Tuesday, 14 June 2016

The EU Referendum is Approaching...

I feel I can write this with every confidence that I'm not forcing my views upon you, as you chose to come here and read it. If you have come hear to be told to vote one way or the other , then I'm going to disappoint, I won't force my opinions on anyone, but I feel it is important to at least mention something that could impact everybody reading this.

Sadly, its' time to talk about something I'd much rather not, but the world depends on it, and that thing is Elections , more specifically , the whole In/Out Campaign.

One thing I won't do is tell people how I will be voting, but I will try to look at it subjectively and I'm certainly not being paid to do this by any party. There's a lot of thought gone into how they [and by they I mean the people that would rather not care that you vote for them, but get annoyed if you don't] I also mean political parties. It doesn't matter to me HOW you vote, it just matters to me that you DO vote .

But, I hear you cry "The system is broken, why should I bother" Well, I reply, to fix it? Is that a good enough answer. No? Well, how about that if you don't vote, you don't get a say about anything that happens. So the Tories [example, not real] vote for policy A, you disagree with, and get angry about it. Your fault, more so than people that voted them in, you chose not to vote against them.

The simple fact is, no political party really cares about your vote, they just don't want you voting for other parties, which is fair enough I guess. It's just, why wouldn't you, at least acknowledge people for helping you get to where they all want to be, Actors [by which I mean the collective term] always thank people for supporting them if they win an award, I find it weird, that if an actor would say I did this all on my own, people would probably give them a wide berth from then on, but if a politician does it, people love them for it.

It's especially important to get out and actually vote come June 23rd 2016 because there is no undoing this decision in 5,10 etc years as this is permanent [unlike the Scottish referendum for independence, which continually gets talked about that they'll try again sometime soon]. A one and done situation where the country decides whether or not its better off IN or Out of the EU, [which should be less complicated than that, things definitely have to change].

On May 5th people went out in force to huddle around the tables with the pencils strapped to them, and putting an X in boxes, and the coverage of it afterwards came down to three things. Labour are reeling [apparently]  (Despite the fact Labour performed better than the previous general election), We worship Nicola Sturgeon [and the fact they win less control than in the previous election, is a positive] and you must fear UKIP. No, I'll tell you what I'll do, I'll continue ignoring your Media Bias and carry on listening to what is said to make my own decisions, and completely disregard the scaremongering and underhand tactics used, by candidates, and the BBC themselves.

Its at this point I want to point out that its' coming across that we're Damned if we #VoteStay and damned if we #VoteLeave . This might be one of those referendums where the country can't win, no matter what the people want. While I understand its' nice to have a choice, it shouldn't just essentially be in or out, hopefully there's more work to do later, if the country votes to remain in, hopefully that could mean reshuffling things, priorities etc.

However, hopefully, with the fact that all votes will count towards the total, that could persuade some fence sitters to participate. For instance, if 36 people showed up to the polling stations country wide, and voted like this : 19 Leave , 17 Stay , the UK would be leaving the EU effective immediately, though effects will take up to 2 years to manifest themselves. It's uncertain what happens next in either outcome but perhaps it will become so in time.

To stay where we are, means a lot of the same things we[ as a public. and country] seem to be unhappy with, where-as leaving, apparently better, is not guaranteed, as services [and flights] across/ within Europe will hike, but it will potentially free up more of the international market , but I'm not an expert in these things. It would certainly, upon voting to leave have an impact about free movement within Europe both for us and individuals within those countries coming here .

From what I've gathered, and I'm certainly not alone here, the debates about staying / leaving can be summed up like this: he says this, she said that, he disagrees with her, she disagrees with his disagreement, she says this, while trying to make a joke related to him, everyone misses it, she gets disagreed with again, but then suddenly its' five minutes into the 'debate' and it feels like five hours. Essentially, both sides of the argument states that the other is trying to scare monger to get people to vote their way.

