Sunday, 26 December 2010

Anderson rattles Australia in Melbourne

What a start to the fourth Ashes test!
Years gone by and the MCG has always been a ground where England falter, but last night was a completely different story and really gave England fans the performance they so desperately wanted on Christmas Day.

Winning the toss was an important start to the day. The pitch and the coniditons suited the bowlers, so it was important for England to win the toss and Strauss did just that, putting Australia into bat and giving the ball to James Anderson and Chris Tremlett. An advantage for the English conditions was the inclusion of Tim Bresnan who has replaced Steven Finn for this fourth test. Despite Finn being the leading wicket taker in the series heading into this test at Melbourne, concerns over his fitness and his expensive economy rate in the last test gave the England coaching staff some cause for concern and hence the decision was taken to replace the 21-year-old with the more controlled swing bowling of Yorkshire seamer Bresnan.

Australia were unchanged and it was a move which surprised many, with Ponting originally expected to put a spinner in, either youngster Michael Beer or the more experienced choice of Nathan Hauritz who surprisingly still has not featured in this year's Ashes series.

England needed to strike early and they did. Chris Tremlett bowling an unplayable length which Watson struggled to deal with and he found the top edge falling straight to Kevin Pietersen in the gully, and it was a wicket coming sooner rather than later, evidence perhaps that the opener was dropped twice before eventually falling to the pace and bounce of Tremlett.

The day's highlight was a combination of wonderful swing bowling from the England bowlers, and some poor shot selections from the Aussie batsmen, including opener Phillip Hughes, Steven Smith along with many others. James Anderson and Chris Tremlett in particular were superb, getting the ball to swing beautifully and bowling a line which the Australians just found difficult to deal with. Both Anderson and Tremlett finished with four wickets apiece, with Bresnan getting the other two. The quality of the bowling was evident in the way the wickets fell. All wickets were catches behind or toward the slips corden, and six of these came courtesy of the gloves of wicketkeeper Matthew Prior, so England's bowling was evidently one of persistency and consistency.

The collapse of Ricky Ponting for just 10 was again a sign the form of the Australian captain is still a worry for the home side, and the early departure of on fire Mike Hussey was a key blow to the structure of the innings. Hussey has been Australia's most important bastman in the first three test matches with a minimum score of 51 and averaging just over 104 for the series. But, the pace and swing of Anderson proved too much this time for the Aussie number 5, and Hussey edged to Prior, falling for just 8. The English celebrations were a sign of how important getting Hussey so early was to the rest of the innings.

Michael Clarke offered some resistent with a valiant 20, but even the shot for his wicket was loose, along with Brad Haddin, who was caught behind off the bowling of Bresnan. Johnson fell for a duck and even though there were some run-scoring swings of the bat from Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris, Australia could only manage a total of 98, the lowest first innings ever at Melbourne. England immediately had control of the test match, just two sessions into a five day test.

The reply was just as important as the previously achieved bowling performance. It would seem a waste had England themselves had collapsed and given themselves no hope of winning the test match and in turn, The Ashes. However, the batting frustrated Australia and our boys ended up on 157-0 at the close of play, Cook passing 80 and Strauss not out in the 60s.

A ground which can hold up to 91,000 people was brimming with excitement before the day's play. Yet at the end of play, all that remained were a few Australians along with the hoard of English people as units of the Barmy Army singing their hearts out.
This first day at the MCG has signaled England's intent to regain that beloved Ashes urn, but never write off Ponting's side, as time after time after time again, the Australians prove to be a bigger force in the cricketing world than any other known, but with Strauss' men focused, and the Aussies somewhat lacking authority, the urn could be making the plane journey back to England sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Matty Jarvis: From Gillingham to England

Fabio Capello claimed he wants to inject a new face of young talent into his current England setup and the introduction of such players like Chris Smalling, Jordan Henderson, Andy Carroll, Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs is very evident of the Italian's intent.

Not many will have heard of Matthew Jarvis however. The latest name to be faced with the huge possibility of wearing the Three Lions, and a player who I have had a huge admiration for since he made his professional debut, aged just 17. Yes that's correct, I was there when Jarvis was, what some football fans would call, "just a boy" but oh, how that boy has matured and become one of the most direct, creative and energetic wingers of the Premier League of now.
Jarvis, now 24, currently plies his trade in the Midlands with Mick McCarthy's Wolverhampton Wanderers and his performances in the last two years have earnt him lavish praise from colleagues, opponents and pundits alike across the land. He has proved to be one of Wolves' most instrumental figures in their attacking play and he contains all the key attributes in which Fabio Capello likes to see in his young players.

