Friday, October 30, 2009

North London Bragging Rights On The Line - Betting Tips with Betfred

The crunch tie to settle bragging rights in the North of London has to be one of the fiercest derbies of the football season.

With Tottenham and Arsenal currently level on points in the English Premier League, the lunchtime kick-off on Saturday (12.45pm), will show which team has the greater potential to finish in one of the top four spots come the end of the season.

Arsenal have already lost out to title rivals Manchester United and Manchester City this season while Spurs have been putting on strong performances to challenge at the top of the table, but a disappointing result last time out against Stoke City means they sit level with their bitter rivals five points behind league leaders Chelsea.

Tottenham captain Robbie Keane has come out to stoke the fires between the two clubs by claiming that his side has a greater strength in depth than their counterparts.

He said: "Arsenal have had the better of Tottenham over the last several years but Harry Redknapp's revolution at White Hart Lane means they are now on a par at least with their North London rivals."

Firing a clear warning to Arsene Wenger's men and their fans, the Irish striker claimed: "It will be judged at the end of the season but if you look at the bench we have, it is probably a bit stronger than their bench."

Spurs are entering the game on the back of a 2-0 victory over Everton in the Carling Cup, while Arsenal will be buoyed after their youngsters put on a fine display to earn a 2-1 victory over Liverpool.

An Arsenal win is priced at Premier League odds of 4/7 with Betfred, while Spurs although likely to be without the influential Lennon and Defoe, could be well worth an outside punt at odds of 4/1 to put one over their North London Rivals. As is often the case current form tends to go out the window in derby matches.
The draw is priced at 13/5.

By Charlotte Cook
(Guest writer from Betfred on behalf of Beer Footy and Birds!)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Come Dine With Me - ' The Athenaeum Restaurant' London

I am always on the lookout for a new restaurant, all in the course of research - the type that involves finding a plush venue to woo the ladies with......and in doing so trying to avoid such a place that will inevitably lead to the 'de rigueur' phone call on a Monday morning from my bank manager, regarding my incalculable overdraft created in the last 48 hours, usually due to a lavish shin-dig of a weekend.

So when I heard the five-star Athenaeum in Piccadilly had just had a revamp I sort vengeance last Friday, as a result of another rather dire week at the 'orifice' - a seemingly all to familiar feeling of late!
My mobile, little black book and my plastic were now at the ready and fully charged!

I met my date outside Green Park tube station, a few minutes walk from The Athenaeum.
On arrival we were greeted by the suited and booted door stewards and the attentive waiting staff who took our coats.

We both indulged in a pre-dinner cocktail in the stylish bar (left) - all tasteful low slung red velvet seating with plenty of cushions and touches of vintage-style decor all around.
Delightful attention to detail.
I opted for a dry vodka martini, while my date had a 'Garden Of Eden' comprising apple vodka, fig, cranberry, peach liqueur and elderflower.
Both were made with panache and tasted superb.

We made our way through to the opulent restaurant(below right), designed so most tables nestle in a booth. My date's starter of Brixham Crab Salad served with a Golden Beetroot, Heritage Tomatoes and Tarragon Dressing (£11.75) was delightfully presented and my Diver Scallops served with Jerusalem Artichoke, Sweetcorn and Grapes (£10.50) was almost a work of art. It seemed a shame to disfigure it!

For our main courses my date ordered Pan Fried South Coast Lemon Sole served on the bone with Ceps, Caper and Parsley Butter (£28.00), whilst I opted for Smokey Hay Baked Venison served with Cheltenham Beetroot and Roasted Figs with Vanilla Sauce (£24.00).

We also shared three sumptuous side orders of: Sweet Stewed Pumpkin, Roasted Field Mushrooms, grilled with rock salt and Hand Cut Chips.

We washed it down with a lovely 2007 Chablis vino (£37.50).

Following coffee we then returned to The Bar for an aperitif. The bar's extensive list including a choice of 270 different whiskies proved a real talking point - one of them was £150 for a double! (In my head I could hear the cutting voice of my bank manager). We instead opted for a couple of Vanilla Mojito's.

As Oscar Wilde once said, "Work is the curse of the drinking classes."

'The Athenaeum Restaurant' is located on: 224 Piccadilly, London, W1J 7BJ
Nearest tube: Green Park.
Breakfast Menu: 7.00-11.00 Mon to Sun.
Restaurant Menu: 12.30-14.30 & 17.30-22.30 Mon to Sun.
Tel no: 020 7499 3464
Web address:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Congratulations to Jenson Button - F1 Champion 2009

Hats off to Jenson Button as he joins an elite group of British Formula One Champions, following Sunday's Grand Prix at the Interlagos circuit in Brazil.

