Saturday, 24 March 2012

How to Lose Friends and Alienate Supporters


Nearly two weeks into the Free Agency period, the NFL has enjoyed some crazy storylines.  The Peyton Manning sweepstakes (he ended up in Denver), the New Orleans "Bounty Gate" (theyve been fined $500,000, lost two draft picks and had most of their senior staff suspended) and the relocation of the Tebow road show to the most volatile media market in the league (he's now a New York Jet) have been three of the most prominent.  But in this blog I shall look at two franchises that I think have seen the trusty ground move from under their feet more than most this off season, one in the last fortnight, the other since pretty much their GM assumed office.  Lets look first at the Houston Texans.


Possibly the most oft quoted statement in the NFL since January has been that "if Matt Schaub (starting quarterback) had been fit, the Texans would have got to the Superbowl / beaten New England / established lasting peace in the Middle East".  Its one of the great unquantifiable's.  True, the Texans were the number one seed in the AFC at the time Schaub sustained a Lisfranc fracture to his foot, with an unbelievable defence, a top five receiver in Andre Johnson and one of the stud running backs in the league in Arian Foster.  That the season did not end in silverware is not entirely due to the play of Schaubs back up TJ Yates, but most experts I have heard (especially NFL.Com's Dave Dameschek) continue to expound the theory that Schaubs injury was the only thing that allowed Tom Brady his place representing the AFC in the Superbowl in February.

So, with Schaub due to return this season, the Sky must the limit for the NFL's youngest team, right?


Starting OT Eric Winston, one of the stars of that position in the league, was released.  Defensive captain DeMeco Ryans was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles.  OLB/DE hybrid Mario Williams got paid in a big way during his testing of the free agency waters, signing for big money with Buffalo Bills.  Joel Dreesen, a young and promising Tight End who provided Yates with a safe target down the stretch, was not re-signed and ended up in Denver.  No big names or solid veterans have been brought into Houston in order to strengthen the talented outfit from 2011.  The team was heavily up against the Salary Cap, the perenial headboard for all teams of stature, but just from the outside looking in it appears that the Texans will struggle to win the AFC South, let alone the Superbowl.


The Texans troubles do seem to be mostly on the field, with a struggle to keep existing talent and add more.  The Miami Dolphins, one of the more known teams by people with no interest in the NFL thanks mainly to the film Ace Ventura : Pet Detective, have a major problem away from the hallowed turf, thanks to a series of chases that have come up short, involving both players and coaches.

At the end of the 2010 season, the Dolphins made a very high profile move to try and lure Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, despite already having a coach in place in Tony Sparano.  When Harbuagh rebuffed the approach, the Dolphins took the expected step of "backing their coach" and extended his contract.  He was ultimately fired 13 games into the 2011 season.  It was rumoured that the Dolphins had spoken with several other candidates while Sparano was still in situ.

Now coachless, the Dolphins were expected to be major players in luring Jeff Fisher, the highly successful and greatly respected former coach of the Titans, into their organisation.  It came down to a straight choice for Fisher, between the Dolphins and the hapless St Louis Rams.  With a porous defence, a young and banged up quarterback, and a fanbase constantly hollering for a return to Los Angeles, the smart money would be on Fisher going to South Beach to harness the talent of a new franchise QB (Miami have been in the market for one since Dan Marino retired, and were rumoured to be in the mix for several stud free agents) the revitalised Reggie Bush at RB, with the dynamic Brandon Marshall at wide reciever.  Fisher went to St Louis.

When it comes to players, this off season Peyton Manning has spurned the Dolphins, Matt Flynn chose instead to go and play in rainy Seattle and Tim Tebow ended up in New York.  Why does NO ONE want to play in South Beach??

The answer may lie with the man who puts the PR into PRICK, Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland.  The man is a humourists dream.  In 2010, he asked young receiver Dez Bryant, during a scouting interview, if his mother was a prostitute.  He called an irate Dolphins fan JUST THIS WEEK to answer grieveances about the team.  He should have reversed the charges, that would have been the only way to rescue the call from the damage it was about to make.  He revealed to the fan that they would have axed star receiver Brandon Marshall if theyd had to, that they were never interested in QB Matt Flynn (despite paying to fly him in first class for talks), and that Peyton Manning "was never a priority".  This is a team that endured Matt Moore at QB for much of the 2011 season.  Moore's NFL career numbers read 5148 passing yards, 32 touchdowns and 26 interceptions. Why would you want to upgrade those figures to someones whose resume reads 54,828 yards, 399 touchdowns and a Super Bowl ring?