At Gillingham, Jarvis was described as pacey, skillful and a player with a good ability to read the game by many supporters. One of them would have been me. Yes we've been hear before, discussing the great loins of the KRBS Priestfield stadium and better yet, the characters to grace the turf of the Medway ground from Simeon Jackson, Jack Payne to now. But Jarvis is better. At Gillingham, Jarvis was and always will be known as a 'Gillingham legend', and I for one thought he was a brilliant footballer, regardless of his young age. It seems the numerous opinions of myself plus the Gills faithful have not gone unnoticed.

The 2006-2007 season was a busy one for Jarvis' reputation in the game. Transfer bids from both then-boss Ian Holloway's Plymouth Argyle and Nottingham Forest were knocked back as well as a keen interest from local rivals Charlton Athletic. His performances during this impressive season as Gillingham's key player earned him a place in PFA's League One Team of the Year and gave Gills' fans a sense of pride knowing one of their own was moving on to big things. Chairman Paul Scally had revealed Jarvis was close to a move, as well as predicting his most prized asset would be on the verge of an England call-up by the time he was 24.

Jarvis has hit 24, and Scally was right. The winger has been receiving backing by many to be the next addition in Fabio Capello's young alliance, and what a ladder that young boy would have climbed in such a short space of time.

It was 2007 when Jarvis left Gillingham for then Championship Wolves. At first, he struggled to settle into life in the Black Country both on and off the field and became linked with his hometown club Middlesbrough. Coupled with this were constant knee and hip injuries for Jarvis, and many begun to doubt his true ability however he came back strong and helped his side to promotion to the Premier League, and since his transfer from the lower leagues to the best league in the world, he has not looked back. Many Premier League sides now see Jarvis as McCarthy's most dangerous weapon. Known for operating either flank, Jarvis' pace, trickery and ability and confidence in using both feet make him a handful and something beneficial to Wolves and maybe soon to England.

Despite not being the most goalscoring midfielders, with only 26 goals in 230 professional appearances, Jarvis' main threats come from his speed and wide variation of creativity. It are these skills which have attracted major interest from clubs like Liverpool and Everton in the race to sign the Wolves man, a race which has been ongoing for some time now. Whether or not McCarthy wishes to sell, it will not be long before Jarvis is going international and challenging the best in the country to become known as one of the best wingers in England.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Club Focus – Tottenham Hotspur – Spurs to go Dutch in bid for first spot

After the weekend's draw away at Birmingham, Tottenham Hotspur will be looking to get back to winning ways in their final Champions' League Group A match when they travel to the Netherlands to take on FC Twente.

A win for the London side could see them top the group depending on goal difference, and Harry Redknapp believes it is vital for his side to finish first if they want avoid teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. Spurs have already qualified for the last 16 knockout stages after previous wins against FC Twente at White Hart Lane and current European champions Inter Milan in a game where arguably Tottenham's most prized asset, and one of the most improved players in the Premier League over the past 18 months, Gareth Bale starred.

Bale has been instrumental in most of Tottenham's key play this season, scoring 13 goals and being regarded as the biggest threat in the side with his pace, strength and skill. The 21-year-old Welshman had a torrid time at the start of his Spurs career, failing to record a single win in 24 starts after signing from Southampton in 2007. But, he has turned his fortunes and last week received BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2010, succeeding fellow Welsh footballer Ryan Giggs in achieving the accolade.
Redknapp himself will be hoping his latest prize winner will be on top form to help spur his team on toward finishing top of Group A tonight in Holland.

The injury list at Tottenham continues to grow it seems. Despite the returning Jermaine Jenas being declared fit, Croatian playmaker Luka Modric is highly doubtful with illness. Rafael van der Vaart is still missing, along with defender Younes Kaboul.
Redknapp faces more long-term problems in his side though with Jonathan Woodgate, Ledley King, Tom Huddlestone and Jamie O'Hara all facing lengthy spells on the sidelines, but it is expected Sebastien Bassong will start tonight alongside William Gallas after his goal at Brimingham, despite the return of influential defender Michael Dawson.

Even though Twente are out of the Champions' League, they have qualified for the Europa League so any hope of an easy ride for Tottenham will easily be overlooked as the Dutch champions will look to create some form when they head into another competition after Christmas. The presence of former Wigan Athletic midfielder Denny Landzaat will be key to Twente's push for form against Spurs, and highly-rated striker Luuk De Jong is expected to be in the squad.

The pressure of playing a big side like Barcelona or Milan so early after the group stages will be a path Redknapp wants to avoid. His side's inexperience playing at this level means he will want his side to finish top to learn and develop their European game.

Redknapp will not take Twente for granted. Despite a resounding win against the Dutch side at White Hart Lane earlier in the group stages, the manager knows the De Grosch Veste stadium is not the easiest place to come away with points. Having Bale in his side will be important for Redknapp, but after the lack of form in his strikers, the side's ambition for goals could prove essential.

