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”

FootballOpinion

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

FootballOpinion

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

FootballOpinion

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

FootballOpinion

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”

FootballOpinion

Squawka – England’s Top Centre Halves

As mentioned previously, this month I’ve begun to write for the football stats site Squawka.com.
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.