subject to change.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Saturday, June 23, 2007

'Whipped Cream'

The 21st June 2007 had the outward appearance of something resembling 'Black Thursday.'

The day in question resembled a cross between The Madhatter's Tea Party and an Ann Summers shindig, somewhere en route between 'The High Court' in London & 'Royal Ascot' in Berkshire.

Was their a full moon on Wednesday night?

It was certainly an atrocious day for Iain 'Coco the Clown' Dowie at The High Court, and in part for the bookmaker Paddy Power at Royal Ascot on Gold Cup and Ladies Day.

As it is Dowie is now facing the biggest blow to his morale, as well as to the lining of his pockets, since he last looked at his own reflection in the mirror!

He was 'taken to the cleaners' by Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan.
Jordan has shown in the past that he cannot stand managers/players that do NOT honour their contracts, and quite rightly so!
(In 2001 he put Steve Bruce on 'gardening leave' at the Palace after refusing to allow him to leave his contractual managerial post with Palace, after being linked to a role with another football club). I must take this opportunity to thank Brucie for all the weeding he did that year. The pitch has never looked in such tip-top condition since!

Dowie should have gone to see a therapist NOT a solicitor before deciding to take on Jordan in court, particularly as it has subsequently been proven that he was indeed knowingly lying, and made 'fraudulent misrepresentations' on leaving the club in May last year.
Dowie had foolishly hoped that somehow he would NOT get caught, a bit like a naughty little school-kid!
Dowie in fact may as well have turned up at court in a school blazer, knee length trousers with a plimsoll bag over his shoulder, lent over some court apparatus and allowed himself be thrashed with a whip, for he was always onto a good hiding, from the first moment he decided to take on his ex-boss, a serial High Court winner!

Now having lost, he has to foot the entire bill. He has to pay HIS own costs, Jordan's and Palace's costs.....along with any compensation awarded to Palace.
Mr. Justice Tugendhat ordered Dowie to pay £150,000 within the next six weeks, but warned Dowie that Palace's bill could total £400,000 in legal costs alone.

There will be another hearing towards the end of the year to decide how much in 'damages and other financial relief' Dowie must pay Palace. Ouch!!!

Jordan said on Friday he had no sympathy for Dowie and went on to say: 'This is a resounding, overwhelming judgement of Dowie's deceit and guilt.'

No Xmas card from Dowie then this Yuletide. He'll probably be so skint by then that he'll have to send home-made cards to his remaining friends and relatives!

Interestingly but of less financial clout, bookies Paddy Power were hit by a flurry of bets on Thursday on what colour hat the Queen would be wearing on Gold Cup Day at Royal Ascot.
Suggestions in previous years that inside information might have been used went down like a lead balloon at the Palace.
So without wishing to stir up any more bad feeling nobody was pointing any fingers on Thursday, despite a rush of money that saw the winning 'beige/cream' colour cut from odds of a rather tasty 6/1 to a miserly 1/25.

Claiming to have lost around £15,000, bookie Paddy Power said, 'We got creamed.'

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ex-Palace Player Lifts Trophy!

Former Eagles midfield player Sasa Curcic last week won the Serbian version of Celebrity Big Brother.

The controversial Serb who played for Palace between 1998 and 1999 won 50,000 Euros for being crowned winner after spending 30 days in the Serbian Celebrity Big Brother House.

Curcic retired from football in 2000 at the age of 27, following spells at Palace, Bolton, Villa, Motherwell and the New York Metro Stars.
He enjoyed partial cult status in Britain, but more for his actions and annotations off the field than on it!

Following Curcic's retirement from the game in 2000, he conducted an interview with a Yugoslav sports magazine in which he said: "I have given up football because of sex. I would rather score in bed than on the pitch."

Saturday, June 16, 2007

'Kissing with Confidence'........Is kissing in public unsexy?

The right to reply:

In response to the very laboured, drearily written article:-
'Quiet Dignity Is Best......kissing in public isn't sexy' by Zoe Strimpel, in Monday's copy of 'The London Paper,' I felt I had to respond vehemently on behalf of all 'Alpha Males' out there with a pulse!
I have not gone soft..........honest!
I just felt a strong desire, call it a fervour if you like, to counter this argument.

