30 April 2006

Last day of the season (oh sweet Caroline)

Season's tickets:


Season's train and bus trips to the stadium:


Supporter's gear:


Being there to celebrate your team lifting the league trophy:


For some things there's money. For everything else there's loving your football team.

There's also seeing Captain Graeme Murty score his first goal of the season (and only his 2nd in five years!). Murts was the only outfield player not to have scored this season. Then came the fairy tale ending that not even Hans-Christian Andersen could have written. We were drawing 1-1 with 6 minutes to go and Nicky Shorey won us a penalty. Even though the title had been wrapped up, I'd never felt so nervous:

2-1. Murty won us the match. What a brilliant moment it was.

It capped a fantastic season. At the first game of the season against Plymouth, today never seemed possible. We were awful that day. What a difference 9 months makes. Seeing the sad faces of the Birmingham fans after they were relegated yesterday made me think that that could be us this time next year. I'll forget that for now though. Days like today may only come along once in a lifetime so I'm just going to sit and enjoy it while it lasts.

Oh sweet Caroline, good times never felt so good...

The news no one wanted

Yesterday was a big day of footballing headlines. Chelsea beat Man United to win the league (let's not dwell on this for too long...), Birmingham and West Brom were relegated (a sad day for the West Midlands I love so much), Alan Curbishley quit Charlton.

However, the news that caught the attention was Wayne Rooney's injury. He's unlikely to make it back for the World Cup. Gary Lineker took the words out of my mouth last night when he said "Never has an injury depressed me so much".

Rooney turns England from a good team in to a great team and it would've been awesome to have him at the World Cup. But this is life. Shit happens. We have to know what sweetness tastes like but have to understand bitterness too. This may not be any consolation to Rooney but this dissapointment is all part of being a human being. I hope he recovers from this quickly and comes back next season stronger than ever.

28 April 2006

Da Vinci coding

The judge in the Dan Brown copyright trial was clearly totally immersed in the case because he embedded a Da Vinci style code in to his judgement. As a Law student I take my hat off to him for making reading judgements a little more interactive and entertaining.

He's inspired me to make this blog more interactive and entertaining as well. I have written the wisdom of a mysterious wiseman below in mysterious code. It is the wisdom that turns a failed exam in to a passed one so it might be worth cracking. Enjoy and then proceed with revision.

Kilxizhgrmzgrmt rh orpv nzhgfiyzgrlm. Rg uvvoh tllw dsrov blfiv wlrmt rg yfg fogrnzgvob blfiv qfhg ufxprmt blfihvou.

(clue: turn the alphabet around)

27 April 2006

Keep your boys cool

I'm a lazy little bugger when it comes down to it. I prefer the sofa to the desk and I do most of my work on it. I usually sit on the sofa with my computer on my lap when I use it. It looks like this is going to have to change because Roy alerted me to this story.

Apparently just a little bit too much heat 'downstairs' can make you infertile. Forget about renewable resources. There are more important things we can do for the next generation, like making sure they get here in the first place. Gentleman, keep your boys cool.

The lap top is going back on the table now. I think I'm going to take this a bit further and make sure there's never any over heating down there. As the summer months approach I think a few hours sitting in the fridge might be in order. I might have to drop trousers and rely on shorts to allow for ventilation as well. The safest thing would obviously be to roam the streets naked but this opens up a whole load of other risks that just aren't worth taking.

This is my effort. Let it not be said that I am a man who doesn't care. All you men out there join me and fight for the future - keep your boys cool.

25 April 2006

That's why I love football

Picture the situation. Your team is winning by a goal with only two minutes of the Champions League semi-final to go. They're tired, jaded, spent. They don't know how much longer they can go on for. They haven't got any finger nails left to bite, their hair has moulted and they're standing in a pool of sweat...and that's just the fans.

The other team gets in to the box, the centre forward gets pushed and goes down like a sack of potatoes. The referee gives a bizarre penalty. "There goes all the hard work", you think. Then one of the best players in the world steps up to take it...


