Just for fun

General Election 2015 : Power Rankings

There is absolutely no real need for this post, my list of the seven main UK parties ranked based on how worthy I think they are of voting for.

7. UKIP

Wooden spoon… Made in Europe probably – bloody EU! 😡

Manifesto: http://www.ukip.org/manifesto2015
Strength:
 Ale drinking 

Weakness: Foreign policy
Party trick: Making casual racism acceptable to 15% of the electorate

Potential Coalition Partners: The ConLabDUP

Where to start with Nigel Farage’s pestiferous cult “people’s army”? On a policy basis, believe it or not, UKIP aren’t totally repugnant – they are mostly but some policies do make sense, although it’s hard to believe a single word, given that populism is at the heart of the party’s ideology. Several gaffes from its members, PPCs, MEPs and leader alike simply make UKIP a no-go. Their divisive aim to ethnically separate the nation may be slightly well hidden by Nigel Farage, who was accused of being a racist fascist by a teacher at his expensive private school but the dwindling support of the BNP is no coincidence. The high rate of absenteeism as well as the fugacious nature of their policies does nothing to reassure those who doubt the party’s competence. Their leader may be among the most charismatic in British politics but being literally the worst human in the world lets him down. Let’s hope UKIP’s steady decline in the opinion polls picks up.

 Score: 14 /100

6. SNP

In the driving seat… Ed’s probably tied up in the back

Manifesto: http://votesnp.com/docs/manifesto.pdf
Strength:
 Social policy

Weakness: Domestic policy
Party trick: Ironically giving the Tories the best chance of sneaking back in to government

Potential Coalition Partners: The LabPCGreens

Again, the SNP aren’t that deplorable when you look at everything they stand for. Though their lack of real commitment to LGBT+ issues this year was seriously poor for a socially left party, a lot of other things they profess to stand for are very agreeable indeed. Unfortunately, the SNP are bunny boilers in a political sense, though hesitant to admit it, the SNP are desperate for another Indy Ref and to pull Scotland out of the union – or to at least demand more disproportionate funds and electoral sway to the north by simply being noisy. Arguably, Nicola Sturgeon has been the most impressive leader in the build up to this election, she has portrayed herself as calm, powerful and together (ironic I know). However, for all of her popularity, there is a dissatisfaction with the SNP’s hypocrisy as head of the Scottish Parliament with many feeling the SNP fundamentally are under-performing in key areas of their ideology.

 Score: 42 /100

5. Conservatives

Forever blowing bubbles…Cameron prepares for his club’s derby against West Bromwich Hotspur

Manifesto: https://www.conservatives.com/manifesto
Strength: They’re not Labour
Weakness: Domestic policy
Party trick: Retaining over 30% in the opinion polls despite accruing the support of Katie Hopkins
Potential Coalition Partners: The LibUKIPDUP

What to say about the Tories? Let’s just say on a policy basis, I’m never likely to be onside. Fundamentally opposite to me on the social spectrum, the Conservatives are just a bit far too nasty for me. While, I certainly view them as more competent than the Labour party, their ideological drive to punish those at the bottom and preserve a select few at the top of the spectrum does not sit well with me. You could also make the point that David Cameron carries himself in a more statesmanlike manner than the other potential Prime Minister – but to be honest, I’m not sure why that’s preferable – policy is certainly more important than personality. I’m genuinely fearful of a ‘Blukip’ coalition of the Tories, UKIP and DUP, I really don’t fancy a single ticket trip to the 1950s.

