Sunday, February 28, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
All of which might account for the fact that for years I have followed the (mis)fortunes of football teams like East Stirlingshire who have traditionally ended each season at the foot of Division Three of the Scottish League. I have a friend who follows Stenhousemuir for similar reasons to my own and so it is with some twisted sense of regret that both of these teams seem to be doing rather well these days. Our attention may have to focus elsewhere.
Now, of course, there are football clubs and there are football clubs and right now we are seeing the results of incompetent mismanagement at clubs such as Portsmouth whose future is uncertain. But there are others whose situations appear at face value to be as perilous as that of Porstmouth`s but who, in reality, deserve much credit for carrying on against all odds.
One such club is Durham City FC, whose ground is pictured above. I came across Durham City purely by the chance of scrutinising the details of football results in last Sunday`s newspapers. There they were, at the foot of the Unibond Premier League, having played 25 games so far this season, winning none, drawing none, losing all 25. They have scored 15 goals but conceded no less than 131. Their home game against Bradford Park Avenue last Saturday ended 0-7. I wondered how all of this could possibly have happened.
Well, it seems that the Unibond league dealt them a hammer blow just before the season started by saying that the artificial pitch used by Durham meant that, should Durham gain a good enough league position to be promoted, they would not be permitted to move up a league because of the pitch and if they gained a playoff spot they would be unable to contest the playoffs. This meant there was no way to progress any higher than they were.Their main sponsor duly pulled out and most of the squad left immediately. The club was forced to field a team full of mainly young 16 - 18 year olds from New College Durham who unfortunately are outclassed at this level of football.
These yougsters go out every week and give their all for the club and how ever hard they try, the gap in skill ultimately leads to heavy defeats. But even though they will probably lose every game this season, they should be proud of trying their best under very difficult circumstances. Now that, to me, is a form of heroism - a learning curve, a rite of passage for those young players who are a million miles away from the pampered poseurs of Portsmouth, where heroism is in short supply, but incompetence reigns supreme. Play up, Durham.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
Michael Scammell is such a biographer. His new book on Arthur Koestler (1905-1983) took two decades to complete. He has flushed out details that Koestler himself left out — in some half dozen autobiographies. He shares Koestler's long, convoluted life in a thoroughly enjoyable read. The British-born Mr. Scammell comes with top credentials. Currently, he teaches creative writing and translation at Columbia University. Previously, he chaired the Russian literature department at Cornell. His Solzhenitsyn biography won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and English PEN Nonfiction Prize. Translations from Russian include Nabokov, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy."
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Freight Rover Trophy (1984-1987)
Sherpa Van Trophy (1987-1989)
Leyland DAF Cup (1989-1991)
Autoglass Trophy (1991-1994)
Auto Windscreens Shields Trophy (1994-2000)
LDV Vans Trophy (2000-2007)
Johnstone's Paint Trophy