Let me enlighten you Ms Strimpel. Individuality and spontaneity (along with clean underwear and fresh breath) go some way in the complex world of wooing a potential female partner, or at least keeping the life in your current squeeze!

Women are always crowing on about how boring and/or unadventurous us lads are when it comes to showing women not so much a good time (a tank full of Stella Artois = a good time), but in terms of the bog standard typical brassy female thought process, there are many a phrase banded around by the opposite sex, that are often alien to some men!
The inventory sits something like a supermarket shopping list.......... they include such idioms as: attentive, thoughtful, kind, gentle, sensitive, considerate, caring and so on.

Showing her you want her, that you want other people to look at her and desire her, even though she is with you, will cause a women's heart to beat that little bit quicker!
'Touching' is the key element. The building blocks begin with small but significant gestures.
Putting your arm around her waist, a soft kiss on the cheek, gently brushing a stray hair off her face, a tight squeeze of her hand.
Women love it because it makes them feel 'wanted' and 'special.'

Snogging in public - well there may be a time and a place, but believe me anybody would rather pucker up in public than not at all!

Ms. Strimpel bleated on in her column about an experience of hers that involved 'public kissing' at a recent awards bash held in a London hotel.
She 'dished' the whole incident, even though she admitted she had already spotted some potential 'eye candy' prior to necking a couple of bottles of vino over dinner and some 'shampoo' at the reception at the beginning of the evening.

The 'cute guy' as she put it was to become her victim, as she made the first purposeful move, and he responded by openly locking lips with her - much to her disapproval it would seem!
His spontaneity, taking the bull by the horns approach, in responding to her initial move had obviously caught her on the back foot, and in her own words she found it, 'frankly off-putting.'
The fact that this guy was happy to make a public show of affection 'appalled her.'
'Taken aback but still up for a snog,' her words not mine, she showed stubborn persistence, suggesting going 'somewhere slightly less public.'

She then talked of the 'pervy stares of the random old men and sex-starved geeks' in the room, watching her public display!

She talks as if she might be a product of a strict upbringing, a convent schooling or as is far more likely the case on the night in question, she suddenly suffered from some kind of temporary morality issue.

Her 'sobering act' was to 'walk away from the guy in question and avoid him for the rest of the night.' Some people might sneer, scoff or goad you, even criticize you, shout 'tease' in your direction, or words to that effect.
Would one be justified in doing so?
As Zoe put it 'she suddenly preferred quiet dignity to public displays of animal desire.'

Nice one Zoe!
Perhaps you should have thought about your values beforehand?

Also Zoe it's a bit rich to say that during your snog you were being stared at by 'pervy old men and sex-starved geeks.'
Zoe love, it does not make you a pervert to pass a fleeting look, or momentary glance at a couple getting up close and personal.
It probably means she's hot and as a guy in that room you would like to be doing something similar yourself - men want her and women want to be like her!
You want to be close enough to that someone to be able to see her pupils dilate, hold her as she stands almost out of her shoes - on the tips of her toes, back arched, with the intimate smell of her perfume peripatetic, and to be able to feel the touch of her soft glowing skin against yours.

Ok, so we do not want people in public undressing each other, grinding up against each other, or playing tonsil tennis.
But for God's sake, seize the day, seize the moment!
Always keep her guessing - she will forever remember, and for that she will be putty in your hands, not a concrete pillar in your bed!

Believe me passion wins over a 'game willing gal,' but if you don't want to be seen in the public domain then Zoe, ask yourself the real reason why balcony's, basements, boardrooms and broom cupboards were really created......along with fire escapes, wine cellars and alleyways!

As she said in her piece, it is for this reason that she now understands why the phrase 'get a room' was invented. Yawn!

I wonder if Zoe is single, or happily single?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

DowieGateDisgrace.........Jordan Decree Corroborates Dowie Deceit!

Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan scored a legal victory today when a High Court judge upheld his claim that he was "deceived" by manager Iain Dowie over his reasons for leaving the club.

