Just My Thoughts This Mild December Evening.

I have been trying to work out why my blog has been getting few hits of late. The last few months I’ve seen some hits when I’ve posted for a day or two which is to be expected but the periods between postings, where I used to see an average of about 20 hits per day has gone. Now I’m seeing many, many zero hit days and so I’ve thought to myself, maybe I need to get back to writing more regularly and about the topics that I used to when I first wrote here. If the only way I can get readers is to keep posting then that may have to be the new tactic from now. I’m not sure if the way Google indexes pages has changed recently, if you know please leave me a comment.

In looking at some of my more traditional topics to chat here about I came straight up with football. Football is a huge thing in my life. I spend a lot of my time online looking at the football; especially league one this season what with the mighty Wolverhampton Wanderers being in the mix there. I’m forever on soccer manager fiddling with my various teams on there, playing Sky’s Super Six and Talksports predictor, as well as the odd mess around with my Sky Fantasy team (but the fantasy team isn’t that important to me, I just have a go). So I’m sure I could find more to chat about here. Looking back at my old posts about Wolves I have noticed a theme, we were either beating teams we shouldn’t and so I was amazed or the team was sacking the manager and the board were giving me a reason to just whine. So far this season I’ve had little to moan about, our cup form has been crap and how Cassidy gets into the team at all is anyone’s guess, but overall I’ve not had much to say about it. I’ve spent a lot of time sitting back and reading the constant moaning from some Wolves fans who call for Kenny Jacketts head at least five times a day. Why I do not know. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, success is built on the back of stability and that is something Wolves have been lacking re: managerial appointments for the last couple of years now. We need to give this guy at least a season. We will be in the top six without question at the end of the campaign and more likely than not in the top two. I’m hopeful that Steve Morgan might back the manager this coming transfer window with some money, I won’t hold my breath too long on that one though.

Another one of my favourite topics is writing itself. I think it is only fair to say that writing about writing is like talking about talking if you don’t have something mildly interesting to say so I’ll keep this bit short. I might start to showcase other bloggers or writers to try and build up some kind of traffic sharing regards to readers and views, something I have been lacking during my time blogging. I can only think of around three or four other blogs that redirect this way and considering the amount of twitter accounts, youtube channels and blogs I direct people to maybe its time to get some return hotlinks. I seriously doubt that I’ll get any luck there though.

My passion for politics and current affairs hasn’t diminished but my passion for writing about them has. After three years of writing on and off about domestic and international affairs I feel like I’m just raking over the same feelings and ideas as always. Nothing ever seems to change politically any more in the UK. Looking back over the last twenty years whether we have had Conservative, New Labour or a Liberal Tory coalition things have still been pretty much the same. The situation politically in the UK seems to break down like this regardless of who’s in charge: Bankers get rich and are untouchable, corporations donate to politicians and then amazingly pay hardly any of the billions of pounds in tax they are supposed to pay to the treasury, when the richest few at the top of the pile fuck up the tax payer bail them out, the poorest get shafted and labelled scroungers whilst the politicians fail to create economic stimulation to get them out of the dole queue, a cross in a box is no longer seen by many as worthy of them going to the polls despite the blood that has been shed to give them a free and fair vote to cast at all – apathy and unhappiness with the system is king. The problem of course with that last point is it feeds itself: Why don’t people vote? Because they feel like the system doesn’t work or represent them. Why doesn’t the system work? Because the people don’t vote and so the system doesn’t represent the society it is ruling over. And that is where I am with regards to writing about current affairs, what is the point?

Gardening, now this is still a subject that I love. Maybe I’m wrong in calling it gardening, I enjoy growing things. The gardening (cutting laws, weeding, sweeping up) bores me often, but the planting seeds and seeing tomatoes, potatoes, onions etc is still something I enjoy. I just find that after a hard afternoon or evening at it I’m too knackered and rarely flop in front of the PC to write anything. But I still have a go at it with mixed results.

And so here I am, at the end of another look backwards rather than forward at my blog and my reasons to blog. Hopefully with a new year I can find a new start with writing here. I’ve threatened many times to quit it altogether but as Docdenbow has often said to me, ‘never quit, just write what you can, when you can.’ That is the best way to approach it I suppose. So what if I don’t write for weeks, so what if no ones reading. Does any of this really matter? Only to me, and maybe if I stopped worrying about the stats and just concentrated on the writing the rest would take care of itself.

Oh well, another thousands words I’ve hoisted upon you my dear reader. I hope my thoughts; my words, don’t feel like wasted time. Thanks for stopping by.

Peace.

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World record transfer of a Welshman – in 1938.