It's moments like this that make me love football. I knew he'd do it. I just had this feeling. With all the chances Villareal missed during the game you knew it had to be Arsenal's night. As soon as he made the save I texted Has, Afandy and Kate saying "Name on the trophy!". It surely must be now. Kate's brother told me today that he was worried Jens would have a stinker tonight and blow it all. I bet he's glad he was wrong!

Well done Arsenal! In to your first Champions League Final.
Well done Jens Lehmann! You are a nutter but you are a hero tonight.
Well done all you gooners out there (you know who you are). Enjoy Paris in the springtime and do the Premiership proud.

24 April 2006

Stevie Gerrard

Steven Gerrard won the PFA Player of the Year Award. Personally I would have picked Wayne Rooney, who I think has been absolutely marvellous this season. Gerrard does deserve it though. He's a brilliant player who I am a big fan of. He is athletic, courageous, imaginative and has this steely look in his eyes that says "I will not be beaten today".

Most importantly, though, he is the only man who can make Andy Gray scream "YOU BEAUUUUTYYYYYYY!!!!!":

Then again, he is probably the only Premiership captain to have been punked by a 7 year old:

Congratulations to Gerrard. I hope he can play for England in the World Cup the way he has been doing for Liverpool.

22 April 2006


I was supposed to have surgery today. Six weeks ago a cyst on my back that had been benign suddenly decided to get all angry, grow to the size of a ping-pong ball and then burst on me while I was at a birthday party. That involved a trip to the hospital at 1.30am and visits to the nurse every other day since then.

I thought today was going to be the end of the affair because the GP had reffered me to a surgeon who would cut out the root so the cyst wouldn't come back again. I wasn't too worried about it because it seemed quite simple (here's what would have happened). Bit of local anaesthetic, scalpel, tweezers, knick knack paddy-whack give the dog a bone and then this old man goes rolling home.

I did intend to drive there and then drive back myself but got a barrage of protest about that from my family. Has even kindly offered, or to be more accurate, stubbornly insisted, to help me go there even though he has exams next week. I think he was more interested in coming so he could see the surgery. He's been begging me for weeks to see the wound but he can't see it because it's under a dressing. He asked me if it was a branchial cyst was because Kim says that branchial cysts come before gills in the evolutionary chain. That means I'd be able to breathe underwater. I could be Aquaman. That would have been so cool. Unfortunately my cyst was sebaceous so there's no deep-sea living for me. That was anti-climax number one.

In the end I went on my own anyway because when it was time to go this morning he was still fast asleep...and still is. Got there, went inside and saw the surgeon. I also saw the operating table and his little tool kit and then suddenly got a little nervous about it all. He had a look at my back and said he would have to cut the root out but couldn't do it yet because the wound hadn't healed properly yet. What an anti-climax. To be honest I was kind of relieved but it would have been good if he'd just done it there and then. Now I have to wait until after exams. That was anti-climax number 2.

Never mind. Two great games of football await today - Arsenal v Spurs and Liverpool v Chelsea. Hopefully those won't be another anti-climax.

I could have been this man.

21 April 2006

When the end is not the end

You think you've finished your essay then you realise you haven't. You realise it's rubbish so you try to fix it a bit. Then you're 800 words over the limit so you try to cut them out. You do that then have to do the bibliography. You do that and then comes the coup de grace - you realise you've gone through the whole essay spelling 'director' with a capital 'D' when it's not supposed to have one....

Did a search of the word in the document. I found 179. I am now going through my eight page essay making big D's small d's. I wish I wasn't so anal.

19 April 2006


They're all at it now. Had a read of Fel's blog only to find a post with a picture of 'Mus':

I think I look quite handsome there.

It's nice to have a post semi-dedicated to you (she also had a picture of
Chris) so I wanted to return the favour by putting up a picture of Felicia:

There she is, Hurricane Felicia on her way to causing havoc on the Hawaiian islands in 1997. Her menacing presence is making everyone around her t-o-u-g-h-e-r.