Mr Justice Tugendhat ruled that Palace entered into a compromise agreement, freeing Dowie from his contract, on the basis of "fraudulent representations" by the manager to the effect that he had NOT contacted Charlton and had NO present intention of joining them.

Flamboyant multi-millionaire Jordan asserted that, as a gesture of goodwill, he agreed to waive the compensation clause because Dowie had stated he wanted to move nearer to his wife and family in Bolton - which was true when he made the statement.

But within days of leaving, Dowie was appointed manager of Charlton - just a few miles from Selhurst Park.
In the event, Dowie left Charlton in November after only 12 league matches and is now in charge at Coventry.

Dowie, 42, had a clause in his contract to the effect that, if he left to join another club, Palace would receive £1million compensation.

Jordan told the judge he would never have reached the compromise had he known he was planning to move to The Valley.

Jordan, who made his millions from the sale of his mobile phone shop chain, Pocket Phone Shop, seven years ago, challenged Dowie's claim that there was a lack of investment in Crystal Palace.

He said he put £30million of his own money into the club in his first three years as chairman.

The question of whether Palace is now entitled to £1million, or some other amount, on the basis that it lost the chance to benefit under that clause will be decided at a further court hearing.

Bring on Dowie & Coventry this season...........I'm sure Dowie will get a truely red hot reception, one that normally befits that buffoon Brucie.

Palace fans put these dates in your diary for the forthcoming season!

Palace .v. Coventry & Dowie at Selhurst Park:- 18th September 2007.
Coventry & Dowie .v. Palace at The Rioch Arena:- 26th December 2007.

See you all there!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Football365`s End-Of-Season Awards-Runner-Up: Palace chairman Simon Jordan interrupting Iain Dowie's unveiling at Charlton by serving him with a writ.

Watch it here!
Click on the 'Link' below to view this memorable occasion!


On 23rd May 2007 Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan (right) was announced as Runner-Up in Football365.com End-Of-Season Awards, in the category 'Appropriate Response Of The Season.'

The 30th May 2006 is now 'officially' etched in the memory of all Crystal Palace fans.
Simon Jordan, the Palace chairman has been honoured for 'services to football, by weeding out the charlatans from the honourable managers' as he went about interrupting a live Charlton press conference unveiling Iain Dowie as the new Addicks boss by organizing the serving of a writ to him, after he allegedly resigned as Palace manager so that he could be closer to his family in the north of England.

Absolutely Marvellous stuff!
Congratulations Simon for a terrific live stunt, and let's hope you are a WINNER when the current court case is concluded.

I'm just 'Glad All Over.'

Friday, June 01, 2007

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

DowieGateDisgrace.........The Very Latest!

Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan must wait to see if he has won his bitter legal row with former manager Iain Dowie.

Their eight-day High Court battle ended on Tuesday - but the judge has withheld his decision over Dowie being sued for alleged "fraudulent misrepresentations".

Dowie's barrister Michael McParland this week dismissed claims that his client had discussed the Charlton job before he left Palace.

*However two days before he left he had talked to Charlton chairman Richard Murray, but Mr McParland said that did not mean Dowie had been spoken to about taking charge of the club.

*Mr McParland added that Preston boss Billy Davies had already been lined up for the Charlton hotseat, although he later declined the move.

*The barrister said Murray had phoned about possible player signings for Charlton.

*He said Dowie could NOT afford to "offend" a Premiership chairman by NOT taking the call.

*It was also revealed that Dowie had started writing a document called "Advancing the Addicks" - before he left Palace.

But the barrister said this did NOT mean he had talked about getting a job at the club.

John Davies QC,for Jordan, said there had been "five representations" that caused his client to waive the clause that required compensation should Dowie leave:

1/ He said Palace's line had been "consistent" from May 10 last year onwards when Jordan made it clear that Dowie could go,but only on the basis he was returning to the north.

2/ Mr Davies also disagreed with Mr McParland's claim that Charlton had lined up Billy Davies as manager when there was initial contact between Dowie and Murray.

3/ The court was also told that Dowie had been "mis-taken" when he said in a press conference to announce he would be joining Charlton that there had been no contact about the job when he was still at Palace.

