The Leicester City Alternative End of Season Awards for 2013-14

The Claridge Shin ‘Scenes of the Season’ Award

Scenes… Kasper spares Leicester’s blushes

After a flurry of late goals this campaign there are plenty of contenders for ‘scenes of the season’. Contenders included Dyer’s late strikes to take ties against Bolton Wanderers and Fulham to 4–3, Danny Drinkwater’s stunning late equaliser against Watford and Andy King’s rocket at Bloomfield Road. But this year’s recipient is Kasper Schmeichel’s ‘goal’ against Yeovil.

Of course, the records state that Chris Wood was the man that netted City’s dramatic last-gasp leveller at home to the Glovers this March but those there, know the truth of how The Foxes keeper headed the ball on to the cross bar and over the line before the Kiwi made it count. As the goals hit the net or fell visibly over the line, whichever you prefer, the King Power Stadium erupted as the unbeaten run was kept alive. It may have ‘only’ been against Yeovil but the Glovers’ spoiling tactics were providing the Foxes with a real test that only a Great Dane had the answer to.

The Dennis Wise ‘Twunt of the Year’ Award


No photos… Billy Davies unfinished business of making Forest completely crap was finally completed.

After some intense deliberation (inside my own head), there were only a few stand-out candidates for this award. Harry Redknapp and Joey Barton’s futile attempts to unsettle City’s promotion bid weren’t successful enough for either to scoop the award. Yet another trophy to elude Rangers this season. The Football League could too take a roasting for their inability to correct the aforementioned goal farce against Yeovil Town and Pavel Pogrebnyak made a late charge for the dong with his amateur dramatics on Monday night. But the winner simply has to be the head of Britain’s biggest bottling job 30 miles north of Filbert Way, Billy Davies.

Injuries, injuries, bad referees. Baggy-eyed Billy Davies is an odious little prick. Let’s not beat around the bush, nobody likes him. In the rare event of a disappointing result, Foxes fans have found solace in the circus taking place at Nottingham Forest this year, who failed once more to ‘show us how to win the league’. Billy’s bottlers lie just 31 points behind their local non-rivals and of course that’s the referee’s fault for allowing 10-man Leicester to deservedly leave the City Ground with a point. Nae comment.

The Filbert Fox ‘Foxiest Fox Of The Year’ Award

Thumbs up… Kasper gets fans’ tails up

This award is strictly for the ladies and gays or indeed any admirer of the male form. Plenty lay a claim to the award this season, David Nugent remains ever popular as does the unfathomable cuteness of Anthony Knockaert. But neither did enough to take first place. In fact, not even the emerging beauty of pretty-boy Matty James is enough to take the gong from Belvoir Drive’s resident stud, Kasper Schmeichel.

Is this a surprise? Probably not, he’s always been a strapping man, and with the addition of facial hair well… well… there’s not much more to say at all. Just take 30 seconds or minutes to stare and take the full beauty of this Nordic God in.


The Frank Sinclair ‘Comedy Goal of the Year’ Award

Bullet… Wood’s stunner won worldwide acclaim.

The own-goal for City against Derby, Nugent’s first against Derby at home, blah blah blah. Now, the other ‘contenders’ are out of the way we can swiftly award this prestigious title to Chris Wood.

Ironically, the New Zealand international’s goal at Burnley would go down as one of the actual best of the season but was it better than his crunching header at Watford from all of 18 yards? I don’t think so. Manuel Almunia provided a stunning assist to allow Wood to expertly adjust his position and plunge his head forward in the space of milliseconds. Unfathomable skill, I’m sure you agree.

The Yann Kermorgant ‘Stupid Decision of the Year’ Award

For fox sake… Kasper makes an uncharacteristic error.

I know we’ve had very little to moan about this season (long may it continue) but that doesn’t mean our blue and white heroes haven’t been prone to the odd head-scratching error. Jamie Vardy’s reluctance to punish Yeovil whilst one-on-one with the keeper, mistaking himself as offside had fans slamming their heads in to their hands as if Sol Bamba was back and on one of his infamous midfield runs. But the winning moment is Schmeichel’s punch at Blackpool.

In truth, Kasper’s dropping the ball in to his own net at Donny, as if he’d been juggling butter and Durex play before the match could too have scooped the prize. However, it wasn’t quite as bad as Schmeichel’s ill-advised decision to lay the smack down on a Blackpool player in the 90th minute, costing City a penalty and ultimately two points. It also tarnished some pretty scenic scenes after King’s wonder strike 15 minutes before. Bloody hell, Kasper. You’re lucky you’re so gorgeous.

The Aman Verma ‘Signing of the Season’ Award

Algerian ace… Mahrez has been a bright spark since January.

As always with Pearson at the helm, his right-hand man Steve Walsh has produced some stunning signings for the Foxes. Despite their deceptive appearances silver foxes Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Kevin Phillips have possessed the attacking intelligence to win points. Polish brute Marcin Wasilewski has possessed the elbows defensive presence to force Liam Moore out of the starting XI and Dean Hammond too has contributed well when needed but this year’s recipient is silky Algerian, Riyad Mahrez.

Leicester have been missing FLAIR and PASHUUNNNN since Danns left to join Bolton on loan (I’m being totally facetious) but Riyad Mahrez fills the gap nicely. Mahrez’s pace, attacking vision and his capability to score goals like ‘that one’ against Blackpool have earned him many admirers in just a few short weeks.

The Alan Birchenall & Tony Currie ‘Romantic Moment of the Season’ Award

Don’t Sell Knockaert… Tony K sends Leicester up.

The romance of Kasper’s goal against Yeovil Town pales in to insignificance against two classic Tony K moments. It’s hard to pick between his goal at Watford and his goal against Sheffield Wednesday but the latter just pips the other to the post.

It was overwhelmingly satisfying to see Leicester’s favourite Frenchman vanquish his demons as Knockaert scored the second goal of Leicester’s rout at Vicarage Road. The cute little bastard stormed over to the away end celebrating, surrounded by every single outfield team mate. As they returned to the pitch, Knockaert looked up once more at the travelling City fans and kissed the shirt’s famous badge. Knockaert’s goal against Sheffield Wednesday was typically even more poetic of football. Having not scored in a fair old while, it seemed only right that the same man who had inadvertently caused so much heartbreak the year before was the one that had given the Foxes their return to the top flight. Majestic stuff.

