Bilston Town 4 – 1 Haughmond – Promotion! (aka book plans and a day out at Queen Street.)

I’d not been to Bilston town football club for several years. In fact the last time I came they were a completely different club. These days they are known as BilstonTown (2007) FC after the club were forced to quit the league in 2007 due to financial problems. Thankfully the club was re-formed.  Prior to that the club where known simply as Bilston Town FC, that was the team I remembered and I was unsure what I’d find at their Queen street ground on am unsettled day in May 2013. It was the 11th to be exact and not just the final home game of the season but the final game of the 2012-13 campaign. Bilston would achieve promotion to the West Midlands Regional League Premier Division with a victory against Haughmond. Haughmond were a hard playing opposition and adversaries who’d beaten them only a fortnight earlier 2-0.

The place looked exactly as it had looked for the last 20 years but it was very tidy indeed. The main stand hadn’t got the plastic seats that it used to have, they’d been replaced with padding to sit on but it was well painted and clean. The pitch looked amazing considering the time of year and the time of the season. The weather in the run up to the game had been very changeable but the coldest spring in fifty years hadn’t reduced the pitch to a quagmire, instead it looked as close to a bowling green that any surface that has football studs trodden into it could look.

I was there not just to see Bilstons final game of the season but also to meet with the club Chairman Graham Hodson. A week earlier I’d phoned him up to explain who I was and that I was interested in writing a book about the history of my home town club. I was nervous as hell before calling him; I mean who the hell am I? It’s not like I go to the games or I have any association with the club, but Graham was very interested and encouraging and told me he thought it was a great idea. That was a relief; it was nice to have the club on side with this project and makes the book the official history of Bilston Town Football club (I guess!)

The idea for the book came from chats at work with a colleague. I enjoy writing and I enjoy football and after looking around for a book on the history of the football club the idea to actually write it myself was soon born, after several chats, a lot of considered thought and a lot of arm twisting by said colleague (I wasn’t sure I could do it at first, but then I often have ideas and quit before I see them through, especially when it comes to writing projects). Why not, books aren’t born out of thin air, someone has to write them, so why not me?

So I decided to contact the football club. I think I first tweeted at the club and was told to contact the chairman Graham Hodson. I checked out their website and decided to give him a call. I sat in the morning making notes on a sheet of paper ready to ask questions and also answer them. My first question was simply, has the club ever had a book written about it because I still felt that it must have and I was just raking over old ground with this whole thing. We had a superb chat about the club, its history and its achievements. I even remember, and have had no luck in finding out about, the day Wolves came and played Bilston as part of the opening of the grounds flood lights. Now that alone would make a super chapter in a history book and no mistake. Especially for a club like Bilston to have floodlights at a time that not many if any semi-professional football clubs had them. We decided to meet up so I could have a look around the place and a chat to the characters that still knock about round the club.

On the day of the final league game of 2012-13 I held my promise, if a little nervous, again who am I, why am I here, what must they think of me wanting to compile a book about the club? I almost didn’t go out of fear of overstepping myself, after all I’m not a writer or a sports journalist, but I’d made too many promises at this time to my earlier mentioned colleague and my girlfriend and I’d be damned to let them down at the last minute, and what the hell anyway, at worst I get to see a game of football and hopefully a trophy to boot. I met Graham, who was a very friendly guy from the off. He chatted to me showed me around and took me into the bar and told me to look around at the history of the club which was catalogued in framed newspaper cuttings all over the walls. Their certainly was a lot of history to take in. Some of it I’d heard of and knew about, some I didn’t. I was ill-prepared and made no notes but I was introduced to a Mr Draisey who I chatted to for a while, he talked to me about the FA Cup Proper Games that he’d seen at Queen Street and the years of supporting the club through thick and thin. After a while he turned to me and said, “So what are you here for?” and I told him I was going to write a book about the history of the football club. He told me that he knew just the guy to speak too, Mr Calloway. He asked for my phone and he rang him up and said “I have a guy here who wants to chat to you, he’ll explain.” And he gave the phone back to me. I introduced myself and I said that I wanted to write a book about the history of Bilston Town Football Club. Mr Calloway, with a few sentences destroyed my plans and I haven’t really mentioned to too many people that. He told me that the book was already written and I said I couldn’t find it anywhere and he told me that I wouldn’t be able to, and so I asked why would a book exist that no one knew about and why can’t I get a copy, after all that was all I wanted. I want to sit down and read the History of Bilston Town Football Club. He simply said that it had been done and ended the conversation dead. That was that. I knew then that I couldn’t and wouldn’t be able to write the book and despite going on to speak to people in local press and local radio and requesting any memories about the club, I knew in my heart that I’d been told very passively to back away from the project. I knew then that Mr Calloway was already writing the book, maybe he’d already written it. Who knows?