4/ The court was also told that, on May 16 last year, Dowie considered himself "free" to talk about becoming Derby County manager, even though the agreement to terminate his contract at Palace had NOT been signed off.

5/ Mr Davies said the fact Dowie was talking to Derby at that early stage made it more likely that he had also spoken to Charlton about the managerial position at The Valley.

Mr Justice Tugendhat said he would reserve his decision in the case until a later, unspecified date.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

DowieGateDisgrace.........Court Day Eight

Round Eight - Day Eight - Tuesday 22nd May 2007

In Court today...

Former Eagles boss Iain Dowie could not have spoken to Charlton about becoming their manager when he left Crystal Palace because someone else was poised to get the job, the High Court heard today.

As those following the case will be aware, Dowie had a clause in his contract to the effect that if he left to join another club, Palace would be due £1million compensation.

Palace chairman Simon Jordan says he agreed to waive the clause when Mr Dowie left because he had stated he wanted to move nearer to his family in Bolton.

Within days Mr Dowie had joined Charlton.

Today, as both sides began their final submissions, Mr Dowie's barrister, Michael McParland, dismissed claims that his client had discussed the Charlton job before he left Palace.

The court heard Mr Dowie had spoken to Charlton chairman, Richard Murray, two days before leaving Palace, NOT about taking charge of the Addicks but about players.

Mr McParland said that was because Mr Murray already had another man lined up for the job - former Preston North End manager Billy Davies.

In the end, Mr Davies changed his mind, but Mr McParland said that would NOT have been known to Mr Murray at the time he spoke to Mr Dowie.

Mr McParland also said Mr Murray phoned Mr Dowie on May 22 last year - the day he left Palace - to find out the time of the press conference announcing his departure as he was keen to watch it on TV.

And the judge heard from Mr McParland that, just because Mr Dowie had started writing a document called "Advancing the Addicks" before he left Palace, it did NOT mean he had talked about getting a job at the club.

Tale of the Tape: Dowie 6, Jordan 7
Temperature: Sticky with varying winds. Outlook uncertain but cloudy with plenty of mist & haze in the atmosphere 23*C

We await the outcome...

Friday, May 18, 2007

DowieGateDisgrace.........Court Day Seven

Round Seven - Day Seven - Friday 18th May 2007

In Court today...

The final witness in Crystal Palace's marathon legal battle has denied approaching their former manager Iain Dowie before he had formally left the club.

Taking the stand today, Charlton Athletic chairman Richard Murray denied approaching Mr Dowie for an interview before he left Palace on May 22 last year.

Mr Dowie is being sued by Palace for alleged 'fraudulent misrepresentation' when he left the club last summer and joined bitter rivals Charlton Athletic.

However, Mr Murray said he had phoned Mr Dowie before he left Palace and suggested meeting up after a press conference announcing he would be leaving Selhurst Park, although he insisted he had not made any mention of him becoming Charlton's manager.

Mr Dowie says he thought Mr Murray wanted to talk about Palace players who would be of interest to Charlton.

At the time, the Addicks were looking for a replacement for long-term boss Alan Curbishley, but Mr Murray said that then Preston North End manager Billy Davies was in the frame.

"I did want to meet him," said Mr Murray, who admitted his call could have been viewed as a "nod and wink" to Mr Dowie that he would be considered for Charlton.

But he added: "As I have said many times, he was not my first choice. Billy Davies was. But I was not going to say, 'You are totally ruled out'."
Mr Dowie had a clause in his contract to the effect that if he left to join another club, Palace would be due £1million compensation.

Palace chairman Simon Jordan says that, as a gesture of good will, he agreed to waive that clause when Mr Dowie left because he had stated he wanted to move nearer to his wife and family in Bolton.

Within days, Mr Dowie had joined Charlton.

Mr Dowie says the compromise agreement was a "clean break" under which Palace dispensed with his services and avoided having to pay him substantial contractual entitlements.

Mr Justice Tugendhat adjourned proceedings until Tuesday. He is expected to reserve his judgment in the case after he has heard closing arguments.

