Friday, 21 January 2011

Football - Bloody Hell

Everything you are about to read is true, which is what makes this so bloody wonderful and brilliant. It's my favourite football story of all time, and to be honest I can't believe I've not put it up on here before. I will now try and explain it as clearly as I can, although it's not easy. Turn off your music, stop eating, and read carefully...

It is the Shell Caribbean Cup, and it is 1994. Barbados are playing Grenada, and the scenario at the beginning of the game is relatively simple - Barbados need to win the game by at least 2 goals, but if after 90 minutes the score is tied, there will be Golden Goal extra-time.

The game goes as follows: Barbados take the lead, 1-0.
                                        Barbados score again, 2-0.
                                        Grenada score, 2-1.

There is five minutes left. Grenada are defending like beavers, as 2-1 is fine for them. If Barbados score again however, that's 3-1, and that's good enough for them. They launch attack after attack but just cannot breach the Grenada defence.

And then they stop, and have a think. You see, the organisers of the Shell Cup decided on a completely insane and baffling rule, which went like this - the Golden Goal scored in extra-time counted as double. The 1 goal, counted as 2. You can see where this is going, can't you? In the 87th minute, a Barbados defender deliberately scores an own-goal.

It is 2-2, and means that the game is going to extra-time, and if Barbados can just get 1 goal, that will count as 2, and they will go through - as they need to win by 2 clear goals, remember. So by scoring a deliberate own goal, they have more time and a better chance of winning the game than trying to scramble a goal with 3 minutes left.

But the Grenada players aren't stupid, and they know why Barbados have just smashed in an own goal. And this is where it gets fun - because Grenada now try and score a goal at both ends. This is complicated, but hang with me:

If Grenada a) score a legitimate goal, they win 3-2, and go through.
                b) score an own goal, they will lose 3-2, but will still go through.

However, quite hilariously the Barbados players aren't stupid either, and realise this is Grenada's new game plan. So, in the remaining 3 minutes of the 90, they try to keep hold of the ball, make sure the game is played in midfield, and defend both goals. Unbelievably, their plan works.

The game does go into extra-time, and Barbados score the Golden Goal, meaning that the game finishes 3-2, but because of the nonsense rule they effectively win 4-2, and thus go through.

Monday, 17 January 2011


Hello all. I've sat down to write another blog entry, but I'm having doubts about it. You see, a) it will be two blog posts in a row where I bash an article from a newspaper, and I always strive to make TRAROTL varied and interesting, and b) attacking the Daily Mail is like criticising Hitler, or kicking a puppy. It's all a bit too easy, isn't it?

But then I read the article again, and I realised I have to write about it. You see, this is so much more than "Miranda is shit lolz" like the last article I referenced - this piece is shameful, disgusting, misguided, irrelevant, pointless, worthless, crass, puerile, juvenile, an insult and so many other words that I'm not clever enough to reel off at the top of my head. I'm sorry Liz Jones, but I can't ignore this:

I'm ignoring the title, I think. The answer is "no" though, whilst we're here.

It's Friday night and I’m in the Ram bar on Park Street in Bristol.This is where Joanna Yeates spent her last evening before she set off up the hill, past all the twinkly shops and bars (a Habitat, a Space NK beauty emporium; Bristol is nothing if not upwardly mobile) towards her death.

This is particularly important. I for one never knew that Bristol had a beauty emporium, nor that it was upwardly mobile. I must visit one day.

The bar is OK but ordinary. The wine list, chalked on a board, says ‘Lauren Perrier’.

At this point I need to rein myself in a little here. I do get quite a few foreign visitors to this site - mainly those wondering who Tim Lovejoy is dating. As ever, I do not know. Nevertheless, for the benefit of our friends overseas, a little bit of back-story, if I may. This article is about a lady called Jo Yeates, who just before Christmas was murdered in her home town of Bristol, England. Her body was found on Christmas Day. It's all very horrific, sad and disturbing, and that's just the newspaper coverage of it. The simple fact that Jo was a bright, attractive young white lady means that the papers have whipped themselves into a complete frenzy over this one. As someone just remarked to me on Twitter, if a black man from a rough estate was murdered, the papers wouldn't care, and the headlines would be very different. Horrible to say that, but it's true. This article here is the latest about the murder, something I find relatively amusing considering that none of us actually know what the police are thinking right now. Anyway, let us proceed.

I wish she had spent what were probably her last hours on earth somewhere lovelier. The food is awful (I ask for a veggie burger and it comes without the burger – and without the bun!) but the young women behind the bar are sweet with huge, wary eyes.

There is so much about this paragraph which is just ghastly. I'm going to be very kind, and not remark that if you're a vegetarian you're probably a fucking idiot, but there are some things here we just cannot ignore. Is it really acceptable to write an article about a girl being murdered, and kick it off by complaining about food in a pub she happened to be in once? The horror, oh the sheer horror of it all! To me, that's like saying this:

"Picking my way through the shattered remains of Hiroshima, I found it nigh on impossible to locate a decent sushi bar."