As long as Ireland is in place in Miami, the team will continue to stutter and struggle.  They are a joke, and this fool is the head clown.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Free Agency - The NFL Silly Season


In 2011, after an enforced lock out due to labour difficulties between the NFL team owners and the players unions, the period known as free agency came AFTER the NFL draft.  Free Agency is a period comparable to the opening of the transfer window opening in the Premiership, with the major difference being that these players can speak to ANY team they want, mostly without asking the permission of their previous team.

The Philadelphia Eagles (my team) were amongst the most aggressive teams in the 2011 Free Agency period, bringing in the coveted Nmandi Asomugha at Corner back from Oakland, Superbowl winning defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins from Green Bay, Tennessee Titans pass rusher Jason Babin, New York Giants receiver Steve Smith Miami Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown and Titans QB Vince Young.  It was the latter of these players who dubbed the Eagles as "The Dream Team."  Thanks for that, douche bag.

The Eagles never got going in 2011, eventually finishing 8-8 mainly thanks to a four game winning run at the end of the season.  Asomugha struggled in a new scheme, Jenkins and Babin excelled with their new team, Young was a bit part player who showed flashes but was ultimately a flop, while Brown and Smith could well be two of the most unpopular players ever to pull on an Eagles jersey.  Smith won the love and affection of all Eagles fans for taking a knee two yards short of a first down when he thought he was going to be tackled by an Arizona defender.

So when the starting gun was fired on the 2012 Free Agency, many people were waiting to see what the Eagles would do.  And they didn't have to wait they agreed contract extensions with OG Todd Herremans and DE Trent Cole.  OK, securing two of the most promising talents on both lines.  But what next? A new long term deal for dynamic play maker DeSean Jackson, after a troubled 2011.  OK, so any splashes? Yes! Oh no, rumours of a new contract for star running back LeSean McCoy.  Did the Eagles know what time of year it was?

As it was, these moves were lauded by many within the NFL.  The Eagles were not as bad in 2011 as there results would indicate, and the money counters in charge were taking steps to ensure that the team maintained its core base of players.  Some teams were out paying absolute stupid money, with ordinary players receiving huge deals based on the smallest body of work imaginable.

Then, in the middle of the night, the Eagles finally entered the fray, completing a trade for the Houston Texans ILB DeMeco Ryans, for a 4th round draft pick and an exchange of 3rd rounders.  This is one of the most exciting moves the Eagles have made for years.  A legitimate stud at the position that had troubled the Eagles since 2005.  This trade now allows the Eagles to address positions at the draft in areas of strength, rather than need.  Will it be the catalyst in the Eagles finally claiming a Championship come February? Time will have to tell.


So Sachin Tendulkar, the greatest run getter in International Cricket History, finally reached his 100th international century.  Since falling for 111 (my sister ALWAYS said that number was bad luck) against South Africa on March 12th 2011, Tendulkar then went 34 innings across all formats and over a year before reaching 114...against Bangladesh.  In those 34 innings had been a World Cup Final, four tests in a series to defend the number one Test ranking against England, and four tests on his return to a place where he had played some of his finest innings, Australia.  And after all these EVENTS, he reaches the milestone against the minnows...and loses the match.

In the same Indian side is a young man whose last four trips to the crease have yielded 490 runs, at an average of 163.3, with three of the innings ending in hundreds.  Virat Kolhi at the moment is a man who looks ready to take the mantle for India in limited overs cricket, time must also tell for him if he is to build on the 116 he managed in the fourth test against Australia and become the replacement for Sachin in Test cricket.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Memory Lane

In April 2005, FA Cup semi final Sunday, a group of players from Maghull CC assembled at a murky Ainsdale Cricket Club.  These were the first 11 players selected to represent the Maghull 5th XI.  The game itself was abandoned after a mere 14 overs, as the rain kept coming in, but seven years later, again on an FA Cup semi final day, the 5th XI will kick off their 8th season.  In this time they have started (but not necessarily completed) 91 matches, and as long as the weather holds the team should celebrate both its 100th match and its captains 100th match at the helm (the record is currently 89 out of 91 matches).

