Monday, 28 June 2010

BETTING TIPS

Kindly note, all betting tips for the World Cup 2010 have been deferred to the Octopus.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/10420131.stm

Sunday, 27 June 2010

WHAT’S WORSE THAN ENGLAND’S ABJECT PERFORMANCE

Just clicked on BBC news and found it.
Pope Ratzi the Nazi having the temerity to describe the Belgian police raid on Catholic Church offices in Belgian as ‘deplorable.’ What really is deplorable is the Catholics church’s organised and systematic abuse of little children whose parents naively thought priests could be trusted. How dare he call the Belgian investigations as deplorable.

BLITZED : AN IMMEDIATE REACTION

With respect to USA, Algeria and Slovenia, England play their first quality opponents and get slaughtered. Though to be fair to the former trio, England on a good day are pretty much on their level.

SO WHO’S TO BLAME?
The Manager : Intransigent. As for the mistakes, I can’t be wasting an hour on his shortcomings at this tournament. As for taking questions from an interpreter after today’s game, what a final insult. Ciao.
The Premier League : It’s not the best league in the world, it’s the best paid league in the world. Stop kidding that its players are the best in the world and putting them on a pedestal. Moreover let’s not kid ourselves the English players in the Premier League are the best in the world. But don’t forget they have their families and their roots in this country with a full support system behind them whilst the foreign players are a long way from home.
The FA : They can sack the manager but this is where the cancer of mediocrity emanates from.
The Media : Pandering and massaging the ego’s of the players. Frankly it’s about time these prissy prima donnas are no longer treated as celebrities they are sportsmen and as has been exposed, some way off world class.
Television : Stop the hysterical ‘England Expects’ coverage, it puts additional pressure.
Agents : From a young age players are surrounded by agents who tell them how wonderful they are, they actually need people around them to tell them that they are overpaid and overrated. Frankly they are bloody lucky young men who should get on their hands and knees in gratitude to be paid to play football.
Beckham : Did you notice how after the Slovenia game, his fawning media friends started spinning how Becks had got Milner playing well. Beckham cost England 3 world cups whilst playing and ‘brand Beckham’s’ presence for England is always good for Brand Beckham it’s a liability and distraction for England.

WHAT IS TO BE DONE?
The Manager : Bring Back Hoddle? Bring Back anyone? Someone who will put the players in their place, knows tactics, blimey Eileen Drewery couldn’t have run England 2010 any worse.
Players : Don’t go for the prima donnas, go for people with a bit of fire in their belly desperate to wear the 3 lions. Prepared to play within a team pattern. If they are from mid table premier league teams or even second tier outfits, why not.
The FA : Get professionals in, get out the freeloaders, get out the apparatichiks and political appointees. Moreover if the FA are serious about success, they will sort out the grass roots. How with all their resources can England produce single footed players who can’t play in multiple positions and worst of all cannot control the ball properly.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

A COMMENTARY ON COMMENTARY

Yesterday’s BBC commentary on England v Slovenia has to be among the more ludicrous to have ever been broadcast. At best it was juvenile but infantile is probably a more appropriate description. I’m not going to waste time going over the multitude of stupidity but the commentator’s remark about the first 2 games being forgiven was so moronic given that the 2nd place finish in the easiest group ensures a path to the final that will now have to include Germany and Argentina. And as for Mark Lawrenson, ‘Lawro’ from Preston has the temerity to play the ‘England Cheerleader’ card when he chose himself to represent none other than....Ireland. Even though I find it morally wrong I can understand why limited players will use some obscure great grandad’s birth certificate to get a sniff of international football, but Lawrenson if he had wanted was easily a good enough player to regularly have the 3 lions on his shirt. So why didn’t the Cheerleader want them?

