[UK] Newcastle United’s 2010/11 Season – Grief and Celebration

THIS STOPS ME FROM COMITTING SUICIDE BECAUSE…….once you start supporting Newcastle, you cannot get out.

[Guest Writer: © Robb Dylan 2011]

[For full, unedited version:]

Why Newcastle United’s season is a cause for grief as well as celebration

As we come down to the final weekend of the 2010/2011 Barclay’s Premier League, I find myself somewhat nostalgic when looking at the table. My team, the Magpies, are sitting 12th, comfortably above the relegation zone.

A year out of the top flight and here we are, safely back in the mid-table. Some would condescendingly point out how fantastic an achievement that is, to finish so high up immediately after promotion, and yes, I agree 12th is good; at least we’re not being relegated like West Ham – who finally get what has been coming for them since the Tévez débâcle.

However, at the same time I am torn between satisfaction and disappointment. The two biggest moments off the pitch for us have undoubtedly been the sacking of Chris Hughton and the departure of Andy Carroll, events that I believe are interlinked. Carroll got his big break under Hughton’s management, playing regularly in both the Championship and the Prem and having the team effectively moulded around his aerial presence, as the cheeky 1-0 win at Arsenal will testify. But when the manager went, Carroll’s inspiration went, and eventually he himself went.

Now, though £35million is an excellent bargain for a largely inexperienced forward, I am still sore about losing him. Not only was he a local lad – yet another local lad to up and move south à la Shearer and Carrick – who quite possibly was cresting the pinnacle of his career at such a young age – a starter for his boyhood team and sporting the famous number 9 shirt – but he was supposed to be the future of our club. Whenever I say this, I can’t help but think of Obi Wan’s speech in “Star Wars: Episode III”: “You were the Chosen One! You were supposed to destroy the Sith, not join them…Bring balance to the Force, not leave it in darkness!” But it’s true, Carroll was the Chosen One to wear Wor Jackie’s jersey. Bring balance to the Top Four/Bring Newcastle back into the Top Four, not leave us in the darkness of mid-table.

The only bright side to Carroll’s departure, as everyone mentions, is the £35million. Once upon a time you could buy two or three world class players for that – you could get TWO Alan Shearers in his prime, Cheik Tioté, and have £1.5million to spare. But sadly, the modern day transfer market is suffering from insane inflation where players like Charlie Adam are valued at over £20million.

We have £35million from selling Carroll. Great, yeah? Well, sadly no. From what I’ve seen of Mike Cashley since he took over, my gut feeling is that, despite Pardew’s repeated claims that he will spend all the money on players in the summer, I would not be surprised if Fat Mike Cashley pocketed it.:

Then again, Pardew was his appointment, his London casino buddy; so will he back him? But this is the same owner who wanted to sell Newcastle TWICE, for about £300million or something – basically, for what he had bought it for and sunk into it. When no one would touch it, he had to hang on to his investment. Now that he’s made 10% of that money from one player, what is to stop the greedy scoundrel from putting that into his bank account to balance out the red?

In more ways than one, Mike Cashley was obligated to retain Chris Hughton as manager. Not only had he been given a three year contract, but the man was a young manager learning his profession and had taken the bogey-job of managing Newcastle by the horns and dragged us back, in some style, from a potential Leeds United situation back into the Premiership on the first attempt. He was sacked because Cashley wanted someone “with more managerial experience”. I shouldn’t think I would need to point out that Pardew’s managerial experience is confined largely to the lower leagues: promotion with West Ham VIA THE PLAY-OFFS as opposed to Hughton’s romp to the title, relegation with Charlton, and sackings from all his managerial posts. The only exception is Reading, whom he deserted.

It may be worth taking a look at Hughton’s league stats in comparison to Pardew’s this season (by the way, I’m giving the 3-1 win against Liverpool to Hughton as it was his training and tactics on display; Pardew had, to quote Joey Barton, “only been here two days”).

