Tag Archives: Manchester United

On This Day…16 August

Happy 16 August 2010, everyone. On this day in history:

1777, the American Revolutionary War: The Americans led by General John Stark rout British and Brunswick troops under Friedrich Baum at the Battle of Bennington in Walloomsac, New York.

In 1858 – U.S. President James Buchanan inaugurates the new transatlantic telegraph cable by exchanging greetings with Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. However, a weak signal forces a shutdown of the service in a few weeks.

In 1920, Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians is hit on the head by a fastball thrown by Carl Mays of the New York Yankees, and dies early the next day. To date, Chapman is the second player to die from injuries sustained in a Major League Baseball game, the first being Doc Powers in 1909.

1942 – World War II: The two-person crew of the U.S. naval blimp L-8 disappears without a trace on a routine anti-submarine patrol over the Pacific Ocean. The blimp drifts without her crew and crash-lands in Daly City, California.

In 1966 – Vietnam War: The House Un-American Activities Committee begins investigations of Americans who have aided the Viet Cong. The committee intends to introduce legislation making these activities illegal. Anti-war demonstrators disrupt the meeting and 50 people are arrested.

1987 – A McDonnell Douglas MD-82 carrying Northwest Airlines Flight 255 crashes on take-off from Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, Michigan (Detroit), killing 155 passengers and crew. The sole survivor is four-year-old Cecelia Cichan.

And by extraordinary coincidence, in 2005 – West Caribbean Airways Flight 708 crashes near Machiques, Venezuela, killing the 160 aboard.

Not a good day to take a flight. But it is a good day for:

Ulrika Jonsson, television presenter, is 43 today.

Angela Basset, the Oscar-nominated actress is 52 and she shares her birthday with Madonna.

James “King 0f the World” Cameron is 56.

And our own lovely Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter series) is a cool 19.

Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood. Don't you just love her?

But today is the day of a mourning for those of us who live in the capital city. On this day, two years ago, Dublin lost an icon. Ronny Drew, the voice of Dublin and The Dubliners, died from cancer at the age of 74.

Last but not least, Manchester United opened their 2010/2011 Premier League Campaign with a 3-0 home win over newly promoted Newcastle United. The goals came from Dimitar Berbatov, Darren Fletcher and Ryan Giggs.

Aardvarkian FC

I can’t remember the last time I played Fantasy Football. I think it was well before the advent of the Interwebs, and I also think it cost me money – the price of a very expensive phone call. Now, with online gaming, I can take part for free. Free is a good price. I’ll do anything for free (but I won’t do that).

The English Premier League is running a competition where prizes can be won every week and month. Details can be found here.

For further advice on how to select your team, check out Tim Liew’s blog – it’s jam-packed with useful information. But you have to know what you’re doing. There’s a lot of pride at stake.

In a nutshell, here’s what Fantasy Football is all about. The “manager” is given a budget to spend on football players. In this instance, my budget is £100m and I’m to spend it on 15 individual players. There are conditions, though: I have to pick two goalkeepers, five defenders, five mid-fielders and three forwards (these are the guys who, theoretically, bang in the goals). I am allowed to pick no more than three players from any one club, I can’t pick players out of their position (I can’t, let’s say, pick a goalkeeper for a forward position), and I can’t go over-budget. With this in mind, I went and picked my team. They are:

  • Paul Robinson (Blackburn Rovers) Goalkeeper
  • Jose Reina (Liverpool) Goalkeeper
  • John Terry (Chelsea) Defender
  • Johnny Evans (Manchester United) Defender
  • Armand Traore (Arsenal) Defender
  • Stephen Carr (Birmingham City & Republic of Ireland) Defender
  • Richard Dunne (Aston Villa & Republic of Ireland) Defender
  • Darren Fletcher (Manchester United) Midfield
  • Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) Midfield
  • Steed Malbranque (Sunderland) Midfield
  • Adam Johnson (Manchester City) Midfield
  • Maxi Rodriguez (Liverpool) Midfield
  • Robbie Keane (Spurs & Republic of Ireland) Forward
  • Carlos Tevez (Manchester City) Forward
  • Bobby Zamora (Fulham) Forward.

I can play 11 of the 15 in any match, as long as I use a 4-4-2 formation (four defenders, four midfielders and two forwards – plus one goalkeeper). If your player scores a goal, you get points; if he keeps a clean sheet (no goals scored against him), you get points, too. If he assists in a goal, bingo – you get awarded points for that, as well. Hell, if he even plays a game, he’s awarded a point. Points are deducted when goals are scored against him or if he’s booked or sent off.

There are other ways to get points, but these are the basic ways. I have called my team Aardvarkian FC and I’ll be giving them a pep-talk soon.

The Premier League kicks off this weekend. Chelsea are the reigning champions; but my beloved Manchester United will do all in their power to get that trophy back. Let the battle commence. Come on you Reds! Come on you Aardvarkians!

After The Dark Tower Come These…

I reckon I’ll be busy with The Dark Tower series until the end of September. But that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about what I’m going to read next. For my birthday last week I got a present from my girlfriend of a book voucher for Chapters Bookstore on Dublin’s Parnell Street. So armed, I headed in last weekend and this is what I came out with.

Lock Down by Sean Black

I’m a big fan of action and adventure. At the very start of my “mature” reading I picked up Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Identity. It was the start of a literary love affair that was to continue until his death. I think I’ve read all of Ludlum’s novels. Nowadays, his successors have tried to duplicate his formula, with Christopher Reich being the best of the lot, in my opinion. I like them short and to the point, though, and I’ve heard good things about Sean Black’s debut, Lock Down. It’s the first in a series featuring ex-military bodyguard Ryan Lock. If this scenario rings familiar bells, it’s because it sounds similar to:

61 Hours: a Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child.

Jack Reacher is the original and the best. Lee Child’s creation is the man I most want to be. A laconic ex-Military Police, former Major Reacher is a man without a home. With nothing in his pocket but a toothbrush and an ATM card, he travels the US, putting wrongs to right, sending the bad guy(s) on a one-way trip to Hell, and nabbing the girl whenever he has a chance. The action scenes in Child’s novels are a masterclass in succinct, tension-filled writing. When I grow up, I want to be an amalgamation of both Reacher and Child. Sigh.

In The Dark by Mark Billingham

Mark Billingham is perhaps better known as the creator of Detective Inspector Tom Thorne of London’s Metropolitan Murder Squad. This book, In The Dark, is his first stand-alone thriller. I’m expecting it to equal Thorne’s best cases, such as Scaredy Cat and Lazy Bones. Billingham also has a career as a stand-up comedian, so his dialogue is lightly spiced with one-liners, as well as wry political observation. I enjoy his writing and I look forward to seeing how Sky TV get on with adapting his characters later this year.

Karin Slaughter is a crime writer I can’t praise enough. From Blindsighted right through to her most recent novel, Broken, Ms. Slaughter (that’s her real name, by the way) tells of events in Grant County, GA. Her recurring characters, Sara Linton, her husband, Jeffrey and Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Will Trent are well written individuals: damaged, flawed, but instilled with a sense of honour and justice, despite the horrors that face them in each novel. With the purchase of Genesis and Broken, I am now up to date with the lady’s work.

Genesis by Karin Slaughter

Broken by Karin Slaughter

And for my own lady, because of her generosity and love, I return the favour. She is a supporter of Chelsea Football Club, the reigning Premier League champions. This one I bought for her:

The "Special One": Jose Mourinho

The less said about Chelsea, the better…I’m a Manchester United fan. Enjoy your moment, my friends, we’ll be taking it back off you this coming season.