|WINTER'S WORLD FEATURING DERBY COUNTY v MIDDLESBROUGH
17th April 2012
Sunday's football was lively. Liverpool flatter to deceive with a bright start against a backdrop of the boring booing by Newcastle fans of their former Geordie players. None got it more so than Andy Carroll - mind you, he was perhaps deserving.
His usual foul mouthed ranting was mild in comparison to his pathetic attempt to win a penalty and get his former teammate sent off. The stupid thing was that he looked like he was favourite to bypass the keeper and score. I had backed him to score as former players often do so I was doubly annoyed at his antics.
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Worse was to follow in the incident that saw Pepe Reina correctly dismissed. His head butt meant he had to go. Contact was minimal and the overreaction of James Perch was pathetic. In fact disgraceful and I wish the FA would take retrospective action against these cheats. All a pity because these incidents will be the headlines rather than Newcastle's continued impressive form.
Monday morning and an early start for the flight to Barcelona. Bumped into Lee Clark at the airport. Due to gardening leave he was taking the opportunity to take his family to Gran Canaria. Many of his colleagues are enjoying this lifestyle as chairmen show no patience and reach for the gun to fire at random. Crazy - some, like Phil Brown, are allegedly still on the payroll long after being discarded by their clubs.
Win or bust, Boro and Derby both needed the points at Pride park on Saturday. Don't let the sunshine fool you, it was Baltic!
This annual appearance at a university sports event at Lloret Del Mar is even shorter than usual and I will be in the country just over 24 hours. Too good to turn down though as former refs don't get gardening leave!! In fact they normally get buggar all.
My old mate Pete Walton though has fallen on his feet though. The oldest Premier League ref has finally hung up his whistle to take up a role as head of refs in the MSL based in New York. Good luck to him, he's a top bloke. Going to hook up with him when we are in NY later on in the year.
It was 3.30pm before I got to Lloret so two hours around the pool before getting ready for my Skype interview, subjects obviously Perch, Carroll and Reina.
A healthy following of Boro fans at Pride Park.
A visit to a local bar to watch Blackburn play Manchester United was interrupted by a call saying that I might not be needed on the Tuesday which would have meant a trip to Spain for 24 hours and paid for doing nothing! United finally got the better of Blackburn in a methodical manner.
Nottingham University decided they might as well have a kick about as it was pissing down. I agreed as I had nothing else to do as sun bathing was out of the question.
The top ten sports centre has a multitude of pitches and their own referees, so when we got our pitch a local ref came as well. He was somewhat bemused as 30 plus lads all in different kits lined up for the start. I suggested he do one half of the field and I would do the other.
He wasn't having that though, this was his cup final, offsides etc, not really appreciating what sports vest is all about. Still we had a laugh and then I did a Q & A session in the changing rooms as the rain got worse. Back to the hotel and home, bit of a bummer leaving Barca just before their Champions League clash with AC Milan!
Boro players celebrate and thank the travelling supporters after Saturday's victory at Derby.
Easyjet going out had been bearable, Ryanair for the return journey, on the plane for scheduled take off time then due to French air traffic controllers who are starting their antics again just in time for Easter, we are told 50 minutes delay, which then went up to 90 minutes. Wankers!!
On Thursday evening I joined comedian John Scott for the trip to Tyldesley Rugby Club for their Sportsman's evening. It was a very enjoyable evening with the proceeds of the evening much higher than they could have anticipated. A great crowd, we had one idiot who could not handle his drink but that in no way negated from a great night.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating and I have been told that other organisations in the area will be looking to book me.
Anyone interested in booking me to host or speak at their event me can be assured that as well as speaking I will give maximum help to fundraising on the evening with my auctioneering skills. Contact me regarding availability by clicking here.
Friday morning and a quick trip back home to get the train to London. Spending Easter with my daughter and her partner. The late Jimmy Saville said let the train take the strain, he might be right in general, but on this occasion it was not the case.
I have learnt in the past that speaking your mind and being forthright can get you into trouble. There are certain subjects that us Brits are not allowed to mention without incurring accusations from the politically correct brigade. Regrettably I will therefore refrain other than to say the journey was totally spoilt by the large family groups that took over the carriage and showed no respect for their fellow travellers. An article I was to read a few days later summed up my feelings on certain subjects!