The Andy King ‘We Forgot That You Were Here’ Award

Cakewalk… The Foxes win promotion with 6 games to spare.

In truth this award should justly go to the noisy swarms of Watford, Forest and Derby fans after May 12th last year. However, I am going to go ahead and award this to every single club in the league (except maybe Burnley).

Let’s be honest, it’s been a relatively comfortable season for Leicester ever since Boxing Day and even the most ungracious of fans would struggle to ignore our dominance in the second half of the campaign. So thanks to all the other 23 (22) clubs for propping us up this season. I hope not to see any of you any time soon.

We are Premier League!

Bottles are strewn everywhere, party streamers litter the floor and thirty thousand headaches are felt across Leicestershire as Jamie Vardy’s party started three days earlier than planned.

Results on Saturday, accompanied by a 2–1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday saw Leicester City end their painful decade of exile from the top-flight. It wasn’t how we wanted to go up but how could we complain? Almost a year after what can only be described as the cruelest play-off defeat in football history, the Foxes sewed up promotion with an incredible six games to spare. Fans around the country went berzerk. The players took to the city to get intoxicated and Pearson, well, Pearson probably did the same in some sleepy Shropshire village.

Move over, Ellen... The squad celebrate promotion with a selfie

Move over, Ellen… The squad celebrate promotion with a selfie

To many, City’s inevitable return to the top flight will not be a big deal. Some will say it had been merely a formality for City to go up, that other clubs have spent longer trying to get back to the promised land. But in truth, Leicester’s jubilation was not measured in time last night rather the pain that had foregone this memorable day. Since City’s last relegation in 2004, the Foxes sunk lower and lower in the second tier before finally being relegated to League One for the first time in their history. City are known for being ‘bridesmaids of football’ – we’ve never won the FA Cup, we’ve never won the league, we’ve come as close as you can get but we’ve never done it. It was a badge of pride for us that City had never left the top two divisions, a club now restricted to just eight sides, so to lose that was a big deal – the club’s lowest ever point. Manager chopping Mandaric astutely brought in Nigel Pearson and ironically, Leicester’s lowest ebb produced one of the club’s best seasons for years. Champions with 96 points.

Despair… Foxes fans see the club at its lowest

The next season too was a dream for the Foxes. Whilst not the best squad on paper, Pearson’s ability to instill character in to his sides helped City along the way to securing an unlikely play-off place. Leicester played out an enthralling play-off semi-final against Cardiff that ended 3-3 on aggregate after two legs and after extra time. Penalties awaited and things were all square until Yann Kermorgant, a player who had featured very little in the rest of the season, arrogantly chipped the ball, for it to be easily swatted away. City went on to lose. A stunning comeback for Leicester ended in the cruelest fashion. Signs were good for the Foxes, who were now backed by current owners, the Srivdhannaprabbhas. The owners were willing to ring the changes and spend to get the Foxes back to the top. Leicester City were bombarded with media talk for the next two seasons about how promotion would be merely a cakewalk with the new investment. However both Paulo Sousa and ex-England boss Sven Goran Eriksson failed to deliver, and too left City in a poor financial state.

The Srivdhannaprabbhas looked once more to Nigel Pearson to lead the Foxes out of a tough patch. Pearson up sticks and left the better-placed Hull City for a romantic return to Filbert Way. Pearson lead Leicester to 9th in the remainder of the 2011–12 season. His first full year back in charge saw City reach 6th, having been in poll position for automatic promotion as late as February. Pearson led City to a memorable 3–2 win at local rivals Nottingham Forest on the last day of the season, their first league triumph at the City Ground since 1972. As a result, Leicester nicked the last play-off spot at the expense of both Forest and Bolton Wanderers. In the first leg of the semi-final against Watford, Nugent scored a header to give Leicester the advantage. However, it was the second leg that would be the more memorable. The aggregate score was 2–2 going in to the 90th minute, Anthony Knockaert was judged to have been fouled, giving Leicester a penalty and a chance to get to Wembley. The Frenchman stepped up and saw his penalty saved, allowing Watford to counter and Deeney score the sucker punch that sparked a pitch invasion from the Watford fans. Leicester players and fans collapsed to the ground in pure despair. Many saw that as Leicester’s best chance to return to the top flight with money looking tight and Financial Fair Play rearing its ugly head. But few envisaged City using this heartache as the catalyst for a record breaking 2013–14 (I did…sort of).

Allez les bleus… Knockaert was Leicester’s hero once more.

This season has been a blast. Leicester have taken the league by the scruff of their neck. From the get go, Leicester have looked to rid the monkeys on their back starting with Middlesbrough away on the opening day, it was a crucial for City to recover from a play-off hangover as quickly as possible and they did with a scintillating second half comeback. The Foxes too went back to Vicarage Road and exorcised their demons with a 3–0 drubbing, complete with a stunning volley from Anthony Knockaert. The character from the squad is, for me, the reason why Leicester find themselves promoted with a month of the league campaign to spare. Late points won against Birmingham, Bolton, Leeds, Forest, Blackpool, Yeovil, Wigan and Watford (ha) have gone a long way to sewing up promotion – proving the mantra “Foxes never Quit!” to be nothing but true.

This season has been a dream come true. Foxes of this generation, myself included have had so little to shout about. It was only fitting that Anthony Knockaert was the man to send the Foxes up after his shortcomings at Watford last season. His character was rewarded as he took to Twitter to boast about “the best day in his life”, the day Leicester made it back to the big time. And with a manager as successful as Nigel Pearson, a young, hungry squad likely to improve and owners willing to do all they can, there is no reason why the Foxes can’t establish themselves. So maybe we haven’t had to wait as long as for this as say Wednesday or Forest but we have been through the mill these last 10 years and yesterday, all of a sudden the pain we felt at Stoke, Cardiff and Watford was worth it for this moment. So let’s pack Filbert Way on Tuesday night. Get out the blue and white, turn up the Status Quo and pour a Singha beer because Jamie Vardy’s having a party – and you’re all invited!

How 9 Years of Television Were Destroyed in 43 Minutes

Kids, let me tell you the story of how nine years of pretty solid television was undone in a catastrophic forty five minutes of nonsense…

Did I lose a slap bet to Carter Bays and Craig Thomas? Because it feels like it. How I Met Your Mother, one of my favourite TV shows signed off last Monday night with it’s long-awaited series finalé.  Fans had waited for years and years to see Ted Mosby finally meet the mother of his children and we did. However, we also got the ending that nobody wanted to see. Ted still somehow ended up with Robin.

