You’ve probably noticed that the frequency of updates here has dropped off significantly in recent weeks. This, I feel I must explain.
The majority of the piffle was unsubbed versions of columns published by The New Paper in Singapore. In the early days, this was perfectly acceptable as the articles only ever attracted a handful of readers. In January however, a few of them proved so popular that they popped up on news aggregators, denying TNP’s own website traffic and raising the issue of an impact on paper sales. As TNP are my first responsiblity, I must reluctantly pull the plug. The content, after all, belongs to them.
Without a regular stream of content, there’s little point in keeping the blog open, attracting readers with the occasional feature and then losing them with weeks of silence. I’d much rather direct people towards some of the internet’s best football blogs where passionate, intelligent and wonderful people are creating communities for up-and-coming or occasional writers around the world. Therefore, when I write free blogs in the future, I’ll be writing them for people like In Bed With Maradona, The 72 Football and anyone else whose gib I like the cut of.
I want to thank everyone who ever sent a link to this website on to a friend, or left it on a messageboard or tweeted it to their followers. Because of your support, I’ve had the opportunity to write for The Blizzard, Official Playstation Magazine and Sports Illustrated. And that makes me feel all warm and glowy inside.
I’ll still be on Twitter (@iainmacintosh) and I’ll leave everything that’s here already up online until told otherwise.
Twitter stalwart @thebig_sam is mad as hell and he’s not going to take it anymore. Speaking for the first time since he was suspended from the popular social networking site, he unleashed a volley of Northern Fire at an opportunistic impersonator and pledged that, one way or another, he’ll be back online within a week.
Dear Twitter Overlords,
We turn our faces to heaven, but our brightest star no longer twinkles.
Your decision to shut the Twitter account of @thebig_sam has caused great upset in the Twittosphere and I write to you today, on behalf of many, to demand an explanation.
@thebig_sam was a creeping finger of sunlight, rising up through all of our timelines, illuminating and warming everything he touched. Without him, Twitter is a cold, cold place. Why did you end his existence?
I know what you’re going to say. You’re going to tell me that he contravened your parody policy. But he didn’t. And here’s why.
Username – The username should not be the exact name of the subject of the parody.
@thebig_sam is very different from Sam Allardyce. There aren’t as many letters, for starters.
Bio – The bio should include a statement to distinguish it from the real identity
“Breathing Northern fire over the wheatfields of the beautiful game.”
Football manager Sam Allardyce has many skills, but he is not a dragon. He cannot combust his own breath. Therefore, the implication that @thebig_sam can snort clouds of flame at will is a clear statement to distinguish it from the real identity. I will, of course, concede this point if the real Sam Allardyce sneezes and accidentally burns a small village to the ground.
Communication with other users – The account should not, through private or public communication with other users, try to deceive or mislead others about your identity
@thebig_sam didn’t follow or direct message anybody. His public communications were limited to small scale spats or well-executed wooing manoeuvres, the likes of which you and I could only dream of being able to demonstrate.
Twitter Overlords, only a certified moron could ever confuse @thebig_sam with Sam Allardyce. The real Sam Allardyce watches and comments upon Premier League football. @thebig_sam watches and comments upon the classic 80s movie ’Labyrinth.’
The real Sam Allardyce has never yet professed an interest in contemporary music. @thebig_sam regularly tweeted the lyrics of such diverse acts as Another Level and Kenny Loggins.
The real Sam Allardyce wears a suit to work and has never been caught in a compromising position. @thebig_sam was recently caught masturbating while dressed as a Care Bear. Clearly, they are not the same person.
Please, if you can’t restore @thebig_sam in his original form, at least give him the chance to amend his details accordingly. Nearly 40,000 of us woke up on Saturday morning to discover something horrible. We hadn’t lost a follower. We’d lost a friend.
Yours, in hope
(This article appeared in The Irish Examiner, February 14)
In the wake of Andy Gray’s demise, is it time to redefine the concept of the pundit? Mike Summerbee certainly seems to think so. From a Sky sofa at Old Trafford, the former Manchester City man blazed a glorious trail for all the infuriated, myopic ranters out there who thought their time had gone.
(This article appeared in The Irish Examiner, February 7)
We didn’t hear the roar of the crowd at first, we felt it. It was a heavy vibration on the ribcage, the shockwave of a distant explosion. We saw Cheick Tiote’s boot flash, like the muzzle of a rifle. We saw the ball whipping through the air, always curling away from poor Wojciech Szczesny, divine retribution for having a name that no-one can spell. Then nothing. An eternity of silence, the contradiction of what our eyes were reporting and what our brains were insisting couldn’t have happened. It was Schrodinger’s Goal. It existed and yet it didn’t exist. It couldn’t. And then the roof of St James Park exploded into the sky like the end of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’
(This article appeared in The New Paper, Singapore on February 4)
There’s a passage in Lee Sharpe’s unintentionally hilarious autobiography that encapsulates Gary Neville. Sharpe, a regular in the Manchester United first team, is relaxing in the canteen after training when he hears a repetitive thumping against the wall outside. Intrigued, he and his team-mates go to investigate. To their amusement, they discover that source of the noise is Neville practising throw-ins on his own. Sharpe thinks this is hilarious, but then Sharpe’s career at Old Trafford ended in 1996, took in Bradford in 1999, Exeter in 2002 and Garforth Town in 2004. Neville stayed for almost two decades and he wasn’t born with half the talent that Sharpe squandered.
I heard the on-air resignation of Dave Lee Travis in 1993, I had Radio 4 on in my kitchen when their presenters got Jeremy Hunt‘s surname wrong. Twice. They were gorgeous moments of aural splendour, but they were nothing compared to the breathless, runaway train crash that was Richard Keys defending himself on TalkSport. It takes two grown men the better part of a day to dig a grave. Keys managed it in less than an hour.
(This article appeared in The New Paper, Singapore on January 18)
Big money transfers can be a source of great anxiety for football fans, but Manchester City supporters can rest easy. Edin Dzeko will be a fine addition to Roberto Mancini‘s team. The towering Bosnian striker has everything it takes to be a huge success in English football.
(This article appeared in The Irish Examiner, on January 17, 2011)
David Gold, David Sullivan and Karren Brady have been tactless, classless and heartless in their treatment of Avram Grant. They have undermined and betrayed their manager, leaking snippets of information to the press, forcing the former Portsmouth boss into the indignity of appearing at Upton Park on Saturday having essentially already been sacked. And yet I still don’t feel sorry for him. And neither should you. Grant knows better than anyone that if you live by the sword, you die by the sword.
(This article appeared in The New Paper, Singapore, on January 13, 2011)
Alex Chamberlain. Remember the name. The assembly line at Southampton has given the Premier League players like Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott, Leon Best and Kenwyne Jones and its latest product is pinging the radar of some of England’s biggest clubs, with reports suggesting that Liverpool are preparing a big money bid. Chamberlain opened the scoring in a 6-0 rout of Oldham on Tuesday night, further impressing the visiting scouts. With less than three weeks before the transfer window shuts, you can expect someone to take a gamble on the 17 year old winger before long.