Friday, December 19, 2008

A year in Berlin

Besides the shrinking pound and the shrinking bone in my jaw I've had a pretty good year -my first in Berlin - and feel quite a lucky person.

On a personal level I have strengthened my relationship with the amazing K while workwise it has never been better for me given I am enjoying what I'm doing, am pretty much my own boss and have been in contact with some decent people throughout the year.

It still seems slightly bizarre to be living in the capital of Germany though I don't get out that much. I suppose I just feel happy that there is stuff on I could be doing. So at times I'm happy to be choosing not to do things - a choice I would not have if I lived in Basingstoke or somewhere (never actually been to Basingstoke -but it sounds pretty grim).

I don't actually know anybody in Berlin. That seems kind of strange as I have always had a good set of friends whereever I have lived. Although some people comment on this, it does not really bother me. I have spent the last twenty odd years (since turning 18) socialising, probably drinking too much and generally living it up and I think I'm glad now I can slow down a little.

I still drink a fair bit but I don't have so many drinking binges and have wasted days with a hangover. I feel healthier and it has certainly helped my work situation.

On the work front I am lucky to work for a great guy - the best boss since John Whitley - who lets me get on with stuff and is appreciative and knowledgeable about what I do and what I have achieved. My one worry is that the global credit crisis might put a squeeze on the company I work for and my role maybe surplus to requirements. Ah well, I can always fall back on the ringtone money:) That's not so much of a joke as I am well placed in the search engine ranking for terms like free ringtones -just a shame people don't buy as many these days!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Annette's free poker training video

Annette Obrestad (or Annette_15) as she is known in the online poker world produced a video for the poker training site PokerVT a few months ago and it has recently surfaced on the internet. Marvellous.

I've watched it a few times myself and learned some interesting stuff. It's well worth an hour of any poker player's time. If you have ever seen Annettte interviewed then prepare to be shocked as she comes across on this training video and relaxed, calm and assured and plenty of top notch advice.

Here's the link - Annette training video

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Farlowe live on Berlin

For years I have felt slightly old at any music concert I have attended but last week I had the pleaseant surprise of appearing to be one of the youngest at the gig.

I went to see Chris Farlowe who I had been introduced to (musically not personally) by a friend in Leeds who had gone through an Atomic Rooster phase.

I decided to go once I heard the band had a Hammond organ player and watched a few clips of Farlowe on Youtube. Was half expecting it to be half empty but was pleased to see it was close to a sell-out as I wondered into the cellar bar a few minutes before the scheduled start.

I made/pushed my way past some people after getting a drink and stood waiting near the front of the stage. I then experienced something, I'd not had happen to me for years. I had a 'leaner'!

A 'leaner' is a man (women don't lean) who, at a social function where space is at a premium, (though not always) will lean their back into you with the aim of forcing you to move or provoke a fight.

Considering I have not had the slightest trouble in Germany I was quite shocked at he leaner and at first thought it might have been someone who was pissed. However it continued as we waited for the band to appear. he managed to push me into people walking past with drink so I turned around and asked what his problem was.

"Oh, English," he said and his friend mumbled something. The 'leaning' stopped and was shocked to see the guitar player was Paul Thompson (Tommo) who seed to work at Teamtalk. OK, it wasn't Tommo but I spent the first few songs imagining it was and how good he was on guitar.

At half-time it was a refreshing site to see nearly as many people outside smoking as was left inside. Got chatting to a German and an annoying black bloke who dominated the conversation. I hate conversation dominators especially when the other two people are too polite to tell the idiot to shut up. I think these type of people know that.

Anyway, Farlowe was good value though his band were better -the Hamburg Blues Band...though not enough Hammond organ. Decided to smoke during the second half of the complained and no-one leaned into me.

Came home drunk and for the first time in my life played poker drunk. Obviously I lost. Good night though.

Here's a clip of Chris Farlowe from Berlin - not much hammond organ though...well nice break in the middle.

Monday, November 10, 2008

And then there were two

The poker world has been waiting for 117 days for the final table of the World Series of Poker Main Event to get underway and for the players, I am sure every one of them has had thoughts of taking home the gold bracelet and the huge pot of $9.1m.

So for those that have fallen by the wayside as the ‘November Nine’ has been whittled down to the final two, to speak of their disappointment would be a massive understatement.

Most observers would have expected Kelly Kim to bust out first, given the fact he started play as the short stack by some margin, but it was Craig Marquis who was the first to go, despite flopping a set.

“When you flop a set, you expect to win the hand,” said Marquis afterwards. “That was certainly unfortunate for me, but that’s why we play this game.”
Unfortunately for Marquis, Scott Montgomery hit a runner-runner straight to knock him out with nothing to show for the delay, while Kim managed to hang around long enough to boost his pay-off by a further $388,000 or so.
He had to make his move sooner rather than later but he was next to go when his pocket 4s ran into a pair of 9s, although he received a standing ovation for his perseverance.
David ‘Chino’ Rheem was arguably the most disappointed after dominating Darus Suharto pre-flop. Chino moved all-in with A-K and would have been pleased to see the Canadian turn over A-Q.

