Down to the wire


One of your first observations as a budding ancient historian is that history is written by the victors, your sources are predominantly propaganda, the journalism of that day, which when placed in contrast with the now allows for a greater appreciation of the degree of freedom present day journalism enjoys; conspiracy theories and political bias aside.  Which brings me, tortuously I appreciate for some, to the subject of this week’s ramblings:

 Match reports. 

 I for one rarely read match reports.  They are in truth simply one person’s opinion, which if not written from your own perspective is often inaccurate and uninformative.  I give you as evidence last Thursday, withholding the necessary statistic for Hitchcock-esque suspense (which considering the title of the email itself is somewhat a redundant measure), all I can recall are those who played but that would be an immaterial regurgitation of simplistic facts and lazy journalism; that I hit the woodwork on far too many occasions…so what; that Woody and Fireman John had blinders…interesting, and Scouse Steve threw himself to the floor in a manner entirely appropriate to it being Oscar season and less reminiscent of Stevie G and more of Ali G.  The only other notable point is that once again the Whites resorted to their now familiar ruse of claiming to not be turning up and then turning up or turning up late as they started the game 2 men down.    Is this to try and trick their way to an extra man advantage or to induce some moral sapping reaction from the Darks? This time it appears to have back fired as it provoked a full FA investigation and subsequent disciplinary ruling: Jono will serve a one match ban for entering the field the play late and without the permission of the match officials and a second match ban for trying to do so whilst hiding under Angry Mick’s ever increasingly rampant quiff. 

 I personally believe this is a harsh decision considering his commitment to the cause following his mercy dash to his daughters breakdown (car, I hasten to add – although he didn’t fix it himself, although I am not one to talk as I know so little about the workings of the internal combustion engine and the modern motor car that I often don’t know which door I should be getting in).

Which brings me nicely (and eventually I hear you cry) to my point and that I trust this is a suitable match report containing match report style detail for my critics (yes you Ali G) but more importantly, Darks won (by a margin that is again simply immaterial in the grand scheme of things…in other words I don’t remember and if you want real facts you need to get Jono back) sending the World Series VI into a winner takes all play off final, with the scores at 10-10.

So in the words of the snowboarders at the winter Olympics (yes I can be topical as well as satirical and poetic), it’s time to run hard or run home!

And that’s what I need to know from you all: who, this Thursday for the World Series VI Final, will be hard or who will be home?

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The Fifth World Series

In case you are wondering, it happened when i wasn’t maintaining the blog and to be honest I can’t remember who won it but i do know that the score in World Series at the end of it was

Darks 3 Whites 2

I’ll try to be more attentive now…sorry

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A warm and sticky baton

Yes it’s been a while and my thanks, my earnest and heartfelt and immeasurable thanks gush (but in a sincere way) towards Jono, founding member and treasurer and all things really, infact Mr Blades 5 A Side himself, for keeping the baton warm, if a little sticky in my absence.

In the interim months it has been a ride, sometimes up sometimes down, never round but i am back and sound or is it sick now, or dench, well dench or ream, who knows with the yoof of today but non the less Jono you are a star!

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I’m Back

And I’m back! It’s time to start writing again. It’s been too long and in truth I’ve missed it, this, you. No, in fact it is more than just that: it is many many things all confusing and contrasting within this jumble of scoring and counter scoring and spurious head-high and area calls. I’ve loved the freedom from not having to do this, one nil, but I’ve hated the self-imposed silence one all, I’ve felt ignored two one, even so I despised what I previously wrote, three one but then I longed for it, three two, began to seek it out, finding new topics, new ideas, threes, then came the anticipation four three up, taking advance pleasure from it, five three, dreaming of you all reading this, six three and then I knew, that this was my place. I may have turned my back on it for a while, we all need a break now and then, and in doing so schemed and played with all other forms but this in truth is my place: pen and paper. Pen and paper, pen and paper, great combinations, pen and paper, like Shearer and Sutton, Cole and Yorke, Hirst and Bright, Owen and Hargreaves, Bell and End. It’s the scraping of the pen, the friction between the two forms, the poetry of the movement over the word, the seed of the ink, the stretch of an idea and the certainty of a belief, the commitment to it, the word, the thought, the sentence, the admission, the guilt, the secret that is no longer such, the birth, the adolescence, the completion, the climax, the joy of sharing, the fear of doing just so: and then the condemnation, the praise, your bewilderment, denial, betrayal, indifference, love. Yes love. Always love. What else is our inclination, but love? Love and football: the sweet sweet spot, the perfectly weighted, the pristine timing, painful, joyful, delirious, charitable, heartfelt, anger, cheating, fighting, companionship, true connectivity that crosses all boundaries of race, religion, gender, geography, language and love. Yes, love and football, give me just these two elements and I am a god, I am a creator!

So it’s 10-9 to the Whites, it could well be the decider of World Series VI and if that isn’t the greatest call to alarms since, well the decider to World Series V, then I don’t know what is. Who will be Bell and who will be End this week?

