Saturday, 17 November 2012

It's All Getting Hoop-Less!

Sorry about this, I know I usually try to cover several subjects on this very blog, but a situation has arisen which I feel the need to rant about.

As all my regular readers know, I am an avid Queens Park Rangers FC supporter. It's in my blood, my family, my life. At the start of this season I felt very optimistic and happy with the clubs situation. We had stayed in the Premier League the previous season by the skin of our boots, brought in new expensive players and had a manager in Mark Hughes well versed in the top flight of English football. I like to stay positive, and was convinced that we would not be involved in a relegation fight. During the first 10 games of this season, we had injuries and a bout of bad luck, but mostly leaked cheap goals which cost us dearly. But I still remained upbeat. I have defended our manager, players and owner to the point of arguing with some of my fellow supporters. The Facebook groups and QPR forums have been awash with fans calling for Mark Hughes' job since our defeat to Reading in the League Cup; some more articulate then others, some just plainly stupid, xenophobic and abusive. This was not helpful for either the club nor the fans moral, and for the most part, I did not agree with them. I believed in our owners words of stability and encouragement, and was sure things would get going soon. I was not alone. Many other fans shared my optimism, including my family members. 

However, for the first time in a long while, my faith has been broken. It started with the defeat away to Stoke. This was yet another game in which we dominated for long periods and should have at least left with a draw. That hurt, it really did, and my hopes in the club hinged on the next home game against Southampton. This was a team that like us had not won a game yet, and not even got a single point away from home. So, I did felt that inclin of confidence return. This was not to be. My team performed awfully, and Southampton took advantage of this, winning the game 3 goals to 1. In a similar position to us, they showed the fight, gameplan and spirit that is needed to escape the dreaded drop. We did not. Our collection of highly paid world-wide 'stars' hardly showed up. Our manager appeared to have little effect of what was going on, and while he admitted afterwards that the performance was bad, still refused to admit to his own misgivings as the core problem. It was typical that the players that had got us promoted 2 seasons back were the only ones who seemed to care. Jamie Mackie and Adel Taraabt are excluded from this rant because of this.

We are in a position now that relegation seems inevitable. No team has made a start to a season like this and survived in the top flight. As a club, we are 1 loss away from our worst EVER start to ANY season in the clubs history. We are the ONLY team in the top four divisions of English football to not record a win. How can that be? We have money, strong fanbase, rich shareholders, expensive players and management staff. Never have we had such an affluent state of affairs but we somehow cannot win any games, and at other times put in terrible performances when the shit needs to go down big style. So despite my previous good feelings, I have come to a point that enough is enough. Firstly, I so want our owner to stay on; he is excellent with the fans and has put a lot of time, money and work into the club. I respect him greatly and think he is a wonderful chairman. Unfortunately he also seems to be rather naive and stubborn. He has to swallow his pride and admit that on the appointment of Hughes he was wrong. Hughes has had his chance, with HIS players and it just has not worked out. A change needs to be made as soon as possible, this may result in either safety or relegation, but I think at this stage that matters little. The chances are we are going to be relegated. We need a minimum of 36 points from the remaining games to have a chance of staying up, and I just cannot see it happening. 10 wins and at least 6 draws from 26 games? Unlikely, given our crappy form so far.

So whats the solution? I have no answers, I'm not a football manager or a football statistician, I'm just a fan, but it doesn't take a total moron to see that things are simply just not right. Is it confidence? Coherence? Tactics? Training? I could go on with no definite answer. But, what does need doing is a change in the management staff. The cash and time has been given by the owner with no return, and if we cannot even hype ourselves up to beat another struggling team at our home ground then things are very VERY desperate  No team can have the likes of Junior Hoilett, Djbril Cisse, Jose Bosingwa, Bobby Zamora, JS Park.... all highly rating players and somehow cannot put their skills into a competitive match. It's the managers job to put these pieces together, inspire and train them up and if Mark Hughes was doing a jigsaw, he would still be trying to finish the edges! I hate to be penning these words I really do, because I cannot stand the manager sack-race that happens every season in the English leagues. I believe all managers should be given a chance at success, and strongly think stability is a key aspect to any clubs endeavours. Hughes has now had this chance and for even a hope of staying in the Premier League he has to go. Now. Times up.

We know how you feel Tony, Do the Right Thing. Please.