In this blog, I have decided to take a walk down memory lane, and look back at those first 11 players for the 5ths.  Where are they now, what have they done, and (a question asked more than once when one of the XI is batting), "What are they doing?".

Mike Hagan - Mike had the honour of facing the first ball ever bowled at a 5th XI batsman, and also the more dubious honour of being the first 5th XI batsman to be dismissed.  He was captain of the Saturday 4th XI until 2008.  He has enjoyed his last two years as 2nd XI umpire at Maghull.

Andy Barlow - 2005 would prove to be Andy's last season at Maghull, but he certainly enjoyed himself with the bat.  He scored over 300 runs for the 5ths this season (2 50's) and enjoyed a similar return with the 3rd XI, scoring his first ever senior century.  In 2006 he left the club to join Ainsdale, and by the end of that season he was playing for their 1st XI.  In 2010 he joined S&B, but returned to Ainsdale in 2011.  He is currently the U15 coach for Sefton District Squad.

Mike Bell - Mike enjoyed the best all round season of any 5th XI player in 2005, with over 250 runs and 24 wickets (still a team record).  He took over the role of vice Captain in mid 2005.  He has only played two more 5th XI games since 2005, including an epic performance versus Lytham in 2006 (58 and 5-38, best all round one game performance in team history).  He is currently a key component of the 3rd XI, having alternated between them and the 2nd XI for several years.

Paul Mainwaring - Mainzey was only really on loan to us in 2005, helping his friend The Skipper out.  He famously lost a finger nail at Caldy in 2005, and did not return to the 5th XI until 2008.  He bowed out from cricket after the 5ths victory over Prestatyn in 2009, on the very unreasonable grounds that he was about to get married and become a father.  His presence is still missed by many members of the team, though not by the skipper so much after he has embedded himself into Mainzeys batting spot at 6.

Paul Walters - Wally played through the 2005 season in sedatry fashion, only really catching fire with a blistering 78* in the final game of the season.  In 2006, he exploded into the consciousness of the club, with 461 runs (a team record) for the 5ths alone.  He continued to play for the 5ths until 2008, at which time he had become a regular in the 1st and 2nd XI's.  As of March 2012, he is the leading 5th XI run scorer.  He was also the first man to score a 50 or more in a match for all five senior XIs at Maghull.

Liam Gibbons - The Ainsdale match was the first appearance in a Maghull shirt (he actually wore a Northop Hall shirt with a green sticker over the badge) for Gibbo.  He starred for the 5ths in 2005, stealing the show with a marvellous 49* at Colwyn Bay in what some argue is still the greatest game in 5th XI history.  Since the middle of the 2005 season, he has been a regular for the 2nd XI, becoming captain before the 2009 season.  He returned to the 5th XI for one match in 2008, scoring a marvellous 108* against Rainford, only the second century recorded by a 5th XI batsman at that time.  He will move to live in Maghull by the time the 2012 season starts.

Mike Challinor - Chally was the first vice-Captain of the 5th XI, but left the job in mid 2005 after being promoted to the 2nd XI.  He didn't feature again for the 5ths until 2008, and became something of a regular in 2009 and 2010.  In 2011, he became the first player to score two centuries in a single season for the 5ths.  He was also a key member of the 3rd XIs Embee Trophy success in 2011, taking the final wicket in the final itself.

Billy Symes - Billy was at the time, and in the memory of some remains, one of the best gully fielders in the league in 2005.  He became vice Captain in 2006, but tore his Achilles tendon in his first match of the 2006 season.  He retired from 5ths duty in 2007, but still enjoyed a rare outing for the 3rd XI away at Sefton Park in 2008, diving into a nettle bush to stop a boundary.  His legacy lives on in the side, with his youngest son Liam a regular in the side.  He was a very active Club Welfare Officer, and was instrumental in the club attaining Clubmark in 2006.  He can still be found patrolling the boundary as one of the legendary Borrowers Trio at Maghull.

