Thursday, November 19, 2009

No Honour for Henry

Wednesday 18 November

Last year, when I was very depressed, sluggish and unproductive, a day out of the office to assist with promotion interviews was a blessing. The new energetic, focussed, fit me had the same day out yesterday and doing hee-haw, quite frankly, bored the tits off me. A struggle with the third of the Metro’s Sudokus did ensure an occupied morning but after lunch I was thoroughly bored. I didn’t particularly miss my trip to the gym because I hadn’t felt well yesterday and today I was no better but I probably should’ve taken a walk at lunchtime to get some fresh air.

I was so deflated by the time I got to my car to drive home I was thoroughly depressed. My mood didn’t improve as I did my usual Wednesday night drive-round (Kids Club – train station – home – Rainbows – Home – Rainbows – home) and the injustice of Ireland’s defeat at the hands of France sickened me even more. I went to bed with the ‘black dog’ well and truly pissing on my leg.

Thursday 19 November

I had to laugh at Sarah Kennedy on Radio 2 complaining of the “balmy” November weather as I aquaplaned all the way from Dunfermline to Edinburgh.

The only highlight of yesterday, which came just after 11am, was a phone call from the BBC. I had applied for a quiz show on Friday, the closing date, and was rather surprised to receive a return call so quickly. (I’m sure that the last time I did promotion interviews I received an audition call too). Anyway, the full audition is in Glasgow next Thursday morning. It’ll be the usual run-through of the game, a piece to camera and “don’t call us, we’ll call you”. I won’t jinx things by mentioning the name of it.

I saw the show earlier this year and I’d love to have a go. I’m not great on the buzzer, if I’m being honest, but for me it’s more about the camaraderie with the other contestants and having an enjoyable day or two. Watch this space.

I haven’t even had my breakfast this morning when I’m met by the Christmas night out menu plonked on my desk chair. I don’t know what I’m having for my dinner tonight, let alone what I fancy having on 11 December. Anyway, I plump for salmon, turkey (with all the trimmings) and chocolate cheesecake. I’ve also made the decision not to drink. Over the last few years I’ve been drinking alcohol less and less. I’m lucky if I have a couple of glasses of wine a month. Part of the reason for that is obviously down to driving but part of it is because I can get a bit maudlin sometimes. I start off hyper and descend into melancholy over the course of the evening. Another reason, especially at this time of year, is the state of the fellow travellers on the night bus home, aka the “Vomit Comet”. I’ve taken it home twice and twice is enough. It’ll be Diet Coke all night and a drive home at my leisure. Am I becoming a boring old fart? Possibly but I’m a man of simple pleasures and after years of drunkenness and hours spent awaiting public transport in the pissing December rain I feel I deserve the right to a civilised night out and not to wake up the next morning feeling shit.

I was so appalled at the decision that cost Ireland a place in the World Cup last night that I e-mailed FIFA. What is the point in “smaller” nations trying to compete and better themselves if the governing body’s primary consideration is the interests of the “bigger” nations? Sepp Blatter and Michel Paltini will be pleased as punch this morning that their favoured nations (except Russia) have got through to the finals. The fact that they decided to seed the play-offs shows how much contempt they have for the sport. There was no seeding in place when the competition started and the thought of a World Cup without Portugal and France (Platini’s country) saw them quickly change the rules to suit themselves. If any sport was in desperate need of video evidence/replays it is football. Cricket, a longer game, and rugby league, a shorter game, have them and they work just fine. The delays for a decision to be made would be no longer than the theatrical histrionics of some players who do eight rolls before deciding, as soon as they get the decision, that there’s nothing wrong with them. Football is becoming a joke thanks to self-serving bureaucrats like Sepp Blatter and Jack Warner who care less about football and more about themselves and what’s they can get out of the game – money.

I have to say that I’m more disappointed with Thierry Henry for not owning up than the referee and his assistant, who had had, until that incident, a very good game. For him to say “I’m not the referee!” is not simply good enough. He should have put his hands up – again – and admitted the offence. Football is now a cheats’ charter. Diving, play-acting, deception and the merciless harassment of officials leaves a sour taste in the mouth and the beautiful game is now a tarnished shadow of its former self and, I believe, beyond repair. There is no longer a level playing field. It’s not about the best players, it’s about the best cheats and at the top of that particular tree are Messrs Blatter and Warner. I think I’ll start following a more honest sport like rugby league.

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