Hughton:             P:17       W:6        L:7         D:4       GF:27      GA:26       GD:+1     Pts.:22       Win %: 35%
Pardew:              P:20       W:5        L:7         D:8       GF:26      GA:28       GD:-2      Pts.:23       Win %: 25%

All in all, Pardew has basically done in 20 games what Hughton did in 17. The Londoner may have gotten one more point and fewer losses, but the Irishman got us another win and a better goal (and win) ration. Plus, we still had Carroll.

In short, their stats are very similar – though Hughton’s are slightly better – and I will admit that I am not as infuriated by the appointment of Pardew as Newcastle manager because he has kept us up. However, for me, the season’s success has been irreparably marred by the sacking of a wholly competent and exciting young manager who guided the club through the rough patches and brought confidence, dignity, and consistency to the team and club. Chris left us in 11th after gracing the heights of 4th a couple of weeks earlier and, within touching distance of 3rd. Pardew looks to be closing off the season at around the same mark. If we finish 8th, 9th, or 10th, we would be ‘more successful’ than when Pardew took over. But would it be worth it? Can we revel in a final position that Hughton’s stats suggest he would have obtained, perhaps even bettered with the presence of Andy Carroll? Yes we may have stayed up comfortably, and played some decent football, but the joy has to be tainted by the knowledge that it has come at the price of a manager and striker, two needless casualties in the pursuit (or loss) of a league position or two. And still we will have no extra glory – no silverware, no European competitions next year – just a sullied reputation as a club ruled by a tyrant too quick to fire when things don’t go his way.

So the question you must ask yourself in the end is, was it worth it? Was it worth halting the career of a young manager for one more meaningless position? Was it worth selling the club’s local hero for money that may or may not end up in the transfer kitty? Will that money even buy some competent strikers, or will it be wasted on mediocre players who come to the club overvalued and on excessively inflated wages?

Certainly for me, our finishing position is marred by the disgraceful sacking of Chris Hughton, though the new manager has done an acceptable job. As to the transfer kitty and Pardew’s future? We can only wait, hope, and see…

Robb Dylan

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Posted by on May 18, 2011 in Sports


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[Korea] Overreaction or Justice?


From ‘Ask A Korean’ blog (Which I recommend):

The third most read article on ultra-popular Korean news site Naver was about some ‘foreigners’ who drank beer and played cards on the undeground:

A link to the original website for anyone who can read Korean:


First of all, I’m sure this is not anti-foreigner prejudice although it is not uncommon in Korea.

I was barely suprised that it was a popular news story (which suggests they were highly unhappy/suprised by their behaviour).
However, I was surprised by the fact that Korean-Americans were also disgusted by these people’s actions.

I have seen people drink and play cards on different forms of public transportation around the world. I would have agreed with ‘The Korean’ if the subway was completely full and they people were vying for airspace. Thus, I am surprised by the reaction of a man who has lived in a western culture since he was 16. If you look at the comments in the blog post, many others seem to agree with ‘The Korean’.

Note: I am also surprised this was a big enough event for someone to write a news article about.

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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in News, Random


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If God Created….


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Posted by on May 16, 2011 in Funny


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Great Quotes by Great People (#3)


‘Oxfam has a mesmerising physique’ – Pope John Paul II

‘I lose all my charisma when I have to stand up’ – Yao Ming

‘Eyes look like tumors’ – Florence Nightingale

‘I’d rather be Medusa’s shrink’ – Ho Chi Minh

‘What came first: Dinosaurs or Jesus?’ – Sarah Palin

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Posted by on May 13, 2011 in Quotes, Random


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[UK] 6 Myths about the Alternative Vote

THIS STOPS ME FROM COMITTING SUICIDE BECAUSE…….Reinforces the notion that people are so stupid.

[Guest writer: DBoi]

After my overwhelmingly popular voting systems post here is the long awaited follow up.

Why you should have voted for YES2AV

Unsurprisingly, last Thursday’s UK referendum rejected the alternative vote (AV) and is stuck with the  ‘First Past the Post (FPTT)’ method to elect MPs.. A lot of ill informed ‘No’ voters gave some of the following reasons for voting against introducing AV. Here’s why I think they are wrong.

