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Showing posts from 2011

A Small Island, A Big Derby

I feel under a bit of pressure writing this blog now, as thanks to the subject matter of my previous entry it was read by a hell of a lot more people than usual! Will they expect more of the same? Or will they just take what I normally write? Well neither of that really matters at the moment, as I am once again writing about non-league football on Canvey Island, and more importantly, a match taking place on Boxing Day.
First though, a very small bit of history and stuff for you. Canvey Island is a small place deep in the heart of Essex, often overlooked due to its location near Southend and Basildon, and normally remembered for the floods of 1953 and the large gas/petrol works on the island. Well on this small island there are two football clubs, those being Canvey Island FC and Concord Rangers FC. Canvey Island FC has been around since 1926, surviving the floods and having varied success over the years. The big moment in Canvey’s history was when local businessman Jeff King took over …

A Bit Of Non League Passion

Yes this is another sports based blog, but this is one focused solely on football of the non-league variety, and this is another one that's been going round in my head for a while waiting to be typed up!Now everyone is familiar with professional football, even if you don't follow it there is enough news around the sport that its bloody hard to miss. However its when you look deeper at the sport and take notice of the grass roots, that's when you get a whole new appreciation for the game and what playing it entails.At the moment there are two non-league football clubs on Canvey, the town which i have called home for all my 28 years, Canvey Island FC & Concord Rangers FC. Now when i was younger i only knew about Canvey, and even had a season ticket one year. Well after a while that got left behind and i got fully into the professional game. Over the past few years though that's changed. After going to see Canvey a couple of times i was starting to get the bug back, b…

A Year Of Change

I was reminded on Sunday during a conversation with someone who i recently saw for the first time in ages that i hadn't written a blog in a long time. Not for any particular reason though, I've thought of plenty of things to talk about but just haven't sat down and put it onto a computer! So what'll come over the next week or two is a bit of a blog blitz, stuff I've thought about writing down but never actually got round to doing. Where else to start but with yours truly eh? The past 12 months have been full of change for me, with plenty going on left right and centre to be honest. This time last year i was just moving into a control room based role at work, where i remain to this day. The actual job is constantly evolving and sending challenges my way, but even though the circumstances behind the change weren't ideal, i wouldn't go back on it. Being a Station Manager, and a manager in general, hasn't been doing it for me for some time, and I've mad…

Harsh Reactions

Well number 2 on my list of blogs to get done focuses on sport, and rightly so considering there's a fair amount of it i watch, even if the majority is just football and the NFL. The title of the blog is about reactions quite clearly, and to be honest the majority of sports fans are guilty of very harsh reactions after a decision/result doesn't go their way. Players and coaches do too, but my focus here is us fans. Whether its football, NFL, cricket,rugby or whatever, we seem to have three reaction times which govern our feelings of support for our teams after a loss.Immediately after a loss the majority of us react angrily, thinking of excuses and denying what we've just seen with utter disbelief. A few days later if its mentioned the reaction is a bit more measured, the result has been reflected upon and we've accepted what happened, even if we still ain't happy with it. Then finally there is the moment the following week when you react with optimism and ignoranc…

It's Been A While

Exactly as the title states, it has been a while since I posted a blog, with the previous one being a review of the Pure Festival weekend. Since then not too much has happened i guess, but enough to think i should start blogging again after a short break!

First up, I'll pick up where i left off last time, on the subject of whisky. Last year i spent £95 on a ticket for a premium whisky tasting, giving me unlimited tastings, a two course meal, and all in all a fantastic experience. Well the show returned this year, and was based at Vinopolis by London Bridge. Instead of paying out myself though for the ticket, it was given to me as a birthday present by my mum and nan. As part of this, i got to take my Uncle Brian with me, who himself enjoys a whisky or two, but hasn't had the experience of a tasting like this featuring some of the  worlds best whiskies.