However, that joy would prove to be short-lived as a Q landed on the flop and there was no help for Rheem on the turn or river, sending him home in seventh place, with the consolation of $1.7m.

“How do you think I feel right now? Seriously, not to be rude, I put my heart into it,” Rheem said when asked to describe his mood. “My heart is broken right now. I feel like shit. You can quote me on that. I feel like shit.”
The pair of Canadians were the next to be sent to the rail with Montgomery (AQ) knocking out compatriot Suharto (A8) who was sad to depart the arena, saying: “I can’t lie. I feel pretty disappointed.”

Montgomery though was next to go and to a one-outer as well. He hit an ace on the flop to put him ahead of Peter Eastgate’s pocket 6s and after the tournament director announced Dennis Phillips had mucked a six, he must have been devastated to see a 6 come on the river – although he hid his emotions pretty well to be fair.

“I was behind when I got it all-in, so I don’t consider that a bad beat,” Montgomery said. “I certainly wanted to finish better that fifth.”
Ylon Schwartz did not hang around for long after Eastgate’s pocket 5’s beat his A10 – maybe he wanted to get a jump on his tequila binge with his $3.7m winnings – and Dennis Phillips, who had started play as the big stack, was the last man to go, collecting $4.5m, leaving the two Europeans to fight it out for the bracelet – Ivan Demidov and Peter Eastgate.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Cool about Iceland

Imagine you put $20,000 in a bank then the bank refused to give it back. Well that's what's happened to a friend of mine.

In August they put the money into an Icelandic Bank called Kaupthing. If only they had read this article written in March 2008 about the relative dangers of investing in certain banks though that is not want I'm on about.

I was inspired by the reaction of this person who rather than getting angry and panicky about the situation just rationalised it in their head. They felt the money had been accumulated over the years didn't make them a better or wiser person but rather their circumstances/family upbringing/whatever had made them into a 'savings' person. They had saved their birthday money from an early age/spent wisely/whatever.

The amazing thing is the reaction and the great thing is that they realisied that money does not bring happiness.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Scotland's open goal miss v Norway

Feel bad putting this up but it is wonderful in its ineptitude and kind of sums up the fortunes of Scottish football in recent years. Chris Iwelumo.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Baldy bloke makes WSOPE History...

24-year-old Denmark's Jesper Hougaard made poker history by taking down the first event (£1500 buy-in No Limit Texas Hold 'Em) at this year's Betfair World Series of Poker Europe event The bracelet is his second this year and makes him the first person bald player to win one at both the WSOP in Vegas and WSOPE.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Innkeepers Lodge Chester Breakfast Scam

I don't stay in hotels very often but when I do I look forward to a decent cooked English breakfast. However, if you are planning on a stay at the Innkeepers Lodge Chester then don't expect a decent breakfast because the hotel is running an excellent scam.

They advertise a free breakfast but all they provide is a couple of cereals, white bread a few coissants (cold), fruit juice and coffeee.

They do officially call it a continental breakfast but living on the continent I know full well that little bits of cheese in plastic packets with sliced white bread does not constitute a proper continental breakfast.

Shame on you Innkeepers Lodge and the one rude member of staff who said "take it or leave it" when I questioned the ridiculousness of their offering.

Check out the pictures. One is a picture of a proper English breakfast (which obviously you won't be getting) and the other a proper continental breakfast very much unlike the rubbish served at this chain Chester hotel/lodge.

End of rant and just a warning so you won't be disappointed like I was.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Nicholls 'incredibly fat' - Denman

Trainer Paul Nicholls is still "incredibly fat" after his summer break according to Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Denman.

The Champion trainer winner returned to work between 7st or 8st above his ideal fighting weight.

And Denman says the trainer they call 'The Tank' is having a tough time shedding the excess pounds.

He told The Racing Post: "Nicholls has always been a hard man to get fit, but this year it's worse than ever.

"The problem started when he had a month off after the Gold Cup, and then he got very fat over the summer. Despite being back in work six weeks, he's still incredibly fat.

"We've got plenty of time before his reappearance on the Morning Line but, to be honest, he wouldn't be ready to be seen in public before then."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More rants and raves ..including Chester

The Hairy Gymnast has listed the things he finds funny about life in a quite refreshing way in this bitter life.

So I thought I'd bring in my top ten to compliment/complement (?!) his excellent list. Be warned, it might turn into a rant rather than comedy.... and remember I live in a world of my own/Germany

1) People who stand up as soon as they hear boarding has commenced on an Easyjet flight - indeed any flight. Why the panic, people? It's the same idiots who stand up as soon as the flight has landed to claim there their overhead luggage.