Club Focus - Tottenham Hotspur

Despite being a little out of date I thought it would be a good idea to publish the articles I have written for 'A Different League' that haven't been published on their website.
I have 6 articles a week to do so there are going to be times my pieces are not published, so a perfect time to have a personal blog.

Do Enjoy.

Earlier in the week, midfielder Luka Modric said for his side to make a charge on the Premier League title then Tottenham would have to improve their away form, form which has seen them come from behind to beat fierce rivals Arsenal just two weeks ago but also lose to league strugglers West Ham as well as a poor display at the Reebok to go down 4-2 to Bolton Wanderers. If Modric was hoping for some answer to his calls this week, he would have to be waiting a little longer now.

Despite dominating the first half against Birmingham, the White Hart Lane outfit could not extend their lead given to them on 19 minutes from Sebastien Bassong. A defensive crisis has seen Bassong play a more prominent role in Harry Redknapp’s back four. Injuries to Ledley King, Younes Kaboul, Jonathan Woodgate and Michael Dawson have meant Bassong has had the opportunity to stake a claim for a place in the starting eleven, and how he took his chance today, finishing from five yards after Gareth Bale’s well-hit free-kick was only punched away by England keeper Ben Foster.

Tottenham’s dominance continued in the first half, with chances from Jermaine Defoe and Peter Crouch being blocked by Blues defender Scott Dann and Foster in goal, respectively. If anything, it was surprising that Spurs went in at the break just one in front, and it was expected to see the London side come out in the second half the same they did in the first.

Alex McLeish’s half-time team talk had obviously been a wake-up call for the home side, when a swinging Gardner free-kick and a header were turned away by Heurelho Gomes. The home side continued to push for an equaliser and Gardner, who was the main man in all of Birmingham’s play, was rewarded for his solid performance with 10 minutes to go. Dann’s ball forward found the head of Nicola Zigic whose knock across the area found the incoming Gardner who wheeled away in celebration.

The match itself highlighted Birmingham’s resolve but also signalled more concerns for Redknapp in a lack of goal-scoring prowess along with their frailties in defence. The absence of Rafael van der Vaart meant Spurs lacked the creativity they would usually find had the Dutchman been on the pitch. Despite having the pace of Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale on both wings, worries about the lack of goals from strikers Defoe, Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko are sure to put some supporters in doubt of their frontline.

Some positive news for Redknapp though. The return of inspirational defender Michael Dawson to the bench is sure to put Bassong under pressure, but with a home match to local rivals Chelsea next weekend, the manager has some big decisions to make.
This weekend’s point in the Midlands kept Tottenham in 5th but wins for Arsenal and Manchester City means competition for the Champions’ League spots is more fruitful this year. St Andrews is always a tough place to go to, as Chelsea experienced some weeks ago, but supporters who want to see Tottenham challenge for the title will want to see improvements up and down the pitch.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

WINOL News Package

Here is my package for this week's WINOL.
It is the Jingle bells story being campaigned by Winchester Community Safety Partnership around the Winchester Christmas market.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Messenger enters 'A Different League'

Last week I was offered a role as a football writer for online football magazine "A Different League". This is fantastic news for me personally as it gives me a huge opportunity to expand and develop a key interest of mine, and more importantly something I enjoy doing week in, week out.

The editors for the website were really impressed with the work on my blog, and I have chosen to become their Tottenham Hostpur correspondant. I will also be contributing Tottenham Hotspur new stories which consist of three short separate stories relating to any transfer business, gossip or latest setbacks surrounding the club.

My key role though, is to write three weekly club focus topical slant s on the club relating to their recent matches, match previews as well as any specific player focuses and their roles in Tottenham's squad.

I see this as a great experience, and already I have sent in two articles, one of which has been published on the website to start an article history I am keen to expand in times to come.

For anybody interested here is my first article published. It is short news stories on the latest gossip surrounding players and coaching staff alike at the club.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

HCJ -Totalitarianism

Totalitarianism is a branch of phenomenology. Hannah Ardent disagreed strongly in totalitarianism and said "The Holocaust was normal". She disagreed with views taken from Nietzsche and from his work Thus Spoke Zarathustra saying there are no supermen, and that we are just doing our daily jobs as humans.

Like it seems with almost all European intellectuals of the 1920s, Hannah Ardent had been either a secret member of the Communist Party or a sympathiser (Leninism and the Popular Front). In the 1930s and the 1940s there was the time of Communist Heroics with the Battle of Stalingrad and Aaron Copeland. Trotsky was cited out and became a Martyr and a brilliant example of this situation in early Russia was George Orwell's book "Animal Farm" which symbolised the battle for power between Stalin, Lenin and Trotsky.
The 1950s saw the cold war and the anti-communism - "The God that Failed" as well as the idea of the creation of the berlin Wall in the late 50s. The 1960s gave birth to the Cold War and anti-communist aspects. It also saw the new left in America, owed more to Nietzsche's belief of individualism and individualistic personal liberation than socialism.

