Month: January 2015

Fellow Foxes, Are you Mad?!

Leicester City surprised everyone on Saturday by coming from behind to dump Spurs out of the FA Cup at White Hart Lane. As a result, the Foxes find themselves in the last sixteen of the competition whilst, languishing at the bottom of the Premier League. Now, many are opening the debate as to whether City would rather finish 17th in the Premier League or win the FA Cup.

As a fanbase, we know the club have spent years and years pining for a return to England’s top-flight. And, having experienced just over half a season back in the Premier League, I can see the perks of being here. It’s a badge of nobility to be in the top-flight, to be acknowledged, to be famous. Winning just feels that little bit better with that proud, navy lion slapped on the side of your arm. It also feels better having the £90 million windfall that comes with being in the illustrious top division. However, finishing 17th in the league ladder isn’t a trophy; it won’t go down in footballing history. It will just be another placing at the end of another league season.

In contrast, this club loves the FA Cup – it seems illogical but it’s true. I can’t think of a club in English football that loves this competition as much despite being treated so cruelly by it in the past. In recent seasons, we’ve seen 8000 of the blue army at Nottingham Forest, 6000 at Chelsea, 4000 at Stoke, even 4000 troughed up to Huddersfield on a cold January afternoon, engrossed by the meagre whiff of cup glory. There is nothing like winning a major trophy, and being the biggest bridesmaids in football, you would think our fans would know that – is there a bigger club to have never won this competition than us? In four finals, we’ve suffered four defeats, a soul-crushing record.

So, my question to those who would prefer to finish 17th over winning the FA Cup this season is; are you mad?! We have spent half of our history in the top flight but we’ve never won this tournament, the greatest domestic cup competition in the entire world. Sure, away games next season at The Valley and Ewood Park would be a big come down from this season’s league outings but winning the cup could mean an overdue shot at revenge against Atletico – well, that particular scenario is a long shot but we will be back in Europe nonetheless.

Now the competition has been blown wide open with the eliminations of Chelsea, Manchester City and of course, Tottenham Hotspur, we would be senseless not to go all out to win it. Of course, the prevailing point is; we don’t actually have to choose, we could achieve both objectives and that’s exactly what we should try to do. Neither are a distraction, neither are hindrances to the other. Wigan Athletic and Portsmouth aren’t where they are now because they won the FA Cup that’s for certain.

But if I had to choose I would say; let’s stop being a nearly club and win the FA cup, we’ve come as close as you can to the country’s two biggest honours – and now’s the time to be opportunistic. Memories of avoiding relegation will eventually dwindle in to obscurity, especially given how many relegation skirmishes we have endured as a club, but silverware on the other hand lasts eternally. So, if you really still think 17th is of greater prestige then I’m thoroughly mystified. Come on Leicester; we’re staying up and we’ll win the cup!

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Celebrity Big Bother

Back in the day, I loved Celebrity Big Brother and the civilian series too. It was trashy, fun, intense, dramatic, real and surreal all at once. Channel Five have done a great job of recapturing that essence with the two series I have, as some people would consider, ‘deigned’ to watch since it moved from Channel Four. That’s why I’m devoting this post to talking about this series and it’s absurdly brilliant yet frustrating housemates.

Katie Hopkins and Perez Hilton are the two stand-out housemates this year as they’ve come to blows time and time again. Let’s get one thing clear; they’re both arseholes. Who’s the bigger arsehole? Well, I’ll answer that in due course but it’s definitely worth remembering that they’re both arseholes and both professional wind up merchants. There seems to be three camps in the house; Team Hopkins consisting of Katie H, Michelle, Cami and probably Calum just about. Team Hilton is Perez, Nadia, Alicia and just about Patsy. Finally, there’s Team Snore fronted by Kavana, Katie P and Cheggers.

Let’s pick them off one-by-one. Katie P is harmless, she is absolutely filthy and maybe shouldn’t be disclosing the naughty secrets of her ex-husbands to relative strangers on national television but they shouldn’t be arseholes either. Kavana is the ultimate bore, he seriously does nothing and I would not miss him should he disappear and neither would Cheggers, who is nice enough and occasionally funny but too a bit drab.

Now on to Team Hilton. Patsy is wonderful. Bizarrely juxtaposed as irreversibly repressed yet uber calm, a lovely woman who seems to be as close to allergic to noise and conflict as one could be, I actually want her to win due to the sheer lack of truly likable characters this year. Alicia is sweet but naive, she gets a bit touchy about the process of the show but fundamentally, she’s a nice person and more than capable of standing up to Katie Hopkins. Nadia too is wonderful, whilst loud and abrasive at the start and perhaps even hard to like, her moral compass and conviction in standing up for what’s right should earn her more plaudits than it does.

Team Katie are slightly more divided in my view; Calum is an inconsistent dud, painfully boring even though he’s finally been coerced in to picking on Alicia. Cami is a horrible brat, vicious, conniving, underhanded and nasty, she thinks she’s untouchable but one day someone will put her in her place. Michelle is false, not in the sense that she’s deliberately two-faced but she’s not who she says she is. She’s not a defender of the outcast and she isn’t the beacon of moral objectivity and guardianship. She was so promising but she’s been Hopkinised which is a true shame.