2) In the old days, old men would wear cloth caps or something else. Now alot of them wear baseball caps.

3) Poker players have bankrolls. In my day gamblers just spent their wages - they did not have bankrolls. You never heard 'Oh I can't bet in this race, I've just lost two buy-ins'

4) Old men in jeans! How old should you be before you stop wearing blue denim? Aged-45 I say. Otherwise it just looks silly.

5)Insincere aunts - they only send you a card because they have been told to by your mum.

6) Parents who don't let their kids out to the local shop (7+). Knobheads...get a grip of society.

7) Non-smokers. Enough said.

8) Innkeepers Lodge Chester and their breakfast scam.

9) Stag do's - always a disappointment, always a chore.

Monday, August 04, 2008

First poker forum league game

Played in my first Raise The River Premier League game last night and although was a bit intimidated firstly by the new site (had to play on Stars) and because I do not know the lads and ladies from the site that well.

If anyone is looking for a friendly poker community (more...) then hop right over there. They all seem genuine people and I'm sure they will make you feel welcome.

In the league match itself I only managed to finish 10th out of 14. I started OK but I dribbled away chips and although not in a totally hopeless position I made an error when thinking someone was bluffing and my pair of kings was not strong enough for a set of Jacks (King paired on the flop). I don't think I would have played it in a normal tournament.

My poker has been going well and have recently won two nine-man $10 sng's on Betfair -twice knocking out some player called Vespat5 (more...) who played in the World Series of Poker Europe 2008 (more...). I thought I played good strong poker in both events and am just pleased my game is heading in the right direction.

I was actually more pleased to finish third in a similar tournament when I was down to just 70 chips! (out of 1,5000). I got very lucky when going all in with my 70 chips with 76o. Remarkably I only got one caller who also had 76o!! KK helped me to a half decent total and at one point I was leading the tournament. I quite enjoy playing short-stacked and trying to work out which players I can attack. However, I won't let it go to my head I just think I got lucky. Pud (more...) wrote a piece about a similar situation in a Chip and a Chair (more...) but that was in a slightly better event.

WSOPE venue details and November Nine attendance

The 2008 World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE (more...) have just announced that it will be hosting its event under one roof in the Casino at the Empire in Leicester Square London. The event which starts on the 19th September will feature four bracelet events, and begins with a new three-day long £1,500 No-Limit event.

September 19th , 2008 - Event #1 - £1,500 – No-Limit Hold’em Day 1A (3-day event)

September 22nd , 2008 - Event #2 - £2,500 – H.O.R.S.E. (3-day event)

September 24th , 2008 - Event #3 - £5,000 – Pot Limit Omaha (2-day event)

September 27th , 2008 - Event #4 - £10,000 – World Championship No-Limit Hold’em (6-day event)

Betfair Poker (more...) seems to be the only place to qualify online (more...). There are plenty of ways to qualify for this poker event in September. As well as having daily free rolls (more...) on the site there are also numerous satellites (more...) to suit both small and large stake players.

Professional poker players have already started to buy in directly including the final table participants from the WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas held earlier this month. The November Nine (more...) participants, whose fate will be decided a month after WSOP Europe, are scheduled to participate, including Ivan Demidov (more...), Peter Eastgate (more...) and David Rheem (more...). The November Nine participants will be seeking the ultimate double of two Main Event Bracelets in one year.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I went to 'barrack' Obama in Berlin

Last Thursday I took a trip out the Tiergarten with K to watch US Presidential candidate Barack Obama deliver a speech to the German public in front of the Siegessäule (he wasn't important enough to speak in fron t of the Brandenburg Gates).

I do like good public speaking and was not let down by Obama who gave an excellent performance technically though he did not really say anything very earth shattering.

We couldn't get any nearer than about 300m away, so never actually saw him. However, there was a huge screen less than 15 metres away and the sound and pictue was excellent. The first thing I realised was that here was a person speaking a foreign language - using complicated language and ideas and expecting to be understood. Hardly any German (due to false pride) would admit they could not understand him and that is possiblly why his speech did not go down as well as he might have liked. There were a few ripples of applause when he mentioned key phrases but it was not spontaneous.

It seemed to me he had come to get Germany to send more troops to Afghanistan and attempted to use the Berlin airlifts to engender some guilt. The crowd was mostly apathetic and drifted off at the end a little confused. Nobody was really talking about it and it appeared many people were there just for the curiosity factor.

Anyway, there was plenty of booze and cheap food for sale as there always is for any public gathering in Germany. I didn't barrack him during the speech but shouted my annoyance (much to the confusion of peope) that he turned up late.

