Nov 28, 2006

cricket.....its all balls

Ian Holloway on cricket:

No. I don't like cricket. It takes far too long and if the batsman just blocks it... how boring's that?

I think it's an old man's game. I hated it when I was a kid and I don't like it now. I don't dislike any cricketers, it's just a game I find absolutely earth-shatteringly boring! I can understand the last Ashes were brilliant and I'm sure it's a wonderful game if you like it - but it's not my bag. I like a bit of action.

As I see it, when the bowler bowls the ball, he walks back and the rest of the team, who are standing around not doing much, throw the ball around to each other. Then he gets it back and rubs it on his groin.

I've always been a bit worried about a game that lets its players do that in public. Why you'd want to ruin a lovely pair of white trousers by putting a red crease down the middle on your crotch I'll never know.

I played for my school in a tournament once. I was a bowler but I didn't really know the rules. I was bowling all right and if I'd appealed I would have got out the best bloke in the opposite team with my third ball.

I looked at the umpire but because I didn't ask him the question, the bloke carried on batting and he wupped us.

I've hated the game ever since. If you've got umpires there, why do you have to shout for it? You wouldn't have to wait for a referee to blow for a penalty, would you? Everybody appeals for absolutely everything and I didn't know that. I thought it was a load of bull.

He's still got it.

Nov 26, 2006

The Magic of the FA Cup


Oh the magic of the FA Cup. For those of you who only look at the top flight, it's been interesting us in the lower leagues for a month of so now. And on Sunday you'd best get interested, as your teams will be in the draw for the third round.

When I was younger – I'm only 25 now, so I'd like to maintain some thought that I'm young if that's ok – the FA Cup was something really magical. It was amazing. If the Gills battled through to the third round, all you wanted was a top flight team. You didn't even care where.

Sadly, being a Gillingham fan, we rarely got to the third round and even when we did we drew teams that were in what is now the Championship. The best one I can remember was in 1995, when we drew Sheffield Wednesday at Priestfield. Lost 2-1, Chris Waddle destroyed us – scoring one and making the other – as they went 2-0 up, but then Kevin Pressman got sent off for hauling down Chris Pike and only a brilliant performance from sub keeper Lance Key kept the Premiership side in the tie. Two days later, we went into administration – but no-one who was there that afternoon even contemplated that we'd have made more money if we'd played at Hillsborough instead – we nearly caused an upset – that was enough.


Its only a game! (part III)

So, where was I? Oh right, yeah.....time to patronise.


What a load of bollocks. That’s like remembering how much fun you had on your Spectrum 48k back in the old days and claiming its better than the games you have on your uber-high-spec-pc at present. Retro is kitsch, not better. To claim that you prefer the text commentary over the 2D match engine is quite simply ludicrous. It’s like preferring to use a bonfire rather than install central heating in your house.


This is quintessentially the most recycled comment made on the SI Forums. ‘Hundreds’ of people (who obviously spend more time complaining online than actually playing the game) claim they have wasted their money and state the game is unplayable out of the box – usually 2 days after buying and installing it.

“Far too many bugs”

“I’m going back to CM XX till SI sort it out!”

“Why do I bother?”

“When’s the patch out?”

Yes. The game is unplayable because a reserve player in the Bulgarian second division has a mis-spelt name.

Now, to avoid coming across as someone paid by SI to hype the game, I will admit that the game does have ‘bugs’. But to deem the game unplayable is touching upon extreme geekdom. It’s the nature of development. Most software releases are bugged. And patches are released to fix them. I’ll avoid talking about ‘Windows’ and just concentrate on games. Most releases I have purchased have had to be patched up. Whether its due to the publishers wanting a game out before testing is 100% complete or not, the fact is SI ALWAYS release a patch which also improves key elements of the game along with fixing those alleged ‘showstoppers’ people cry about.

It’s almost like the users are personally offended if the game has a bug in it. They then manage to delude themselves into believing they can’t play the game because of this bug. They are told it will be fixed, but they then complain about how SI dare release a game with the bug.