She be rolling like a hurricane, blowing everyone away, showing she is truly the best. She is pace and she is power and she's going to tower high up above the rest.

18 April 2006

PJ is good for you

Got a shock to see a post on PJ's blog titled 'Mus is good for you'. Then the shock went away when I saw it was about food they made. It made more sense.

I have proof that PJ is good for you. It's not just me who thinks so. The cafe outside the bus stop by college knows it too. I see this everyday:

So it's official - PJ is goood for you.

17 April 2006

Where's Wally?

In my world, essay writing days are not actually about writing the essay. They are about finding new innovative ways of wasting time. Today I have done this by playing 'Where's Wally?' but of a slightly different type:

The matchday programme from the Reading v Stoke game I went to this afternoon has a great poster of all the fans celebrating on the pitch after we won the league. I have just spent the last forty-five minutes or so trying to look for Has, Gubs and I in it...and I can't do it.

You know those really annoying 'Where's Wally?' games where every single person is wearing glasses and a red and white hooped shirt like him? This is exactly what it is like because there are 23,000 other Reading fans all wearing blue and white hoops including us. You can pick out some people easily because they have a big flag or are wearing funny hats or big wigs or have their shirt off or something. Not us, we were just in blue and white hoops. I knew we should have worn funny hats! This is going to drive me nuts. I am a wally.

Click here to play the real 'Where's Wally?'

15 April 2006

The world's most blocked writer

Been at my desk for five hours. Written 548 words. Someone give me a medal.

13 April 2006

Behind schedule

At first I said I'd start typing my essay on Monday. Then I realised there was more research to do so it became start typing by Tuesday. Then I got a cold and a headache so it became "start typing by Wednesday". Sooner or later it was "start on Friday morning". I haven't finished my plan yet so I'll probably only be able to start tomorrow night or Saturday morning...and then I have to start revising...and then I have to sit the exams...and in September I have to start the LPC...then starting work...then getting married, having kids, paying off a mortgage, kids' school fees, university, birthdays, weddings...AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!

There is so much work to do!

11 April 2006

My voice or Freddie's spandex?

After the ridicule/abuse/threatening e-mails I've received for my attempts to sing We Are The Champions during the Madejski pitch invasion, I have felt the need to defend myself.

To do so, however, would be to defend the indefensible. How do I do that? By saying that, well, it could have been worse. Below is the original music video for the song and I ask you which hurts you more: my voice or Freddie Mercury's catsuit?

PS. I know you're singing along to it.

The Easter Bunny's other 364 days

Midway through my hourly procrastination period, I had a thought. We all know that on Christmas Eve Santa whips round the world delivering us our presents and then spends the rest of the year making toys. The Easter Bunny comes round at Easter hiding chocolates for us to find (the unfound ones are eaten by Santa during his Christmas Eve trip). But what does he do for the rest of the year?

Google, who know the answer to everything, came up with the answer here. I feel like I've had my childhood ripped away from me.

06 April 2006

Man United, Reading and the meaning of love

The first time I went to watch Reading play was just after they'd been promoted from the second division (ie. the one below what we're currently in) and they lost 2-1 to Coventry on a stinking hot August day. I only went for the sake of a day out with some mates after we got our A-Level results. Unfortunately, that one recreational trip turned in to something of a love affair. For some reason, I couldn't get enough of the Madejski and kept coming back to see the team play. It actually took five visits until I saw Reading win for the first time (a 3-1 win against Ipswich who had just come down from the Premierhsip. Nicky Forster scored a hat-trick).

I don't know why I got so hooked. My friend Jamie was probably one reason. He's been a regular since he was a kid and I guess the enthusiasm just rubbed off. There was also the fact that tickets at the time were very cheap, espescially on a NUS card and it made it easier to watch live football close to home. It was a big change for me because as a self-confessed childhood Man United fan who has never visited Old Trafford, I was used to following my team on the tellly only.

