The Plastic Hippo

May 11, 2013

Hednesford Town v Real Madrid

Filed under: Birmingham,Sport,Walsall,Wolverhampton — theplastichippo @ 2:09 pm
Sir Alex Ferguson via BBC

Sir Alex Ferguson via BBC

Contrary to the impression given in some press coverage, Sir Alex Ferguson is not dead; he has risen again and walks the earth in his own likeness. It is business as usual at Old Trafford.

The remarkable record of Manchester United is due to a strong squad, consistency and having enough money to buy as many world class players as are required to win titles. Ensuring a permanent place in the lucrative Champions League is more about business interest than silverware and television rights and gate receipts are the imperative rather than pride in wearing a club shirt. Consistency, in this case, means replacing one dour, disciplinarian Scotsman with another, younger dour, disciplinarian Scotsman.

The migration of David Moyes along the M62 seemed inevitable following a nil-nil draw last week against arch rivals Liverpool resulting in a likely sixth place for Everton and not a place in the Champions League. With comparatively little money and a squad plagued by injury, Moyes has done well to achieve that and logic would indicate that given the considerable resources now available to him, Manchester United will conquer the world, find a cure for cancer and broker a lasting peace agreement in the Middle East. The expectations and the stakes are high. Anyone remember dour, disciplinarian Scotsman Tommy Docherty and what happened at Villa in the late 60`s, Wolves in the mid 80`s and Manchester United being relegated in 1974?

Recently, the excellent Stan Collymore has been expressing common sense regarding the German model for top flight football. This is where supporters have a stake and a voice and ticket prices are held at a sensible level. In the Bundesliga, football clubs are clubs and not simply a business. Another radical idea is a spending cap on transfers and a requirement to field home grown talent nurtured through youth teams. This would create a level playing and end the advantage of teams with rich owners simply buying another thoroughbred when one gets broken or fails. It might also dissuade the wealthy elite buying up promising young players and leaving them in the reserves just to stifle any potential opposition. Ironically, Manchester United pounced on Wayne Rooney, a product of Everton`s youth policy, after he frightened the life out of the United defence in a league game at Goodison Park in 2004.

Villa`s season will go down to the wire against Wigan and still face a mathematical possibility of relegation. With Wolves fans screaming for blood, Walsall did rather well to finish ninth in League One and West Brom will be happy with eighth in the Premier League. Imagine what could be achieved with the spending power of Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City or Manchester United. With such disparity, the Champions League will remain a closed shop.

Today, rich Manchester City face poor Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup Final at Wembley but for those fans that support football clubs rather than global marketing brands, there is a potentially more important game today. Local non-league teams have been doing rather well of late, particularly Chasetown, Walsall Wood and Rushall Olympic and today, Hednesford Town are up against FC United Manchester in the Northern Premier League Premier Division play-offs. Ironically, FC United were founded as a protest by Manchester United fans against some of the more dubious financial activities of overseas investors.

These non-league clubs with their loyal fan base do not need a dour, disciplinarian very well paid clone. What they do need next season, is for you to part with a few quid and go and watch them play.

David Moyes via BBC

David Moyes via BBC

May 7, 2013

Fashion victims

Filed under: Politics,Society,Walsall,World — theplastichippo @ 2:00 am
Image via

Image via

As something of a style icon and fashion god, total strangers often stop me in the street to ask for grooming tips and fashion advice. Well, girlfriends, the big news for this season is that red is the new black.

This evening (Tuesday), an extraordinary meeting of full Walsall council will take place with just one item on the agenda. Councillors will be asked to approve the allocation of nearly £8million to kick start the redevelopment of the Old Square shopping precinct in the town centre. It seems that private developers and potential retailers took one look at the project and thought twice resulting in our genius cabinet to offer them a load of our money for the privilege of trading in Walsall. Now some might say that in a free enterprise and entrepreneurial economy, the developer and corporate businesses should cough up the dosh for high street regeneration. But what these anarchists forget is that this is Walsall, the land where urban planning, green space strategy and economic regeneration is in the hands of a cabinet that lives on cloud cuckoo planet self interest.

The increasingly deranged Express and Star suggested that the “ambitious scheme” would be a “huge boost” to the fortunes of Walsall with the opening of “flagship” stores such as a Co-op supermarket and, brace yourselves fashionistas, Primark. Councillor Adrian Andrew, who recently awarded himself a substantial increase in councillor allowances, told the local rag; (more…)

May 6, 2013

Triple whopper with lies

Filed under: Education,Health,Media,Politics,Rights,Society,Sport,Walsall,Wolverhampton — theplastichippo @ 1:02 am

Satisfaction guaranteed

Today is the third anniversary of the 2010 General Election and, like any normal three-year-old, the present coalition government has learnt to walk, talk and destroy things.

Quite a lot can be achieved in three years. You could, if so inclined, complete a university degree course and saddle yourself with debt and no hope of gainful employment. You could, with tenacity and stamina, produce three children and therefore enjoy a life of luxury by scrounging state benefits. Given an advantageous launch window and a suitable propulsion unit, you could journey in a space craft to Jupiter. You could train to be a nurse and save people`s lives only to find that your hospital is closing because a lying minister unqualified in health has decided that you are “uncaring”. You could become a teacher and educate three cohorts in Key Stage One or Key Stage Two only to be described by a lying minister unqualified in education as a Marxist for wishing to nurture children with a balanced curriculum. You could develop a serious disability or terminal illness in order to adopt a lifestyle choice of state benefit dependency only to be told by a lying minister unqualified as a human being that you are a feckless, workshy scrounger and will receive no support during the time it takes you to die. (more…)

May 4, 2013

Out, damned spot

Filed under: Literature,Media,Politics — theplastichippo @ 3:00 am
South Shields image via

South Shields image via

Imagine those poor lost souls still claiming to be Liberal Democrats waking up with the realisation that they were beaten into seventh place by an orange woman representing the BNP and calling herself Lady Dorothy Macbeth Brooke.

If losing their deposit was bad, losing to a racist with a fake tan must be the most spectacular act of retribution since Birnam Wood came to Dunsinane. A lost deposit in South Shields is nothing compared to lost principles, lost liberalism, lost manifesto promises and lost political credibility. On the night that Shirley Williams claimed on BBC Question Time that the Liberal Democrats had saved the NHS by voting with their Tory masters to privatise it, electorates across the country were voting for an “anti-establishment” one trick pony led by a public school stockbroker and followed by a host of white, male, middle-aged golf club Napoleons and dodgy double glazing salesmen. When Shirley and the others in the Gang of Four broke the mould of British politics, I would wager that she never imagined that it would end in the destruction of liberalism at the hands of little England xenophobes. We should congratulate UKIP for a 23 per cent share of the vote even if this is not sustainable. However, the greatest achievement in their 15 minutes of notoriety is the fact that they have seen off the spineless sacks of bat guano formally known as the Liberal Democrat Party. Nice one, Nigel. (more…)

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