Clough through the rough times at Derby

Brilliant piece from a Forest fan! Reiterates everything I’ve been saying for years.

We Only Sing When We're Winning

‘And Clough has done it! He’s led Derby County into the top division of English football!’  The year this sentence was accurate saw Neil Armstrong land on the moon, Rupert Murdoch buy the News of the World (whatever happened to him?!) and John Lennon marry Yoko.  This is an era whose time has long since passed, but in one of these cases, history may provide a stunning twist and repeat itself.  Brian Clough may have tragically succumbed to the ravages of alcoholism and stomach cancer, but his son Nigel has taken up the mantle at one of his father’s old clubs.  In the week building up to his latest clash with my beloved Nottingham Forest, I take a look at how Clough is gradually restoring the club built up so wonderfully by his father.

Nigel Clough was appointed Derby County manager in January 2009, meaning he is fast approaching 5…

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A New Life

September. A new season, a new term, a new place of learning, a new life.

The prospect of starting university is not something that has ever really affected me in any way whatsoever, I’ll be living at home and undertaking a 30 minute (all being good) commute into Wolverhampton whenever I’m required to be in attendance at the afore mentioned city’s university. I’ve never been worried at the prospect of becoming overwhelmed at university, I’ll be studying a subject (or two) that puts me right in my element (Foundation Course of Social Studies, Law and Communications which prepares me for a War Studies degree), I’m confident in my ability to, for once in my education lifespan, shine in something. I’ve also never been worried about the prospect of having to make new friends, I tend to get on fairly well with people but I’m not too fussed either way, if I don’t make any new friends then it won’t matter as I’ll probably only get distracted and I’d only see them at university anyway, seeing as I won’t be staying on campus, or even in the same county.

What is playing on my mind, however, is how bizarre I find it that the small circle of friends I was part of will now be spread thinly all over the country. I have friends going to Oxford, Cambridge, Derby, Nottingham, Chester, Manchester and Liverpool, just to name a few. That’s not counting those who are going to universities within Stoke (Keele and Staffs), admittedly, some of these will be commuting just like myself and some have deferred for a year so nothing will really change too much in that aspect, but I do find it hard to get my head around the fact that we’re all moving on in life, I’ve always pictured each and every single one of us just staying in Stoke-on-Trent for the rest of our lives, constantly doing stuff together. I knew and in some ways hoped that wouldn’t be true, it would become monotonous and almost pointless, we need to move on in life. This doesn’t disturb or upset me, it just confuses me, how could so much change be happening so quickly? In one month, we’ll all be at our respective universities, a million miles away from the life we were living just 6 months ago.

I’m not one of those people who sit and weep over friends moving away, its part of life, I just get on with it. I’m always happy for them that they’re experiencing new lives and new opportunities outside of this objectively bleak city. I wouldn’t even go as far to say that I’ll actively miss my friends, it won’t be nice not being able to indulge in our strange yet somehow regular activities that almost entirely revolve around the world of football, but I certainly won’t be aching my heart out for their presence and I’m sure they’ll feel the same. We’re an odd group, we could all easily go without each other for months on end, yet if we’re doing something and only one of us is missing, then it just doesn’t feel the same, rendering whatever it is that we’re doing somewhat, and somehow, boring.

It does feel like the end of an era, even though that at least 4 of us will see each other regularly at 5aside every Wednesday. The days of seeing each other around school or college, or pissing about in lessons are long gone, we’re all moving on in life. I think what I find so strange about this is that I don’t see any of us as adults, in my mind, we’ll always be a small childish group of idiots desperately trying to find something to do to fill the time, not a group of young adults beginning to find our way in the world down many separate paths. I always knew this day would come, I just find it hard to process now that it is.

I certainly don’t view this as a bad thing, we have to move on in life if we want to enjoy it and fulfil our dreams, I want all of my friends to do well, I certainly hope none of them end up being stuck in this decadent city against their choice for the rest of their lives. This new life will be a breath of fresh air for all of us, whilst still being something that does take some thinking to get your head around. All I want is for it all to work out fine, because I know we’ll always be that small childish group of idiots trying to find something to fill the time, I don’t think we’ll ever grow out of that, we’ll just grow into other roles in life, whilst happily retaining our childish yet grown up outlook on the lives that we live.