The research into Bilston town football club is uncovering all kinds of other stories to do with the clubs former players, players who were simply born in Bilston and also stories to do with my other football club, Wolves. So here is something I’ve found recently and thought I’d share with you all. Enjoy Wolves & football fans.

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On the first of September this year Welshman Gareth Bale became the most expensive player in the World when he left Tottenham Hotspur for Real Madrid for £85.3m. But he isn’t the first Welshman to have held the honour of the most expensive footballer in the world. I have found another one whom made headlines as the Worlds most expensive player when he played for Wolves and moved to Arsenal.

bryn jones wales and wolves joins arsenal for world record fee of £14k in 1938

The player I’m talking about is Bryn Jones. He joined Wolves from Aberdare Town for £1,500 in 1933. He played 163 times for Wolves scoring 52 goals before his exploits were spotted by Arsenal . In 1938 Arsenal manager George Allison made an offer that was accepted by the player and the club of £14,000 and his transfer went through, thus setting a new world record for a transfer of a footballer. Only weeks before the transfer had been completed Jones rejected a transfer approach from Arsenals rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

Portsmouth Evening News - 23 - July 1938

His impact at Arsenal wasn’t immediate and he was actually dropped to the reserve team for a while. With the outbreak of World War Two he did play some war time games for Arsenal as well as serving for his country in Italy. He returned in 1945 to play for Arsenal. In total he played 71 games for Arsenal and scored 7 goals. In 1948 he scored for Arsenal in the charity shield against Manchester United but had long become surplus to requirements. He left Arsenal for Norwich in 1949 where he became a player-coach.

Derby Evening Telegraph - 30 December 1938

Gloucestershire Echo Sept 27th 1945

Hull Daily Mail - 24 June 1949

He got 17 caps for Wales and 5 goals, his first cap for his country came shortly before his world record move from Wolves.

His time at Arsenal also saw him play alongside Reg Lewis who was born and raised in Bilston, although he never played for Bilston Town football club. Reg Lewis scored over 100 goals for Arsenal during this period and he is still to this day the eleventh highest scorer in Arsenal’s history.

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I hope you enjoyed reading about a world record transfer from Wolves and an Arsenal goal scoring legend from Bilston who played alongside him at the top.

Peace.

Book latest.

The project to write the history of Bilston Town FC is now well underway and I’m loving it. The decision to do it was taken without any real proper thought about the amount of time and effort that was going to be needed but now I try and learn something new every single day. It’s become a constant in my life that is full of surprises. There are some things that of course I don’t want to divulge here, because they are too good and I will eventually want you to buy the book, but the club certainly hasn’t hung around Boringsville for any long periods.

The football club has a history that is as rich and amazing as any professional club history you can read about. With attendances at some games that would dwarf some professional games in League One & Two today and with characters and successes that are unrivalled, around the same time, in the same levels of football. The club has produced many professional footballers and was known at one time as one of the leading feeder clubs to the professional game in the Midlands.

Researching and compiling the book is a huge task for sure and knowing at what point to pause the compulsiveness at and just start to write is difficult because every single time I think I’ve researched a particular year or decade something new pops up and I end up running up a new alley of research that unveils so much information and in minute detail, and I ask myself how many volumes the book should be rather than concentrating on the meat and drink of historical events. But it all seems so good and I don’t want to leave a single thing out. I’m working at the moment on the founding of the club to the second world war but I’m really looking forward to the post war years and then chatting to the past players. Having met a lot of them at a gathering earlier this year I just know they are holding pure gold in their scrap books and memories and certainly the chapter that I want to honour Alan Wakeman (most successful manager) with will be superb. I fell in love with Wakey talking to his old players that day.

But one thing is for sure, I’ll make it the damn finest book about a grass roots, local, community, non-league football club that has ever seen the light of day. They’ll invent awards for it just to give them to me, no doubt.

But scheduled and rigid research is on hold at the moment because it’s Xmas and I need time to gain weight, drink heavily and smoke. I’m sure all of my Bilstonian brother and sisters understand. I will keep you all updated right here as things occur. Take care and Merry Christmas Bilston Town and all of its fans.

Peace.

(If you feel you can help me in any way please contact me here.)

3 years ago today (aka, “today” might be yesterday when I actually bother to upload it)

It was three years ago that I found 140 characters wasn’t enough to rant properly in and so I started keeping a blog, this blog. About twelve months worth of tweeting had passed me by at that time, before I found its 140 characters restrictive. I mean all I was doing on twitter was blogging and it simply appeared as hundreds and hundreds of tweets that clogged up my followers feeds and got me blocked by them. Some things never change ay? But it is annoying when someone tweets again and again and again, so a proper blog it was, just to keep a few Twitter followers.