ANYONE FOR TENNIS

Last night I did the unthinkable, I passed up watching a big World Cup match (but I did watch the Germany v Ghana highlights later) to watch a game of tennis. And tell you what, I’m glad I did. The truly great football teams have the qualities of resilience, determination and a sheer bloody mindedness never to give in, to never surrender. None perhaps more so than Mr Struth’s legendary inter war Rangers. Last night I was privileged to watch Nicolas Mahut and John Isner break all tennis records in a final set tie break that finished in the mid summer dusk still deadlocked at 59 games all. Moreover in this age of cynical of professional sport awash with money it’s easy to think that one of the men would think of throwing it in as there will be another payday round the corner and why risk collecting an injury. Not a bit of it, not only was the physical stamina of both men awesome but their mental strength when clearly their body must have been telling them to do something else was truly staggering. In the tiny court 18 and watched by others from adjoining balaconies this was a truly rare and glorious throwback to the Corinthian ethos of playing sport for the honour of victory and the special pride in never accepting defeat. I suspect there’s a few footballers who would do well to take note.

Monday, 21 June 2010

BELATED UPDATE

JOB WELL DONE ANJUN
Big Thanks to Arjun of Printerama, Holloway Road, London for getting the new Rangers In London website up and running. Not only was I thoroughly impressed with his quality of work and value for money but most of all with his amazing levels of patience! Thank You Arjun. The Rangers in London ebook is available for purchase on the website.

WORLD CUP
The lack of updates has for the large part been due to the World Cup! So I suppose I ought to share a few thoughts. I’ve really enjoyed it, probably because I look for the positive not the negative. There’s been some very good games, a fair few surprises, good team football from the South Americans and some comedy relief courtesy of France and England.

BALLS
My only complaint is the ball, (and this isn’t an excuse for a tirade of ‘double entendres’ but it might sound like it) the problem is that as the balls get lighter they are much harder to manipulate and control when shooting (honestly I’m not trying to be funny) from range and this is why there’s not been as many thrilling goals from distance and unfortunately the best tactic seems to be to get the ball on target as it’s equally hard for goalkeepers to hold and so smart teams will shoot on target and chase in the rebound.

LOST MY BRIEFS
As for the vuvuzela’s, not my cup of tea but then again it’s South Africa’s world cup not ours. And overall I’ve been very impressed with the hosting and organisation. For the most part the refereeing has been first class, it would be nice if the tv coverage highlighted the good decisions. And speaking of the TV coverage, in the Rangers In London ebook I recall the legendary North London touts Fat Stan Flashman, One Arm Lou and Johnny the Stick but frankly Robbie the ‘Earle’ (I rather liked the Tout Of Africa headline) could have given this trio a run for their money or stock of briefs. I did rather like those beautiful ladies in orange, if that’s ambush marketing I’m all for it!

LOST MY SHIRT
Oh and as for my tip, ermm the first team knocked out of tournament I did warn you! Alas it was a rerun of Paul Le Guen at Rangers not at Lyons. As I’m drafting this blog I’m listening to Portugal 6 North Korea 0 so could this be Pedro Mendes year! But (sorry it’s now Portugal 7 North Korea 0,) Pedro was in my opinion a very good Ranger so that kind of doesn’t match the Rino Gattuso theorem. The South Americans look good and Chile could be a good bet if you’re looking for value but I still think one of the slow starting big European nations will get it together in the knockout phase. (Spain, Italy or England).

Most importantly I hope you’re enjoying the World Cup as much as myself and I promise more regular updates soon. As of tomorrow the games are only on at 3pm and 7pm, so no excuses.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

POPTASTIC - NOT 'ALF MATE

When I originally wrote the book I wanted to set the matches in the wider social context of the time. Music was of course then as it will always be, a major part of many people’s lives. And how often when you look back, it’s often something of a soundtrack to where you were at a given time and place. However the football took up all the space, so here is a list of my 3 favourite songs from each year of a visit from Rangers to London.

1960 : Raindrops Keep Fallin On My Head by BJ Thomas, Gloria by Shadows Of The Night and Remember Walkin In The Sand by the Shangri-Las
1962 : Telstar by the Tornados, Moon River by Danny Williams and Locomotion by Little Eva.
1963 : Louie Louie by the Kingsmen, It’s My Party by Lesley Gore and Return to Sender (Ticket application song!) by Elvis.
1964 : House of the Rising Sun by the Animals, Glad All Over by the Dave Clark 5 and 5-4-3-2-1 by Manfred Mann.
1967 : Puppet On A String by Sandie Shaw, A Whiter Shade Of Pale by Procul Harem and Like A Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan.
1968 : Those Were The Days (could have been written for the book!) by Mary Hopkin, The Good, The Bad And The Ugly by Hugo Montenegro and What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong.
1969 : Where Do You Go To My Lovely (Peter Sarstedt), The Liquidator by Harry J and the All Stars, Je T’aime by Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg.
1970 : In The Summertime by Mungo Jerry, Wandrin Star by Lee Marvin and All Right Now by Free.
1971 : My Sweet Lord by George Harrison, Take Me Home Country Roads by John Denver and American Pie by Don McLean.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

RANGERS IN LONDON SINCE 1878!