What’s ironic is, SI sell millions of copies and it’s just a small, tiny minority that make up the members of the SI Forum and a minority of these people bitch and complain about everything and anything. And why? Read number 3.


No, the game isn't too slow. Your pc is a crock of shit. Buy a new processor and some RAM you cheap skate.


More ‘bugs’. FM moaners complain when they can’t win more than two games on the trot and blame the game engine for being unrealistic.

“I change my tactics every other game, and I still can’t win! The game is flawed!”

So, you change your tactics every other game? That’s probably why you cant win then you idiot. Do managers in real life fuck around as much as that? Of course not, cause if they did tinker to that extent, they wouldn’t win any games or establish any kind of consistency. Ooh look…..FM *is* realistic afterall.

Seems that FM users lack patience much like everyone involved in football. They have utterly outrageous expectations and want everything NOW NOW NOW, when that’s simply not viable.

Users then spend their time downloading other peoples ‘super tactics’ and scream abuse when the formation fails to bring them any success.

Here’s a thought: If you bought Total War: Medieval II – would you ask your mate to come round and build you an army and empire and defeat all the other clans? Of course not, cause if he did, then what’s the point of you playing the game? That would lack the personal satisfaction gained from actually achieving something.

It seems that FM users are fine to question and slate SI Games development, but don’t even attempt to play the game properly. Or they just edit the data and cheat.


Cheated you? Without SI we wouldn’t have a decent football management game on the market. I read on the SI forum once that SI need someone to put a game together to compete with them to give them some competition. Well, erm, they don’t need competition. They love what they do and they have at no point ever got lazy about it. To claim the game is ‘RUBBISH’ because you can’t guide Watford to the Premiership after one season is just plain silly.

And here’s the thing. Some people find the game easy and slate SI, others find it too hard, and slate SI. But rather than plug away at it – they claim the game is flawed and give up. They shout for patches. Wonderful logic. Just wonderful.

Still, claiming they will never buy the game again and yet still post and lurk on the forum says it all. Too many users have this illusion of what the perfect football management game should be like and actually think its within the realms of possibility that SI can match - EXACTLY - in every detail a true replica of the real game.

Me personal fav is people who complain about 'HOW UNREALISTIC IS IT THAT XXXX BOUGHT XXXXXX FOR £31m!! SI SORT OUT THE AI!'

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight. So, its unrealistic for the game AI to generate certain in-game transfers, but its not unrealistic that you (some nerd from the suburb) is the manager of Manchester United.

6) ‘WHAT I WANT IN THE NEXT VERSION OF FM’ THREADS (posted a week after the latest version is released)

With each yearly release, SI add new features and improve older ones. It’s obvious that the game will be EPIC in years to come. Of course, you will still get people complaining there’s now too many features in it. But I digress…

FM users are so engrossed and obsessed with the fact SI developers are always on the forum they forget the simple fact that FM *is* a game and it’s a privilege to have it in our lives.

It’s not a simulation because that’s impossible to re-create. It simply does its best, in the most entertaining way to be a sort-of-simulation that has a fine balanced element of what its like being a coach. It’s a football management game. It’s never ever gonna be perfect. Yes, there, I said it. SI have not released a perfect game. But the fact is, a game that makes you jump up and down or feel genuinely angry or happy is a game that works.

There’s not too much more I can say. Well, actually there is. But all this writing is cutting into my FM time and I’d rather concentrate on taking out revenge on Barca than slate the SI forum negativity-minions any further.

I’ll conclude by saying this:

- Be constructive in your criticism

- Be realistic in your criticism

SI do need us to feedback to them. That’s exactly how the game grows. SI are dependent on us. Otherwise they wouldn't sell any copies. The fact they do sell one or two says a lot. But don’t treat the game like the be all and end all of everything. Yes, its a religion. But it’s also just a game. A damn good one, but still…a game. And until I play one that beats it no anti-SI/FM bullshit will make me change my mind.

The End.



