Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Paradise Lost



Bugger me, is it that time already? England have hardly finished being shown up by a bunch of Aussie journeymen and the football season is back with us. It's been a long close season, with no international tournament to keep us occupied but the cricket has been good, or intriguing anyway and we were treated to epic rides in Le Tour by Cavendish and Wiggins, so the long, hot barbecue summer hasn't been completely wasted.

I heard on the news this morning that Aung San Suu Kyi has had 18 months added to her sentence after some American loon swam across the water to visit her. Burma, gross violater of human rights, a country which takes the piss out of the international community yet again and find illegitimate cause to lock up the person who won the last free election, sits back and laughs while we lovers of freedom, we slayers of the tyrant Hussain, posture and weep and wail and wring our hands but do nothing. Apparently, there is nothing to be done.

I heard that she accepted her new sentence with immense grace and dignity, which seems typical of the woman. She seems to be a living embodiment of the benefits of meditation. I do wonder though. I read a lot of basic Buddhist texts and self help books. The Buddhist books don't really make any great claims for meditation changing your life dramatically, but some of the self help books do. I often read that if we were to practice meditation diligently and lived our lives in a good, non harmful way, our lives would inevitably improve, but then you see what has happened to the monks in Burma, who, presumably spend their entire lives meditating and being selfless and it is all too easy to conclude that it is all bollocks.

I don't really think it is all bollocks. Meditation is most definitely a good thing and practiced regularly will improve your sense of well being, also, for a very short period, I tried really hard to practice being compassionate to everyone, even people who had it in for me, and things actually turned around a bit. I can't be arsed to be so compassionate anymore (no one said it is easy) and things don't look too clever.

I fear the Blues manager will have to practice living the compassionate life and learn how to meditate this coming season, as the knives seem to be out for him already, both in the clueless national press who have him odds on to be the first manager sacked and amongst some of the message board aficionados.

I think he will be alright. I think he will have learned a lot over the last 18 months, and he will have more of an idea of how to put his ideas into practice and he will have more of an idea of which of his players he can trust.

He hasn't been given much of a budget, but we had decent coterie of premier class journeyman anyway and continuity can't be a bad thing. Most of the players we now have, whilst not being exciting, have some experience and an ability to use the ball well, people like Carsley, Bowyer, Ferguson and McFadden. Larrson was OK last time we were in the prem and although most fans don't rate him, I think that Gary Oconnor is the best striker we have, and that given an injury free run, he will prove it. We still have Kevin Phillips and we have signed Benitez, an unknown but potentially exciting quantity.

The defence is a bit of a worry, it wasn't that good to start with and now Ridgewell and Taylor are crocked it looks very thin. We have signed two of the best centre backs from the championship, but it remains to be seen whether they make the step up in class. It is a big step and it is a harsh and unforgiving environment for someone learning his trade, we shall see. We have probably improved the goalie in signing Joe Hart but we still lack a decent left back and I'm not convinced that Carr, as well as he played last season, is the answer at right back. But the window is still open.

It's a shame that there is still a rather joyless feel around the whole club. No one seems happy; the board don't seem happy and have been accused of putting money ahead of team preparation in the pre season schedule, Eck is hardly exuding jubilance and bliss. After an initial flurry of activity in the transfer market, it has all dried up and there has been no big name signing, which has pissed some people off and, once again, the price of match tickets is an issue, although season ticket holders seem quite content.

I don't know what the board can do to improve the relationship with fans. Well, Sully could stop slagging them off, that would be a start, but I think that they are no longer trusted. They have promised too much without delivering in the past and gratitude for saving us 15 years ago seems to have gone. They don't seem to have much ambition for us and don't seem to love us anymore, if they ever did; I think the relationship is doomed. For Eck, on the other hand, it is easy, get us playing decent football, forbid the buggers from just knocking the ball straight back to the opposition as if it was a park game of attack and defence and win us a few chuffing points!

Evil

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