So I set up on WordPress and I have to say it been a thoroughly enjoyable time. Initially, like I’m sure most of you bloggers already know, things were slow. No one was reading my blog. Most of the hits I got where from Google’s spiders crawling and indexing the site. That first month (or three weeks as it turned out to be) I barely broke through a hundred reads and I’m under no illusion that many of those where just me clicking on the blog now and again at work just to marvel at what I was doing. I’d had blogs before but they all died pretty quickly, with many posts in the first week and then maybe a post every two or three months. That’s not blogging. It was damned awful (most of you still probably think it is sometimes).

And so I’m amazed that his little corner of the interwebs has become what it has, rantville, bullshitville, drunkville, talktoomuchville, noonecaresville, somewhere for me to add my opinion now and again. I don’t know why I continue to write it, I dunno why anyone has ever bothered to read it. But talking to you is a bit like a drug when it gets you, and it does get you I think; And all of my other blogs where blogs where I didn’t inhale, and here I’ve took it down and enjoyed the thrills and the fun and the escapism. I’ve enjoyed all of the people I’ve talked to, commented on, received advice and praise and support from and even the occasional eccentric, oddball, blogger I’ve actually met (you know who you are). It’s all good. It’s good to write and share and comment and connect. Its not social media, its not self promotion, it’s just my bit of the web to talk. Like a podcast without my voice or a video without my gormless, fat, ugly face. Its somewhere I can dump these words, know someone, somewhere will read them, and what ever they think, I aint forcing them and they can stop reading at any time. You can love or hate my blog, you can agree or disagree with my politics, you can laugh or cry at my jokes, but you’re here because you want to be. You’re reading my words because you decided to read them. I’m not forcing anything. That is the cool thing. Don’t be mad at me if by the end of this post you’re bored, or upset because you chose to read this far.

Me, I’m just grateful you’re reading at all. After all you aint reading anything high brow. These are just my thoughts, I’m talking to myself mostly on my blog. But I’m glad that you guys sometimes jump aboard for the ride.

It’s nice to know I’m not always talking to myself.

Farewell year three, farewell. You were an odd year what with the appointment of Dean Saunders, The sacking of Stale Solbakken, relegation, Kenny Jackett and then some moderate footballing success. Thatcher died, I was actually nice to her if I recall and I have no idea why. Mandela died too last week and I sat and cried for a little while, he wasn’t an inspiration, he was inspiration. Read about him, he was one of the good guys, I think humanity has managed three great humans now but the other two are Marvel or DC superheroes and don’t count mainly because they aint real. Learn about Mandela though, his struggle, his incarceration, his forgiveness and his reconciliation are things unprecedented in human history. Really worth knowing about, it should be taught in schools. Oh well, where was I? Oh yeah, this year and this year of blogging. Well I blogged about other stuff too but those few things I mentioned are the things that stick out for me.

Farewell year three, hello the fourth. I wonder what the next twelve months will hold in my little blogland.

Thanks to you all for reading, it makes talking to myself less lonely and more acceptable.

3yrs

Cheers,

Peace.

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

Nelson Mandela - RIP.
Nelson Mandela – RIP.

Nelson Mandela’s release from 27 years in prison is one of those news events that stick very much in the mind (only four other news stories jump into my mind that are so vivid and they are the Lockerbie bombing, Hillsborough, Princess Diana’s death and 9-11). Even as a child I can remember the significance of his release after years in prison, served on Robben Island, Pollsmoore and later Victor Verster prisons, for bomb attacks carried out by the Umkhonto we Sizwe or Spear of the Nation group that was co-founded by Mandela. I wasn’t aware of this detail at the time of his release but I remember knowing that the end of terrible time for people in their own country was near and I later realised that one mans terrorist really is another mans freedom fighter.

The end of white minority decision making and rule over the black majority in South Africa was about to happen, the seeds of equality were sown and the end of Apartheid was about to happen. A truly amazing thing.

His election as the first Black President of South Africa and the changes he made to the constituency and creating national unity were also amazing things for a man who had years before been labelled not only a terrorist by the South African government that he was fighting against, but the United States too. He refused to stand for office a second time and retired to concentrate on charity work, mostly highlighting and combating HIV/AIDS in Africa and fighting poverty in that continent.

During his life he was awarded a huge list of honours and awards, you can see those items here.

I don’t know what I can add to the hundreds and thousands of good words and tributes that will be paid to him at this time. I just wanted to speak about what a great inspiration he was. The news of his passing away is sad, but he was a very old and ill man and has certainly earned a little bit of peace. His legacy will live on for ever and the changes that he made, not only to South Africa, but the minds of people all around the world is astonishing, remarkable and breathtaking in its entirety.

The world is one of the real good guys short tonight.

RIP Nelson Mandela.

Peace!

