Freddie’s Snippetts

March 6, 2006

The Continuing Demise of Aston Villa Fc – Defeat at Doncaster

Filed under: Uncategorized — @ 6:09 pm

I feel compelled to write something regarding a football club which I have supported, albeit mainly from a distance, since I was a boy. The last disgraceful episode in the history of Aston Villa Fc was the 3-0 defeat at Doncaster in the league cup. I can take nothing away from Doncaster, who played like lions on the night. They were full of running and pressurised us from the word go. However the point here is that a team of Aston Villa’s obvious size, standing and sometimes glorious past should have been far too much for even the bravest of lower division teams. This was not a one off; sadly it was indicative of the general malaise which seems to have set in at the club over the last two years.

Here is a good example. Our £9million pound club record signing, Juan Pablo Angel strolled round the park (when he did actually move) looking like he did not want to be there. For the most part he loped towards the opposition penalty area when we got forward and then stood around waiting for something to happen. I am no expert in the art of striking, but from many hours watching some of the best strikers in the world even I can tell that a good striker will make something happen, not wait for it to fall into his lap. The fact that he has only managed to score this season against lowly Wickham Wanderers, in an earlier round of the cup, I think says it all.

Liam Ridgewell had a nightmare against Doncaster, giving away a penalty and being lucky not to concede another only a few minutes earlier, however, the fact that he was so noticeably bad at least confirmed some effort on his part. Thomas Sorenson played well throughout and the 3-0 score line will look badly on his record, but was mainly down to shambolic defending. Gareth Barry also had a good game, frequently getting down the left on Doncaster’s wide pitch. However whenever he did so the moves were broken up by the fact that no one was making the runs into the centre for him and our static strikers were being easily marked by defenders they should have been running rings round.

Perhaps the only other player I cannot fault for effort was Milan Barros, who unfortunately looked like he did not relish the cold and his touch on the ball was often well short of what we know he is capable of. I think the game perhaps turned on the penalty claim which TV replays show was an abject penalty when Milan Barros was chopped down in the box. Villa seemed to give up after the penalty was turned down. That aside Doncaster should have had another one when Liam Ridgewell very deliberately shoulder barged one of their players off the ball.

Considering that the league cup was our only realistic chance of success this season, you would have thought that we could have expected a little bit more from the players. It seems to me that the hunger has gone from the side and we have accepted the mid-table mediocrity that is so often the result of a long hard season. And indeed, the league position suggests that they think that even that will be handed to them on a plate. Quite simply it is not good enough. These players are earning – a very loose definition of the word – thousands of pounds per week, and much of that comes out of the ordinary supporters pockets.

I know for a fact that Aston Villa have some of the most fiercely loyal supporters in the land, which perhaps explains why they continue to spend money on substandard products rather than shop elsewhere. However you cannot help thinking that in years to come, unless things change radically, this will not be the case. In today’s society where more and more people are moving away from their towns of birth for employment and social reasons, clubs cannot rely on regional association to maintain their fan base and success, however infrequent, is the only thing which will keep the fans returning.

Aston Villa has always been considered the bigger of the two Birmingham clubs and indeed Birmingham is the second largest city in England. To not have a football team in the top half of the table challenging for honours is unacceptable, or at the very least, surreal.

I have been reading recently that Doug Ellis has finally decided to relinquish control of the club. Doug has done very well for Aston Villa over the years (I am not one of those who blames him for our demise) and has managed to keep the business in a very strong position financially when so many other clubs are in deep financial trouble. Unfortunately the world of football has moved on from when Doug started and it is time for a fresh injection of cash and some new faces to try and revive the club. I sincerely believe it is time for a wholesale change in personnel at the club, players and manager alike.

Irish property developers the Comer Brothers and Michael Neville who are looking to purchase Villa for around £64million will certainly inject some cash to be spent on players, but my cynical side tells me giving it to a manager who fails to inspire his team will merely lead to a squandering of a golden opportunity. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against David O’Leary as a manager and I think in the right circumstances he is very capable. I am suggesting, however, that he has become associated with the failures of Villa over the past couple of years and retaining him for much longer will keep that link to the bad days, when the club needs much more positive input. Likewise Juan Pablo Angel. He is simply another in the long line of expensive strikers who have moved to Villa and failed to live up to their potential. He is a very talented individual and I think perhaps he would benefit from a change of clubs. It is time to cut our losses.