I know my posts can get a little weird when I write them late at night (its currently 02:21, I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep) but they’re usually true. I have no idea if any of my friends will read this, I don’t really care if they do or don’t, I just hope that it’s taken well and I haven’t inadvertently made them all hate me.

For those of you who are, for some reason, wondering, I start at Wolverhampton University on Monday 16th September. I’m actually excited for it. Yeah, that’s pretty rare. Also, since writing this, I’ve changed the look and layout of the blog. Hope you like it. I also hope you enjoyed my first blog as a 19 year old. I’m a year closer to kicking the bucket (I’m a famous optimist).

Until next time,

Auf wiedersehen, meine freunde!

Me, in the foreground, showing the world just what sophistication is.

I, on the left, take conceding a goal on FIFA 13 surprisingly well.

The most attractive picture you will see this year. Sue me if it isn’t.

Emma.

1 year ago today, something incredible happened. 1 year ago today, the most beautiful event occured. 1 year ago today, my life changed forever. 1 year ago today, Emma May Greenall became my girlfriend and made me an incredibly happy person.

On the anniversary of the happiest day of my life, I’m unlucky enough to be sitting in Normandy on the last day of my holiday, almost 300 miles away from the woman I love. We’re used to long distance (88 miles, Fleetwood to Stoke) but this is tough, especially with it being over this unforgetable date. However, the deep love we have for each other is more than enough needed to get us through this and anything else life can throw at us.

Over this year, there have been truly low moments – when me & Emma split up for a few weeks in February for example, probably the worst experience of my life so far. Being away from each other for up to 3 weeks has been truly testing too, its been horrible at times. However, the moments of despair to not even compare to the immense feelings of true happiness that I experience when I’m with Emma, nothing makes me happier! The first time we told each other we love one another was one of the most incredible experiences of my entire life, it really blew me away. I never thought anyone would truly love me, especially someone as beautiful and perfect as Emma.

I often wonder exactly what I’ve done to deserve someone so amazing, its true to say I often don’t believe how lucky I am, I have to remind myself that its real and not a brilliant dream. I get especially confused when I think of all the stupid things I’ve done and what I’ve put Emma through and I’m constantly incredibly grateful that she has stuck by my side throughout everything I’ve done, it means such a huge amount to me.

There’s not ever a day goes by that I don’t appreciate what Emma has done for me, she’s changed my life, she’s changed me for the better. I couldn’t really show true emotion before we were together, it’d just been so long since I’d needed to (in terms of relationships it was totally new, Emma is my first and, as far as I’m concerned, only girlfriend).

To put it bluntly, there is absolutely no way I could live without Emma, I’ve experienced losing her and I never ever want to go through that again, it would destroy me. I love Emma so so much, with all of my heart. This truly has been the greatest year of my life and I can’t thank Emma enough. I’ll say it openly, this is forever for me, I’m never going to leave Emma, I honestly want to spend my entire life by her side.                                                     Emma, I love you. Happy Anniversary!

MSP

I love Manic Street Preachers.

They are such a brilliant band, there are numerous bands that I’ve listened to since I was little (Mogwai, Radiohead, Antipop Consortium, Cannibal Ox, Massive Attack, the list goes on) but I haven’t clung to any as strongly as I have with the Manics. I love Mogwai and Radiohead (and the whole list if I’m honest) but there have been patches where I’ve stopped listening to them. That hasn’t happened with MSP, I have always loved them!

I saw them live in 2011 in Wolverhampton and they were just absolutely brilliant, I’ve since seen Radiohead in Manchester in 2012 but it was a different sort of gig so hard to compare, both blew me away. What I love about MSP is that I can associate a certain place or situation with each and every one of their songs. Autumnsong and We Are All Bourgeois Now (I know that one is a cover) remind me of being in Scotland, A Design For Life reminds me of going to a small castle in Wales, Faster reminds me of actually seeing that song live, Enola/Alone reminds me of going to Derby, I could go on and on.