I never anticipated that the final episode could go so horribly wrong but it did and for several different reasons; Firstly, the swift and lazy dismantling of Robin and Barney’s marriage was thoroughly unsatisfying. The viewers had spent the last three or four seasons accepting that Robin and Barney, and the vast majority felt Barney was the best match for Robin. Even those who did prefer Robin and Ted’s relationship seemingly accepted that they were destined for other people. However, Robin and Barney ran in to one small spot of bother and poof, they were divorced. The problem of travelling too much is easily repairable but instead they split. We then must question why on earth we had to sit through twenty two tedious and quite frankly below par episodes based around the weekend of their wedding, only for them to break up ten television minutes afterwards.

Major disappointment… Most HIMYM fans felt let down by the show’s ending.

What was even more upsetting was the undoing of Barney’s transformation. For years, viewers had watched Barney evolve from an insatiable conniving ladies’ man in to a devoted husband who chose love over an endless string of one night stands. Even if they had to split him and Robin up, they didn’t have to make him return to his sleazy ways. But in truth, Barney ending up with Robin made sense – two people with emotionally distant or physically distant fathers, hardened and immune to love, coming together and living the happy home life they scarcely got as youngsters. But that was torn apart by Bays and Thomas to make way for Ted, to have two loves of his life and have Barney shafted with a rashly thought through consolation of a love child.

Robin’s character too was tarnished by the episode. Robin is was actually my favourite character because she uprooted stereotypical women on sitcoms. She wasn’t needy and lovelorn and desperate to settle in to traditional married life. Instead she was strong-willed, empowered, career driven and hardy. Well, that was true until the finalé, where we’re supposed to believe that she spent years and years pining after a man who’s neediness Robin surely couldn’t stand nor logically be harmonious with.

It wasn’t only that Barney and Robin ending up together seemed so right, it’s also that Ted and Robin being together seemed so wrong. For years, Robin and Ted engaged in a thoroughly exhausting on again off again relationship. We had seen why they were incompatible despite their strong connection and as harsh as it was, it made sense – it was real, it was authentic. We saw them both hold an unrequited love for the other but the romance ran it’s course. We were led to believe that Robin had moved on, and even Ted did eventually. The viewers were comfortable knowing that although they were good together, they both had their ‘true loves’ to come in Barney and the Mother.

Undermined… The Blue French Horn trumped the Yellow Umbrella

And speaking of the mother, how bad was her treatment in the show’s ultimate episode? The fans spent nine long years waiting to meet Ted’s perfect woman, year after year they theorised and built up their collection of clues to try and untangle the mystery behind this perfect woman that would finally save Ted from the wilderness years of unfulfilling singledom. But no, instead she was treated like a rented womb. It was bad enough that she had only appeared in half of season nine’s episodes but having her die, and in the manner she did was nigh on ridiculous. This was the titular character that fans had waited for – and she just croaked in a hospital bed. There was barely even a touching monologue where Ted had to let go, just “Your mother is sick…she died. Now, I can go back to screwing my best friend’s ex-wife.” The fans had grown to love her, she fit the group well and she was perfect for Ted. Her fate seemed unjust and simply wrong. Having her become a side note to Robin was the ultimate insult to her character. Why was the show given this title anyway?

Many took to Twitter to air their disbelief and dissatisfaction at the show’s poorly thought out climax. However a scattering of ‘HIMYM hipsters’ profess that those not happy with the ending merely didn’t get the meaning of the show. Which is nonsense, given the title and the creators’ comments about Ted and Robin in Season One; “this isn’t the love story we set out to tell.” – which evidently was a lie. Even Cobie Smulders said that the finale was “beautiful” and “true to real life” but I for one am struggling to see what is more true to life about having your wife die and then going after your best friend’s ex-wife, who is already your twice failed girlfriend. Surely, it’s more true to life that Ted only had a working relationship with the Mother and not Robin. Despite their connection, it sometimes just doesn’t work out between people for one reason or another. Surely that’s the truth? Instead of that, Ted got two great loves, Barney got none and the Mother got a long, arduous, untimely death.

I don’t buy in to the fact that the closing scenes with Ted’s kids being filmed in 2006 dictated the show’s ending. Carter Bays and Craig Thomas should have known better than to let that alter the show’s climax. Whether or not they were reluctant to change their mind, they should have realised that ending just simply didn’t work with what How I Met Your Mother had evolved in to over the last nine years. And as a result, fans are disillusioned, reluctant to re-watch the show and a little bit heartbroken that the characters and story they had become so invested in was offered such a cheap and bathetic climax.






Romance is Dead: The Goal That Never Was

Leicester City grabbed a point from the defiant claws of Yeovil Town on Tuesday night in a pulsating final five minutes at the King Power Stadium. However, a romantic tale of Leicester’s adored keeper Kasper Schmeichel rightly claiming his first and probably last league goal was quashed hours later as the Football League swung it’s unjust hammer of incontestability.

Late Delight… Leicester’s goal scorers embrace. [Photo: Leicester City FC]

In truth, it was a thoroughly frustrating night for the Foxes and their 26,000 strong home support. City had been undone by a perfectly executed game plan by the Glovers. Unsurprisingly, Yeovil came and parked the bus, looked to spoil the league leaders’ game and hopefully escape with a point. Town’s 300 travelling fans (not a bad turnout by the way) couldn’t believe their luck when they snatched the lead from a set piece. The goal came against the run of play and there was a shared feeling that Leicester’s unusually tired side could not pass their way back to three points. In truth, Leicester had had much of the game despite Yeovil’s successful curbing tactics. However, the Foxes were unable to force one of their thirty-one attempts across the line until the 92nd minute, when two came along at once. Danny Drinkwater fashioned a super cross in to the box that the out of position Schmeichel thumped with his head to force it against the crossbar and over the line. As the Danish international wheeled away in celebration, substitute Chris Wood bundled the ball in to the net to ensure the goal stood as the home crowd went ballistic for the late drama. Everyone was seemingly confused with both players thinking they had scored and the stadium announcer rewarding Wood and then Schmeichel with the goal.

