Read my Poetry

In Pursuit of Glory

A heart beats beneath a trio of lions
Hope. Excitement. Belief. Disbelief.
The future lies unwritten. Glory is plausible.
Glory is within reach.

It is a dream, and most dreams fail.
Most dreams fade.
Most dreamers cannot force their dream onto reality.
Most dreamers lack the wit, the invention.
A dream is a glimpse of a purer world:
A world of larger than life heroes,
A world where heartwrenching effort yields reward.
A dream is a vision of a world without heartbreak.

But dreams do not all die – the best persist.
This moment will persist.
We will look back on the memory of  a dream.
When glory was within reach.

Continue reading “In Pursuit of Glory”

Football, FootballOpinion, Uncategorized

Three Lions

I’m aware that England probably aren’t going to win the world cup. We’re probably going to fall short in some way. But today, we can dream.

As a Hartlepool and England fan, I don’t have much experience of winning things. But sometimes the experience of pursuing glory is its own reward.

In 2005 I felt frustration when Hartlepool lost a playoff final to Sheffield Wednesday, but also intense pride that my team had pushed a bigger, richer club so close.

In 1996 I was in tears as England lost to Germany. But looking back as an adult, I feel pride at the times when England were bold, and pushed the strongest, most well-drilled teams in world football so far.

Continue reading “Three Lions”


England vs Germany – a Philosophical Divide

Another link, this time to something new. Published today on BornOffside, I’ve responded to Dietmar Hamann’s autobiography extract, published on Sunday in the Independent.

In it, Hamann compared Michael Ballack and Paul Gascoigne’s reactions to being booked in World Cup semi-finals, arguing that Gascoigne’s emotional reaction would see him becoming a national pariah rather than a hero… and that Gascoigne represents what’s wrong with English football.

If the German football model is so good, why do their players look so weird?
If the German football model is so good, why do their players look so weird?

However, I disagree with a lot of what Hamann said, and have written a response for BornOffside.

Click here to read Dietmar Hamann has England’s Problems All Wrong


Dodgy Keepers! Dodgy Keepers!

I’ve not written here on the blog for a while, but my writing’s not totally ground to a halt.

Just published yesterday on Squawka is a look at the goalkeepers who’ve made the most goal-costing mistakes in the top leagues across Europe, with representation from Holland, Italy, Germany and France… as well as England’s very own Joe Hart, unfortunately.

I've no idea where the phrase 'Say it ain't so, Joe' originates, but a search leads me to this handsome gentleman.
I’ve no idea where the phrase ‘Say it ain’t so, Joe’ originates, but a search leads me to this handsome gentleman.

England may not lead the world in much these days, but we still produce some of the world’s best comic performers.

Click here to read Butter Fingers: Joe Hart Features In Europe’s Most Error Prone Keepers


A Noble Endeavour

A new article I’ve written has been published on Squawka today.

With players away from their clubs for the international break, I’ve looked at an English player who never seems to be even mentioned as a possible international – West Ham’s Mark Noble.

Mark Noble, preparing to launch a cross into a penalty area populated mainly by sentient socks. Possibly.
Mark Noble, preparing to launch a cross into a penalty area populated mainly by sentient socks. Possibly.

Writing for Squawka, I’ve looked at Noble’s strengths: creating chances for team-mates; keeping play ticking over by consistently maintaining possession; his talents as a defender and his all-round consistency.

If reading about the all-round consistency of a footballer who plays for a team you probably don’t support doesn’t sound like a good time, then I’m very sorry, and I’ll try and entertain you more next time.

If it does sound like the kind of thing that would interest you, then

Click here to read Four Reasons Why Mark Noble Should Be Considered For the England Squad


More Like Lambert For England

This article first appeared on Sportlobster on Tuesday. Sign up for free and you can read content like this sooner.

Rickie Lambert, after scoring 2 in 2 for England, will start for the national team tonight. He’s been such a success, not just in his goalscoring but having narrowly missed chances and doing a decent job as the central point of attack, that maybe we should look to his example more often.