Nov 25, 2006

Red Devils laugh off the Blues

Sunday. Manchester United v Chelsea. Psychologically, the result of this game may go a long way in suggesting to the rest of us where the title will be sitting come the end of the season. And the mind-games have already began.

Peter Keyon has suggested that Chelsea are on track to overtake Manchester United as the biggest club in the world. Apparently the Blues are 'more dynamic, more relevant' than United.

Comments made pre-game are always a good laugh on account of them usually being part of the kidology of the game. And Kenyon (probably forgetting Barcelona's 'size and stature' on purpose) has got to re-think his strategy. Rather than tickle Utd, he has to kick 'em in the bollocks. Something he is pretty much incapable of doing.

Which is why the Red Devils have laughed off his comment.

Chelsea are nowhere near being as big as Arsenal or Liverpool, let along United. And thats just in England. Kenyon, along with that well dressed Portuguese bloke should probably stop believing their own generated hype and concentrate on team tactics and selection.

You'd think that any team that bought Ballack and Shev in the summer would actually improve rather than look far more unbalanced and at times beatable.

If your pockets are already bulging with candy, there's no point in going back to the sweet shop.

Chelsea have around 8 years more of work to become bigger than anyone around them in England. They may just get there, but if Utd turn the screws and win the title this season, the whole complexion of the Premiership along with Chelsea's 'stature' will change. And in football, nothing stays the same for too long.


'I con refs'

Well thank you for clearing that up for us Mr Diouf, because hand on heart, had you not told us I would never have guessed. Apparently, the Senegal Pele admits to being 'very clever' when he dives in the pen area or collapses elsewhere on the pitch without actually being touched by the opposition player.


Yes. Great defense there. It's okay to cheat, because others do so to.

"Sometimes I need to dive to have a penalty. It's just football. The best footballer is very clever"

The Diouf claims that the 'diving' is a consequence of moving his leg out of the way of the incoming tackle in order to avoid a broken leg. Maybe all that 'twisting around in agony' on the floor is just creative license where he shows us what might have been had the connecting foot connected.

Diouf has also complained he doesn't get enough penalties and that he has a bad rep, hence the booing and hence the lack of decisions from refs.

Expect to see more theatrics from Diouf and even less decisions go his way now. More players and managers should be honest and upfront.

COMING UP NEXT: Wenger admits 'I actually have super-vision and never miss a thing'


and now for a commercial break.........

First Test, Brisbane, day three (close): Australia 602-9 dec & 181-1 v England 157

Australia turned the screw in the first Ashes Test by building a lead of 626 after Glenn McGrath took 6-50 to dismiss England for 157 in Brisbane.

The home side opted not to enforce the the follow-on despite England trailing by 445 on first innings.

~Spooky (currently praying to the Cricketing Gods for mercy)

Nov 24, 2006

Diouf: Please boo me!

The controversial Bolton forward has recently stressed that he loves the fact that he is often booed by opposing fans.

Diouf said, "I like it when the fans boo me, because fans never boo a bad player".

"When the fans boo me it gives me more power - I am just here to play for my football club and do my best."

You tell'em mate!!

Diouf: Football Legend

Nov 23, 2006

Its only a game! (part II)

So, 2-0 up at half-time in the Nou Camp. And then I got taught a footballing lesson. The game finishes 3-2 to Barca. From practically secured ecstasy to complete and utter misery. It's emotional stuff this game. And so are the people who pay 30 quid or so to play it. Emotional. Others passionate. And quite a few of the rest complete and utter demented nutcases. I don’t mean to be hold on, I do.

Basically, the culture around Football Manager is 'like' a religion. SI Games are the prophets. The people that play the game are the followers. FM itself is the utopiatic church. But like most religions there are sects and cults and people who undermine the gospel.

In this case, forum terrorists (who all probably don't have girlfriends and spend time 'testing' the game by placing it into holiday mode just so they can post and highlight 'issues' they have discovered. Flipping geeks).

Placing the metaphorical blurb aside for a moment, what I’m trying to say is, a substantial amount of users that post on the SI Forums are ungrateful idiotic prats with no concept of computer gaming and have unrealistic and ridiculous standards.