So off we went, with me knowing to an extent what was coming, and my uncle looking forward to the experience ahead. For Brian …

A Pure Festival Review

Welcome one and all to what is a blog centred on just one topic this time, Pure Festival. Now for those of you that may need enlightening, I really enjoy my whisky! I’ve attended whisky tastings and events, visited distilleries and am a regular member/user of Connosr.com, a whisky-focused social networking site. And it’s through that last point that I come to the topic of this blog.
Whilst on a tasting with the guys behind Connosr (brothers Jean-Luc & Pierre), they mentioned that they were working on a music and whisky festival, looking to bring fans of both subjects together and introduce them to something they may not have experienced before. Well the idea took off and this past weekend at The Garage in Highbury Pure Festival was brought into existence. Bands were playing upstairs from 16:30 until 20:30, with the downstairs area filled with a whisky tasting from 16:00 until 19:00, and more bands from 19:30 until late.
Getting there early to lend a hand in any way I could, I began …

Wonderings Of A Weekend

Time once again for me to find an outlet for my thoughts and talk about shit i like, yeah that's right, its blog time! I know you've all been eagerly anticipating this moment!So I've just had a pretty full on weekend, after 11 shifts in a row it felt good to get away from work! Friday saw my first darts match of the season take place. Regulars know i started in a team last year, and we lost more than we won. Well this season we play on Friday instead of Wednesday, and we have a couple of new players, but the first result didn't change sadly. We lost 6-4 on the night, but it got us started and game 2 tomorrow night should be fun! Saturday night i decided to spend my winnings from a football accumulator the week before, heading out on the lash with Ben, for our mate James' sisters birthday. It was a good laugh, a lot was drunk and fun was had, although with hindsight i admit i may not be able to binge drink like i used to and like my youngest brother can! And we both…

Reading, and finding The Dark Path

Reading, an essential skill that we learn very early on in our lives, and yet as we grow older too many of us leave this skill to dwindle and just do the basics in every day life. I was like that a long time ago, after leaving school I read only what needed to be read, instructions that were put in front of me, things I had to sign, bills etc. But thanks to a colleague at work who pretty much thrust a book into my face and said I should read it, I began to read for fun again, and I continue to do so to this day! There is so much that you get from reading a book, whether it’s a thriller, fantasy, biography or crime. There are all the emotions on the pages, and you almost can visualise and feel what is going on within the story. It’s a pastime I enjoy and loads of others do too.
I’ve been called a “book snob” before by a member of my family, as she was under the impression that I only read books by a select few authors, and refused to open my mind to new (or old) writers. Well in a way …

A Bit Of A Catch Up!

Hello one and all, welcome back to my blog, which will once again be vague on my emotions and far too detailed on the sports that I follow with a passion! Add in a couple of bits about work and that’s pretty much it! I’ve covered everything there so you don’t even have to read the whole thing!
I write this as a weekend begins which is quite literally full to the brim with sport. First off the NFL regular season started Thursday night, with the Green Bay Packers beating the New Orleans Saints by 8 points (winning me a little bit of dosh). The team I follow, the New York Jets play on Sunday night/Monday morning at home to the Dallas Cowboys. This morning the Rugby World Cup kicked off with New Zealand beating Tonga fairly easily. England start their campaign tomorrow morning at 9:30 our time, and I’ll be at work keeping an eye on it! The Championship is back as well after the international break, so my beloved Hammers are in action at home to Portsmouth. We’ve not had a home win yet this…

A Week To Focus

Its been a while since my last entry, and i thought it was about time i did another one to update everything!I am back at work this week after having 7 days off, and as always it was tough getting up for the early shift after a week of sleeping in! I needed the week off, didn't do a huge amount of stuff, but was able to chill out, think about everything that's gone on recently and prioritise a few things. It was almost like a detox for my head, certainly not for my liver though! Went to see West Ham on Wednesday, the less said about that experience the better, and went to 2 Concord Rangers home games, which also didn't end too well! Friday was the interesting one though, as me and Ben played in a charity darts night in Farringdon. It was a great laugh, and got more out of the night than expected. Great bunch of lads, a top laugh was had, and we won 3 of our 5 matches, one of which being a sort of West Ham - Orient grudge match! Ok so we didn't make it past the first ro…

New Season, New Start, Same Old West Ham?