Score: 45 /100

4. Labour

Let Me Tell You… Ed’s public speaking courses are hilariously apparent

Manifesto: http://www.labour.org.uk/manifesto
Strength: They’re not Tories (but they’re getting there)
Weakness: Economic incompetence
Party trick: Retaining over 30% in the opinion polls despite accruing the support of Russell Brand
Potential Coalition Partners: The LibUKIPGreensPC

Dissimilarly, I don’t agree with Labour on a personal basis. While their manifesto is mostly quite nice, championing some really good social policy, the party has decided to scooch further and further right in some areas too. Who can forget mug-gate and Harriet Harman’s patronising pink bus? Saying that, Labour are too incompetent – powerfully purporting their disdain for zero hour contracts and love for students despite the fact they did nothing about either in 13 years of majority government – in fact they screwed the latter over thrice as much as the Lib Dems! Yes, Milliband has come on stronger as a leader recently but that really isn’t enough to convince me Labour’s left-wing veil is anything but that.

Score: 47 /100

3. Greens

WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE VERTEBRATES?!

Manifesto: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/we-stand-for/2015-manifesto.html
Strength:
 They’re lovely
Weakness: Failing to understand that 3% to 5% does not constitute a ‘surge’
Party trick: Making people think their manifesto is genuinely fully costed
Potential Coalition Partners: The LibLabSNPPC

If this election was solely about social policy then the Greens would be jostling for top spot. Seriously, they have some genuinely fluffy, lovely ideas but they’re so vapid it’s unreal. As much as the most prominent politicians in the Green party, leader Natalie Bennett and Caroline Lucas are lovely people they are just a bit out of touch with reality. I’m sure all parties left-of-centre would love to implement those in the Greens manifesto but being realistic it just isn’t going to happen. Their economic policy would be a disaster, it’s no coincidence that the only council in the UK that they control has one of the lowest satisfaction rates. It also probably irks those in poverty that Bennett routinely claims how bad ‘we’ have got it while riding to Question Time in a first class train carriage. On top of all of this, environmental experts have even claimed the party isn’t that eco-friendly – ouch! Perhaps, the Greens should put the green down and embrace the real world. Bless them, they are lovely though.

Score: 48 /100

2. Plaid Cymru

Fy ffrind gorau Nicola i fod yn onest

Manifesto: https://www.partyof.wales/2015-manifesto/?force=1
Strength: A quiet but deadly leader
Weakness: Civic nationalism
Party trick: Being a far more likeable SNP
Potential Coalition Partners: The LibLabSNPGreens

Again, on the side of nationalism I deplore Plaid Cymru’s stance and if there were as big a demand for Welsh Independence as there is Scottish Independence, they would be further down the list – thankfully there is not. I always feel that the Welsh get a poor deal in comparison with the Scots and Plaid Cymru (obviously) have rectifying that at the heart of their agenda. Socially the party is truly a champion of the left showing a remarkable commitment to the LGBT+ community that is only matched and indeed surpassed by one other party, while their economics may be idealistic and of the breed of the Green party and the SNP, Plaid Cymru carry slightly higher levels of competency starting with a remarkably quiet yet sassy leader in Leanne Wood who is ready to take Nigel Farage to task and then some at any given opportunity.

Score: 66 /100

1. Liberal Democrats

The Last Clegg… Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry

Manifesto: http://www.libdems.org.uk/read-the-full-manifesto
Strength:
 Centrism

Weakness: The immovable bastard that is tuition fee-gate
Party trick: Best 404 pages ever
Potential Coalition Partners: The ConLabPCGreens

In a time of economic uncertainty and social complacency, the Lib Dems are managing to once again strike the best balance in their manifesto. Although, not perfect – having made some mistakes in the last coalition government while diluting the Tories hardcore right-wing whims, the Lib Dems have managed to put together a sensible centrist economic policy that aims to wipe out the deficit while making sure those at the bottom aren’t pressed to make up the difference. The IFS and several other leading economists have praised the Lib Dems’ plans as the most credible. Social policy has too been by far the most forward thinking with substantial plans to improve humanist recognition, LGBT+ issues and champion youth and students too. I’d even go as far as to say that the Lib Dems are what a lot of Labour voters think Labour are. While their campaign message hasn’t been the strongest, Nick Clegg has shown glimpses of the Cleggmania that engulfed the electorate in 2010. However, the biggest challenge for the Lib Dems is to set the record straight on previous errors and perhaps fight a little harder for more Liberal values in any future coalition in order to tempt anyone back on side – it really is time to get over that one. Hear that, NUS?

