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 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