Who bears responsibility for the Pro-Trump Washington DC riots and why it should worry us in the UK.

After only a couple days after publishing on here my hope that politics might return to some sanity with the end of Donald Trump as United States President. Unfortunately, on the day his time came to an official end, it was realised my hopes were nothing more than wishful thinking.

In the United States, January 6th saw Congress meet to certify the Electoral College vote from Novembers election. Effectively, it would confirm Joe Biden as the victor and the end of Donald Trump’s presidency. There was also to run off in Georgia which saw the Democrats winning both battles and taking control of the Senate as well. With control of the Senate, Congress and the Presidency, this is a good opportunity for the incoming President to legislate as he wants.  read more

Critique of the UK Government’s shambolic handling of the pandemic

Coronavirus. It feels a long time ago since Brexit was the big cat in the room and that was only a couple of months ago. I have been anxious to write on this topic because as someone who is at increased risk of complications if I get it (for those who don’t know, I am diabetic; that account for 26% of underlying conditions in England) it terrifies me. It literally scares the crap out of me! However, If the worst were to happen this may be my only chance to voice my concerns on it ok!

It was 23rd March when the Prime Minister announced measures that amounted to the biggest curb on our civil liberties ever in modern British history outside of wartime. The UK is on lockdown of sorts, following in the path of other European countries including France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Ireland in a bid to curb the transmission and spread of the new novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The lockdown measures are relatively lax compared to some other countries and while it was a necessary move and universally praised as a look at my Facebook feed that Monday evening suggested, it is one that I felt was overdue.

Yes, this post will be critiquing the approach the government has taken in handling this epidemic. Criticising them has not been a cool thing to do at present. As people who know me know, I am a socialist and I often get told I criticise them whatever they do, or if it were a Labour government I would not be so critical. If Labour’s record was anywhere near the record of the current government, trust me I would be saying the same. I have also seen a lot of posts saying this is not a time to be political or that Boris Johnson is doing a good job and doing the best he can. The final assertion is a fair point. Boris Johnson, we must assume is doing what he feels is the best job he can and he cannot be faulted for that. However, at this time holding the government to account, regardless of your views in an objective way (as I hope to do in this post) has never been more important… read more

F1 2019: Updates and what to look out for in the remaining two races

Both the Constructors and Drivers Championships have been decided with Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes ensuring a record-breaking sixth successive double success. So, with two races to go, you may be forgiven for thinking there is nothing left to play for as the F1 219 season winds down with the penultimate race of the season at Interlagos this weekend. That said, there are still several thongs to look forward to before the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi in two weeks…

Constructors-Battle for 6th

Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull all loo set to finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd for the third successive year and with McLaren holding a 42 point leade over Renault for 4th, it looks like the only tasty battle in the Constructors Championship is the battle for 6th. read more

Bottas wins but Hamilton secures meteoric sixth title: 2019 USA Grand Prix Review.

The Circuit of the America’s (COTA) is probably one of the best circuits designed by Hermann Tilke in recent times and it was the site of F1 history. Previously, only one driver had won more than Juan Manuel Fangio’s five world championships. Now, there is two as Lewis hamilton wrapped up the 2019 Championship for his 6th title. An absolutely phenomenal achievement.

Austin’s F1 future may well be under threat with the proposed plans for a Grand Prix in Miami but F1 reported the attendance as being above last years 269,899 and 111,580 for race day. That is all despite there being another significant race in Texas that weekend; the NASCAR Cup Series at the Texas Motor Speedway for the second time after both events clashed in 2014. read more

2018 World Cup Russia Preview

Football could have been coming home this summer but it was not to be. Instead, when Russia hosts Saudi Arabia, they will kick start the 2018 World Cup. 736 players representing 32 nations from five continental football federations will be competing on this, the biggest stage in football and after a mammoth month of football (64 games between 14th June and 15th July), 23 players will have played their part I crowning their national side, World Champions!

The geographical spread of the host cities in Russia. [Image from Sky Sports].

