Tag Archives: Sport

Can anyone explain these headlines?

I receive the Arabian Business round-up to my inbox twice a day and I’ve had a worrying tendency to always believe what I read.  Here are three recent examples of my urgent need to wake up and smell the M&S tea.

Headline

Nakheel to double marina berths on Palm Jumeirah

Sub headline

Dubai-based master developer currently has 522 berths, 50% of which are still unsold

And this one:

Headline
The speed limit on the main Abu Dhabi to Dubai highway will be cut to 140km per hour from Sunday.

Sub Head

A decision by Abu Dhabi traffic police to reduce the speed limit from 160km per hour was announced last week and will be enforced on Sunday, UAE daily Emirates Business reported on Saturday.

What were all of those signs saying 120km all about?

And my favourite:

Headline

Expat arrivals push UAE population to 8.26m in 2010

No comment!

Did Rory choke or was he pushed?

I’m a huge fan of Rory McIlroy and even after he unravelled on the back nine at The Masters I still think he is a golfing genius with a swing to die for.

This bit from The Telegraph (take note David Faulkner) made me chuckle.  For all the suddenness of his elevation to golf’s aristocracy, there is still an endearing touch of the tear away about McIlroy.  His resemblance to Dennis the Menace is so striking you half-expect him to have packed a pea-shooter alongside his seven-iron. It is more than skin-deep, too: on the eve of the Masters, the young scamp had to be told off by an Augusta neighbour for playing football too loudly outside his rented house.

While on the subject of top sportsman I enjoyed Andy Murray trying to be grumpy for Red Nose Day.  Tough going when you’re being assailed on all sides by the cast of Outnumbered.

How to lose friends and alienate people

Being a partner of the Olympics must bring many benefits but in my opinion Visa has got it horribly wrong.  By all means feature added benefits from paying for Olympic Tickets with Visa but it’s a shocker that they only accept Visa.  They then compound it by telling us that they are proud of giving you one option only.

We are proud to accept only Visa.

South Africa becomes a BRIC

BRIC is now BRICS as South Africa becomes the latest country to join the grouping that are gearing up to put an end to America’s dominance of the world economy.  And no, the B doesn’t stand for Britain, we had our turn in the 19th and early 20th centuries.  The countries about to take centre stage are Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa.

The age of digital hasn’t quite arrived yet

For the many of us who have become obsessed with the digital age citing Facebook and Twitter as being at the forefront of the regional unrest across the region I learnt a thing or two from Faisal J Abbas during his interview on World Service.  Faisal is a Saudi living in London who writes a very informative blog.  One of his points was that Al Jazeera (one TV station) is watched by around 40 million people across this region, about the same number who are connected to the http://www.  Also Yemen and Syria are a very long way down the list of connected countries.  He also reminded me of one of my favourite, but long forgotten, sayings: Reputation arrives on foot and leaves on horseback.

When to give up

I loved MG and longed to own an MG GB GT (or whatever the sporty one was called) but unfortunately the brand became so tarnished that they should have kept it out of its misery.  Instead some misguided people from China are having a go and instead of recreating a heritage brand they have decided to go mainstream and compete against the Ford Fiesta.  No cigar.  VW show how to refresh the parts of a brand that other manufacturers cannot reach with their latest incarnation of the Beetle.

MG Cars old and new

MG - Old and new

New Volkswagen Beetle

The new Volkswagen Beetle

T Mobile strikes again

For those of you that watched the brilliant Heathrow ad, T Mobile have come up with another wonderful creative that is also right on the topical money.  They did a bit of borrowing from an actual wedding that went viral and then splashed the cash and added a big dollop of brilliance to create the ultimate Royal Wedding video.  As Coke once said, enjoy!

Still on the subject of the Royal Wedding bad news for Queenie, apparently they are treating Will and Kate’s coming together as a dry run for her funeral.

You tube laughs

According to my teenage girls I’m miles off the pace when it comes to You Tube classics.  This one made me laugh and laugh to the point of lots of tears.  45 million views, wow (and then I remembered that’s how many people watch Al Jazeera everyday).

Tips of the week

I wish I could do a film review but I haven’t been inspired to go for a while.  Any recommendations very welcome.  Fortunately there is some good music to get into although I don’t think I will please any of the people any of the time with this week’s choice – Yuck (I liked the name).  It all comes at you with through a wall of fuzz, sort of Strokes with a bit of punky attitude.