Monday, June 16, 2008

When not to play Q3 offsuit

I've never had the confidence to write about my poker playing before. Any success I have had I have put down to luck and my opponents being fairly poor but I think I'm ready to start saying something

My level is either $5 or $10 mtts on Betfair Poker. I have occasionally moved up to $20 mtt and faired ok but I have yet to win a tournament at that level. So far I have played just one $40 tourney but was a little out of my depth.

The main problem with thse Mtt's is the length of time they take. On average 3-4hrs if you reach the final table. I really enjoy playing. Love bluffing and bullying and strangely get a kick out of playing short-stacked. It's just a bit of fun. But, as I said, it takes so long to play.

Therefore it will take me a long time to improve because I just don't have the time to play. I'm fairly busy with work and I like to spend time with K in the evenings. So, I'm limited to playing maybe one or two per week - more if I get knocked out early.

So, onto my first bit of analysis (if it can be called that).

Q3 offsuit is obviously not the best starting hand but in certain situations I will play it. At this stage of the tournament I needed chips to make a serious challenge on the lead and felt that if I could see the flop for $400 it may have been a risk worth taking with plenty of money already in the pot.

In the end I decided against it but flinched in horror when the flop gave me a full house.

***** Betfair Poker Hand History for Game 371086415 *****
NL Texas Hold'em $5 Buy-in + $0.50 Entry Fee, Level:6 Blinds(100/200-(no ante)) - Sunday, June 15, 22:59:38 GMT 2008
$400 GTD Regular $5+$0.50 NLH #150459
Table 2 9-max (Real Money)
Seat 7 is the button
Total number of active players : 9
Seat 1: eddiepack ( 8,185.25 )
Seat 2: the catcher ( 27,793 )
Seat 3: Vicedice ( 6,508 )
Seat 4: davidoff280 ( 3,675 )
Seat 5: teacup77 ( 1,960 )
Seat 6: cod4 4eva ( 7,532.50 )
Seat 7: freevalue ( 4,015 )
Seat 8: Kirk2 ( 1,585 )
Seat 9: Quarty ( 5,342 )
Tourney Level:6 Blinds(100/200-(no ante))
Kirk2 posts small blind [100]
Quarty posts big blind [200]
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to freevalue [ Qh, 3d ]
eddiepack folds
the catcher raises to [400]
Vicedice calls [400]
davidoff280 calls [400]
teacup77 folds
cod4 4eva calls [400]
freevalue folds
Kirk2 folds
Quarty calls [200]
** Dealing Flop ** [ Qd, Qs, 3h ]
Quarty checks
the catcher bets [800]
Vicedice calls [800]
davidoff280 calls [800]
cod4 4eva folds
Quarty folds
** Dealing Turn ** [ Kd ]
the catcher checks
Vicedice checks
davidoff280 goes all-in
davidoff280 bets [2,475]
the catcher calls [2,475]
Vicedice goes all-in
Vicedice raises to [5,308]
the catcher calls [2,833]
** Showdown **
the catcher shows [ As, Ac ]
Vicedice shows [ Qc, Kh ]
davidoff280 shows [ 8h, 8c ]
** Dealing River ** [ 6h ]
** Hand Conclusion **
Vicedice wins 5,666 from side pot #1 with full house, Queens full of Kings
Vicedice wins 11,925 from main pot with full house, Queens full of Kings
************ Game 371086415 ends ************

I'm lucky at times.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Down in the football dumps

So, I have managed to witness Rot Weiss Essen being relegated twice in two seasons, since I started supporting them in October 2006, I feel slightly guilty. It's obviously not my fault but I can't help thinking that my intrusion into the world of lower league German football was in some way to blame.

It had all started so promisingly with a 4-4 draw which I mentioned in a comment on the excellent Bundesbag although that game should have hinted about what supporting Rot Weiss Essen is about - the equaliser for the opponents came in the very last minute.

This season, having looked dead and buried, RWE came with a storming late run to put the issue in their own hands on the final day. Victory at Magdeburg meant they just had to win the final game against lowly Lübeck. Despite dominating the game and having many chances, Lübeck survived (and played well despite having nothing to play for) and won the game late on as Essen pressed forward.

The fans did not know what to do at the end of the game. Some wanted to attack the Lübeck fans, others wanted to attack the players while they should really have been attacking themselves because I partly hold their complacency partly responsible.

With debts of around 11 million Euros there is a possibility that the 1955 German Champions will not survive in their presnet form. Certainly the new stadium project will be put on hold and with the prospect of having to pay up to nine reserve sides in the Division 4 (North) next season there are not going to be many days at the Hafenstraße next season full of atmosphere.

I have avoided looking for another team to watch since moving to Berlin in December. I went to watch Union twice but was put off by them serving non-alcoholic beer and a general lack of atmosphere depite them having everything to play for. Other options for next season include Babelsberg, Tennis Borussia and possibly Hertha Berlin.

