Thursday, 16 October 2014

It's the hope that kills you!

Supporting your team's meant to be a form of escape from life. A release from daily drudgery or a transfer of stress.

Instead, it can send you off into a spiral of doom to a cul de sac of despair.

And when you mix it with politics, what an explosive cocktail that can set off.

Albandoned! Balkan battle is off.
Civilian use of drones is set for a big future - indeed scores of new ideas for commercial use are being devised everyday. But drone use as protest in international football saw a world first when a flag of Greater Albania was flown into a match with Serbia.

Match Abandoned. What a load of Balkans!

Sir Alex Ferguson wasn't the only Manchester United man "distraught" with Nani's red card against Real Madrid in the Champions League.

An armchair United fan from Bingham in Nottinghamshire was so incensed, he phoned emergency services on 999 to complain. Needless to say, the ref remained firm!

When passion outpaces logic that's what happens.

In any other walk of life, you might be sectioned for such behaviour. So why does football always seem to explain and excuse temporary madness?

Erica Roe in her home kit
Do you remember the United fan who lined up with the rest of the team wearing replica kit with black gym socks before kick off? It took stewards 90 seconds before they realised he was an interloper.  Facing forward, arms tucked behind his back, Gary Neville looked quizzical out of his side while trying to  observe the anthem!

TV companies have a policy of turning the camera away from those who invade the pitch lest it encourages a sea of future disruptions.

I well recall a streaker kicking off the 2002 Champions League Final at Hampden. He dribbled through the stationary team of Galacticos (£300m of talent), all waiting for kick-off and the naked man scored! He then did a celebratory moonwalk to a chorus of cheers before the men in yellow and orange bibs whisked him away.
The men in orange and yellow, henchmen the lot of 'em
(By the way I sat next to Andrei Kanchelskis at that game with a bunch of his Russian mates, who'd smuggled vodka in a flask in and were cheerily drinking it during the match. They also didn't see the whole of the game, but that's a different story).

What about the Walsall fan who streaked in the pouring rain during a League Cup tie with West Ham. He was led away by stewards stark bollock naked wrapped in a rug!

But his and the stewards night was far from over.

He then ran home through the streets of Bescot, dried himself down, put fresh clothes on and went back to the game. He got in to the stadium and then streaked again in the second half!

We'd be nowhere without the passions of football fans - and long may it continue!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Aston Villa Podcast #2: With A Little Help From Our Friends!

After our first podcast was listened to by over a thousand Villa fans, we got a bit ahead of ourselves - rather like U2 uploading their latest album to unsuspecting iTunes subscribers!

Anyway, it didn't stop us! This is a chat between me (Bono) and Howard Hodgson (The Edge) - but the content is provided by you - the Villa fans who tweeted us before the show with your questions, views and thoughts.

And we open with a tribute to the late Dave Ismay, who loved Villa so much, he wrote and sung a song!

Monday, 22 September 2014

Football's modern day circus could serve an even higher role

For those of us who remember Chelsea as a yo-yo club and Manchester City as whipping boys with a penchant for relegation, these are strange days indeed.

Money buys success but little else. 

There's much wrong with the modern game. Still, for all the ugliness of £300k a week loanees and corrupt governing bodies, football does spread the tabernacle of peace among all the dwellers on earth.

And let us say Amen! 

It literally crowds the senses across digital media taking attentions away from war and pestilence everywhere its syndicated.

The word Messi must cross more cultural and language boundaries than any other. 

Football's size in commercial terms, it's power for our attention and disproportional importance make it more "real" than it used to be. 

The proof lies in any news report you see at 10 o'clock. Next to the reporter in the warzone or refugee camp will be five hungry children staring out at you, three wearing Barcelona and Manchester United shirts. Hollywood has nothing, nothing on the power of football.

Is American soft power declining? Yeah, it started with Abramovich buying into London.

But the more money in the game, the more fragile it becomes. How can it keep growing? Won't it stagnate and start to look stale if the money flatlines? The growth is unsustainable. There's a tendency to tinkering. Football's governing bodies will mess it up. Civilisation usually ends in self-destruction. It'll be trashed just to be rebuilt again.

But such is it's growing cultural power, we're left with a huge deficit of quality leadership. Where are the world class politicians that could gear football to a higher level? Blatter and Platini dither and piddle around its edges. 

What unites people more than anything else? It starts with World and ends with Cup. It starts with Champions and ends with League.

Football's constituency is wider than religion. How about a role for the Beautiful Game in the United Nations? 

Maybe Bill Shankly will be proved right - one day. 

Friday, 22 August 2014

Now the LMA apology

It took an uncomfortable overnight's sleep-on-it, but now the LMA have apologized for the world's most unfortunate news release - sent concerning Malky Mackay:

P.S. Good news, they won't be commenting on Mackay again so he can relax now! With friends like this, who needs enemies? 

Having to apologize for racism is modern-day career suicide

The LMA apologises for some of its wording, in its release yesterday, which was inappropriate and has been perceived to trivialise matters of a racist, sexist or homophobic nature.  That was certainly not our intention. 

It is beyond argument that any comments that are discriminatory, even used in private, are totally unacceptable.  

The LMA remains absolutely aware of our responsibility to the game and to promote and uphold the highest standards of behaviour. The LMA will not be commenting further on the allegations relating to Malky Mackay whilst the FA conducts its investigation, other than to repeat that both the LMA and Malky will be cooperating fully.

We will continue to work with all of the game's stakeholders to address the important issues of respect and discriminatory behaviour in all its forms.