Archive for December, 2011

The dog has been the best defender for Ireland!

December 29th, 2011 1 comment

i got sent a link to this. Galic Football is an entertaining game to watch, this is an Ireland (home of the game) Australia game where a dog not only gets loose on the pitch, but joins in the game. The commentators are having fun, worth 4 minutes of your time.

At 1.40ish, “The dog has been the best defender for Ireland in this game!” I was amused.

A Big Year in Football

December 29th, 2011 4 comments

2012 is a big year in football, Euro2012 in Poland and the Ukraine is the big international tournament. So my big question is what sort of summer is it going to be for England and Capello? Redemption for the humiliation against the Germans in Bloemfontein, or will we have it confirmed that the idea of the foreign mercenary manager, however good their resume, is over.

For Fabio Capello and the FA the answer will be known by the beginning of July, and there will be little interpretation required.

South Africa in 2010 was a disaster, Capello said he learned from what went wrong and that Euro 2012 will be approached in a different way. Unfortunately, the legacy of the lackluster world cup campaign is that I don’t think the country believes in Capello or this team.

Will anything other than glory in Kiev see Capello considered a failure?

I hope that’s not how it’s measured, as piling on more unrealistic expectations is not going to help anyone. Managing England is called “the impossible job” for good reason, but Capello knew that before taking on the challenge.

I think we need to see progress from where we were two years ago. I want to know lessons have been learned and the last two years (and around $40 million of the FAs money) have not been wasted.

Progress is not only where the team finishes, but the style in which they play. You sense that this is a team that does not have a lot of confidence, and I get why. The expectations are huge, unreasonably so, but that’s the burden of playing for and managing England.

But it’s not only Capello at fault, England were stagnant long before Capello arrived on the scene. Capello was given free range to do what ever he needed to achieve one thing, win. That was the expectation set when he was given the job, and it’s not changed.

As bad as South Africa was, the decade prior was not exactly glory filled.

  • Euro 2000 – Group stage (disaster)
  • World Cup 2002 – Last 8, loosing quarter finalist
  • Euro 2004 – Last 8, loosing quarter finalist
  • World Cup 2006 – Last 8, loosing quarter finalist
  • Euro 2008 – Did not qualify (the sky really is falling)
  • World Cup 2010 – Last 8, loosing quarter finalist

Read more…

Football on Boxing Day

December 27th, 2011 5 comments

The origin of the Boxing Day holiday goes back a long way. The downstairs staff would get the day off after serving their masters and guests on Christmas day. One version is that the staff would get their Christmas bonus, still known by some in the UK as the “Christmas Box”.

Where ever the name comes from there have been football games on boxing day for many years. Starting with the first year of the league in 1888 when Preston North End‘s beat Derby County 5-0. By the way, Preston North End went on to win the first League championship.

Ever since then there have been a full list of Boxing Day fixtures. Typically they are local derby games, while Woking played Farnborough, 20 miles away Chelsea took on West London rivals Fulham.

Woking have been averaging 1400ish so far this year, yesterday they had a crowd of just over 3000. Clearly Boxing Day fixtures are seen by many as an excuse to get out the house for a few hours. And perhaps take the chance to swap leftover turkey for a pie and a pint in the pub before hand. Read more…

Woking 1 – Farnborough 0

December 26th, 2011 4 comments

There is always something special about walking into a football ground shortly before kick-off. At Woking FC Kingfield Stadium this was a mix of the usual anticipation augmented by the wonderful smell of meat pies ready for half time.

Woking (red/white) defend a Farnborough (yellow) free kick

Woking play in Blue Square South, that’s five leagues bellow the Premiership and obviously a gulf in football terms. Teams are mostly made up of part time players with one or two full time coaches. Going into the game Woking were top of the Conference South, leading Welling United by 10 points. They are on a nice run with 16 wins, 6 draws and a solitary loss so far this season.

