Category Archives: sport

TomTom – NO!

Crunchwear.com describes the TomTom Touch Cardio as a “sleek new design and optical heart-rate monitoring”.  Sadly it’s not a TomTom Go – it’s a TomTom – NO!!

Normally you, as a company with a new product imminent, will tease the media, maybe even handing out review units, to encourage people to review it – hopefully favourably, well they didn’t send me one 😦

That slight aside, I have had the chance to read the Crunchwear review and the TomTom website product information – and there are a couple of issues I’d like to bring your attention to.

First off the review on Feb 8th ends up with a message saying that it will available in March at £89.99 – the company’s website says £129.99! Wow that’s a big difference for a product which, “body composition” apart, is inferior to the Xiaomi Mi Band2 which only costs around £35. 

And, secondly, not only is it a fraction of the price it’s also waterproof.  Why oh why did TomTom not make this premium priced device waterproof?   As their website says “Do not immerse in water (swimming, surfing, bathing)” – while, at the same time, exhorting me to wear it all day!  Doh!

These lapses worry me.  I’d expect a company such as TomTom to have got  their collective s**t together – this isn’t the first wearable device they’ve launched.

There have been enough generations of wearables for companies to realise what the customer actually wants (don’t even get me started on the “notifications” that it delivers – yawn!!  So friends, despite the device being made to TomTom’s usual high technical  standards and build quality (like I said I’m inferring this as they didn’t send me a review copy – harrumph) I can’t recommend you buy this – #WTRSAYSNO!

 

 

Now I’m shocked by the FA on “Bite-Gate”

Apparently….

  • Luis Suarez had not “fully appreciated the gravity and seriousness of this truly exceptional incident” say the Football Association’s Independent Regulatory Commission when describing why the player received a 10-game ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic.
  • The three-man panel added that the severity of the punishment was in order to send out “a strong message that such deplorable behaviours do not have a place in football”.
  • They also said the FA had a “duty to discourage any players at any level from acting in such a deplorable manner”.
  • @FA claim that they didn’t look at Suarez’s previous record in issuing the 10 game ban. So why so harsh?
  • @mrdananwalker of the BBC says – So #Suarez panel didn’t consider previous offences but still banned him for 10 games. Doesn’t reflect well on FA process or #LFC defence.
  • According to the FA – The FA claimed Suarez bit Ivanovic to a) hurt him, b) try and get him to retaliate and so get sent off – really?

Wow clarity of thought and direction – just what we have come to expect fom the FA – NOT!!!

Shocked by “Bite-Gate”

He’s a flawed genius – or a nutter – or just a fantastic football player – whatever your perspective he’s certainly generating column inches right now.  From our own PM David Cameron – who really should know better, to ex-hard manfootballer and now pundit Robbie Savage there are a kaleidoscope of opinions out there over what may yet be termed “Bite-Gate”.

Some well argued some plain dumb and sadly some just plain sensationalist – searching for that last ounce of meedja coverage – stand up Phil McNulty of the BBC who spoils a pretty fair overview of the situation with some misguided hyperbole – “Sunday’s shocking incident“.

Shocking? Er? Really? Stupid – definitely, mindless – absolutely, requiring punishment – clearly but shocking…. Not really, and that’s got nothing to do with the man and his history of offences that’s a comment on the beautiful game.

Shocking is knowing that Roy Keane went deliberately out of his way to hurt Alfe-Inge Haaland who still carries the memory. keane As Keane wrote in his book – Keane admitted in his book that he set out to injure Haaland that day: ‘I’d waited long enough. I f****** hit him hard. The ball was there (I think). Take that you c***.

In terms of Cameron’s comments about setting an example to young people – isn’t Roy Keane now a football pundit on ITV? I haven’t heard Cameron say anything about that.

Shocking is the performance of some of our top rated linesman and referees who appear blind to the pulling and tugging and obstruction going on in the penalty boxes in today’s matches.

Shocking is the length of time it has taken to get goal line technology accepted in football when even tennis, for heavens sake, has had it for years!

Shocking is the inconsistency of decisions and action taken by our own FA. By the way I’m a Liverpool supporter and that link’s from an Arsenal blog. Think of it had the referee seen the offence and sent Suarez off it would have been a 3 game ban period, the FA would not have been able to review it and jump in with their size 12’s.