Let me begin to break this down and get to the nitty gritty of my rant.

SI have developers and coders and programmers and researchers and testers. They accumulate a phenomenal amount of player data and history, along with club information. In other words, they work their bollocks off to place together a database like no other. But that’s nothing really to what the essence of Football Manager equates too.

Football Manager is forever growing and improving and is getting better with each incarnation. For a computer game, it pretty much covers what you want for this genre. And what isn’t covered tends to be suggested and then implemented into the next main release. It’s forever evolving. So, the ‘database’ has a rather top notch nifty interface and gaming immersion to go with all the stats.

Media interaction, team talks, feeder clubs, player praising, mind-games, 2D graphical representation of the game – are all things that were not about in previous versions of the game several years ago. The game was magic then, and it’s magic now. And as it continues to get more detailed (without ever being over elaborate, messy and bulky) and it continues to engulf the player’s life.

But some people are still not happy. Simply put, in their eyes, SI are losing their grip and are not making the necessary effort to make sure FM is as near to football management as the real thing. More than a game, more than a simulation.

There’s only one way to really get across to these ‘people’ the point they have so obviously missed. By patronising them. In Part III.


Nov 22, 2006

They call her Lilywhite

Lilywhite is a wannabe society girl. She hangs around in Mayfair wine bars bragging to people about what she’s achieved in the past, telling them what a glorious babe she is.

She’s got a bit of money too. But then that’s what you get for being clever with your savings. But now and again, she does have a tendency to splash out on items that are worth far less than what her credit card is charged with. She’s a little bit impulsive in that way, making mistakes with presents for herself that she cant return when she realises she doesn’t need them or they are next to useless.

She’s good looking and has some style and class. But not half as classy and stylish as she was in her earlier heydays. And rather than spending the majority of her time in those fancy Mayfair wine bars, she seems to be more at home in a Wetherspoons pub.

She does have a habit of dumping her boyfriends (but only because they are pretty crap in bed). She does long for a loving and successful relationship but sadly they almost never end in pro-longed happiness. What she is promised, never seems to come true.

Every two to three years she thinks she becomes pregnant with hope (the name she always gives to her unborn child). But it’s never the case as she has a habit of mis-reading the results on her pregnancy test. That and the fact that she has uncanny luck picking blokes who don’t have a high enough sperm count to give her what she wants.

At the moment, she’s in another relationship, which apart from one or two blips, still seems to be going strong and going in the right direction. She still likes to go shopping, and is a bit upset that she didn’t buy anything for her left-sided shelf in the bedroom although the right side has a wonderful portrait worth millions, that she managed to bag for far less. Proving she can get it right sometimes.

She's very happy with her current boyfriend, especially when she compares him to her previous non-events. There seems to be genuine affection and loyalty and although she doesn't want to jinx it, she believes she might just have found Mr Right.

Although recently, they have both been a little cautious and less dependable on one and other, the true test of any relationship is how a couple does in the rough patches. They both seem to struggle a bit on nights out. She still blames the incident with the food poisoning they got in a less than desirable restaurant in the East End. They would both much rather spend time at home.

And as for actually getting pregnant, she can honestly say that her current bloke might be able to give her what she's always wanted and where so many have failed before. All she has to do is get him to stop pulling out and coming over her tits.


Eggert to the Rescue

Finally, the West Ham takeover saga has come to an end. Eggert Magnusson is the new owner (formally, a Spurs fan apparently) so, onwards and upwards for the 'ammers. Already, the tabloid rags are whoring rumours about a £10M bid for SWP and a potential move from Upton Park to the new Olympic stadium. Also, its been suggested that the two Argies could be sold on in January, which again brings up the question of the sell-on fee and how much West Ham are likely to make as in all likelyhood, most of the money will be pocketed by MSI (the owners of the players rights).

Eastenders will be tucking into their jellied eels this morning all happy that the next episode should prove just as entertaining as the last. Because if there is one thing about being a Hammer - its like being on a demented rollercoaster, and never quite knowing what the next turning will be.....up or down?


