Manager profile – Graham Turner A Man Always Welcome At Molineux.

I originally wrote this for a website called “The Dugout” which was a collective of football writers, commentators and bloggers and it recently went offline and so I thought I’d share it here. At a time when Wolves are teasing us with a potential second successive relegation it seemed apt to talk about a man who took our club out of darkness and back into the light. I hope you enjoy it, thanks! 

Every Wolves fan is aware of the dark and dreary days of the mid-Eighties that saw a once proud and successful club relegated three seasons running and that was back in the day before clubs had to be docked points for financial irregularities to guarantee them season after season of struggle (making Wolves something of an amazing anti-achievement club.) Then fortune fell our way. Graham Turner, after a poor 2 year spell (1984-86) with Aston Villa was let go and subsequently fell into the top job at Molineux and straight back into the league he’d shown modest abilities in the past, yes Division 4.

His first game in charge he took Wolves to a 2-1 win over Tranmere Rovers with Andy Mutch scoring (something that would become a regular thing over the next few years). Wins were in short supply for Wolves in the mid eighties. In the previous three season (83/84 to 85/86) Wolves had only won 15 out of 130 league games. Turner was instantly a success. His first season saw Wolves finish 4th in the basement division but they lost out to Aldershot town. It also saw a terrible 3-0 FA Cup defeat at the hands of Chorley but the one really hopeful thing about this season was the signing of Steve Bull from West Brom and the partnership that was formed between him and the aforementioned Mutch.

The 1987/88 season was the most successful season for Wolves in eight seasons and saw them grab not one piece of silverware but two. The season was an epic one with Steve Bull scoring over fifty times and Wolves winning the Fourth Division Championship and lift the Sherpa Van Trophy in front of their proud-again fans at Wembley. Not only that but they also turned out at Wembley in the Centenary Festival where they drew 1-1 with Everton, only to lose on penalties.

Two trophies and two trips to Wembley in the same season, not bad for a man who’d only been in the job less than two years. Graham Turner had achieved a lot very quickly and had set a new club record of 90 points in a single season. How was he supposed to top that?

Well in the 1988/89 season he somehow managed it. Leading Wolves to back to back championships as they marched through the division in one go ending the season top of the pile again with a new club record points haul of 92. He almost made it a double-double but unfortunately Wolves lost in the area-finals (semi final) of the Sherpa Van trophy to Torquay.

The 1989/90 season saw Wolves competing in the second tier of football again ending a decade that began with them lifting the League Cup in 1980 and saw them go to hell and back in the league. It was this season that gave Turner his best finish at this level with Wolves, finishing a respectable 10th place. In the following few seasons he consolidated Wolves as a decent mid table club in the second tier but never seemed to have enough to get them into the promotion play off frame. But during his tenure he’d seen the club taken over by Sir Jack Hayward, the rebuilding of Molineux, an England international and hero in Steve Bull being born and had himself been the rejuvenation of a once great club, when it needed him, in its hour of need. For that all Wolves fans salute Graham Turner as a true Molineux managerial hero. He left Wolves in March 1994 after 8 years of tremendous service to the club.

He went on to manage Hereford Utd and ShrewsburyTown and achieved modest success at both clubs giving both of them promotion campaigns from the fourth tier of football as he had once done with Wolves. In 2012 Turner was recognised by his peers and profession and given the “Contribution to League Football Award” at the Football League Awards that year. Hugely deserved and long overdue.

Graham Turner, you will forever be a Molineux legend.

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An Easter joke we can all enjoy.

Over the last few years I have written a lot on this blog about atheism, I have openly mocked Christianity and said some things that on reflection were pretty offensive to believers in Jesus and the Lord. Earlier this week I watched a documentary on the BBC where Anne Widdecombe chatted to comedians about comedy and the Christian faith and why is it mocked and is it right that it is mocked. It was very interesting.

At the end of the show Marcus Bridgestock told this Tim Vine joke, some of you I’m sure saw it, but it not please enjoy it. It made me laugh out loud (for real, not LOL, I actually laughed). It’s a very sweet and innocent joke that involves God but is no way offensive. Atheists and Christians alike can enjoy:

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there was one only.
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from anguish,
sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints,
so I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life
there has only been one set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”

The Lord paused and replied,
“During those trying periods, I didn’t desert you, 
I just thought it would be more fun if we hopped!”

I love to potter about.

I’ve spent pretty much all of this week pottering. I’ve somehow managed to decorate my bathroom and my living room and finish off the first draft of a novel I wrote in November 2011 for NaNoWriMo. At the same time I’ve sat and watched TV, blogged, tweeted, read books, watched films, slept, nipped to the shops and drank copious amounts of alcohol and smoke many cigars.