Score: 92 /100

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The Official LCFC Loyal Supporter Charter

NOTE: If you don’t understand that this is satirical then God help you.

There are way too many disloyal Leicester City fans out there, it’s time there was an official charter to sift out the true, die-hard supporters from the prawn sandwich brigade tossers.

AND IT’S LEICESTER CITY!

Firstly, if you live anywhere past Aylestone or Beaumont Leys then why are you even reading this? Go and support Anstey Nomads or Blaby & Whetstone and leave the real local supporters to it.

1. You must attend all away games, and you must travel to them on Coach One, anyone who rides on Coaches two or higher or even makes their own way via car is a disloyal twat, trains are okay for some reason – they just are. Optional: Mock a woman dubbed ‘Hagrid’ mercilessly on social media because, well you know, she’s not conventional looking and definitely deserves it.

2. Make sure your phone has Instagram, you will need it to upload as many action shots of every game as humanly possible. It is advisable to upload stadium panoramas and away day tickets to prove what a hardened sport traveller you are. If we don’t see these pictures how will we know you’re a true fan when the purging starts?

3. You most show yourself to be a friend of the players, just how Directioners think they have in-jokes with the group and affectionately call them ‘the boys’, but this is different because it’s football. We as fans must suck up to our team’s WAGs, this is crucial, you should reply to all of their tweets as if you are a long-term friend of theirs. It’s definitely a good idea to tweet youth players too. Get in there before they become the stars of the future so you can laud it over fellow fans because you saw their talent first. Man like Panayiotou etc. etc.

4. Bi-annually, you will be expected to report breaking news and insider transfer knowledge to your legion of Twitter followers. So, pretend to be an ITK, it doesn’t matter if you just know the Belvoir Drive’s lawn mower or even if you just work in Maryland Chicken, make it work. After all, people only judge you on the guesses you get right, and you may be able to force yourself in to becoming a local celebrity if you kiss the arse of Ian Stringer enough.

Now, we’ve pretty much covered how you should act as a supreme fan of Leicester City, let’s discuss how a true fan looks;

5. It’s crucial to set your display picture on every social networking site you’re on to either the badge, a player or the stadium, preferably Filbert Street because we all know it was better there. Who are these traitors who think their faces are more important than the holy fox’s head? That’s sacrilegious in my book.

6. Every away day should be spent the same, lace up your Gazelles, throw on your Stone Island jacket and remember, always hop aboard Coach 1… or a train, and blast out the most angsty monotonous Oasis track in your music library. If your taste is different then being a loyal football fan simply isn’t for you. Thankfully, as followers of Leicester, we can choose from either Oasis or Kasabian, but remember if you weren’t at that Kasabian concert last summer then your support of the football club is simply invalid.

Finally, what defines us most as die-hard Leicester City supporters is how we speak to those lesser people who think they’re fans but we all know are not.

7. No matter what the situation, whether we’re performing catastrophically, or the manager has tossed away the FA Cup like an out-of-date bag of Walkers crisps (the only crisps you can eat by the way), we have to support the team! Now, there are many ways to do that but we believe that the best way is by completely suffocating any criticism whether it be fair or otherwise. Most people think that negativity is okay as long as it isn’t voiced in the stadium but they are wrong, you must NEVER speak negatively or even think negatively, if you do you are a plastic, knee-jerk traitor – and your conscience will never be clear!

8. But we cannot stop there! It is simply not enough to be positive all the time, suffocate other opinions, exert delusions of grandeur and basically be a vacuous passive puppet, it is our duty as fans to name and shame those that dare besmirch the team in any form. The best way to go about this is to call them negative, knee-jerk, wankers, morons or disloyal twats before suggesting they move their support to Coventry or Notts Forest.

