The Canadian Invasion

It's officially the weekend. Well, not officially. It's 7 minutes past 4. But I stopped working quite some time ago. The whole office did. From where I am sat I can see nothing but facebook. There is a new girl in my office. She's 20. She isn't on facebook. She's my new hero. I wish I wasn't on facebook. I should delete it I suppose.

But then what would I do at work?

I'm joking, of course.

There is going to be another Canadiana in my apartment this weekend. A female of the species. There'll be maple syrup everywhere.

Anyway, this is just a short post to wish all you lovely people a fantastic weekend. I shall be mostly spending mine drowning in Kronenbourg.

Have a wonderful weekend, you beautiful bastards.

Love, Smithy x


The White Pele!

Excuse me a moment while I have a little feast on my own words.

Yum yum!

Okay, I never said he was a scumbag, per se. Oh I did? What? Ugly scouse scrubber?? Nooooooo, not me. Who??


And then he goes and signs a 5-year-deal. Well, what can I say? I stand by one thing in my last blog, Sir Alex Ferguson is a legend. Bringing Rooney back into the fold after such an extraordinary few days will go down as one of his most impressive man-management achievements. Rooney will now have to deal with going back into the dressing room at Old Trafford and looking into the eyes of players that he, not so subtly, described as 'not good enough' to challenge for the top trophies. He'll also have to walk out in front of the Old Trafford faithful, a group who loved him so dearly and he cruelly shunned in his statement on Wednesday night as he stated his desire to leave.

I also stand by the fact that his loyalty is not with United. He is clearly looking out for himself and was more than ready to move on for greener pastures when he felt that United wasn't the best club for him. He's a chav from Liverpool. He's obviously an unsavoury character. I think that is something we're going to have to accept with modern-day footballers.

But he is one of the best strikers in the world. United should have those players in their team. And the best thing about this saga for United fans, particular the Green & Gold brigade, is that Rooney's previous beliefs that we were unable to bring in the best players in the world have been changed in the last 48 hours after meetings with the Glazers and David Gill. Does that mean we are finally going to see money being spent? Are we going to see some investment in our present rather than a constant look to the future? Has Rooney been guaranteed the captaincy? Or has he simply been given a massive contract that will make him one of the highest-paid players in Europe? Maybe it's all of them. But it will be the former that will matter to United fans and the one that we will be praying to come true.

For now, Rooney will have to work had to win back the love and trust of the United fans. The only way to do this? Shut up, stop shagging prostitutes and whoring yourself out to the rest of the world, and start scoring goals again. Let's compete this season. If you're so enamoured with glory, get off your arse and go get us some glory! And then maybe you'll become Old Trafford's hero once again.

Is my tail far enough between my legs? Not as far as Rooney's, anyway.

Love, Smithy x


The White Pele

It's a strange thing being a football fan. I grew up watching Manchester United and Bury. My parents couldn't afford to take me to Old Trafford every other weekend (nor could they get tickets even if they could have afforded it) so after winning a free ticket to Gigg Lane, home of Second Divison Bury FC my home-town team, we became season ticket holders. For about 5 years. We'd follow the team all over the country, home and away, week in, week out. Even now, when I hear the name of a random English town like Mansfield or Peterborough or Brentford, I think about it in terms of their shitty small-town stadiums where I might have ended up with my picture in a national paper wearing my football-shaped hat (true) or my Dad might have been smashed in the face with a football during the players' warm-up session (also true). I loved it. We all did.

But deep down I was a United fan. My Dad grew up in Stretford, in the shadow of Old Trafford's famous Stretford End and he watched United when they first were great. He watched as, from the ashes of the Busby Babes and the horror of the Munich Disaster, Sir Matt Busby built a team around Best, Law and Charlton and achieved his ultimate dream of winning what was then called the European Cup, defeating Benfica at Wembley in 1968 (a game my Dad missed after being warned not to attend by his schoolmaster as he had exams coming up, a story which I always found tragic, and still do). My parents even met while watching them play. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Manchester United.

At a similar age as my Dad had been in '68, I watched as Alex Ferguson, inspired by the legacy of the recently deceased Sir Matt Busby, built a team of kids around the Nevilles, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and the rest who dominated the 90s, winning Premiership after Premiership, culminating in the the magnificent treble of '99, defeating Bayern Munich in an incredible final to take the European Cup, now called the Champions League. I will never forget that day. It was one of the happiest of my life.

I love Manchester United. My blood runs red. Maybe yours does too, but mine has white shorts and socks. Of course I am biased, but I think Alex Ferguson has built a club around loyalty, integrity and decency. Some of the more unsavoury aspects of modern-day football have been largely absent from United and, when things like play-acting, infidelity and the rest have reared their ugly heads, Fergie has stamped them out quick-style. Even David Beckham, despite his mostly clean-cut public profile and unquestionable effort and talent on the pitch, was deemed surplus to requirements as his rapidly increasing profile didn't sit well with Sir Alex and he was carted out to Madrid. Similarly, Paul Ince, the self-styled Guv'nor (and a man who I once put down on a primary school project as my greatest role model, slightly upsetting my father) was considered too big for his boots and sent off to Italy, Roy Keane was too disruptive and sent off into retirement (well, the Scottish Premier League but it's essentially the same thing) and Jaap Stam, a fantastic footballer, was sold prematurely when he fell out with the manager. My point is that Sir Alex Ferguson believes that Manchester United the club will always be the most important thing, and he will always do the best thing by the club. He has an outstanding record of looking after talented young players (Giggs, Beckham, Ronaldo and, of course, Wayne Rooney) and because of this he demands - and receives - tremendous loyalty. Look at the players that have stayed there for their whole careers. An unusually high amount. And look how many players leave because they actually want to. The number is tiny.