Not my work that one - credit to @NicholasPegg on Twitter. I do love Liz's 'huge, wary eyes' comment - it smacks of satire, but the gas here is that you know full well it isn't. It's just horrid.

Alex is working her way through uni, where she is studying English. She comes from London and her parents are now terrified something is going to happen to her. 

She was working in the bar on the night of December 17, when Joanna was having a drink before heading home. ‘I don’t remember her,’ she says. 
‘It was so busy that night. I used to walk home but I always get a cab now.’
Lyn, with white blonde hair, who was also working here that night, says she is ‘more fearful now, I’m more nervous. It’s just so mysterious’.

These women have every right to be a little more nervous than usual, but I absolutely hate this section. It's peddling fear, something these papers do very well and very often. Someone as cynical as me can ignore it, but I do worry about my Gran. Every time I talk to her she starts a sentence with "I read in The Express..." and it will end with some nonsense like "...and then the meteor will kill us all, so I'm off out to panic buy some bread. You can never be too sure." As far as we know, Jo's death was an isolated incident, and has not been linked with others. Should women be a bit more worried? Perhaps so, yes. But it's not like there's a serial killer going round.

I leave the bar at 8pm and retrace Joanna’s steps. Even though it’s January, the streets are packed. There are a couple of women joggers but they are with boyfriends or husbands. 

I walk past the beautiful university building on my right, with Waitrose on my left. I wander the bright aisles, full of young women rushing round after work, leaving with carrier bags and expectation.
I head up the hill towards Clifton, the leafy part of the city. It’s quieter now, and darker. I find Tesco, and go in. I almost buy that upmarket pizza; the choice tells me Jo wanted a lovely life, something above the ordinary.

Yes, you can tell that, just by the pizza she bought. Naturally. I saw someone buying a Mars bar the other day - bet he's a right cunt. And abuses his wife.

There is one police van on the green as I turn right into Canynge Road. I bet Jo’s heart lifted as she reached this junction, looking forward to the feeling only a Friday night near Christmas can give you. As I near her basement flat, at No  44, the road is quiet. Earlier in the day there had been an ITN news van here but it has gone now. I’m reassured to see two policemen standing vigil at her iron gate, either side of a small, discreet pile of flowers in varying degrees of decay. I tell them I’m spooked, walking here. ‘Don’t be spooked,’ one says. ‘Residents are campaigning to get brighter street lights installed.’

Brighter street lights - good idea.

So the antique, lovely ones are to disappear to be replaced by ugly ones because of something even uglier.

Or not, clearly.

That afternoon I had gone to the lane where Jo’s body was found. It was horrible and windswept. I don’t know what I had expected but not this. 

I didn't know what you expected either, to be honest. A fun fare? An Indian restaurant? Noel Edmonds?

There was no ceremony here, no policeman, just that lovely face on a now dog-eared poster. I got the feeling the world is starting to forget Jo, that she’ll become just another thumbnail on the Avon and Somerset Police website, along with the faces of the other murder victims no one can recall.

She was a bright, attractive white female. No chance love.

I’d have expected the cars to slow down here to show respect but they sped past, carrying people on their way home from work. 

Literally insane. Liz, you're the person who slows down at car crashes aren't you?

The lane is narrow. I can’t see how a car stopped here and a man struggled with a body without being beeped at and told to get out the way, as I was.

Perhaps there wasn't a struggle there. I don't know. Neither do you. Let's stop playing Nancy Drew for a minute, eh? 

There were no messages with the flowers, just one card, still sealed in its Cellophane. The person who left it hadn’t bothered to scrawl a note. Leaving Jo’s flat, I return to my car. My satnav takes me to the Clifton Suspension Bridge. 
The theory is the killer took the long route from the flat to where he dumped the body to avoid the CCTV cameras. Perhaps he also wanted to avoid the 50p toll. 
I don’t have 50p and try tossing 30p and a White Company button into the bucket. It doesn’t work.
There is now an angry queue behind me. Isn’t it interesting that you can snatch a young woman’s life away from her in the most violent, painful, frightening way possible, take away her future children, her future Christmases, take away everything she loves, and yet there are elaborate systems in place to ensure you do not cross a bridge for only 30 pence?

Isn't it fucking disgusting that thousands of children died in Haiti last year, yet I'm not allowed to buy a PS3 for 12p and a tube of Smarties? Fucking joke.

Finally, a man in a taxi jumps out, and runs to me brandishing a 50p piece. ‘Not all men are monsters,’ he says, grinning. Maybe not. But one monster is all it takes.

He didn't say that.

End of article. One of the most insensitive things I've ever read, and I pray that Jo's parents never set eyes on this bullshit.