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Ten Things I Hate To Eat

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If there was an Olympic event for the most awkward eater, I am fairly confident I would be in contention for a medal placing. Indeed perhaps such would be my consistency over the years I would perhaps win the prestigious Sports Personality of the Year award on numerous occasions. In fact before the end of my career I am sure I would humbly receive a knighthood for my services to sport and entertainment.

Anyway, as a bit of a fussy eater, there are certain foods I despise. Here are just ten of them, in no particular order.

Shalom
C. L. J. Dryden

Ten Factors That Make Football Fascinating

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It's just a game. And yet it's more than just a game. (Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/)
It’s just a game. And yet it’s more than just a game. (Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/)

Football. It’s a funny old game. That’s what Jimmy Greaves told us.

For most of my conscious life I have loved the game. Years ago I enjoyed playing it, but that was not the driver for me. There were other more intriguing aspects of the game that kept my interest before, during and after any of my play time. Here are ten factors that appeal to me. In no particular order.

1. The Stories.

I love a good story. You don’t have to look far to find a good story in football. Sometimes the actual game can provide it. When it doesn’t there’s always the various stories surrounding the two teams. When that runs out there’s always the stories about the individual players on the pitch and on the bench. When that ceases there’s always the stories about the managers who run the team. When that reaches a conclusion there are the fascinating questions about the competitions of who is likely to win and who isn’t. When that runs dry there are the larger issues of the state of the game to consider from the prices for TV subscriptions and match-day tickets, to the way the game is encouraged and funded in the lower levels of the game. You should get the idea that you have to work extremely hard to miss out on a good story involved in the game of football. It’s some of those ingredients that make for the good stories that influence the other factors that make the game so fascinating. For example …

Their role is very simple. Win games. Nothing could be simpler. It's what they get paid hundreds of thousands of pounds for. Get on with it. Or else. No pressure. (Source: http://stockfresh.com/)
Their role is very simple. Win games. Nothing could be simpler. It’s what they get paid hundreds of thousands of pounds for. Get on with it. Or else. No pressure. (Source: http://stockfresh.com/)

2. The Players

These individuals have the unenviable task of taking on the hopes and dreams of the supporters every time they step onto the pitch.  These individuals are entrusted with the matter of enduring the 90+ minutes of action and returning with the spoils of victory.  These individuals hold the power to lift people’s spirits or to plunge them into depths of misery. A superb pass here, a wonder save there, a slip here and a horror tackle there can change the moods of thousands and sometimes millions. All because they know how to kick a ball. Their ability and inability to do this effectively and where that competence or incompetence takes them fascinates me greatly. Then there is also the arguments that rage about the best are, who should start in the team, who should be dropped, who should be bought, who should be sold – what these players represent and what they produce keeps things ticking over wonderfully for days, weeks, months and years on end.

3. The Big Clubs

These play an important role in the game. They establish the standard of greatness in the game. They are the standard everyone else pursues. They provide the real interest when they play a much smaller side and everyone looks for the upset or a giant-killing event. Managers and players make it their point of duty to look to reach these places. Measuring how influential they are in their league makes for worthwhile conversation, and seeing them go through downs as well as ups continues to give others that glimmer of hope that they will have their day. What makes them a big club and if they remain a big club is something that also evokes healthy debate.

In many ways it's a thankless task. Your team wins, it's because of the players. Your team loses and it's your fault for selecting the wrong players. Yet if you get good at this lark, it's not that bad a gig. (Source: http://cdn3-i.hitc-s.com/)
In many ways it’s a thankless task. Your team wins, it’s because of the players. Your team loses and it’s your fault for selecting the wrong players. Yet if you get good at this lark, it’s not that bad a gig. (Source: http://cdn3-i.hitc-s.com/)

4. The Managers

Tell eleven blokes of a relatively decent physical fitness to get on a football pitch and win a game of football. That’s what a manager does in a nutshell. That’s the wrong kind of nutshell, though. That’s getting the role of a manager wrong in a major way. The roles and responsibilities of a manager may vary in place to place and over the years, but there is still something appealing about the manager being at the centre of effective operations in the purpose of a football club. The manager oversees the training, the selection, sometimes the transfers of those who will go out on the pitch. The manager motivates, cajoles, reprimands and celebrates. No other single factor is responsible for the success or failure of a football team. The variety in which they come in as well keeps things riveting.