Essentially I’ve acted like a man who has retired but sadly for me that time of my life is at least thirty years away (shudders at thought). But I can tell you something, if I could give up the rat race tomorrow and spend every day of every week just pottering about and pleasing myself what I do and when, I would. I can’t wait to be an old man and enjoy nothing better than getting up in a morning without a plan or idea as to what I’m going to do. It’s great.

Am I sad that I’ve enjoyed waking as early as any other day, making a pot of tea and watching Jeremy Kyle with a round of toast?

Probably I am. But it’s nice.

I mean I’m even sat here just writing this rather uninteresting blog post as a result.

But its time to go, Time Team is on and I’m pretty sure as it finished, Storage Wars starts. It’s a full life!

Peace!

A proper blog like proper bloggers write.

Generally speaking a blog has a theme or is a diary of someone’s life. I’ve never really blogged like that. A skim back through my blog, if you remove all of the football posts, it’s very random indeed. There is no rhyme or reason to it. As Adrian Goldberg said to me when I chatted to him on his BBC Radio show about snuff videos last November it’s essentially a blog about “Stuff I see” which is a fair assessment. I shouldn’t really have any readers or followers as it is so random but somehow I’ve built up a tiny little audience – you, yes you, reading this – and I’m very grateful to you for taking the time out of your day to sit and read what I publish here.

My previous post was about freedom of speech and it’s had few reads and I still am not sure if I understand the new Royal Charter thing and so I should probably have steered clear of the subject. I’ll probably just sit back and wait for the details to be fully thrashed out in the House of Lords and then be reported on before making up my mind on how it might effect what I say and write. Maybe this blog will become more about day to day life and silly little things than about the big issues that wind me up.

My girlfriend often says to me that I shouldn’t get wound up by stuff so much. She often says that I should worry about the things that I can change not the things that I can’t. But she also often says to me when I’m moaning about stuff that I should ‘Hold a candle or curse the darkness,’ I bloody love that statement. It’s very true. Essentially it means, do something about the problem or accept it. More often than not I just accept it and moan/blog about it.

So what is going on at the moment? Well not a lot. I’ve got a lot of time off work over the next few weeks and I have little planned for it. I know at some point I’ll end up in the garden doing various jobs that should have been done this past weekend if not for the heavens opening up and burying the Black Country under a foot of snow. I also know that I’ll do some painting. The magnolia in the living room needs a once over and the bathroom wouldn’t mind a quick rollering over too.

I’ll probably spend the vast majority of my time off lying on the sofa reading or watching movies, but I’ll probably watch little TV. I wonder if you are like me these days and only seem to watch the odd show here and there on TV. I rarely sit down at a set time to watch a specific programme. The only thing I’ve organised myself to watch in the last six months or so is Derek on Channel Four, everything else I seem to watch on demand or online. I listen to the radio a lot these days, mostly BBC WM and talkSPORT, just because I like to keep up to speed with the footballing world. But even my favourite radio shows such as Friday Night Comedy on BBC Radio 4 or Frank Skinners show on Absolute Radio I get as a podcast. It so much easier to organise things around your life than have to organise your life around TV/radio shows you want to see. I cannot believe we used to have to manage with 4 TV channels and if you missed something, that was it, you had to wait for a repeat or maybe hope the TV Plus had actually worked, which it rarely did. I think podcasts, Youtube and on demand services have changed the way we watch TV and I think it has been for the better. It gives the consumer more control of what they do and when and it gives the broadcasters bigger audiences overall.

So in conclusion I reckon I’ll be doing a lot of watching of TV shows on demand over the next few weeks, stuff that I wanted to see and have missed. If an entire series of ‘Storage Wars’ is on demand on my Virgin box I may have just decided what I’m going to do with this afternoon.

‘Kettle on, feet up, jobs a gud un!’

Peace!

Free Speech, It was Good While It Lasted.

As someone who has enjoyed freedom of speech for 35 years in a country that has had freedom of the press for hundreds of years, I find the announcement of a Royal Charter to govern the press (in the wake of a the Leveson inquiry that was an investigation into the wrongdoings of newspapers that were already covered by the PCC and criminal law) a total fiasco. We don’t need it, we already have laws in place to protect people from unjust stories and lies and salacious gossip and downright bullshit.

The Leveson inquiry was set up quite rightly to look at how the press behaves after phones of celebrities, politicians and murder victims were hacked to provide sensational stories and headlines. The outcome of all of this is this new Royal Charter to govern the press in the UK and it appears to mark the end of the free press. The press in the UK has been irreverent and rude and investigative and sometimes close to breaking already sufficient liable and slander laws for years and as a result we have some of the best journalism and news reporting in the world. Terrible goings on have been exposed such as abuse in care homes and dodgy dealings in business and sport. Without the journalism (of the past it seems) none of these things would have come to light and the world would be a bit more scummy, dirty and dodgy as a result. Of course we have the gutter press too in the UK but I know I enjoy seeing a pair of tits on page three and holiday deals for £10. But tabloids aside, overall, the wide variety of publications and writers that work for our newspapers are truly amazing, they uncover, they report and now they might just back off. What will it mean for investigative journalism? And from my own point of view what will it mean for bloggers and blogging?