Gareth Barry (w/k) - Yes, GazSymes, Jack Snowdon and Chris Barlow.  He holds the 5th XI single match best bowling figures, famously taking 7-9 against Huyton in 2007 (ask him about it.)  He is one of only three people to have played in at least one match in every 5th XI season.  He scored his first ever senior fifty for the 5ths against Norley Hall in 2010, putting on 100 for the first wicket with Craig Parkinson.

Jack Snowdon - Jack was another newcomer to Maghull in 2005.  He became a vital cog in the bowling machine after taking 4-30 against Ainsdale in the return fixture, the 5ths first ever win.  He continued to play for the 5ths until 2007, when he moved up to join the 2nd XI (as a batsman).  He has become a potent off spinner since his time with the 5ths.  In 2010, he left Maghull to seek out 1st XI cricket with Skelmersdale, but returned halfway through the season to spearhead the 2nd XI championship push.  In 2011, he broke into the 1st XI, playing a key part in their title winning season.  Jack has been U13s coach at Maghull for several years, and also works for West Lancs district side.

Neil Dutton (c) - Neil wonders how many people thought hed mention himself last, but would like to point out that this review has been done in orginal batting order.  He has been captain of the 5th XI since 2005, and has missed only two out of 91 matches.  He has been 4th XI vice-Captain (2010), 3rd XI vice-Captain (2006-8) and 3rd XI Captain (2009).  Off the field, he has served as Fixture Secretary (2007), U18s Manager (2006-7) and since 2009 has been the Club Welfare Officer, following on the fine job done by Billy Symes.  He is 2nd leading run scorer for the 5ths, and has taken the most catches for the team.  He bleeds Red Gold and Blue.

Friday, 9 March 2012

End of An Era (another one)

On the 20th of June 1996, cricket said goodbye to one of its characters.  Harold "Dickie" Bird, the games most visible umpire, was standing in his 66th and final test match at Lords between England and India.  Before the game, the England captain Michael Atherton arranged for an honour guard with his opposite number on the Indian team to applaud Bird on to the field.  Athertons reward was to be given out LBW from the third ball of the game.

Amongst the Indian players clapping Bird onto the field that day was a young batsman, making his debut for his country at the home of cricket.  He watched as England compiled 344, and was called to the crease in Indians innings with his side 202-5 and in some degree of trouble.  267 balls and 95 runs later, he was finally dismissed, the match now firmly saved and a reputation established.  Rahul Dravid had arrived on the international stage.

Today, March 9th 2012, Dravid has announced his retirement from Test cricket, after walking away from the ODI stage last September.  Its a career that has spanned 15 years, 31258 balls faced, 13288 runs scored with 36 Test centuries.  He very rarely, if ever, batted at 7 again, becoming one of the most dependable number threes in modern test cricket.  Indeed, he scored 10,524 runs coming in at first drop, more than any other player in that position.  He received the nickname "The Wall", and this name did much to sum up his importance to the Indian side.  While dashing shot makers like Sachin, Sehwag, Ganguly and Laxman attracted so much attention for their entertaining innings, it was Dravid who usually had to do the dirty work, the sweeping of the shop floor so to speak, and fight it out for his country.  "You're not through Indian until Dravid is in the hutch" was a sentiment shared by many Test captains over this fine player.

He spent two eventful years as captain of his country, appointed by then coach Greg Chappell to the fury of most of the Indian public who still loved Sourav Ganguly (who ironically made his debut in that same Lords test match in 1996).  He enjoyed some success as skipper, becoming the first side to win in England for six years in 2007, but was seen by some to be too yielding as a captain, happy to let Chappell call most of the shots.

For one possessing of such a strong defensive technique, it is perhaps strange that Dravid should have been out bowled more times than anyone else in Test cricket history (though he has also played more Test innings than most people, so its a very large sample size).  This became apparent towards the end of his career, being out bowled nine times in his last 13 test innings.  Bowlers started to use the crease more, confusing Dravid with the angles of delivery, most evidently Tim Bresnans uprooting of his stumps at Edgbaston in 2011.  However, during a series in England in which most (OK dammit, ALL) of his team mates failed in conditions that called for strength of character and discipline, Dravid fought single handed to keep England at bay and maintain India's grip on the number one ranking in Test cricket.  He was not able to do so, but for this he is almost blameless.

