The S – Word


Pacific tsunami and a City win
February 27, 2010, 5:04 pm
Filed under: Premier League, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

Today has been surreal. I was woken up at about 3 in the morning, with news that a tsunami warning had been issued in Hawaii – following a devastating earthquake in Chile. The 8.8 magnitude quake triggered tsunami waves throughout much of the Pacific Ocean and, quite rightly, the warnings were taken very seriously here.

I’d gone to bed at about midnight, pretty tired after a sunset canoe paddling session, followed by a great margarita pool party (I know, it’s a hard life…). So when I woke up I actually thought I was dreaming. I went back to sleep for about 45 minutes until I was woken again. “Watch the news!” I was told.

I was glued to the news this morning, for tsunami updates

Everyone where I live was up and about – filling the cars with gas, water and food, as we’d been advised. When the air raid-like  tsunami sirens started sounding at 6am, it was pretty eerie. As a matter of fact, everything felt strange – the evacuations, emptying roads, everything closed down, panic buying at the supermarket, really weird. We drove ourselves to higher ground, parked up and spent six or seven hours watching the West Maui coast, anxious about the approaching waves, not knowing what would or could happen.

Thankfully Hawaii “dodged a bullet” – the words of tsunami expert and geophysicist Gerard Fryer. We saw some receding of water – which normally signals a wave is about to hit but nothing too damaging happened. There were sucks back and then surges along the parts of the coast that we could see, but no devastating walls of water.

What a relief! I was seriously impressed by the warnings we were given leading up to the expected time of the first wave, the evacuation procedure, everything. Hopefully nowhere else in the Pacific will be badly affected.

It seems a bit erroneous to talk about football in the same breath as earthquakes and tsunamis but if it wasn’t for the huge win that Manchester City registered against Chelsea today, I probably wouldn’t mention it.

But…I have to.

It’s rare that  I am pleased by a City win but today’s victory raised more than a smile. It was not just the manner of the defeat that pleased me (a 4-2 drubbing at Stamford Bridge with two Chelsea players sent off) but the loss on home turf also prevented Carlo Ancelotti’s men from going four points clear at the top of the Premier League.

It’s the second time this season that City have beaten Chelsea, which surely speaks volumes about the leaps they are making now that they’re, well, totally loaded. A top-four finish is looking more and more possible by the day, which takes some getting used to. City can’t actually win things can they? The fans I know from the blue half of Manchester will be howling with derision for me saying that but it’s just so hard to imagine. I mean really, silverware at Eastlands!?

Oh and  something else that I got great pleasure out of was Wayne Bridge’s refusal to shake John Terry’s hand. After the sordid philanderings I spoke about in my February 9 blog all eyes must have been on the pair and I think it was exactly the right thing for Bridge to do.

Snubbed!

I need some sleep after today’s events so that’s all for now… I’ll be back soon, hopefully after a Manchester United victory against Aston Villa in the Carling Cup final.

Mahalo for reading!

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Riddled with debt – United and the Glazers
January 29, 2010, 5:43 pm
Filed under: Premier League | Tags: , , , ,

I’m thrilled to say that I’ll be able to watch Manchester United as they take on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium this Sunday. It won’t be live but it will be shown over here, so I will be careful to dodge the result before the game is replayed at 6pm Maui time.

Alex Ferguson is touting the fixture as ‘the biggest game of the season’. Normally he says these things when he is trying to psyche-out the opposition, with his well-known and effective penchant for mind games. But in this case he has got a point.

At the time of writing, Chelsea – who have a game in hand – are topping the Premier League by one point, Arsenal trail United by the same margin. The Gunners, as it happens, are unbeaten in 10 whereas United have had a pretty shoddy start to 2010.  We were knocked out of the FA Cup by Leeds United, experienced a worrying injury crisis and registered the worst run of January results we’ve had in a long time.

But far more troubling news came to light earlier this month when United, the ‘most popular club in the world’ was revealed to be unbelievably, unquestionably, unequivocally RIDDLED with debt.

Love United Hate Glazer

My sentiments exactly

Figures released a fortnight ago  illustrate the extent of it. United’s parent company, Red Football Joint Venture Ltd, are reported to be £716.5m in the red, how is this possible? The American owners had to borrow over £500m to even buy the club in the first place! Sky-high interest, mystery payments to ‘family members’ and fees that paid for ‘management and administration matters’ seem to have deepened the fault lines that began to show when the Glazers bought the club in 2005.

David Conn explains the situation well in The Guardian online 

It’s a worrying situation, and one that leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. Especially when you contrast the financial situation with that of Arsenal, or (and I say this through gritted teeth) Manchester City – who are both in rude health when compared with goings on at Old Trafford. Oh well, at least Liverpool are in dire straits with their finances too…

Hopefully, in matters on the pitch, United will have the upper hand against Arsene Wenger’s team, who failed to break the deadlock in a 0-0 draw with Aston Villa earlier this week. The home side are the division’s leading scorers and they have taken 24 points from 10 unbeaten games. Er… crap! Well, we did beat them at Old Trafford in August. Back then Arsene Wenger accused United of playing ‘anti-football’ it ain’t pretty but if that’s what it takes to win again then I’d happily accept.

Okay – it’s nearly time for the sun to go down on another gorgeous day on Maui. Time to get a glass of wine and wander down to the beach I think.

Until next time…