I'm not really looking forward to Euro 2008 with England not being in it. I may have a bet on the championships and become another nationality for a few weeks.

Friday, May 23, 2008

No booze and you lose

A fine win on Saturday gives Rot Weiss Essen a great chance to qualify for Bundesliga 3 next season but a win for Magdeburg at Union Berlin (which I attended) makes it more difficult.

Magdeburg currently lie in the coveted 10th place on 50 points. RWE are in 11th on 48 points, level on points with with Dortmunnd Reserves.

It's all in the mathematics (as Sir Mark Prescott would say) and it leaves Essen basically needing six points from their last two games. The crunch game is against Magdeburg next Saturday 24 May and I hope to be attending my first match since nearly missing my brother's wedding to watch the cup defeat against Hamburg in January.

It was my second time at Union but the experience was disappointing due to them selling non-alcoholic lager. WTF (I've learned that recently). Yet another human rights abuse. It was all a bit shady because they advertised it as 'Leicht' and the signs were not clear. The colour just didn't look right.

I can imagine them selling non-alcoholic beer at a Who concert but not a football match. Therefore, the crowd were a bit subdued. It's all wrong. The good thing to come out of the day was that Magdeburg were pretty poor.

So anything less than a victory, like the one we secured against Magdeburg in November, will make it a very long 1hr 40 mins journey back to Berlin on Saturday evening especially with the non-alco piss water swilling through my body and the likelihood the toilets on the regional German trains will be out of order. Wasserlassen ist verboten!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Rot Weiss top of the league

Yes, Rot Weiss are top of Regionalliga 3 (Nord) however it is not Rot Weiss Essen but rather Rot Weiss Ahlen. Second place is filled by Rot Weiss Oberhausen and it would have been a near clean sweep if Rot Weiss Erfurt had not conceded a late equaliser against Dynamo Dresden last Saturday.

Rot Weiss Essen scored an important away victory the same day to give them a slight chance of reaching 10th place and the soon to be formed Bundesliga 3. They now trail the team in 10th place by six points with five games remaining.

Results needed this week are for RWE to beat the struggling Hamburger SV II at home on Wednesday, Braunschweig to lose at home to the struggling Lübeck, Wuppertaler also to lose at home to the struggling Cottbus and Madgeburg to be beaten away at struggling Babelsburg.

If these unlikely events take place, I may go and watch Union Berlin play Dynamo Dresden on Thursday evening.

**UPDATE** Struggling Lübeck managed a 3-3 draw with Braunschweig on Tuesday evening.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Pay for poker with Paypal, pal?

Well you can buy stuff on Ebay, pay for subscriptions and even by someone a drink but I never knew you could pay for playing poker with Paypal but you can!

I've heard some horror stories about the company but I've never had a problem with them. A colleague of mine will tell you, as often as you want to hear, how somebody tried to steal $600 from his account and how it's still limited and how fucking useless their support is but he's Scottish and is always complaining about something.

I'm surprised more sites don't use it because once a person has caught the ebay bug, bought a couple of items and realised how convenient Paypal is then there is no reason not to use it for having a bet or indeed a game of poker.

Once thing that concerned me from the link above is the picture used. Have a close look and it is a picture of a wallet with playing cards inside them. Seems like cheating to me....

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wetten, dass..?

Wetten, dass..? (German for "Wanna Bet..?") is a German language game and entertainment TV show. It is the most successful television show in Europe.

The shows are broadcast live six to seven times a year from different cities in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and can easily attract 50% and more of all German speaking viewers on that evening. It's rubbish.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Snooker 147 Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O'Sullivan completes his third Crucible break at the World Championship on April 28 2008. Read more about Ronnie at Betfair Snooker.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Referee cost Arsenal a place in the next round

I wouldn't normally quote from the Times with Murdoch primarily being responsible for the death of English football (from a working class spectating point of view) but I found the following comment left on one of their stories highly quotable.

Arsene Wenger (The Goat) and multitudes of Arsenal fans have been complaining about the penalty decision. They fail to see important stuff like Liverpool totally dominated their team in the second half and that a 2-2 result would have been a travesty.

Anyway, here is a comment left after a biased Times article.

I totally agree that the referee cost Arsenal a place in the next round because :
a. He should have done a better job marking Hyppia for the first goal
b. He gave Torres too much time and space for the second goal
c. He got nowhere near the penalty strike from Gerrard
d. Showed no bottle in holding off Babel ( who apparently falls over easily ! ) for the fourth

Don't get me started on his team selection (especially at he heart of Arsenal's defense) or his inability to beat Reina from point blank range.

With referees like this, no wonder the game is going to the dogs

P.S. While I am at it, I would also like to pin the lack of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, the Credit Crisis on Wall Street and the oppression of Tibetan monks on the bloody referee.