Woking are the closest club to my parents house and it’s been at least 25 years since I was last there for game. But it’s Boxing day, and that means a full slate of games across the country and time to revisit Woking for a game.  Traditionally Boxing day (day after Christmas) games are local derbies, and this is no exception as they are playing probably the closest team to them; Farnborough. The away supporters travelled maybe 6 or 7 miles to be there today.

It’s a long way between the top divisions and Woking, and that was clear by the style of football played. Today was mostly route-1 “long ball down the middle” stuff. No one is going to mistake it for the beautiful game played else where, but that lack of subtlety was still entertaining.

While Woking walked away with a 1-0 win, I think even they will admit they were lucky to get away with the points.  Farnborough has a majority of the possession, the best of the chances, but were let down by some really poor keeping. Every time Woking went forward there was no telling what would happen.

The only goal came early. On eleven minutes a cross from the left was allowed to somehow race across the penalty area untouched an put away with a diving header for

Farnborough had decent pace up front, Woking countered that by having two big centre backs and a couple of great saves from their kepper. Both sides played a very physical game, but that’s to be expected at this level. It was a good, fun afternoon of football and a very respectable crowd of just over 3000.

All I want for Christmas… (And it’s not world peace)

December 24th, 2011 5 comments

Like all children, I loved Christmas growing up. There was the anticipation, which led to the seemingly endless waiting. Watching the presents collect under the tree and wondering if Christmas day would ever actually arrive.

Of course as I grew older rumour on the playground was that Santa was not real, that it was just our parents. A year or two later I admitted that I knew and the innocence of childhood was slowly replaced by my typical brand of cynicism.

I know that some people just love this time of year. But as the year draws to a close and I start to think about the New Year, anticipating what comes next, I also find myself thinking about friends and family members that aren’t here.

People who will enriched my life no more, and this emptiness is repeated in countless households around the world.

I know that cancer isn’t the only disease that takes life, but its impact has been felt by many. It changes the life of both the afflicted and affected and very few people have not been touched by it in some way. Not a day goes by where I don’t think of mum or my grandfather.

My 2012 will be spectacular; I am building something very special and feel fortunate to have a close family and so many wonderful friends in my life. I face this year with more confidence that I have in many years, and I’ve not going to be able to share this with people important to me.

However, despite my naturally cynical nature I do have one request, that’s it, just I one measly little request.

I’d like a cure for cancer, that’s it.

A day out in the big city…

December 23rd, 2011 2 comments

Today I went to London to meet some friends for lunch. I did this last year and arrangements were similar: downstairs bar the Hard rock Café sometime around one.  Lunch was good , stories told, laughs shared and beer drunk.

In addition to lunch I spent a couple of hours in the Tate Modern and Tate Britain. Every time I visit I find a new artist whose work I like, and today it was Lynn Leeson. there were a couple of interesting pieces. Once again I sure many people know who she and are shaking thatir head at my lack of knowledge, I really don’t think I’m that much of a philistine, but it’s just how it is.

This is just about my favorite piece of art anywhere, Whaam! by Roy Lichtenstein. It’s part of the permanent collection of the Tate Modern, it’s a gallery I can spend many hours wandering around. There was an Gerhard Richter exhibit going on, it’s art on a large scale and rather good.

A wander around Guildford

December 22nd, 2011 2 comments

I went out to lunch with friends in Guildford today, it was a beautiful December day, mild and sunny.  With only two more shopping days until Christmas the town was a busy place.

Guildford Guildhall on the High Street

River Wey

Public art on Woodbridge Meadows

So what have I learned about Twitter?

December 21st, 2011 5 comments

One of the things I got out of BlogWorld was the social media tools available and more of an idea about how they work. I’ve been playing with Twitter over the last couple of weeks, it’s been rather interesting learning how this tool works, and I’ve enjoyed dipping in and out of the conversations.

TwitterSo what have I discovered?

