Scott Parker England Captain

On hearing the news of Scott Parker being named England captain today I actually rejoiced. It seems at last we have a wise choice from an England manager. I my humble opinion Stuart Pearce you have just made your first excellent decision.

Not everyone however feels the same. Reading the twitter world today many a football fan was actually in despair. Claiming it totally shambolic, a decision made due to pressure and the rail-roading of the press. This of course is utter nonsense. I even saw one comment related to it being a poor decision as Scott Parker has no charisma, or no inspirational qualities. To this I say where is your evidence?

It would probably be of course that he hasn’t made the front page of a ‘red top’ due to having an affair, or even being involved in taking money for tours of his training ground, or even still that his family are all drug dealers. This wonderful set of accolades of course belong to the current, ex, who knows what captain, John Terry. Of course, in these days of social networking, increased media coverage this behaviour seems the norm to our youngsters. Take the picture below of a young boy at a football match, this is the norm in the stands, so he copies the behaviour. What does our future hold with the likes of John Terry in such a position of responsibility.

People have expressed the decision as a kick in the teeth to Steven Gerrard, yet I beg to differ, Mr Gerrard may soon quit the International scene. He also had a bit of a fracas in a certain bar didn’t he. Scott however seems to be a level headed professional, and if his personality reflects his approach to matches he won’t go wrong. Hard working, fearless, determined to name a few, and of course there has been no sign of Where’s Wally, or other such like headlines linked to the England captain.

The role of a leader is to ultimately be a role model for others, and how many easy influenced youngsters strive to be like the England captain. I know I did, Bryan Robson was my hero, even though he now seems to have had a chequered past too. So, in my opinion it’s about time the youth of this country had a positive role model to look up to, and I hope he keeps the job.

Remember some of these guys :

Emlyn Hughes
Alan Shearer
Gary Lineker
Peter Shilton
David Beckham

and of course our greatest ever captain Bobby Moore. God only knows his thoughts on the likes of John Terry!

So, good on you Stuart Pearce, a tick in my book for you. Let’s start to think about the captain’s role as it should be. A position of responsibility, to be revered by all associated with the sport and a title given to a worthy candidate. All hail Scott!

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The Leap of Faith – 100 WCFGU

The Hundred Word Challenge

Please visit Julia’s page, without this blog I would not be taking this ‘New Venture’. Go on have a read, get involved, it’s therapeutic you know! Or at least it is for me.

I really enjoyed the challenge set last week, and thought long and hard before scribing my debut piece, The Flip Side. So, time for this week’s challenge – The Leap of Faith.

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Thanks for all the people who commented on the blog last week. Your feedback was much appreciated and very nice, hope I and it can continue in the same form!

A New Venture

I had always been prudent with money, saving weeks of pocket money just in case I might need to buy a new pair of football boots or a new Manchester United shirt. So when my best buddy suggested I fork out £40 for a set of golf clubs and go and start playing with him, my pocket shrunk to the size of a peanut. “Go on, you’ll love it”, came his response. His enthusiasm swayed me to take a leap of faith and part with my stash. Was he right? Did I love it? Surely @THE GOLFBANDIT tells its own story!

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Golf v My sister!

As a PE teacher I’ve always been competitive and hate losing, so was determined not to lose against my sister today! I didn’t, but to be fair to her she played much better today than her last round and was pretty damn good on her back 9. She’s currently of 36 and me off 16 gives her 20 shots on me. In the end I beat her by 3 shots taking handicaps in to play – phew!

Here’s our scorecard Sibling Rivalry at Birley

Birley is a decent enough municipal, and I generally play it in winter. Its always on proper greens and drains pretty well, today was the same. The SIV group had an offer on too which made it only £10 for the round – great value for money!

In the end I shot 87, which was +2 over my handicap. However, the round included a disasterous 9 on the second and a few double bogeys too. With that in mind it wasn’t a bad performance. My sister’s boyfriend is a Blackburn fan, now immortalised as VENKY’s when he is on a golf course. He also caught something off my sister during the round – the ANGER. Both of them at some stage were lets say ‘unhappy’ with a few shots and at one stage they had both thrown a club or two in despair.

With a little psychological coaching on the lines of ‘you’re both crap anyway so stop trying to be better’ or in reality ‘good try, never mind’ they plodded on and my sister actually hit the shot of the round on the 14th Par 3. Nailing her tee shot into the middle of the green from 160 yards. VENKY’S highlight was slicing ‘another’ tee shot onto the adjacent fairway. When going to his ball, a man playing that hole walked past and VENKY’s said to him “I didn’t like my fairway, so thought I’d play on yours”, no response from the man prompted VENKY’s to respond again in the same way, still no response. VENKY’s went up to the man to get closer and try and crack the joke again, only realising then that the man would never get the joke, why you say, he was deaf!