Perhaps most shocking of all is that the man at the head of world football, Sepp Blatter, blatteris almost universally considered to be corrupt and running a corrupt organisation – awarding the World Cup to Qatar…..

That’s what I call shocking!

So yes Suarez has been stupid and it’s frustrating that a man with all the talents that he possesses – possibly one of the top 5 most gifted footballers in world football today reacts in such unacceptable ways, but does he deserve the ferocious attacks from those living in glass houses (Cameron et al)? No he does not. He needs help – he doesn’t need the actions of Evra (biting a fake arm) as he celebrated winning the Premier League title, nor the way that the media considered that this was just a joke! evraPerhaps they view this as a joke too?

Do I think that Suarez and Liverpool should appeal – on moral grounds I do – however I can’t see us getting much joy so sadly I think we “bite the bullet” and get it over with sooner rather than later – this season’s almost over – let’s not waste any more games next season.

Finally I applaud Ivanovic for the way that he has conducted himself through this sorry mess – he’s been extremely professional – in a way that many others less closely involved have singularly failed to do.

As I was writing this post it has been confirmed that Suarez will not appeal. I and many others hope that we can now move on but equally we demand that the FA is consistent in the way that it now deals with cases they bring under the Violent Conduct rules.

All I want for Christmas is a penalty

Have referees gone mad?  Certainly the one at West Ham seemed to have experienced the “red mist” and there must be something about the lighting at Anfield to make their vision cloudy.

I appreciate that our talisman Suarez has rubbed them up the wrong way but even so to penalise the team by not penalising the opposition is a bit of bah humbug that’s been running since the opening day of the season.

That said could you hang on till the West Ham home game – I’ve got tickets and I’d like to be there to enjoy the special atmosphere and humour of the Anfield faithful when that special day finally occurs.

Happy Christmas everbody!! 

Time to change the rules

This from ESPN – and many other sources highlights the crazy situation that if a referee sees an incident and thinks from his perspective it doesn’t need any further action then that’s it – the individual has got away with it. –

However if he books someone or sends them off he can review that later and change his mind.

Equally if he didn’t see it and the very same video shows him what really happened the player can be penalised retrospectively.

Is it time for the rules to be changed – I think so!

Huth escapes FA ban
October 8, 2012
EmailPrint
By ESPN staff
Stoke defender Robert Huth has escaped punishment from the Football Association over an alleged stamp on Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.

Liverpool were left frustrated by a typically robust Stoke side at Anfield on Sunday

Suarez, 25, was left with stud marks to his torso after Huth, 28, appeared to stamp on him during Sunday’s 0-0 draw between the two clubs at Anfield.

However, referee Lee Mason has since confirmed that he saw the incident at the time and chose not to take any action against the former Chelsea player. Under FA rules, that means Huth cannot now be charged retrospectively.

The Germany international has previous with English football’s governing body after it handed him a retrospective three-match ban for punching West Ham’s Matthew Upson while playing for the Potters in 2009.

New season – but where are the goals going to come from? Here’s where!

I know it hurts when you see other teams spending loadsamoney on new players and then no big names come in the transfer window but chill people, there is plenty of goal scoring talent out there.

  Gerrard – 150 goals so far for the club – he keeps on delivering – let’s look for another 10-15 goals this year.

 

 

 

 

 

  Suarez – 17 goals in 39 appearances during his first full season – he may miss lots of chances but with the more mobile support in the forward line he’ll make more goals too.

 

 

 

 

Borini – scored 9 goals in 20 league starts, including a brace in a 4-0 win over Inter Milan in 2011 – he needs to adapt to the pace of the league but he’s already getting into the positions to score – he’ll come good this season.

 

 

 

 

  Assaidy – Back in Holland, he would end the season with a tally of nine goals and 13 assists in 31 league games in 2011. I can’t wait to see in a red shirt!

 

 

 

 

  Sahin – struck six and assisted eight in 2011 – .

 

 

 

 

 

  Morgan – 18 yrs old – the young scouser fired 21 goals as the Reds finished as runners-up in the league in 2011 – expect to see him step up this season – almost had his first in the Hearts game!!

 

 

 

 

  Yesil – 18 yrs old – has scored loads at age group international level – a real goal poacher!