In an era of T20 and run rates in the high 5s, it is sad to say that we will not see another Dravid.  Certainly not from India, in a nation where the obsession is now with the shortest, crudest form of the game.  Dravid will play on in this format, in the IPL, but this is not a canvas that will see his finest work.  I shall miss him, as I suspect most proponents of correct and proper technical batting will also.  Best of luck to you Rahul,  शुक्रीया (बहुत धन्यवाद)

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

End of An Era


On the 18th of April 1998, following a shockingly poor season the year before, the Indianapolis Colts had to make a big decision.  The only thing resting on this decision was the future of their franchise, deemed by many to be have been a joke ever since the team left Baltimore in 1984.  It was thought by most experts within the NFL that the Colts would be choosing a new quarterback with the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft.  For months, speculation had been rife as to which one of the top two outstanding candidates they would select.  In one corner was the signal caller from Washington State University, who when asked by the Colts at the NFL Scouting Combine what he would do if he was chosen first answered "Get all my friends together and go to Vegas", in the other was the quarterback from Tennessee who had told the same inquisitors that he would ask for the teams playbook so he could be ready to start from day one.  So, in front of the assembled media, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue stepped to the podium and announced "With the first pick of the 1998 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts select...Peyton Manning."

It could be argued that this was one of the greatest calls made in draft history.  Since that day, Manning has played 208 regular season NFL games (all consecutive, before injury totally wiped out his 2011 season), thrown for 54,828 yards with 399 touchdowns to boot.  He has won one Superbowl and lost another.  He has been quite simply the best pure pocket passing quarterback in the whole time I have watched the NFL. (by contrast, that other QB, Ryan Leaf, has become synonymous with the term "bust".  He played a mere four seasons in the NFL, with 3666 yards, 14 touchdowns and 36 interceptions).

This era is expected to end at noon eastern time (5pm in England) on March 7th 2012, when the Colts will release Manning in order to avoid paying him a $28m roster bonus.

Where will he go? Well, the first big barrier that must be overcome is one regarding his health.  Manning has endured three neck surgeries (the latest brought about by a hit rewarded with a "bounty", if former Colts coach Tony Dungy is to be believed), and has only recently begun throwing again.  But lets assume that he is back to somewhere near 100% (to be fair, 80% of Peyton is better than most QBs operating at 100%), and that he will land somewhere.

The Case For - The Jets missed out on the playoffs after two consecutive AFC Championship appearances, due in part to a poor QB show from Mark Sanchez.  Rex Ryan is on the hot seat, and needs to win now.
The Case Against - Manning would have to play in New York, the same city as his younger brother Eli, and would have to play against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots twice.

The Case For - Many consider the Dolphins as likely to emerge as contenders in 2012, as long as they can secure a quarterback.  They have two good receivers, a decent tight end and a good running game.
The Case Against - Like at the Jets, Manning would be forced to endure two games against his greatest nemesis.

The Case For - The Skins, under Daniel Snyder, have never been afraid to go after free agents, especially the expensive ones.  It is possible that the Skins could bring in Manning AND a former target of his Reggie Wayne, who is likely on his way out of Indy himself.  The Skins had possibly the worst QB options of all 32 teams last season.
The Case Against - The Skins have long been one of the biggest underachievers in the league, and this underachievement can be traced partly to their reliance on building through "past it" free agents.  Factor in the aggressive nature of the three other teams defences in the Skins division, and you wonder whether Manning fancies that regular a pounding at this time of his career.  Plus there would be two meetings against Eli and the Giants to contend with.

The Case For - Arizona finished the 2011 season strong, despite the inconsistent quarterback play of Kevin Kolb and John Skelton.  They have arguably the best wide receiver in the game (Larry Fitzgerald), a legitimate target for Manning to get the ball to.  They also play in a dome, in which Peyton Manning has spent his entire career playing in.
The Case Against - The Cardinals endured a messy quarterback chase in the 2011 off season, paying huge money to the untried Kevin Kolb.  Its doubtful they would want to do so again.