Nov 20, 2006

Its only a game! (part I)

"Football Manager isn't a matter of life or death. Its much more important than that" - a random FM2007 user.

So, SI Games genius uber-spreadsheet (probably the number one reason for girlfriends ditching their boyfriends) once more engulfs the British gaming public. Why bother with first person shoot'em ups and online troll killing when you can build an empire to rival Bill Shankly's?

Yes, its a game. No, it doesn't have 3D graphics. Yes, it consists of clicking and selecting and watching lickle blobs run around on the screen.

Is it addictive? Oh hell yeah. Like electronic pixel crack, it takes away the need for sleep and social activities such as going out side and talking to other Earthmen or petting creatures. Girlfriends become redundant and beard growth acceptable.

Nobody else has really ever got it right when its come to creating a football management simulation that truly captures the spirit of the real game (remember, thats the one you need to go outside to watch).

Hands up if you've ever punched the air like a nutter when your star playmaker bursts through midfield, floating past oncoming defenders, to slot home a last minute wonder goal in an FA Cup semi-final against your most hated rivals?

As far as pretend goes, Football Manager does it better than anything else on the market.

So, you'll probably wondering what I'm leading up to. Am I about to review the game? Or reveal the secrets behind my wonderful 4-2-3 1 formation? Nope. Neither.

I'd much prefer to discuss something else. The SI 'community'. But that will have to wait for Part II. I have Barcelona away in the Champs League (group stage) to contend with first....


Multiple Choice for the day

Are the men in black, our right honourable referees:

a) Utterly useless and should be replaced by technology and 'ref's in the stands'

b) Jealous of the superstar players and want to be as big a part of the match as the two clubs out on the pitch

c) Of a high professional standard, but at the end of the day, only 'human'

Answers to the Football Association and all aggrieved Premiership managers across the country.


'I dont know the words'

Sing when you're holding a song sheet, you only sing when you're holding a song sheet....

For any Arsenal fans who aren't too sure on what they should be chanting, make sure you visit this link: Song Sheets

The song sheets go well with the cheer sticks recently spotted at The Emirates. Along with various 'drummers' around other grounds (Spurs and Rovers fans, be ashamed) and the quite woeful 'music played after goal scored' disease, I'm beginning to long for the pre-Sky Sports days of our beloved game.


Nov 19, 2006

A wife's guide to living with football

a guest blog by LISA

Well where to start? There isn't really a beginning so I can't start there. Football has been trying to overtake my life for 20 years but I think I finally have it under some sort of control and this is a little story for any female football haters of how to attempt to balance the scales of living with 3 men and having to tolerate football.

It all started when I went out one Wednesday evening and fell over a man in the pub, we ended up talking and 20 years later are still together. In retrospect I should have run for the hills on the second date when I had to listen the offside rule explained to me in great detail with the use of a glass of vodka an ash tray and 20 silk cut.

However my groin was in charge of my head and I stayed,plus he was buying the vodka, but I digress. Before I go into my explanation of how to survive football I would like to point out a few things. When I was 7 months pregnant he took me to watch Man Utd play Spurs in the away end in the days when you could stand up, drink beer and piss on the floor whilst watching the game.


Put your hands together for Jose

a guest blog by JONP

Jose Mourinho is fast running out of admirers outside Stamford Bridge - but somehow you couldn’t help but be delighted for him in Barcelona. He arrived two and a bit years ago, proclaiming himself as "The Special One" and that cockiness - despite being very un-British - endeared him to many. Of course, he was already popular with the vast ABU (Anyone but United) brigade after his running up and down the touchline when his Porto side dumped United out of the Champions League on the way to their 2004 triumph, and at first everything was rosy, his arrogance almost a breath of fresh air in the Premiership.