 

 

 

 

 

With the likes of Sterling, Shelvey, Johnson all chipping in there’s lots to be positive about and remember – Owen was only 17 when he burst onto the scene and the new group of youngsters has plenty of potential – they just need the opportunity. I can’t wait for Suso to be given the chance – we can’t afford to let his talent go to waste like Pacheco – c’mon BR!

There’s more pace more mobility more skill and trickery in this season’s squad – once they come to terms with tiki taka and each other I see a much more enjoyable league season than last year!!

what has gone wrong with the Olympics @puffles201o

Interesting to read the @puffles2010 blog on what has gone wrong with the Olympics – in fact I strongly urge you to read this – it’s a damning indictment of the way the Olympics has changed – and not for the better!

Luis Suarez & Liverpool statements in full

I will admit that my viewpoint may not be the most objective here – I am a Liverpool fan and I will be wearing my “Can’t get enough” t-shirts on my next visits to Anfield.  That said my first wife was Jamaican and I spent 4 weeks living up a hill outside of Montego Bay and the young kids all called me “White Man” – now were they being racist and was I offended-  no on both counts.

Was I offended and did I go crying to the authorities when  some rastas in a bar of a back street, off another back street in Mo’ Bay said “don’t want no white Ras Claat in here” – offended nope – shocked yes! Hey I was there with my wife and her family – all Jamaican!

Did the FA find Suarez to be a racist – not according to the report-  so how can he be deemed to have brought the UK game into disrepute around the world?  Only the f***wits at the FA know that one – hey they’ve done it themselves many times.

I am also disappointed that someone as weaselly and pathetic as Evra has been allowed to get away with it this time – remember this isn’t the first time he’s cried wolf. You only have to watch him crying like a bay when he bumps into another player on the pitch.

In a momentous week when finally justice has been seen to be done for the Lawrence family and some nasty racist bigots are about to be banged up – again(!) the reputation of an admittedly less than perfect, passionate footballer and firey person is to be pilloried around the world’s media – it would seem to be many in an unjustified manner – for the reasons I have set out above I make no apology for reprinting the full statements of Luis Suraez and Liverpool football club – YNWA.


STATEMENT FROM LUIS SUAREZ

“First of all I would like to thank everyone so much for all the help and support I have received during these last few weeks.

“Thank you to my family, my friends and everybody at LFC (the staff, manager and coaching staff, the directors, my team-mates and everyone who is working on a daily basis for this great club) and thank you especially to all the fans who made sure I never felt let down for one second. During those days I understood more than ever what ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ means.”

“In my country, ‘negro’ is a word we use commonly, a word which doesn’t show any lack of respect and is even less so a form of racist abuse

“Like many of you I was born into a very humble family, in a working class neighbourhood, in a small country. But I was born and raised learning what respect, manners and sacrifice mean. Thanks to my family, from my first club where I started playing, to my transfer to Holland in Europe, I learned the values which made me the person I am now.

“Never, I repeat, never, have I had any racial problem with a team mate or individual who was of a different race or colour to mine. Never.

“I am very upset by all the things which have been said during the last few weeks about me, all of them being very far from the truth. But above all, I’m very upset at feeling so powerless whilst being accused of something which I did not, nor would not, ever do.

“In my country, ‘negro’ is a word we use commonly, a word which doesn’t show any lack of respect and is even less so a form of racist abuse. Based on this, everything which has been said so far is totally false.

“I will carry out the suspension with the resignation of someone who hasn’t done anything wrong and who feels extremely upset by the events.

“I do feel sorry for the fans and for my team-mates, whom I will not be able to help during the next month. It will be a very difficult time for me.

“The only thing I wish for at the moment is being able to run out again at Anfield and to do what I like most, which is playing football.”

 

STATEMENT FROM LIVERPOOL

“It is our strongly held conviction that the Football Association and the panel it selected constructed a highly subjective case against Luis Suarez based on an accusation that was ultimately unsubstantiated.

“The FA and the panel chose to consistently and methodically accept and embrace arguments leading to a set of conclusions that found Mr Suarez to ‘probably’ be guilty, while in the same manner deciding to completely dismiss the testimony that countered their overall suppositions.

“Mr Evra was deemed to be credible in spite of admitting that he himself used insulting and threatening words towards Luis and that his initial charge as to the word used was somehow a mistake.