When Lambert was called up, this was widely seen as a symptom of how understaffed the national team is. Just 4 years ago he was playing for Bristol Rovers, now he’s playing for England! It’s disgraceful!
Of course, Lambert seems to have maintained an air of zen while the media threw one of their usual hissyfits, performed in spectacular style, and now that sort of contrast is a positive. He used to work in a beetroot factory, now he’s playing for England! What a great story!

Continue reading “More Like Lambert For England”


Squawka – England’s Top Centre Halves

As mentioned previously, this month I’ve begun to write for the football stats site
Well, I’m now on the site – I’ve even got my own author profile!

Squawka, as well as providing in depth statistics on shot accuracy, chances created and average pass length, puts together it’s own unique ‘Squawka Performance Score’ – basically assigning a value to each of those performance areas.
During the week, my first article went up – a look at the Performance Scores of England’s centre halves, to try and add to the debate over who Roy Hodgson should select.

Put your hand up if you think you should be selected for England, despite struggling to break into the Manchester City team.
Put your hand up if you think you should be selected for England, despite struggling to break into the Manchester City team.

Click here to get the Squawka take on who the best English centre halves have been this season.


Dramatic Endings Good for England

Just a quick post to let you know I’ve written a post on Born Offside.

Today was the day of England’s first Euro 2012 match, and I’ve written a little thing about how the dramatic end to the domestic season could help England. The title was decided on the last day, Chelsea winning the European Cup against the odds, and Wigan going on a late run which was frankly unrealistic and badly written.

Click here to read Dramatic Endings

And, with Euro 2012 firmly underway, we at BornOffside have been covering the matches. My report of the Ukraine Sweden match is now up on the site.

My report of Ukraine vs Sweden


Hodgson’s The Choice

I’ve written a piece for BornOffside about Roy Hodgson, who has this week been appointed as the new manager of the England football team.

If you’ve not been following the England national team in recent months, you’ve probably been driven less close to the edge of sanity than me. Here’s a brief rundown of events.

  • In February, Fabio Capello, England’s experienced Italian manager, hugely successful in club football but with a mixed record in charge of England, resigned.
  • The national sporting press immediately responded by assuming Harry Redknapp, the manager of Tottenham where he has done a more than decent job, would be the next manager. The FA said nothing, nothing at all, to confirm this, but the newspaper speculation talked as if it were a formality, only mentioning other possibilities in passing.
  • Harry Redknapp is considered popular with the press – being social and helpful when it comes to sharing his thoughts ahead of matches, potential player transfers, and so on, allowing the press to appear insightful. Unlike Redknapp, Roy Hodgson has managed in various different leagues, and managed three national teams, two of them very successfully – Redknapp has managed only in England.
  • The press have been reporting Redknapp as ‘the people’s choice’ as England manager, despite a number of people preferring Hodgson, Alan Pardew, or Guus Hiddink, among other foreign options.
  • On Sunday, the FA announced that Roy Hodgson had been approached to take the role, wth no other candidates being interviewed.
  • The British sporting press reported this, essentially, as ‘Harry Redknapp Not Offered England Job’, and frankly haven’t been very dignified about it.
  • During Hodgson’s formal presentation to the media as manager on Tuesday, around half the questions he was asked were about Harry Redknapp.

Here are my thoughts about Hodgson’s appointment.


Harry’s Flaws

Harry Redknapp is a talented football manager. His Tottenham team are currently third in the table, they are playing an entertaining style, and he’s the first English manager to challenge for the title for about ten, fifteen years.

God, that’s a depressing thought.

Harry Redknapp, being stalked by a giant seagull with a bad haircut.

The England manager’s job is currently vacant, after Fabio Capello’s departure last month, and Redknapp has been talked about by the English media, particularly Fleet Street, as if he is the nailed on certainty, the only possible choice. He’s also referred to as the fans’ choice – for instance, Match of the Day has said that the only people in the country who don’t want him to be England manager are the fans of his current club.

While I don’t totally disagree with his good press, I do to a large extent.

I’ve written an opinion piece for Born Offside, presenting the counterargument to the pro-Redknapp press.