Posts tagged: FA Cup

Cup Final Day

The day of the cup final is always special, even if today felt different. I got up slightly later than normal and had some toast and tea for breakfast. Cruising the music television channels, I find myself tuning into VH1. They were doing a run down of the 500 Greatest British Songs this weekend. The opening to the song at 315, means everything to me. It perhaps was not as fitting how as it was nearly five years ago but the meaning was all the same. What sort of person are you? Do you walk away from your problems, avoiding them for as long as possible or do you take them, head on? Well, just like Craig David, there are times when I feel like just ‘Walking Away’. Perhaps not today but there are times when I have taken some courage that I am not the only one. Ironically, 315 was the number of the night bus I used to catch from Wycombe town centre to Cressex every weekday. Thankfully, that part of my life is over, forever.

Back to the most important aspect of the day, the big match. It had been built up for weeks and now that it was finally here, I felt somewhat disappointed. Sure, avoiding the newspapers and keeping what I read on the web to a bear minimum. Nevertheless, there was a feeling of unfinished business, as I sat down at 1pm to watch the show, live on BBC1. I had seen Arsenal crumble to Manchester United, twice already this season in the league, and even in the worthless cup, but the fact we played a C side that does not count. Revenge is such a strong word. Taking what was rightfully ours, is how I would prefer to label the tact. We have a long traditional in this cup competition and I felt, even without Henry, we had what it would take to win this game, perhaps only with a single goal, an act of genius. As it transpired, our most crucial player was our goalkeeper, able to settle some ghosts. My personal analysis? We did not perform in the first half and looked like a team, willing only to attack on the counter. We were much too patient, waiting for things to happen. Man U, were able to capitalize on this by piling on the pressure, consistently but never able to create a real opening. Not sure what was said at half time, but it woke us from our slumber and we started putting passes together and show some attacking might. This was in between dogmatic pressure, which thanks to our keeper, we were able to hold on for extra time. Overall, the better team, deserved to win in open play, but just were not clinical in their finishing. We were lucky. The limit of this was when dear Freddie cleared a goal bound shot by Ruud on the line. That was the closest clear cut chance and you could see, over time that today would not be for Alex. With the prospect of penalties I had a sinking feeling. Reyes had been sent off and some of our more experienced attackers had been substituted. I took some comfort from our performance against Sheffield United, which also went to spot kicks but a result in our favour. Throughout the past week at work, I was confident that Arsenal would come up with the goods and the match had seen Lenhman hit another level. Could he pull it off? As it transpired, he could but I was on the edge of my seat all the way through. Sometimes, the good guys win, no matter what obstacle the bad guys put in the way. Expect a full review from a drunkard Spanish resident, tomorrow morning. Thankfully, we have one more season to watch the Dutch Master grace our screens.

If the weather tells a story of the day, then it is so. The day began with slight drizzles and then by midday it was raining heavily, with major downpour around 1pm. This affected the broadcast of digital satellite, which was annoying to say the least. Then, during the match, the weather cleared somewhat. With extra time looming the sun finally shown over in Cardiff, while here in Wycombe it was still quite overcast. Then, within moments of Arsenal clinching that final penalty and the trophy, the sun came out to shine brightly for me and not just on TV, I came into my room to pick up my mobile, I had a text message and my weekend was about to be turned upside down, but for a change, for the better. So just like the weather, my emotion has quickly shifted, like a roller coaster from despondent emptiness, to meaningful delight. Have faith in the promise of what tomorrow may bring.

Wednesday 26th May 2004

I will be back in Wycombe on Sunday and I must say I am looking forward to going home. Of all the journeys I have made home from University, this will be the sweetest and the most comforting. I have nothing to gain by staying in Leicester. Of course some of my friends remain, but the costs just do not justify the means. Also, my job hunting would be slow, if I decided to send out my applications from here. Without my own transport, making interviews would mean taking the risk with public transport.

There are certain football matches, that I am sure even the most marginal of sports fan watch. The FA Cup Final, the UEFA Cup Final, the big European and World Cup Finals and of course the Champions League Final. It should be one of the most interesting finals in recent memory, as nobody expected FC Porto and Monaco to make it this far. I am looking forward to the match this evening, even if it is being shown on ITV. I am so glad that Match Of The Day is back on the BBC for the up coming Premiership season. But before any of that, there is the European Championships in Portugal. I always watch the BBC coverage, they appear to have a much more relaxed attitude to the whole affair, while those ‘on the other side’ tend to take the professional approach. Football is not about suits, but that is something they will never learn over on ITV. Have you seen the television slots on the BBC for Euro 2004? They feature footage of the greatest players of Europe, but as painters, with the voice over proclaiming, “the masters of European football, presented by the past masters…”. Interesting stuff, but a shame the web team have not got their act together. The Euro
2004 website for the BBC is just a fixture list. Very poor indeed. ITV however have gone for the approach to create, ‘The Avengers’, with Owen the saint and Beckham the sinner. Showing their personal contributions to Argentina game in the World Cup, some six years ago.