I hope that clears everything up for all you plastic arseholes out there. As for you diehards, sing it with me; WE ARE STAYING UP! SAY, WE ARE STAYING UP! And, if you don’t think so, you’re a treacherous balloon-head.

Hidden Gems 3

Bahamas – All The Time

This song is great to listen to while relaxing, it pretty much epitomises easy listening. It’s simple construction means it pretty much suits any kind of mood or weather plus you can pretty much make it about what you want. Unbelievably, this song failed to even place on the alternative chart of Bahamas’ native Canada.

Bleachers – I Wanna Get Better

Bleachers is a one-man music project founded by Fun. member Jack Antonoff. The 2014 album Strange Desire is a great example of the current trend of 80s throwback music. Along with fellow singles ‘Shadow’ and ‘Rollercoaster’, ‘I Wanna Get Better’ really stands out as an irresistibly catchy anthem.

Kim Cesarion – Undressed

Okay, so this one is a bit of a guilty pleasure. When I first heard this at the start of last year, I was expecting it to rocket to the top of the charts in the UK that Summer, much like it had in Australia but nothing ever came from it. It’s just, in my opinion, a very good pop song.

Angus & Julia Stone – Grizzly Bear (Synapson Remix)

Originally a bluesy folk song from Australian brother-sister duo Angus and Julia Stone, Synapson has transformed the track in to an instantly memorable song. Maybe, that’s a bit harsh – the original song isn’t bad either, in fact, I can barely sum up what I love so much about this remix, but I’m willing to sit through all six minutes so it must be quite good. Oh, and the song isn’t actually about a grizzly bear, at least I hope it isn’t..

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Home

I’m starting to think people maybe just don’t like folk music because this song is exceptional. It probably sounds familiar, as it served as the soundtrack of a Peugeot advert from 2014. The song is a five minute nostalgic story set to the sounds of a Summer’s evening, I almost get a sunburned neck listening to it. It was also featured on Modern Family when Cam and Mitch finally wed, just in case you didn’t already love it.

Foals – My Number

Okay, so this is a bit of a cheat seeing as it actually did reach 23 in the UK singles chart. Nonetheless, it’s an upbeat, infectious indie song perfect for Summer. I like Summer, okay?!

Justin Timberlake – That Girl

This is another song for Summer, if anyone is having any summer parties and they want me to DJ then clearly I’m the guy to ask, no, just kidding. Anyway, I digress, this is a chilled out summery song like much of the others, it’s arguably the best song on 20/20 Experience, scratch that, it’s easily the best (sorry Suit & Tie), so show it some Southern love.

The Walkmen – Heaven

The only thing to go right in the How I Met Your Mother season finale. God, I need to get over that. Regardless, this is such a ‘grower’, it’s not summery but it is nostalgic, I’m predictable I know but it really is infectious and I’m sure you’ll love it like I do.

 

Room 101… Five

 

The HIMYM Finale

I’ve always hated you, Ted

I’ve already written about how awful losing this phantom slap bet felt. It was legen…wait for it… f*****g s**t… legen- f*****g s**t, and I will never get over it. Ironically, I intend to spend nine years telling my own children the story of How I Met Your Mother and letting them suffer the dagger to the heart in the final installment – this betrayal shall never be forgotten. No matter how much better the alternative ending was.