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know how I personally feel about Schmeichel but even disregarding that, it seems simply irrefutable that the late goal was his. Video and photo evidence is conclusive in its verdict that the goalkeeper’s bullet header was at least a foot over the line. Whilst Chris Wood’s indispensable contribution was needed in order for the officials to award City with the goal, the Football League and referee should have reached a unanimous decision that in hindsight, Schmeichel had already scored the equaliser before Wood’s ‘goal’. However, The Football League reached the exact opposite conclusion to the amazement of the Foxes faithful.

While many Leicester fans, myself included, are disappointed and annoyed at the governing body’s ruling many are apathetic and maybe rightly so that the goal was given to Chris Wood instead of Kasper Schmeichel, as Schmeichel himself tweeted ” At the end of the day, as long as we got the goal. All that matters.” in response to the verdict. However, the ruling does beg the question; what is the point in retrospective panels if they maintain their incorrect decisions even when presented with irrefutable evidence to the contrary? Surely these reviewing committees were founded in the view to correct mistakes made in the game, namely the Dubious Goals Panel which was not officially consulted as it is only available in the Premier League much like goal-line technology.

I posed this question to both the Football League and the FA. The latter unsurprisingly has not replied but the Football League stated that “based on information submitted to The Football League from this fixture, all parties (the club and match official) were in agreement that the goal be awarded to Chris Wood.” It is likely that the referee is merely sticking to his guns to avoid a surefire punishment for his team’s ineptitude. The club’s agreement to concur with their decision is too unsurprising given the backlash they may receive for contesting an official’s verdict. Regardless, Assistant Manager Craig Shakespeare reiterated that the club were not bothered by who was credit and were more concerned with the astonishing character of the squad once again coming through when it mattered. Outside the training ground the debate still rages on with some Leicester fans launching a campaign for the decision to be overturned with as many as 98% voted that the goal should be awarded to Schmeichel in one poll.

Daylight... Kasper's header comfortably clears the goal line

Daylight… Kasper’s header comfortably clears the goal line

Maybe it doesn’t matter who scored. Maybe it doesn’t matter that the romance of football has fallen victim to Andy Madeley and his assistant’s inability to admit they got it wrong. Maybe it doesn’t matter that the Football League’s retrospective committees are nothing but a sham. In principle, I will do everything I can, which granted isn’t a lot, to ensure the goal goes to the right man and hopefully rectify yet more shortcomings from England’s impenetrable footballing institution. But in reality, regardless of the outcome, the dedicated hoards who stayed with Leicester until the final whistle on Tuesday night will long remember the night that Schmeichel saved our skin, this time at the other end of the pitch.

Fred Phelps (1929–2014): A Timeline

Disclaimer: There is very little factual truth in this piece. Almost none in fact.

November 13th 1929 - Fred Waldron Phelps is born – his index finger is longer than his ring finger.

November 15th 1929 - Fred’s mother has her genitalia exorcised

February 23rd 1946 - Fred has his first homosexual experience with an attractive young man from down the street.

February 24th 1946 - Fred spends most of the day doodling the attractive man’s name on the back of a Liberace poster.

Macho man… Fred spots a glory hole in a local restaurant toilet [Photo: Wikipedia]

February 25th 1946 – The attractive man doesn’t call Fred back.

February 26th 1946 – still no call.

February 27th 1946 - nothing.

May 3rd 1952 - Fred has a conversation with the first woman he’s met since his mother. He marries her immediately, confirming his heterosexuality.

September 16th 1953 - Fred reads the Bible and highlights the bits he likes.

March 14th 1967 - Fred Phelps begins to target smokers, the media misinterpret his ‘God hates Fags’ slogan. Bemused, Phelps decides to just go with it.

Smoking is bad for you… Fred and his friends.

November 20th 1976 - Fred decides to give his family ‘the talk’ about the ‘birds and the bees’. An awkward conversation ensues, in which only back-door entry is on Fred’s agenda

November 25th 1977 – Fred’s daughter, Shirley gives birth out of wedlock, but beats God at a game of Chase the Ace to avoid condemnation to Hell.

1977 – 2002 - Fred has absolutely no gay thoughts at all. None. Seriously, he didn’t.

December 15th 2002 - Fred delves in to the forest in search of unicorn blood to ensure he lives forever. He fails.

December 17th 2002 - On his way home, he bumps in to the attractive young man from his teenage years. Fred makes himself look presentable in the bathroom but the attractive man has left. Fred snaps a Ricky Martin CD in half and feels better.

November 9th 2007 - Fred attends the premiere of Wrong Turn 2, in which daughter Shirley plays one of the cannibals.

Rising star… Shirley Phelps-Roper as inbred cannibal #3

February 17th 2013 - Fred is banished from the Westboro Baptist Church after being caught twerking to Glee’s cover of Madonna’s ‘Vogue’.

March 20th 2013 - Fred suffers a heart attack after accidentally watching an episode of Modern Family. He is surrounded by posters of WWE’s Batista.

Can the FA Cup Final be England’s ‘Super Bowl’?

A little over a week ago, the sports world basked in the occasion of the 48th annual Super Bowl.  The Seattle Seahawks embarrassed the Denver Broncos, dispatching them 43-8. Most of us on this side of the pond will have already forgotten that scoreline, but the spectacle itself will remain a little fresher in our minds.

In truth, the Super Bowl is more than just an American football match. It’s an occasion. The NFL have managed to fuse sports and culture perfectly to make it an event that the whole country is enveloped in regardless of their individual interest in sports.  People gather, TV stations change their schedule and the whole nation, for a day or two, is gripped by one singular sporting event. For instance, the Super Bowl has a grand history of spectacular half-time shows including performances from Beyonce, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and more. Coupled with its corporate tradition of debuting spectacular adverts during the many intervals from play, there is genuinely plenty on offer to entertain all sorts of people.