My wife has just pitched in with a recommendation to visit the Farmer’s Market at Souk Al Bahar, Friday’s 10 to 4 p.m.  Sally returned with a big bag of fresh produce for a bargain basement price including a punnet of caterpillars that turned out to be mulberries.

Next; top 5 covers

  • Mott the Hoople; All the young dudes
  • Muse; Feeling good
  • Clash; Police and thieves
  • White Stripes; I just don’t know what to do with myself
  • Jeff Buckley; Hallelujah

All comments and random thoughts welcome.

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More broadband for less money pretty please

Some people believe that website advertising doesn’t work and indeed it’s pretty easy to install ad blockers.  For advertisers the good news is you only pay for impressions (people who see your add) at worst and click-throughs at best (people who click your ad to find out more).  There lies the beauty, if you want to know more the information is instantly available – unlike with a TV ad, billboards, radio and newspapers/magazines.

One such ad that caught my eye was for Virgin broadband in the UK – 10Mb fibre optic connection for £5 a month (AED 30).  I’m paying AED 349 for a connection speed which usually gets edged by a drowsy snail and often cuts in and out.  Introducing competition has made a small difference but hopefully prices will head south sooner rather than later.

Thieving gits

Pecked tomatoesSomeone has been pecking at my precious toms!  According to my wife there is someone in Dubai searching for a solution, his last attempt was strategically placed rubber snakes which failed.

Snakes in my tamater patch 

Sorry, the King of Barking is Mohammed Al Fayed

After my last blog I was inundated with entries for maddest of the mad.  I thought I had all of the bases covered but then along came the former owner of Harrods and it was game over.  Al Fayed has had a statue of Michael Jackson erected outside Craven Cottage home of Fulham.  “Why is it bizarre?” he said after the unveiling. “Football fans love it. If some stupid fans don’t understand and appreciate such a gift they can go to hell.  “I don’t want them to be fans. If they don’t understand and don’t believe in things I believe in they can go to Chelsea”.  While on the subject of Chelsea reappointing Terry as Captain of England strikes me as the act of a madman, take a bow Capello.

Mohamed Al Fayed infront of statue of Michael Jackson

Best ad in Dubai

Some of you who have been here a while will remember a classic side of a building ad for Nivea which was up for about a year on Sheikh Zayed Road and showed two women with the headline ‘more moisture, more pleasure’.  Cue lots of giggling amongst the boys.  It took a while but Nivea has been trumped, I was driving along Beach Road the other evening when I saw this classic for L’Oreal.


Ad - limpness

Strangest brand extension

I’m not sure whose brand has been extended here but the people running Pepsi and Karl Lagerfeld must be mates with Al Fayed or the marketing team behind the HSBC sale.  Stupid idea, stupid execution.

diet coke by karl lagerfeld

Classic football player and manager talk

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew is standing by midfielder Joey Barton following his outspoken comments this week in the French magazine So Foot.

The 28-year-old said that he was the best English midfield player and that he will not sign a new contract for his club until they prove their ambition.

Pardew told BBC Newcastle: “Joey is an opinionated person and that isn’t a problem for me.  If you had people without opinions, without that maverick streak then you wouldn’t have talented individuals,” he added.

“You wouldn’t have Eric Cantona, you wouldn’t have George Best – some of these players, their make-up is that individualism.”  

Joey, George and Eric, hmm, let me think, who is the odd one out?

More bands reform

My mate was over from England last week and we had a good old talk about music.   For every person that is prepared to pay to download music there must be at least two who grab it off the internet for free – you know who you are!  I’m wondering if rapidly falling record sales is the reason behind more and more bands reforming or do rock and rollers find it impossible to hang up their amps.  The latest three bands to reform are The Smiths, Adam and the Ants and Blancmange.  I wonder if you can guess which of these three bands has a pride of place in my record collection.  See below for a bit of vintage Adam to lead you off in the wrong direction.

Some classic comments from the red table

This week I sat on the red table with the gals.  To be fair most of the time they talked a lot of sense but just occasionally they came out with some startling revelations or complete bunkum.

