Sunday, July 10, 2005

A thought......


"One day I was sitting on the banks of the river. I took from the water a round stone and I broke it. Inside it was perfectly dry. That stone had been lying in the water for a very long time but the water had not penetrated it. Then I thought that the same thing happened to men in Europe. For centuries they had been surrounded by Christianity but Christianity had not penetrated, does not live within them".

Sandhu Sundar Singh (1889-1929)


Sky over Bannow Bay, Co.Wexford, Ireland Sept 11, 1999

Friday, July 08, 2005

Rumours, Rumours.......

Barcelona negotiating with Ronaldinho earlier today.

Ronaldinho to Chelsea?

Apparently the silly season is flying with reports that Brazil's answer to Bugs Bunny is going to Chelsea for $100 million.

As if we need him......!!!!

Anyway, The Blue ones, champions of England at last, fly into the States at the end of this month. We intend on being at least in New York for the game versus some crowd called AC Milan. The US, NY & Mid-West Blues will be out in force at all three of Chelsea's games on tour.

Kudos to the Neat brothers, Mike & Steve of New York Blues for setting up a wonderful weekend in NY/NJ.....these guys do terrific work for the club and deserve a place in whatever blue heaven we all go to as the soccer cliche puts it..."at the end of the day".

London, July 7, 2005


London, July 7, 2005
The Morning Rush-Hour...
No words of mine are of use here but the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone spoke for us all who love the City.

Mayor condemns terrorist attack as cowardly -

This was a cowardly attack, resulting in injury and loss of life, and aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. -->
This was a cowardly attack, which has resulted in injury and loss of life. Our thoughts are with everyone who has been injured, or lost loved ones. I want to thank the emergency services for the way they have responded.
Following the al-Qaeda attacks on September 11th in America we conducted a series of exercises in London in order to be prepared for just such an attack. One of the exercises undertaken by the government, my office and the emergency and security services was based on the possibility of multiple explosions on the transport system during the Friday rush hour. The plan that came out of that exercise is being executed today, with remarkable efficiency and courage, and I praise those staff who are involved.
I'd like to thank Londoners for the calm way in which they have responded to this cowardly attack and echo the advice of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair – do everything possible to assist the police and take the advice of the police about getting home today.
I have no doubt whatsoever that this is a terrorist attack. We did hope in the first few minutes after hearing about the events on the Underground that it might simply be a maintenance tragedy. That was not the case. I have been able to stay in touch through the very excellent communications that were established for the eventuality that I might be out of the city at the time of a terrorist attack and they have worked with remarkable effectiveness. I will be in continual contact until I am back in London.
I want to say one thing specifically to the world today. This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at Presidents or Prime Ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, for class, for religion, or whatever.
That isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted faith – it is just an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder and we know what the objective is. They seek to divide Londoners. They seek to turn Londoners against each other. I said yesterday to the International Olympic Committee, that the city of London is the greatest in the world, because everybody lives side by side in harmony. Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack. They will stand together in solidarity alongside those who have been injured and those who have been bereaved and that is why I'm proud to be the mayor of that city.
Finally, I wish to speak directly to those who came to London today to take life.
I know that you personally do not fear giving up your own life in order to take others – that is why you are so dangerous. But I know you fear that you may fail in your long-term objective to destroy our free society and I can show you why you will fail.
In the days that follow look at our airports, look at our sea ports and look at our railway stations and, even after your cowardly attack, you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners and to fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential.
They choose to come to London, as so many have come before because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They don’t want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Ketchup!

Home thoughts from abroad...
It’s hard not to grin like a Cheshire cat these days…Flying in the League..3 games from our first Championship in half a century!

Mourinho is having a laugh with the Football authorities showing them up to be the pompous buffoons we all know them to be. To see & hear Arsene Wenger keening like a French Banshee and Alex Ferguson contenting himself with an FA Cup run…these indeed are heady days for a Chelsea fan.