Hundreds and thousands of games take place every year around the world. In and among them though, there are always those special  occasions that highlight why it's worth following the beautiful game. (Source: http://static.goal.com/)
Hundreds and thousands of games take place every year around the world. In and among them though, there are always those special occasions that highlight why it’s worth following the beautiful game. (Source: http://static.goal.com/)

5. The Great Games

It would be a topic in itself to look at the ingredients necessary for a great game. There are some, however, that remain the same whichever era of the game in whatever country. It’s like watching a great drama when you witness a great game unfold. Seeing the combatants leave it all on the pitch at the end of the game knowing that they have done their all in contributing to a thrilling rollercoaster of almost two hours of entertainment is a great sight. From the epic comeback that sees one side almost miraculously overcome severe disadvantages to the masterclass put on by a team and/or a player in the dismantling of an opponent. Beholding these experiences makes it easy to understand why people write books and make movies about the game.

6. The Feuds

Football is a game of two halves played between two teams. In as much as sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct is expected, the underlying motor of success in the game is based on victory in conflict. I am not that impressed or intrigued by some of the more violent and derogatory elements of thuggery involved in club tribalism. What piques my interest, however, is when two particularly competitive elements collide whether in an amicable or not so amicable manner. The history of the local derby rivlaries can make for grippng reading even if not always for equally gripping football on the pitch. Seeing two of the biggest clubs battle it out for the top honours is also great, whether it be in the knock-out cup tournaments, or over the course and struggle of a league campaign.

What does it take to be a champion? How did it happen? How does it keep happening? The game is about winning, so the stories behind champions makes for telling insight. (Source: http://worldsoccertalk.com/)
What does it take to be a champion? How did it happen? How does it keep happening? The game is about winning, so the stories behind champions makes for telling insight. (Source: http://worldsoccertalk.com/)

7. The Making of Champions

I appreciate the ethos of some that look at football at the grassroots, at youth level, in non-league football, in the lower reaches of the professional game where the committed turn up to support their local side. I appreciate the sentiment that we need to look after the entire football family. My interest, however, has only ever been about the top flight.  Not just the top flight but those who do well at the top. What is it that makes them champions? Not just occasional winners or perpetual contenders without ever realising the potential. I mean the aspect of the game where a team, a player or a manager has the knack of being a champion more often than not. I love that about the game. It’s not about a game espousing a virtue that it’s not the winning or losing that counts, it’s the taking part. That is not the nature of the game. The game is about glory – and the glory is etched into stone by those who lift the top trophies. Seeing the behaviour, the values, the qualities and the lessons from these trophy hunters makes for intriguing study in itself.

It's not just about telling the lads to go out there and win. It's getting the insight to how they will win - those factors makes things interesting. (Source: http://purelyfootball.com/)
It’s not just about telling the lads to go out there and win. It’s getting the insight to how they will win – those factors makes things interesting. (Source: http://purelyfootball.com/)

8. The Tactics, Strategies and Philosophies

The game is simple, apparently. The aim is to score more goals than the opponents to win. For something so simple, however, it is no surprise that there has been a number of ways of achieving those wins and to prevent the other side from doing the same. Some see this part of the game as merely the domain of geeks and anoraks. This is not the case. Some managers seek to demean the role of tactics, formations and game plans. After all, the claim is, the game is still about 22 men facing each other and it’s those characters that determine game outcomes. This is a crude reading of the story. This part of the game is fascinating because it reinforces the importance of the manager. It’s not just the right planning for the team, it’s critical to set them up to prevent the other team winning and do enough to win themselves. The development of this kind of approach has made for intriguing contests and those debating one style over another. Seeing these change over time and different types of players emerging to fit these schemes makes for fascinating observation.

Watching those who watch those who play the game makes for good watching at times. And seeing the diversity of those watchers improves things considerably. (Source: http://assets.lfcimages.com/)
Watching those who watch those who play the game makes for good watching at times. And seeing the diversity of those watchers improves things considerably. (Source: http://assets.lfcimages.com/)

9. The Media

There have been times in my life where I consumed top flight football from any available receptacle within reason. I loved the magazines whether it was Match or Shoot, then up market to 90 Minutes and then Four Four Two. It was a huge deal when I came across football commentary on radio. They brought the game to life in a way that even television didn’t manage. Not only that but there was the analysis and the phone-ins. It was a feast of football to gorge on. The different biases in the observers has always been interesting. The presence of Twitter and blogs has been great for getting views on the game that weren’t about mainstream mantras, even if it did lead to as many ill informed and ignorant views expressed as diversely considered and well constructed opinions. It’s information, it’s opinion, it’s perspectives they add colour to the sport. They widen the horizon if required, or reinforce a narrow view if that’s your fancy. They play crucial in depicting those stories that make the game such a matter for conversation and argument.