P.P.S. Is it ironic that the same people crying about the "better" team going out are also complaining about Liverpool's automatic right to win the CL?

P.P.P.S. The best team DID progress to the next round... 5-3 over 2 legs says so!

Monday, April 07, 2008

4. Liga, Essen ist dabei!

It showed how much attention I've been paying to Rot Weiss Essen when I discovered they had sacked their trainer a couple of wekks ago and I did not even notice.

The change has not had the expected positive effect. First a 4-0 defeat against Rot Weiss Erfurt and then a 3-0 home defeat - ironically against Union Berlin (the team I should be watching now I'm in the German capital).

The depressing thing for fans of the club is that the result leaves them seven points adrift from 10th position. Finishing 10th would mean Essen would play in the new Bundesliga 3. A finish outside the top ten would mean a season in the regional 4th division -and with only one team per season getting promotion from that league it is a very dangerous position for the club. Sponsors will leave and it is possible it could be the start of the end for the former German Champions.

It's all very depressing and I'll do anything to change things around.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The capital of Liverpool culture

Rot Weiss Essen are stuttering again (like myself) having won one, drawn one, lost one and had one game called off since the return from the winter break. I think they will still make the tenth place cut-off but some momentum may have been lost on Saturday -conceding two late goals to lose 2-1. Could have gone to the match in Braunschweig but it would have involved a three and a half hour train journey there and back. If I had gone it would have been there, watch the match and come back again. What's the fun in that?

Liverpool have improved as I expected. The end of the season should be interesting anyway.

Anyway, here's a poem from Emma. While Essen 'celebrates' it next year, Liverpool has the 'honour' in 2008.

Friday, February 22, 2008

You've never sung it like that before

It's possible that the song "You'll Never Walk Alone" was getting a bit stale at Anfield. It used to bring goose bums (die Gänsehaut in German) to my skin when I was younger and standing on the Kop.

But its effect declined over the years.

My last burst of going to match regularly was back in 2001 and great days they were. Meeting in the Birkey a few hours before the match, buying bottles or cans to drink in Bernard's people carrier; into the Albert to laugh at the miniature Ron Yeats before scurrying across Stanley Park with a take-out trying to walk quickly and drink at the same time.

We rarely got in for the You Never Walk Alone and I didn't miss it.

A few times they would play it at Rot Weiss before the game and it got just as good a reaction as it would at Anfield and I had a bit of nostalgic Gänsehaut.

Before the Inter Milan match (only the new middle class wanker supporters just call them 'Inter' cos they've read a book on football history) there was the longest rendition I have ever known. It usually fades out shortly after Gerry Marsden (over the Tannoy) has sung the last line followed by a self-congratulary round of applause. However, this version on the video here carries on for ages and must have had an effect on the Milan players because they were shit and we won 2-0. Roll on Moscow.

Weight lifting Olympics

This, to my mind, is the perfect sporting/comedy Youtube clip -basically because it's less than 30 secs long and made me laugh out loud.

Viral marketing at its best...and I've fallen for it.

Friday, February 08, 2008

A trainer you can trust

This is Michael Wigham esquire. One of Newmarket's finest upstanding licensed trainers and always suitably attired for a day at the races. Yet incredibly Mr Wigham faces a record fine of up to £30k for breaking the non-triers rule for the second time in the past six months. Where's the justice?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Sons of Shankly

From the Sons of Shankly - Well my mate Mike sent it to me so I stuck it on the blog.

You may or may not have heard of us. But here’s a little bit about who we are.

To do exactly as it says on the tin. A Union for all Liverpool Supporters.

A voice that represents us all. A platform for us all to stand together and fight for what we believe in.

It is early days, and more details of how the organisation will grow will appear over the next few weeks and months. But the catalyst for our formation…..

We want Tom Hicks and George Gillett out of our club - why?


They promised that all loans would be would be secured against their own personal assets.


They have taken out a loan of £350m. £105m has been secured against the club and £245m against Kop Holdings - which owns 100% of Liverpool Football Club and has only one source of revenue: The Club.

So, regardless of the smoke and mirrors, Liverpool Football Club has to pay all of the interest on all of the £350m.

The interest payments alone for this debt will be around £30m each year. All of which will be payable by Liverpool FC - more than enough to wipe out the club’s operating profit.

Gillett and Hicks have only taken out this new loan over an 18 month contract. This is very unusual for a deal of this size; three years is the usual minimum term. Wall Street analysts believe that this is because they had difficulty in getting the banks to lend them the money. Which raises questions about:


£60m of that loan has been earmarked for starting construction of the new ground.

There is no funding yet in place to complete the stadium, nor has planning permission been granted for a 71,000 capacity. Existing consent is for 60,000, with any increase depending upon improvements to transport and car parking. With no underground car park, the new plans have less car parking than the original 60,000 design!