The greatest day of my life was the birth of my son!. Now whether it was in the subconscious or whatever but when he popped out into the world I sung to him two songs in that delivery room “Molly Malone” and “One man went to mow..” , the respective anthems of my birth city, Dublin and the sporting love of my life, Chelsea FC.

He’s sixteen months old now, the owner of two CFC kits as well as a Wexford kit plus his own hurl and ball. Whenever Fox Soccer Channel comes on, he jigs to the music and cheers to the “Chels” on the pitch. Already he has had a spot on a TV program, Chelsea fan and all round good guy Steven Cohen read him a dedication on Fox Soccer Friday last December on his first birthday.

Needless to say, I believe the next greatest day is soon to follow when John Terry lifts the premier league trophy.

Odds & Sods!

We (that was a royal we, meaning her indoors and myself) went to see Tom Jones last week. At the shows end, I counted 24 pairs of knickers on the stage, not bad for a 65 year old boy from the valleys…a great show, a great showman. Great to see fellow Celts in the numerous welsh who were present, glowing in my congratulations on their rugby team winning their first grand slam in 27 years and more power to them! With regard to the Knickers owners, they obviously didn’t count on it been so windy as they were whistling down Broadway after the show’s end…giving that piece of anatomy a second purpose in life! well at least that night!

Sting is next on the list next week. We’ll be visiting Oxford on the Ohio-Indiana border for that. Joe Jackson comes to Cincinnati next but Ticket master are scalping us with a $20 cover fee for two $33 tickets…it is getting ridiculous so I’ll hold fire on that.

The night before Tom Jones, we went to see Columbus crew open their MLS season v LA Galaxy…atrocious weather made an atrocious match..3-0 to the Crew

The Clan went to Chicago last month…all I can say about that is what a wonderful city it is. Wonderful architecture, tremendous attractions, fabulous restaurants and simply lovely people…we’ll be going back there very soon. The Missus’ maternal family is from Chicago and I know it was emotional for her, the first time she visited her mom’s old haunts and neighborhoods.

If ever you go there buy the Citypass combo pack…great value altogether.
http://citypass.com/city/chicago.html Check it out here!

England plays the US at Soldier Field and methinks I may head there if the Chelsea contingent doesn’t cry off.

Finally

The New York & US Blues heads to “Mecca” next week and take in The Fulham and Arsenal games….here’s wishing them all a safe and hugely enjoyable trip…fantastic people…we are close to setting up the Ohio branch here very shortly…details will be announced presently.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Borstal Boy

March 23rd, 1964

A wonderful talent died.

Brendan Behan was a force of nature!



He left behind a small but brilliant body of work..a few plays, a couple of novels, some observations on Ireland, New York plus a miscellany of short stories based mainly on the colourful characters one meets in the public houses of Ireland.

For anybody who has not discovered his work. Read “Borstal Boy” first. It is simply one of the most human and humane pieces of prose committed to paper.

Behan was paranoid about being found out. He felt he had no talent and his luck would run out. People would discover that his maverick genius would be declared a fake. He tormented himself with this fear and hid it from the world with a sham air of drunken belligerence.

There is a link with my family which I will not divulge here. My parents remember him well.

He died 6 months before I entered the world. Alcohol and diabetes had destroyed his small but ample frame.

I’ll write more on the laughing boy soon and indeed his contemporaries who are sadly overlooked by the Intelligentsia on both sides of the Atlantean pond. It’s late and I’ve yet to arrange travel for my clan to the windy city.

(c) deadlydesh2005

Jose's first trophy......

No rest for the wicked!

I haven’t blogged in a while so here goes.

Chelsea had a blip on their travels recently, bounced out of the FA cup by a workaday Newcastle team and beaten by Barcelona in the Champion’s league first leg due to some really dodgy refereeing.

Normal service was resumed when the Blues beat Liverpool in the Carling Cup Final in The superb Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. It was a great game, well worth the PPV price – even it was a gouge!