# (hashtags) are the twitter equivalent of themed discussion rooms. It makes tweets searchable and allows me to find what I’m interested in. If I am after Sounders news, search by “#sounders” and I really do get the most up to date rumours and news from some people I follow and trust in the Sounders supporters community.

There is another benefit of hashtags, I don’t have to follow the conversation in real time. I can wander off, do something else and know I can a pick up the same conversation later.

Which brings me neatly to the second thing I really like, the speed of reporting. My twitter feed told me that Kim Il Jong had died before either the BBC or CNN were reporting it. Even the most up to date and plugged in news service would struggle to beat Twitter in the speed of delivery.

Feeling into the speed of sharing is the quality. Twitter is about sharing information. Maybe just the people I follow, but no one talks about what they had for breakfast. Because no one is really interested in that. A lot of the information sharing is in the form of links. It’s not just news either, there is a lot of wonderfully entertaining ways to waste time, and people love to share them.

If something interests me I’ll so a search, and there is what I’m looking for, or more typically links to what I’m looking for. Not only does it report news quickly, but it is also very effective in aggregating that news. The more re-tweets and shares a link has, typically the higher the quality of the information.

The flip side of this easy sharing is that this is the Wild West, there is no verification of what’s being said. A link to a blog post doesn’t give any real authority to a post. The author gives that link, tweet or post credibility, Twitter does not.

The last thing for now is that it’s made me more aware of what I write. I only have 140 characters and couple of seconds to share my message. I don’t exactly agonize over what I’m writing, but always have to read it over, shorten, revise and refine. I think it’s making me a better writer, it’s certainly a skill that will translate to my PowerPoint pitches at work.

I’ve had a twitter account for a while (@davekean if you are interested), but never really understood how it works. These are my first thoughts after really trying to understand what it does, and more importantly where it adds value as a social media tool for me.


Yesterday in Analytics

December 19th, 2011 3 comments

Yesterday I had a spike in visitors, mostly through a couple of links, however somehow the following search terms (and both the terms and the spelling used are genuine) led people to, and I’ve no idea why their particular journey ended up here.

  • Tripping on LSD
  • Tripping on LSD at borobudur
  • mail man Everett
  • Trodden town rang its cobbles
  • Scientific things that can be produced
  • Keaith chegwin anal
  • Made to exhibition
  • Good packets casey
  • Nordic godess next
  • Landrover 90 dashboard
  • Hohoho in japanese
  • Portscum timber (had to throw that in)
  • kyoto baroque station
  • where are my curtains?
  • Hill movember
  • Lightweight concrete plinths

I really hope people found what they were looking for (including their curtains) and that the cobbles were rang if that’s what they wanted.

Categories: Personal Tags: , ,

Busiest weekend of the year…

December 18th, 2011 Comments off

We were in the office this morning (yep Sunday) talking about plans and traditions at this time of year. Friends and colleagues are heading all over the world for Christmas. Thailand, Florida, California, Ohio (reluctantly), Spain, France, and of course I’m heading to London.

Other than the family and traditional over indulgence (which seems universal), this time of year means different things all over the world. From my experience Christmas tends to be more raucous, often involves regrettable incidents at company Christmas parties and good times with friends.

My brother works for the police and the weekend before Christmas is their busiest weekend of the year. The cells are overflowing with people over doing it and making poor decisions.

Company Christmas parties are typically an excuse to drink too much and create stores that will do the rounds until someone in accounting eclipses it next year. It’s almost like a get-out-of-jail-free pass is given to act like a fool and the only consequence is everyone in the office get’s to laugh at you. According to the Daily Mail half of those who attend company party in the UK will be hungover the following morning.

One of the things behind this is that the bosses are expected to provide an open bar, and seeing as the company provides the drinks, the feeling is the company accepts the consequences. The stories are legendary and can be a large part of the brilliant self-depreciating British humour.

Other than Australia, I don’t think I have been anywhere that loves a drunken party as much as the British. Read more…