He has had many strange ideas such as stopping goal keepers coming up for corners and free kicks, curbing goal celebrations and awarding World Cups to certain countries despite humanitarian issues, lack of footballing knowledge and dodgy betting, but for once I am actually inclined to agree with FIFA present Sepp Blatter. And what is this all about you ask (well probably not if you are football fans and have kept up with the news recently)? It is about Michel Plantini’s current idea to spread the European Championships across thirteen cities in thirteen different countries. If the number thirteen didn’t worry you then there are some views that may do. Whilst I know that UEFA president Platini wants to stamp his mark and make the tournament evolve with the times we live in, I feel the biggest losers will be the fans. Think about World Cup 2010 in Africa, what did that do to a nation, no, a whole continent. People from South Africa could very rarely see world-class football and as such the tournament was a boost the country needed and got locals further into the international game. Now if we spread that across the different nations then how would all these fans get there? Unless the countries that hosted the games play all their matches in their home stadium, but does that not give an unfair advantage to thirteen teams? In the old system, one or two countries had the home support and it meant something to them. If the cities chosen are based around the best football then are you just giving advantages to the best teams and most likely winners? What about those minnows? I have heard people say that some cities could be in countries that do not have the infrastructure or enough world-class stadiums to host a whole tournament. But these are teams that are unlikely to qualify. Does that mean there will be little support for the two teams actually playing in the stadium? Unless the stadium hosts all that team’s group games so it becomes a home away from home, but what happens if they get to the knockouts, do we have fans frantically travelling across Europe in the space of a few days? Well it would be like that if teams were not designated a home stadium. But if they are then the last group games could not be played at the same time and two teams would already know the result they needed. Again this is unfair. To me it is all a logistical nightmare. The other way is to give the thirteen hosts automatic spots in the final tournament, but then doesn’t that make a mockery of qualification. Also what if they are drawn against each other? Unless you make the draw after the groups and maybe pick from the four who will host then everyone gets a chance. But this could cause large distances between stadiums say if England and Turkey qualified and both hosted. Going back to the travel issue, what about our carbon footprints? Multiple planes, trains and automobiles will mean increased CO2 into the atmosphere. That is not very 21st century now is it!
Blatter’s main concern is the atmosphere, saying it will lack any soul and I would have to agree. The home supporters always have a second team and are aware that they will only see that standard of football on a regular basis in their home country once in a lifetime. Imagine all the Olympics, European Championships, Commonwealth Games and World Cups being more in style like the Champions League. For me it doesn’t have that special atmosphere, that party feeling, a nation coming together to celebrate the beautiful game and people from around the world travelling somewhere to not only witness world-class football but to gain an understanding of another culture. Whilst I like Plantini’s stance on general football governance and financial fair play, I do feel his idea of spreading the European Championships across Europe is flawed. It raises more questions than answers. If we look in detail at those questions, the clearest and most obvious answers don’t seem to cover up a multitude of issues. But as that famous phrase goes ‘you don’t know if you don’t try.’ Lets just hope that if it doesn’t work they don’t just keep trying till it does.
If you read my last blog entry about a week ago I said I had joined twitter and made a comment about wanting to appear on BBC Sport’s Get Involved section. I can confirm that with my first ever use of a hash tag this has happened. The tweet in question was about Rio Ferdinand’s inclusion in the England squad. I believe that it is wrong that Hodgson has recalled Ferdinand. Yes I am a Leeds support and therefore a little biased but I cannot see Rio being more than a back up. If that is the case then we need to be aware we are playing San Marino, surely we should therefore keep with youth and look at players like Jenkinson and Wisdom. In particular Carl Jenkinson has been playing well for Arsenal, he has also been playing the top clubs in Europe in the Champions League. If we want to look to the future then bringing back an older defender who was dropped for footballing reasons seems odd to me. What has changed since he was dropped, very little in his form. We have got experience with Cole, Dawson and Johnson so do we need Rio as well? Yes we have got Montenegro and that is a very important game but I would not expect Rio to play in that game and thus any youngster that was brought in would not be playing either. If we do not get youth playing now we could find that we are in same position as before with the old guard failing yet again. Anyway, whatever your views are lets just revel in the fact that I am now one step closer to being a professional football pundit, look out for me on Match of the Day in the near future!
If you have not read any of my other posts you will not be aware that I am a teacher, a teacher who got inspired to write a novel that had been in his head for some years. I was inspired by my friend and aspiring author James Camp (check out his site here). Since then I have written some other short stories as well as slowly creating my novel (I will finish it one day!), I share all my work on wattpad (you can get to my profile here).
As I am not that happy with my job at the moment, my mind has been turning more and more to writing and potentially making a career out of this. Maybe even working part-time as a teacher and part-time as a writer. The real issue I have is time. With house improvements, a baby on the way, completing a Master’s Degree and the pressures teaching brings I find little to no time to actually get pen to paper, or rather fingers to keyboard. I seem to go an age without writing and when I have time to start I do not feel as passionate. But it only takes a few words being typed or a short walk thinking about my story and where it should go to get me motivated once again. I find that I am daydreaming when doing other tasks; I want to be working on my novel or one of the myriad of short stories in my mind. I get frustrated, my legs feel tense, I am restless….I just want to be getting my stories down and sharing my thoughts with others.
Recently I was thinking how I could move forward with a career in writing and talked to two people, a friend who is on a creative writing course and my budding author mate James Camp. The first told me to write lots of short stories and submit them to magazines, the second told me to write lots of short stories and promote them online (I may even have to get a twitter account!). I have looked at the editorial or article industry online but have been told to avoid that, pay is low and it is not as interesting as writing stories. I would have to agree. A short while ago I completed a children’s book for my nephew which involved creating images on Adobe Flash. I had it professionally printed and all who looked at it were impressed. It might well be my proudest achievement (I did a post about it here). This brings up the idea of self-publishing, but is my work good enough? Have I got the funds? Is it worth the hassle of self marketing in the almost vain hope I will get a large readership?
Writing is most definitely a buzz. I love it. I love getting all the ideas out of my head. I write for myself and that is wonderful but the question is where to go now? Do I seek publishers, do I self publish, do I work on promoting myself online or do I just carry on as a hobby? I feel at a cross roads, a potential change in life, one that I would love but one that will take a lot of hard work and sacrifice. Is it worth it? Will I be constrained by writing for my audience rather than 100% what I want to do? Who knows, but sometimes you have to take a leap. However, I think I’ll start with a small step and go from there, look to promote myself a little more online and see if anything happens. Who knows, I could be the next Dickens!