The evening saw us out on the town to a theatre for an audience participation event, normally not my cup of tea, but a laugh all the same. Walking through London dressed as a gangster carrying a wooden gun was daunting though and I was hoping I was not shot down by local policemen!
'Teesside Aggro' thirty five years on!
Saturday and whilst Rangers were showing how not to take penalties, Boro were yet again shooting themselves in the foot. The start of an abysmal Easter, a poor turnout at the Riverside and yet another disappointing home performance and it was going to get worse at Hull on Monday.
Instead of watching football we went to watch the boat race. At least when it passed us the boats were in full action and not having to avoid dickhead protesters. I wonder what that did for the countries reputation around the world ahead of the Olympics?
I don't know how people afford to live in London, plenty to do but a weekend in the capital costs more than a week abroad!!
On Monday evening it was a case of catching up on the football as I knew that interviews would be requested after a calamitous weekend of refereeing decisions. Of course any team relegated will do so purely because of a poor decision in the next few games, nothing to do with their crap performances over the 38 game season. That being said there are just too many high profile errors at the moment. Glad I'm out of it.
On Thursday I received the following. Oh how I wish this country had the balls to speak and act like the Australian Premier!!!
Australian Prime Minister does it again!! This woman should be appointed Queen of the World... Truer words have never been spoken.
Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia, as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.
Separately, Gillard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying she supported spy agencies monitoring the nation's mosques.
IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT.. Take It Or Leave It.
"I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali , we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians.
"This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.
"We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society ... Learn the language!
"Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.
"We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us.
"This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, 'THE RIGHT TO LEAVE'.
"If you aren't happy here then LEAVE. We didn't force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted."
Maybe if we circulate this amongst ourselves in UK, Canada & USA, WE will find the courage to start speaking and voicing the same truths.
Friday morning and I realised it was Sedgefield races. Don't know why that wasn't in my diary? A not too successful afternoon's punting made me wish I hadn't found out.
Was invited by Les from NOWMC to join him in the Coors box, so at least had a bird's eye view of my money going down the drain.
A blast from the past. Jack Wardle rolls back the years with his attire at the Jovial Monk on Friday night.
Friday night and another 'Boro Boot Boy' reunion night at the Jovial Monk in North Ormesby. Time to reminisce about our teenage years. Had a good chat with Jonah as we recalled Middlesbrough High School days and the corporal punishment that would see teachers jailed nowadays. From the cane to the slipper to block of wood, we were beaten left right and centre in those days. Never did us any harm as they say!
Good old Reggae and Ska and the odd pork pie hat with turned up jeans and DM's and gingham checked shirts. Ah, memories.
Saturday and off to Derby to watch the Boro, in surely what must be the last chance saloon. A journey with the Gazette's finest would be controversial as usual. Vic does not hold back his views.
Spring has been replaced by winter and it was Baltic at Pride Park. I wished I had brought the extra jacket from the car as the wind swirled round the press box.
Pre-match I had enjoyed watching Craig Hignett show a true fan's emotions as he endured a torrid first half as his beloved Liverpool went behind. He had to go to start his radio work and missed the Andy Carroll winner that would have seen him going ballistic. At least the game passed without major controversy though Jelavic's goal looked marginally offside.
Boro had around half of the pushing 3,000 fans that had gone to Hull on Easter Monday, but they were in good spirits as Boro started brightly. In fact with better finishing and luck we could have been two up in the first ten minutes.
The home team had been announced to the crowd individually by school children and we were making them look juvenile as Haroun fired over on six minutes. Jutkiewicz went past the keeper but his goal bound effort lacked the legs and a defender cleared on eight. McMahon's free kick clipped the cross bar on ten minutes.
The home crowd were subdued as Boro were in charge and hogging possession. McD, fed by Emnes, stroked the ball wide with the keeper flat footed. As is usual though if you don't take your chances when you are on top you can live to regret. As the half wore on Derby got more into it and created good chances of their own. The lively Theo Robinson fired wide and a tantalising cross went into the Boro six yard box and fortunately no Derby player could get on the end of it.