The X Factor clichés

Morons

I was just like everyone else in the years of Leona, JLS and Diana Vickers – the nation loved The X Factor, no matter how tacky it was/is, we all secretly liked it. There are about 6,812 things about the show that I could condemn to Room 101 nowadays; the stringently false sob stories or the judges’ entrance music that tries to act as if Cheryl Cole and co. have arrived from the gates of hell themselves. But the biggest irritant is a million percent the tedious clichés in what I think are supposed to be genuine critique from so-called experts. It’s like yeah thanks, Mel, I’m glad you like her outfit but that’s not really gonna help her sing better next week is it? You look like a young *shit popstar*, I want *place your from* to vote for you, you’re such a nice *guy/girl*, you need to be in the final says Louis to everyone, failing to comprehend the concept of the weekly eliminations, he’s presided over since the first publication of the Old Testament. In truth, The X Factor has become a parody of some hopelessly over the top Spanish soap opera backed by a brainless studio audience that would lynch Mother Theresa if she didn’t gloss over the gold-painted comedy act murdering Whitney Houston on stage.

MTV Reality Shows

Losers, every single one of them.

I mean I’m singling out MTV here because their offerings offend me the most but efforts like TOWIE and MiC are fairly bad for this too. I’m not about attacking the viewers of these programmes, I love trash TV as much as the next person but the people these programmes produce are simply detestable. Taking Geordie Shore for example, you’ve got that Scotty, sitting there in his tank top fidgeting like a Furby on crack, unable to keep his eyes on the producer as he feigns a ‘lad’ persona as best as he can to please his big-headed mate. In fact, I caught a portion of one episode where one girl said “she was going out to do what she does best; getting mortal and tashing on” – if the best things you can do in life involve swallowing and slobbering then you’d best be some kind of primitive beast and not just look like one. Oh, and maybe stop trying to be an ultra-cool vapid parasite, who wouldn’t look out of site in the background of a The Walking Dead scene.

Blonde hair bullying

Admittedly, this could be a selfie.

This is completely personal and I’m not convinced anyone else ever experiences it but I for one am tired of being told that I look like every other blonde person to ever exist ever. I don’t. It’s a serious problem, if a blonde male celebrity comes to prominence I get told I look like him and 100% of the time I really don’t. Neil Patrick Harris? Nope. Mark Paul Gosselaar in his Saved by the Bell years? Nope. Jimmy Saville? I will slap you. Sam Strike? I wish.  Fact of the matter is, I can’t simultaneously look like all of these people anyway, if I was bald, would I look like Ross Kemp and if I was ginger, would I look like Prince Harry? Simply put, I don’t look like any celebrity just because I have a similar hair colour. The only one slightly close is Clare Balding – which is truly an honour.

 

“Respect my opinion”

“how can u question my opinion its like human rights”

I can be quite argumentative at times – shock horror, breaking news etc. etc. But there is nothing more annoying than when in a spirited disagreement with someone they whip out the perceived criticism forcefield that is “you’ve got to respect my opinion” because the simple fact is I bloody well don’t. The only real rule is that you have to respect everyone’s right to hold their own opinions but no, I won’t respect someone’s opinion that ramming a fork in to a toaster to retrieve a slice is a good idea, nor will I respect the opinions of that blithering red-faced toenail in charge of UKIP. And if you don’t like that premise then you have to respect my opinion that your opinion is whack as fuck.

 Banter lords

SOIYA

This blog post needs some #EPICBANTZ!!!! Seriously, what is everyone’s obsession with ‘banter’? It’s treated like this invisible drug that springs young ‘#LADS’ in to life and gives them a reason to exist. We’re supposed to live in a time of ‘PC gone mad’ but it kinda looks like the opposite is true too. People crave banter like nourishment, because it’s like 100% okay to say whatever you want to anyone as long as your slap down your #BANTZ card on delivery. It doesn’t matter how unfunny it is, if you use the words ‘melt’, ‘mong’ or ‘Aids’ you get extra #LADBANTZPOINTS too. It really is a fun game, right? That’s why it was so sad and definitely a fix that volatile dope, sorry… Jimmy ultimate lad banter-king Bullard was eliminated from I’m a Celebrity… so early. You know it’s outrageous, I mean I for one was in stitches when Jimmy took offence to Jake’s #EPICBANTZ and returned some home truths in a nasty tone. But that’s totally fine, because being the master of subterfuge that he is, he later called it #BANTZ so he never meant a word and anyone that thought he did is ridiculous. I’m not really sure why banter lords get so offended when people are offended at people disguising nastiness as humour – today’s banter rarely ever involves any genuine wit. To be honest, it goes something like this, you get verbally insulted, get told it’s some form of humour, get told you’re not allowed to be offended by it by people offended that people are so offended by them being intentionally offensive without wanting to seem offensive. As for Jimmy being voted off, maybe try actually voting for your favourites next time instead of blaming TV companies for ‘fixing’ it so popular contestants get thrown out at the earliest opportunity. #FuckingNovelIdeaLAD