For the Villa fans, we can only hope that the new year brings a new attitude at the club and that things will improve – lets face it, they can’t get much worse after a 3-0 defeat at Doncaster!

The Continuing Demise of Aston Villa Fc – Defeat at Doncaster

Filed under: Uncategorized — @ 4:11 pm

I feel compelled to write something regarding a football club which I have supported, albeit mainly from a distance, since I was a boy. The last disgraceful episode in the history of Aston Villa Fc was the 3-0 defeat at Doncaster in the league cup. I can take nothing away from Doncaster, who played like lions on the night. They were full of running and pressurised us from the word go. However the point here is that a team of Aston Villa’s obvious size, standing and sometimes glorious past should have been far too much for even the bravest of lower division teams. This was not a one off; sadly it was indicative of the general malaise which seems to have set in at the club over the last two years.

Here is a good example. Our £9million pound club record signing, Juan Pablo Angel strolled round the park (when he did actually move) looking like he did not want to be there. For the most part he loped towards the opposition penalty area when we got forward and then stood around waiting for something to happen. I am no expert in the art of striking, but from many hours watching some of the best strikers in the world even I can tell that a good striker will make something happen, not wait for it to fall into his lap. The fact that he has only managed to score this season against lowly Wickham Wanderers, in an earlier round of the cup, I think says it all.

Liam Ridgewell had a nightmare against Doncaster, giving away a penalty and being lucky not to concede another only a few minutes earlier, however, the fact that he was so noticeably bad at least confirmed some effort on his part. Thomas Sorenson played well throughout and the 3-0 score line will look badly on his record, but was mainly down to shambolic defending. Gareth Barry also had a good game, frequently getting down the left on Doncaster’s wide pitch. However whenever he did so the moves were broken up by the fact that no one was making the runs into the centre for him and our static strikers were being easily marked by defenders they should have been running rings round.

Perhaps the only other player I cannot fault for effort was Milan Barros, who unfortunately looked like he did not relish the cold and his touch on the ball was often well short of what we know he is capable of. I think the game perhaps turned on the penalty claim which TV replays show was an abject penalty when Milan Barros was chopped down in the box. Villa seemed to give up after the penalty was turned down. That aside Doncaster should have had another one when Liam Ridgewell very deliberately shoulder barged one of their players off the ball.

Considering that the league cup was our only realistic chance of success this season, you would have thought that we could have expected a little bit more from the players. It seems to me that the hunger has gone from the side and we have accepted the mid-table mediocrity that is so often the result of a long hard season. And indeed, the league position suggests that they think that even that will be handed to them on a plate. Quite simply it is not good enough. These players are earning – a very loose definition of the word – thousands of pounds per week, and much of that comes out of the ordinary supporters pockets.

I know for a fact that Aston Villa have some of the most fiercely loyal supporters in the land, which perhaps explains why they continue to spend money on substandard products rather than shop elsewhere. However you cannot help thinking that in years to come, unless things change radically, this will not be the case. In today’s society where more and more people are moving away from their towns of birth for employment and social reasons, clubs cannot rely on regional association to maintain their fan base and success, however infrequent, is the only thing which will keep the fans returning.

Aston Villa has always been considered the bigger of the two Birmingham clubs and indeed Birmingham is the second largest city in England. To not have a football team in the top half of the table challenging for honours is unacceptable, or at the very least, surreal.

I have been reading recently that Doug Ellis has finally decided to relinquish control of the club. Doug has done very well for Aston Villa over the years (I am not one of those who blames him for our demise) and has managed to keep the business in a very strong position financially when so many other clubs are in deep financial trouble. Unfortunately the world of football has moved on from when Doug started and it is time for a fresh injection of cash and some new faces to try and revive the club. I sincerely believe it is time for a wholesale change in personnel at the club, players and manager alike.