But hey, we had a game of football to watch and promotion at stake, so I took my seat in the stand and waited for kick off, even if I did feel a bit winded by my chat. When I hung up on Mr Calloway, Mr Draisey asked me “What did he say?” and I told him, “He said the book has already been written.” And Mr Draisey, very straight faced said, “Really? I didn’t know that.” I guess he’d have known that, as an old Bilston fan. My enthusiasm for the project melted faster than a tip-top in a microwave. So I was here for one reason but I stayed for another, to see promotion.

Bilston were on the attack from the moment the whistle blew, they were clearly more up for the game than Haughmond who looked tired after a season of mediocrity. After about five minutes Bilston went 1-0 up, John Griffiths cross was headed in by Dan Westwood with great skill. After this Bilston dominated the next few minutes with attack after attack after attack! It was nice to see after a season watching Wolves go down into League One with the firepower of the Hawaiian Navy (does that thing exist?) Bilston got what they deserved when Matt Curley headed in a second after ten minutes. Bilston continued to control the game and I started to wonder why they hadn’t finished top of this league as they clearly had total control of the game. The opposition never looked like they were going to break out of their own half, let alone score, come back or win. Another five minutes after the second goal and Danny Mason scored directly from a corner, something I’d never seen happen live before. Thanks Danny! The next thirty minutes until the half time whistle was blown was very expectant non –league football with few chances, lots of tussling and unnecessary free-kicks and shouts of off-side and corner when it was clearly a goal kick!

Half Time: BilstonTown 3-0 Haughmond.

The second half started very much like the first and I was hoping to see another three goals for Bilston. Early on Mugisha put in a cross that was met by Griffiths but his shot was well saved by an already over-worked goalkeeper. The game was equal and steady for a short while before a Griffiths cross was put away nicely by Nick Turton to make it 4-0. Later in the half Haughmond got a consolation when Ben Astley failed to clear the ball, but it was only a consolation as Bilston continued to press hard for the rest of the game and could easily have added two or three goals to their tally. In the end we had to settle for a scoreline of: Bilston Town 4-1 Haughmond.

Promotion was sealed (which was put into doubt until an appeal at Wembley on 26th July approved Bilston Towns promotion to the West Midlands Premier League.)

All in all it had been a great day and has me as hooked on non-league footie as I’d ever been. I know I’ll be back many times next season and as the new season is so close all I can say is, Good Luck Bilston Town, you can win that fucking league!!!

As for my writing, I’ll write something else, that’s what we do.

Peace!

PS I never even mentioned meeting the superb character that is Frank Heseltine. What a fucking star! A mental one, but a star nonetheless.

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David Cameron – Using Porn Legislation To Win Votes.

I can fully appreciate that after the murder of April Jones by paedophile Mark Bridger, the government wants to take steps to try and avoid a similar thing happening again, but blaming internet porn for the evil and wicked crimes of one man is a little bit like overkill to me. For a start Mark Bridger viewed child pornography, not the pornography that is between consenting adults. Child pornography is already illegal and accessing it and viewing it is already a crime and of course it should be! Let’s remember that it wasn’t a child who’d viewed pornography that killed April Jones, it was a grown man, a paedophile who’d viewed already illegal images of children being abused. That should be made clear and pornography shouldn’t be used an excuse or reason for those kinds of crimes.