Tale of the Tape: Dowie 6, Jordan 6
Temperature: Rather a lot of cloud & a plenty of 'hot air' 20*C

The case continues on Tuesday 22nd May...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

DowieGateDisgrace...........Court Day Six

Round Six - Day Six - Wednesday 16th May 2007

In Court today...

Iain Dowie claimed his bitter £2 million High Court wrangle with Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan has destroyed his managerial reputation.

The former Crystal Palace manager spoke of the "very abusive, ultra-aggressive, demeaning and angry" telephone call with chairman Simon Jordan that signalled the end of his time at the club.

He told a top judge that he was prepared for Mr Jordan to be "upset" after the club failed to win promotion to the Premiership in May 2006.

And, from past experience, he also said he knew that the club chairman "would be aggressive and outspoken".

But Dowie told the High Court: "I was not prepared for the way that Simon spoke to me on the telephone and the very abusive, ultra-aggressive, demeaning and angry nature of the call."

"Simon shouted and swore at me constantly."

"I was used to Simon being aggressive and swearing, but this was by far the worst I had ever experienced either by Simon or generally in my time in football."

Dowie is being sued by Palace for alleged 'fraudulent misrepresentations' when he left the club last summer and joined Charlton Athletic.

He told the court: "The litany of personal abuse didn't help my chances of finding work after I left Charlton."

Tale of the Tape: Dowie 7, Jordan 6
Temperature: Damp start but brighter with sunny spells by mid-afternoon 21*C

The case continues on Friday 18th May...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

DowieGateDisgrace...........Court Day Five

Round Five - Day Five - Tuesday 15th May 2007

In Court today...

Former Crystal Palace manager Iain Dowie told a court there was nothing in the agreement he had with the club that prevented him moving to Charlton.

Giving evidence at the High Court Mr Dowie said the "compromise agreement" under which he left the club meant he gave up his claim to "a potentially large sum of money" by foregoing bonuses on player transfer profits and any claim for compensation over the ending of his contract.

He also told the court his reputation had been severely damaged by Palace chairman Simon Jordan repeatedly calling him a liar in the media.

Mr Dowie is being sued by Crystal Palace who say he made "fraudulent misrepresentations" when he left the side last summer and joined rivals Charlton Athletic.

The 42-year-old had a clause in his contract which stated if he left to join another club his new bosses would pay Palace £1million in compensation.

Palace chairman Simon Jordan said he waived the clause as a gesture of good will because Mr Dowie said he wanted to move closer to his family in Bolton.

Within days of leaving Palace he was appointed as Charlton manager, but was dismissed after just 12 matches in charge. He is now at Coventry City.

But Mr Dowie insists he never said he would be "moving back up north" nor was there any limitation in his contract on him working for any other club in the future, including Charlton.

Mr Dowie said the "new regime" he introduced after taking charge at Palace had reversed the decline in player performances and team morale, culminating in the club's promotion to the Premiership for the 2004/2005 season.

Palace were relegated on the last day of the season - after drawing 2-2 with Charlton - and, in the 2005/06 season the club almost made it back into the Premiership after qualifying for the play-off semi-finals, before losing out to Watford.

Mr Dowie said the club had benefited financially since his arrival, including an extra £25million in TV revenues and about £7million in "parachute" payments from the Premiership.
He also said "he had improved player performance, making them more valuable."

Mr Dowie claims he was contacted by Charlton chairman, Richard Murray, on May 17 last year but he did NOT believe it was until May 22 - after he had signed the compromise agreement to leave Palace - that they had "contact regarding the Charlton Athletic job".

Mr Dowie told the court: "I believe that I have acted properly and honestly at all times. I entered a compromise agreement and waived very significant salary, bonuses and benefits under my contract in return for Crystal Palace waiving a compensation clause payable if I joined another club."

"There were no restrictions in that compromise agreement on where I could work and I found a new job at Charlton Athletic. I did not make any representations to Simon Jordan, false or otherwise, that I would only work in the north of England, or that that was the only reason why I was leaving Crystal Palace."

"He knew this was not the case."

Tale of the Tape: Dowie 6, Jordan 6
Temperature: Dull but getting progressively warmer 20*C

The case continues...