The Case For - The Chiefs are looking forward to the return of several big play makers on offence this season after losing them to injury in 2011.  Under Romeo Crennell, they figure to be very strong on defence, and the addition of Manning could be enough to see them take charge of the hugely Topsy turvy AFC West.
The Case Against - In my eyes, there are very few arguments against this move.  Possibly the fact that the Chiefs already have Matt Cassell entrenched as starter, but even after missing a season Manning MUST be seen as an upgrade at this position.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Did That REALLY Just Happen?

As I look back on a week that began with me fainting at Kirkdale station in full view of the 8:28 from Kirkby train, it is events that occurred on Thursday and Friday that dominate my thoughts as I come to write this.  Two different types of football, two different types of story, both controversial in their own way.  I shall start with the story of these shores.


Ask anyone at Maghull CC (new to Twitter @maghullcc), ask anyone at my place of work, ask anyone full stop if they know my thoughts about Gary Megson.  They will all tell you the same thing.  I don't like him.  As a person, I have heard some very bad things about his style of man management that lead me to suggest he is a bully.  HOWEVER, I have to admit that Sheffield Wednesday were having a good season.  Up to Christmas, a great one.  We have wobbled some what since, but last Sundays morale boosting victory over the team one place above us (who happened to Sheffield United) was all set to be the trigger for our push to get out of League 1 (the third division, why cant we call it the third division.  That's what it is).

Instead, it turned out to be Megsons last game as Sheffield Wednesday manager.

Our chairman Milan Mandaric, still fresh from his profile damaging court case, had decided that Megson had to go based on the form shown in the previous ten games, but had decided to keep Megson in situ for the derby "so as not to ruin it for the spectators".  A bit like not telling someone the Titanic had hit the iceberg so as not to interrupt their listening to the band.  I don't know ANYONE supporting ANY team who enjoys derby's, so I find this excuse a little flimsy, unless it comes from someone who doesn't understand football like say, a footballers wife, a football reporter for the Sun, or a football club chairman in charge of his third club in England.

So Megson has gone, and has been replaced by Nice Guy Dave Jones (not the Davy Jones of the Monkees who sadly died this week.  Given the choice of remaining dead or taking over at the Owls, I think most people would step through the Pearly Gates) who has been out of football since leaving Cardiff.  He has a very good track record, and former Wednesday skipper Darren Purse has talked up his former manager to a great degree.  I'm excited to see what he can do, but fear that Super Milan may have already destroyed our season, expecting Jones to work the Oracle in 13 games with a squad of players of which he chose exactly NONE.


Through what has been described as a "tireless and exhaustive" investigation, the NFL have discovered that Greg Williams, the former defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints, offered his players a "bounty" for injuring members of the opposition, with a scale of financial rewards depending on the severity of the injury.  Phillip Daniels, a member of the Washington Redskins when Williams was DC with that team, has spoken out saying that such a system was in operation during this tenure too.

I think this is probably the most disgusting thing I have ever heard about the NFL.  It was revealed a few years ago that New England Patriots coach Bill "The Hoodie" Bellichek had taped his opponents practise sessions, so as to give himself an advantage.  This is cheating, and the game is poorer for it happening.  But what would the ultimate end game be for The Hoodie if he was allowed to get away with it? His team would win, some other schmuck would lose.  That's life, get a helmet.  If Williams had his way, some players would be carried from NFL fields, never to return to them as professional athletes.  Maybe these players might never walk again, maybe (if taken to its ultimate conclusion) some of these players may DIE.

Supporters of Williams (if any DARE drag themselves into the limelight today) may argue that he was just cultivating an air of competitiveness in his players, and that ultimately he would never wish to see his foes seriously injured.  Hmm, let me just check....NFL players, while all have graduated from college, some earlier than scheduled due to "excellent" scholastic aptitude, are NOT and should not be compared to MENSA candidates.  How many NFL players are arresting for DUI? For drugs use/possession?? For carrying firearms IN NIGHTCLUBS??? These people do not make good choices.  For some, "competitiveness" would mean "I'm gonna kill that SOB and hope he don't walk again".  Say to these people "Hurt him, see that he gets carted off injured and I'll give you $8000", and I have no doubt that most will not see a fellow professional, hell a fellow HUMAN BEING, they'll see a way to get new rims on their SUV.


