Home; Then, Now, Always.

It gets to the point where something that means so much to you, that has shaped you, your family, your life, whether for better or for worse begins to feel distant, you feel disconnected to something once so close to you. You begin to resist what you used to embrace, it’s not what it used to be. It pushes you away, further, further, yet inside you feel it, gently pulling you back. The connections too deep, the memories still fresh, the pencil marks on the wall where you and a sibling once measured your height, giggling, unable to draw straight. A moment of rebellion in your safe haven.

Day in, day out, surrounded by symbols and images harking back to a carefree time gone by. Circumstances differ, people change, family move on, family remain, home remains. Home tries to change, you change the appearance; a superficial alteration. Nostalgia, a broken record – a broke a broke a broke – the boredom, the relentless repetition of day to day life pushes you further away from the thing that was once your castle, your fortress.

You push further away, its comfortable, too comfortable, you push away, it pulls you back. It knows you, it feels you, it fits to your needs, comfortable, too comfortable.

You leave, you need it; to explore, to try new things, not a thought towards the home that you have left. You learn, you love, you hate, you discuss, you drink, you dance, you experience life in its purest form. You may not return to home, but if you do, tired and weary of life you know that the thing you have grown to dislike, the bricks and mortar that so nearly became your prison, will still be there when you return and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Our Game

I do not get the majority of the tourist football fans.

Why come to our game, to experience the game and its atmosphere and not immerse yourself in it?

Instead, you come to our game,

Our ground,

You pull your big selfie stick out your arse,

You get that picture with your ‘top lad’.

How about when you’re going to a game in another country, you put that selfie stick back down,

How about enjoying the game,

How about clapping, singing and bouncing along with other people,

You don’t have to understand what’s going on,

Believe it or not, that’s where the fun lies.

Try it.

If tourists insist on coming to our game,

Fuck your selfie sitcks.

Immerse yourself.

It might not be ideal for you,

But it’s not your game,

It’s ours.

But, please, for the sake of our fan culture, just do it.

Tourists seem to do their best to kill our game, I beg you, the tourists,

If you feel the ‘need’ to come and contaminate our game when you’re here,

Don’t.

Please immerse yourself,

Fuck your selfie sticks,

Fuck your facebook likes,

This is football,

And it’s ours.

The Game Changed in Venezuela Last Night – and the International Media Is Asleep At the Switch

Caracas Chronicles

San Cristobal ayer San Cristobal on Tuesday night

Dear International Editor:

Listen and understand. The game changed in Venezuela last night. What had been a slow-motion unravelling that had stretched out over many years went kinetic all of a sudden.

What we have this morning is no longer the Venezuela story you thought you understood.

Throughout last night, panicked people told their stories of state-sponsored paramilitaries on motorcycles roaming middle class neighborhoods, shooting at people and  storming into apartment buildings, shooting at anyone who seemed like he might be protesting. People continue to be arrested merely for protesting, and a long established local Human Rights NGO makes an urgent plea for an investigation into widespread reports of torture of detainees. There are now dozens of serious human right abuses: National Guardsmen shooting tear gas canisters directly into residential buildings. We have videos of soldiers shooting civilians on the street. And that’s just…

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Proving People Wrong; The Art of Getting One Over Your Opponent

So, to my first post about football, more specifically Man City v Chelsea, 3rd of February 2014.

In the run up to this game, to most people, it seemed to be about not who would win but how many will Man City put past the Royal Blue Bus. Talk in the media was all about Jose’s comments after the West Ham game about them playing ’19th century football’ and how he would no doubt be contradicting himself by playing the same style of football, less than a week later at the Etihad Stadium. How wrong they were.

Yes, when it comes to the build up to games, managers and players a like do not reveal much about their plans and tactics, so not to give themselves away but in the build up to this game even though Jose and the players had not revealed what in general their tactics would be; the media believed that they had second guessed ‘The Happy One’ – he WAS going to park the bus.

Because of this, it created a certain sense of nothing to lose between us Chelsea fans. It seemed to help create an underdog atmosphere that we have very rarely had the pleasure of enjoying in the past few years, apart from the obvious heroics towards the latter end of the 2012 Champions League campaign.

Within the first 10-15 minutes of the game, a large minority of Man City fans were focusing their jeering towards Petr Cech for time-wasting whilst taking goal kicks, surely they must have been having a laugh? After all, despite the media hype before the game, we did not go there to park the bus, we went there to play football. This jeering and accusations of time wasting by a large minority of the Man City fans proved that they had been dragged into the media hype and were expecting nothing less than an up tempo, all out attack performance from City.

Reasonably early into the game the chants of ‘Jose Mourinho, your football is shite’ started to reverberate around the Etihad from the CIty fans, only to be followed up by our response of ‘Jose Mourinho, he’s won more than you’ which was more relevant and apt on the day than their initial attempt at a dig at ‘The Happy One’. The general atmosphere before the game was always going to make for a good atmosphere during the game, and in the away end we didn’t disappoint. The chaos that ensued after Ivanovics’ summed up the feelings of the majority of the Chelsea fans in that end, not only was it a celebration the goal on the night to put us 1-0 up, it was a big ‘fuck you’ to the media’s negativity, a big ‘fuck you’ the City fans with their time wasting jeers and a huge ‘fuckin’ get in there’ towards Jose’s tactics and attitude (or should I say, Billy the masseuses team talk?).

