Monday, April 30, 2007

The fat lady has sung

At least barring some miracle whereby Leeds win by about 5 clear goals at Derby and Hull lose by a similar margin. Failing that Leeds will begin next season in League 1 (or Division 3 to the rest of us). Leeds have never been outside the top two tiers of English football and to think a few years ago we were playing in the Champions League semi final. Yes Mr Ridsdale we lived the dream and look where we are now. To be fair there are plenty of others along the way who need to take some responsibility for the situation we now find ourselves in given that as recently as a year ago we were in the play off final and within 90 minutes of a return to the Premiership

I will try to get back to more regular blogging following the local elections next Thursday but no promises as life has been somewhat frantic to say the least.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Interesting reason for standing

I would not have thought this worth blogging about normally were it not for the reason that this lady gave for standing. West Berkshire has not normally had the BNP contesting seats but this time two BNP candidates have put up in Thatcham North. Then the Newbury Weekly News published this article outlining why one of the candidates had decided to stand for the BNP.

Apparently she "decided that enough was enough recently when her grandson came home from school after a citizenship lesson and said that he was learning about other religions."

I guess I always thought that that was what schools were for - education about things that our kids would not know about otherwise.

I tried to follow her line of reasoning to its logical conclusion.

Languages - French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Mandarin will no longer be on the syllabus - English only please.

History - well ok providing it is only British history

Geography - ditto

Politics - ditto

Art - ditto

Home Economics might survive I guess just so long as there are no foreign foods or recipes on the Food and Nutrition part!

I assume that Maths, IT, the Sciences and Design Technology would survive, but Latin and Greek and their associated history will I assume be just that - History

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Leeds update

Ahead of today's vital clash with Burnley comes news that David Healy has been appointed as the Leeds United captain until the end of the season following the suspension of Jonathan Douglas.

That news was immediately followed by speculation that Fulhams new manager Lawrie Sanchez has put David Healy at the top of his list of transfer targets after the job he has done for him in the Northern Ireland team. If we stay up I hope that we manage to keep him and learn how to make the best use of his undoubted skills. If we go down then I am sure he will depart and it is just a question of how large a fee we can get for him.

Friday, April 13, 2007

First it was Royal Bank now it is HSBC

What is it with the banks in this country. It used to be that banks treated their staff and customers with respect and courtesy. Not any more it seems.

A couple of weeks ago the Royal Bank of Scotland threatened its staff with disciplinary action if they did not have their primary bank account with the Royal Bank of Scotland. I followed this up with my local branch who had not heard the story and attempted valiantly to get me a response from their headquarters. The kept me in touch and promised a written response from their headquarters. Sadly to date I have not received any communication explaining their position. Two fingers to me I guess my accounts and business are not worth keeping!

So should I move my account elsewhere?

Well I am seriously considering it despite the inconvenience involved but I won't be going to HSBC. According to yesterdays Guardian one of their branches has now decided that only customers with £50,000 or more in savings, a hefty mortgage or a salary of at least £75,000 are to be allowed to talk to staff. If you do not meet this criteria and want to be served personally or make an inquiry then you will have to go to another branch.

Banks seem to have lost the concept of customer service and perhaps they are also losing site of one of the basic economic equations involved in Banking. There are some who have money and leave it in the bank, there are some who need money and borrow it from the bank, the difference between the two interest rates covers the banks costs and provides its profit!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Swiss man pardoned

This guy is very lucky. On the 29th March I blogged about the Swiss man who had been sentenced to ten years in prison for insulting the King of Thailand. At the time I said that whilst ten years seemed an extremely stiff sentence the main problem was that he had lived in Thailand for 10 years and so he could hardly fail to know the situation with regard to insulting the King.

Today come news that the King has pardoned him. According to the BBC "Now he has received a royal pardon, Mr Jufer is expected to be deported as soon as possible"

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The story of 2 2-1's

The most important 2-1 was the win for Leeds to day at Elland Road. The first of what I feel are three must win home games until the end of the season. Peter Halmosi gave Plymouth the lead in the first half and David Healy levelled just before the break with Michalik scoring the winner when he headed in from Alan Thompson's free-kick.

Most importantly Leeds are out of the bottom three for the first time since November!!!

We are Leeds, We are Leeds
We are Leeds
We are Leeds, We are Leeds
We are Lee-eeds
We are Leeds, We are Leeds
We are Leeds
We are Lee-eeds

Something from the Colchester game (preferably three points) would be nice.

Oh and Reading undeservedly lost to Liverpool. 1-1 would have been a fairer result.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

You tube censored in Thailand

This comes back to the issue of respect for the king and the laws in Thailand with regard to respect for the monarchy. The Thai government has banned access to the You Tube site after a 44 second film showing graffiti over the king's face was aired. The Thai government asked Google to remove it and they refused. However, a government minister has said that access within Thailand would be reinstated once the film had been removed.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

BBC Sport Championship Predictor

The BBC Sports site has a predictor which can be used to enter ones predictions for each of the remaining games in the season to see how the table will end up. As last night saw two of our fellow relegation contenders both win I thought I would give this a go.