Irish property developers the Comer Brothers and Michael Neville who are looking to purchase Villa for around £64million will certainly inject some cash to be spent on players, but my cynical side tells me giving it to a manager who fails to inspire his team will merely lead to a squandering of a golden opportunity. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against David O’Leary as a manager and I think in the right circumstances he is very capable. I am suggesting, however, that he has become associated with the failures of Villa over the past couple of years and retaining him for much longer will keep that link to the bad days, when the club needs much more positive input. Likewise Juan Pablo Angel. He is simply another in the long line of expensive strikers who have moved to Villa and failed to live up to their potential. He is a very talented individual and I think perhaps he would benefit from a change of clubs. It is time to cut our losses.

For the Villa fans, we can only hope that the new year brings a new attitude at the club and that things will improve – lets face it, they can’t get much worse after a 3-0 defeat at Doncaster!

Dubai Lifestyle – The History of the City and Day to Day Life in Dubai

Filed under: Uncategorized — @ 3:41 pm

Background Information to the United Arab Emirates and Dubai: –

Dubai is one of the seven states that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE); it is located in the Middle East. The UAE borders the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf and is situated between Oman and Saudi Arabia. The United Arab Emirates was formed in 1971 by the then ‘Trucial States’ after their independence from Britain.

The UAE is governed by a Supreme Council of Rulers, the council is made up of the seven emirs and they appoint the prime minister and the cabinet for the country. Despite being ultimately ruled by the Supreme Council, as with the other six states, Dubai maintains a large degree of autonomy from the UAE when it comes to general decision making for the city’s development.

Oil was first discovered in the United Arab Emirates in the 1950s, before that the country’s economy was built on fishing and pearling, since 1962, when Abu Dhabi became the first of the emirates to begin exporting the oil, the country’s economy has been completely transformed.

Sheikh Zayed, who has been the president of the UAE since its inception, quickly understood the economic potential for the country from the oil industry. He has continued to ensure that each of the emirates benefits from the oil generated wealth, he has insisted on the reinvestment of oil revenues into the healthcare system, the education system and the general national infrastructure.

The development of the oil industry has led to a large influx of foreign workers to the UAE, in fact Dubai’s population is the fastest growing in the world and the foreign population makes up about three quarters of the entire UAE population! As a direct result of this fact the UAE is one of the most liberal countries in the Gulf, with other cultures and beliefs tolerated. Dubai has also been quick to understand the need for diversification. Oil in the region is only projected to last for about 30 years and so Dubai has successfully embarked upon a major diversification program aimed to at developing industries and commercial enterprises to take the place of oil as the predominate commodity of the state’s economy.

The climate in Dubai is sub-tropical and arid or desert like. The city enjoys almost year round sunny blue skies. Rain is infrequent and if it does fall, it falls in the winter.

Temperatures range from lows of 10°C to extreme summer highs of 48°C. The average maximum daily temperature in January is 24°C and the average maximum daily temperature in July is 41°C when humidity is very high.

About the city of Dubai

Dubai is recognised as the commercial and tourism capital of the UAE and is globally regarded as one of the most sophisticated, futuristic and cosmopolitan cities in the world, in fact Dubai is something of a phenomenon! It is an Arab Muslim society with the fastest growing foreign population in the world, and it has successfully developed harmony through ethnic diversity. It is a city with unrivalled levels of economic energy and architectural ambition, a unique city of contrasts where the most modern and architecturally stunning skyscrapers stand alongside traditional beautiful Arabic structures.

The experiences and attractions available in Dubai are many and varied. From the miles of immaculate beautiful white sandy beaches to the richly exotic Arabian heritage, from the awe inspiring majesty of the desert to the lively international bars, restaurants and nightclubs – a visitor to Dubai is guaranteed an incredible, never to be forgotten experience.In 2003 Dubai was voted safest holiday destination in the world by Conde Nast Traveller magazine, and in fact Dubai is recognised globally as one of the safest cities in the world. Living in Dubai you will find that it is virtually crime-free with the Dubai police ensuring personal safety and security. Anyone found guilty of committing a serious crime will be severely punished. Alcohol and drug related offences are considered serious.