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Happy Birthday Sheffield FC: 24th October 2012

Now I have to say that I was saddened by the events on Friday night, not just the “one idiot” who attached Kirkland, but the other idiots who ran aggressively on the pitch, the other idiots who tore advertising hoardings from the stand and smashed seats to use as missiles, the other idiots who threw coins and bottles, the idiot who threw a flare (yes from the Wednesday end), the idiots who sang the Turkish song and the idiots who sang the Jimmy Saville song (and it is not often you experience three sides of a ground being simultaneously lost for words) and I left the ground rapidly falling out of love with this beautiful game.   I have deliberated over the passing days over what I would say in this communication, I know you are all expecting comment, especially no doubt Leeds Rob: should I be angry, should I be dismissive, outraged, pitying (which in truth are all questions I am asking myself in relation to Friday night itself), should we just pass it off as boys being boys and become the silent majority simply putting up with the minorities pathetic machismo or should I ignore it entirely and talk about something else.

Well obviously I haven’t ignored it entirely but I have decided however to mention two other things that deserve our recognition in a far more positive manner.

The first is the passing of the Teletext service which was switched off this week. I remember a time when it was the only source of up to date, as live as your TV could change pages, football scores from all around the country, a more innocent time perhaps or indeed not for it was a time that we are now looking back on through the eyes of seemingly mounting investigations about police corruption, Hillsborough and the Miners Strikes, of IRA bombing and the Cold War, for the seemingly impossible behaviour of Mr Saville and potentially others as well, it was our youthful days, our innocence, of chasing girls, early fumbles and high jinks, of the good Star Wars movies, of Redgates and Beatties and football boots only coming in black, and tight umbro replica shorts, of plastic-bagging in the perfect snow and summers awash with brilliant sunshine and sunburn instead of the floods we now have, of riding our bikes without helmets, and 2p bus fares, the excitement of Macdonalds opening in town, that first record that blew your mind and appalled your parents (of course which of these are applicable depends on how old we individually are).   It’s easy to forget there was all of this in amongst the now painful realisation of what was also going on.  Goodbye Teletext you served us well.

And for second, a simple Happy Birthday to Sheffield FC, 155 years old…today.  Maybe I am too romantic in my viewpoint, or maybe I just don’t get out enough, but from time to time I do get a kick from knowing I still play football in the city which gave the world a game that for the most part reaches out and over and unites the differing cultures and languages and religions and race even when specific instances doesn’t.   The fact that the majority are appalled by the race rows and the idiots on Friday and the stupidity often displayed by the ruling bodies is in itself a unifying force.    From bad comes good, never the other way round.

There’s idiots and corruption and just plain evil out there, always have been and always will but holding on to what that we hold dear can raise us above that and make us better people.  Let’s play this week in celebration, Sheffield FC…and whilst we are at it, Redgates too.

My friends, who is playing?


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Referendum: 16th October 2012

A shock win for Whites last week I hear, a chuntering Mark at the end of the game I hear, a classic it was called I hear, well I’m secretly hoping (although it’s not so secret now I guess) that the Whites breaking their losing streak is a good omen for this Friday when the mighty Owls take on the  <insert own choice of adjective> Leeds live on Sky.  Incidentally what is the nickname of Leeds?  I honestly don’t know: I do know many of the terms used to refer to them, admittedly never complimentary, not least because we all know that whilst God is Yorkshireman and the glorious hills and vales of Yorkshire are his own country even he hates Leeds – and I have that on good authority by the way, from all the Bishops of Yorkshire and I believe Nick Clegg has committed it to being the single question in a national referendum sometime in 2013.  After all it is by far a more important question to answer (although we surely know the outcome with even greater certainty than a Zimbabwean election) than whether a piddling colony north of the great wall built by my favourite of all Roman emperors wants independence from the very nation that gives them the true context to their existence.    Perhaps it should be a two question referendum: do we all hate Leeds (choice of answers being ‘yes’ or ‘why on earth are you asking me this question, of course the answer is yes’, followed by the question: should we reinstate Hadrian’s Wall and proper border controls (the choice of answers being ‘yes’ or ‘yes and about time too’ or ‘yes and anyone coming south should be made to pay higher tax rates and do 50 hours of community service per week as penance’).   I was actually setting off to write about how last time the game was live on TV Leeds won 6-1 and it was the day of the infamous Gordon Watson dive (youtube it, it’s hilarious, it makes Suarez look believable) and how I have a foreboding that it would be a similar result this week but I got side tracked, and reading back what I have just written feel I should be apologising to Stevie B, and as for Leeds Rob and Angry Mick…some things can never be forgiven.

So to the referendum itself:

Question 1: Do we all hate Leeds?

Question 2: Should we reinstate Hadrian’s Wall and proper border controls?

Question 3: Are you playing this week?

Question 4: How many times do you think I am going to get clobbered by Leeds Rob and Angry Mick this week?

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I’m wasted here: 9th October 2012

Busy busy busy, like a bee, well actually nothing like a bee at all, unless it’s a sedately bee, perhaps the Queen bee back at the hive, not going out buzzing around but sat there waiting on the worker bees to bring all the pollen to her, probably not the best of analogues for one self, get it one self, Queen bee.  My talent is wasted here.