“It’ssssssssssssss, neeeeeearly Chrissssssstmassssss!!!” (aka it’s not Christmas for three weeks.)

This blog has almost completely fallen from my radar in the last few weeks. It’s a shame really because when I take the time, as I am doing now, to sit and write my thoughts down I enjoy it. I still get the ideas daily but I rarely make the notes anymore and so I rarely follow anything up and therefore I don’t blog hardly as often and when I do its usually pretty bad, spontaneous, my-heart-aint-really-in-this, guff (take my previous JFK post that I wrote three sheets to the wind… awful!)

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‘Back and to the left,’ or as we say in the normal world, ‘drag it and drop it in the recycle bin, desktop, top left.’

But my time has not been wasted sitting in front of the goggle box, well not all of it anyway. When I’ve been able to pull myself away from Eastenders, Storage Wars, Family Guy and Lizard Lick Towing I’ve been working as hard as I can around my job and my life to get as much research done as I can for the book I’m writing about Bilston Town Footie club. It’s very addictive and very enjoyable as well as being extremely hard work. A lot of reading and a lot of searching and a lot of begging for help from people who are either willing to help or I never get a response from! But I can report to those few of you who want to know that things are coming along nicely, slowly but steadily, the shape of the book, the content and the style of writing I want are pretty well sorted in my head and the opening few words of the book are written (I think the first 2,000 words actually.) Its one of the most interesting and enjoyable little projects I’ve ever set myself and I cannot wait to learn the next fact about the club! Yes I’m becoming a Bilston Town geek. It’s fabulous.

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Another thing that has been taking up some of my time and thoughts is Christmas and more so Christmas shopping. Every year it seems to get harder and harder to know what to buy people. I don’t know about you but I feel that I always have to top last years present with something that ‘is better’ but that’s impossible. Using that rule when I’m old and grey I’ll have to buy my missus a solid gold Death Star using credit cards obtained from a fraudulent identity as my own credit score is lower than Sheffield Wednesday on a mid-season, time machine trip to New York on the Titanic (surreal enough for ya!?) I’m not saying that my presents are that good already and in the future they’ll have to be spectacular, but you see what I’m getting at, this year she gets a apple and a new shiny penny, next year because of inflation and the cost of living that’ll be a bowl of fruit and a brand spanking new silver shilling and so on and so on, now I’m just rambling.

I’m also preparing myself for the busyness of the shops. As we get closer to the day itself the number of people out panic buying food like the Rapture is about to happen and they aint going along for the ride, will increase to DEFCON-Bullshit.

A scientifically accurate graph taken from Said Business School, Oxford.
A scientifically accurate graph taken from Said Business School, Oxford.

The tradition of pushing a trolley laden to the hilt with tons of tins, bread & packets of dried stuff goes back to a time when the shops were shut for longer than 24 hours. When I were a wee lad you had to have a couple of loaves in the freezer as the shops weren’t open over the holidays and you had to make sure you had enough bread to eat Turkey and cranberry sauce sandwiches for four or five days after Xmas, that was just the way it was. But these days with shops not only open on Boxing day, but as busy as they were on Xmas Eve the very notion that you have to have stupid amounts of food in the house for the day itself is just mad – and maddening, especially as a lot of it goes stale or passes its sell by date in your fridge and cupboards and ends up being thrown away. In a world where people are starving it’s downright obscene and in a country where people cannot afford to pay gas and electric bills it seems financially very stupid too. Why do people do it? This Xmas I’ll have 1 tin of quality street, 1 cheese selection, 1 box of Jacobs assorted crackers, 2 loaves, plenty of beer and wine, lucozade and alka seltzer and no Turkey. We’re going out for Xmas dinner (The money I saved not planning a mega-shopping spree paid for us to go out for Xmas dinner, result!), no fuss, no washing up, job done and back home in time for the missus to watch Downton Abbey and me to sit on my phone making drunken, festive tweets for an hour or two and moan about Downton Abbey as I slowly destroy my follower base. Now that’s a Xmas I like.

Cheese and beer, wine and crackers, what ever…

But more importantly, cash saved and no food going begging. Please, please, please, avoid the crush and the rush and don’t join in with the festive craziness of food shopping. Buy what you need and remember its all about being on holiday, being with family and relaxing. It’s not about eating too much but justifying it by kidding yourself that you’ll go on a diet as one of your New Years resolutions, we all know that aint going to happen.

Well this post is over and I haven’t even gotten on to how people put their trees and deccy’s up in October and November just because the Xmas adverts are on the TV. I think the rant about people confusing corporate/capitalist marketing with the actual festivities and holidays beginning is for another time. My tree is going up a couple of days before the big day, and I think that is too early IMO. Anyway, time to go, speak to you all again soon no doubt.

Peace.