Prominent… The NFL’s showcase game regularly draws in over 100 million US viewers. [Photo: Wikipedia]

The FA Cup final is the obvious contender to compare with the Super Bowl for English sport. A famous tournament of the nation’s favourite sport, settled by one single game that airs on terrestrial television. In fact, the comparisons end there. Now, I’m not saying that I want the FA to fervently promote the final by shoving Jessie J on the pitch at half-time, in a feckless attempt to maintain any interest in the event. But I do think Britain’s footballing body could do more to make the FA Cup final a bigger occasion on a national scale. There’s no reason why the FA Cup final can’t be an experience that grips the entirety of England in the days leading up to the event. There’s certainly no need for us to try and emulate the Super Bowl to too great an extent. The cacophonous pageantry of American Football and the orgulousness required to call the winners of a domestic trophy ‘world champions’ is not found on these shores but their blue print for sporting spectacles is certainly to be admired.

Super Bowl XLVIII brough in 111.5 million viewers for Fox last Sunday night meaning around 35% of the USA was tuning in, making it the most watched television broadcast in the nation’s history. In stark contrast, the most recent FA Cup final which saw Wigan Athletic upset the odds to beat Manchester City was viewed by 4.10 million on ITV (8% of England), being outperformed that week by an episode of Off Their Rockers and Paul O’Grady: For The Love of Dogs. It’s not like a boost in attention for the FA Cup final wouldn’t favour TV channels, if American trends are anything to go by. Fox’s comedy New Girl received 26 million viewers, an 867% increase in viewership on it’s season average.

Overlooked: FA Cup Finals are convincingly outperformed by entertainment variety shows. [Photo: Wikipedia]

Unfortunately, the FA Cup is a distant after thought behind the much preferred league campaigns, which I can certainly appreciate. England has two cup competitions. The Football League Cup has long been disregarded by the ‘bigger clubs’ unless they reach the latter stages; only then do they usually field their strongest sides. Even Championship clubs see that tournament as a chance for squad rotation. In recent years, the FA Cup has been heading in the same direction with many clubs simply not trying to compete, illustrated by falling attendances and of course ‘weakened’ squads.

It’s not like England wouldn’t embrace a grander spectacle, we see how much football fever takes hold of the nation every time the European Championships and World Cup roll around. And, it’s certainly not beyond us to forge such a special sporting event, given the overwhelming success of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. In theory, everything is in place for the FA Cup final to be a truly global sporting event. We really ought to be giving English football’s grandest competition a less bathetic climax, otherwise what is the point? But, until the FA and indeed the football clubs themselves start to take the world’s oldest football tournament seriously; it’s likely to remain a distant dream.

(Thank you to Kyle Andrews for helping with this article. Read his stuff;

Tagged , , , , , , ,

They’re Not Being Racist But…: Don’t Vote UKIP

The party everyone is talking about in British politics is UKIP. Whether it be positively or negatively (hopefully negatively), Nigel Farage’s purple and yellow machine of racism national pride has continued to climb the opinion polls like a flesh-eating false widow spider up its unsuspecting victim’s leg. But I’m writing this to gently inform you as to why voting for UKIP in either the upcoming European or General Elections is simply inadvisable.

Remember, it’s not simply the parties that you’ll be voting for, you’re equally voting for its members to make decisions that will affect your life. So let’s have a look at some of the remarkable people that make the UK Independence Party possible;

1. They have links with Far Right European Parties

Yes, that’s right. Nigel Farage’s UKIP are associates of far-right political organisations on the continent. Shocking, I know. In fact, one of the organisations UKIP are part of, is the EFD (Europe of Freedom & Democracy). You probably don’t know a lot about them and nor do I. But, I do know Nigel Farage is co-president of the group alongside Francesco Speroni, who said Anders Breivik’s actions were “in defence of western civilisation”. Another member actually incensed Farage by stating that Breivik “had some good ideas”, he subsequently wrote a strongly-worded letter demanding an apology or UKIP would vacate the organisation. Instead, Marco Borghezio, the man in question responded by saying “Long live the Whites of Europe, long live our identity, our ethnicity, our race… our blue sky, like the eyes of our women. Blue, in a people who want to stay white.” Nigel Farage remains co-president of the organisation as of February 2014.

2. Some are racist and xenophobic

Who would have thought that a party rammed full of people so desperate to let us know that they’re not racist, are actually just that? It’s almost like they were in denial or realise racism isn’t a desirable political characteristic in the view of the electorate. Regardless, we all remember Godfrey Bloom’s “Bongo Bongo Land” gaffe and his incredibly convincing non-apology on Channel 4 news. Apparently the non-racist, definitely not racist, never have been racist, never will be racist, racist? Who? Us?! Never, we’re not racists party weren’t politically astute enough to purge the 2013 Plain English Campaign’s foot-in-mouth award recipient from the party. Another UKIP member when bemoaning the effects immigration had had on the NHS said “I am informed by past media that Black Caribbean and not Black African have a higher instance of schizophrenia. I wonder if this is due to inbreeding on these small islands in slave times or is it due to ­smoking grass.” More recently, Nigel Farage caused offence by negatively stereotyping Bulgarians on BBC’s Question Time. Paul Nuttall brilliantly defused the situation by claiming “Brits fear all immigrants, regardless of where they would come from.” Much better.

Leader: Nigel Farage is the face of UKIP’s xenophobic regime [Photo: Wikipedia]

3. Some are misogynists

Another stupefying fact, I know. To many, it will come as no surprise that Nigel Farage’s party prefer one gender to another, which certainly throws an upcoming section for a loop. In an interview with the Telegraph, Farage digressed his partiality to a lap dance or two, he even touched upon the issue of extra-marital affairs, saying that “everyone does it”, well accept gay men and women if dear old Nigel was to have his way. Of course, blithering sidekick Godfrey Bloom is able to provide us with a few more disbelieving head shakes. Bloom claimed that no employer in their right mind would offer a job to a ‘young, free woman’. Diplomatic, libertarian and equal rights champion Nigel Farage endorsed the comments and thus continues to observe the voluntary female exit rates from UKIP ticking over nicely.

4. Some discriminate based on ableness

Indeed, UKIP infamously refused entry to the party to Jack Biggs. Biggs was 65 at the time of his refusal and is an ex-servicemen who has had both knees replaced. He was told he could only serve as a paper candidate in 2007 but instead  ran independently against UKIP in Weymouth. One member, Geoffrey Clark went as far as to say that babies with disabilities ought to be compulsorily aborted because they will burden the state. Charming.