Relegation is something all QPR fans have to come to terms with. It seems a long time ago now that I was partying in Shepherds Bush singing 'Championos!' that now we face dropping back down into the Championship. It's very unlikely that we can now avoid that, so all we should hope for now is some better showings from a team put together by a manager who can make it work. I sincerely hope that the board of directors and our owner Mr Fernandes have not factored into the clubs finances the money the Premiership gives it's clubs, especially the upcoming big money TV deal with Sky and BT. This could prove costly to the clubs future. Clearly the wage bill will have to be cut, players will have to leave, but its the only way we can return stronger is to learn the lessons, regroup, lick our wounds and do it right. 

Whatever the future brings, I will always be QPR. Once a Superhoop, always a Superhoop. I am still fully behind our owner and hope he makes the right choices going forward, I still have optimism with my beloved football club and believe we can make it to the upper echelons of the football elite. I say this to all my fellow fans. I know you are all upset, but stay resolute. QPR is your team, through the thick and thin, that's what true supporters do.

'Bug..... Out! (And Hughes please Tony)

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Run Rabbit Run!

Phew! Just got back from a 3 mile run that I had postponed for far too long. My legs are going to be furious with me tomorrow morning as I hobble into work. I make excuses of course, but my personal exercise regime seems to be very unbalanced of late. I work out at home, run and swim and still seem to remain the same weight and muscle mass. Agghhhh! It's quite obvious that given my age and general semi-unfitness, I won't be participating in any high level sports anytime soon. I do love to watch sport however and find it inspiring and entertaining. Well, mostly. One such sport, the so-called 'Beautiful Game' and one of the biggest money spinners has been annoying me greatly of late. I'm not going to bleat on about my own teams failings, I would going on for an eternity about that, but that is yet another factor why I am becoming more disinterested in the game of football. (That's soccer for those across the pond!)  It's this media and hysteria fueled race row that drags on, despite the fact that the overall majority of the football community in this country has evolved beyond such primitive behavior. I say overall, because in any walk of life and in any society of human beings, there will always be a certain amount of people, of all races, that insult and persecute a skin colour different from their own. Football is one sport that does still suffer from this to a degree. It's a sad but true fact. It will take many more decade before we get to a point where the matter has became completely insignificant. I have a friend at work who shares my views on this. He is from Uganda and a top bloke. Thing is, me and him are totally at ease with our superficial differences (skin colour), and use that as a source of humour towards each other. We agree that our differences make the world a much more interesting place to live, but also recognise the ridiculousness of terms like 'Honky' and 'N***er'. You see! I have to edit that in case someone reading this very blog gets offended. We actively call each other these types of names, in jest, because we are beyond that kind of thing, poking fun at those who still make such a fuss. He does not find it offensive because he knows me and knows I am in any way not that inclined, knowledge is power, and it's the same the other way. I mean, He flippantly greets me with 'White Boy!' It's just funny, do I scurry off complaining of racist abuse? No I don't! Hang on, I've gone far to serious now, this is not acceptable, so here's a video of me telling rubbish jokes.

Now that's off my chest, entertainment wise we are fully in the annual yawn-fest of the reality television programming. Okay, some could argue this medium is never ending in today's world of TV, but it's the so-called major shows that are doing the rounds this time of year. By that, I of course mean the biggest money-makers, seductively squeezing the pocket money from dizzy fame hungry teenagers drooling over baby-faced young men with average voices. The stay-at-home mom's also make up a substantial part of this telephony based income, mostly because its a bit of excitement away from the husband/football hybrid festering in the corner. Whilst I consider most of the run-time of these shows as an insult to the concept of time, a few aspects can generate a smile, but only from one - Ant and Dec's holiday in Australia,  also known as I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! Of course, the age old gag that the term 'celebrity' is very tenuous to the people taking part is a given. The trick is, the public will know who they all are during the show, than promtly forget them. I mean, Hugo from Made in Chelsea? (???????!!!!??????), some random unknown Tory MP, and the slag from Coronation Street. Sorry, I mean the, ahem, 'actress' that plays the slag from Coronation Street. It's difficult to tell the difference. So we are now subjected to a few weeks of squabbling, bitching, screaming and the consumption of native animals testicles. Now that's entertainment! So who will win? The Ex-Doctor Who? The Ex-heavyweight champion? Ant or Dec's charming personalities? No, the winner as always is the shows management, giggling into their suitcase full of cash thinking "I can't believe people still fall for this crap!" But alas, we do, me included.