First up I was reminiscing about my old headmaster at primary school, a fearsome fellow called Mr Taylor who every week at assembly did lost property. His favourite ploy was to hold up a sock and ask who had lost a left sock.  Scarred for nearly ever I used to think you had left and right socks but was always too afraid to ask which was which.  Much later in life I discovered that I had been a dork however Eve listened attentively to my story and retorted with, sorry there are right and left socksand proceeded to search the web for proof of which apparently there is plenty (Editor: Keith “Fashion Guru” Prosser – you can purchase yours here or here).  I’ve just remembered that Mr Taylor used to make any boy forgetting his PE kit wear girls regulation green knickers for the PE class, bit mean but very funny.

Top 5 cover songs

  • The Clash – Police and Thieves
  • Johnny Cash – Personal Jesus
  • Miss Jackson –  The Vines
  • Jimi Hendrix – All along the Watchtower
  • Furtureheads – Wuthering Heights

Check out this link (bit old, sorry) for the Daily Telegraph’s top 50 cover songs.

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St Patrick was a Welsh boyo from Scotland!

I was having a healthy debate in the office with Aussie Susan (who was itching to head off to Irish Village to celebrate St Patrick’s Day at the time) about whether the English know when St George’s Day is when she threw in that St Patrick wasn’t in fact Irish.  She said it with absolute certainty and in the old days that would have been good enough; now we have the internet to check and indeed to tilt the odds at quiz nights. I stifled a ‘you are talking absolute nonsense’ and in two clicks uncovered that he was in fact Welsh or maybe even Scottish.  According to legend he was born in the still Welsh-speaking Northern Kingdom of Strathclyde of Romano-Brythonic stock, at Bannavem Taberniae. Others consider his birthplace to be in the south of Wales around the Severn estuary, or at St. Davids in Pembrokeshire.

Damned hard catch

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, rock and a hard place, catch 22, which is your favourite?   My guess is most people’s vision of a no fly zone would have seen allied planes buzzing around high in the sky making sure there were no bandits hiding behind the sun.  As a result the barrage unleashed by the coalition of the willing which includes the UAE came as a bit of a surprise. I didn’t realise that a no fly zone actually meant a no drive zone.

Most sane people want Gaddafi to go sooner rather than later.  Or maybe not as the German’s, Russians and Chinese seem to be perfectly happy living with a murderous dictator.  Germany, which opposes a no-fly zone, remains sceptical about the value of military action. In an interview Germany’s foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, said Berlin remained strongly opposed to any military intervention in Libya or the use of air strikes against Gaddafi.

Westerwelle words of wisdom, “Your own instinct is to say ‘We have to do something’ but there are non-force options that could still be used against Libya, including ‘targeted sanctions, political pressure and international isolation.”

It seems to have escaped Mr Westerwelle’s attention that Gaddafi has been in power for over 40 years and spent a lot of it living with sanctions and isolation during which he sponsored terrorism and initiated many atrocities including Lockerbie.  He’s very mad and very bad . . . and the way his LSE educated boys are shaping up things can only get worse.

So all things considered I’m happy to live with being a western imperialist provided the people of Libya get the opportunity to be rid of Gaddafi and share in Libya’s huge wealth.

Turning swiftly to Iraq, Saddam also had to go, the big mistake was not to plan the peace (same mistake after WW1, one that was learnt from when WW2 came to an end).  Let’s never forget Saddam’s treatment of the Kurds.  On March 16, 1988 Iraqi warplanes flew over the Kurdish town of Halabja releasing chemical weapons. Within an hour, over 5,000 innocent men, women and children died on the streets. He also persecuted the Marsh Arabs and the UN estimates that up to 60,000 were killed after the uprising in 1991.

The French are the new champs of gung-ho

I mistakenly thought the French had gone all soft and cuddly.  Very wrong.  First up they got trigger happy in the skies over Libya then some madman climbed the Burj Khalifa.  Apparently they made Alain Robert wear a safety harness just to be on the safe side of crazy.

Spidrerman climbing the Burj Khalifa

How far can you stretch a brand?

This is a very good subject for marketing types.  Without even realising it you are surrounded by brands that started life as one thing before spreading their tentacles in a million different directions.  I noticed a Ferrari Dell computer the other day and thought that’s seriously wrong.  A mainstream computer brand and a high performance car, nah.  Some brand extensions however are perfect  (e.g. Dennis the Menance comics and lunch boxes – the latter abandoned by my daughters, adopted by me), my favourite this week comes with the news that Robinson’s are going to be making sweets.  I can almost taste them and everything about the new product is right; similar target audience, similar ingredients, similar retail channels etc

Robinson fruit drink

How safe is Dubai?