My highlight of the round, three pars on the bounce on the back nine. As always I like to put a relevant photo with my blog. I’ll let you decide which of us is which character in the photo. I thougt the three Amigo’s would be good, but then came across this. I hope no-one chooses me as the donkey, I’d never be one of those!

As a review for Birley, for value for money it’s a recommenadation. If you want a nice steady course with a few challenging long par 4’s and a few par 3’s you can’t go wrong here. Give it a go, it’s what it says on the tin – a value for money municipal course.

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Horse racing selections for today

A couple of decent winners in Giles Cross (4-1) and Riverside Theatre (13-8) were tipped up last week. The winnings from those will be going on today’s selections.

Had some awesome news this week courtesy of BestBritishBloggers. I’m off to a Coral Cheltenham Preview event at Haydock on Thursday. Nick Luck, Paddy Brennan and others make up the panel. Part of the deal is that I tweet and do a blog from the event. So, keep your eyes on my twitter feed @TheGolfBandit, and the blog will be up next Saturday. I have also won 2 tickets to the Cheltenham Festival on the Wednesday and a £10 Coral bet. Awesome or what!

Before we get there of course there is a little matter of some quality racing today! Here are the selections for today.

SPIEKEROOG 2.25 NEWCASTLE (NAP)(7th)

Won well last time out beating subsequent winner from last weekend BOURNE. Is well treated on that form and I reckon will follow up again today. My #TEAMNAPS selection too!

DEEP PURPLE 3.05 KEMPTON (NB) (FELL)

I backed this last time out when it won very well at Sandown. The shorter trip shouldn’t be a problem, and he will hopefully be ridden prominent then when he has his flat spot he won’t be too far behind NACARAT to challenge in the home straight.

PALACE MOON 2.50 LINGFIELD (TREBLE) (LAST – as always I have one!)

Won convincingly last time out at Lingfield and is the class horse in the race. A similar performance should be enough to take this and complete a hat-trick.

I’m having a few side bets on BABY MIX 2.00 KEMPTON,(WON 4-1) who can’t surely run as bad as last time! Also going for DODGING BULLETS 3.40 KEMPTON, (2nd)who beat the selection from the other week HISAABAAT on the flat. Finally I’m opting for PORTRAIT KING 3.25 NEWCASTLE,(WON 11-4) HOLYWELL 2.05 CHEPSTOW,(WON 15-8) and PICANSORT (e/w) 2.15 LINGFIELD.(2nd 7-1)

As always, remember these are my selections, and am not suggesting you follow my advice. If you do bet, remember to do so within your means.

Let’s hope we can light one of these up after collecting some big money today! Doubt it!

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The things that get on my nerves….

A simple blog tonight, these are the things that really get on my nerves!

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1) Untidyness – according to my wife I have OCD so now you can see why it irritates me.
2) Bad manners – why not say please and thank you.
3) Right Turners – you’re at a junction and want to turn right and the on coming traffic signal to turn right and don’t let you go.
4) Bad drivers – too slow, brake at everything arrrrggggh!
5) Spongers – people who drain our country with their benefits and have never or will ever attempt to work.
6) Louis Spence – I have no words to describe the man!
7) Soaps – why? What’s their point? The same far fetched storylines, the same actors who leave, then return again.
8) and my biggest pet hate – CELEBRITY TV – who cares about watching two bit, think they’re famous, egotistical twerps.

I enjoy lots of things too, but felt in a moaning mood!

The Flip Side – 100WCFGU

I stumbled across this idea courstesy of a RT by HimUpNorth. The idea to write a blog of 100 words around a given theme or topic. This is where it originated from > 100 words.

So I thought I would give it a whirl!

Week #31 of Julia’s 100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups

The Flip Side

Take heads, or on the flip side, it’s tails.
Wealth brings riches, on the flip side, poverty brings pain.
Health brings stability, on the flip side, illness brings despair.
Love brings happiness, on the flip side, hate brings sadness.

War brings death, on the flip side, peace brings life.
Boredom brings frowns, on the flip side, fun brings laughter.
Solitude brings curiosity, on the flip side, others bring interest.
It all depends on where you begin.
The flip side of which, is either better or worse.
Take heads, or on the flip side, take tails.

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Are you a nought or a cross?