Tank Girl had really let herself go!

The Pixel Empire

The gaming goodness just keeps coming over at TPE. After the Halloween frights we are bringing you some really excellent stuff to keep your video game libido satisfied. Shane joins the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in both Darksiders titles, Alan takes apart one of his favourite Amiga classics ported to the PSP, and even finds the time to battle Tom at Motorstorm RC in our very first Pixel Hi-Score Duel, and I look at one of the weirdest games ever to be released on the original Playstation! 

And that's not all. In the coming weeks we visit New Vegas on the PS3 and feature 3 of the finest RPG's ever to grace the home gaming market. Enjoy, I know you will!


Sunday, 4 November 2012

Paying For It The Hard Way!

So, with the Halloween celebrations over and me finally tripping up over the hill at 35 years of age, all we have to look forward too now is several nights of pyrotechnical explosions whilst keeping the pets indoors, which will unsurprisingly defecate in the most awkward of places. And whats after that for us UK folk? That's right, Christmas. Prepare to empty your bank accounts for another year or be paying off catalogue retailers until the following Christmas! At least we don't have to shell out for Thanksgiving as well I suppose, so it could be worse. You could be an American.

I jest of course, I love the yanks, it would be a much more boring world without them that's for sure. So with the season of 'goodwill' on our doorstep, does it effect the mood of regular bus passenger you say? Well, no, 70% are still as miserable as usual, but it never ceases to amaze me the amount of regular hard-working people that  totally loose the plot once they have crossed that flip-door threshold. I mean, attempting to pay the fair with a £50 note? Really? Most bars and high street shops don't even entertain 'Big Red', let alone a bus driver who is given no float. Yes, we have to provide our own, so that means if people don't pay the full fare, we have to pay it for them or get disciplined by our company. Now, contact-less credit cards have just started to become widespread, and London buses will have the ability to take them, so anybody asking if they can pay by credit card I can now forgive, but by cheque? Yes, I have been offered a cheque... I didn't even realise that were still used in this day and age! It instantly reminded me of the 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?' scene where Eddie tries to get on a tram by showing a cheque. I said the same words as the tram conductor, with added malice. The funniest thing however, is how someone can get so flustered and panicky paying for a measly fare. If they are on the phone, it suddenly becomes impossible for the phone to be put down, and marry this with a handbag or satchel,  it's muddle-time, shaking spaghetti arms searching for that pass or even worse, loose change. I often wonder, would they do this in a supermarket, a clothes store or a fast food restaurant? No, they would not. They would be sensible about it, but a bus is like something like nothing else with a mind melting field within, and all meaningful behavioral processes go missing from the brain, returning once the person has disembarked. Ahh, the joys of public transport! People who try to fare evade of course are another matter..for another day.

If he was around today, the drivers would be the least of his worries!

It's a Blast!

Whizz! Bang! Ohhhhhh's all over! No, I'm not talking about the ideal length of a sexual encounter for a man, but for the pyrotechnic magnificence of fireworks. Come on, they are cool, and so they should be for the money that's literally burnt away. Only the proper display fireworks are the impressive stuff of course, garden fireworks bear a closer similarity to a box of swan-vestas lit up, just much shorter, below is a perfect example of this. Anyhow, I had a nice visit to the local display, paying £6 for the privilege per head. I should have just stayed in the car park, the view was better. The drawbacks with this firework month is of course many. Teens playing dumb ass japes with them, some even throwing them into crowed buses for shits sake. This is massively dangerous and not harmless tomfoolery at all. I would love to sneak a roman candle under their bed-sheets, just to see their reaction. The other annoyance of course is not wanting to hear them being blasted out of your more unruly neighbours at 2am, waking up with a jump to the apparent sound of the blitz returning is not amusing. Especially even more for parents or pet owners. Fireworks look great when done correctly, but isn't it getting to a point where selling them at retail level is just more trouble than its worth, with generally crap results and little satisfaction for the dosh it takes to buy them? Fizzle, pooff! There's a weeks wages up in smoke.

Well, that's it for this installment, don't forget to check out The Pixel Empire over the next month. We have some cracking stuff for your viewing. Shane takes a look at Darksiders while Tom and Alan battle it out on our first High-Score Challenge. For any gamer, it's too good to be missed!

'Bug... Out!