After seeing the result of West Ham’s first game of the season this year, first impressions would be that the title of this blog is spot on. Well I beg to differ, if only in a small way.
Yes the first result of the season wasn’t the way we wanted to start things, especially if Big Sam is right in that we can only lose around 8 games if we want to earn promotion at the first attempt. But there are many ways to look at Sundays’ game and see what we can learn from it. Starting with the negatives I guess, and it has to be the glaringly obvious lack of firepower the team has up front. Our two fit strikers (Carlton Cole and Fredric Piquionne) were ineffective against Cardiff, having a few chances but not really coming close on any of them. To win games you quite simply have to score more goals than your opponents, and as was the problem last year, we cannot score the goals. Strikers are a priority and supposedly have been all summer, however only now has someone been signed, John Carew, the …

A Tough Week All Round

Proper blog time once again, some of you may be relieved as I wont talk about football in this post, mainly because I’ve got a whole separate entry coming after this focusing on West Ham! But I have a few other bits to talk about, and it won’t be about sport!
Obviously first of all I will quickly mention a recent event in my life. Some of you already know, but I recently split up with Gemma, my long term girlfriend of 4 years. We remain good friends, as we still get on great, and we still talk to each other regularly. That’s all I will say though, as to be honest there are some things that should remain private, the reasons etc are down to us and nobody else. I thank you all for your understanding!
Moving onwards and I can’t really ignore the big topic that has been a big part of the news this past week, the civil unrest across the whole of England. Now I don’t claim to know all the details, I only can go by what I read and see, and form my own opinions, just as you can, so I may have t…

From Parents & The Lockout, To A Pure Festival

Hello one and all, time once again for some varied ramblings from yours truly!To start with, I'll almost follow on from my last blog. Anyone who read that knows that i spoke about my dad a fair bit, well sticking with the whole parent thing its the turn of my mum this time. Now i won't go too soppy as i know she reads these blogs from time to time and i don't want to embarrass her!Anyway, this past Sunday was her birthday, and to celebrate the family treated her (and ourselves) to a buffet lunch at the local Indian restaurant. Needless to say everyone got their moneys worth, and it was a struggle walking home for the lot of us! My brother Stephen put in some extra effort as well by buying a cake and having it at the restaurant ready for our visit. Credit where its due on that one, it was a great surprise that mum clearly enjoyed! I've got her a present, but due to release dates she's not got it yet, and thanks to that she's pretty much figured out what it is!No…

Fatherly Times

Hello one and all, time again for another blog from yours truly!I don't say much about my old man on here, but thought that i would change that today. You see today is the old boys birthday, and myself and my brothers have just spent the weekend with him celebrating it. Saturday saw me, Ben and dad head to the local Bingo hall for some games, not the most extravagant of nights but it was good fun for all. It helped that both my dad and me walked away winners of course! Sunday we went to Southend to see my other brother Stephen and we spent the rainy day along the seafront playing prize bingo and sticking money in the 2p slider machines! Oh and we treated dad to a birthday dinner as well! Simple pleasures but we all had a good day and it helped clear a few heads after recent weeks.I don't say it much, but i have a lot of respect for my dad, he is very technically minded and i would love to be able to do some of the things he does. My ability to make, build or fix things is shoc…

A Catch Up!