But, over time, much of that admiration has completely subsided. Nothing seems to satisfy him anymore and, do you know what, the strain is starting to show. Just the other day Sky Sports News showed footage of Mourinho in one of his early preaching’s - sorry, press conferences - and he looked positively fresh-faced compared to now. Still, I guess it’s hard work trying to make the rest of the continent believe there is a conspiracy theory against you.


Self Abuse

There is no hiding the fact that we are a fickle bunch. We hate certain opposition players, yet when they sign for us, we end up adoring them. We boo the likes of Wayne Rooney, but when he wears the England shirt, we sing his name. But should we boo our own players or team? And if so, who has the right to boo and when? Last season, Lee Young-Pyo allowed his fellow country man Ji-Sung Park to steal the ball away from him (he practically gift-wrapped it) leading to a Utd goal.

A small minority decided to boo him when he next touched the ball. This resulted in Davids giving the evil eye to the section of the crowd the boo'ing come from which lead to several hundred if not a thousand Spurs fans hurl abuse at the 'minority' and then applaud Pyo every time he touched the ball, standing up to show appreciation and support. So, don't boo your own if they fuck up in that manner, its a mistake and we are all human (even if some of us as are paid to control, trap and pass a ball for anything up to and beyond £20,000+ per week).

If your team is playing without pride and passion, then sure, boo them. You can't exactly send them a letter each to suggest they try harder. But I can't quite make out Arsenal fans boo'ing a team that could have and should have and probably will do (at some point soon) win 6-0/7-0 in the Champs League. The team from Moscow got lucky.

But no, say the Arsenal fans who spent their dosh expecting to see a goal-fest. Plenty of va-va-voom. But no football pie on show. Maybe they were boo'ing the the cost of a half-time drink and hotdog and not the players out on the pitch. Touchy business is this wonderful game of ours.


Didn't anyone read the script?

This is something I wrote up a while back as a test article for the wordpress blog:

Alan Pardew (you know the fella, the smug manager of WHU) apparently wants to "protect the integrity" of the club amid all the rather colourful takeover rumours. Protect the intergrity of the club? I'm guessing he is refering to the Hammers tradition of selling their best players to the bigger teams and yo-yo'ing between the Prem and the Championship.

You have to be a tad on the stupid side not to work things out for yourself with regards to the two Argies 'signing' and the MSI connection with the takeover.

Sure, the Chicken Run can be and have the right to be in gloating mode over the arrival of Tevez and Mascherano. Who wouldnt be happy with that? But surely deep down, there is a hint of concern over the finer details of the transfer.

If the two players are simply a 'sweetner' to help the smooth transition of the sell of WHU (and to then be sold on next season with MSI getting all the dosh) then the cockney club is being used and abused like a porn starlets debut in a blow-job gagging movie.

Two Argie world-class superstar franchise players aside, surely all this will end in tears, and a rather sorry taste in the mouths of all West Ham fans. Maybe some jellied eel will help rid them of that taste. In the mean time, if they get one over their London rivals, it will all be worth it.

Can I be smug about this now? Sure, The 'ammers have bounced back with 2 wins (and two defeats to balance things out again), but its not exactly been Villa & Ardiles has it? Having said that, when Spurs bought the original Argie double-act to England, they got trounced 7-0 at Anfield.

Maybe patience is the key here. Then again, when has anyone in football ever been patient?


This is a blog.

You'd think, considering that the concept of a blog for the RW forum has been in development for over a year, that you'd get something a little bit more sexy than what you are currently looking at. Nothing wrong with the wonderful, of course. Its saved my bacon.

The original masterplan was to have a matching Wordpress and Punbb forum in one stunning looking blog/forum website combo. But due to one or two design glitches, that dream is once more delayed. So, the blog and message board are pretty much detached from each other at the moment like a loving couple in separate rooms rather than sharing a preferred passionate 69.

I know the RW regulars expected something more. Probably free hardcore porn streaming in a window above this article or a pop-up box that randomly hurls out other peoples credit card numbers hacked from an online banking site. Not gonna happen. This is just a blog. Nothing fancy. Nothing clever. Just a blog. And we'll be sure to let you know if our dream ever comes true...