But we can add to that tiny number one Mr Wayne Rooney. A man who, this week, has admitted that he wants to leave Manchester United because they 'lack ambition'. Manchester United, winners of 11 out of 18 Premier League titles, Champions League finalists twice in three years winning one of those times, finalists and winners of countless national cups over the years and consisting of some of the best young talent in world football, 'lack ambition'.

Rooney has had a difficult few months, and I have watched in something approaching horror as he has capitulated from a 34-goal-a-season machine - who I once admitted to being gay for - into a liability. He started off by criticising the England fans at the World Cup, then was photographed smoking and taking a piss behind a club in Manchester, then came the revelations that he had been shagging prostitutes on the regular while his wife was pregnant with their first child and finally, a huge drop in form. Through all this, the United fans stuck by him. He was the 'White Pele'. A player that was born to play for Manchester United, who always gave 100%, who chased down every challenge, who seemed to play football simply because he loved to do so, who scored one of my favourite goals of all time. The lifestyle choices were disappointing, but I couldn't stop loving the press conferences with Fergie where he'd talk about Rooney nagging him to play or begging him to let him be captain - Fergie always had this smile on his face when he talked about Rooney, like he was an annoying little nephew or something. It was clear he was fond of him.

So to watch his press conference, where a genuinely upset and confused man, a footballing genius who had turned a promising young footballer into a world-class talent, tried to explain why his protege wanted to leave him, was heartbreaking. And to read Rooney's statement, where he seems to cast aside the love and affection that has been lavished on him from the terraces of the most wonderful stadium in the world is heartbreaking as well. Fuck him. He doesn't deserve that love. He doesn't deserve to wear that red shirt of United if he thinks we're not ambitious enough. We're too ambitious for him. Manchester United is far bigger than Wayne Rooney will ever be. He could have been a hero in Manchester. We'd forgotten that he was an ugly scouse scrubber. He was on his way to being a legend. He was almost definitely the next captain. He could have broken scoring records, and one day be mentioned in the same breath as Charlton, Robson, Giggs, true gentlemen who knew what it meant to wear that shirt. But he threw it away.

I don't know where he'll go now and I don't really care. If he ends up at City, which it looks likely he will, it will be the ultimate betrayal, but I don't think that it would hurt United fans much more than it already does. Football is obviously changing. Perhaps it is the case that United won't be the dominant force in Manchester that they have been during my lifetime. But at least we will continue, while Sir Alex Ferguson remains at the helm, to play with honour, integrity and respect. And with players who want to wear that beautiful red shirt. He doesn't deserve to. He's disappointed me so much. I honestly thought he was different. The last of a dying breed. But he's just the same as the rest of the new generation. A scumbag.

And that's why it is so strange to be a football fan. I don't know Wayne Rooney. He doesn't owe me anything. I don't know Alex Ferguson. He'll never know how much I respect him. But I still feel that Rooney has let me down. And he has abused the respect of Sir Alex Ferguson. I don't think any United fan will ever forgive him.

I'm off to the pub to watch my heroes play football. And I'm glad that Rooney won't be among them.

Love, Smithy x


And Now, From Somewhere in Wales....

So much has changed since the last time I posted. And yet, nothing has really changed at all.

There are less Koreans here. Not no Koreans, just less Koreans. I was sat with the Canadian on the bus the other day, straining our ears to nosy in on the conversation of some vaguely East Asian-looking girls. It took us a while to identify the language. English, it was.

Welsh is the most bizarre language I have ever heard in my life. I wrongly assumed that it was an archaic language, spoken only in tiny hamlets between mountains. By sheep. Turns out it's spoken everywhere! My Canadian girlfriend even has to teach it! To give you an indication, it sounds like a room full of the most annoying people you have ever met, reading the Bible backwards to the tune of Auld Lang Syne. That's what Welsh sounds like.

Remember when I said I was going to be a freelance writer and part time drug dealer? Well, that didn't quite work out as I'd hoped. I'm not a very good drug dealer. Or freelance writer. Instead, I took a job at a marketing company. I'm not going to get into the specifics of what I do, but it is morally dubious and I'm quite good at it. No surprises there.

Anyway, the purpose of this post is to let each of my 3 regular readers know that I'm back, the blog will be back up and running, and I will be bringing tedious and obvious satire to your lives on a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, who-knows-how-often-to-be-honest, basis. There are many subjects that I'll be touching on in the immediate future. Rooney. The X Factor. Korea. The Canadian. The half-Windsor knot. Lasagne. For now though, I'll leave you with this question to ponder...

If everyone stopped watching the X Factor, Big Brother, How Clean is your Wedding and all the other varieties of the modern-day freak show; if we stopped buying the News of the World, Heat and all the other varieties of modern-day propaganda, designed to hypnotise us into stupidity; and if we started to concentrate on what is really important in life - love, family, happiness, medium-rare red meat - instead of worrying about all this other shit which is really none of our fucking business...would it ever not be funny that Justin Bieber is being investigated for knocking out some 12-year-old at a Laserquest?

I'm back...you miss me?

Love, Smithy x