1) AV is too complicated

No it isn’t. Instead of putting a cross next to your favourite candidate you rank the candidates from favourite to least favourite. You don’t have to rank all the candidates. If you don’t have a preference between UKIP and the Christian Party, don’t rank them. The winner is then determined by a series of rounds. Everyone’s first preferences are counted. If a candidate has over 50% of the votes in the first round they are the winner. Finished. If no one has over 50%, then the candidate with the fewest votes is removed and we go to the next round. At the start of each round, your vote goes to the person who is highest on your list out of those still in the race. That’s it.

2) AV helps the BNP

First of all the British National Party campaigned against AV. They may be racist, but they’re not that stupid. If AV was suddenly going to give them more power, they would have supported it. In fact you could argue that FTTP makes it easier for the extreme parties to win seats. Under FPTT a candidate can win with only 35% of the vote, possibly less, even if the other 65% think you’re the worst candidate. Under AV, this situation is impossible. If you only have 35% of first votes, you are going to need some other people’s lower preferences i.e. second or third votes to bump you up to the magic 50%. If the other 65% have ranked you last, you’re not going to get any more votes than your current 35% and eventually someone else will overtake you and win. Under FTTP the candidate most people think is the worst can win.

3) People who support the smaller, extreme parties get more votes than others

This is completely false. Everyone gets one ballot paper and one vote. In every round every voter gets exactly one vote. The reason the NO campaign says some people get more votes is that some people will have their second, third, fourth then fifth preference counted as the rounds go on, whereas other people’s vote won’t change each round. At first, this may sound a bit unfair but think about what it means. If only one of your choices is counted in every round then you have voted for your first choice candidate in every round. If your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th preferences are counted that means your first choice candidate (BNP?) was knocked out in the first round, then your second choice and so on, and you’re forced to vote for the person who you put fifth in the last round. It is ridiculous to call this having five votes. Most people get to support their top choices and BNP followers have to make do with their lower preferences after their party gets knocked out.

4) AV means more tactical voting

No voting system is immune from tactical voting but AV is far better than FTTP at deterring this. Imagine you are a Lib Dem supporter but they are way down in third in your constituency behind Labour and Conservatives. You then have a choice to make. Vote for your favourite party, the Lib Dems and you will have no say at all on the outcome of the election and your vote is effectively wasted. Or, although you don’t like either Labour or the Conservatives, you want your vote to count and you reluctantly decide that you prefer Labour to the Conservatives and vote for them. Under AV there is no dilemma. You put Lib Dems as your first choice and Labour as your second. If the Lib Dems were more popular than you thought they might win, if not, then when they get knocked out your vote goes to Labour and isn’t wasted. This is not just going to boost the Lib Dem vote, there are also many constituencies where the Conservatives are third behind Labour and Lib Dems and their voters face a similar awkward choice. AV discourages tactical voting and allows you to vote for you who you actually prefer.

5) Using AV, the 2nd or 3rd place candidate can win

This doesn’t even make sense but it was one of the claims made by the NO campaign. What they mean is that the candidate who wins using AV might not have won using FTTP, in the same way that the candidate who would win using FTTP might not have won using AV. Or in other words, the two voting systems are different. Shocking. If they gave exactly the same results in every single election there wouldn’t be much point in having a referendum on it.

5) No one uses AV

AV is already widely used in this country by businesses, charities and trade unions. It is used around the world to elect members of the House of Representative in Australia, the President of India, the President of Republic of Ireland and peers in the House of Lords. The leader of the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats were both elected using AV.

It is even used by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. So AV is the reason Titanic won 11 Oscars. Maybe I can see why the NO campaign won now….

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Posted by on May 12, 2011 in DBoi, Politics


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Welcome to Hogwarts – The Sorting Hat


Real Life Sorting Hat:

You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart


Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
If you’ve a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind.