Just to lighten the mood, here now is part two of the epic rant by Mr Christopher Hughes.

McDonald's Staff

First of all, I’m no stranger to the Golden Arches so I speak from the fat clogged heart.

The TV ads would have you think that McD employees are polite. That they can even speak. Reality is somewhat different.

“Good morning sir, how many sugars would you like with your coffee” ?


Drive to Switch Island McD’s and that will be blown out of the water.

An acne faced, drooling delinquent is usually the first thing to greet you.

“wha dya want lad” is spat from the Perspex screen.

“a plain cheeseburger, only cheese please”

“a plain cheeseburger, only cheese please”

“big mac lid” ?

“no, a plain cheeseburger, only cheese please”

“do you want cheese on that” ?

“a plain cheeseburger, only cheese please YOU THICK ****, ARE YOU DEAF???? F**K IT ILL F*****G GO INSIDE AND ORDER YOU SHIT HEAD”.

The above is only thought, but is on the tip of your tongue. Eventually it sinks in and you are barked at to drive to the end window. Then, someone with make up applied with a JCB tells you to park over and that they will bring it out to you. Clearly putting a cheese slice on a burger takes some time, requires an emergency team meeting and is a complicated affair.

With beads of sweat by now rolling down your brow, you daren’t take your eyes from your mirror. Each time the doors open and a brown uniform wearing imbecile walks out, your heart skips a beat as you think the ordeal is over. When eventually they manage to bring your order out, they always take it to the wrong car. Then stare at the brown bag for 30 seconds in complete silence when told they have made a mistake (they don’t know what a mistake is). Eventually the penny drops and they throw the bag through your car window. Armed with your one (1) barbecue sauce, you arrive home ready to relax with your now cold toe burger.

As you bite down, an immediate taste of gherkin instantly awakens your gag reflex.

“only cheese”

Clearly this is one step too far for some people to comprehend.

Anyone who serves you a burger that is not plain when you asked for plain should be hung. Simple.

Pay & Display Car Parks

Complete rip offs.

Give me back my change. Why don’t they give you change? How dare they not ? I don’t go into a shop, hand over a £10 note to pay for something for £5 and say to the cashier “it’s okay you keep the change”.

There are never any spaces, are a constant source of confrontation and “space rage”.

Don’t even think about going back to your car ‘mid trip’. If you do, a Range Rover driving maniac will assume you are leaving and when you continue your shopping will try and run you over.

If you don’t manage to get a space in the vicinity of the non change giving rip off machine, you can guarantee that when you finish the mile long trip to the machine, it will be out of order. There will be at least 6 people staring at the machine in front of you. Slobber dripping out of their gaping mouths and suffering from the worst crisis in their lives. Even though it says “OUT OF ORDER”, they will continue with a cycle of inserting money each time it drops through to the coin return slot. What should they do ? How long will they do this for ?

If you dare to contravene the car park rules, god help you. A white hat wearing rat will silently rise out of the nearest grid and promptly issue you with a £90 fine. £60 if you pay within 21 days. They are scum. Why would you want to be a parking enforcement officer. Anyone that does is a complete dickhead and should be ran over on sight.

Self Service Checkouts

These are a complete waste of time.

In the vain hope of getting out of Tesco as soon as possible, one decides to utilise what one expects is the quickest way out.


Each item you scan, you are greeted with “please wait for assistance” and your green light turns to flashing red. 

Horror. As you frantically look round in vain for help (noting the queue of 25 people giving you daggers because you have activated the red flashing light), you catch sight of your ‘assistant’. Normally a 13 year old halfwit trying to chat up a fellow ‘here to help’ badged adolescent belter. Even when you manage to get your machine unlocked, it happens on each item. I don’t know what the solution is. Head to the ‘basket only’ aisle to be on the safe side.