They say religion is going out of fashion, but sentiments like this just go to show we can make a religion out of anything. However sad that is. (Source: http://sd.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/)
They say religion is going out of fashion, but sentiments like this just go to show we can make a religion out of anything. However sad that is. (Source: http://sd.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/)

10. The Futility of It All

You may have noticed no mention of the fans in this list. Nothing against the fans, but it’s actually them that lead into the final factor of what is so fascinating about the game. Hundreds of hours, billions of pounds, thousands of people, heartache, violence, glory, notoriety, lifelong fame all invested in something that ultimately is futile. The purpose of life is not football. Football is not the essential matter that enables people to find true, enduring and deep meaning. Yet there it is consuming the life force of men and women around the world with its call to worship through buying that season ticket, standing with the fellow travellers, traipsing around the country and the globe in all weather, moping when the season is over until the next one starts. There it is compelling people to invest their passions, emotions, and key relationships at its grip. As someone who has experienced the depth of commitment to the cause and subsequently taken a few steps back from that, this element of the game I find hugely intriguing.

Shalom
C. L. J. Dryden

Ten Treats On A Thursday

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In the Other Place I’ve launched a series on tens and with so many issues on which to do tens it is only fitting that this place from time to time also chimes in with the list of tens.

Thursday, as we know, is the best day of the week. No doubt about it. Historically we recall that Thursday was the day my Mum went shopping and so that meant it was the day I would get treats. Moving into the 21st Century and my own offspring are now the recipients of Thursday treats as time and resources allow.

To celebrate this wonder here are ten great treats to look forward to on a Thursday both then and now. They are not in a definitive order, but by all means speculate as to what an order would be.

Look at those gorgeous double chocolate chip cookies. You know they were made for me. (Source: http://samiewalt.com/)
Look at those gorgeous double chocolate chip cookies. You know they were made for me. (Source: http://samiewalt.com/)

1. Double Chocolate Chip Cookies:

Let’s get this absolutely clear – chocolate is delicious. I have been informed of the negative effects of chocolate both on the teeth and overall diet. I have taken those views seriously and will go on seasons without chocolate just to give my body a break. But don’t get away from the fact that chocolate is superb. Milk chocolate obviously, not that dark chocolate stuff. So it’s one thing to come across chocolate chip cookies and admire them, but when someone went to the effort of doubling the chocolate goodness on the sucker – well that was just dream time. A worthy member of the ten worthy Thursday treats.

2. Bramley Apple Pies: 

Look at theses here apple pies. So delicious, so ravishing, so inviting ... so I'd better stop drooling looking at them. (Source: http://www.interestment.co.uk/)
Look at theses here apple pies. So delicious, so ravishing, so inviting … so I’d better stop drooling looking at them. (Source: http://www.interestment.co.uk/)

True story. When I was younger and hearing people blabber on about the importance of fruit in my diet, I thought that this was a legitimate contributor to that quotient. Truth be told in one brief season of my life a few years back I did overdo it. There are some things you can never overdo – unfortunately apple pies are not in that select group. The fact that I had a go, though, highlights, just how beautiful them there apple pies were. On this occasion again it’s important to discriminate. Regular apple pies are alright. Yet the deluxe version of apple pies worth gorging on is the bramley apple pies version. Also, don’t get hung up on them big ol’ wide apple pie types. Nah, don’t do that to yourself. Get them apportioned in those little foil holders. That’s the stuff. Oh and you can get rid of that custard as well, it’s meant to be a treat. Don’t spoil it.