My Q & Gay

A funny thing happens in my family, every time I ‘come out’ (cringe) to a relative. The next time they see me, they don’t usually say anything, they just hug me for a little longer and give me a kiss on the cheek. It’s a very strange trend I’ve noticed but it’s really quite sweet nonetheless. I don’t really know why, but people seem a bit obsessed with sexuality, especially when you’re not heterosexual. Here are just a few things that people tend to ask  me and what I usually say. Who knows, maybe in the future, I can use this as some kind of FAQ or directory.

How long have you known?

For ages, I don’t know how long. This is a funny one really. I’ve known since I was young, that’s all I can say really.

How did you know?

I assume I knew in the exact same way heterosexual people do. When, I reached puberty, my attractions for other boys developed and that was it. There was never an “oh my god, I’m gay” moment. In fact, it didn’t even really register that my attractions were different to most people – that’s quite lovely if you think about it. A lot of people have actually been surprised, mostly because I’m not effeminate. Apparently, stereotypes are still prevalent.

Who did you tell first?

A friend when I was thirteen, then more friends, then my Mum, my other immediate family and then the rest of my family. It’s all about with who it would be less awkward not closeness. Well, for me anyway.

How did you come out?

In different ways, I told my parents through letters and my sister whilst drunk. A lot of my friends were told face-to-face or even online, and my parents each told lots of other relatives. I’m sure a plethora of people found out via my Twitter account.

Do you want to get married/have a family?

This is a bit of a silly question for me right now anyway, because I’m nineteen but yeah, I suppose so.

Are you ‘proud’?

A lot of people say that they’re “out and proud”. I don’t really understand that. I’m not proud to be homosexual. I’m not really proud of any of my innate characteristics, they’re not accomplishments so why would I be? I’m proud to be contented with myself and to normalise this topic like many people have told me I have. I’m proud that I never struggled with it, not that anyone should be ashamed if they do or did.

Leicester is better than Nottingham

The title says it all. Leicester is better than Nottingham and that’s all there is to it. Today, the Leicester Mercury published an opinion piece from budding journalist Catherine Hancock (who I’m sure is lovely by the way) detailing why she thought that Nottingham was the top city in the East Midlands. Of course, you can’t expect me to read that and not respond, so let’s travel through Catherine’s arguments and unhinge them bit by bit.

Like Catherine, we’ll start with sport. Leicester has a Premier League football team. Nottingham doesn’t. Those are the facts. Actually, our northern neighbours haven’t graced the top-flight since 1999, a time when S Club 7 and Steps were still dominating the charts. Forest fans, as we all know, love a good history lesson but their triumphs under Brian Clough are not really relevant now. Not only does Leicester boast a Premier League football team, we’re also the home of the Rugby Union’s most successful ever club, the Leicester Tigers, with ten Premiership titles to their name. Add the only cricket club to have won the Twenty20 Cup more than once and the country’s oldest basketball club (and current cup champions) in to the mix and you’ve got a true sporting city,unlike the underachieving Nottingham.

And if we’re simply talking sporting icons, how can you look further than England legends Gary Lineker and Peter Shilton, who both hail from the city? And who can forget the Jester from Leicester Mark Selby who won 2014’s World Snooker Championship?