The economy of the city of Dubai is a mainly service-driven economy, with every business amenity from banking to telecommunications offered. International trading and industrialisation are actively encouraged through the provision of favourable taxation advantages, offshore status, specialist free trade zones etc. Recent innovative projects in the city include the foundation of Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City, bringing 21st century technology to Dubai in the world’s very first ‘Free Zone’ wholly dedicated to e-business.

Day to Day Life in Dubai

Accommodation

If you are considering moving to Dubai one of your first thoughts will no doubt be finding somewhere to live. This is not something you’ll find too tricky, there are many companies advertising rental accommodation in the classified sections of local newspapers and they offer everything from private villas to luxury apartments or even shared accommodation. Whatever your budgetary and lifestyle requirements are, the specialist relocation and housing companies will be sure to have something to assist you. If you prefer to find your accommodation privately and avoid any agency costs, many people use supermarkets notice boards to advertise or request accommodation.

In terms of which areas of the city offer the type of accommodation you are after, Jumeirah, Umm Sequiem and the Safa Park area are upmarket and offer villa-type accommodation. Satwa and Garhoud also offer villas but are slightly cheaper. Rashidiya, Mirdif and Al Quoz are mainly Arabic areas and they actually attract a lot of expats.

If you are after an apartment the most popular areas are around Bur Dubai, the Sheikh Zayed Road with cheaper flats are available in Deira, Satwa and Karama. Some of the more exclusive apartment developments offer shared gym and pool facilities together with garaged car parking and the like.

Education

If you are considering moving to Dubai with family and are interested in finding out about the education system and the availability and quality of schools, one of the best ways is to ask around! Because of the numbers of expats in Dubai there is actually a large number of primary and secondary schools from which you can to choose. Most schools are private fee paying schools and really the best way to get an idea of the reputation of a school is to ask friends, colleagues and other expats who live in Dubai. Many of the schools also have their own websites where you can learn about the curriculum they follow, after school programs etc.

When it comes to enrolling your child in the UAE there are a few restrictions you should be aware of. For example you are not allowed to change your child’s school during the academic year…unless approval is given by the Ministry of Education and the circumstances are ‘special’. This means that you have to make sure the school you choose for your child will definitely suit them. Another restriction you should be aware of is that is you move to Dubai on or after the 1st May each year you can’t enrol your child into the schooling system for that year. Instead you’ll have to enrol for the beginning of the new school year which is usually the beginning of September.

Health

Another consideration you may have if thinking about relocation to Dubai may be the state of the health care system available there. It is fair to say that Dubai has many very well equipped hospitals and surgeries. Dubai’s Department of Health and Medical Services runs Dubai, Rashid, Maktoum and Al Wasl hospitals, with Dubai Hospital one of the best medical centres in the entire Middle East. Al Wasl is a maternity and gynaecology hospital.

The Department of Health also run out patient clinics or surgeries and in addition there are a number of quality private hospitals in Dubai offering in and out patient facilities – e.g., The American and Welcare Hospitals. Overall both the private and publicly offered health care services in Dubai are first class.

Working

Working in Dubai you will enjoy a tax free salary and all shop goods can be bought at tax free prices, making it an incredibly attractive city to international workers and international companies. Job opportunities in Dubai and diverse and plentiful, particularly since the additions of the Media and Internet cities…Dubai is a city expanding its horizons at an unrivalled rate.

It is important to mention that some countries worldwide have tax laws enabling them to tax their nationals on their worldwide income. It is important to check your status with an international accountant before taking up employment in the city.

Lifestyle

Dubai has a thriving expat population who make the most of their tax free lifestyle in this amazing city of opportunity. The nightlife in the city is excellent, with cocktail bars, wine bars, themed bars and typical British or Irish pubs available, many of which offer food and entertainment as well.

High standard international cuisine is available in the city’s many restaurants and if you are looking for lively evening entertainment there are numerous night clubs around the city. Some of the clubs attract international DJs; there are also Middle Eastern, Indian and Asian nightclubs offering entertainment with singers and dancers. Dubai also welcomes international touring singing and entertainment acts which cater to all tastes and ages…from traditional theatre groups to ballet, from opera to international rock and pop bands – all are regular visitors to the United Arab Emirates.

You can be assured of an exciting pace of life in Dubai and a high standard of living.

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