Saturday, September 27, 2003

Sir Jack's legacy

There was one piece of news yesterday that really caught me (and, it seems, almost everyone else) by surprise - Jack Hayward's announcement that he's going to hand over the ownership of Wolves to someone who pledges to invest in the club and sell 25% of it to the supporters, effectively writing off £40 million and giving a multi-million pound business away for free. There have been no advance rumours of him doing this and it does appear to have surprised the club, the supporters and the media.

Hayward has put some conditions on the handover, though - he wants it to be taken over by an individual or consortium who are from, or connected to, Wolverhampton. There won't be an Abramovich-style takeover as he's stated he won't give the club to someone from 'antique lands' - a delightfully Haywardian turn of phrase, that. There is doubt about whether there are people who could meet his criteria, but I'm optimistic that even if there isn't an individual out there with the funds to be the new Hayward individually, there are enough people out there to form a consortium with the funds to do the job. One name I certainly expect to be linked with the handover is Robert Plant who's both rich and a devoted Wolves fan - I once read an interview with him that he'd play a gig anywhere in the world, as long as he didn't have to miss a Wolves game.

There's been a debate over the last few years amongst Wolves fans about what Hayward's motivations for owning Wolves were. Some argued that he saw it as a just another investment - this is the man who made his millions developing Grand Bahama and still lives there, after all - while others saw him as a benevolent benefactor, happily using his wealth to help his beloved football team get back to the heights they attained in his youth. It would appear that the latter side were correct and Hayward's statement, in which he described himself as just a caretaker, looking after the club for the benefit of the fans and the city of Wolverhampton, have been proven correct.

It would appear that Hayward sees the future for Wolves as being similar to the leading Spanish sides, such as Real Madrid or Barcelona, where the club is an organisation that's part of the culture of the city (with the members often electing the President) and those who invest in it are not necessarily doing it for the financial rewards, but for the prestige and kudos that comes along with it. With one of the conditions of the handover being that 25% of the club has to be sold to the fans, Hayward is certainly endeavouring to ensure that the fans and the people of Wolverhampton will have a stake in the future of the club.

What remains to be seen now, though, is who comes forward to take over the club and how much they'll be willing to invest. Jez Moxey, the club's Chief Executive, has been talking about having it sorted out by December, allowing the new funds to be invested in players during January's transfer window and should that be the case then the rest of the season could well be very interesting. For now, though, I'm just hoping we can finally get a win against Bolton this afternoon.

Friday, September 26, 2003

He's back

The return of the Doctor, as written by Russell T Davies. Sounds promising, especially if "introduce the character to a modern audience" means, as I hope, 'ditch a lot of the continuity and just write something that's fun.'

Blaine, Blaine go away

I think John O'Farrell identifies one of the reasons why a lot of people are being vocally anti-David Blaine and his little stunt - because he's not doing it for charity. There is that English tradition that you can get away with doing just about anything, no matter how stupid, as long as you can claim that 'it's for charity!' afterwards. I think Blaine would have got a lot more support if he was doing it for a cause, rather than just self-promotion. And I do wonder if anyone's already taken up someone on this suggestion of O'Farrell's:
The other day I got a pizza leaflet saying: "We deliver anywhere". Perhaps now is the right time to put them to the test.
The news that he will have to pay for the cost of policing his box surprised me, as I'd assumed he was doing that anyway, because it's an event for private, rather than public, gain.

Anyway, while Blaine's sitting up in his box, it looks like he's going to be upstaged by this.

Double lives

There's a line in this story about a Dutch political party using public cash to buy toys and other items to protest about the allocation of public funds that makes me wonder if James Graham is leading a double life, combining his work for the Liberal Democrats here with being a councillor in The Hague:
But the party insists the comics are specialist literature and are absolutely relevant to a councillor's work.

Booked

I've registered for Bookcrossing if for no other reason to help clear out some space on my bookshelves. I'm probably just going to try leaving books on the train to/from work to see if anyone picks them up, so it'll be interesting to see if any of them get picked up and registered. If anyone reading happens to travel into Liverpool Street on Anglia (or First Great Eastern, occasionally) and you see a book, then pick it up, it might be from me!

Wacko attacko

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Straight speaking

(via Bloggerheads, yet again) It's been reported that Wesley Clark said '(Rush) Limbaugh's full of shit' (it's near the bottom of the post). I'm just wondering - if any Republicans try to make something of this, will they first explain just how it differs from Bush's 'major league asshole' comment at the last election?

He's coming...

Is that it?


Originally from here.

Anyone speak Russian?

Because I'd love to know what the translation of the text in this advert is.

Recommendations

Watching: The Other Final, which was a fascinating documentary about a football match between Montserrat and Bhutan in 2002. Doesn't sound like much, I admit, but it took place on the same day as the World Cup Final between Brazil and Germany at a time when Bhutan and Montserrat were the two lowest ranked teams in the FIFA international rankings.

Reading: Carter Beats The Devil by Glen David Gold. This has been the book I've been reading on those spare moments of the trip to or from work recently and p[art of me feels guilty about having finished it off the train, but I'm also slightly bereft as it's been doing a fantastic job of cutting down my journey to something that seems to take almost no time at all. It's a book that draws you into its setting (San Francisco around the start of the twentieth century) and brings it all alive, not in nostalgia but as the living, breathing society it was, mixing history together with fiction in a quite charming way. Definitely worth reading, and I'll be looking out for Gold's next book.

Listening: The Thorns by The Thorns. I've been a big fan of Matthew Sweet since I first heard Girlfriend back in 1992, but I'd missed hearing about The Thorns when the album first came out in June. It was only when I read a review of a Dixie Chicks concert that I discovered he'd got together with Shawn Mullins and Peter Droge to form a group. So, it was straight to Amazon to order it, and I think I've already listened to it about six times since I got it this afternoon. It's an excellent album of bittersweet country-rock-alternative-folk-pop (what do you want? a full review?) and you should all go and buy it or I just won't respect you as an audience. Or something.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Dodgy

So, a single source has informed us that there are no WMDs to be found in Iraq, or that there have been no WMDs yet found in Iraq, or some other formulation of words saying about the same thing. There's just one thing that worries me about this news:
This will be the conclusion of the Iraq Survey Group's interim report, the source told the presenter of BBC television's Daily Politics show, Andrew Neil.
Andrew Neil? Andrew Neil? One of the potentially most important pieces of news of the year and we're relying on what someone told Andrew 'Brillo Pad' Neil? Besides, as anyone who's seen him on Daily Politics, or in any of his other incarnations over the years, can confirm - when does Andrew Neil ever listen to what someone else tells him?

Jobs I wouldn't want, number 458

Having to filter and select the messages for BBC News' 'Have Your Say' section really must be depressing. I mean, when you look at the rubbish that does get through, such as in this 'debate' over MSN closing chatrooms, you really have to wonder about the stuff that doesn't get through and what the effect is on the poor sods who have to read it all.

They're happy because they eat lard

I'm really hoping that Cheeseburger Fries do not come to Europe in any way shape, or form. Not out of any cultural or culinary imperative, but because I've got no willpower whatsoever and bringing those near me will pretty much be the equivalent of having someone walking behind me, regularly ambushing me with an intravenous injection of saturated fat.

The advert does highlight that food marketing boards (in this case, the US' National Beef Council) have the same problem worldwide - just how do you sell a basic product rather than a brand? They came up with 'Beef: It's what's for dinner', just in case, people were getting confused about what beef might actually be used for. That said, there was some kind of strange appeal to the slogan 'Ahh, The power of cheese.'

Back to the deep fried lard in breadcrumbs, sorry, 'Cheeseburger Fries' and I'm really hoping that there's a misprint somewhere in this paragraph:
Like most bar snacks, cheeseburger fries pack quite a dietary wallop. Each individual fry has about 75 calories and four grams of fat. The fries for schools have less beef per serving but still have about 60 calories and, in fact, more fat — a total of 6 grams — in each fry. And nobody eats just one.
Fat contains about nine calories per gram, so for the regular fries about half of the calories come from fat, which isn't too healthy, but isn't going to damage you too badly unless you live entirely on them. However, the 'fries for schools' if the information is right, are little more than the aforementioned deep fried lard in breadcrumbs. Six grams of fat mean that about 90% (54 out of 60 calories) of the total energy in these are coming from fat - and they want to give these to kids? That's why I'm really hoping there's a misprint somewhere. Still, the beef content must ensure there's some protein making up that other 6 calories so it's probably a good Atkins starter for kids who plan on dieting in later life.

(originally via Atrios, No More Mister Nice Blog and Technorati)

Technology news

MSN closes chatrooms, amount of useful information exchanged via the internet actually rises slightly. I don't think I've used a chat room (MSN or otherwise) for a good while now. I used to spend too much a lot of time on EW-Too based talkers back when I first found the internet, but even then people were complaining about the deterioration in the signal to noise ratio. But then, in ten years time someone will no doubt be writing about how 2003 was the golden age of blogging, before it all got too swamped.

Bad taste?

Probably, but the David Blaine Assassination Game is quite fun, especially the little movie you get to see if you win. (via Bloggerheads, so blame him for being tasteless before me, OK?)

It must have been blipday yesterday

I mean, first there's the Liberal Democrats getting 28% in a British poll, then on the other side of the Atlantic, a new poll shows that either Wesley Clark or John Kerry could beat Bush right now, with the other Democrats all running him close.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

The power of Yorkshire

Note to everyone in the UK Bloggers Fantasy League: Be careful if you're counting on players to score you loads of points when they come up against Wolves. We're such an easy mark nowadays that the really top players (like my personal point-scoring machine, Adrian Mutu) get rested for that week.

But, such concerns are not holding back the leader, with Jez's Deportivo La Yorkshire now moving out into a 30+ point lead.

Blip

Yes, I know it's just the post-Brent bounce that'll fade away, that it's probably a rogue poll, that opinion polls don't mean anything anyway and all the rest... but for now, I'm just going to enjoy being at 28% and wonder if Anthony's put that in his swingometer yet.

Loss

Hugo Young, Guardian political commentator and chairman of the Scott Trust, which owns the Guardian and Observer, has died.

Monday, September 22, 2003

They'll miss the concrete elephants

Burnley fans have found a better way to spend next Saturday than travelling down the motorway to see Wimbledon MK Dons Franchise FC play their first game in Milton Keynes - they're going to spend the day at a theme park instead. Wonder if celebrity Burnley fan Alastair Campbell will be joining them?

Blogger in the Guardian

If you only read the Guardian online then you'll have missed something today, as accompanying this article on page 11 is a rather large picture of Vivienne (or Vivien, as The Grauniad renders her) delivering her momentous speech.

Peter Black has a good take on the debate: 'Somebody commented that they thought that the Queen was largely harmless. We used to say this about Lembit Opik'

Thankyou Spurs

Sacking Hoddle means the sports pages aren't concentrating on just how bad Wolves are.