Some of their lyrics are tattoo worthy too. One of my favourite lyrics ever is “I know I believe in nothing but it is my nothing” from Faster, its just a fantastic piece of writing, it sums up life perfectly. I might not believe in anything but it is my nothing that I believe in and nobody can take that away from me. How brilliant is that? I also love their anger they used to have. That controversial performance of Faster on Top of the Pops years ago is a perfect example and my favourite clip from TOTP ever, its just filled with anger and rebellion, yet also a huge amount of truth, just like a lot of their songs (like IfWhiteAmericaToldTheTruthForOneDayItsWorldWouldFallApart). If there was one band I had to listen to for the rest of my life then it would be Manic Street Preachers. Almost every song hits me in such a bizzarely brilliant way, I can’t really explain it. What a band.

If you’re not convinced then I don’t really care too much, Manics will always be my favourite band. Still though, watch this. (Its currently 03:30am at the time of writing, I’ve delayed the posting of the blog to about 13:00 if you’re wandering how I wrote this so quickly after waking up).

Adios.
MSP

My life.

Dear people,

I haven’t written anything in a long time, my mind has been mostly closed off to the public, I don’t feel any thought has been ready for war, ready for the analysis of the general population/tiny minority of people who read this. Now, I feel like I’ve reigned in my thoughts and my mind, I am ready to write again.

In February, me and my beautiful girlfriend split up for reasons that I won’t go into. It absolutely destroyed me, I always kept up a ‘brave’ appearance around friends and family because I didn’t want anyone to see how much it affected me. Its no exaggeration to say that I quietly wept myself to sleep each and every night, I was truly devastated. I’d go off for long walks with no purpose or aim, just wander around so I didn’t have to go home and reconnect with the world that I hated living in (I truly hated everything around me, I felt like I had nothing left). Yes, some people will say (puts on a retarded voice) “you didn’t love her, you’d only been together 6 months, you’re doing it for attention.” And to you people, I say you’re fucking stupid. A length of time does not dictate how love works, I loved Emma before I was with her and I have ever since. I’d do anything for her. I gave up the Army for her because I’d rather live my life with her. I happily travel up and down to Blackpool whenever I can so I can see her. You still think I don’t love her? You don’t know love.

Luckily and thankfully enough though, we are now happily back together (as of 10th March 2013) and I couldn’t be happier. I feel like, no, I am the luckiest man in the world! I know every couple says they’re the luckiest and happiest ever but I really feel like I and Emma are. Emma gives me a feeling that no one else in the world ever could or has, she accepts me and my many many flaws. She loves me like I love her, that’s a feeling that I cannot explain or compare, its incredible! As is clear, I don’t hide the fact that I love her, why hide something that’s such a good thing that makes two people unimaginably happy? The distance (87.3 miles according to Google Maps, done my research) is only a minor inconvenience, it won’t stop me from loving her and wanting to be with her for the rest of my life. I know I’m not the most perfect boyfriend in the world, I’m far from it, I’ve done some incredibly stupid things, but I have been blessed with the most wonderful woman I could ever wish for. Emma is beautiful, funny, kind, caring, generous, all the qualities anyone could ever wish for, she’s perfect. I don’t care if you think I’ve changed or hate reading stuff like this and criticise me for it, I don’t care whatsoever. Just stop reading it or accept that I love her and I want to be open about it and get on with your life. I know what I feel will keep me connected to Emma forever, there is nothing that will take my love away, its everlasting. She’s my girlfriend and she’s my best friend, I trust her more than anyone in the world, I will always be so so thankful that I have her in my life. Emma is my world, my life.

I hope that you’re all grown up enough to accept that this is two young people happily in love and let us get on with our lives, I don’t want to hear any of this “you’re too young to know love is” bullshit. I’m 18 now, Emma is 18 in September just a few weeks after I’m 19, we’re grown up now. We know what love is because we’re experiencing it, anyone in a long term relationship will tell you that.