3. Fruit Cocktail:

I still chuckle thinking I could get away with this as part of my five a day! Nonetheless the battles for the cherries will never be forgotten. (Source: christykrobinson.blogspot.com)
I still chuckle thinking I could get away with this as part of my five a day! Nonetheless the battles for the cherries will never be forgotten. (Source: christykrobinson.blogspot.com)

As you would have gathered by now treats on Thursday are not necessarily about doing things the healthy way. If you have a sweet tooth, treats on Thursday is the day to indulge that sweet tooth. If my pathetic efforts at incorporating apple pies into my five a day were hilarious, you should have seen me with fruit cocktail. I didn’t read the ingredients at all that helped make the tinned goods what they were … oh hold up. I see what you thought. You thought I would genuinely get the fruits, cut them up, mix them together in their natural juices and enjoy. You poor thing. None of that – it’s treat day, off to the shops to get the tinned stuff – just whip off the top, or more accurately get the loved one to do that and get some of that down your throat. Back in the day the fruit in the cocktail worked on a hierarchy – not all fruit were equal. Getting a grape was deemed enrolling into royalty. Being crowned the ruler though had to be getting the cherry. Dude, they were so rare in the mix – and rightly so, because that way we appreciated them more. Good times.

4. Chocolate Digestive Biscuits:

Before cookies, before the cake and just around the same time as acknowledging the bars, there were the biscuits. I have waxed lyrical about the beauty of chocolate digestives (read all about here), especially when they were called Homewheat biscuits. I won’t rave too much more about them here or else I’ll start crying for them … again, but when you say treats on a Thursday this was the beginning. This is the standard.

Doughnuts without jam in it are bizarre. Jam in doughnuts apparently was an alternative lyric to Love and Marriage going together like a horse and carriage. Possibly. (Source: http://www.hilarymoorephoto.com/)
Doughnuts without jam in it are bizarre. Jam in doughnuts apparently was an alternative lyric to Love and Marriage going together like a horse and carriage. Possibly. (Source: http://www.hilarymoorephoto.com/)

5. Jam Doughnuts:

There is so much to love about the doughnut. I don’t mean the hard, crunchier ones, I refer to the softer, spongier ones that your teeth feel soothed as they sink into it. Sugar coated is not the extent of the doughnut, it’s the covering, it’s the invitation, it’s the start. Plain doughnuts as well – what is that all about? What is wrong with people making the plain stuff? Life isn’t about being plain. And that means you can ditch your ring doughnuts too. They have to be the laziest doughnuts doing the rounds. No, my friend, when you do the doughnut you make it an experience never to forget with just the right filling. Just the right, gooey, lovely, sweet and delightful filling. Jam is rarely better used than at the heart of the doughnut and the doughnut is never better served by the dollop of the lovely jammy stuff right at the heart.

Yes indeed, it's not all about the sweets. Get some of this tasty stuff in there! (Source: http://media.tumblr.com/)
Yes indeed, it’s not all about the sweets. Get some of this tasty stuff in there! (Source: http://media.tumblr.com/)

6. Chicken Curry with The Works:

Thursday treats are predominantly about the desserts – that is the treat. Yet this gets an honorable mention because what makes the dessert worth enjoying is when it comes at the end of a tremendous dinner. (No not tea, tea is what you drink, dinner is your evening meal – that is the rule, for I have said so.) Now there’s something really mouth-watering even thinking about a well put together chicken curry with the works. Don’t include any of the bony stuff, just do your work with the meaty part of the chicken, you know how to work it. Work it!! Ohhhhh yeah, baby. And what do I mean by the works? Well the fuill on business – corn on the cob, coleslaw, mixed vegetables, samosas (of various types), chips, etc. etc. ooooohhhhh my mouth will fill the bath at this rate. Best stop there before I drown this here laptop.

Strawberry, Vanilla and Chocolate. Look at them side by side. It's like the National Flag for Treat Day. Of course they won't stay side by side for long. (Source: http://zombie-juice.com/)
Strawberry, Vanilla and Chocolate. Look at them side by side. It’s like the National Flag for Treat Day. Of course they won’t stay side by side for long. (Source: http://zombie-juice.com/)

7. Neapolitan Ice-Cream:

Sure you could have an ice-cream of one flavour. That can work. But why do that, when the good people who make these ice-creams have said to themselves, “We need to get ourselves a threesome.” This, of course is the only threesome I would condone. Listen, the only way vanilla is acceptable as an ice-cream is when it’s helpfully assisted by strawberry and chocolate. Indeed sometimes on the side I would just sneakily mix all three of them together and get real messy slurping that stuff up. This would only happen if I got access to the ice-cream on my own. When it came to ‘sharing’ it with my siblings, I hoped that my Mum did the right thing and ensured that the ratio of chocolate-strawberry-vanilla was 50:49:1. Funny enough, my siblings also looked for a similar ratio that left poor vanilla looking rather full whilst his cousins were … gone. Great idea, though, and when consumed it’s a great idea well executed!