Repetitive…UKIP proudly promote that one policy they have [Photo: Flickr]

5. Some are homophobic

I know, I know! This latest revelation is painfully inconsistent with everything else in this article but yes the pestiferous purple army are anti-gay too. Of course, many members have made the illogical and laughably untrue connection of homosexuality and paedophilia, Dr. Julia Gasper even alleged “there is so much evidence that even a full-length book could hardly do justice to the ­subject” before condemning the gay rights movement as a “lunatic’s charter”. One member also vowed that homosexuals were not normal and shouldn’t try to shove it down his throat by claiming they are. More recently, Oxford UKIP councillor David Silvester claimed that the latest spell of bad weather was to do with the passing of same-sex marriage. Funnily, it was  some seven months late. But he did have a point, the Met Office revealed this week that Johnny and Danny’s flirting on EastEnders was likely the sole cause for flooding in the Thames valley – there’s your duff duff. The party’s official stance in the lead up to the same-sex marriage debate was as you would expect from uber-Liberal Nigel Farage; stern opposition. According to their official website equal human rights for all regardless of sexuality was “not a burning issue”, “not a matter that animates the discourse of our nation” or more accurately, not a matter that animates the discourse of heterosexuals. Thank goodness, this is one subject these bigoted tyrants were defeated on – looks like we can expect more wet weather to come.

6. Some are liars

Remember on New Years Day 2014 when 29 million Bulgarians and Romanians invaded the country whilst stealing the Polish’s stolen jobs? Well, Conservative MP Anna Soubry claimed that fliers had been handed out in the Broxtowe constituency by UKIP warning just that. An astonishing statistic given that the combined population of both nations is just 27 million. UKIP member Janice Atkinson claimed in February 2014 on an episode of Question Time that 70% of our laws were dictated to us by Brussels (the EU) whilst more accurately the House of Commons claims that is only true for 9.1% – just a slight exaggeration by their standards. Another member even claimed that more people settled in Britain in 2010 than in every other of year preceding 2010 combined. Unsurprisingly that breathtakingly moronic declaration is unequivocally false. In fact, UKIP’s wager against EU immigration is mislead too, given that Poland is the only European nation in the top 5 countries from which immigrants are arriving in the UK. Believe it or not, it’s also not just immigrants that are taking job-seeker’s benefits from the government, in fact, most benefits are paid out to those pesky thieving pensioners. According to a study by Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) at University College London, immigrants were up to 45% less likely to claim benefits than native Britons. Recent immigrants also contribute 34% more to taxes than is transferred to them, a total worth £25bn. But UKIP are surely right to alert us to these job-stealing immigrants who are somehow subsequently living on job seeker’s allowance. Especially, since us Brits would never be so sly and underhanded. Meanwhile, the UK, the 8th highest emigrating nation in the world, has 10,000 nationals living on job seeker’s allowance in Germany, 86% of whom are fit to work.

In all seriousness, if you are worried or disillusioned about immigration in this country and not just because the Daily Mail told you that all immigrants are job stealing leeches then please explore the policies of other parties and leave the heinous UKIP on the political scrapheap.

Also read;

Sources: BBC, The New Statesman, The Daily Mirror, The Guardian, The Metro,, UKIP’s official website, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ten reasons why Leicester City’s Vichai and Aiyawatt are better owners than Fawaz of Nottingham Forest

After what can only be described as a comedy post in today’s Metro (, I’ve decided to offer a truthful endorsement of the better football owners down the road…

1. They’ve always been welcome

Unlike our friendly red friends up north, the Srivaddhanaprabhas have always been welcomed at Leicester City Football Club, certainly seeing as manager chopping maniac Milan Mandaric was their predecessor. In fact, the Foxes fanbase has never had a problem with foreign ownership unlike Forest fans. You remember those “you used to be English, you’re not anymore!” chants a few years ago? They were about ownership, right?

2. They’re fans of the club too

Leicester’s official owner, Aiyawatt has been a fan of the boys in blue ever since Steve Claridge dragged the ball in to the back of the net to win the 1997 League Cup at Middlesbrough. In fact, it was the first game that the Thai had seen in England. Fawaz knew Forest won something in the 70s.

3. They sign who they want

The Thais certainly have a frivolous past at Leicester City. We all know what happened in the summer of 2011 during Sven’s mega spending spree, well they actually do get all the players they want. Unlike Fawaz, who can be so frugal at times he even blames poor vision for an uncompleted signing. Classic.

Reward… Leicester’s owners gifted 1,000 Leicester fans a free scarf, drink and pie for travelling to Cardiff on a Tuesday night during last season’s collapse in form.

4. They have proven us right

There’s no questioning that the Srivaddhanaprabhas certainly got it wrong at first but they did begin to champion managerial stability and sustainable growth long before Fawaz invented it at Forest. Fawaz continues to ignore the Financial Fair Play Rules too. ‘Big-spending’ Leicester have made massive strides to fall in line with the new regulations, spending a net total of just £400,000 on transfers this season. Leicester actually accumulated £103m worth of debt from the 2011 transfer debacle but our owners wiped that clear in December. £103m just like that. But Fawaz signed Jack Hobbs, well the second time, he lied the first, I suppose that’s the same. Oh, and we certainly never doubted the authenticity of their credentials unlike the Tricky Trees. (

5. They listen to the right fans

It’s fantastic that Fawaz Al-Hasawi blindly follows the whims of the Nottingham Forest faithful. It’s certainly a much better idea than Vichai and Aiyawatt ignoring the Sven supporters and removing a man who wrongly or rightly thought he could spend the Foxes in to oblivion and the 50% of Leicester fans that wanted Nigel Pearson gone this summer.

6. They BACK their manager

The reason I capitalised ‘back’ is because making out that Fawaz Al-Hasawi is the greatest supporter of under-fire managers is simply ludicrous and entirely untrue. Vichai and Top (as Aiyawatt likes to be known) got rid of the feckless Paulo Sousa and careless Sven-Goran Eriksson and have since stuck by Nigel Pearson, who was in charge during Leicester’s dramatic collapse last season. Fawaz, on the other hand? He sacked one perfectly good manager, didn’t give another one a chance, brought back an old one and gets the plaudits for sticking with a manager that saved their season. What a pioneer!

7. They have their name on their shirts

I’m not sure why this is one of the ten best things about Fawaz Al-Hasawi but still, the Srivaddhanaprabhas do it better. Fawaz took the bold step of slapping his name on Forest’s shirt. The Thais did the same but trump the Kuwaiti by subsequently naming Leicester’s stadium after their business and opening a Leicester City merchandise section inside their duty free stores.