The result was as follows

17 Burnley P 46 GD -8 Pts 49
18 QPR P 46 GD -16 Pts 49
19 Barnsley P 46 GD -26 Pts 49
20 Leicester P 46 GD -15 Pts 48
21 Leeds P 46 GD -26 Pts 48
22 Hull P 46 GD -17 Pts 47
23 Southend P 46 GD -26 Pts 42
24 Luton P 46 GD -26 Pts 40

All this confirms is that it will be very close and that the three remaining home games will be critical to our survival.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

10 things your boss hates about you

From yesterdays Guardian:

1. Lateness

Everyone has days when the bus breaks down, the washing machine packs up, or the alarm doesn't go off. The problem is that some people have those days Monday through Friday. But what really cheeses off your boss is your lame excuse. "It shows you don't care," says Louis Halpern, CEO at advertising agency Halpern Cowan. "Why they can't just tell you that they find it hard to get out of bed and be done with it I don't know. It really makes me furious."

2. Lack of initiative

"Don't ask me if you should buy lunch for the client, if the client is coming at noon," said one infuriated manager. "Call up the client and ask if they want lunch." Actually that's not quite what he said: there was a lot more swearing in the original version. Managers absolutely hate being bothered by stuff that really, if you thought about it for even a second, you could work out for yourself. They also hate constant updates and being CCd in on everything. They pay you to do a job - get on with it...

3. Too much initiative

... unless you're an idiot. A marketing manager for a large educational charity reports that if there's one thing worse than lack of initiative, it's completely ignoring instructions to go off and do something else instead. She recently found herself on stage, ready to announce the winner of an award. When the person responsible for counting the votes turned up, he showed off a new, whizzy and completely redundant colour-coded method for counting the votes. Unfortunately, devising the new programme meant he hadn't actually had time to ... count the votes.

4. Bitching and whining

So Julie from third floor might not have said hello to you this morning, and that might well be because she's an unfriendly cow, but in the context of say, the war in Iraq, does it really merit a four-hour disquisition? Your boss doesn't think so. On the other hand, while bitching is bad, whining is worse. "What really annoys me is when we buy new equipment or take everyone out, and all I hear the next day is 'We should have bought a bigger TV' or 'We could have gone to a nicer restaurant'" says Halpern. "And that's when we've spent £5,000."

5. Disloyalty

Although none of the managers came out and said that they hated their staff for talking over them in meetings, pointing out their errors in public, or preventing the bonus-related project coming in on time, Mann says it's a major issue. "People used to close ranks, but it doesn't happen quite as much as it used to," she says. "Managers usually feel obliged to look after their staff, but if their staff don't feel the same way, the lack of loyalty is always a problem for the boss."

6. Lack of passion. Or interest

It might come as a surprise to you, but your boss has a life outside work. They too find it hard to get up in the morning. And they find the managing director's speeches as boring as you do. But they have to stay motivated, because they are the boss. So, when you fall asleep in meetings, can't remember the names of your accounts and tell them it doesn't matter whether the email goes today or tomorrow, it reminds them that they don't really give a toss either, but that it's their job to make themselves, and you, care. Then they get really, really irritated.

7. Trying to be their best friend

They don't want to go down the pub with you, they don't want to hear about what you really think of their boss, and they most certainly don't want to know what happened between you and Andy in the loos last Friday. They like you, but they know from bitter experience that if they show too much interest, you'll start treating them like a friend and refuse to take orders.

8. Petty lying

Saying that you missed the call because your mobile has run out of power. That you didn't get the email. That you've sent the report but there must be a technical glitch. That the meeting has run over and it's not worth you coming back to the office. That you've lost two big taxi receipts. That you're working from home today. That you have to go to a funeral, the dentist, the doctor, your mum's house, your best friend's cousin's wedding. Whatever. The biggest insult is that you think they believe you.

9. Childishness

I'm paraphrasing, but the key message here is: "I'm not your mum. Don't email me about the brand of toilet paper in the loo. Don't leave the kitchen in a mess. Don't ask me for a new biro. I'm not going to clean up after you and I don't care about this crap." You get the idea.

10. Wanting their job

They spend all their time and energy trying to protect you from the higher-uppers, you spend all your energy complaining about them. And then, on top of that, you want their job? Unforgivable.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Squeaky bum time

As Sir Alex Ferguson has been known to say it has reached that time of the season that is "Squeaky Bum Time". Life is certainly hotting up at the wrong end of the Championship.

A few days ago I would have said Leeds were down. I am pretty sure not many would have predicted the result on Friday when Leeds beat Preston 2-1. They must be beginning to think we are a bogey team after we dumped them out of the playoffs last season. And what a weekend for the other results. Luton drew, Southend Lost, QPR Lost, Barnsley Lost and Burnley Drew. Leeds are off the bottom for the first time in god knows how long!

So what about the run in? Realistically it is still any three from the bottom six

19 Burnley 38 -5 42
20 Barnsley 40 -25 41
21 QPR 39 -15 40
22 Southend 40 -23 39
23 Leeds 40 -24 39
24 Luton 40 -20 37

Burnley are really struggling and could get sucked in although there goal difference and a few draws may save them. Barnsley still have to play Birmingham, Crystal Palace and West Brom. QPR and Southend both look in big trouble. Luton do as well although whether the new manager syndrome will help them will have to be seen.

Leeds appear to be finding form just when we need it. There are some big players yet to come back. The recent form has shown a real improvement. Critical will be the three remaining home games against Plymouth, Burnley and Ipswich - win all those (a big ask I know) and we are in with a good shout of staying up, anything from the other games is a bonus although Derby away as the final game is not good news.