Back to Ardent and her belief that the Holocaust was normal in the links to totalitarianism. There were a believed three stages of the Holocaust. Stage 1 of the Holocaust was that slave people were sub-human and they were burnt in burning. Stage 2 was to deport the, and rid the nation of people not worthy of national or religious rights to exist in the country and Stage 3 was to line them up and shoot them all.
The main phenomena of totalitarianism is that you are told what to believe.

The Freudian metaphor is that the Holocaust is too horrific to deal with so either suppress the memory or displace it.
Naziism is normal - everyone is a nazi -everyone was complicit and therefore holocausts are normal.

The mid 20th century and the wake of the Nazi Holocaust and in 1956 was the year of Khruschev's secret speech -

There was the re-evaluation of marxism with the new Left which was formed and enhanced by Ralph Miliband and the institute for the Worker's Control.
Ardent had been a fan of the Trotsky era, of Leon Trotsky and of Trotskyism.

"collaboration is death" -Neo-kantianism of the moral law and the categorical imperative.

Phenomenology itself is the idea of "Why is there something and not nothing?"

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

HCJ -James Joyse "Ulysses"

This HCJ seminar focused on the great book "Ulysses" by Irish author James joyce, but in particular Chapter 15 'Circe'. The chapter takes the form of a play with descriptions and even stage directions with the character's names appearing next to their speech. Most of the action in the chapter comes across by even drunken, subconscious or hallucinations which are all significant to the idea of the chapter, and I believe links extremely well into the philosophies of Sigmund Freud.

Freud believed that the brain was split into 3 parts: the id, the ego, and the superego. During reading of the chapter and knowledge from our lecture the week before, I made a point in the seminar that there is the possibility Joyce used these three parts of the brain in the chapter using the three key functions in the chapter.

I felt that the drunken actions, the subconscious and the hallucinations were similar to that of the three parts of the brain, and that Joyce used Freud's philosophy of the brain and interpreted that into his main chapter 15 characters: Bloom and Stephen.
I firmly believe the id is the drunkenness, the ego is the subconscious and the superego is the hallucinations. I will explain my point. The id a human's 'wild' brain feature, the inability to control themselves, now when drunk, most people look control over the simplest bodily functions and in 'Circe', both Bloom and Stephen are obsessive over sex without thinking about their actions, for example the idea of Mary Driscoll claiming Bloom approached her for sex suggest Blooms lacks morality and has let his drunken nature overcome his morals. The subconscious is the ego. The idea that morals are one thing that stop reckless actions and that it will be the saviour of Stephen and bloom doing something they could regret. As for the superego, this is the authority of the brain. So in a normal society, the authority would be a policeman for example, so in 'Circe', Joyce uses the hallucinations as the authority. An example of this in the book would be when Stephen sees a vision of his dead mother. In this case, Stephen's mother would be the authority of Stephen and despite being dead, just by seeing her 'ghost', Stephen becomes intimidated by the presence of his authority figure and this henceforth makes him question his drunken actions, or in Freudian terms, the actions of the id.

The idea of modernism is key in this book. It is a huge contrast to romanticism and The Enlightenment which was a movement linked highly to Greek civilisation. The fact that James Joyce uses the movement to compare modern life in 'Circe' to Greek civilisation is an attack on the Enlightenment.

The chapter shows Stephen heading toward a brothel. Bloom is following him but slowly loses his way and in a hallucination, his comes across his family who take him for several offences. Following this, Bloom awakens whilst feeding a dog, and this act leads onto another hallucination where Bloom sees himself on trial for a number of offences and crimes. Other characters in the book give evidence against Bloom. Bloom sees further hallucinations where his grandfather lectures him on sexual mis-constraints as well as being informed Stephen is in a brothel in which a prostitute Bloom encounters works at.

Stephen's hallucinations consist mainly of his dead mother. He attempts to overcome his mis-doings by becoming an independent person, rejecting the ideas of the Church and nationalism, something which Joyce himself embraced but later rejected during his lifetime. When Stephen is knocked out at the end of the chapter, it is Bloom who is there to look after him in his time of need - acting as a father figure, a father figure Stephen never had when his father and mother abandoned him in his younger days. The irony of this though, is Bloom's final hallucination comes in the form of his dead son, Rudy, highlighting the need for Bloom to become a father-type character, and Stephen to become a character in need of someone to act like the father he never had.

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