The man, Mark Bridger is to blame for what he did and the kinds of despicable things he used to view online are to blame too and those things are already covered by UK legislation. He was a sicko and a criminal and more could’ve been done, before he killed that innocent girl; using current laws, to try and stop him. This is very much a case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted regards that tragedy. Any and all abuse images should be taken down, that’s a given, but why should all porn be taken offline in the UK? I mean fair play, Cameron has announced that he will work with internet companies and the police to “drain the market” of child sex abuse images online but a blanket ban on porn seems like the government wanting to tell us what we can and can’t do because we aren’t capable of making up our own minds up. The government is playing ‘nanny’ and trying to do a job that is rightly the job of us as adults and as parents. They are politicising porn. This is just David Cameron trying to appeal to Middle Class/Middle England for votes, it is nothing to do with child safety, and it’s not the governments’ role to bring up our children. That responsibility lies with mums and dads.

It is right and proper to want to stop children seeing pornography and it’s also right to take down, block, find distributors and punish them regarding online abuse images. I totally agree with that but, I say it again, I feel that the state is taking away the freedom of ordinary people to view ordinary porn.

The ideas for an opt in system doesn’t work because if the parents have unrestricted internet at the moment in their homes, and want it to stay that way, they will simply opt in and the kids in the house have access to the porn regardless. If parents choose to have porn it would still need parental controls in the home. Why not make it simply a case of leaving things as they are and encouraging parents to take responsibility for what they allow their kids to view? That makes more sense. I know we live in a blame culture and its everyone else’s fault for anything that goes wrong but I feel people should be responsible for the sprogs they decide to pop out into this world and then everyone (regardless of whether they have kids or not) won’t have to be penalised by the government as a result of bad, irresponsible moms and dads.

Also there is the question of the effectiveness of these ISP filters. Sometimes content can get through, and then sometimes content that isn’t porn will be blocked. Lets not forget the firewalls they’ll set up won’t be high-tech, they’ll be basic and crude, I mean can you see ISP’s spending money on this issue to make it happen effectively and efficiently? No of course they won’t. You end up with sexual health websites getting blocked (now they are sites you might want your kids to see, if you can’t be arsed bringing them up, someone has got to tell them to ‘stick something on the end of it’ and without porn teenagers are going to be more likely to have sex with each other to release their frustrations) and websites that deal with gay, bi and lesbian issues such as G3 Magazine, Curve and Stonewall might also get caught up in these blocked access filters just because they have keywords such as “gay” or “lesbian.”

On a more suspicious note, how much money does Sky TV make from paid soft core adult channels? I dunno if they make anything but I assume they get something for airing them. Cus part of me thinks that Cameron is just helping out his old mate and Tory donor Rupert Murdoch make a few quid by forcing people to pay for porno telly channels. But then again I can’t see that working can you? Now porn lovers are used to seeing unbelievably hardcore filth going back to the soft shit will be impossible, Pandoras box is well and truly open, in fact it’s gaping and dripping too! (See what I did there…?)

And to conclude, the strangest thing is that only in December of last year the coalition government agreed not to do exactly what it is doing now. Again proof that we cannot believe a word that comes out of the mouths of these corrupt, lying, greasy fuckers who run Westminster and our country.

So what have we learned: child porn is bad and already covered by existing legislation, adults should be allowed to make adult decisions and look out for their own children, the government will do and say anything to win votes from the middle ground that vote for all of the three parties, Pandora probably needs to go to A&E.

Keep your rights everyone and don’t believe what you read in the papers. Today it’s porn tomorrow it’ll be your freedom of speech. Giving up civil liberties one by one, like this, is a slipperly slope.

Peace!

The receding threat from “peak oil” and the future of energy and the world.

Whilst chillaxing on the sofa half asleep this evening I was astounded to hear the words of BBC newsreader Hew Edwards say that America was on course to produce as much oil as Saudi Arabia by the year 2020, maybe even sooner. I like so many other people had believed that the end of crude oil was near and we had already passed the point of peak oil production and it was all downhill from now on. This news appears to be saying that not only will oil still be pumped for the rest of my life but the next generation and maybe even the generation after that one too will still have the joy of paying £1.40 (and more of course in the future) for a litre of unleaded. Oh what a treat for my nieces and nephews!