Liverpool scored first with a superb John Arne Riise volley after only 45 seconds and having dominated the opening 45 seconds fell under a relentless Chelsea siege until Steven Gerrard their captain scored his first goal for Chelsea. This prompted Jose Mourinho to remind the Assembled Media to shut the f**k up and mistakenly was taken up by those sensitive scouse souls in the stands beyond to be a gesture towards their “chirpy bantering” towards the Chelsea bench

Extra time saw Chelsea take a 3-1 lead through Didier Drogba and Mateja Kezman. A late Nunez foul on Peter Cech was allowed to stand and the goal that resulted did so too.

Man of the match for me was Claude Makalele. He was simply everywhere! Richard Carvalho, John Terry and Paolo Ferreira (despite his awol for Riise’s goal) ran him close.


John, Stevie & Eidur enjoy a grand day out!

Final score: Chelsea 3 Liverpool 2

(c) deadlydesh2005

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Glossary of my language


One of my hobbies is etymology, if you don’t know what it means get a dictionary!
But seriously though, my American pals & colleagues always get confused and sometimes worried when I use the following terms, in conversation or work situations.

So in an effort at D├ętente, International Co-Operation, World Peace and simply to clarify the meanings for the American (& indeed British) reader, I have embarked on writing a small list which I may add to from time to time.

Hopefully, this list will explain words as they are to me and ought to be to them! (In my mindJ!).

Arse: Ass as in posterior.
(e.g.) “He is a right pain in the arse!” Also can be used as a term of defiance as in “I will in me arse!”

Bog: A term of disdain normally used by townies and Dubliners to the country side.
“Get back to the Bog, ya culchie!”. It can also refer to the bathroom, as in “I’m going to the bog!”

Bollocks, Bollix: means literally testes/testicles but usually as a term of enragement. However it can be used as a term of endearment depending on the tone it is said in.
“You Lousy bollocks!’ “He’s only a bollox!” “A pain in the bollocks!”

Bum: Arse
“He is a pain in the Bum!”

Crack, Craic: Fun!
(e.g.) “We had great crack in Dublin!” “What’s the crack?” meaning “What are we going to do?’

Culchie: a term usually used by Dubliners but invariably other East Coast Townies to country folk. Apparently, the term has its roots from Kiltymagh, Co. Mayo (pronounced Culchiemack) although a lot of people believe it was a reference to agriculture including the writer of this piece.

Cute: It can have the normal meaning of “awwww” or it can mean sly or cunning.
(e.g.) “Mind him! He’s a cute bastard!”

Doss: To not work. (e.g.) “I had a right doss at school today!”

Dosser: A lazy person (e.g.) “He’s a real dosser!”

Fag: a cigarette
(e.g.) “I am dying for a fag!” “I need a fag!” “I’d kill for a fag!”

Fairy: a member of the Tuatha De Danann. An ancient Irish citizen to be treated with respect and due deference when encountered on a dark night. We never refer to them as fairies normally though. The term usually referred to is “one of the other crowd!” If somebody is daydreaming, it has been heard that “He is away with the fairies!”

Feck: The Irish lite version of F*ck. Like its stronger “Anglo” cousin can mean a whole raft of meanings like
To Feck: to steal
“Feck that!” : “No way!”
“Feck off!” : “Leave me alone!”
“fecking, feckin’” Adjective of
“Fecker”: Pest or alternatively a term of endearment.
Can be used dazzlingly together like, “Feck off! Ye Feckin’ fecker!”.

Gay: happy, go lucky though it isn’t used much anymore. It also is a man’s name, shortened version of Gabriel as in Gabriel or Gay Byrne.

Gob: Mouth
(e.g.) “I’ll give you a smack in the gob!’

Gobshite: a bull shitter, a fool
(e.g.) “Never mind that Gobshite!”


Gurrier: a youth of low moral caliber. Brave when they have a few cans of cider and hunt in packs. Picking normally on an isolated or lone individual. They can be found in all social strata. Usually they grow up to be rugby players, tax collectors and lawyers.
(e.g). "They are a right, nasty bunch of Gurriers!'