I think most people who live in Dubai would say that it’s a pretty damn safe place to live however according to the British Embassy visiting Dubai as a tourist is a risky business. Brits are more likely to be arrested in the UAE than anywhere else in the world.  That’s because we are the worst race in the world for getting drunk and behaving badly.

Drunk Man

Drunk Brits

All power to your elbow

How good is the new Elbow album?

On the recommendation of Tony Dodds (it’s a lot quiety was Tony’s description – opposite of a bit shouty) and a decent review in the Guardian we have been listening to the new Elbow album in the office – build a rocket boys!  Below is our rating:

Susan ****

Eve ***

Hoda ****

Me **

Overall, very mellow, a good alternative to counting sheep.

Top five mad ‘uns

My top five this week is madder than mad people who are still alive.

  • French Spiderman
  • Muammar Gaddafi (pic below with his plastic surgeon)
  • Eric Cantona
  • Ian Holloway
  • Charlie Sheen

Moammar Ghadafi and his plastic surgeon

What would a blog not be complete without?

Sport of course, having nearly made it to the end of my blog without covering this all important subject to compensate for the lack of coverage I will leave you with one of my all time favourite sporting pictures.

England Rugby Fox On Field

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My part in the second Ashes test victory

Kevine PietersenFor those of you with decent enough memories, you will recall that I made a public appeal through my blog a couple of weeks ago for KP to get rid of his silly moustache.  Fortunately he heeded my advice, then promptly delivered a double century and a resounding England win.  Well done me (a fellow KP)!

Also I can’t resist the shot below of Paul Collingwood defying gravity to get rid of Ricky Pontificating in the first innings of the third test at the Wacca.  At which moment a certain Marek Sheridan let rip at an Aussie colleague and I quote (in my version of WikiLeaks):

Can you go all out to help Leanne here, just iron out any creases and make sure we don’t drop the ball, we can’t afford any slips because if we miss the deadline I would be stumped for ideas and we can’t get caught by anyone……………….. if we run out of time then it would all be over and we would be sunk, done in, never to rise again, buried, ashes to ashes etc

Unfortunately for Marek we then promptly lost the third test (in order to keep the series alive).

Paul Collingwood catching the ball

RERA boss is the main man

A late nominee for man of the year has to be the chairman of RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Authority), Marwan bin Ghalaita, he’s been on fire recently!  A man on a mission, he has made a few enemies along the way by taking a swipe at the likes of Emaar and Nakheel for drowning the market in real estate. The bit below has been extracted from an article in Arabian Business.

Many construction projects in Dubai that look unlikely ever to be finished will be cancelled in 2011, CEO of RERA, Dubai’s real estate watchdog, Marwan bin Ghalaita has said.

“Now, the end of 2010, I have clear picture of all of the projects here in Dubai…. Now it is clear on my dashboard, to see what project will go ahead, which project is in ICU, which project is in the emergency room, which project is fine. And this is the way we will classify projects here in Dubai. Green, emergency, ICU, dead. This is the way we have worked for the whole of 2010.”

Asked why so few projects upon which work had started had been cancelled until now, bin Ghalaita said: “It is in the process. It is in the process of evaluating and cancelling. It is in the process. It is in the process of cancelling.”

Ballet is not my thing

I remember as a student being dragged kicking and screaming to a ballet by my still very good friend Manda Glenn.  Before falling asleep my abiding memory was of incredibly skinny women defying gravity.  With this in mind I couldn’t help enjoy the NY theatre critics comment about the principal dancer in a recent performance.

Jenifer Ringer, as the Sugar Plum Fairy, looked as if she’d eaten one sugar plum too many.

Lee Brett is a hobbit

For those that know Lee he’s tall and skinny, totally unlike a hobbit but a little like a ballet dancer.  Today he polished off a first lunch (sausage casserole) and a second lunch (fat boy curry) 30 minutes later; a truly world-class performance.

People who drink bottled water are naïve!

Apparently everyone knows this but have you ever noticed what Evian spells backwards.  This one was pointed out to me by young Eve of Brennan fame and follows on from a BBC programme I watched about the incredible amount of money being made from simply bottling a natural resource.  Coca Cola took this idea to its natural conclusion by bottling London tap water and selling it!  Fortunately for the good people at Coke, tests showed that London tap water is actually better than most bottled waters.

Who is the biggest clown – Ecclestone or Blatter?

