Friday, September 21, 2007

So the contributors to Wikipedia aren't any much better at forecasting than I am. Avram Grant, a known-nemesis of Mourinho, is now in charge. The only question is how long, especially with the availability of big-name managers next summer, as well as the players' well-publicised loyalty to their "Special One".

So that bring us to the real question: what lies ahead for Mourinho? The bookmakers make the him the odds-on favourite to succeed Scolari as Portugal chief. Barcelona, Real Madrid and Spurs are mentioned as well, but I would agree with the bookmakers. He probably will be the man to lead Portugal towards qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The other clubs aren't real options at the moment, for one reason or another, but then again, football's a funny game. We'll see.

i heard the crickets at 10:57 am


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Well, he's gone. That's what the headlines say. Mutual consent say the club. Sacked says a disgruntled member of the playing staff. Whatever the method, Jose Mourinho, aka the Special One, won't be in the Away dugout come Sunday at Old Trafford.

Despite having speculated at one time or another over the summer about him leaving Chelsea, this has come as quite a shocker. After all, few managers at the top clubs leave in bloody September, with the club still in the running in all of the competitions. Its madness really, to have a management reshuffle of this scale just days before facing a title rival, but I won't be the one to complain.

Even then, this has been a parting-in-the-making. The only question in this equation was when. So many reasons, so many factors, but I'd be wasting everyone's time if I went into the already well-publicisied spats between Roman and Jose. Instead, I'll use this post to do a bit of crystal-ball gazing.

After doing away with the possibly the winningest manager in the club's history, who can Roman get to bring the club forward? Quite frankly, I don't see too many guys being able to fit in Mourinho's shoes. First on the list would probably be Guus Hiddink. Great record in European club football, and with a great international pedigree to boot. The only problem is that Hiddink's Russia are still within a shout of getting into Euro 2008. Add that to the fact that Hiddink isn't among the most popular men now in England, and you can see this man's chances diminishing already. But you just can't count out Roman's petrodollars, so this scenario could change.

Other guys on the list would include the clubless Fabio Capello, the reigning Uefa Cup-winning manager Juande Ramos, or the reigning World Cup-winning manager Marcello Lippi. Capello probably is last on the list, given that his famed preference for the catenaccio in recent years makes him even more defensive than Mourinho, which was one of the reasons why he fell out with Roman in the first place!

Ramos on the other hand, is now well-regarded in footballing circles for building one of the most-exciting sides in recent times. His Sevilla are among the best attacking sides in Europe at the moment, and back-to-back Uefa Cup titles are testament to that. And with attacking football in short supply at Stamford Bridge, he could be the one that Abramovich hires. However, for all his success, Ramos has not managed at a real top level club, and this could count against him.

That leaves me with Lippi. Appointing him seems to make the most sense for me, objectively speaking. He's won everything there has been to win in European football, not to mention the World Cup in some very trying circumstances. Chelsea, and the Premiership would thus be a logical final challenge for him. Lippi is also known to be less defensive than Capello, and this could sit well with Abramovich. But then, who knows?

A quick check on Wikipedia shows Capello as the man most likely to take over. Well, I guess I'm not cut out for forecasting after all. LOL.

i heard the crickets at 3:39 pm

i heard the crickets at 1:52 pm

Of all the articles you could read today, make this it. Probably will be the most meaningful one.

i heard the crickets at 12:27 am


Monday, September 17, 2007

Found this article in the Today on the rise of Indlish, India's version of English (Singlish anyone?). Cracked me up, but beyond entertainment value, this one shows how variations of English can, and should survive alongside good old snobbish Queen's English. Enjoy,

i heard the crickets at 7:11 pm

Well, its been three days since my return, and as I would be the first to admit, this post has been a long time coming.

Wednesday was full of frustrating waiting, tempered by the fact that all bar one of my bunkmates were familiars. The frustration began to boil over for some people, especially when news filtered through that the earthquake had struck. Calls came pouring in from worried relatives, amid rumours that the captain and his crew were contemplating abandoning the trip, and the feelings of unease didn't lift for much of the early evening.

We were eventually allowed to board, to much relief. And the pall began to lift, replaced by optimism. Watching the ship move off, and out of the harbour was a most beautiful sight, and put us all in high spirits. Didn't sleep till after 2.

Thursday was a pretty long day. Plenty of presentations, and in between, plenty of work on pronouncing words the right way. Morning was spoilt by a most stupid argument. Man, I can't believe anyone could get angry over something like that. Agree to disagree, isn't that something we should all do? Ohwell, the whole incident let me know that idiots exist everywhere.

The food at the D&D wasn't great. In fact D&D didn't seem to stand for Dinner & Dance. More likely Dinner No Dance. Hit the international buffet with the other fellas for our watermelon buffet. XD

Friday started off late. Late for breakfast, late for presentations. But everything worked out well. Lunch at the Pavillion wasn't good either, but meeting new people over the meal was an eye-opener. Trip back to school was reserved for the power nap we all needed.

Enjoyed the final presentation, even if it didn't go the way we wanted to. We all made mistakes, but at the very least, we cracked the audience up. MOS Lui laughed along too, so it must have been a good thing. The fear of butterflies in my digestive tract didn't materialise, and I suppose I was pretty comfortable up there.