When we’re talking music, Leicester once again reigns supreme. How can you argue with Showaddywaddy, Mark Morrison, Engelbert Humperdinck, X Factor champ Sam Bailey and of course, the crème de la crème; Kasabian? Are we to submit all of these music icons to that miserable Jake Bugg? I don’t think so.

Let’s not forget that Leicester was also the city that brought up the legendary Attenborough brothers – you’re welcome, Earth.

Apparently, Nottingham is also ‘the city of history’ too, because it’s the ‘home’ of Robin Hood, who could well be fictional. Leicester’s local Maryland Chicken chains have more history than that. Leicester can boast to be one of the country’s oldest settlements, as well as one of it’s most populated (more than Nottingham). It was also, the place Richard III met his maker, and was discovered some 530 years after he died – he wasn’t fictional.

Catherine also said that Quentin Tarantino chose Nottingham to be the location of one of Pulp Fiction’s premières – which I admit is quite cool. However, it doesn’t quite have the same honour as Queen Elizabeth II hand-picking Leicester as the first stop on her Diamond jubilee tour in 2012.

In fact if the cities were to go head-to-head Nottingham would be knocked out in the second round. Nottingham is the country’s singleton, bad breath and crime capital – quite a resumé, I know. We could stretch even further and call Nottingham the obese capital, if we were to include Bassetlaw in north Notts.  There’s actually such a gap in quality between the two cities that your life expectancy increases five years if you travel 30 miles south via the A46.

Let’s face it Nottingham cannot compare. How can you stand a few good ice skaters against the city responsible for Walkers crisps, the largest outdoor market in Europe, being Britain’s first environment city, the birth of local BBC radio and more importantly than anything else, the modern English language, and expect to win?

Neither are bad-looking cities by the way, not particularly beautiful but not ugly either. For me, Leicester edges that too but I’m sure others will disagree. In truth, there are several thousand reasons why Leicester is better than Nottingham, maybe the most relevant one is that nobody from Leicester would ever write in a Nottingham newspaper just about how great our city is. There you go, add humility to the list of things we do better too!

If you’re keeping score, don’t bother. It’s game, set and match to Leicester.

(P.S. – You can read Catherine’s blog at http://www.catherinescolumn.com)

2014-15 Predictions

I thought I might as well have a go at predicting the final tables for the upcoming 2014-15 season in England’s top five divisions. If nothing else, this will be good for a laugh in 9 months time.

Premier League

The usual suspects will compete once more for English football’s crown with Chelsea’s manoeuvring in the transfer market making them best placed to steal the glory. Defending champions Manchester City will challenge all the way in a more competitive race that should see both Arsenal and Manchester United more involved than last season. Despite their performance last season, the loss of Suarez could seriously hinder Liverpool’s progression.

The bottom end of the table will again be ridiculously congested. New boys Leicester should have enough about them to secure Premier League safety. There are still doubts over Burnleys staying power, given their lack of funding but spirit and team ethic may be enough for the Clarets. QPR’s squad greatly underachieved last season and there’s little to suggest their flawed transfer policy has improved – the Hoops will probably struggle. Both Sunderland and Swansea have looked to improve, though there is still some doubt over the ability of Garry Monk. Last season’s mid-table stalwarts Newcastle and Southampton will be more involved in the survival scrap but should each have enough. West Midlands duo West Brom and Aston Villa are widely tipped to drop below the dreaded dotted line and Hull City may struggle to balance the commitments of domestic and continental football.

