Monthly Archives: May 2009

Photos From York

Over the bank holiday, I went down to York to visit relatives. Here are a few of the images I took over the three days.

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This one is of Clifford’s Tower during sunset. Annoyingly there was a Hot Air Balloon that passed just after I took this image.

We went to a place called Stillington, and as it was a bank holiday, there was a twenty over match between Roundtree. Camera was taken to see how I’ll do in a sport occasion.

P5250348P5250352P5250353P5250372For the record, Stillington won by a wicket in the last over only needing 70 to win. But still, congratulations.

P5250364This is a nicely tucked away shelter/storage space. Proved to be a good area for sponsorship. Better get paid for this.

That is all I’ll be putting up here. But if you want more, I’ll put some up on my twitter account at twitter.com/SauberRG    

Is It True?

I know you watched it. Eurovision was on Saturday night and I, as did many viewers across Europe, watched the full two hours and fifteen minutes of absolute awful singing and tense voting stages. In the end, it was won by the Norwegian entrant, Belarusian born Alexander Rybak and the song ‘Fairytale’ and trounced the other twenty four nations with a record breaking points total of 387, beating the old record set by Lordi and ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’.

In truth though, I didn’t find the song all that impressive. Sure, it is pretty annoyingly addictive. But I find there are much better songs in the competition than ‘Fairytale’. One I prefer is the Icelandic entry sung by the beautiful Yohanna with ‘Is it True?’ Basically it was brilliantly sung with a fantastic voice. Second place in no mean achievement, if Norway hadn’t been so popular, who knows what could have happened to Iceland’s entry? I really do hope she has a great singing career ahead, because she has one fantastic voice.

Then there was Turkey, with the Belgian born Hadise and ‘Dum Tek Tek’. I won’t lie, it was a fine voice with a very nice costume. Determine nice in whatever way you might perceive it. Similar with Azerbaijan. The only problem I found with these two was the somewhat mistake of putting a male in there. It ruined the flow of the routine and affected the flow of the song.

There were still some horrifyingly dull and downright awful songs. Three songs I felt like giving up on halfway through. Those were France, Croatia and Russia. They aren’t my type of music and were very bland with one singer and very little else. It wasn’t Eurovision and just bored me. Malta was so bad I did stop watching for the rest of the song. Then there was Germany, with bright sparkly trousers and Dita Von Teese. If they were aiming for audience interest with such a popular figure, then they failed miserably. Little attraction for the song that ended up finishing 20th, the past few years have been bad for the Germans. In 2008 the finished 23rd and 2007 19th. The last impressive finish was 2004 where the finished 8th, the last top 5 finish was 2000.

Then there was Spain. A simple, usual, load of Euro rubbish we’ve come to expect. It still managed to get 12 points, but that was still most likely from political voting from Andorra.

There were two songs I liked for its liveliness and happiness, Portugal and Moldova. Both seemed very jubilant and seemed to be happy there were there. The songs were vibrant and it is a big shame they did not do better.

This year also saw the beginning of Graham Norton as commentator for the BBC after replacing the impressive Terry Wogan after 28 years of covering it. I found that Norton was better than I expected, to be fair the expectation was low, but he made some clever remarks, Wogan-esque at times. However one complaint I have of him was that he often talked over the hosts, who at the time would be speaking in English. Iron that out and I think he have a good commentator on our hands.

I should say that I do like the new jury system of voting this year. It gives the songs a fairer chance of winning (assuming they are good of course) instead of relying upon their neighbours voting for them. One possible problem of this is that really good songs could walk away with it. But it is a much better system than the last few years. At least for once, the United Kingdom can be proud for a singer for doing well. Jade Ewan finishing fifth, the best result since 2002 and Jessica Garlick.

The Demise of Newcastle Blue Star

Two years ago I was standing and watching Newcastle Blue Star play Darlington Railway Athletic in the Northern League Division 1. It was to the end of the season and Blue Star were set to finish a lowly eleventh after such highs from the season before. That year saw the team secure the double, winning the Northern League Division 1 and the Craven Cup, which is a cup competition for the forty two teams in the two Northern League Divisions. However that was their last season in the league, as they were ‘cherry picked’ to take part in the Unibond North Division 1, the league above.