I still support United. You can't kick things you start loving when you are a kid. The likes of Cantona, Keane, Giggs and Beckham were my heroes and I'll always have a strong feeling for the club for all the times they've made me feel happy...and indeed when they've made me sad. If you ask anyone who knew me from age 9-18 what they remember about me they'd probably all tell you how mad I was for Man United. In truth, it hasn't quite left my blood yet.

I actually thought about this during half-time while I was at Reading v Preston a few weeks ago. I thought about all the bad games I'd been to when we were rubbish and asked myself why I kept coming back. Why do these things stick to me? What makes me feel so strongly about these teams? How come that before this season Reading could dissapoint me so much but still have such a hold on me? Then it dawned on me...I realised for the first time in my life that I was in love.

Can you believe it? The time I realise I'm in love is when I'm sitting in a football ground freezing my nuts off surrounded by 23,000 other men. Seriously though, at that random moment I think I understood how to tell if you're in love. You love someone when you don't know why you do. They can piss you off to high heaven and make you cry yourself to sleep but you still care for them. That's exactly how I feel about Reading and United.

The big issue for me now is that the two teams I love are in the same league. They're actually going to play each other now. It's like bumping in to your mistress while you're out with your wife (although I must say I've never experienced what that's actually like. I bet it's crap). So answer me this (because I can't answer it myself): what happens if next May United play Reading on the last day of the season and have to win the match to win the title but Reading have to win to save themselves from relegation? I hope it never happens.

Love. Football. Bloody hell.

03 April 2006

The killing of Kingsley

Saturday was a day of wonderful celebration but every silver lining has its cloud and this came in the form of the players murdering our mascot, Kingsley the lion.

Look at him here walking innocently along the pitch making the kids (and, let's face it, the adults too) happy. Why would you want to hurt such a loveable beast?

Then Reading score the fifth goal and the players decide that its time to get him:

Poor Kingsley was a lion to the celebration slaughter. Look at Siddy in that first pic. There's proper evil in his eyes there.

And to add insult to injury, Steve Sidwell parades his head to the blood-hungry crowd on the pitch:

RIP Kingsley Royal.

Click here for a great view of the pitch invasion by someone sitting at the top of the East Stand (I love the people shouting "get off the pitch". ITV video highlights of the game and the celebrations as well as interviews from the day are here.

01 April 2006


I will never EVER forget today. Has, Gubs and I had the gold-dust that were tickets to Reading v Derby today to hopefully see Reading win the league and they didn't dissapoint. Despite a shockingly bad first half, Reading ended up winning 5-0. There was a carnival atmosphere at the Madejski. We had three mexican waves and every song in the Reading hymn book came out as well as the unfamiliar cry of 'Champions!'.

The game was great but the events after the final whistle was even better. I think you'll get an idea of it in the video at the bottom of this post. We were confirmed champions and the PA Announcer asked the fans not to invade the pitch. Why did he even bother? He wasn't going to stop anyone...not even boring us. It was clear the stewards weren't going to be able to stop everyone so Has, Gubs and I took the once in a lifetime opportunity to invade a stadium football pitch and join in the ruck. It was awesome, not that you'd know from Has. As everyone ran on screaming and cheering like idiots, Has strolled on with his Ipod in his ear like he was walking down the highstreet.

I, on the other hand, was at my idiotic worst. See video for proof.
I am WARNING you now that I sing in the video and if you have heard me sing you know it's best for you to turn the sound right DOWN. This was my moment of madness. This was my Clapham Common:

Many apologies for the bad singing...just be thankful I cut out the bits where I'm dancing.

There was no emergency but the board got kicked down anyway. Has suggested taking it home with us but as I had already just committed a tresspass, I didn't want to add a charge of criminal damage or theft to my afternoon's work.

Gubs and I on the pitch

Has and I...still on the pitch

Living the dream by the South Stand goal posts

The players celebrate with us from the directors' box

The view the players had of the fans

I am so happy. I don't know how I'm going to force myself to do any work this weekend. Only two days of term left though, so I can have a short bit of time to sleep and dream of the Royals - Coca Cola League Champions 2006.