With this being Russia’s first hosting of a major international football tournament, a number of new stadiums were built. With Russia spanning 17.1 million square km and two continents, it is mostly concentrated in European Russia (West of the Ural mountains) with the exception of Ekaterinburg that will see football. From St. Petersburg in the north to Sochi in the south on the Caspian Sea, from Yaketerinburg in the east to Kaliningrad in the west, the world cup spans a diameter of 7.1 million square miles. The tournament spans four different time zones and has 12 stadiums being used from 11 cities with the capital, Moscow the only city to be using two stadiums. read more

F1 2018 Season Preview

Well, 2017 was an entertaining year in Formula One and was certainly tenser in terms of the Championships. That was in no small part down to Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari who took the battle to Mercedes. However, it was Mercedes who won both titles for the fourth successive year as Lewis Hamilton won his 4th title in a record-breaking year!

2017 Australian Grand Prix Podium with Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari (centre) the race winner; Lewis Hamilton (left) in 2nd and Valtteri Bottas (right) in 3rd [Image from The Daily Mirror]

Vettel’s claim to the title began when the overcut worked well in Australia. Ferrari keeping him out longer than Hamilton allowed them to leapfrog the Mercedes to their first opening-round victory since 2010. Victories in Bahrain and Monaco left Vettel in a commanding position in the standings. Despite Grand Slam victories in China and Canada, Hamilton was still a fair way behind the German which was contributed to by the stir caused by Valtteri Bottas. The Finn took pole in Bahrain as well as victories in Russia and Austria to keep Hamilton earnest. Vettel still had the upper hand after F1’s crazy weekend in Azerbaijan. The German had steered into Hamilton behind the Safety Car prompting the stewards to give him a 10-second penalty. Hamilton though had a headboard issue to deal with meaning Vettel finished ahead as Daniel Ricciardo picked up his only win the season. It seemed luck was not on Hamilton’s side. Hamilton stormed to a fifth British Grand Prix victory at Silverstone and closed the gap down to a single point after a late puncture for Vettel saw him drop to 7th. Vettel came back with a victory in Hungary with Raikkonen either unable or not allowed to overtake his teammate. read more

F1 2017 Mexican Grand Prix Preview : Can Hamilton do it?

I have missed a couple of Grand Prix since commenting on F1 so I would like to start this post with a brief overview of what I missed in the Far East Double bill before delving into the second part of the America’s double bill; starting with Malaysia:

2800px-flag_of_malaysia read more

NUFC EFL Championship 2016/17 Season: November

The clocks have gone back, the nights are getting longer and darker while the nation celebrated Guy Fawkes night. That is where English football started in November and as the month progressed, developments in the world of football were getting darker and darker. Meanwhile, it was also Movember as men around the country attempted to grow some embarrassing stubble in the annual stubble against Prostate Cancer.

Football News: November 2016
  • England and Scotland faced each other for the first time competitively since Euro 96; England won the game 3-0 with goals from Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Gary Cahill.
  • The Republic of Ireland defeated Austria for the first time since 1963 to go top of Group D in EUFA World Cup Qualification; James Maclean scored the goal.
  • Wales were held to another frustrating draw, this time with Serbia as Aleksandar Mitrovic equalised with 5 minutes remaining in Cardiff; the game finished 1-1.
  • Northern Ireland defeated Azerbaijan 4-0 at Windsor Park and finished 2016 2nd place in Group C in World Cup Qualification
  • The FA ended the month announcing Gareth Southgate as the new, permanent Head Coach after going unbeaten during his interim period
  • Football was rocked by allegations of historic sex abuse allegations with over 20 ex-professional players coming forward by the end of November.
  • In the Champions League, Manchester City progressed to the knockout stages with a 1-1 draw away to Borussia Monchengladbach while Leicester City achieved the same feat at the first time of asking after defeating Club Brugge 2-1 while a 2-1 defeat in Monaco knocked Tottenham Hotspur out of the competition. Arsenal also progressed.
  • Southampton celebrated perhaps the biggest night in the clubs history
    Brazilian football club Chapecoense were struck by tragedy at the end of November
    Brazilian football club Chapecoense were struck by tragedy at the end of November

    after defeating Inter Milan 2-1 at St Mary’s.