I’ve become quite slack lately with these blogs, so I will make an effort to get them back on track and fill of useful ramblings and thoughts! Well I say useful, but that all depends on what you find useful!
There’s a lot of stuff going on in my head right now, and has been for a little while, but some things should stay there, and won’t be broadcast to the world (or at least the few people that read this). Got a few sport-related bits as usual, work as well, and some other bits.
To start with the most important thing, West Ham! It’s summer, which means the transfer rumour mill is in full flow, and you can never tell what’s right and what isn’t! With us being relegated there were bound to be players leaving, but I didn’t expect to be bringing in a player of the calibre of Kevin Nolan! That was a great bit of business by the Davids and of course Big Sam! I am optimistic for next season, but of course there is a long way to go and plenty of football to be played until I can relax again! T…

Another Railsports Success?

It’s been a while since I last sat down and gave a blog a serious bit of thought, so as a weekend away with work has just come to an end I reckoned it would be an ideal time to unleash one. Now at the moment there is a lot going on in my head, however this blog will be the usual sport/whisky ramble that you have surely become accustomed to by now!
First up I’ll talk about the weekend just gone, and a trip to Blackpool for an event known as Railsports. Every year the various Rail companies through the country put together and attend a set of sports games in Blackpool. Sports involved include football, netball, chess, cricket, rounders, table tennis and darts. My sport of choice for the past two years has been darts, and last year I was actually quite successful! Going in with no expectations I surprised myself and a few others by getting to the final of the singles tournament, so this year my hopes were high of either repeating that or maybe even going one step better. However that was …

The Final Conference

The NBA Playoffs are still moving onwards, and since I last waffled on about it a lot of things have changed!

I’ll start with the Western Conference, and last time I looked the San Antonio Spurs were about to be dropped out of the first round by the Memphis Grizzlies. Well the Spurs are usually a solid team and one that would perform well in the post-season; however they did fall by the wayside and were dropped out of the playoffs in spectacular fashion! Another team that I thought would do the business and make their way into the finals were the Los Angeles Lakers. However that idea couldn’t have been more wrong, as they were unceremoniously swept aside in 4 games by the Dallas Mavericks in the Conference Semi Finals!

Of course that put the Mavericks through to the Western Conference Finals, and their opponents are the Oklahoma City Thunder, who have gone past the Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies in their playoff run. The series is currently tied at 1 game each, with the 3rd game…

Down In The Dumps

So that’s it, my beloved West Ham United have been condemned to at least a season in the Championship after being relegated from the Premiership this past weekend. It’s not as though we didn’t see it coming though, results this season have been shockingly poor, and most of the team have played poorly throughout the year. But no matter how predictable the end result was, it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.
It has been a disaster from start to finish, with the team giving us false hope at times with decent cup runs and some huge victories against teams like Tottenham and Liverpool. However it was the way the team repeatedly collapsed midway through games that led to our downfall, the sheer stupidity and bloody-mindedness of the tactics and player selection didn’t help either. The fans of this wonderful club had high hopes when the ownership hassle was finally resolved over a season ago, but since then mistakes have been made on many counts, no more so than with the appointment, …

Draft Day Decisions

And so to my second sports related blog in fairly quick succession and this one is focused on the NFL and the current goings on there!
To start with, a note on the CBA, it’s still not been agreed! However a court has granted an injunction to lift the lockout, which means the players can return to team facilities again. There are so many different bits about the injunction though, and I won’t claim to know how it all works. But from what I understand the league year will start next week and the NFL will seemingly run on the 2010 rules. The draft was affected in the sense that players could not be traded for picks, a pick could only be traded for another pick (not necessarily the same year though). With that I would have thought trades would be less frequent in this draft, but as I’ll note later it didn’t stop the teams from shifting picks around.
I’ll admit I hadn’t seen much of the 2011 Draft Prospects before the first round of the draft took place last night, but I’ll detail some of t…

The Playoffs Are Here!

