Monday, June 1, 2009

A right kick in the.....

you know where. Thoroughly enjoyed my few days in Rome despite a horrendous performance by United on the night. Atmosphere on the Tuesday night and all day Wednesday was terrific with no obvious signs of trouble in the city, though one poor sod was stabbed on Tuesday night by some very "courageous" local.

Rome itself is a incredible city, history seems to seep out of every inch of the place. Myself and a mate managed to get a couple of the sights in before the game on Wed, the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps are genuinely incredible. I will definitely head back to Rome again for a weekend to take in the remainder of the city. May take in a game at the Stadio Olympico but will probably bring back bad memories! Three times I've been to Italy to see United and we haven't won once. I hope my perseverance pays off one day.

The journey back was long and draining. Flew from Rome-Milan-Paris-Dublin which included a very close call at Milan Malpensa in making my flight to Paris as we had to dodge a thunderstorm in Rome after take off!

In a few months time the merry-go-round starts again. Bring it on.

Currently reading the David Simon book, The Corner, which is a follow up to his book Homicide on which much of The Wire was based. Early days so far but its gritty and insightful. Finished another Henry Rollins book, "Do I Come Here Often". A great collection of Rollins journal entries across the 1990s (including a hilarious account of his time on the 1991 Lollapolooza Tour) mixed with great interviews he's done for a number of US magazines with the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Isaac Hayes and John Lee Hooker. Like or loathe Rollins, you can't ignore his writing. The man tells it like he sees it, which is often 100% negative and seen completely from his own point of view but I find it great material nonetheless.

Music wise, I just picked up the Hatebreed live DVD released late last year. Good viewing so far.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The big countdown.....

Well, only a couple of days till I set off for Rome. Cannot wait at this stage. Weather looks great as well, in or around 30 degrees from Tuesday to Thursday. Have everything sorted including a match ticket. I'm on a 0620 flight to Paris on Tues morning and should be in Rome around 3pm. Will then head to the hotel to hopefully meet up with my mate Dave (thats if he's sorted his flights out!!).

Plotting a trip to New York with a possible stop off in Toronto in September, hope to take in a game or two at the new Yankee Stadium (thats if I can afford a ticket!). Never tire of New York, possibly my favourite place on the entire planet. I always have a list as long as my arm of things to do each time I go back, its that packed full of sights, museums, bars, etc. If I won the lottery tomorrow, one of the first things I'd do is buy an apartment in Manhattan. I live in eternal hope!

Music wise I am currently listening to some vintage hip hop (Big L) and Ian Brown (Solarized, Music of the Spheres). Manchester music seems to be quite fitting with such a monumental week on the horizon.

Now to get back to reading my Rome Lonely Planet Guide.........FORZA UNITED!

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Italian Job.......Rome here I come

27th May, 2009.

Flights? Booked. Hotel? Sorted. Match ticket? Time will tell.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


finishing reading "If The Reds Should Play..." and about to start a recent Henry Rollins book I picked up last week (second part of Black Coffee Blues). Ole Henry, always delivers the goods.

Listening to: everything from Candiria to Bane to Organised Konfusion and Sepultura. Variety is good.

On the travel front........booked flights and a hotel for Rome from 26-28th May for the Champions League final. Cannot wait for this, even if I don't manage to get a ticket for the game. Have never been to Rome so that and the anticipation of the game will do very nicely, thanks very much. Also thinking of paying another visit to New York in September.

Oh and I probably should get this whole "buying a house" thing sorted out sooner than later, seeing as property prices are falling quicker than Didier Drogba in the 18 yard box these days....

Monday, May 4, 2009

"If The Reds Should Play......"

Just started on a book put together in 1997 by some of the lads in the Red News United fanzine entitled, "If the Reds Should play in Rome......or Mandalay: Travelling across Europe with United." Word for word accounts of over 30 plus contributors from all walks of life of their experiences watching United up until 1997.

I am roughly 5 chapters in at this stage and it is a cracking read, warts and all. Some hilarious stuff so far but also some absolutely crazy accounts such as the trip to Valencia in 1982 where it seems it was a miracle that nobody was killed either before, during or after the game.

I never tire of reading these kinds of books. I guess hearing accounts from genuine life-long football supporters make for a more interesting read, I think you can identify with a lot of what they recount, though yours truly has quite a few trips to do to make up the difference with the likes of Phil Holt or the truly remarkable Mike Dobbin (RIP) - I hope to put some further dents in this over the next few years, fingers crossed.