The man in the middle

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A few months ago a work colleague of mine asked me if I would referee her son’s U15 football team one sunday. Now being a PE teacher and having refereed at least a hundred school games I thought it would be fine, and it was.

Since then I have looked into getting an ‘official’ referee qualification, the cost £100! This I couldn’t believe. Take in to account I have my UEFA B coaching badge and had to do a referee’s test to pass that, you would think common sense would prevail and I would be ok! As with everything associated with the FA this is not allowed. Why include it in the UEFA B badge then I ask? I’m sticking to my principles here and refuse to pay £100 and am refereeing as an ‘unregistered’ ref! In the first game I mentioned above both managers asked for my mobile number to do other games and said ” You are the best referee we have had all season”. This of course delighted me and has spurred me on to do more games.

I have bought the full outfit and the cards, whistle etc and did my second game today for the team I mentioned above. It was an U15 cup match with the top team in the league against fifth place, a tasty affair on paper. It finished 3-2 in favour of the top placed team, but only just as the losing team rattled the bar deep into injury time.

This is all well and good I hear you say, so why tell us? Well I thought it best to comment on the ‘nugget’ of an assistant manager the winning team had. Spending all eighty minutes screaming and shouting at these 14 year olds was not enough for him! After the equaliser (2-2) I was attending to one of his players who had hurt his ankle. He came over to help, or so I thought, then decided on the pitch to have a go at me because I gave his team an advantage at the other end of the pitch that wasn’t an advantage and that led to the equaliser. Flabbergasted I was to say the least, and offered that it was the other end of the pitch and a further ten passes had been made before the goal. I didn’t highlight that the poor kid with the injured foot had had ample time to clear the ball but ‘dilly-daddled’ on it and let the opposition striker tackle him and score for fear that the poor kid may get lambasted to an inch of his life!

After telling him that it was not my fault as he walked off with the injured player his response was “that’s rubbish ref, and what a rubbish decision”! These type of football think they know it-alls really get my back up so I offered him my whistle and said ” If you think you can do better, here’s my whistle”. He carried on walking off shouting “I bloody could do too”. So I called his bluff and went over with the whistle. Of course he stammered his way through numerous excuses like his knee has been bad for years, and I have asthma. So my final response was ” That’s fine, but if you’ve nothing productive to say other than to complain at me and shout at your players, maybe you should do us all a favour and go home!”.

The look on his face was worth my refereeing fee in its self! He didn’t say much more the remainder of the game and came over and shook my hand at the end of the game, fair play to him. My point though is the effect on his players, petrified to make a mistake, and copying his approach by questioning every decision made. These people, whilst I take my hat off to them for giving up their time, surely have such a negative impact on our young footballers around the country. I bet if you’re reading this and know football, you can picture someone similar (or maybe its you!). Who do I point the finger at? The FA for allowing the professional footballers to be so disrespectful to referees in plain view of all watching, particularly the easily influenced youth of today. How to prevent it, no idea, maybe to come down harder on the professionals who show disrespect, or have a go back like I did today.

Finally, as a comparative, how many times do rugby players disrespect their refs, both at professional and amateur level?

Please comment and let me know your feelings on this!

Super Saturday Selections

Yesterday was a great day of racing, followed up by another stonker today. Was really disappointed with a lot of my selections yesterday, particularly how poorly Loch Ba was, never in contention. Surely a change of tactics is needed?

The results left me feeling a little like this!

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Anyway, as always you win some, you lose lots! Here are today’s selections. Remember these are my selections, you don’t have to follow them and may well disagree, that’s the beauty of racing!

Lucky 15

AMBION WOOD 2.10 HAYDOCK (nap)(5th)

Was very impressed with the last run and only just got pipped at the post by Cotton Mill. A similar performance today should see him take this race. My #TEAMNAPS selection too.

GILES CROSS 3.20 HAYDOCK (nb) (WON 4-1)

Looked like he was going to win the Welsh National easily before LE BEAU BAI rompted home. He is 7lb better off today with ideal conditions and a track to suit. Very hopeful!

DUNRAVEN STORM 3.35 ASCOT (treble) (4th)

2 from 2 at Ascot and was a promising novice last season who I backed at Cheltenham. He disappointed there and had a decent return against RANJAAN the other week. He has a squeak at a decent price – DANGEROUS!

TOUR DES CHAMPS 3.55 HAYDOCK (PU)

What a trappy race this is. Initially went with GRAND VISION (won – why did I change my mind)but reckon this up and coming novice has what it takes today. Runs from the front and stays the distance and will like the ground.