His knack for getting the best out of the players, the players personal motivation, a back-line that cost less than what City paid for Jolean Lescott, a top away following, two stand out players in Cahill and Hazard and an edge of the box strike from your right back is all you need in this case to ‘get one over your opponent’.

Football does funny things to people who go, your normal mild mannered person can turn into a hot headed individual but it can also unite every single person that is stood in that end with you, on this occasion it was a happy ending for us but not for the opposition; the team overcame what was dubbed an impossible challenge, they helped create and give you a story to tell.

The Art of Choice

Choice is a strange concept. Some people more or less do and choose what they want whilst others remain almost trapped inside themselves, too scared to make a choice in their lives. Be it an everyday simple choice or a major decision which could influence and trigger many things in the future.

It’s pretty safe to say that there is a certain confidence in being able to make decisions and choices; but not the same ‘confidence’ that may be used in other aspects of life and what the majority of people associate with the meaning and attitude of ‘confidence’.

You may have so many ideas and plans in life but these mean absolutely nothing unless you make the choice to go forward with you dreams and ideas; however crazy they may be.

So, just make that choice, that decision, act on that crazy idea you’ve had; create another challenge to overcome, take that next step to maturity, create another story too tell.

The Art of Blaming Others

So, this may seem like a large jump away from my last blog post but hopefully by the end you will see how they intertwine with each other (just!).

Blaming is a strange concept, some people do it to push it further away from themselves, others may do it purely out of spite and many people just do it because they want something to talk about and with pointing blame comes gossip. Attitude is so important, especially in a society that moves as quickly as the one we find ourselves in today. It is too easy to get caught up in most things, ranging from media hype about how a D Class ‘celebrity’ spilt a drink down their dress that consequently was made by another ‘celebrity’ (shock! horror!). I guess for many people it is easier to point fingers, shift the blame, let others sort the problem out and sit back and watch the show. It could be something as trivial as walking into a room at work or home to find there is a drinks stain on the carpet. You might be tempted to send out a ‘blame search party’ to find the culprit but that’s not going to solve anything, the drink has been spilt, you can’t skip back in time (unless you have Bernards’ watch) so be pro active, I’m sure you have two minutes spare, so clean it up, get it done, problem solved, no fuss.

It seems extremely important for some people to be able to blame others to the point where they haven’t accomplished what they have set out to do if they don’t FIND THE BASTARD THAT SPILT THAT DRINK!! Some enjoy going even further and attempt to blame other people for things that have nothing to do with themselves, not only can this aggravate situations even further, being your very own personal Hercule Poirot will in the end achieve nothing but put stress on yourself.

The ‘Art of Blaming Others’ and gossip go hand in hand, as attempting to find someone to blame, creates meaningless conversation containing details that may not be true. Is that not what gossip is? Some people take it to the extremes and revolve their own lives around attempting to point the blame and creating gossip out of this. I imagine a scenario where someone is drowning in a river, passers-by dive in, not to save the person but to ask them what happened, how it happened and who did this, just so they can go home at the end of the day, spend hours gossiping about it to their friends and family, safe in the knowledge that they know who was to blame for this next drama, they’ve attempted to associate themselves with.

So, just look at things with a different attitude, focus on your own life for a while, better yourself, overcome those personal challenges you have set yourself, take another step towards maturity, create your own story to tell.

The Lone Ranger

When people begin to think and wonder about travelling the world, one of the first things they begin to put into their plans is WHO they are going to travel with. For me this poses itself as a slight inconvenience and another element that you have to fit into an already busy and usually difficult process of planning 1) Where you want to go 2) How long you want to go for and 3) How you are going to get there. These three things don’t take into account other such things as accommodation and food (which you will no doubt have to split between how ever many people you are travelling with). I believe that you can get a lot more out of your trips away by saying goodbye to your friends from home for a few weeks/months and embarking on an ‘adventure’ all of your own; The Lone Ranger.

For me there are many benefits to travelling and seeing the world ‘on your own’ (using the term ‘on your own’ loosely as you’re anything but ‘on your own’) and one of these benefits is that you are able to do what YOU want to do without dragging the restrictions and pre conceived ideas from your acquaintances back home into the new experiences you are creating; which for me, makes them just that, totally pure new experiences for yourself. Maybe the title of this should be ‘The Selfish Ranger’, never mind.

Travelling on your own gives you the opportunity to push your boundaries even further than if you happened to be travelling with a friend/s, it will put you in situations which you will have to figure out yourself; given you a certain type of independence you don’t even experience for example when you first move away from home and live on your own. These challenges will more than likely be one offs, as you move from place to place. It could be something as simple as conversing with a local through a bad grasp of the language and hand gestures, querying where the train station is. But once you have solved this situation and got over the embarrassment of originally asking the local ‘Wie ist deine Mutter’ instead of ‘Wo ist der Bahnhof’, there will be a great sense of achievement (and relief). Yes if you brought a friend who was better at languages than you this situation would have been made a lot easier, but hey, it’s another challenge overcome, another step towards maturity, another story too tell.