Committed… The Thai owners have invested heavily in to Leicester’s King Power Stadium and their Belvoir Drive training ground.

8. They have worldwide appeal

Credit to Fawaz for signing a deal to put every single one of Nottingham Forest’s home matches on Al Jazeera. Even our home matches aren’t always televised; most of them are, by Sky actually but that’s a different topic. The Srivaddhanaprabhas are pretty influential themselves, having been gifted with a new surname by the King of Thailand. They even claim that Thai football fans follow the Foxes as much as the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool. That’s certainly feasible if we were to look back on the pandemonium when Leicester played the Thai national team in 2010, winning 2-0. But then again, I suppose Nottingham Forest are already ‘world famous’, so it doesn’t matter does it?

9. They give more back to our fans

Fawaz takes pictures with the fans, tweets them and put a big old screen in the City Ground to broadcast an endless loop of King Billy’s unfinished business propaganda. The Thais have merely redeveloped the stadium, introduced a state of the art pitch, two giant screen TVs and an extravagant upgrade for the club’s training facilities, putting them up there with the best in the country. They’ve also regularly provided fans with freebies such as shirts, scarves, hot drinks, pies and season review DVDs. Oh, and who can forget the glamour friendly they arranged back in 2011 with Real Madrid to reward the fans for their loyal support. Forest got Aston Villa.

10. They don’t need the attention

The Thais are happy to sit in the shadows while Nigel Pearson’s Foxes strut their stuff. They don’t need a Twitter account to tease the City fanbase with empty promises and they certainly don’t need to impose a media blackout to prevent any bad press coming their way, and most importantly of all, we don’t need Natalie Jackson hanging around our boss like a bad smell.

So hat’s off to Fawaz and his gullible public, the Leicester City fans don’t need to label our owners ‘the best in football’ or dedicate a whole day to them in a bid to suit the cult of personality Fawaz has displayed at Forest. In fact, we know how lucky we are and the owners know how much they’re appreciated for the good things they actually do.

Flying Foxes

Well, who would have thought it? We’re midway through January and the mighty Leicester City are leading the way in the Sky Bet Championship after drubbing local non-rivals, Derby 4-1 at the King Power Stadium. Okay, I suppose the result against Derby is perfectly believable – some things never change. Regardless, last Friday the Foxes produced their best performance of the season to date, against genuine promotion contenders in the Rams, who would probably agree that the three-goal winning margin more than flattered the away side.

Silence of the Rams… The unplayable Foxes produced yet another instalment to Steve Walsh’s saga last Friday night.

The mood around the King Power Stadium right now is one of confidence and optimism, following last season’s unspeakably cruel end, the blue army, myself included had expected little more than another play-off foray this campaign. An air of disingenuous optimism surrounded the camp, with many predicting that our young squad wasn’t capable of bettering the end of last season’s dip in form, especially considering how little Nigel Pearson had to spend thanks to our frivolous cash flashing back in 2011. Fortunately for us blues, Nigel Pearson and his backroom staff have harnessed last season’s Vicarage Road heart ache and turned it to our advantage. The side is a year older, a year wiser and a year more experienced and it’s shown on the pitch. As of the 11th January 2014, the Foxes have notched up an unprecedented 54 points from the opening 25 league games. You would have to go back to Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2008 to find a larger haul at this stage of the Championship season. In fact, City have already amassed a gap of 10 points to 4th place, County, 13 points to the orgulous Nottingham Forest and a massive 16 points to 7th place.

Believe it or not, the Foxes have churned out top-notch performances and results all season and haven’t simply found themselves top due to their ability to con the referee in to a spot-kick. Seriously, go back and watch them all, there is possibly one contentious decision out of the lot. Opposing fans don’t seem to realise that the pace of Dyer, Vardy and de Laet cutting in to the box causes defenders to stick a leg out, hope for the best, and usually get the worst.  I suppose there should be a limit on how many times a team can get tripped up in the box, eh? Moving on, the team’s successes have been inspired by the ever brilliant performances of Danny Drinkwater and Lloyd Dyer, who feels like a new signing this season despite having joined the club five years ago. Jamie Vardy has also come in to his own in the opening act of this campaign, producing far better displays than he did last term, as he made the step up of three divisions. In all honesty, I could ramble on for hours praising the improvement of nearly all of Leicester’s regular starters – they really have been that good so far. And yes, I know, I keep using the term ‘so far’, I’m going somewhere with it…just not yet.

Improved… Lloyd Dyer has been one of the season’s starlets.

Lurking in the background of Leicester City’s promotion charge is the dreaded talk of finance. Many Foxes were worried that Financial Fair Play would stifle us this season, thankfully it hasn’t and thankfully, our wonderful owners, Vichai and Aiyawatt have seemingly wiped the club of £103m worth of debt. However, as a consequence, they have been less than reluctant to renew the contracts of several City starlets presumably on Premier League wages. This July, eleven players  including Kasper Schmeichel, Wes Morgan, Paul Konchesky, Lloyd Dyer and David Nugent are set to become free agents unless contracts are assured. The club have stated that the issue will be addressed at the end of the season, once our place in either the top or second tier is confirmed, which given the financial backing we’ve already had, is understandable. However, more recently Nigel Pearson, who himself is out of contract in Summer, has stated that negotiations are making ‘some progress’. I really do think this is a topic savoured by the doom and gloom merchants that attach themselves to Leicester City Football Club. I can’t see for an instant why any of these players would want to leave us whilst we’re in the position we’re in and I can’t say Pearson will readily let any of them go should any offers come in. The situation is far from ideal but we need to trust the club on this and hope it’s not as catastrophic as some ‘fans’ would have you believe because it probably isn’t.

Broken record… The fans’ mentality can have an impact on the season’s outcome.