Hello there one and all, it’s about time I caught up with a few things going on in the world of sports, so what follows will be two blogs in fairly quick succession! The second will be about the NFL, but first up is a catch up on the NBA Playoffs!
The first round of the 2011 NBA playoffs is coming to a close already, with 16 teams going down to just 8 for the Conference Semi Finals. Over in the West the Oklahoma Thunder have seen off the Denver Nuggets, Dallas have beaten Portland, and the Lakers sent the Hornets home to all get one step closer to the finals. The only first round series undecided yet is between the 1 seed San Antonio Spurs and 8 seed Memphis Grizzlies, where the underdogs are winning 3-2 overall! The East though are all set for the semis, with my Chicago Bulls beating the Indiana Pacers to set up a series against the Atlanta Hawks (who saw off the Orlando Magic), and the Boston Celtics will take on the Miami Heat after the teams beat the New York Knicks and Philadelphi…

Deceptively Optimistic

It’s that time once again for me to focus a blog on my beloved West Ham United. It’s been a while since I’ve ranted about the team, so I thought that with the time left in the season dwindling away it was prime time to bring them up again!
Being a West Ham fan isn’t easy, it never has been! The team will lift you up to the highest heights, and then drop you right back down to earth with a huge bump, then bring you right back up again, and so on! And generally there are more lows than highs, and this season follows that pattern! Recently there was a huge high around the club, after victories against Burnley (FA Cup), Liverpool and Stoke (Premiership). But the return to earth happened shortly after with a loss to Stoke in the FA Cup after playing a quite poor game of football.
A massive draw away to Tottenham then came our way, which raised hopes a little bit, however since then the team have played without passion and collapsed at home to Man Utd and away to Bolton. The league tells you…

Much Needed Time Off

Blog time once again, and this one will enlighten you as to how I’ve spent my recent 12 days away from work, which to be honest have been fantastic! It was just a shame that it all had to end and I had to come back to work this past Monday.
My leave officially started after working an early shift on Tuesday 29th March, and it started by going to Wembley for my first full team England game. I’ve been to Wembley a few times before, but those were for NFL games, so I was quite excited to be finally seeing the full England team for the first time. The game was England vs. Ghana, and to be honest it was a bit of a second string England team on the night. However that didn’t detract from the atmosphere there, as it was absolutely electric. The game didn’t disappoint either, as it was end to end, and the Ghanaians put up one hell of a fight. It finished 1-1, and that was a fair result when all was said and done. Really enjoyable experience and one that I will be keen to replicate in the futu…

A Wonderful Distillery Experience

I had typed this blog entry out on my phone during my train journey home from Scotland yesterday, however due to technical issues it failed to upload and I lost the whole thing! So here is a second attempt at writing why I have had a fantastic weekend!

First a bit of background, and regular readers would know that I am a member of a whisky-based social networking website called Connosr.com. Well recently they held a random draw of members to attend a special event they were putting on at the Glengoyne Distillery just outside of Glasgow, and I was one of the lucky names drawn out of the hat. So after a bit of consideration I invited my other half Gemma so that we could make a bit of a weekend of it, and this past Friday we made our way up on the train. After a total of 5 or 6 hours of journey time we reached the hotel, called the Kirkhouse Inn located just outside Milngavie near Glasgow, and we both were pleasantly surprised. The place was very high quality, and considering we only pa…

A Simple Take On The Lockout

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The NFL is currently in a state of limbo, things are extremely uncertain at the moment and neither the fans, players nor even the team owners know fully what is going on and what the future holds. First a bit of a back story, and then I’ve tried to collate what info I could find and put it simply for people like myself to understand!
In order for the NFL to keep going, it has a set of terms and conditions that is agreed between the NFL Team Owners, the NFL and the Players Union (NFLPA) called the Collective Bargaining Agreement. This determines how the league is run, what the salary cap for teams is, benefits for players either injured or retired, how many games there are in a season, and so much more. So understandably, this agreement has to be extremely detailed and set in stone fir the league to work, and the latest one expired earlier this month. The NFL, Owners and NFLPA were in negotiations right up until the last minute, and even after a 7 day extension still a deal could not be…