Friday, September 05, 2008

Happy Coincidence

Picture from Guido's Friday Caption Contest:

Headline from the BBC:

Balls found inside rattling dog

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And So It Ends

As probably expected after three days of wrangling, Kevin Keegan has resigned his position of manager of Newcastle United. He claims that he could no longer continue in the post as he felt the position of manager should allow him to buy the players he wanted, rather than have players bought buy those higher up the management chain and then have him try to fit them in.

The Board of NUFC claims that if Keegan wasn't happy, he should have raised his concerns to the club rather than just resigning. What he was doing for three days before finally resigning then, I don't know. And let's face it, Keegan has prior form on walking away from a job that wasn't going his way - NUFC in the 90s, England and then Manchester City.

So what next? Well apart from the utter delight no doubt emanating from the unwashed sector of the North East, and the anger of the rent-a-dick mob (and I'm including former players in that group, not just the nylon covered unemployed outside St James's Park) normally on Sky Sports News when any announcement like this regarding NUFC is made, there's not a great deal that can be done, is there?

Supporters stop going to matches

Well, the terraces would be empty and any new manager (potentially even the hated Wise, seemingly the person responsible for Keegan's resignation) would have a ready made excuse for dismal performances. Also, as the majority of people who actually attend games are season ticket holders, the club has already had the money, so not turning up to watch is actually just annoying yourself at your own expense.

Stop buying merchandise

Bit late in the season for that as I'm sure the majority of people who were likely to buy a Toon shirt etc will have already snapped up the slightly redesigned shirts as soon as they came out. Okay, so the combination of not going to the matches and not buying merchandise like programs and 'refreshments' inside the ground might have some financial effect, the majority of NUFC income doesn't come from these sources.

Go to games and protest

Again, this gives any new manager a ready made excuse for poor results - "the players were distracted" - and does more harm than good. Similarly the option of turning up to the game and watching in utter silence makes very little difference (remember how successful Arsenal were despite playing in the Highbury Library) and could also be used as an excuse by whichever puppet is installed in the manager's job.

Boycott of Sports Direct

While this would be more targetted on Mike Ashley than on NUFC as a whole, I'm not sure the potential purchasing power of NUFC's fan base would actually make much difference to Sports Direct's sales. Ashley is - aside from his purchase of NUFC without knowing the full extent of the debts - a fairly shrewd businessman, so any boycott of one of his businesses would no doubt profit another one somewhere down the line.

Petition the LMA to advise no-one takes the job

Quite an entertaining suggestion this, working on the slightly old-fashioned ideas that a petition actually does anything, and that the League Manager's Association have any power whatsoever. Richard Bevan, chief executive of the League Managers' Association, has already told BBC Radio 4 the Magpies had to resolve this issue.
"You can't have an orchestra with three conductors. You won't be very successful and people will leave," he said.
While it would actually be good if the LMA said, as many people already believe, that NUFC is essentially unmanageable with the current 'structure' in place, many other clubs with far richer owners (Chelsea, Man City) are likely to be more successful with people other than the manager buying the players.

So will I be doing? I'm going to do what I honestly can recommend everyone else does: Shut up about NUFC, not talk about them or offer my opinions any further. There's been too much written about the machinations of the NUFC board and management over the past decade, and precious little good to come out of it on the field of play. When it comes down to it, NUFC are now beyond comment except perhaps as a warning to others.

I shall leave you with a quote from the independent fans website from Tuesday:
"SkySports played their joker on Tuesday afternoon by interviewing Freddy Shepherd live on the phone - a timely reminder that we've been through this pantomime before. The faces (and accents) of the cast may change, but the script remains farcical, scarcely believable and unique to this particular theatre of nightmares."

And those will be my last words on NUFC. Ever.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I Am A Geek.

98% Geek



Monday, September 01, 2008


Went to a Humanist Naming Ceremony at the weekend, and heard the woman overseeing the ceremony say something along the lines of "Humanism encompasses atheism and agnosticism ‑ but is an active and ethical philosophy far greater than these negative responses to religion." That's an actual quote from the British Humanist site here

I'm an atheist not as a negative response to religion, I just don't believe in any God. I don't see me believing that the Universe was created by something I don't understand (but wasn't by a mystical being) as being negative. Nor do I actively attempt to stop other people from having their religious beliefs. If they need religion to explain the wonderful chaos of life, then fine. I don't. As long as they don't attempt to convert me to their point of view, then they can go and kill each other over which one of them has the best invisible magic friend.

The fact that the Humanist Society seem to be taking previous Pagan ceremonies as being proof of the long standing existence of Humanism (on their site, where they explain that they're not planning on abolishing Christmas) irritates me, especially as they seem so determined to show that they're not religious in any way shape or form. They even have, in a list of their beliefs, one that says they don't believe in any sacred texts. Which strikes me as ironic.

But that's not my main beef with Humanism as 'practised' in the UK, oh dear me no. Nor the most ironic thing they've ever done.

The thing that seems to grate the most is that the British Humanists seem to have Polly Toynbee as their president. Polly Toynbee, for the uninitiated is a Guardian columnist. She's also a spectacular liar (as shown rather often by the wonderful Factchecking Pollyanna website - now sadly defunct) and was made to look a complete tit on Question Time quite recently by Richard Littlejohn.

Polly Toynbee is one of the Socialist preacher types. Expects other people to do as she says, as she knows best. But she doesn't follow her own rules. Her kids went to private school while she advocates the state school system. She has a holiday villa in Italy while she advocates we travel less to save the planet from Global Warming. You know the type. She was also a massive supporter of Gordon Brown until it became readily apparent to her that he was completely barking mad and not capable of running the country. It took Polly quite a bit longer than it took the rest of us to notice, so blinded was she by her devotion to Gordon.

Which isn't very Humanist. Or perhaps it is. Who cares?

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