Hoor: Whore nominally but as in all things Irish, it has a plethora of meanings like;
“Watch that one! He’s a cute hoor!”
“Ye hoor, yeh!” - Exclamation of surprise or disdain
“ye little hoor!” :- loving term from your mom!

Jacks: a term used by Dubliners in reference to the bathroom.
(e.g.) “I’m off to the jacks!”

Joint: side of roast beef. The traditional Irish and British Sunday dinner. Simply put an institution of both Islands.
(e.g.) “Granny really loved the Sunday Joint”. “The family had a joint on Sunday”.

Knacker: a term used for a tinker usually in a disparaging manner. It is usually referred though to a person of low social standing or class. A person of unsophisticated tastes.
(e.g.) “He’s only a knacker, don’t mind him”
“They’re a bunch of knackers!’ in reference say to a football/soccer team whose tactics are, shall we say, dubious or uncompromising at best.

From the root of Knacker, we get

Knackered: which means tired¹ but also can be used as beaten²?
(e.g.)¹ “I am Knackered, , I haven’t slept in days!’
(e.g.)² “We’re knackered now, they’ve scored again!”

Lad: A term for a boy normally but when “the ”is put before it, it has only one meaning in the Irish psyche meaning the male appendage or penis. Always referred to in the third person.
(e.g.) “How’s the lad?” a popular greeting among (usually) young Irish males in a light hearted enquiry as to one’s sex life. Amongst Older Irish males though, it is normally an enquiry about one’s self in the third person! A reflection on the libido I guess as one gets older

Mickey: Pet name for the penis as in “Me Mickey is itchy!” usually overheard from a pack of Gurriers on a Saturday night in a fast food outlet

Quare: Odd, not right.
(e.g.). “Something is quare here!” or “That’s quare!”

Quare fella: Usually a term for Satan or the devil.
(e.g.) “I think he’s in with the quare fella!”

Redneck: A term for a culchie or a countryperson. My Dublin born mammy told me it was a reference to culchies getting slapped on the back of their necks by their frustrated parents, saying “Get up to Dublin and get a job!”
(e.g.) “Go back to the bog, ya redneck!”

Smack: Slap, a blow
(e.g.) “I’ll give you a smack in the gob!” “I’ll smack the arse off you!”
(c) deadlydesh ravenspoint 2005

(image courtesy of Fr. Ted online @ http://www.fathertedonline.ukf.net)

Friday, February 04, 2005

1988 and all that

In the buildup to the European championships in Germany. The BBC did an interview with Johann Cruyff, a handy enough player in his day!

If I recall, Bob Wilson, ex Gooner & Scotland keeper was the interviewer and at the end of the segment, Bob intones the warning somewhat patronizingly that Mr. Cruyff had a surprise bet. “Don’t ignore the Irish!” he advised. “They won’t change their game for no-one! They play together as one unit, for each other!”

That was as mild as it got from the British Media regarding the Irish. The general sneering tone from paper, pundits and quotable insiders were that Ireland was there for the holidays. That Ireland played a kick & rush game. That Ireland was unsophisticated, that her players were ‘plastic paddies” and “guns for hire”. These latter labels were accredited to the fact that a number of the squad, notably John Aldridge & Ray Houghton were born in the UK…no matter that some of the England players like Terry Butcher and John Barnes were similarly challenged!

Then June 12th happened

There were many ironies that day, too numerous to mention here but the irony of it all though was that It was an Englishman who lead us through this. Too truculent and outspoken in his own association’s eyes, Jack Charlton’s direct no-nonsense, “say it as it is!” talk endeared him to Irish hearts and his subsequent loyalty to his players only heightened the respect he garnished from a grateful country, starved of meaningful success on the world stage of sport.

Jack embraced the siege mentality of the underdog. It was something he, his players and indeed his adopted country could all share in as they out on the greatest sporting adventure the country had ever experienced.

