Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Why have a go at Liverpool's greatest manager?

Betfair may have revamped their betting news site (the design actually looks quite cool) but once again their journalists have fallen into a common trap. Following a defeat or a poor performance by and Liverpool the knives are out for poor Rafa Benitez!

I can't work out whether the two recent attempts were written from pure spite, pure jealously or pure laziness. First up was " Does Reading betting coup leave Rafa on the brink" which I can only put down to someone being keen to get to the pub the evening it was written. In the piece (piece of shit) the writer suggests with some confidence that "....much of the blame for Liverpool's defeat will be laid at the feet of Rafael Benitez for his controversial team selection." Liverpool fans are tired of this type of nonsense and I'm sure other fans can't care less. Rafa's the manager, the fans love him, he's brought success and he won't be leaving.

The second article entitled Benitez is taking a huge gamble on Champions League glory goes even further with the writer confidently believing Benitez has given up on the league and is so scared of losing his job that he will do anything (including taking off his three best players on Saturday).

To be fair (or Betfair!), it's not just this particular site but many of the London-based media outlets who, whenever short of a story, decide to go for Liverpool as a target. I genuinely believe that jealousy is a the route of it. Many of these journalists will be Arsenal or Chelsea supporters who both have bottled it in the Champions League while some will be Manchester United fans who have just one lucky Champions League final appearance in the whole of Alex Ferguson's time in charge.

Perhaps I should lighten up but I think it should be the journalists who should keep their own petty jealousies to themselves and get on with writing more balanced pieces

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Torlos in final game

Considering my first RWE match was a pulsating 4-4 draw, I suppose it was some sort of karma that the final match was a 0-0.

It was far from a disappointing match with Essen dominating a very poor (though good defensively) Dusseldorf. We had plenty of chances, hit the post and the bar a couple of times and I think I am leaving a healthy club. Although only 10th in the table, Rot Weiss are just five points behind the leaders and if I was a betting man I would be tempted to back them to get automatic promotion.

On Wednesday I will be moving to Berlin. Mixed feelings about going - will miss certain people and obviously the football. I have always enjoyed going to watch football where ever I have lived. The ticket prices in England made going less enjoyable so in the past few years in England I have only tended to go when the tickets were free and spent many enjoyable days at the likes of Man City, Crewe, Huddersfield, occasionally Newcastle and embarrassingly Everton.

German soccer was a bit of a culture shock for me and it has reminded me of going to watch Liverpool in the mid-1980's when we could stand! The crowds are alot better here - more vibrant and real. It feels slightly more dangerous. English football has been taken over by the middle classes. I expect German football will go the same way but for time being it's the best place in Europe to watch soccer. imho.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

'Dead' poker player hid in couple's home

The wife of back-from-the-dead poker player 'Wild' Bill Hickok has said he was living in their family home for over fifty years after he was declared dead.

Lily Hickok, who is expected back in the US this weekend, told reporters her husband hid in another part of the couple's house when their sons and daughters visited as he did not want them to know the truth.

"For five decades, while virtually everyone close to us believed Bill was missing presumed dead, he was actually at home with me playing online poker," she said.

Hickok is currently in police custody after he was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of fraud.

He disappeared from the couple's home in Las Vegas in 1955 and was presumed dead. That was until he walked into a New York police station last Saturday.

She told reporters her husband had talked about faking his own death to escape debts.

"We had a lot of debt, in the tens of thousands because he had become a pretty rubbish poker player. He couldn't cope with the new kids on the block like Annette Obrestad. He said there was only one way out of the situation and that was to fake his death," she said.

But Mrs Hickok insisted she did not know he had gone ahead with the scam until he turned up on her doorstep one decade after he went missing.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Fury as 'sick' poker TV show axed

In the week Beverley Allitt heard the news she may never be released from prison, TV bosses have shelved plans for a controversial poker programme after a string of complaints to the UK television watchdog Ofcom.

The independently produced 'Prison Poker' would have seen some of Britain's most notorious criminals sat round a table playing Texas Hold 'Em in an especially adapted TV cell at Marshworth Prison, London.

Among those believed to have been touted to appear in the 12-part series were serial killer nurse Beverly 'All-in' Allitt, psychopath Ian Huntley and road rage lifer Kenneth Noye.

Series producer Bet Hatton was disappointed by the decision not to commission the series.

"We have put a lot of time and effort into this project and to say I'm annoyed is an understatement," she said.

"It's another example of the nanny-state gone mad. Poker playing has long been associated with criminal activity and the show was just an extension of that.

"All the contestants are accomplished players in their own right and for some their murdering ways proved how good they were at bluffing."

The decision means Hatton will have to put another project on the back burner.

"I'd received some encouraging feedback for 'International Prison Poker' and there had been interest shown by both Timothy McVeigh and the Unabomber."

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Barton is no Dick

I've never had much time for Joey Barton but his recent outburst against Newcastle fans struck a chord with me as it is something I have felt for a long time. It's the theory that the fans play a greater part in a team's success and, of course, failure than people think.

So threre are some questions that need to be addressed. Is it a coincidence that Newcastle have failed to win a major trophy for nearly 40 years despite having useful teams and plenty of money over that period? Who are these 'Geordie faithful'? And most importantly, do they actually understand football?

Their attitude was summed up by Frank Gilmour, the chairman of the Independent Newcastle United Supporters' Association.

"If Barton says we don't have the right to criticise, then he wants to learn," said Gilmour.

"He obviously knows nothing about the north east and its passion for football."

Frank has obviously misplaced 'passion' for booing and hounding certain players mercilessly.

He soon reverts to type and in a veiled threat suggests that Barton will himself come in for a torrent of abuse the next time he plays.

"For him to then turn around and criticise the fans is totally wrong. He should have kept his mouth shut.

"He will learn what happens after you criticise Newcastle fans. It takes a long, long time for us to forgive. I would be very, very surprised if he doesn't get a reaction at Blackburn today."

So it seems Frank is allowed to criticise Newcastle players but Newcastle players are not allowed to criticise the fans.

It is this attitude that makes Barton's comments all the more laudable.....and believable.



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