To make this change happen, the club had to make vast changes. The traditional ground, The Wheatsheaf (pictured above), which was used by Blue Star since 1970, was deemed not good enough for the league and they moved to the nearby Kingston Park Stadium, also used by the rugby union side, Newcastle Falcons. This was incorporated by the announcement that Dave Thompson would become the club’s new chairman and owner, who had links with the Falcons. Managers were changed, the successful Eric Tait left and the club brought in the former Northern Irish international Tommy Cassidy was brought in from Workington Town.

However, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. As I duly witnessed on Saturday 29th September (I remember as it was the same day as Portsmouth beat Reading 7-4) with basically nothing else to do. I decided to watch Blue Star play at Mossley AFC, which is a good three hour drive to a small town in Greater Manchester. Newcastle Blue Star lost the match 2-1, which was after a shocking performance by the team. But what was more concerning was that there were about two fans making the way down. Me and my dad, the rest were either part of the club (most of whom I knew) or the players. That has been a problem for Blue Star ever since the promotion to the Unibond league, to quote Dave Thompson on Monday.

“We are in the middle of the worst credit crunch the world has ever seen, and 80 people were turning up.”

That is the tip of the problem. The team I have supported since a child, with my family involved in the club since the 1970s (I have images of the team’s FA Vase success in 1977) are in huge financial difficulty. Newcastle Blue Star needed 100k for before 17:30 today (Thursday 14th), otherwise go into administration and be relegated back into the league I keep mentioning, Northern League Division 1. This would have ruined a simply brilliant season of achievement, which saw the team reach the playoff finals and win amazingly 4-1 over Curzon Ashton to be promoted to the Unibond Premier Division. This, alongside the other local side Durham City, who were also recently promoted, would mean that the two promoted teams, two years ago, were in the same division, the Northern League. Instead they would face the likes of FC United of Manchester, Boston United and Bradford Park Avenue.

But the possibility of demotions give them them the prospect of playing Ryton Albion, Dunston Federation and Consett. Hardly money grabbing ties.

Worse still, if they don’t find any sponsorship money by Friday, then there is a chance Newcastle Blue Star won’t even play those teams. They could fold completely. Disappear off the football map and possibly start a precedent of other non league clubs in similar situations to do the same.

But how can a club doing so well be in so much trouble? I mentioned earlier that there are very few fans. In fact the official press statement considers that the average attendance is a meagre 161. But when we compare this to other teams in the same division, it is 13th best from 21 teams. With the worst being Woodley Sports with the average attendance of 121. The league’s average attendance is 242, but it is boosted massively by the huge average by Halifax FC. This taken away, Blue Star’s will be neared to the leagues average.

There is an impression then that this is not the main reason, otherwise Woodley Sports will have been long gone. The club are facing a backlash from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, a grand total of £65,000. The club can’t afford it, the chairman has gone, the club are in dire trouble right now.

I don’t want to see this club go down, either into administration or folding completely. This club means an awful lot to me and my family and to see them go would be devastating. I revert back to the match I mentioned at the start, I believe the game finished 2-2. The odd thing about that match, I enjoyed it. But since the team got promoted, I have felt more pushed to go to matches and its got to the stage I don’t want to go. The atmosphere has gone, it is not the same anymore. It’s a terrible shame still, I have a heart in this club. My granddad is a lifetime chairman who worked his socks off for Newcastle Blue Star, as did my dad who spent way too much on the programme, he won programme of the year four years in a row, he cared about it. I’ll be lucky to see them play again in August.

It’s Not All F1 Y’Know

You may have noticed that the F1 Waffler is no more, in fact I have changed it to the Northern Waffler. Basically the same person waffling on about F1, but this time, as well as other things, such as football, speedway or whatever is getting on my nerves. An aim of mine is to keep a Speedway Column on here every Sunday, to be called ‘Speedway Sunday’. This is to coincide with my probable likelihood of me wanting to talk about the Speedway Grand Prix which races on a Saturday evening.

Basically same me, but with more talk.

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