For no reason, here is one of my favourite Radiohead songs (2+2=5) that I happen to have stuck in my head. Enjoy.

A force deep down.

Quite often I wonder something, something which may seem like a cry for attention but I ensure you it is not.

Having seen the final episode of Being Human tonight and having watched every series previous, its left me wondering if, as in the program, whether anyone has ever seen the type of person I can be. Its not a side of me that I’ve ever shown or let on that it exists, but I do wonder whether any single person has ever realised what I can be like.

Its a rarity that this side of me comes out of its shell, I usually control myself pretty well. I just can’t help but think “what would people think of me if they saw this side to me?” Don’t worry, its not some bizarre, terrifying, sadomasochistic sex freak, or a mass murderer. It is just something inside of me which feels like an overwhelming force, something that can change me. It sounds ridiculous and like I’m over exaggerating but this is the only way I can describe what it feels like. Maybe its something that’s inside all of us, maybe its a power or force that human nature forces to the back of our brains, that only certain events bring back. I don’t feel like its got control of me now but I can feel it deep down inside, urging itself forward for no particular reason. Maybe its the natural evil and terror and violence that all human beings have inside them, whether they know it or not. Its something indescribable. When it takes over I start to feel unstoppable, I don’t know what with but for some reason I do. I know its a very strange thing to say but that’s what it feels like, like there’s another force or being inside of me which is just a powerful force of anger.

Its not even an anger, I can tell. I don’t feel angry when it happens, I just feel different. I wish I could explain this in a less weird way, a number of you probably think I’ve gone insane or am just seeking attention, neither is the case. I just feel I have to write this down, maybe I’ll understand it better this way. I don’t care what you think of me after this, its not a side of me any of you will ever experience anyway, no one has ever seen it.

 

Sorry for the weirdness.

Adieu.

Confusion In My Mind

Maybe I was wrong on Wednesday, maybe it is just my depressed mindset, maybe it was just the timing of everything. Maybe, just maybe, I’m not a terrible leader.

Coming off the back of a 15-0 loss at 5aside for Fake Madrid, I was understandably down. I believed my leadership ‘qualities’ to be false and my strange obsession with putting myself into the mould of a leader to be completely delusional. Maybe it was just the stress of the moment. Could be the pride of Barearselona’s performance on Thursday (incredibly honourable 5-3 defeat, took the lead 3 times) and my hat trick that has made me think that I might be a good leader. All that negativity of Wednesday has completely disappeared, I don’t feel it anymore, I’m probably too quick to act and to judge. I suppose it probably all stems from how the week’s 5aside goes, when it goes well, I feel like a good leader. When it doesn’t, I feel like I’m total balls. Understandable I suppose.

I wish there was some way I could find out which answer was the right one, am I a good leader or am I not? It sounds stupid and over dramatic but its something which has always meant a lot to me, I get a lot of satisfaction in successfully leading a group of people and gaining their respect, not in a big headed “I want to be in charge way”, if there’s someone who’ll do a better job at something then I’ll do my best to help but ultimately let them do what is best, just that I really love the feeling of other people performing well due to something I’ve done (either due to encouragement from myself or leading by example – pretty rare – or to a certain tactic I’ve come up with/helped implement in some way). I love making a difference I suppose. Its not that I do it for praise either, I feel really uncomfortable when I get praise, its nice but it makes me feel weird and big headed. I’m very happy for any contribution I make to something to go relatively unnoticed, or at least not commented upon. I may be looking into this way too deeply, but you know what? I don’t care.

Anyway, I shouldn’t be up at this time (its currently 05:32 in the morning as I write this, might save it as a draft and publish it later) but its just too boring to sleep when there’s so much brilliant music to be listened to (currently on a David Guetta hype, always reminds me of summer for some reason). I posted a blog about a year ago about how brilliant he is – was short, sweet and a little bit gay, by which I mean the blog and not David Guetta himself.