English football has led the world in welcoming all nationalities and creeds into its Premier League and its leagues below, and Liverpool FC itself has been a leader in taking a progressive stance on issues of race and inclusion

“The facts in this case were that an accusation was made, a rebuttal was given and there was video of the match. The remaining facts came from testimony of people who did not corroborate any accusation made by Mr Evra.

“In its determination to prove its conclusions to the public through a clearly subjective 115-page document, the FA panel has damaged the reputation of one the Premier League’s best players, deciding he should be punished and banned for perhaps a quarter of a season.

“This case has also provided a template in which a club’s rival can bring about a significant ban for a top player without anything beyond an accusation.

“Nevertheless, there are ultimately larger issues than whether or not Luis Suarez has been treated fairly by the FA in this matter. There are important points we want to make today that overshadow what has occurred during the past two months.

“The issue of race in sports, as in other industries, has a very poor history. Far too often, and in far too many countries, the issues of racism and discrimination have been covered over or ignored.

“In America, where Liverpool ownership resides, there was a shameful bigotry that prevented black athletes from competing at the highest levels for decades.

“English football has led the world in welcoming all nationalities and creeds into its Premier League and its leagues below, and Liverpool Football Club itself has been a leader in taking a progressive stance on issues of race and inclusion.

“The Luis Suarez case has to end so that the Premier League, the Football Association and the club can continue the progress that has been made and will continue to be made and not risk a perception, at least by some, that would diminish our commitment on these issues.

“Liverpool Football Club have supported Luis Suarez because we fundamentally do not believe that Luis on that day – or frankly any other – did or would engage in a racist act.

“Notably, his actions on and off the pitch with his team-mates and in the community have demonstrated his belief that all athletes can play together and that the colour of a person’s skin is irrelevant.

“Continuing a fight for justice in this particular case beyond today would only obscure the fact that the club wholeheartedly supports the efforts of the Football Association, the Football League and the Premier League to put an end to any form of racism in English football.

“It is time to put the Luis Suarez matter to rest and for all of us, going forward, to work together to stamp out racism in every form both inside and outside the sport.

“It is for this reason that we will not appeal against the eight-game suspension of Luis Suarez.”

 

The respect campaign – follow up

Well over the weekend I decided that I should contact the league so I ventured onto their website and discovered an email address for the press officer – this seemed like a sensible route to take, given that my comments were already in the public domain. I got a response in about 24 hours – not bad.. But I wasn’t quite prepared from the detail of the response I got. Here it is in full:

Any comments that anybody wants the league to review would need to be put in writing and sent to the League Secretary by a Club Official.

Yep that’s it – despite the FA wanting us, as parents, to play our part only club officials are allowed to comment. Well I was trying to avoid having to write a letter – snail mail is so 20th century after all – so I’ll continue to use the Internet. So here’s my response – well my 2nd response (you’ll see why) in full:

Good evening Mr Tilling

In response to your brief note I’ll let the others who have taken that route continue – me, I’ll use the internet to get my point across – and I may have to review my blog following your response – which , if I may say so, was not what I would have expected from a “press officer” and neither did I expect my initial response to be bounced! (An abject apology from me here as I have since discovered that BT Broadband are blocking my email providers smtp server so ALL my email is being bounced)

Never mind you were kind enough to cc Mr Williams on your original email so hopefully he has the original link.

Regards

Paul West

The Respect Campaign – it’s a game of two halves

A fundamental flaw in the fabric of football’s Respect campaign was highlighted at the weekend, not in the hotbed of a Premier League derby but on a recreation ground in an Oxfordshire village. You can promote the campaign but you can’t make people adhere to it!

The scene was a glorious Sunday afternoon in Bampton, at the recreation ground where the local village team entertained Grendon Rangers in the under 14 B league of the Witney & District Youth Football League and the better team won – but if you were to read the match report you’d come away with completely the wrong idea – this was an extremely unedifying experience to watch.

Bampton were more physical, more vocal, better organised and more up for it, not allowing the Grendon players anytime on the ball and winning almost all the challenges aerial and on the ground. They played better and deserved to win – both their goals well excellent – the first a well worked inter-passing movement – the second a stunning shot from distance that the visiting Grendon supporters applauded wholeheartedly – most dads would have been proud to have scored a goal like that.

It all sounds so good – so what was the problem? Quite simple it was the referee.