If anybody has links to any politicians, or are one themselves, I beg of you to stop using the NHS as a tug o' war between election manifestos, and an argument to leave/ remain as part of the EU. Its' broken because neither side, or party can leave it alone to do that job it was set up to do. While I agree its' important, there are far more important issues and causes that could use the spotlights of electoral debates etc which are casually mentioned as part of answers about something else ,

To close, it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things how we all vote, as we live in Great Britain, and we will make it work, whatever the outcome, I just hope in doing so people take a look at the bigger picture, and not just because person A,D want us to remain, we think that they're a massive tool so we vote the other way just because.  Vice versa, Person B,C want us to leave, and we also think they're a tool too. I think its' very shortsighted to blame the problems with our country on the EU, and its' also not fair to blame the EU for all of the problems either.  There's a lot of bureaucracy, that I don't really understand, not being in politics, but also with not being in politics, lets me look at things subjectively and both sides of the argument have been floored from the beginning. No side has bothered to take a proper look, and interpreted figures to suit their narratives. I think the EU will get better with time, but I also think we need to look after our country first. Again, I won't be urging people to vote either way, but please just go and vote and let your voice be heard. I know what box I'll be ticking next week, and I hope you all do too. One thing I have noticed, the whole EU Referendum debates haven't convinced anyone to change their minds, unless you happen to be on the vote leave side in which an MP actually thought the Leave side was full of lies, which can be viewed in full here . In another separate article touching on if the UK remains, the Tory party want to go again with another one [this again], that the Leave campaign is "truth Free" linked here . Its funny to me that we want our politicians to tell the truth, but in this instance, we [as a public] seem to be encouraging the outrageous deceit. All I hope is that the common sense of people prevail and we all vote in the end, and as I said before whatever the outcome, we'll make it work, because we are Great Britain . Thank you for reading, and I hope as a general population we are happy with the choice we all make next Week.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Fantasy Baseball 2016 Musings ...

This is likely the first of many entries, as I have a problem saying No and have more teams than I initially wanted but considerably less than I did this time last year anyway.

In no particular order the:
Birmingham Groundouts [back for their 8th push for respectability [not necessarily under the same name], 12 team 5x5 Roto. My longest tenured team, and the one I REALLY want to win. Curently Leading by 1.5 points
Birmingham GFY's - Debut , with defensive stats that can add or take away points. H2H, Currently in 7th overall place [3rd in division].
Riff Raff Assortment [Avatar of Riff Raff from Rocky Horror, Hell yes] My Debut, Taking over someone else's team, 7x7 H2H. Currently 2nd place overall in the standings,
CM Punk Rock - Again, a Not so Hostile takeover, 12 team 8x8 Roto currently in 4th place, 2.5 points behind leaders.
Colorado Rockies - Formally the Kansas City Royals , Dynasty league with minor league rosters , 6x6 H2H. 16 teams. Currently 6th place , 14-8-2 overall.
Hackensack Bulls - 12 team 7x7 Roto. My love for John Candy should be clear enough with this one. Currently leading by 2.5 points.

Exciting start with a couple of early leads and hopefully I don't fritter them away like I have in years past in different formats [mostly through questionable trades]. I'm confident I can win, but my overall goal was to at least finish in the top six in H2H formats [usually good enough to qualify for the playoffs, and then the hunt for a trophy begins], and top three for roto, because I want the trophies !

I want this to be an interactive experience for you as well, so if you would like to find out rosters or further details about any of the teams listed above, feel free to write in the comments below and I'll do my best to answer them, even if your question is why do you play this game? Over to you.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Nowhere to go.....

But down.

It's not the most optimistic beginning I'll ever do, but such is the state of the place in B6, you might be forgiven for expecting there to be rubble, mess and perilous surroundings, which might actually help all in all.