His fifth placed finish was good enough to secure the title from his nearest rival Rubens Barrichello, and at the same time secured the constructors title for his Brawn GP Team, in the penultimate race of the season.

Jenson won six Formula 1 races during the 2009 season in: Australia, Malaysia, Bahrain, Spain, Monaco, and Turkey.

The Ten British Formula 1 Champions:

Jenson Button 2009
Lewis Hamilton 2008
Damon Hill 1996
Nigel Mansell 1992
James Hunt 1976
John Surtees 1964
Jim Clark 1963, 1965
Graham Hill 1962, 1968
Jackie Stewart 1961, 1971, 1973
Mike Hawthorne 1958

Saturday, October 10, 2009

After-Dinner Sports Tales - Gareth Southgate

This month is my fifth installment of light hearted after-dinner sporting tales, as told by current or ex-professional sportsman.
My after-dinner sports tale for this month is one told by Gareth Southgate, a well respected football player and now club manager, who has been a model professional since making his debut in 1988.

Born in Watford, Hertfordshire in 1970, Southgate began his career at Crystal Palace, playing in central midfield. He became captain and led the club to the 1994 Division One title.

He moved to Aston Villa in 1995 for a fee of £2.5 million, having made 152 appearances and scoring 15 goals over four seasons for the South London club.
In 2001 he joined Middlesborough as a player, before becoming the Teeside clubs manager in 2006.

"I went to watch a match with my wife and the family of a friend (who was playing).

People started turning around to ask me for autographs, which is always flattering but can start to interfere with your enjoyment of an event.

By now the game had kicked off and yet still I was being passed scraps of paper and programmes to sign.
I obliged, but must confess I was getting irritable as I tried to watch the game.
A flag was passed along then a ticket.

'Pen?' I asked down the line, somewhat abruptly, and a pen was duly passed down the line.
'What's his name?' I asked my friend's wife, and the query was passed down the line.
'To John, all the best, Gareth Southgate,' I wrote and passed the ticket back along the line.

Out of the corner of my eye I see the guy look at the ticket and start to edge along the row.
I'm just about to say to him: 'Look mate, no disrepect, but I'm trying to watch the game,' when he says apologetically: 'Excuse me, I'm very sorry but you're in my seat."

During the 2003–04 season Gareth became an author, penning Woody & Nord: A Football Friendship with close friend and former West Ham goalkeeping coach Andy Woodman. This book describes an enduring friendship forged in the Crystal Palace youth team that has survived Southgate and Woodman's wildly differing fortunes in the professional game. The book won the Sporting Book of the Year Award for 2004 from the National Sporting Club.

Friday, October 02, 2009

'Hull & Portsmouth Set For Another Fruitless Weekend' - Betting Tips with Betfair

So far this season Hull and Portsmouth have been shambling along like a pair of old drunks trying to find their way home after a night out. Hull got lucky and managed to find a late bus but after a promising start to the journey, they promptly fell asleep and missed their stop. Portsmouth meanwhile have fallen into a ditch and are still trying to get up.

This weekend has actually thrown up two winnable fixtures for the duo, with Hull at home to Wigan, while Portsmouth travel to Wolves. Both sides will be hopeful of picking up points but the smart money is on another miserable day for the pair at the bottom of the Premier League table

Roberto Martinez has taken a while to settle in at Wigan but last weekend's shock win over Chelsea will rejuvenate the side and that confidence should be enough to see off Hull, who were knocked for six at Anfield last week.
The match is also likely to be a high scoring affair, with the two teams conceding a combined total of 32 goals already this season.

Wigan to win can be backed at 2.6, while the +2.5 goals market looks a steal at 2.1.

Down on the south coast, Portsmouth's problem has not been conceding goals but scoring them. Only Aston Villa and Arsenal have scored more than a solitary goal against Pompey this season and yet Paul Hart's men are still pointless, courtesy of just 3 goals in the 'for' column.

Their opponents have been no great shakes either but with a couple of wins already this season and the added bonus of home support, Wolves should have enough about them to pile on the misery.

A home win is priced at 2.14 but the pick of the Premier League bets may just be the 2.64 on offer for a Wolves clean sheet.

By Josh Allen.
(Guest writer from Betfair on behalf of Beer Footy and Birds!)