The earliest reference to Rangers In London if you read the current website is the 1892 joust with Arsenal. However this was not Rangers first trip to the capital.

CLAPHAM ALL THE WAY TO WEMBLEY
25 October 1878 : Clapham Rovers 1 Rangers 5
(Source : The Gers a day to day life by Graham Betts.)

However Clapham, brushed themselves down and went on to reach the 1878-79 Cup Final!

Given that in 2010 Portsmouth reached the FA Cup Final having played Rangers in a friendly before the start of the season, history shows that you know who to invite if you want to be at Wembley in May!

THE LIONS OF THE SOUTH
Aside from Arsenal the only other team Rangers faced in London before Sparta in 1960 were the ‘Lions of the South’ or as you will probably know them Millwall, twice in Friendlies.

THE SCOTTISH CONNECTION
This link with Millwall might be down to the Scottish roots of the lions. Millwall were formed in 1885 by Scottish employees of the Morton Jam Factory on the Isle of Dogs.

I attended a Millwall exhibition in 2002 by said Lion’s title.

On display were some original artefacts and flags from the club including saltires and red lion rampants. Millwall’s colours of course are the saltire’s blue and white.

However, much as I would love to say that Millwall was created exclusively by Rangers fans, if the wikipedia version of Wall’s history is correct it might not quite be so.

“J.T. Morton had his first factory in
Aberdeen, Scotland in 1849 to supply sailing ships with food. They opened their first English cannery and food processing plant on the Isle of Dogs at the Millwall dock in 1870, and attracted a workforce from across the whole of the country, including the East Coast of Scotland who were predominantly Dundee Dockers.”

Yet they can’t have been Dundee fans as Dundee FC was formed 8 years later in 1893 and Dundee United not until 1909! So maybe there was a bluenose involved in the creation of Millwall??? The plot thickens.

Anyway, if you don’t want to know the scores look away now, otherwise:

GONE TO THE (ISLE OF) DOGS
17 APRIL 1897: MILLWALL ATHLETIC 1 RANGERS 0

MILLWALL BEAT THE INVINCIBLES!
1 APRIL 1899: MILLWALL 5 RANGERS 1 (ATTENDANCE 7,000)

(The source again, The Gers a Day to Day Life by Graham Betts.)

This was a pretty amazing result giving the Rangers won every single league game in the 1898-99 season! The only match not won in the 1898-99 season was the Scottish Cup Final.

1899 FIXTURE CONGESTION!
Rangers did however play the day before against Liverpool on Merseyside and then travelled on to London which goes someway to explaining the performance.

GIVE THEM A BREAK...
Incidentally, 2 days later Rangers played on south coast at Southampton in another friendly (and won 1-0). So next time you hear a player complaining 5 games into the season that he needs a break…

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

JOHN BANKS WENT TO MECCA! A LINK TO A REMARKABLE LIFE

John Banks sold his chain of 34 betting shops to Mecca bookmakers for just under £1 million back in 1972 but that was by no means the end of a colourful life story which alas was ended cruelly by cancer in 2003.

Following his death, a number of obituaries celebrated the life of this amazing character. The most detailed in my opinion was this one, and I’m pleased my first link goes to such a well researched piece by Bob Shields on such a remarkable life story! (If you google ‘John Banks Glasgow Bookmaker’ you’ll get the others)


http://www.thefreelibrary.com/LORD+OF+THE+RING%3B+Never+scared+to+take+a+gamble,+legendary+bookie...-a0106573406

May this fearless bookmaker not only Rest In Peace, but 6/4 says that the next person in heaven has brown eyes!