No, the appointment of Remy Garde wasn't thought about at all, and while results weren't ideal under Mr Sherwood, I don;t think performances were as bad as people make out, and they surely wouldn't be going down with a whimper, although they might still have gone down,[I doubt it though] it would have gone to the final game or two to decide who actually went down, although I'm still convinced results would have started coming as I saw improvement every week, there would not have been ANY 6-0 losses at Home, nor would they have lost the majority of games, [whether home or away] in the process. Now of course I'm not saying that Villa wouldn't have lost any at all [although playing with the same players on my leading manufacture of Football games, prove it is possible] but that's a different story for another time.

The real issues here, are up at board room level, insisting on a broken system which is designed to undermine the ACTUAL managers and make it impossible for them to do their jobs properly, which make it easier for the potatoes in charge to dispense of person A when they feel like it, or maybe I'm just bitter and hold the fact that Tim Sherwood guided us to a final and some great performances along the way to get there [not least beating West Brom twice in one week, once in the league, once in the 1/4 finals of the FA Cup]. f course, it might have been the case that Villa not winning enough by Christmas, might have changed some thinking, but with the season then, about 7 games in, that's not nearly enough time.

Tim Sherwood was absolutely the right man for the job, and has been very harshly treated within the football world, and I hope he has another management job soon, with football people in charge so he can prove what we all know he is capable of. Good luck to you Mr Sherwood, if you ever see this ! While they weren't winning every week, they were also on the cusp of victory with narrow defeats, but they nearly always scored.

Back to the problems on the pitch , and there are many. I'm not an expert, this is how I see it.

Jordan Amavi - Didn't really have time to make an impact before his brutal injury, but the defence has struggled since then, and I hope he makes a full recovery soon.
Jolean Lescott - I'm not sure the fans wanted to see him come from across the Midlands, but I recall earlier in his career, he would have been welcomed, same for:
Micah Richards - Was a promising young player, who is now a shell of his former ability and in the cusp of the near glory days under Martin O'Neill, would have been very welcome.
Aly Cissokho - Liability on the left. Bye .
Charles N'Zogbia . Paid too much for him to begin with, he still earns way to much to do absolutely nothing of use , to be fair some of it isn't his fault, with the Achilles injury a couple of years ago, having an effect, he's lost some pace which helps defenders get the ball from him.
Gabby Agbonlahor - Missing for large portions of seasons' gone by, has scored once in 17 appearances. It hasn't always been bad with him, he is a derby hero and will undoubtedly have an impact on derby games, but the rest of the season is seeing him a passenger of late.
Rudy Gestede - This isn't on him, he's been played out of position at times [as was Jordan Ayew] neither of them are bad strikers, but playing them on the wings, and with no actual wingers to cross for Gestede to head the ball, opportunities have been scare, in terms of appearances, and goals. Rudy still appears to know where the goal is though and is joint top scorer.
There are other players not getting enough game time to make an accurate assessment, but will likely see a future at the club with the impending relegation getting finalised.

I don't think any Villa fan expect to be world beaters, or winning every week, but winning occasionally wouldn't hurt ! I think that we just expect to leave every ounce of energy and passion on the pitch and the fans can take defeat easier, rather than the team looking beaten in the tunnel every week.

Again, I'm seeing a various short list of who will be the next manager and its quite interesting. All I will say at this point is NO to Steve Bruce, although I'm sure he could do a good job, we don't want another Alex McLeish situation. I'm prepared to give almost anyone a chance but I have a couple I'd rather see . Mick McCarthy has always been a realistic sort of person, and has a way with the media that will probably make the Villa Park journalist room more relaxed which will rub off onto the players. Weirdly, Gary Neville has also been mentioned and I don't know how the fan base would react to such an appointment, but I feel he has a lot to prove, will have learned a lot from also being England's assistant, and maybe was a victim of circumstance in Valencia, in not knowing how to speak Spanish, he won;t have a language barrier [or shouldn't] unless he can learn Brummy and French very quickly. I think he's a more capable manager than he showed in Spain though. Garry Monk , several people feel was harshly exited from Swansea, and showed he was more than capable after being thrust into the hot-seat after Michael Laudrup departed the Welsh outfit, and current Wales National team, Chris Coleman has premier league experience but not being sure what anybody on "their imaginations'" short-list, or even the "official" one can offer a team doomed to Championship encounters starting in August on weekends, and rainy midweek nights its' not a guarantee they don;t fall through that division either at this point, so the next move[s] made will be very important, although the question remains, who would want the job ?