If they can’t borrow again in 18 months then they cannot complete the stadium. How can they pledge now that the stadium will be built? In the same way they pledged it would be well on its way to completion twelve months ago - by misleading us.

So do they actually intend to complete the building of the new stadium?

Should Hicks & Gillett get the loan to actually build the new ground, the additional interest payments will be £25m per year.

This will leave Liverpool Football Club to shoulder annual payments of £55m in interest alone. Which begs the question:


When they took over, Hicks & Gillett promised to back the manager in the transfer market.

From the two transfer windows Hicks and Gillett have owned the club for, Benitez has spent £48.5m on players, and recouped £33.5m in player sales. A net spend of £15m. This is the up-to-date figure that includes the purchase of Skrtel and the sale of Sissoko.

The club brought in around £30m from the run to the Champions League Final last season alone. On top of this there is the increased TV money the club has received.

Where is the money Gillett and Hicks have backed the manager with? They’ve lied to us, they’ve manipulated the press, and some people have believed the spin. We won’t.

In reality, after all the talk about money and Snoogy Doogy, the manager has spent £15m in the last two transfer windows. How is that backing him in the transfer market?

It is about time the real picture was painted for all Liverpool fans out there.

They promised to respect the club’s heritage, history and traditions.


They asked to be judged on what their actions. Well they have failed to make a start or produce the funding on the stadium, the major reason why David Moores looked for investment, they have failed to back the manager in the transfer market. They have not put one single cent of their own money into this club and they have undermined the traditions of the football club and the office of manager.

They have, however, managed to create huge debt for LFC to pay off without any end product.

How, exactly, is the football club in a better position now than it was twelve months ago under David Moores?

After the Sunderland game, we staged a 15 minutes stay behind protest at the end of the game. We intend to do the same again.

During the protest, Steve McManaman commented on Setanta that the Americans had backed the manager in the transfer market, secured their new loan bringing money into the club, and we should all forget about it and move on. We don’t blame McManaman, a fair number of good Reds have been won over by their spin, so why shouldn’t a blue?

So it’s time to spread the message and get the real goings on from within Anfield to a wider audience.

It’s about time the truth was exposed.

Hicks and Gillett have to be forced out of Anfield before they wreak more havoc.

Keep a look out for which will be going live in the next few days. We’ll be handing out flyers at the match with details of any future events.

We’ll announce any future meetings on our website, everyone invited, all opinions welcomed.

Please send this announcement on to everyone you know. And keep an eye on our website for further updates and how to get involved.

The next meeting is scheduled for The Olympia at 12pm on Saturday 16th February - before the Barnsley game.

The Olympia
99 West Derby Road
L6 2AF

Everybody welcome - See you all there.

“Liverpool Football Club, Is In The Wrong Hands”

“The socialism I believe in is everyone working for each other, everyone having a share of the rewards. It’s the way I see football, the way I see life”

“Sons of Shankly”

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Munich, Munich 58

"Eight of them died so they charged them five grand in the Munich TV rip-off" to badly paraphrase a Liverpool song sung in the days before it was bad form to taunt the opposition in such a vulgar way.

The story that is emerging is that Manchester United tried to charge the BBC 5,000 to show pictures of a Munich Air Disaster Tribute to be held at Old Trafford on February 10 in honour of the players who died in the fateful crash in 1958.

The club had already come under criticism for allowing a memorial mural to be sullied by the inclusion of their kit sponsors on the artwork and while the fee for the TV coverage is a piddling amount both decisions appear to suggest the club is quite happy to get some commercial leverage out of the tragedy.

Personally I don't really care about the disaster. It happened ten years before I was born and affected families of people I will probably never know. There are similar tragedies (wasteful deaths) happening every day of the year around the globe which fail to get the publicity they deserve and none will receive the media coverage of this event.

It would be interesting to know whether part of Man United's kit sponsorship deal included a clause stating the commercial logo should be part of any commemorative mural.

I have to admit to two anti-Manchester United events in my life. Confessing to them now does not feel to bad in the light of the club's effort to cash in on the disaster themselves.

When I worked as a betting shop manager in Huddersfield part of the job was to mark up the prices for any football match taking place that evening - correct score, half-time/full-time result and match odds, that type of thing. United were playing 1860 Munich in a European game but I could not help myself writing '1958 Munich'. Nobody noticed, by the way, but they were never the brightest bunch in Sheepridge. It was still wrong.

Anyhoo, (as my favourite blogger says) the next occasion came a couple of years later. After the independent company I worked for in Liverpool was taken over by Stanley Racing, I found myself confronted for the first time in my managerial career (managerial obviously used loosely) by a security manager.

To an honest lad like myself a security manager was just an annoyance and basically only gave me more paperwork to fill in and this particular bloke was a patronising, overweight ex-policeman who treated everyone as though they were a criminal and more to the point probably paid more than me for doing fuck all. To make matters worse he was a Man United fan.