The news that there is more oil to exploit of course is good news, as long as the Americans are removing it responsibly and not wrecking the environment, it’s an economic boost that can only be a good thing (especially in today’s terrible global economy.) It’s certainly nice to know that our biggest ally in the world has found new energy resources and is exploiting them; (I hope our government and fuel firms are already in talks to secure us a nice slice of this cake.) It’s also good to know that the West is not so reliant on getting fuel from unstable regions of the world such as the Middle East which appears to be on a slow course to self destruction as failed attempts at democracy crumble and radical extremism spreads like crabs at the PlayboyMansion during party season.

But part of me hopes that this news doesn’t stand in the way of progress. I mean regardless of how much extra oil is found or what new techniques are used to remove oil and gas that was much harder to get at in the past, it doesn’t change the fact that fossil fuels will run out one day in the future. That is the only certainly that we face as a human species. I hope that renewable forms of energy such as wind, wave and solar power continue to be exploited too. Especially solar energy. Fossil fuels will be gone way before the sun stops shining, in fact that solar nuclear furnace that offers us so much light and heat will be burning bright for millennia after all of us human beings have finished scurrying around this ball of rock we call home worrying about how we are going to make energy to charge our mobile phones and dildos and the like.

Our cravings for energy are huge and even with the low energy needs these days of our washing machines and heating systems and homes etc we still need to be fed with fuel constantly. Fuel oil is powering our engines and our cars, it fuels power stations that make electricity and that electricity is used to purify and pump water and gas to our homes and businesses. Without that energy society would crumble pretty damn fast, (I’d give it 24 hours at best!)

One big question that hit me as I heard this news tonight was – How will it effect Americas relationship with the oil producing regions of the world? (Especially the Middle East.) America has one huge interest in the Middle East other than oil that I’m sure they will continue to support for all time, that interest being Israel. But would America walk away from interference in Arab nations if they no longer needed to take oil from them? It’s an interesting question and it makes me wonder what would happen to an already troubled part of the world if suddenly it found itself isolated without any kind of input, aid or even fear of America. Would new wars break out, civil or regional? Would countries find peace with each other, would the map of the entire region be redrawn along sectarian lines? And of course it also begs the question that if this oil had been found ten years ago would the war in Iraq have been avoided? Would Gaddafi still be in charge in Libya? Would the Arab spring have ever happened? They are all questions that we can’t answer after the fact I suppose but it makes me wonder. Especially when so much blood has been shed in the Middle East over the last decade or so in wars fought under the flag of freedom but for the reasons of big business to get its hands on and keep the flow of oil.

Oil certainly has written the story of humanity over the last hundred years or so and its the one commodity in this world that has the power to topple or make governments and can start wars, cost people their lives and can create untold wealth and make or break economies. The discovery of more oil than ever dreamt about in America could well be a very good thing for the economies of the Western world. But it could also be disastrous for other parts of the world. But on the flip side it might break OPECs cartel like grip on prices and bring down the cost of a barrel…. Or am I dreaming?

This issue has so many considerations. I guess the story of oil and its rule over our planet has a few more chapters yet to be written I’ve no doubt about that. Let’s hope it all makes for a happy ending.

Peace.

Roswell UFO incident celebrates 66 years with a Google Doodle.

I really liked today’s Google Doodle. These things seem to be getting more and more detailed and interactive. As today is the 66th anniversary of the famous Roswell/UFO crash in New Mexico you have to Doodle your way around a mini computer game to rebuild your UFO and escape Roswell. Here is what you need to do:

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Click to play.

Walk down the hill. Click on the boulder looking object. That is part 1 of 3.

Walk down the hill to the path that goes left and right. Head left, click on the cow. The cow will walk over and eat the grass exposing a hole.

Click on the hole, you will fall down. Pick up the radioactive can. Select the radioactive can (top left) and click on the beanstalk, it will grow. Click it to climb it.

Once out of the hole head right.