A great read so far, if you're a United fan (or a fan of any persuasion) and enjoy hearing about the often crazy side of following a football team in Europe, get a hold of a copy (currently available from for a bargain £8.99 + postage).

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A busy week

A busy week this past week. Over for our champions league semi final vs. Arsenal. Played exceptionally well and should have scored 4 or 5 goals but had to settle for just the one. At least we have a clean sheet going into the return leg on Tuesday. Oh what I'd give for a ticket for that one......

Went racing yesterday, day four of the Punchestown Festival. A great day out, travelling to and from the course in a stretch Hummer - oh the chaviness of it all!

Watching United today and doing very little if at all possible.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Its never dull is it?!

Jesus, if the above title was ever true it was yesterday at Old Trafford.

Yours truly didn't get to go to the game despite having travel and accomodation sorted as I came down with a bout of flu on Friday. However, the lads decided to put me through the ringer on top of my illness with two halves of football so contrasting in the level of performance that I was knackered (but exhilarated) at the final whistle.

No other team (and let me repeat this), NO OTHER TEAM could pull off what United did yesterday. 0-2 down at half time, displaying half fits of attacking verve and yet more shambolic defending to gift Spurs a two goal lead. Move to the second half, 5 goals in 23 minutes and the game and our title fortunes are completely reversed. Unbelieveable. The penalty may have been a tad controversial. When I saw it in real time I screamed for a penalty. Gomes did get a touch to the ball but these calls you sometimes get, other times you won't (our stonewall penalty vs. Everton at Wembley the previous week being a prime example). However, to go on and hit Spurs for 4 more shows the ridiculous will of this team once they get the bit between their teeth. Once the equaliser went in you could smell the winner coming. Fair play to Ronnie for showing some true passion after he scored, he looked like a man possessed when throwing his shirt skywards after scoring in front of K-Stand. I would also like to give credit to our support yesterday. We started a little flat but by god, the support from the kick off to the second half was fantastic, I genuinely feel it spurred (no pun intended!) the lads on to the win.

Now for Arsenal on Wednesday. Looking forward to this immensely, have a feeling the Stretty will be rocking for this one.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Now where was I........

ah yes..................

Apologies for my lack of posts of late, the usual excuses of work, too busy, travelling to matches, etc. or the fact that I am a lazy twat will probably suffice.


Have been in London on a couple of occasions since the New Year. First was in March for the Carling Cup Final vs. Spurs. A very average game that we managed to win on penalties which could have gone either way.

The quintuple was on....................until I took a trip back last weekend for the FA Cup Semi vs. Everton. Another very average game which was played on a disgraceful pitch which also went to penalties. On this occasion, we came out the wrong side but fair play to Everton, for some reason I wasn't too devastated to concede this one to them. An alright club even if they are scouse (makes a change from their horrible neighbours). Best of luck to them vs. Chelski in the final.

"Back From the Brink" & "Generation Kill"

Other things of late? Finished reading Paul McGrath's autobiography "Back From the Brink". A truely honest account of a life filled with the ultimate highs and the lowest of low's. I have to admit its not an easy read at times but I admire McGrath's absolute honesty, he leaves nothing out. If you like a no holds barred read, I strongly recommend it.

Currently reading "Generation Kill" by Evan Wright, a journalist who was embedded with the First Recon Batallion of the US Marines on their invasion of Iraq. Its now a seven part HBO series produced by David Simon (he of The Wire fame). Good read so far. Gives a very interesting portrayal of the soldiers involved, most of whom are 18-20 years old and who are constantly jacked up on ephedra, sugar and coffee (they don't drink it, its eaten in powder/crystal form out of a pouch!).


I also recently just finished the entire five series' of The Wire. I started watching this a few years ago on late night TV but ended up missing out on episodes and then dipping in and out of different series. So I bought the box set and watched the entire five series back to back. It has to be one of the best drama series ever devised for TV. I know a lot of people will give this title to The Soprano's but for me, The Wire is just something else. It gives an insight into all aspects of life in Baltimore, from drug dealers to city officals to the cops. Nobody is the hero, nobody is the villain (well, maybe Marlo Stanfield!). It can also be quite funny in parts with a very dark sense of humour. I can't give enough credit to David Simon. He is 100% unrepentant in the reality he displays and this is where the strength of the show is derived from. If you haven't seen it, turn off that reality TV crap right now and get a hold of it.


Other than that, work goes along as ever. The advertising market is currently one of the toughest I've ever seen and its a real battle every day to keep clients spending money. However, no point in moaning about it. Gotta just grind it out and prove you can do it, end of story.