You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true,
And unafraid of toil


Or perhaps in Slytherin,
You’ll make your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any means,
To achieve their ends.





Leonardo DiCaprio



He would be really good at transformations because he’s such a great actor. He’s also creative like Hufflepuff. But his natural smarts put him in Ravenclaw.


His transfiguration into his character whilst acting would impress McGonagall and Gryffindor. There was also a rumour of him saving a man’s life on the set of ‘Blood Diamond’

Malcolm X


 It takes bravery to stand up for what you believe in especially in the face of adversity i.e. breaking off from NOI and still speaking despite death threats


He may have not been loyal to the Nation of Islam (for valid reasons), but he was loyal to his beliefs and ‘his people’

(Jersey Shore)


She comes from an Italian background and can’t speak the language. Therefore she is a squib.


She is loyal to her friends and she will defend them in all circumstances. She is part-goblin.

Xabi Alonso
(Real Madrid)


He plays fair and works hard.


He looks like a muggle.

Robert Langdon
(The Da Vinci Code)


Although I’m highly tempted to say Muggle purely because looking into symbols is not that cool to grant him a place in Hogwarts.


Smart, highly qualified, calm and passionate. Does not have an extreme/volatile personality trait.

(From Gandhi: The Movie)


Patient. Civil disobedience anyone?


He liked to sleep next to naked teenage girls.

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Posted by on May 11, 2011 in Random


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Binball – The World’s Greatest Sport

THIS STOPS ME FROM COMITTING SUICIDE BECAUSE…….Seriously, it’s the world’s greatest sport

©Min’s Minions

 The Rules:                                                                 


  • First rule of Binball: Tell everyone about Binball! (Publicity).
  • Find a large room, preferably with lots of obstacles and lock the door
  • Scrunch up 4 balls using A4 paper.
  • Rock Paper Scissors with your fellow contestants.
  • This will decide the order.
  • The RPS order decides which order you choose bin positions
  • In RPS order, you also choose what position you want to throw the ball in the first round (e.g. I will throw the ball 3rd)
  • The winner of RPS goes first and positions the bin anywhere in the room (be creative) and chooses the throwing spot.
  • 1 point for a score.
  • You can also put a smaller bin next to the main bin and say if you get the ball into the smaller bin, you get -1 points.
  • You can have specific throwing rules e.g. you have to throw off one leg, throw between your legs, throw with your left arm, you cannot hit the wall with the ball before it goes into the bin etc…
  • Whoever chose to go first (after RPS) throws 4 balls consecutively trying to get it into the bin.
  • Everyone then has a go.
  • This is one round.
  • Count up the score.
  • Add one to everyone’s throwing order. i.e. 1st now goes 2nd, 2nd now goes third, 3rd now goes 1st (if three players)
  • Whoever came 2nd in RPS, chooses the next bin position and throwing position


Two Different ways to score:

Regular Scoring (RS): Just keep on tallying scores for every round

Alternative Scoring (AS): If there are 3 players, play 3 rounds with everyone choosing the bin position once. This is called one set. Whoever has the most points wins the set. Play a certain number of sets and whoever wins the most sets wins the game.

When there is a tie: Any tie after RS or AS is decided by a sudden death set, sudden death round or a sudden death throw off (just one bin position)

Extra Rules:

You cannot change the environment at all until the round is over. E.g. you cannot move a table that is close to the throwing area.

No training in between rounds.

If you want to re-scrunch the ball, the whole team must agree to it and it must be in between rounds.


The ball gets heavier as the game wears on (due to the sweat).

Play to your strengths (accuracy, arm strength, blind shots, throwing positions that aid left-handed throwers)

Important Terms:

Wall Radius: Term describing the radius of the zone on the wall that you can bounce off to get into thebin.  Obviously, the bigger the radius the easier the shot.

Grand Slam: All 4 balls going in (Has only occurred twice in the history of Binball)

Bagel: No balls going in

Par: An average of one ball per 4 shots is par (average).



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Posted by on May 5, 2011 in Sports


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