Now to the other two. And here’s my answer to the earlier question; Katie Hopkins. Katie Hopkins is the bigger arsehole. Yes, Perez Hilton is an irritant, a narcissistic, depraved, sad and at times vile individual who will go to any means to get attention. He, like Katie H too have their good sides that we have seen from time to time too but let’s focus on the controversy. Perez acts this way for attention, I assume he feels like an outcast that Michelle supposedly represents and has no idea whatsoever what to do with it. He shouts so loud and acts so vibrantly because he doesn’t think he’s seen and that doesn’t come across well to others. I don’t buy Nadia’s protestations that all of Perez’s acting out is due to the wall of hate he experiences from the housemates, but I’m certain it’s part of the reason.

Katie Hopkins on the other hand is vicious, she’s taken a disliking to Perez, and I can’t blame her for that, he’s said and done some out of line things. Such as taunting Alexander O’Neal and calling Katie herself ‘homophobic’  which was possibly unfair at time but has since been proven to have some merit since she gloated about her kids having two parents unlike Perez’s son. I wonder if she boasted in front of the loving family she broke up by stealing her children’s other parent? Too, she wasn’t exactly outraged when Alexander O’Neal blasted Perez as an ‘ass faggot’ and neither was self-professed ‘LGBTQ champ’ Michelle Visage for that matter. The point is is that she is visibly obsessed with Perez, constantly seeking him out to hurl her tirades of abusive, unkind comments at him, well just because she can. It’s the most petulant emnity I’ve ever seen; kiss blowing, tongue wagging, name calling, threat making etc. She smacks of an insecure woman, who takes out her complexes on others, it would certainly explain why any praise reduces her to a blubbering wreck. Both of their pathetic crusades to recruit floating housemates in to their gang is sad, as is Katie Hopkins’ destruction of house property, threats against physical well-being and her columns that bash the housemates she’s too afraid to criticise to their face. Alicia Douvall summed Katie up brilliantly a few days ago; ‘if she’s so smart then why does she have to make a career by being nasty?’. She’s malicious to put it plainly, she possesses minimal quick wit and has continually embarrassed herself on the programme. Both of these two morons have a lot of issues to work out but they don’t allow themselves to process that and instead have both manifested an inflated ego that they’ve convinced themselves to believe in. They’re both twats but the fact is is that Perez Hilton is Katie Hopkins-ing Katie Hopkins and she has no idea how to deal with it.

The Beautiful Game of Ugly Morality

Ched Evans has failed yet again to gain a contract at one of England’s Football League clubs. Oldham Athletic’s board today backed out of negotiations, presumably due to pressure from sponsors and fans – it seems clear to me that this is the right decision for football but what isn’t clear is why there is so much support for Ched Evans to return to the ‘beautiful game’.

Of course, there is a band of loyal Ched Evans fans who like himself protest his innocence at every opportunity, and to an extent it’s perfectly fine to hold that opinion. But when, it comes to making decisions about his future, it simply isn’t. If Ched Evans is innocent then he can appeal to the courts and amend it legally, but for now he is a convicted rapist. He was found to be guilty by a jury of people with far more knowledge of the case than the vast majority of us, so really we are powerless to submit to their superior knowledge on the matter – let’s face it, a conspiracy theory can be floated about literally anything. It’s for this reason that this post will continue to consider Ched Evans a rapist until it is proven otherwise.

Then there are those who dispute the classification of rape. For reasons I’ve already explained, I won’t delve too far in to the intricacies of the case but sex with someone who doesn’t consent is rape, not just somebody who says ‘no’. Some people have even cited instances of other convicted footballers returning to their playing careers, like Lee Hughes, as reasons for Ched Evans to do the same. Does that really make it right? Just because someone has made an error in judgement previously we should do the same again? That is no sort of logic, it’s immature and puerile.

Other myths surrounding Evans’ case have too arisen as attempts to ‘debunk’ those fighting against his return to football are coming under fire online.  Ched Evans has not completed his punishment, his five-year sentence is only half-way complete, meaning currently he’s on license. He is out of prison but he doesn’t currently have the freedoms of the average Briton and won’t do for some time either.

It’s important to make this clear too; Ched Evans should be rehabilitated. But our definitions of restorative justice need to be defied. Rehabilitation does not mean picking up where you left off. Rape is a callous, corrupting and serious crime, and for that reason an offender cannot presume to strut back in to a comfortable existence once released from prison – his victim has been afforded no such scenario and she is the victim of this crime, not Ched Evans. He hasn’t had to move homes and change identities five times because he was deemed to have been sexually attacked. Why we’re on this subject, should Ian Watkins be handed a record deal when he leaves prison? Should we grant Rolf Harris his own talk show on release? Ched should be able to resume his life but not from the lofty heights from which he fell, there’s a ladder to climb, and like offenders from every areas of work, he has to start at the bottom.

Rape is not a crime that should ever be curtailed. Regardless of what we, as outsiders to the trial have surmised, he was found guilty of rape. That is the simple fact. Now, having been freed from prison having served half of his short sentence, he should be able to go about his life. But that does not entitle him to a career in football. People are grumbling about the alleged ‘bias’ against Ched Evans because he’s a footballer but that’s actually the opposite of what is being displayed. Any other position in the country that commands that wage, influence or effect on children would not be left vacant for a convicted criminal of such a revolting crime – in fact even football stewards wouldn’t be allowed by law to return to their job if found guilty of rape, why should footballers? Ched Evans has no lawful nor ethical right to waltz back in to a cushy lifestyle. In the eyes of jury, he forfeited that when he was adjudicated to have violated another person against their will. In truth, this is indicative of a larger problem in football where there are no holds barred. For some, homophobia, racism, sexism and now rape are acceptable in the morally bankrupt world of football. Maybe our game isn’t so ‘beautiful’ after all.