The players, native and foreign born found the dynamic of such a psychological milieu of the siege spirit a terrifically unifying force. It was something the manager had harnessed before in qualifying & friendly games particularly in matches against Scotland, Bulgaria and Brazil but now against perfidious Albion, the mental energy such a spirit engendered coupled with the raw emotion of facing “superior England” unleashed a whirlwind of commitment and passion that was very focused on one goal – victory!

England weren’t the first Country to underestimate Ireland and indeed they weren’t the last. Many Countries had previously misjudged the Irish, usually almost consistently to their cost.

The wake up call came at precisely 3.36pm local time on June 12th in the Neckar Stadion in Stuttgart when Ray Houghton headed rather cheekily over an out of place Peter Shilton after some keystone capers by the English Defense caused by Jack Charlton’s “pressure game”.


"You owe us a pint!"
Ray Houghton and Ronnie Whelan celebrate the opening of Jack Charlton's wallet

This “pressure game” basically was a system that kept the opposing team on the back foot principally in their own half. Compressing that space caused chaos for the defending team and tremendous advantages for the attacking team. It required incredible stamina and athleticism and no mean footballing skill either but the first two factors were paramount.

It wasn’t kick and rush, it was a whole new concept of the term “Total Football” that eventual tournament winners Holland and the architect of the principle, Rinus Michels had introduced to the world. The first attacker was the keeper, the first defender was the center forward. The wings were used with devastating effect on counter attacks on those rare occasions they were being pressed themselves. It was a culture shock to the footballing powers when they encountered it.

It shook England to the core as they found an Irish team that was up to it in every sense of the word.

Ireland ran England ragged in that opening 45 minutes. The Chants from the 15,000 or so strong Green army that had made the pilgrimage to Germany were stoic to say the least, as pundit after pundit was assailed from the terraces. “Are you watching Jimmy Hill, Brian Clough, etc!”. The neutral Germans loved the atmosphere as they joined in with The Irish fans in singing “Auf Weidersehn England!” to the tune of Mary Hopkin’s “those were the days!”.

It was almost as if 800 years of history was pressing down on that pitch that day. As England strove for an equalizer in the second half, it appeared that a legion of ghosts had planted themselves around Packie Bonner’s goal as chance after chance went amiss and astray for the English. Irish Goalkeeper Bonner made some outstanding saves that day, having the game of his life. The Irish Defense was magnificently marshaled by Mick McCarthy another “Anglo” who’s Waterford born father taught him hurling on the playing fields of Barnsley as a youngster.

Many an Irishman in the second 45 minutes prayed as they never had before for a victory. A power surge of prayer must have overloaded Heaven’s grid and swamped the pearly gates’ telephone exchange as devout vows were made in earnest as every minute in that half ticked tortuously by. The only rattles heard that day were the rattles of the rosary beads clicking furiously like a demented granny knitting on speed.

One was aware that potentially, history was in the making. A day that would never, ever be forgotten. This day would be retold to children & grandchildren down through the years. One realized how the ancient heroes were now not so ancient as modern day “Cuchullains” and Fionn McCumhails of our own were springing up before our eyes. Now you understood how legends were born and one could understand suddenly, how the generations that preceded us to the dawn of time loved to tell and listen of their exploits. That this day was another chapter in the Celtic Cycle.

One now knew what it really meant to be Irish!

Between the incredible keeping, heroic defense, ghosts and prayers of Irishmen saying the rosary that day all around the world (I was one!), Ireland prevailed and the biggest party the Nation had seen since the days of Brian Boru erupted in every town, village & hamlet that glorious June Evening.

Political allegiances were momentarily put aside. Hatchets were temporarily buried and feuds forgotten as warring neighbors, couples, children, friend & foe alike happily joined together in a wonderful spontaneous celebration.

One of those rare moments of joyous unifying synchronicity that a nation hardly ever experiences, happened to us that day.