Sport is afflicted with dictators who would give mad, bad Mugabe a good run for his money.  They are all old which makes it very odd that they are so obsessed with power and money.  Ecclestone recently came a cropper when he was mugged for his watch but then managed to turn it into a bit of strange publicity stunt – even stranger is the watch-makers decision to turn his heavily bruised face into an ad – crass!

http://www.topgear.com/au/car-news/bernie-ecclestone-hublot-advert-bruised-face-2010-12-07?

Top 5s

I’m edging ever closer to my top 5s of the year, so this week I’m going for the top 5 strange things that I have observed in 2010:

  • Nameer Kanderian, a near and dear colleague, saying to me ‘do you have any Chas and Dave’ as I was playing the White Stripes at full volume followed by ‘they are jolly good’
  • Gerry Feerick (sadly soon heading off to Singapore) and his version of the elephant in the taxi
  • Abu Dhabi investing in the world’s most expensive Xmas tree
  • Indian gent on a bicycle wearing a policeman’s helmet from the Early Learning Centre (cool dude)
  • Every gent’s loo in Dubai being a design icon

And finally a quick acknowledgement of Dick Purchase’s hole in one on the 7th at the Majlis, we celebrated in style, thanks Dick.

Anything to add to the top 5 strange things of the year or any other words of wisdom? Pop them in the comments box.

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JK v JR

In a break with tradition I’ve decided to use the premiere of the latest Harry Potter film to pursue my thesis that JK stole her main themes from JR.  Here are my top 5 coincidences in no particular order:

1.      JK reinvented JR’s ringwraithes as death eaters.

2.      Dumbledore is Gandolf’s twin brother.

3.      JR’s horcruxes and invisibility cloak are JK’s poor girl’s version of my precious.

4.      Deluminator (a gift from Dumbledore to Ron) and Light of Eärendil (a gift from Galadriel to Sam), one and the very same.

5.      Aragog in ‘arry and Shelob in the oh my lord.

Moustaches are silly

There has ben a lot of column inches written about Kevin Pieterson’s loss of form but it comes back to that old truism that a picture paints a thousand words.

Enough said!

Ireland is on its uppers

Another subject that has been very well covered is Ireland’s fall from grace as it followed Greece in going around Europe with the begging bowl.  Given the savage cuts announced by the Tories I was surprised the UK had any money left in the kitty to help out.  Apparently despite spending hundreds of years killing each other we are great friends and a friend in need . . .  Never mind the students, they can pay off Ireland’s debt after they have finished paying off their own.  Interestingly Ireland’s troubles have been blamed on, you guessed it, reckless lending by the banks which led to a property boom that even Dubai would be proud of.  Apparently there is one county in Ireland with more houses than people!

The best ad in the world, nearly ever

Enough of this debt business and on to my favourite ad of the moment (I really, really wish we had done it).

One long running sore in the local world of advertising has been the absence of an accurate method for measuring television audiences.  In the UK for example you know exactly how many people watched any given programme and their social profile right down to their shoe size. By contrast in this part of the world they have always relied on face to face interviews every so often, the problem with this method is everyone says they watched the news and current affairs programmes while they were really watching the latest soap opera.  Now however they are going to adopt the rest of the world system and install people meters which should help provide accurate data to base media spend decisions on.

http://www.thenational.ae/business/media/people-meters-coming-to-uae-to-measure-audiences

Holding Willeys

Moving swiftly back to sport, here is a classic from a report in The Guardian that made me chuckle (not quite as good as the all time, can never be beaten, winner, the batsman’s Holding the bowler’s Willey).

Stoke were unchanged in pursuit of a fourth consecutive win, Mancini made three changes after the 4-1 victory at Fulham. Richards for Zabaleta was one, the others saw Milner back for Yaya Touré, who was injured, and Mario Balotelli restored up front. Jô, relegated to the bench, got on at the death, providing the collectors’ item Jô [90].

When they were up they were up and when they were down they were down

Even higher up the chuckling stakes was the news in Arabian Business that retail space in Dubai’s most popular malls is set for a 35% hike.  This article sat next door to another one informing us that office rent are going to fall 20% in 2011.  I’m confused!