As my father loved cashew nuts, so do I love cashew nuts. It was certainly a treat by the cost of it too - a luxury as well as a treat. But good stuff all the same. (Source: http://ecofrenhealth.blog.com/)
As my father loved cashew nuts, so do I love cashew nuts. It was certainly a treat by the cost of it too – a luxury as well as a treat. But good stuff all the same. (Source: http://ecofrenhealth.blog.com/)

8. Cashew Nuts:

You talk about a treat and sometimes you think about something that’s a bit of a luxury. You get it and feel as though you’re engaging in some rare, precious experience. Have you seen the prices for cashew nuts? They must come from another planet such is the exorbitant price of them. Even my Dad, who didn’t bother indulging in the other stuff, would tuck into a good pack of cashew nuts on the rare occasions finances stretched to getting them in the house. Now if my Dad loves something that’s always worth sitting up and paying attention. When I taste the cashew nuts, though, it’s clear to see why they are so highly rated. I don’t have anything against regular peanuts. They’re alright, but the cashew nut does take the standard up a notch or ten.

Some food need a lot of explanation. This doesn't. It is simply superb. (Source: http://hungryjames.files.wordpress.com/)
Some food need a lot of explanation. This doesn’t. It is simply superb. (Source: http://hungryjames.files.wordpress.com/)

9. Cherry Bakewell Tarts:

Good values mean a lot to me. Loving one another. Caring for each other. Supporting our fellow human being. Essential qualities that help enrich life as we know it. So it goes against all of that to be greedy and selfish. It’s absolutely disgusting to practice those repellent traits in any walk of life. Unless it’s about cherry bakewell tarts. That is the only exception to the rule, because cherry bakewell tarts were designed to be consumed greedily with as much thought given to oneself as possible. Don’t blame me – blame whoever, but I gotta follow the rules. They state quite clearly if there are six bakewell tarts in a box, those six bakewell tarts are to find their final resting place via my mouth and digestive system to be redistributed in a different form from the appropriate outlet. Read here to find out more. You’re welcome.

Some people cry at the birth of a baby. Some cry at a wedding. Tears of joy tend to well up in my eyes when they behold this beauty and I am informed I am about to consume it. (Source: http://panaderialasdelicias.com/)
Some people cry at the birth of a baby. Some cry at a wedding. Tears of joy tend to well up in my eyes when they behold this beauty and I am informed I am about to consume it. (Source: http://panaderialasdelicias.com/)

10. Double Chocolate Gateaux:

I started with chocolate did you expect me to end any other way? Really? Maybe you need to check where you be, but you be at Milk Chocolate Central right here on this blog. Now the double chocolate cookies were already doing a work on me. When someone pointed me to the double chocolate gateaux, though, I am sure I nearly wept with joy. Indeed thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes and a similar liquid reaction in my mouth. I talk to double chocolate gateaux. I talk and it responds to me. I ask it to fill me with it’s chocolatey goodness and it obliges. It says, ‘Yes Christopher, I sure will fill y’all up with my chocolatey goodness and you ain’t ever gonna forget me’. True enough I nail that sucker and I never forget it. Never. Ever. Give me more. Now.

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

A Brief Word on The New Doctor

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So how's the new Doctor going in the early stages? (Source: http://www.thedrum.com/)
So how’s the new Doctor going in the early stages? (Source: http://www.thedrum.com/)

So it’s already been six weeks since the Doctor emerged on the screens in his twelfth incarnation.  Not a word, nor a peep from me about him.

Don’t take that as a bad thing.

I have indeed watched all five episodes to date. Perhaps when time and inclination affords I’ll offer each episode a proper review, but I have been communicating with friends about it as it’s been broadcast. I only wish I could relay those conversations on the blog, that would make for riveting reading seeing how different my views are, and the good points my friends make on it.

There is no doubt Jenna has held her own in the new series. (Source: http://i.dailymail.co.uk/)
There is no doubt Jenna has held her own in the new series. (Source: http://i.dailymail.co.uk/)

Anyway, this is a brief word on that which I have seen so far and I think I can make the following notes.