To the bemused reader, it wasn’t simply a football match to us Irish. It went way beyond that. To call it a cultural phenomenon would not be profound! It would be too simplistic. It was the Colonizers getting their come-uppance from the “natives” in a most overt, dramatic and satisfyingly humiliating way. “Croppy” was not lying down anymore!

The glee and sheer delight of our victory was particularly sweet at the remembrance of our history. Waves of such remembrance simply flooded our consciousness at that precise moment, intensely emotional and fulfilling all in that same moment.

It wasn’t aimed at the ordinary Englishman in the street just at that ordinary Englishman’s Hierarchy. The establishment that was represented by anybody, in position of power and influence whether it be the FA or 10 Downing Street. To us at that juncture in time it was all the same.

It was the same Hierarchy that had rode roughshod over us for centuries. It was the same Hierarchy that had destroyed our culture, killed, starved and exiled our people over the centuries preceding, who we now cocked a smug grin at and reveled in their discomfort.

As I sat with my lifelong pals savouring the moment with a pint of "Uncle Arthur", my mind wondered how Gerry Conlon, Paul Hill & Paddy Armstrong of the "Guildford 4" felt at this moment. I thought of the Birmingham 6 and the McGuire family who were also at that time wrongly incarcerated in British prisons after being stitched up by that same Hierarchy. I remember sincerely hoping that the lads felt the same sheer ecstasy we were experiencing. I am sure it was a euphoric moment too for all Irishmen in that system.

With that final whistle. Almost at once our inherent inferiority complex to our arrogant neighbor vanished like the morning dew. The “tipping the hat” psyche replaced by a defiant two fingered salute that only denizens of the Western Isles of Europe truly know the meaning of.

Paradoxically or maybe in hindsight, rather not. It was the moment, a true, mature friendship began to finally materialize between Ireland and England. Rejoicing in at last, the unique heritage that both peoples share. The straitjacket of our common and often terrible history had finally been wrenched off........for now!

In that afternoon, I would wager Modern Ireland truly was born. The Celtic Tiger roared into the world when that final whistle blew. Defiant & proud, holding our heads up to the sun. We were, as the old song declares, a nation once again.

© deadlydesh ravenspoint 2005

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Chelsea 2 Brummies 0

Well the lads moved on in the cup 2-0 over Birmingham so talk of the quad still lives on. Meanwhile Arsenal showed how desperate they are to catch us "any which way" they can by planting a 'tap-up" story that CFC are trying to poach Ashley Cole from them. That is to say, that if such an approach was made, CFC would have points docked from them.

Apparently, Cole was "seen" speaking to Chelsea Coach Mourinho and CEO Peter Kenyon in a hotel in London on Thursday last and supposedly "a sworn affadavit" is supposed to be in place, according to the ever reliable British tabloid press.

However...Chelsea's Portuguese man o'war, Jose Mourinho, reacted by nonchantly saying he could not possibly have met Cole as he was in Milan talking to Adriano on that day. For all who do not know, Adriano is the Brazilian Superstar of the moment & the future.

It also may well have been Jose talking to Adriano Calliano, AC Milan's CEO about Jon Dahl Tomasson who may be heading to the bridge with some lire in exchange for Hernan Crespo. Again Jose, shows that when it comes to mind games, he has few peers!


a man o' war earlier in the day!


Incidentally, Huth & Terry were the scorers in today's game.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

50 years wait almost over

50 years is a long time in any one's language. In a football club's it is an eternity. So forgive me if I begin this blog in a tribute to a club I have supported for well over 30 years but in a matter of weeks, my beloved Chelsea FC should be crowned Premier Champions of England for the first time since 1955.

So over the next few weeks, I'll be paying tribute to a number of people I feel should be praised for their contribution to this event.

A lot of nonsense from begrudgers, barrackboys and naysayers (principally manure/arse supporters) have spouted on about the buying of a title but these morons tend to forget that a huge amount of work had been prepared by the club in the preceding ten years.

I'll get to that eventually but in the meantime, welcome to this spot, hope we can agree on something and come back often!