I am lead to understand that if both sides agree, even if there is no independent referee available, someone linked to one of the clubs can officiate – with the support of – as seems to be the case – a linesman from each of the team’s supporters. From the games I have witnessed this season, prior to this match, the referees have been excellent, naturally as a parent of a player you are bound to feel aggrieved by the odd decision – but hey that’s the nature of being a supporter. But as I say they have been excellent. Unfortunately I cannot say the same of the chap who refereed this game. He exhibited what seemed, from my and a number of other parents view, to be a lack of control of events – particularly in the 2nd half when, as the match report would have it, it got a bit scrappy.

Football is a contact sport – up to a point. Pushing and shoving is part and parcel of the game – up to a point. Commitment in the tackle is too – up to a point. But what is not part of the game is cynical blocking of an attacker’s run, nor studs up tackling, nor pushing someone so hard that they are knocked to the ground. You can argue, rightly, that at this age there is a great disparity in the heights, weight and power of the players – some just mature earlier but I’ve played enough football to know where the boundaries are – sadly this referee didn’t appear to and this led to some dissent from the Grendon supporters. This dissent was raised significantly when from less than 10 yards away the referee (plus the linesman from Bampton) was unable to spot what to the assembled Grendon supporters was a clear penalty – you just cannot run into the back of someone in the box, knocking them over and expect to get away with it – but get away with it they did.

In fact the referee’s lack of control enabled the Bampton team to get away with a lot of pushing, blocking off of runs and studs shown in tackles. The longer the game went on, and probably the greater the degree of tiredness that crept into the players the worse things got. In fact it got so bad that in response to continued criticism one of the Grendon parents was “sent to the car park” by the referee – several others, who I know to be mature, sensible and kind-hearted individuals followed as they couldn’t bring themselves to watch any more.

Like many others up and down the country I am happy to see my son taking part in competitive sport – he’s not first choice but enjoys every minute of the game-time he gets – I hope through it he will learn life skills as well as keeping fit, and yes I’d like him to win something – it’s such a great feeling – but I’m not prepared to go through another Sunday like – it was shocking and the league should act promptly.

And do you know the worst bit of it all? All along the side of the pitch where both sets of parents lined up to watch was a ribbon attached to some posts to stop us encroaching too close to the pitch- that banner was advertising the FA’s Respect Camapign – allow me to highlight some elements of the campaign:

Match Officials code of conduct

I will:
• Be honest and completely impartial at all times
• Apply the Laws of the Game and competition rules fairly and consistently
• Manage the game in a positive, calm and confident manner
• Deal with all instances of violence, aggression, unsporting behaviour, foul play and other misconduct
• Never tolerate offensive, insulting or abusive language or behaviour from players and officials
• Support my match official colleagues at all times
• Set a positive personal example by promoting good behaviour and showing respect to everyone involved in the game
• Communicate with the players and encourage Fair Play
• Respond in a clear, calm and confident manner to any appropriate request for clarification by the team captains
• Prepare physically and mentally for every match
• Complete and submit, accurate and concise reports within the time limit required for games in which I officiate.

And for the players

Young Players code of conduct

When playing football, I will:
• Always play to the best of my ability
• Play fairly – I won’t cheat, complain or waste time
• Respect my team-mates, the other team, the referee or my coach/manager
• Play by the rules, as directed by the referee
• Shake hands with the other team and referee at the end of the game
• Listen and respond to what my coach/team manager tells me
• Talk to someone I trust or the club welfare officer if I’m unhappy about anything at my club.

And as for the supporters?

Well we need to maintain our sense of fair play, to accept that it is a game and to encourage our children to support the Respect campaign. But last Sunday made that bloody hard! When the man in the middle abjectly fails to do his bit I’m afraid human nature will out.

After the game I was chatting with one of the other parents and expressing my shock and surprise at such biased and ineffectual refereeing should be permitted in a league game only to be told that the very same thing had happened in the previous year’s fixture – same team, same ground, and same damn referee! I wonder if Grendon are not the only team to suffer at his hands?

I do hope he is able to attend the match at Grendon’s ground where I hope he will be able to experience how an independent referee should behave – as surely this must be now an absolute – only independent referees should be allowed – and I hope that the Witney league can champion this! If not the Respect campaign is surely doomed to failure – there was little or no respect last Sunday, not from the referee, not from the players and not from the supporters.