1 Chelsea
2 Manchester City
3 Manchester United
4 Arsenal
5 Liverpool
6 Everton
7 Tottenham Hotspur
8 Stoke City
9 Newcastle United
10 Southampton
11 Swansea City
12 Sunderland
13 Leicester City
14 West Ham United
15 Crystal Palace
16 Hull City
17 Burnley
18 Aston Villa
19 Queens Park Rangers
20 West Bromwich Albion

 Championship

The most competitive division in football is once again the hardest to call. Derby’s play-off heartbreak could help them emulate local rivals Leicester by reaching the title this time around. Brighton will miss both Ulloa and Upson immensely and could find the top six out of their reach. Wigan looked a lot stronger under Uwe Rosler and could give promotion a better go this season. The relegated trio Norwich, Fulham and Cardiff all possess enough quality to be there or thereabouts next season but as we’ve seen in previous years immediate returns to the Premier League are hard to come by.

Wolves and Brentford should have enough to secure survival at the very least. Rotherham look to be the most in danger of the three former League One clubs with Birmingham, Millwall, Charlton and the disastrous Blackpool set to be looking over their shoulders once more.

1 Derby County
2 Wigan Athletic
3 Norwich City
4 Fulham
5 Blackburn Rovers
6 Cardiff City
7 Brighton & Hove Albion
8 Reading
9 Watford
10 Middlesbrough
11 Ipswich Town
12 Nottingham Forest
13 Wolverhampton Wanderers
14 Bournemouth
15 Bolton Wanderers
16 Sheffield Wednesday
17 Brentford
18 Leeds United
19 Charlton Athletic
20 Huddersfield Town
21 Rotherham United
22 Millwall
23 Birmingham City
24 Blackpool

 

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From this point on, I don’t know an awful lot so please excuse my inferior knowledge

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League One

1 Sheffield United
2 Preston North End
3 Leyton Orient
4 Barnsley
5 Bristol City
6 Doncaster Rovers
7 Peterborough United
8 Yeovil Town
9 Swindon Town
10 Milton Keynes Dons
11 Coventry City
12 Notts County
13 Chesterfield
14 Bradford City
15 Crawley Town
16 Walsall
17 Oldham Athletic
18 Scunthorpe United
19 Fleetwood Town
20 Port Vale
21 Colchester United
22 Crewe Alexandra
23 Rochdale
24 Gillingham

League Two

1 Shrewsbury Town
2 Bury
3 York City
4 Southend United
5 Carlisle United
6 Burton Albion
7 Luton Town
8 Portsmouth
9 Stevenage
10 Tranmere Rovers
11 Plymouth Argyle
12 Northampton Town
13 Oxford United
14 Newport County
15 Cheltenham Town
16 Hartlepool United
17 Mansfield Town
18 Accrington Stanley
19 Cambridge United
20 Exeter City
21 Dagenham & Redbridge
22 AFC Wimbledon
23 Morecambe
24 Wycombe Wanderers

Conference Premier

1 Grimsby Town
2 Bristol Rovers
3 Gateshead
4 Kidderminster Harriers
5 Wrexham
6 Forest Green Rovers
7 Barnet
8 Lincoln City
9 Torquay United
10 FC Halifax Town
11 Eastleigh
12 Aldershot Town
13 Braintree Town
14 Woking
15 Alfreton Town
16 Macclesfield Town
17 Chester
18 Dover Athletic
19 Nuneaton Town
20 AFC Telford United
21 Welling United
22 Altrincham
23 Southport
24 Dartford

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.

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 clubs for propping us up this season. I hope not to see any of you any time soon.

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
[Photo:theevilontwolegs.com]

February 17th 2014 – Fred is banished from the Westboro Baptist Church after being caught twerking to Glee’s cover of Madonna’s ‘Vogue’.

March 20th 2014 – Fred suffers a heart attack after accidentally watching an episode of Modern Family. He is surrounded by posters of WWE’s Batista.

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 (http://metro.co.uk/2014/02/03/ten-reasons-why-nottingham-forests-fawaz-al-hasawi-is-the-best-owner-in-football-4288747/), 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. (http://www.forestfans.net/index.php?/topic/19294-wonder-if-fawaz-al-hasawi-has-the-money/page-3)

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.