Also fancy a little side bet on INDIAN DAUDAIE 2.00 WINCANTON (second last!!) can’t believe his price and Nichols touted him as a good thing early in the season. Has run poorly but blinkers on today. Hmmm! Going to have a small stake on these also RIVERSIDE THEATRE 3.00 ASCOT(WON 13-8), EXMOOR RANGER 2.55 ASCOT (FELL)AND UNCLE JIMMY 4.45 ASCOT (9th).

If you’re having a flutter good luck and remember to always bet within your means! The festival is coming!

Me, me? Getting tagged in a Meme!

I’m reasonably new to this blogging world, so imagine my excitement when I found out I was tagged in a meme (had to look up what the hell it meant!). So a huge thank you goes to SAHDandproud for tagging me in his attempt.

So, I like to find a picture that depicts my feelings when blogging. As I’m on a new adventure and was being set a challenge I figured I better swing into action!

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So, without further ado, here goes. Firstly the rules must be set out, and like Moses sat high upon Mt Sinai, you must FOLLOW these rules or risk eternal damnation by the blogging world. I beg you heed these few pointers!

1) You must post the rules.
2) You must post 12 facts about yourself.
3) You must answer the questions that the person who tagged you has set and then create 12 more yourself for who you tag.
4) Tag 12 people and link them in your blog.
5) Let them know you’ve tagged them.

I may be in for a flogging off the blogger gods already as I do not know of 12 bloggers yet, so I may feel their wrath when I only tag 3 people. There are many challenges in life!

Onwards we go, and twelve little facts about me.

1) I hold a UEFA B coaching badge and used to coach Sheffield United Academy teams which I loved.
2) At the age of 16 I used to play darts for the local Social Club mens team. It taught me alot about drinking and about choosing the right pub to have a drink in. I once won a match by ‘checking out’ on 135. I hit treble twenty, then the 25 (outer bullseye) and then the bullseye! The sulking bloke who I beat didn’t even shake my hand, he stormed out swearing “Jammy, little b*****d”! It probably was jammy but who cares, sportsmanship right!
3) I have a tattoo on my right shoulder of a red devil. People find it hilarious as it has a pair of underpants on, I was only 17!
4) I am a PE teacher, yet have 9 GCSE’s, 2 A Levels, a 2:2 degree and a post graduate certificate in Leadership and Management, hopefully dispelling any myths that PE teachers are thick!
5) I am a complete tidyness freak, my wife thinks I have OCD. I may well have, whenever the kids have finished paying with their toys I have to pack them away.
6) I really enjoy ironing! I find it quite relaxing.
7) I have a neat party trick in that I can spin a basketball on my finger and keep it going for over two minutes.
8) I have a golfing handicap of 16.
9) My professional aim in life is to become a Headteacher before I’m 45 years old. I’m an Assistant Headteacher now at 33, so nearly there!
10) I have a pet dog called Freddie who is a cocker spaniel. He’s a complete nutter, yet is fantastic with the kids and is a real cutey!
11) I have without any doubt Arachnophobia, if a spider so much as moves near me I run off screaming like a girl.
12) One day I am convinced that I am going to win the National Lottery.

So, time to answer the questions set for me by @SAHDandproud

1) If you wanted to be in a band, ever, which one would it be?

It would have to be Take That – the reasons are easy, they are now all multi-millionaires and have basically had millions of women scream at them and would do their every wish if asked for the last 20 years.

2) What’s the most useless thing you’ve ever bought while being a parent?

We didnt buy something, we acquired it lets say. We were ‘given’ a house for the garden, yet had to dismantle it and then basically re-build it all as it was rotten. It is lovely as you can see, yet strangely the girls have not really played in it. The amount of work that went into to it against its useage makes it useless in my opinion.

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3) Who would your ideal date be, if you could switch such a thing?

Without a doubt Katie Perry, gorgeous, talented and wild. Enough said!

4) What’s the sexiest item of clothing you own. The one that makes you feel shminky.

This is aimed at the ladies that are tagged I presume. I’ve never felt sexy in anything, nor would want to. However, I ‘feel good’ when dressed in my three piece suit.

5) And the least?

Again, see the answer above. I would imagine I look most unattractive when in my running gear all sweaty and hot.

6) If you could only follow one person on Twitter who would it be?

Wow! Good question this. I like following lots of people, yet the one that makes me laugh the most and would win this title would be @DarthMeerkat. He posts some really funny jokes that make laugh.

7) Do you have a pet name for your other half’s bits, or for the men, your own penis, if so what?