I should probably stop talking/writing right now.

Adios.

A true leader?

Maybe its an inflated opinion of myself, maybe its over confidence, maybe its delusion but I have always thought of myself as a leader. I have always tried my best to lead by example (I’m talking mainly about sport, football to be precise but it applies to my career ambitions too) and to inspire those around me to also give their all, but I’m starting to wonder whether I’m just an idiot for thinking that.

Two of my all time heroes – Lieutenant-Colonel Terence Otway (9th Parachute Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles, British 6th Airborne Division) and Major Richard Winters (Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, US 101st Airborne Division), both WW2 heroes – were absolutely phenomenal leaders. Each inspired their men, looked death and defeat in the face and overcame it, looked after their men and did great things. I have always wanted to model myself on them, not just when I (hopefully) become a British Army Officer, but in everyday life. In both 5aside teams (Barearselona FC and Fake Madrid CF) I have tried to keep people’s spirits up, make sure everyone is okay, but also attempt to get the job done and points on the board. Now I’m wondering whether I’m any good at that at all. I’m not saying I’m on a par with my heroes, I never ever ever will be, they were absolutely phenomenal men, but I used to think that maybe I had the potential to be even a fraction as good as they were. I know what you might be thinking, I’m thinking it too, a true leader would never show weakness like this, but as this ramble shows, I’m pretty sure I’m not a true leader.

On the other hand, it could just be my mindset. I’m currently in the worst week of my life, starting off with me losing the absolute most precious and important part of my life on Monday – by which I mean I’m single again. Still in love with her too so that just makes it even harder. That added with another thumping defeat at 5aside AGAIN makes for a pretty downcast Jimmy. Maybe I’ll feel better about the leader situation in a few weeks, who knows? Its either my crisis of confidence and well being, or its life telling me that I’m a delusional idiot and to get my arse into gear. No idea. Either way, time will tell.

Congratulations if you read this far, I’d find it a task too. Good luck with your lives.

Adios.

Blessed by a non-existent ‘God’

Gonna keep this short and sweet.

Almost following on from my last blog, I plan to say something pretty deep (don’t worry, I’ll get back to normal soon).

I have never been blessed with good looks, healthy skin (still being slowly eaten away by eczema), a good brain, or even any real life skills. I’ve never had huge amounts of money, had enough to scrape by but very rarely been able to ‘splash out’, as idiots say. What I have been blessed with, however, is the greatest girlfriend I could have ever wished for. She is without doubt the best thing to ever happen to me (I expressed this in a shorter way during the last blog) and I couldn’t be luckier to have her by my side.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a brilliant boyfriend, or a brilliant person in general, I try my hardest but I’m pretty boneheaded at times and it leads to me looking like a massive twat when I completely haven’t intended to be. What amazes me most about Emma is her fantastic ability and willingness to stay with me through these boneheaded moments, it fills me with a joy and a relief that I can only compare to how much I love her. 

I think it shows how much she has changed me, I very rarely showed any public affection for anyone in the world before, but now, as we get ever closer to 6 months together (9th February), I feel like I could tell anyone in the world how much I love her. She just makes me so so incredibly happy, I’ve never felt happiness like it. I’ve seen Derby County get promoted at Wembley, beat Manchester United in a semi-final, beat Forest (spit on the ground) in memorable matches on numerous occasions, I’ve been to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, I’ve seen a solar eclipse, I experienced the Millennium celebrations but nothing has ever made me smile or filled me with such intense happiness as Emma does. Nothing compares to that feeling. 

Anyone who thinks I’m deluded or saying any of this for attention then you are hugely wrong. Those who properly know me and read my last blog will now know how much I love Emma, they’ll also know I’m not the type to manipulate feelings for attention, or for any reason. 

Anyway, I’m glad I’ve been able to say that, I find it hard to get across my feelings and this is the best way I can think of – writing down helps, not just a myth as it happens. 

Remember when I said short and sweet and the beginning? Yeah? Well, sorry. 

Adios, mis amigos.