Girl power in Saudi

And now for even more chuckling, unfortunately this time for all of the wrong reasons.  This one nearly slipped under my radar but I was initially delighted to learn that the UN is setting up a special agency to better fight for the rights of women around the world.  They then went and elected Saudi Arabia to sit on the board – for the full story click on the link below.

http://blogs.reuters.com/afghanistan/2010/11/14/saudi-arabia-spot-on-un-women-agency-triggers-outcry/

Bet on boxing – it’s legal, decent and very profitable

Sorry for not keeping away from sport but the Pakistanis have taken a lot of flak recently for fixing the outcome of cricket matches.  Well what do you think of a boxer openly telling people to bet on a KO in round 3 and then being warned in rounds 1 and 2 for not throwing a punch before unleashing hell in round 3.  Take a bow David Haye who took out Audley Harrison in, you guessed it, round 3 and won his friends and family a shed load of money.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2010/nov/14/davi d-haye-audley-harrison

Having done my top 5s at the beginning I have just got the time to tell you that the much hyped book The Slap is rubbish and Chocolate Block, currently on offer at MMI is scrummy, yummy!

But you do you agree….? Comments welcome

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Breaking news: Germany help England win the World Cup

Wayne Rooney clutching his kneeFinally a World Cup where we are not going to lose on penalties to Germany.  Instead, in the guise of Bayern Munich, the Germans managed to conjure up a four week rest for our talisman and main hope of World Cup glory.  This is the picture of the moment when it all went just right; a fired up Wayne Rooney wearing the three lions on his chest will bring home the FIFA World Cup Trophy.

I was listening to BBC World Service the other day and was intrigued to hear what Billy Bragg had to say about Englishness.  He made the very good point that England is the only team going to the World Cup that doesn’t have its own Parliament or National Anthem.  If the National Front had their way they would have us believe that we can add Christmas to this list.  These revelations occurred on or about the same time that the stand-up comedian Michael McIntyre pointed out that the Scots have a habit of taking things that don’t belong to them and appropriating them.  An example, the Scots took the tried and trusted boiled egg and turned it into a Scotch egg through the simple expedient of adding a few breadcrumbs.  Watch him on You Tube giving lots more examples, hysterical.

Turning from sport, which favourite confectionery maker is destroying rainforests in their never ending quest for palm oil?  Greenpeace are running banner ads all over the internet to make sure we don’t miss this one.  Step forward Nestle and take a bow.  You talk about corporate responsibility on your website but the truth is your business is driven by the never ending quest for increasing shareholder value and the directors getting a nice bonus at the end of the year.  Please go and stand in the corner with all of your corporate banker mates.

Greenpeace banner on the Guardian website

Talking of the internet, for all of you in the UAE who have experienced problems with uploading pages in recent weeks, Etisalat has announced there is absolutely no problem.  Last time they absolved themselves of all responsibility it ended in a very public spat with BlackBerry and this latest aberration is creating a bit of a stir in the comments section of Arabian Business.  Feel free to join in by clicking this link.

It’s amazing when you start writing how everything links together.  BlackBerry popped up in the paragraph above and this gives me the perfect opportunity to mention a very interesting article I read on the fading popularity of BlackBerry.  In essence everyone still accepts it’s a great business tool but they want more, more, more from their mobile device.  ‘Hats off’ to Steve Jobs and his merry men for creating the iPhone and then handing it over to the millions of Apple disciples to create ever more brilliant applications. Genius.  I love my BlackBerry and as someone who lives the brand dream each and every day it takes a lot to shift my behaviour but the first seeds of doubt have been sown.  Could there be a Heinz Baked Beanz to Branston Baked Beans moment just around the corner?  On the subject of Branston one of the worst days in my life was when they dropped spicy Branston Pickle.  Guys, big, big mistake; since the British invented curry the whole world is going spicier – you should not be heading down the milder route.

I started with sport so I’m going to finish with sport.  News broke last week that David Sullivan, the chairman of West Ham, made a flying visit to Dubai to seek out investors.  Doesn’t he read the British papers, we’re flat broke and if he snogs some unsuspecting women he’s off to jail with no sign of the keys.

Returning to the World Cup I went to a celebrity packed leaving do yesterday and here is the legendary Paul ‘Nudger’ Thornberry’s ‘top five footballers that ever lived’ list:

  • George Best
  • Eric Cantona
  • Jim Baxter
  • Johan Cruff
  • Pele

I’ll go first with my comments on Nudger’s list.  Messi to replace Baxter and Maradona on instead of Cantona.  I also reserve the right to have Rooney in my starting line up if he brings home the World Cup!

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