So who is playing this week?

Its 2-0 to the Darks in the 4th World Series, and the Darks lead 2-1 in World Series, sounds like the perfect score for an Andy Murray style choking.



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It takes a great team…:27th September 2012

Not many teams can afford to give the opposition a 7 goal lead before launching their come back, and last week the Whites were certainly not one of those teams.

The question remains is whether it should stand as the decider of the Third World Series and I have to admit to a vested interest in this decision.   For those not there the facts are:

The Darks started with 6 players to the Whites 5 but with the agreement that half way a player would be swopped as it was the previous week when the sides were also uneven (a game I wish to stress the Whites won).

20 mins in and 7 goals to the good the Darks lost a player through injury – and on that note, how you doing Jess?  Was it the new shoes?

The rest of the game was played out 5 v 5 and the result was a draw across that time, however on aggregate Darks were the winners by a country-mile.

I played for the Whites…pause for the inevitable and entirely inaccurate ‘no wonder they lost’ comments from Leeds Rob, Scouse Steve, Angry Mick, Jono, Geordie Dave etc etc to which I reiterate the comments of the Darks on leaving that night that for most of the game I was unplayable…that is a compliment isn’t it, hence the vested interest, obviously I don’t like losing – even in a White shirt – but I do like winning, especially a World Series – although not being on the team when the series is won is very much a hollow victory for myself.

So, a decision is needed: no doubt there will be plenty of opinions.

Other than that…who is playing this week?


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I am a tardy boy: 19th September 2012

My, I am getting tardy, two weeks in a row when my updates have come out on a Wednesday. I need punishing, I need corrective rehabilitation, shackles and restraints, I need taking by a firm hand, I need oh yes I need the red room of pain – nothing of course to do with fifty shades of grey but a Wednesdayites view of having to watch a game at Bramall Lane that doesn’t involve the glorious Owls: traumatised I was.

So who is playing this week?

Last week it was a win for the Whites, I think only by 1 but a win none the less, and a fine game all round to boot., making it Whites 8 Darks 10.  Remember everyone it is first to 11 games, funny how teams on the cusp of glory often momentarily stumble, as if over-awed by the thought of their own potentially impending immortality.

I know Steve The Bruce is out injured, moon-lighting with another team.

Talk to me everyone talk to me.



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Spiffing game last week: 12th September 2012

Both teams were splendid and played the game in an almost nostalgic manner.   Revelling in the innocence of a by-gone age, both teams arrived at the ground by bus or tram or even on a penny farthing, enjoying much hilarity and good natured banter as they travelled alongside the supporters from both teams, how we all laughed when our Tizer bottle spilt.  The teams changed into their latest strips: dark tuxedos for one team and the rather fetching white tux’s for the others and took to the field with the smells of Deep Heat, Brillcream and Old Spice mixing into one heady aroma in the tunnel.   Despite the rather natty new outfits both goalkeepers still chose to wear the now customary flat cap, which they waved to the enthusiastic crowd behind each goal, who in turn responded with a rousing chorus of rattles.  Luckily it was their own supporters they were waving to or the responses may not have been so gentlemanly.

The Ukele Orchestra Of Great Britain played a rather quaint version of the National Anthem and kick off quickly followed.  Both teams were splendid with magnificent individual performances throughout the sides.   Most interesting however was that both coaches chose very fluid formations, with left wing halfs and outside rights rotating positions, sharing defensive and attacking responsibilities, full backs appearing in the scoring third and a centre half who looked more like a winger at times: for neither of these teams were the restrictive formations of some of the London teams and the capacity crowd lapped it up.

Half time came with scores still level, for all the remarkable attacking verve, the defenders were equal to the task, and when the attackers did break through the goalkeeping was at times miraculous or the woodwork came to rescue.  Following a delightful pie at half time and a quick smoke of freshly prepared roll ups handed out by the trainers, they took to the field for the second half to the sweet tones of Jimmy Hill singing ‘The White Cliffs Of Dover’ and the titanic battle continued.

The game ebbed and flowed, both teams having the upper hand for periods at a time but still the deadlock could not be broken.  As the giant clock at the far end of the ground ticked down to full time both teams pushed ever forward for the winner.  Right at the end the mercurial winger Brian ‘the slippery eel’ Macintyre set off on yet another of his mazy runs, past one past two past three, past the first man again, he stopped to catch his breath, flick his hair from his eyes prompting an ‘ole’ from the supporters before he sprinted towards the goal, surely this was it, his shot seemed destined to bring glory to the whites, there was a despairing dive by the ‘keeper, the ball just caught the rim of his cap which lifted its flight just the few short inches needed to take it over the bar.

Somehow it seemed a fitting end to a glorious game, an honourable draw between two of the modern Northern titans of our beautiful game.  The whistle was blown and the teams, congratulating each other on such an epic struggle, left the field to a standing ovation from both sets of supporters to enjoy a pint of the local brewed bear and a hearty pie supper before heading home for a hot bath in front of the fire.

So, best nob nailed boots and baggy shorts at the ready, who is playing this week?


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