And you'd have guessed by now that I've reached the end. Was wrestling with the thought of putting down a paragraph that didn't have a real link to the rest of the post, but I suppose, by writing this in the first place, I'd already made up my mind. Its been an interesting three months, and I've met people along the way that have opened my eyes to what diversity in the polytechnics really means. To Ali, Clinston, Tianyi, Radhika, Sunny, Gim Kai, Marcus, Coburn, Eric, Elizabeth, Terence, Alex, Louis, Derick, Hady, Mark, Andrew, Aik Leng, George, Qingling, Raphael, Jacintha, Alan, Ms Meera, Ms Soh, Mr Tay, Ms Ng, and everyone else I missed out, its been a great experience working with you guys, and I thank you all for making this Forum something I'll cherish.

Old Is Gold. Hear hear.

i heard the crickets at 12:20 pm


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Well, I'm leaving in a matter of hours. After months of hard work and practice, it all boils down to this last leg. They tell me its gonna be bag loads of fun, but I can't shake off this feeling that something just isn't right. Ohwell. Wouldn't do me any good now to dwell on it.

Its time.

i heard the crickets at 11:53 am


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Novak Djokovic. He's the world number 3, and playing tonight against Roger Federer in the US Open final. Helps that he's only 20 years old. But the most important thing about him is the fact that he's completely looney. XD

i heard the crickets at 5:53 pm


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Oh. And Jen reminded me.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has retired at the age of 34, having played the last eleven years of his magnificant career in the brilliant scarlet red of Manchester United. If my recollections serve me correctly, he was the first supersub I came across, and perhaps the only one who played the position in the truest sense of the word. Despite his slight build, he managed to hold his own against the many ruffians who passed themselves off as defenders, and smashed home 267 goals in 453 games for both club and country, a brilliant goals-to-games ratio by all accounts.

The "Baby-faced Assassin" played an integral of many United teams over the years, but the Red legion will remember his part in the Treble-winning side best. His championship-winning goal against Bayern will forever be cherished in the memories of United fans. And while he might hold records (his 28 goals off the bench represents the most from any United player past and present), he will always be remembered for the smile he had even in playing hard and dirty. His commitment to the team personified best by his heroic dash against Rob Lee of Newcastle (video as given in Jen's link). Few men will ever have the impact he had on the club, and long may the fans remember and love the finest supersub ever.


i heard the crickets at 1:28 am


Monday, September 03, 2007

Saw a shirt with the words "It Ain't A Sport Unless I Can Die From Massive Internal Injuries" emblazoned on the front.

Doesn't seem so funny anymore.

i heard the crickets at 10:23 pm

A week is a long time in football as they say. And its been an awfully long week. One no doubt overshadowed by the death of Sevilla defender Antonio Puerta. Sevilla and Spain fans know him as a fine leftback, with occasional forays as a left winger, as a member of a most impressive Sevilla team that conquered the Uefa Cup in consecutive seasons, a feat most rare. They also know him as a promising player, ready to burst onto the international scene, to help Spain in their quest to dominate world football. Alas, at the age of twenty-two, his career is over. A series of severe heart attacks during the game against Getafe, and after coming off, put him into a coma that he never woke up from.

Thousands the world over in football have mourned his death this past week, and the grief has been heartfelt. AC Milan, Sevilla's opponents in the European Super Cup, offered to postpone the meaningless fixture. Uefa and the Spanish league postponed Sevilla's Champion's League qualifier with AEK Athens and the Primera Liga fixture against Osasuna, respectively, in respect of Puerta. But the greatest of all gestures happened in the city of Seville itself. The two halves of the city, so bitterly divided between Real Betis and Sevilla, united in grief for one of their own, with both sets of fans bemoaning the loss of Puerta, some openly crying in the streets outside the hospital where Puerta spent the last of his days, as well as around Sevilla's home ground. Even the presidents of the two clubs, infamous for the vitoril in their words against the other, hugged in public, in a sign that the city was one for Puerta. Perhaps a sign of better things to come between the two arch-rivals?

Even then, it would be of little comfort to Puerta's wife, and unborn child, due in five weeks. The city of Seville could become one and whole again, above all the bitterness normally associated with local rival clubs, and it would never bring back Puerta. Nothing will bring him back, but the football authorities could help prevent a tragedy like that from unfolding again.

Puerta isn't the first man to die playing the game, Marc Vivien Foe of Cameroon the last example four years ago. Although their deaths have more to do with underlying conditions that are next-to-impossible to detect with in the first place, there is, without a doubt, too much football for the players. At the top clubs, teams can play over 60 games a season, or about one every five to six days all throughout the year. Adding in fifteen international games a year that all top nations must fulfill and you get a glut of matches. Thats putting the bodies of the players through sheer physical and mental strain. The fact that the much-criticized rotation policy is becoming common even in smaller clubs is an alarm sign in itself. Surely now, the powers-that-be have to do something about it.

There are just far too many meaningless "tournaments", and its time to cut them off the calendar. The above-mentioned European Super Cup, the Conferations Cup, the Intertoto Cup, the World Club Championship, the League Cup in England, the list just goes on. Even much-cherished tournaments have grown too big, and too many games are becoming meaningless. The European club competitons, for example, allow entry to too many teams, many of whom don't deserve to be there. How about following the Asian club competition example of teams from stronger footballing nations in one tournament, and teams from weaker footballing nations in another?

Puerta will never have the chance to see his child grow up, but the powers-that-be in football can help ensure that other players will have that chance.

For Puerta.

i heard the crickets at 9:26 pm


Ginger & Garlic