I am not an expert in the new rules but I do understand that a clause was introduced to the crime and courts bill in the commons on Monday (18th March), Clause 29, and under that the definition of “relevant” bloggers or websites is used. I understand it to mean: ‘any website or blog that generates news material where there is an editorial structure giving someone control over publication.’ So any fears I have about my blog should be alleviated, right? Well sometimes I blog about news stories and I’m the man with editorial content over what is published as I’m the only person writing and publishing here at bilstonjay.wordpress.com Are blogs that comment on news, news-worthy? Are they an extension of the news? Are they subject to the new rules? Do I need to sign up to a charter in order to have a blog? If the answer is ‘yes’ to any of these questions then I’m afraid the idea of a free press in Britain is dead. Completely and utterly dead. Hundreds of years of rights destroyed in one pointless, unnecessary charter.

So why is free-speech dead? The idea of exemplary damages of course! If you’re not signed up you have no protection. So you then can face massive fines as you’re not covered by the Royal charter. But if you are recognised/acceptable you and your website/blogs are guaranteed exclusion from exemplary damages (which essentially means a fine of up to £1m – nice!). You’re only covered by the charter if you are a ‘news site’ that has multiple authors. But anyone commenting and blogging on news and current affairs, celebrity gossip and gossip about people in the news can be fined under the charter. So a newspaper is covered by the charter and so cannot expect unfair fines (but is expected to play by the rules), a blogger or bloggers aren’t covered and so can face unfair fines.

So if I say something wrong, I’m not covered as a lone blogger (I’m not a news source or newspaper) and so I can face unbelievable fines! If you have multiple authors and are essentially a news-type site you can sign up to the charter (or qualify due to the nature of your online activities) and although you’ll have to act within the law as it has always stood, you will avoid exemplary fines.

Maybe I’m misinterpreting the charter, and it has still got to go through the House of Lords, but what I’ve said above is how I understand the news of a Royal Charter to regulate the press. It seems to me those individuals who want to blog their own point of view and opinion could end up feeling they have too much to lose by saying the wrong thing, or having the wrong opinion, and quit. People will hold back and be fearful of using their freedom of speech. This regulation might stop phone hacking and all of that dark stuff the huge news publishers have gotten up to, but it will stifle the voices of many tens of thousands of little people who do nothing more than share thoughts and ideas and opinions with the internet.

But there may be some small hope. Under questioning during the Commons debate about the courts bill, the culture secretary, Maria Miller, said the “publisher would have to meet the three tests of whether the publication is publishing news-related material in the course of a business, whether their material is written by a range of authors – this would exclude a one-man band or a single blogger – and whether that material is subject to editorial control“. Let’s hope the House of Lords make the necessary changes to the language that lone bloggers such as me are not subject to the rules that were never designed to govern them in the first place.

But if the government think they can stop people publishing exactly what they want to they are mistaken. They cannot control proxy servers and anonymous email and blogging accounts online. They cannot stop people wirelessly uploading or using pay as you go phone sims to upload via such proxy servers anything they want. People can avoid detection if they really want to and flaunt all of the laws. So the government needs to make the rules fair for all or face the backlash that will inevitably happen.

This video here probably explains the charter better than I have, I still feel like I don’t understand it fully, as it’s all so vague.

Peace!

PS I haven’t even mentioned the European Unions Article on the right to free speech and freedom of expression. But as a European I don’t have to. This is an argument that won’t go away and will be tested by bloggers, news publishers and the European Union. Free speech is a right we’ve had for centuries. We cannot erode it because we fear newspapers underhanded tactics because lets face it, they’ll find a way around this to print what ever they want. It’ll all be in the semantics peeps!

Ten songs for ‘Top of the Popes.’

In light of my previous post I’d like to lighten the mood with some music. Some or all of the following bands, and all of the solo artists are homosexuals. Just for you Pope Francis, rock on my Catholic nemesis. You can’t surely question the creativity and performances of all of these well turned out, mincing, and professional artists. Can you? Of course you can, oh well rock on regardless.

Living on my own – Queen

Karma Chameleon – Culture Club

Your Song – Elton John

Liberace – Show Boogie Woogie

Crying – KD Lang

YMCA – The Village People

I don’t feel like dancing – Scissor Sisters

All The Things She Said – tATu

Losing My Religion – REM

Hallelujah – Rufus Wainwright

Peace!