[I do, but I know I'm not qualified sadly], though I'm working on it !

Monday, 7 March 2016

Sunk without trace .

Such is the fall from stability that has befallen Aston Villa FC in the past few years, it might be the case that looking back on the 2015/16 premier league season, it will be referred to as the race for first to be safe from relegation. Trouble is, only those in the top 14 as of writing apparently got the memo, and with a quite thrilling title race brewing, and a surprising couple of pushes for Europe, usually at some point, stragglers fall off the cliff with no hope of survival, and unfortunately for me, and may fans, Aston Villa are that club. There are worse tales out there, such as the fall of Leeds United, and maybe Bolton too, perhaps Blackpool or Portsmouth also make that cut, but none of them as inept as the club of my desires, Aston Villa. While the underlying theme is similar, in that all clubs have had issues with their owners, only Villa's has been so unforgiving that they just couldn't remain competitive, or at least in a fair fight, such is the way that TV Money is dominating the game.
While Leeds and Portsmouth were at one point challenging for honours, they just couldn't recoup the large fees paid on wages, players etc and Portsmouth almost went out of business not so long ago,  [story here]. While Leeds' plight can  be read about in various places, an excellent summing up can be found here.

While the bottom club in league two [Dagenham and Redbridge] has 5 Wins [9 draws] , they've scored 33 and conceded 58 goals for a goal difference of -25 for 24 points, leaving them 7 points off safety, and 2 behind the next team with 7 games to go.
The bottom club in league one [Colchester] has six wins, nine draws, scored 42 goals and conceded 81 with a goal difference of -39, leaving them 10 points off safety, three behind the next placed team with 7 games to go.
The bottom club in the Championship [Bolton Wanderers] has four wins 13 draws, scoring 33 goals, conceding 58 for a goal difference of -25 gaining 25 points so far, 10 from safety with seven games to go.
And the bottom club of the Premiership [Aston Villa] has three wins seven draws scoring 22 goals [somehow] while conceding 55 for a goal difference of -33 and earning 16 points leaving them nine points from safety, and 8 points off the next placed team. This leaves them as pretty much the worst team in the country, possibly the world in professional league football.

Villa, out of their last six defeats, scored three goals while conceding 20, with a 6-0 HOME defeat to Liverpool along the way doing some of the damage.

The writing has been pretty much on the wall for a number of years, and with a structure of management that is broken, rotten and wrong from the top down, this club, and it pains to write, could be on a free-fall through the league system, unless things change.

A word about the man in a suit on the sidelines, I'm still of the opinion, that although things might not have been any better with Sherwood still at the helm,[though they probably would have been, there was progress each week despite the lack of points] I'm convinced they wouldn't be losing heavily every other week and so would still have a lot to play for. This article here, seems to agree Now, all thats left is to try to go down with dignity, and with home games to come against Tottenham,Chelsea,Bournemouth,Southampton and Newcastle, and with road trips to come against Swansea,Manchester United, Watford and Arsenal to end the season there could be points to be found from at least four of the games, which could be enough to squeeze to safety, but that alone isn't enough, it depends on the teams above also losing, but with Swansea and Newcastle in relegation battles themselves, to win both of those games would at least put them with a fighting chance of survival, but with defeats already in the books against Swansea earlier in the season, and a draw against Newcastle, its still hard to be optimistic, given the situation the club is in, but stranger things have happened.