  • The first episode of the new Doctor was not as good as the first stories of at least the previous two Doctors. It wasn’t a bad episode and it certainly did the job in introducing the new guy but … I’ll let a full review of that cover my thoughts on the matter.
  • Clara’s role in things is still proving to be highly pivotal to things. This can be bearable sometimes, but I think in Listen it got a bit much. That’s my personal view, I know people have raved about the episode, but I was put off by her being so integral to that formative stage of the main character.
  • So far the character of Danny Pink is working very well. Reminding us of the human aspect of the programme his interaction with Clara is good stuff. He’s not as pathetic as some male characters on the show in recent years and there’s plenty of intrigue surrounding him.
  • In as much as I may not agree with Clara’s central role in things, that’s no slight on the performances of Jenna Coleman. She wasn’t awful in Smith’s last season, but she has certainly grown more assured in her performances in the role.
  • He's made a good start in the role leaving me eager to see what else he has in store. (Source: http://www.doctorwhotv.co.uk/)
    He’s made a good start in the role leaving me eager to see what else he has in store. (Source: http://www.doctorwhotv.co.uk/)

    Peter Capaldi most certainly is the Doctor. It’s one thing to cast someone in so many ways opposite to the last guy, it’s another thing for that difference to still retain enjoyment in the central character. Sure he’s still finding his way in performing the Doctor, but he’s been superb.

  • To date my favourite episode of the new series is Robots of Sherwood. Good story, plenty of meaty performances by the leading characters, paced well and providing a great deal of light relief to a portrayal of the new guy that has at times been very sombre and dark.

I am eagerly awaiting what happens in the remaining seven episodes of this season and that in itself is a great qualifier for how much I’m enjoying things to date.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Because by the Beatles (Cover – In Stages)

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From the Abbey Road album the tune ‘Because’ was one of my favourites.  The harmonies were just so lush.

So when I came across this, I was certainly impressed. It’s a very good cover and the video work is top notch.  Oh but there was more.

This insight into the song acapella was most intriguing. To appreciate the voices carrying the song in this cover gave a great insight into just how superb those voices were.

To then see it stripped back to individual parts and how they blended together was even better and brought greater appreciation for the work that must have gone into making this piece so brilliant.

It’s one to appreciate the brilliant cover and then contrast with the original. It’s songs like this that rightly put the Beatles as one of the greatest suppliers of musical excellence of all time. Enjoy.

(HT: http://www.andrewlubman.com)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

The Problem With Timothy

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Jamie Redknapp. Great player, not so great pundit. (Source: http://www.classiquepromotions.co.uk/)
Jamie Redknapp. Great player, not so great pundit. (Source: http://www.classiquepromotions.co.uk/)

Not a lot of things really bug me. I’m an easy going kinda guy.

Some things are stupid, I say they are stupid and move on. Some people do stupid things, I say they are stupid things, endeavour not to hold it against him, and move on.

That way I can accept my dislike of Gary Neville as a Manchester United player because he was a Manchester United player, but appreciate him as a top pundit because he is a top pundit.  I can also appreciate Jamie Redknapp as a good midfielder partially because he was a Liverpool but mostly because he was a good player, but also dislike him as a pundit because he’s prone to silly statements. I dislike his football pundit persona, but I don’t let it annoy me too much. Cos I’m an easy going kinda guy.

Then came Timothy.

If you ask my football following friends what button to press to get me ranting just mention the name Timothy. His surname is not necessary to be told, you just say Timothy and that’s the trigger.

Timothy was the captain when Blackburn won the Premier League. He wasn't that bad ... or that good. (Source: i2.mirror.co.u)
Timothy was the captain when Blackburn won the Premier League. He wasn’t that bad … or that good. (Source: i2.mirror.co.u)

Before this season I had no problems with Timothy. I knew him as a fairly average Premier League player plying his trade with Spurs, Portsmouth, Blackburn Rovers and in the old days Norwich City.  I believe Timothy won England caps, but I’m sure that was down to the sparse nature of quality central midfielders because at his best, the geezer was not international class. Give him dues though, the guy as a player played at the top of the game and if Dalglish sees a man as being worthy of the captaincy of a team that would go onto win the Premier League, the player cannot be a chump.

If that was all I heard about Timothy, the brother would not have got me to raise an eyebrow in interest.  Of course, though, this season when things were not going according to plan at Spurs and a change was called for Spurs in their wisdom chose to appoint Timothy as the new boss.