He turned up one day to show me how to operate the new combination safe. It was hardly a difficult task to spin the wheel on the safe to one number between 1 and 100, twist it to another in the opposite direction and then back to a third chosen combination but he felt he had to pratonisingly show me.

"Right David," he said. "Give me a number between 1 and a hundred."

"Nineteen," I said.

"Great and another,"


"Well done and just one more"


Perhaps only Liverpool fans will get the last reference.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bored by score at Essen

Goals at the start of each half put paid to Rot Weiss Essen's Cup bid in what proved to be a disappointing evening at the Hafenstraße. The first sell-out crowd of around 21,000 were unable to help their team but RWE were not outplayed by any means and can be proud of their performance considering they had so many first team players out injured.

With a bit of luck things could have been different but the two goals followed by a third with half an hour to play spoilt the game as a spectacle. All credit to Hamburg who put in a professional performance and rarely stepped out of second gear.

A scoreboard appeared for the first time that I can remember at the end where there is no stand. Never really liked them myself. If you are at a game you should at least know the score unless perhaps it was against Cologne last season.

For those in the slightest bit interested I can be seen on the picture above. If you can spot me then you are a better man than me.

Anyway, had a few beers after the game in the club bar and it proved a good night but was totally knackered after my travels to England to see some friends in Leeds and for my brother's wedding. He upset K by thanking people who had travelled from various parts of the world but not us. I couldn't really care.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Good news for smokers

It's not often someone has the balls to stand up for smokers' rights these days so it was heart-warming to read this story here about a German employer who sacked three of his non-smoking employees for threatening to kick up a fuss if smoking was not banned in the office.

"I can't be bothered with trouble-makers," the employer said. "We're on the phone all the time and it's just easier to work while smoking.

"Everyone picks on smokers these days. It's time for revenge. I'm only going to hire smokers from now on."

Germany banned smoking from most public places including bars and restaurants on January 1 but businesses with less than 10 employees can allow smoking in the office.

I find anti-smokers as detestable as racists running around, as they do, on their high horses on their moral high ground.

Smoking is disease which many people want to be cured from. Instead of getting all high and mighty non-smokers should be quietly trying to help people give up.

Most smokers want to give up and they need encouragement and help - not aggression and surrogate racism.

Check out the following for a better picture of the smoking ban sweeping Europe and beyond.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

National search confusion

I've given up trying to work out the way search engines operate after checking a piece I wrote about Grand National betting last year to see if it could be found with a search for "Grand National".

Now it was hardly a Pulitzer prize piece but it was short and straight to the point about the race and how people bet on it. Now, I didn't expect to be number one or indeed on the first page and some would be happy to be on page three but I feel a little aggrieved because of the irrelevance of some pages ahead of me.

The official site is in there which is, of course, fair enough and with the race being centred on betting there are a couple of Grand National free betting offers sites in the list. Some other websites are selling tickets and with Aintree being sold out recently this once again this is once again fair enough. There is a band called Grand national who, I suppose, deserve to be on the list though I've not heard any of their tracks while some national newspapers also make the top 20.

There are some rogue entries like the National Archery Society and some far from natural looking horse racing sites though I most most annoyed to finish the Grand National search engine horse race behind the Scottish National and the insignificant version from the Isle of Wight!

Anyway, who am I to wonder? I've been paid for the work so whether it's number one or number 100 why should I care! Just boredom I think. When do Rot Weiss Essen play next? The winter break in German football is far too long.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Poker tourism

Up to 250,000 German poker players are set to land on English shores this summer following Germany's decision to ban all forms of online gambling.

Armed with laptops and their cashcards these 'poker tourists' will spend up to six weeks at various UK destinations playing online ......and winning.

Although angered and shocked by the government decision made just before Christmas, poker player such as Didi_bvb now intend to spend the bulk of his summer holidays playing online - in England!

"I've booked into a B+B on the south coast," said the Rot Weiss Essen fan.

"It didn't matter where just as long as the place has Wireless LAN. I only have to play a few hours per day to cover the costs and then start making some profits.

"Once in England I will just use my laptop to join a site like Betfair.

"The English guys who play online are pretty poor and most of them seem to be drunk."

"I'm hoping to make about 10,000 Euros per month off the English suckers and still have some time to do some sightseeing and perhaps find myself an English girl.

Many south coast hoteliers will be dusting off their No Vacancies' signs come summer for the first time since the mods and rockers riots in the late sixties and it's all been made possible by the laptop, wireless Internet connections and the German ban on online gambling.

"I'm fully booked up until October," said Bet Smith, owner of the Sun View Hotel in Margate.

"Ninety per cent of the bookings are from German clients - both male and female - but I have no problems with that.

"They are clean, well mannered, speak better English than most of the English and don't get so drunk."



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