Another thing nagging at the back of the minds of many Leicester fans is the end of last season collapse the Foxes faced in 2012-13. City picked up just 15 points out of 51 from February to May last year. However, given the steeliness we’ve seen from the side this term and their ability to come back from losing positions and grind out results when they haven’t played their best, there is no reason for the blue army to be too fearful of another implosion in that respect. It’s hard not to start dreaming of the Premier League, particularly after performances like last Friday’s, even I, as anxious and cautious as I am about premature celebrations, have started to dream of what now seems like the surreal concept of a Leicester City promotion to the top flight. In fact, in my ten short years following the club, I can’t remember a more positive feeling around the club, so as a fan base lets approach this with some cautious optimism, the job is nowhere near done and with Queens Park Rangers and Burnley snagging at our coat tails, any misplaced arrogance could see us slide in to the play-offs but as we’re in the poll position right now, there is no reason we can’t be celebrating in May. To fit the old cliché, the remaining twenty-one games are cup finals – starting with Leeds away on Saturday. Keep the faith – this may just be our year.

Pictures: Leicester Mercury / This is Leicestershire

Room 101…Four

Scouting for Girls Syndrome

Scouting for Formula…Sing a new song, would ya?

Also known as “Ke$ha syndrome; Scouting for Girls syndrome. The unfortunate inability to make any of your songs sound any different from the other. “Elvis isn’t lovely just for the day! Ooooooooooo ooooooo!” sing-a-long, anyone?

Cat haters

Furry friends… Dogs are great but I’m a cat person.

I love cats. I have two so I should but my adoration for my furry feline friends doesn’t mean I hate dogs. The same isn’t said for the snooty dog-loving brigade of whom a sizeable bunch dislike cats. There are so many misconceptions of cats that they’re boring. They’re really not, my cats keep me entertained for hours every day and they’re no spring chickens at the ripe age of twelve. They’re not unloving either, my cats are the soppiest, clingiest things ever. They truly love you, once you’ve earned their love, dogs are just more liberal with their life. Cats are just plain cool; loving, funny, cute, furry little bad-asses. As a Shaniqua, a 14-year-old Facebook user would say whilst snapping a pic of her with a WKD blue… FUCK DA H8Rz!

Word shortenings

OMG So Shit… Learn to speak.

Whose idea was this? You know, to shorten every word possible in to one syllable? What is ‘perf’? Fucking hell, soon every word will be monosyllabic and conversations will sound like an endless string of morse code.

Whose id was this? You know to short ev word poss in to one syll? What is ‘perf’? Fuck hell, soon ev word will be mon and cons will sound like an end stri of mor code.

Failing technology


Away kits being unnecessarily worn

NO!… This is wrong

This one is completely irrational. I have no real reason to be so offended by this but I really am. I mean when let’s say Charlton Athletic and Sheffield Wednesday were to meet at the Valley (they did the day before I wrote this), then I expect to see Charlton in red and Wednesday in blue and white stripes but I didn’t. Of course, the Addicks donned their usual home colours but Wednesday appeared in their all-black second strip despite no clash with the home side. This is now commonplace in football and it upsets me. Wednesday aren’t black they’re blue and white!

New Look

No Look… You’ll never see again

Having spent a lot of time in this dreadful retailer when I was younger as my Mum and sister loved visiting it at Fosse Park – I have grown to despise it. Why? It’s compressed in there. They make the gangways ridiculously small, leaving very little room for that thing I like to be exposed to at all times, what is it called? Oh, yeah… oxygen! But what’s worse is the lighting. Literally, it is the brightest place in the world, you could stumble in with three pairs of sunglasses on and you’d still be left clenching at your eyelids begging God for your sight back. It must be comparable to staring in to a Super nova. Maybe they use such offensive lighting to distract from the shitty clothes they’re trying to sell. If they had an ounce of business acumen, they’d look in to selling guide dogs.

The McCallisters

Villains… Somebody call Social Services and save poor Kevin from these tyrants.

I saved these until last because quite simply, they’re the worst thing on this list. Since it’s been Christmas time, my hatred for this putrid family has reared its ugly head again. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Home Alone, I bloody love it, it’s my favourite Christmas film, 1 and 2, not the other rubbish ones. I also know that Marv and Harry are supposed to be the villains but if we’re being honest, Kevin’s family are the true evil in this film franchise. Let’s start with the first film, they bully him, calling him disgusting names and then leave him at home while they toddle off to a different continent, they don’t realise at the airport, but mid-flight and only the mother realises. They make several half-hearted attempts to contact him whilst Kate shows some genuine concern and desire to get home for her son. When they all finally do get back home, they speak to Kevin for all of three seconds before leaving him on his own yet again and going about their business. The second instalment is even worse. First of all, Kevin’s big brother Buzz embarrasses him at the Christmas concert and then Kevin retaliates. Buzz gets off scot free with a blatantly insincere apology while Kevin is once again banished upstairs. Once more, the irresponsible clan oversleep leading to a rushed dash to the airport while Kevin is trying to change batteries in his recorder, the family all bomb off leaving him behind. Kate tells the stewardess she refuses to board without seeing Kevin get on the plane, of course some tame reassurance from the stewardess is all it takes for Kate to hop on board without a second thought to Kevin. Worse than before, the family only realise Kevin is missing at the baggage claim. This time, Kate is the last to realise but what’s worse is that every family member before is completely nonplussed by Kevin’s second disappearance – even his father. Once more, the McCallisters seek the authorities for help before making a shocking insensitive joke about losing their son twice but never their luggage. Fucking freaks! I mean honestly! The family is staying in Florida when Kate gets the call that Kevin has been located in New York, now you expect the family to hug eachother and break in to sobs as they realise their loved one is safe and alive but do they? Do they buggery! Instead, all those heartless scumbags can think about is a free trip to the Big Apple! Once more, Kate is the only one genuinely trying to find Kevin, which shouldn’t distract from her shockingly negligence. When they’re reunited, Kevin apologises to his mother… for some reason. The next morning, on Christmas day, Duncan’s Toy Chest has donated presents to the entire family because of Kevin’s heroics. Of course, this greedy, selfish bunch can’t wait to took in, allowing Kevin to slip off undetected…on Christmas morning…one day after being found following a lengthy disappearance…for the second time. So Kevin goes off to talk to the pigeon lady and what does he hear? His concerned dad making sure Kevin never leaves his sight again? No. An angry Peter McAllister who is far more bothered by the fact he has a pricey hotel room service bill to pay rather than his lax parenting abilities, traumatised son and awful demon spawn children. Maybe, had this incompetent twat bothered to pay attention to 10-year-old Kevin, he wouldn’t have a $900 bill. I honestly wish Kevin had unleashed his deadly pranks on his atrocious family members rather than the Wet/Sticky bandits.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 37 other followers