At the barn climb the ladder and collect the horse shoe then climb down and collect the bag of grain next to the barn door. Click the window next to the grain to open it. You will see a horse. Select the horse shoe (top left) and click on the glowing ring above the horse. That is part 2 of 3. 

Head right. Give the grain to the chicken. After he eats it collect the feather. Select the radioactive can and use it on the tree behind you. Climb up it. Click on the last part of your UFO. The sleeping man will hold on to it. Use the feather on the man to tickle it free.

Your UFO is now complete and you’re home free!

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I’m sure you could’ve worked it out for yourself, but I hope you enjoyed this very tiny walkthrough to something that will be forgotten in 24 hours time.

Peace!

Youtube is still allowing the proliferation of snuff videos on its platform.

The world today is a crazy and dangerous place and is also very technologically advanced and internet driven. Camera phones and lap tops seem to go hand in hand with soldiers and fighters like AK47s and hand-grenades. All of today’s wars are fought before our very eyes on TV screens and PC monitors and it is delivered unedited and unashamedly brutal for everyone to see.

The importance of this footage is without doubt; its criminals documenting their war crimes and it can later be used against them in a court of law. It is valuable evidence and may offer the victims seen within them some level of justice someday. But should it be available freely on Youtube? I don’t think it should. Youtube isn’t simply a video uploading website anymore. It’s a broadcasting platform that is used by TV networks such as the BBC or Channel 4 as well as being used by record companies to distribute and advertise their acts and their music. It is used by governments to share information and is also used by celebrities to promote their latest books, comedy tours, etc as well as being available to the general population for their own creative ends.

So with that in mind, is Youtube the place for snuff movies, clips of people begging for their lives before being tortured and murdered? No its not. We do need whistle-blowers, we need people to speak out against wrong doing and we even need to know that this kind of terrible violence is going on but surely it should be kept for specific sites such as the news website Live Leak? If you go to a website with a specific theme you know what you are going to get. No one is complaining about seeing pornography on Red Tube, because it’s a porn site and no one is complaining about seeing graphic natured videos on Live Leak because that’s what the site does, it breaks news in a news type environment online.

Youtube on the other hand is a place people go for entertainment. I (like you all I assume) use the site to see documentaries, comedy, movie trailers and funny clips, of all kinds and genres and natures. It’s just another TV channel on my PC for me (in fact if you have a Virgin Media Tivo box it literally is a channel, Youtube is available right there on your TV as you sit in your pants on the sofa). When I’m channel surfing from the sofa I don’t expect to find graphic footage of a fellow human being, being tortured and murdered and so I don’t expect it when I channel surf Youtube either.

I’ve called for it before and I call for it again. Youtube, please take more action to stop the distribution of such videos, do not restrict them to users who are over 18 as that is easily bypassed by today’s web savvy teenagers, do not allow such videos to be monetised and block unreservedly and without second warning any user that would upload such horrible content to your website.

Yesterday I watched several videos on Youtube that portrayed men being beheaded, a teenager being tortured and shot dead and the aftermath of a group of men who’d all had their necks slit. Some of the videos pixelated out the faces of the victims but everything was still all to be seen. Some of the videos I flagged, some I didn’t as I had to just get away from them quickly because I felt sick.

I want to have an internet where my nieces and nephews are able to take advantage of its capabilities and enjoy the excellent content that is available on Youtube, but I really don’t want them seeing anything like this. Parental controls can be used to block the website but blocking Youtube isn’t an option just because of the vast amount of stuff it does right. Why should they miss out on seeing the 99% of the stuff you do so well just because you are reckless in regards to this issue?

And I wonder what TV companies, film companies and music labels think about being peddled alongside such content? How many visitors, hits and how much ad revenue do the viewers to those kinds of video channels bring in to Youtube? What would you lose in revenue if they decided to pull out? Surely they would agree with me and my position on this issue?

I’d love to know what anyone thinks on this issue, am I right or am I being naïve and should we accept that the internet cannot be sensibly controlled in regards to video content?

Peace.

PS This blog is a follow up post to this post from November 2012.