Sorry, no nickname. I do remember however when finding out my wife was pregnant shouting down the street. “I’m not a jaffa”! Does that count?

8) In 5 words describe your mum

Bonkers, demanding, loving, high maintainence, hyper.

9) Best place you’ve ever been on a holiday type thing

On our honeymoon to USA. Started in San Francisco, drove down Route One (seriously recommend this) to Los Angeles. Went to Disneyland, then finished the holiday off in San Diego. Awesome! Love America and want to go back.

10) Have you ever been to Belgium?

No.

11) If your milkshake brings all the boys to the yard. Then what flavour would you milkshake be?

Change boys for girls, and the flavour would be Strawberry, sweet and intoxicating.

12) Which newsreader is, as one might say, a bit of alright?

Mary Nightingale – ITV – swoon!

So, to finish off this mammoth meme, her are my questions as I lay down the challenge to @TheFoodNut, @Golf4Beginners and @crapteacher

1) What is your nickname and why?
2) If you could be cooked the perfect meal what would it be?
3) I love reading. What’s your favourite book?
4) If you could write your own epitaph what would it be?
5) Name a film which title describes you best.
6) If you had a choice where would you live and why?
7) Lager or bitter?
8) What is your favourite boardgame?
9) What is your best childhood memory?
10) What was the most embarrassing thing you did at High School?
11) What would your super power be?
12) Which famous person irritates you the most, why, and how would you ‘dispose’ of them?

Really enjoyed this challenge today. Hope my meme has lived up to expectations, apart from not enough people tagged! Of my tagged fellow bloggers, please let me know if you manage to complete the challenge! I look forward to reading your answers!

Super Newbury Card…the Bandit’s tips

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After another couple of winners on the blog last week, things seem to be looking up. If you follow my twitter account you will have hopefully seen a good Lucky 15 posted on Sunday for Hisaabaat (15-2) and Dul Ar An Ol (12-1)! Hope you were on them.

So, as the picture shows I am looking for another blog where we have one or two who are ‘undefeated’. Lets hope so! A big well done to Newbury for re-arranging this card, surely this should be done more often? Come on BHA, take note! Doesn’t it make a nice change too that we have some great horses on show rather than dealing with the ‘sand donkeys’ and class 7 handicaps worth 50p in prize money!

Today, the Bandit goes for two Lucky 15’s.

First Lucky 15

Carlicue 3.05 Fakenham (3rd)

Has disappointed a few times over hurdles and now after a break and hopefully some schooling I just fancy him to be one of those Nichols horses that really enjoys a switch of obstacles.

Tidal Bay 12.40 Newbury (Last – I always have one, the monkey turned up today)

One of my old fav’s and a talented ‘monkey’. As Forrest Gump once said “You never know what you’re going to get”, but after a good run against Midnight Chase last time I fancy him to upset Long Run with a positive jumping round. I think if Long Run loses today it shows he hasn’t trained on, and therefore lump on Kauto Star in the Gold Cup. I must also say I think Sam Waley-Cohen has ridden him poorly his season and with him being on board = another negative for me personally.

Colour Squadron 1.50 Newbury (nb) (FELL)

I think hw has the class to beat these and should have won easily last time but for hanging badly. I expect him to come home quite comfortably.

Junior 2.25 Newbury (8th)

The current Grand National favourite. With a positive Scudamore ride I think he will win well. When ridden positively over the jumps or the flat he seems to relish and stay well. Fingers crossed!

Second Lucky 15

Cedre Bleu 2.55 Newbury (5th)

Mr Nichols has won this a few times recently and this progressive sort fits the bill. Form was boosted by Bellvano the other day and I hope he runs well. A tip top Walk On is obviously a concern, yet the McNeill twitter feed suggested he might need the run before the last engagement was postponed. So, I think he still might and he looked a little rusty last time out too!

Gevrey Chambertin 3.30 Newbury (treble) (4th)

A lot was made of his impressive debut at Ffos Las and he did win well. I’m sure he will go on again today in what looks like a hot race.

Loch Ba 2.10 Sandown (nap) (6th)

I was a little disappointed with his run last time, yet he was still staying on at the end, so this step up to 3 miles should be a positive. Better gound should help too, and he is my best bet and my #TEAMNAPS selection for today.

Desert Cry 1.15 Newbury each way (12th)

Has ran in some creditable races and took on Celestial Halo last time on ground not ideal. Better ground, a big field and a competitive race, I just have a Bandit gut feeling he may come in at a very good price!

Remember please these are my selections and I am not suggesting you take my advice. If you do, please bet within your means, and don’t blame me if they lose!