Cards on the table. My view of the handling of AvB was that it was unfortunate. There have obviously been issues that AvB endured in his reigns in London. It’s sad, because he evidently is a talented coach and given the opportunity and the appropriate project, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be a success. Nevertheless it didn’t work out. The hammering by Liverpool at White Hart Lane was the death knell and called for a time for change. So Spurs needed change.  They needed something to take them forward and rescue the season.

Timothy never lacked self confidence and a big opinion of himself. (Source: http://media2.ftbpro.com/)
Timothy never lacked self confidence and a big opinion of himself. (Source: http://media2.ftbpro.com/)

They chose Timothy.

As I write, I am still working out a legitimate reason for appointing him. He had no managerial experience and this was a club looking to be a contender for the Champions League. Where was the thinking in appointing him? What was it about him that made them choose him?

From the outset Timothy appeared to make it his point of duty to be as annoying a football personality as possible. Some have talked about his refreshing honesty, they have hailed how he says it like it is. They have pointed – with helpful assistance from his good self – to the great win record he’s had in his time at Spurs.

Why did they do that? We don't know, but it's not his fault. Or his gilet's. (Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/)
Why did they do that? We don’t know, but it’s not his fault. Or his gilet’s. (Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/)

When you actually assess what he’s done at Spurs all he’s managed to do is to keep a side that appeared to be going nowhere before him to continue on the path of going nowhere. He gave young players a chance. So? Did that improve the side? Nope. He alienated a number of other players. Did that improve the side? Nope. Were there any big wins he pulled out of the hat? Nope. Are Spurs in a better place now than they were when AvB left? Nope?

He hails his win record, but has that got Spurs their best points in a season? Nope. Have they progressed beyond where they were from last season? Nope. Has he shown anything to genuinely prove he is the man to be responsible for helping Spurs actualise the potential on offer both from the young players and from the £100 million worth of talent available in the squad? Seriously? Really?

Timothy about to set forth his considered opinion on a subject which will in no way make him sound like an arrogant buffoon. Or not. (Source: http://cdn3-i.hitc-s.com/)
Timothy about to set forth his considered opinion on a subject which will in no way make him sound like an arrogant buffoon. Or not. (Source: http://cdn3-i.hitc-s.com/)

Some say he deserved a chance. Some say he needed more time. But if you really think top players will be attracted to be coached by Timothy after the things he’s cracked off with, you must be in serious need of attention. In his playing days he came across as a bit cocky and someone who thought he was a lot more than he was.  That’s fine when you’ve got good players around you to make you look good.  As a manager when you’re the focal point for the whole club, you’ve got to back your big words, and too often he’s been found wanting and finding it all too easy to blame factors beyond his control.

It’s not the fact that he’s got a big mouth that bugs me. Clough had a big mouth – I liked the guy. Mourinho has a mouth on him – I like the guy. They weren’t always right, they weren’t always popular, but they backed their big words with results. They did that because they were savvy in their time to negotiate the football political shenanigans to stay on top.

One day, Timothy might turn out to be a cracking manager. He might have the trophies to show it. Until then it does him no favours opening his mouth for his actions not to back his words. (Source: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/)
One day, Timothy might turn out to be a cracking manager. He might have the trophies to show it. Until then it does him no favours opening his mouth for his actions not to back his words. (Source: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/)

When it comes to Timothy, the brother from the start was just spouting hot air and backing it with abysmal performances from teams he selected and trained when it mattered most. The mourning for his departure and the sympathy its elicited from some of the usual suspects has been pathetic. The one thing Spurs did well was to ensure that they had that clause in the contract ensuring that if needed Sherwood would just be the supply teacher they needed for the time being – not the full-time, proper, tactically and technically savvy teacher they’re looking for.

No football individual has wound me up so much for a long time than Timothy. Yet as he looks for the next step in his football career, I really hope he gets a club at his level. A club that he can mould and build so that they develop together. A proper place that can humble him and then allow him to do his big mouth business with the credentials to back it, rather than talking a big game and being blown apart.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

The Management Game

Posted on Updated on

This season more than any before has been marked by the importance of the manager.

Whether at the top or the bottom of the Premier League, clubs have staked triumph and failure on the fate of the man they put in charge.  Whether a head coach or the traditional manager, the main deal has remained how well they do int he core measure of an effective manager – results.