The home side did get the ball in the net but Robinson was clearly offside. Bailey got himself deservedly booked as Derby continued to cause our midfield severe problems. The game was already stretched and whilst exciting, typical of the lack of quality that typifies the Championship.
A great view of the action at Sedgefield on Friday afternoon from one of the hospitality boxes.
Half-time and yet again other results were going our way. The Rams started strongly but Boro responded and only a brilliant save from Fielding denied The Duke. I must admit for twenty minutes the Grand National took over, listening on the phone and watching the press box's small screen. More money down the drain but sadly and more importantly the demise of Synchronise.
A brilliant through ball from Robson and a sublime finish from Curtis Main with his first involvement put Boro ahead. Fortune then favoured the Boro as Green spurned a great chance as Steele managed to make a save when he should really have had no chance. So instead of another 1-1 away result and Boro conceding a late equaliser they hung on. Final whistle and jubilation for the fans and the players celebrated their victory. Robson, Thomson and McDonald first down the tunnel. I notice these things!!!
The journey home was spent dissecting the remaining fixtures and potential play off dates. To be honest I think Boro will miss out, but hopefully I am wrong. The gimme of three points against Doncaster has to become a reality on Tuesday night. Unfortunately I can't attend and whilst I am still away the TV teatime clash with Southampton could set up a final day trip to Watford. That will pose me problems as I am in Cumbria on the Friday night so a few hours sleep then a journey to Hertfordshire will be the order of the day.
Sunday afternoon and decided to watch the Scottish Cup semi-final. The first 45 minutes was pure dross, Hearts not interested in anything other than keeping it at nil-nil, Celtic clueless. The second half was better and courted in controversy.
Hearts were leading and Celtic were looking like they would never score, then sod's law a late equaliser and surely only one winner. Not so, the penalty decision for Hearts was incredible, no intent in a million years. Celtic robbed, another conspiracy. Lennon goes ballistic, funny if you are a Rangers fan, they did not deserve to win and showed that they are a very average side but the penalty, I know how I would have felt had it have been given against my team. That's life Buoy!!!
If that decision was bad then it faded into insignificance in comparison to the 'ghost goal' in the second FA cup semi-final. Another major decision that appeared to be totally wrong. I am getting embarrassed by some of the decisions in recent weeks.
If Martin Atkinson gave the decision from his position he guessed, if he is protecting his assistant who may have spoken to him on the communication system then he guessed. If in doubt give nowt. 5-1 and it appears it does not matter, but it was 1-0 when that goal was awarded, we will never know what might have happened. As I said, embarrassing!!
I loved refereeing but at times now I wish perhaps I had chosen a different career. As a former official I still get blasted every time the current crop get a major decision wrong. Nowt to do with me but guilty by association.
Action before the 'idiot' spoiled it all. Oxford and Cambridge pass by us near Hammersmith Bridge on Saturday in the University Boat race.
A busy couple of weeks ahead with a week in the Far East doing two Masters events in KL and Brunei, also hosting two Gala Dinners and doing a couple of presentations to local referees. Upon my return two dinners in the Midlands and Cumbria.
The Saturday game has not been decided. If Boro are in with a chance I might travel back from Cumbria overnight to set off for Watford, if not I might take in a local game before Sunday's trip to Glasgow for the final OF game of the season.
Boro's dismal showing over Easter meant no returns for my Charity bets. Against Derby it was surely the last chance saloon and despite the equally dismal form of others in the play off race, Boro had just got to win. I was not at all confident though.
In researching this weekend's referee, his last two Boro games and also his last two Derby games have all ended 3-1, including the corresponding fixture last season. An omen perhaps? Well desperation in knowing whatever will happen in this crazy division saw me taking Derby to win 3-1 @ 25/1, and Boro to win 3-1 @ 22/1. More realistically both teams to score was 10/11 and 3 goals or more goals in the game was @ 23/20.
Oh ye of little faith. The score line meant Boro's season is still in the balance but did nothing to help boost the charity funds.
Nevertheless thanks to William Hills the monies I have raised so far this season is now £758.49 for the Great North Air Ambulance.
Odds are often better online than in the offices - click here to open an account. This week's predictions will appear on the charity page of my website, here.
Enjoy your football.
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