  • Chelsea finished the month top of the Premier League after defeating Tottenham 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.
  • Lamia flight 2933 crashed in the Columbian Mountains killing 71 people, including 19 players of Brazilian club Chapecoense who were travelling to face Athletico Nacional in the Copa Sudamericana final having defeated San Lorenzo the previous week.
  • Six managers in English football lost their jobs in November taking the tally for the season to 18.manager-sack-race
The managerial casualties of November 2016

NUFC in November

Away from those dark developments in football, there was, of course, the action on the pitch and the beauty of the beautiful game. In the EFL Championship, Newcastle United had only four fixtures in November; three in the league and an EFL Cup Quarter-Final. November would not be as stellar as the previous month when Newcastle won all 6 of their games but there were still some highs. read more

NUFC EFL Championship season 2016/17: October

The leaves have been turning brown, the nights are getting longer and colder, the kids have had their Autumn half-term while the ghosts and ghouls have been out for Halloween! And that’s without Chris samara’s fashion sense! In English football, the league and cup competitions are in full flow with early promotion and relegation candidates appearing across all three divisions of the Football league. All the while, the national side has been without a permanent manager.

October 2016: 10 things in October

  • The managerial sack race picked up with 8 casualties over the top 4 divisions of English football
  • Gareth Southgate began his spell as Interim England Head Coach with an unconvincing 2-0 win at Wembley over Malta before taking a dull 0-0 draw away in Slovenia.
  • Wales thought to a credible 2-2 draw in Austria but was followed up with another draw as Georgia held Wales to 1-1 draw in Cardiff
  • Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland defeated Georgia 1-0 before defeating Moldova 3-1 to go joint top of Group D
  • Northern Ireland defeated minnows San Marino 4-0 before falling to a 2-0 away defeat to reigning World Champions Germany
  • Scotland scraped a 1-1 draw at home to Lithuania after scoring a late equaliser before Slovakia destroyed them in a 3-0 win.
  • Jose Mourinho made his first return to Stamford Bridge after his sacking by Chelsea last season and his first visit as a rival Premier League manager but his Manchester United side was blown away in a 4-0 defeat.
  • Meanwhile, Diego Costa had a strop with manager Antonio Conte
  • Pep Guardiola overcame his worst run of form in his managerial career with a 4-0 win at West Brom after 6 games without a win against Celtic, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton, Barcelona, Southampton and Manchester United.
  • Sunderland were still yet to win a game in the league under David Moyes and became the first team in Premier League history to win in one of their first 10 games
  • At Arsenal, Arsene Wenger celebrated 20 years at Arsenal.

Newcastle United’s October

What a month it was for Newcastle United! No upheaval during the International break as has been the case at times under the ownership of Mike Ashley and for the first time this season; a 100% win record in all competitions. 6 games, 6 wins and 17 goals scored with only 2 conceded as well as a Quarter Final appearance in the bag! The feel good factor is certainly back now! read more

2016 Belgian Grand Prix Preview

It has been a long 4 weeks hasn’t it? The football season has started up again, the Olympics in Rio have come and gone; Team GB came back with 67 medals and the UK is still no nearer to leaving the EU. However, F1 is back! The drivers have had their summer holidays in which Kimi Raikkonen got married, Nico Rosberg spent time with his dogs, Lewis Hamilton took a trip round the Caribbean, Jenson Button and Daniel Ricciardo met up in the US while Fernando Alonso trained at Palm Springs in California.. They’ve had their fun and it is time for them to get back down to business for the final 9 races of the 2016 season. It’s time to get back in the car, extract the maximum from it, fight for points, pole position, podiums wins and championship position. For some it will be glory or pride’s sake, for others it will be about saving their F1 career.

The 9 Grand Prix’s left are: read more