The fluctuations in a manager’s fortunes is probably well seen in the performance of Sam Allardyce at West Ham United. With a summer transfer window that placed a large number of eggs in the Andy Carroll basket, it was evidently disappointing when the target man spent a large part of the season injured. In that time Allardyce’s team beat Spurs at White Hart Lane and in his humble manner hailed his accomplishment bemoaning the fact that if he were an Italian he’d be lauded.

There then followed a tricky spell where his team struggled to win a match and as the winter transfer window approached there was serious talk of replacing him as manager.  He has never been flavour of the month with a number of Hammers and they were eager to see the owners pull the plug. To their credit, Gold and Sullivan stuck to their guns and at the turn of the year, the fortune of the Hammers improved. The club eased itself away from genuine relegation trouble, without ever looking like they could seriously do more than that.

Hooray for the manager? Or boo for messing up the opportunity to really progress as a side in a division with a number of mediocre teams?

Either way, attention isn’t so much focussed on the players.  Whenever they’re mentioned, it’s usually with regard to who purchased them – the Director of Football, the chief executive, the transfer committee, the club owner or in some cases even the manager himself! After that the issue is with the personnel and the manager’s ability to motivate, shape and release his players to play well enough to get the results.

Common excuses are brought up to cover for failings. Injuries, poor transfer windows, interference from above, stroppy players that just don’t want to play – a range of things that fans swallow with varying degrees of ease.  Yet what makes the difference between good managers and the rest is the ability to negotiate these pitfalls and still emerge with that key commodity – results.

It makes Arsene Wenger’s continued presence as manager of Arsenal one of the amazing stories of management history in the Premier League.  His defenders have pointed to the issues surrounding the move to the Emirates and his financial limitations.  Yet seriously, how can a club of Arsenal’s stature really be satisfied with year after year of flattering to deceive? Champions League qualification – the mark of a great manager? Seriously?

That certainly works in a business model, but in the larger scale of success, memories what truly makes a great manager, Wenger’s record in the last nine years has not only tarnished his achievements in the first half of his time in the country, it’s also made a mockery of the concept of success in the first place.  It really is sad seeing apologists acclaiming the style of football and how pretty it is with a consistent record of what Mourinho rightly described as a specialist in failure.

The prevailing source of comfort for the longsuffering Arsenal fan is that at least they are not a Spurs fan. The problem at White Hart Lane brings the opposite problem of their North London rivals. Where the Gunners have arguably stuck with the same man for too long, Spurs never seem capable of giving a man enough of a chance. This season was typical of that inability to see a project through. Villas-Boas was promised reinforcements to help with the departure of Bale. A number of players were brought into the club, but there was a question of who brought them and the answer appeared to be not him.

Despite never being too far from the top four, because the expectation was for them to challenge for the title, huge losses to Liverpool and City were unacceptable.  No patience with model one – scrap it and virtually revert to a previous model in Tim Sherwood. There was nothing in what Timothy did to suggest he was the answer to the problem, so what’s the answer according to some – give the young manager more time.  He’s obviously helped that with a pat on his own back that he’s capable and sounding off that he is already making plans and players are playing for their future. Seriously, though, who is going to be desperate to play for Timothy? Who sees Spurs progressing when there are other teams in a similar position who appear to be doing a lot better?

That team among other teams is Everton.

Comparing and contrasting the fortunes of Moyes at United and Martinez at Everton is fascinating.  Plenty of people have suggested poor Moyes had it tough going to United taking over the great Ferguson with a squad that was patently not as good as their Premier League win suggested. Hold on though – they still did win the league. They won it, and they won it by a considerable distance.  These players were not dreadful.

Indeed, why would Moyes leave Everton to go to Manchester United? Surely there’s got to be something about preferring to work with De Gea than Howard.  Surely it was about seeing in Vidic as better than Jagielka.  There must have been something about a strike force of Van Persie and Rooney that would have been preferably to whatever Everton has for a strike force.

It’s surely not rocket science is it – who has the better squad? Manchester United. Easily.  So how on earth can you go to that team and fail so miserably, whilst your successor in the previous club not just maintained but improved the standard you left behind.  To the point that the old club finishes higher than the new club who happen to be the biggest in the country and the Premier League champions.

Everton play better football than they did last season.  Everton play more effective football than Manchester United.  Without the same financial clout and without anything like the same quality in players and strength in depth as Manchester United.

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden