Owen Hargreaves

Click the title for Owen Hargreaves’ column. the guy makes a lot of sense and his answers to the questions at the bottom so a genuine keen brain and enthusiasm for football. England need more of players like and Stevie G.

Who is the best player you have played with – and the best you have played against?

Alain Grimaitre, Switzerland

Playing against Zinedine Zidane was incredible. He was a step ahead of everyone else, he controlled exactly what happened on the pitch. He was absolute magician with the ball. He was really difficult to play against because it was so tempting to sit there and be mesmerised by him, admire his skill and completely forget you had to be getting stuck into him!

One of the best I have ever played with is Paul Scholes. He has such a sharp football brain and was also a great trainer and a great professional. I thought he was the best player in England training every day. He is such a clever player – he can pass, tackle, shoot, score tremendous goals. He was great to play with and also to watch. I certainly looked up to him when I first joined the England squad.

I won’t say much but the atmosphere in the pub during the Andorra game was simmering anger. Like the Israeli game, people started giving up and the relief was enormous when Gerrard scored.


Wish You Were Here

How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We’re just two lost souls
swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,

Running over the same old ground.

What have we found? The same old fears.

Wish you were here

Pink Floyd

I could tell you a long story about this tune in a Bangkok apartment, sober but unable to get away for a variety of hilarious reasons that I’ll tell you in person. I had to run out at 5am to catch a 7am flight out of the country . Never saw the characters again but it sticks in my memory and in Tom’s as he was waiting for me to go to the airport. Just part of the fun of travelling. Great tune too.

How’s Dan doing? Well…

Hey guys and girls,

Just thought I’d give a heads up. All well here and I am back at home. Just looking for jobs and getting everything back in a routine of exercising, planning, studying and eating better and drinking less. I am hoping to do the DELTA this summer in Poland, as well as the Japanese exams in December. Before that, I am heading to Amsterdam for a few days to hook up with Jeroen and Daphne after a few years of missed meetings. It’s the Queens Birthday in the Netherlands so it’ll be a huge party on a boat on the canals.

But before all that I have to earn some cash to get me back in the black. I’ll be at mate’s gigs and the cinema for the rest of the month, observing life rather than drinking through it. I am keeping my weekends quiet right now (that is until an old mate calls up and offers a beer). There are a few stories that need to be written this year too before they become a relic of a lost need. Reading some great books too right now. Lolita, Waiting for Godot, Dante Inferno, and Gravity’s Rainbow. Should be enough to inspire me.

I will also post about my recent trip. I have started the post. It’s entitled Me and my Boys. During my days memories burst over me, leaving me looking an escaped mental patient as I smile through the Spring days. I will be looking to hook up with various people soon who I met on this most friendly of jaunts. I enjoyed it immensely.

PS – Good to see that the folks, LP and Sarina had a cool time together. I think LP worked the charm on my old dear as I did on his!!

Crazy Christians explain the world.

The top 100 crazy Christian posts of 2006. Some entertaining, some downright nuts and scary. Here is a selection though the link to the top 100 is here. Credit to Mad Processor.

#1 – “Gravity: Doesn’t exist. If items of mass had any impact of others, then mountains should have people orbiting them. Or the space shuttle in space should have the astronauts orbiting it. Of course, that’s just the tip of the gravity myth. Think about it. Scientists want us to believe that the sun has a gravitation pull strong enough to keep a planet like neptune or pluto in orbit, but then it’s not strong enough to keep the moon in orbit? Why is that? What I believe is going on here is this: These objects in space have yet to receive mans touch, and thus have no sin to weigh them down. This isn’t the case for earth, where we see the impact of transfered sin to material objects. The more sin, the heavier something is. ” – Trinidad and Tobago

#4 – “One of the most basic laws in the universe is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This states that as time goes by, entropy in an environment will increase. Evolution argues differently against a law that is accepted EVERYWHERE BY EVERYONE. Evolution says that we started out simple, and over time became more complex. That just isn’t possible: UNLESS there is a giant outside source of energy supplying the Earth with huge amounts of energy. If there were such a source, scientists would certainly know about it. [emphasis added]” – awesomestnerd

#9 – “There are a lot of things I have concluded to be wrong, without studying them in-depth. Evolution is one of them. The fact that I don’t know that much about it does not bother me in the least.” – AV1611VET

#11 – “I can sum it all up in three words: Evolution is a lie” – JohnR7 (Genius, John)

#14 – “I don’t care about logic or science, the Bible says the moon and sun move. – Katy-Anne”

One Question Survey – me likes…

Just did this random, ridiculous one question survey. Turned out nice.

Have a go; the link is here.

My results go as follows.


Your Birthdate: October 1

You are a natural born leader, even if those leadership talents haven’t been developed yet.

You have the power and self confidence to succeed in life, and your power grows daily.
Besides power, you also have a great deal of creativity that enables you to innovate instead of fail.

You are a visionary, seeing the big picture instead of all of the trivial little details.

Your strength: Your supreme genius

Your weakness: Your inappropriate sensitivity

Your power color: Gold

Your power symbol: Star

Your power month: January


NOVA girl murdered

A British girl, aged 23, Lindsay Ann Hawker was found murdered on Monday after going to a student’s apartment to give a private lesson. She left her apartment, leaving the address of her student with her house mates but when she failed to answer her phone the next day, they called the police who found her in the bath, covered in sand (?).

The student, Tatsuya Ichihashi is now on the run and is the only suspect. Hawker had only been in Japan for a few months and naivety/greed has got her killed. Having lived in Japan and done private lessons, its well-known that you meet on neutral ground

and considering she had complained she’d been followed the previous week, going to a single Japanese man’s apartment was naive in the extreme.

Her family has gone out to identify the body which seems a formality now. Her boyfriend is amongst them. People who don’t know Japan fail to understand what a bubble Japan is, how unique it is. It’s social conventions are far different to the West. Kids as young as 8 have house keys to let themselves into their houses as the parents are busy away working. They cook and play alone. Its so common, it’s coined the name key kids. Working in Tokyo or Osaka is seen as the only choices post-graduation and this accentuates the loneliness.

Japan is a fascinating place but this tragic case is a lesson to not get caught in the lights.

The world’s tallest man has married a woman who is 25 years younger than he is – and two-thirds of his height.

After a global search for a suitable bride, herdsman Bao Xishun ended up marrying a saleswoman from his home city of Chifeng in northern China.

Mr Bao, who stands at 2.36m (7ft 8.95in) tall, tied the knot with Xia Shujian, 29, several days ago.

Well, good to them both. I have no idea how the ‘mechanics are going to work there but its good to see she dressed up for the occasion.

Credit to Nathan

Pride bought by Zuffa

So Pride, the greatest MMA show was finally sold after limping along for the last year. DSE, the parent company in Japan lost the Fuji TV deal after alleged Yakuza connections in Japanese newspapers and never recovered. While these allegations were undoubtedly true, the entire Japanese economy is also open to that charge!!

So after much negotiation, Zuffa, owned by Las Vegas casino owners the Fertittas brothers (Lorenzo left, shaking hands with Sakikabara, have bought Pride, lock and stock. They also own the UFC, Pride’s main rival but will run the the companies as separate entities. It could be seen as a sad day for Pride who have brought us the best MMA shows in the history of the sport but the Fertittas brother have been keen to emphasise that nothing will change, they haven’t bought Pride for merely making money and are in fact interested in pitting the worlds best martial artists against each other.

“Bottomline, I’m a huge fan of MMA. This is not about business, this is not about making money. This is about putting together the dream fights that me and you as a fan have always wanted to see.” Continuing, Lorenzo Fertitta said, “The UFC is obviously like my baby, and now I have another and I love both just the same.”

<– the epic battle between Shogun v Lil Nog 2005.

As Jake Rossen on Sherdog stated, its a mixed day for MMA fans. Excited by the financial security and new match ups, yet we all feel sad and worried that we may no longer see shows like Bushido 7 & 9 or the great MW and OW GPs that made Pride great.

“If this indeed the end of an era, PRIDE’s contributions, while often haphazard, cannot be undervalued.

When the sport was marinating in the tobacco juices of backwoods arenas, PRIDE brought in a sense of tremendous dignity and pageantry. The current of blood feuds — Sakuraba vs. the Gracies; Silva vs. the Japanese; Fedor vs. everyone — cannot be revisited.

DSE successfully married a sense of showmanship with gore. It was almost operatic. And whatever the Fertittas or any other potential suitors might devise, it won’t be quite the same.”

UFC President Dana White still came across like a moron, completely hitting the wrong tone of triumphalism. He comes across as a guy who was bullied at school and belittled. I imagine he is masturbating right now in his office over the purchase, telling himself he is now a big man, screaming at his school picture, asking each person “where are you now hey?” In sort, he is a wanker.

UFC President, Dana White (above), then took the stage saying,“Today is a great day for me. I’m very excited today.” Mentioning how over the years he has been “challenging Pride and Pride fighters to fight in the UFC.” And saying that he disagreed with Sakikabara about the competition from the other MMA organizations climbing up the ladder saying, “I laugh at that, I think they are all a joke. The only two companies in this world that matter are the UFC and Pride.”

The good news is the match-ups we will see in the coming years. Some of the great fighters in their respective organisations will match up to truly decide the world’s best. I can’t wait. Wanderlei Silva will face off with Chuck Liddell while Mauricio Rua waits in the wings, Randy Couture, the UFC HW champion is gonna have a hard few months. First he must face Mirko Filipovic, followed by match-ups with Brazil’s BJJ master Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira followed by a match-up with the greatest mixed-martial artist in the world, Fedor Emelianenko (left). At the lower weights the fights are equally intriguing, Gomi v GSP BJ Penn v Aoki.

The whole of MMA world has opened up here. Its time to be positive about it. Along as the GPs and the production values stay the same, I will be happy.

Dana White’s comments would have been felt hard in Japan who are proud people. His promise that the UFC would be coming to Pride to crush them was met in typical Fujita style. As his match up was announced, he promised Japanese fans the personally would crush the UFC.

You gotta love the guy and hopefully the Crusher Tatsyua Kawajiri (left of picture) and Mach Sakurai (right) will be able to restore some pride in the ring.

Before leaving the podium Pres. Sakikabara left the words to everyone, “Please take good care of Pride.”

We’ll see to it.

Some Pride HLs, from last year here.
and Akihiro Gono’s crazy entrance from last year.


I went with Steph to see this last night, Volver by Pedro Almodovar, starring a clutch of women including Penelope Cruz.

It was an typically Spanish; slightly quirky but pleasing. A disjointed story of a disjointed family, split through abuse and death. It’s the first time I have seen Penelope Cruz and she is at times mesmerising. It’s difficult to follow the dialogue as you find yourself just staring at her. Not just because she is pretty but also, as the director’s muse, she is generally the focal shot.

Would I see it again? No.
Did I enjoy it? Yes.

I don’t even want to talk about the game last night. I barely watched it after the appalling first half. While I have ranted about McClaren before and seemingly quite rightly, the performance was so poor, it merits a moment of contemplation. Those poor guys and girls who flew out to Tel Aviv for the game, spending serious cash to do so deserve some money back from the players, the management and above all the FA, who employed this muppet.

Above all, it highlights the lack of depth England has going forward especially when Gerrard is shackled. Strikers like Johnson, Defoe are not good enough and NEVER will be. Nor is Crouch but at least he offers a threat of some sort. Implying that somehow Lennon is the answer is bullshit. Rooney hasn’t turned up for England for almost 3 years. The system is wrong as always. Unless you have a player like Zidane or Maradona, you have to play a system and run over the opposition, be it with skill, pace or power. We aren’t the best passers in the world so do what we are good at. While it is stereotype to a degree but having watched a lot of Spanish football recently, English football is far more direct and that’s the way we have to play. Fuck the beautiful game. Win some fucking matches.