Still waiting to hear the ‘tune’ of the summer. I wonder who will set our stereo’s alight this summer? Will it be a tried and tested artist? Or will it be someone new? Well whoever it is, please release the single soon. The public are waiting. With the summer around the corner, I know I need to burn some audio for my car. Actually I need to completely reorganize my entire mobile audio collection. My 10 disc CD changer, needs to be updated and I need to re-issue some of my MP3 CD disc, (namely R’n’B).

Having alienated a vast amount of my readers, earlier this month, by declaring that my dislike for Friends. Well perhaps distaste is the wrong word to use. Misunderstanding perhaps is more fitting. Anyway, you will think I would learn my lesson, but no, here I go again, taking
the unpopular route. I am not a fan of the Channel 4 reality series, Big Brother. I try my best to avoid the show, but it is extremely difficult. Particularly when my sisters find it compulsive viewing. Due to this, by week eight, I get dragged into the program and find myself away on a idle Sunday morning at 2am, watching the attics of the housemates. I think the show is some sort of cancer. You try your best to immunize yourself but over the course of time, you find else more and more exposed. Particularly when you can’t go anywhere or do anything without the presence of BB. Newspapers, websites, even the news becomes dominated by the show. Will the show ever end? The novelty wore off after the first show, but someone somewhere continues to push this sort of programming. Why? Because some sad pathetic people will always watch the stuff? And the housemates have dillusions of being over night celebrities based on their anitcs in the house. Everyone remembers, Tickle and his droned version of the Eagles classic, “Hotel California” sung to the flowerbed. Where is he now, I ask? Anyone know? Well, point made, point proved.

Thursday 20th May 2004

A topic that I have covered on several times on my blog and will always continue to discuss. Music. What has the biggest influences in shaping the types of music we like? Our childhood, our friends? Our experiences? Or purely the radio stations and music video channels we watch? My answer would be all of the above. The biggest influences on my musical tastes have been my family and friends. My sister, particularly opened my eyes or rather ears to many artist in my younger days. Samantha, just tends to listen to more commercial radio than I do and has always had a finger on the pulse of the modern scene. In the mid to late 1990s, I too listen to a heavy dose of commercial radio. Capital FM and Kiss 100 were always on in our house. Back then the quality of the music was of a much higher standard than today. Perhaps because those days, reality pop stars manufacturing was just an idea in Simon Fuller’s head. Also the DJs at the time, played a fantastic blend of old and new music and actually had something to say, rather than just fill in the gaps between the tracks with idle chat. There was even a point, when I was such a regular listener to the radio, that I new the play lists so well I could predict with some accuracy the next track to be played. Then towards the end of the decade, as I began to amass my own musical collection, I became more and more disillusioned with commercial radio. It began to become very repetitive and the presenters began to lose their individual personalities in favour of factory output. I never really listened to BBC Radio 1 and preferred the Hit 40 UK, which was sponsored by a famous carbonated beverage and broadcast across several radio stations. I also came familiar with idea of ‘radio kill’. A song being played too many times on the radio and consequently destroying the credibility of the song. This was another of the reasons, why I stopped listening to the radio. So, with the decline in my radio listening, how and more importantly who would be influencing my musical tastes? Well, it would be my best friend at school and subsequently college. Without him, many of the songs I now listen to on a regular basis, would not be in my collection. Overall, our musical tastes were the same, but it he gave favour for bands such as Then Jerico and the fantastic Marillion. Although I had Sky, I only rarely watched the music channels, referring to watch out for classic tracks from the 80s on VH1. My college friend had also the astonishing gift, to be able to recall dates of singles and albums by almost any artist. A walking, Guinness Book of British Hit Singles, if you may. When he didn’t know the date of a release, a rare occurrence mind, we would dash across to WH Smith in Henley-upon-Thames. That was some four years ago. He has moved and I have nothing but the memories of those events.

So who in recent times has influenced my musical preferences? Well, it has to be my housemate Paul. He likes a broad range of material, from the classic timeless masterpieces by The Smiths to the sleek soulful RnB of Jaheim. You only need to go back to last month to discover how is song selection had such an overwhelming impact. On the return from an unscheduled trip to ASDA, he made a selection, describing the track as cheesy but catchy pop. Never wanting to doubt, someone who has never been wrong in the past, I listened to the opening, surprised to hear the vocals in Spanish. Azul means ‘blue’, I was quietly informed and then told the large female fan base for the latino artist born in Mexico. I was hooked. I was hooked from the first few seconds of the song. I never could imagine Paul letting me down. I found the song, and patiently waiting for it download, on our return home. I have been listening to it ever since and it has grown on me, with a passion. Why? I suppose it is my love for pure pop. For music that is both easy to listen to and has a catchy chorus. Being a child of 1980s and still loving that era for music, may go someway to explain this sometimes ridiculed love of mainstream popular music. You just have to read the reviews for the album, which shares the name of the title track to find out more. Cristián Castro, has tried to include every possible cliché, with regards to American 1980s Rock/Pop. I do not have a problem with this, because the finished product is of such high quality production.

The 1980s theme continues, with a quick visit to eBay. I was e-mailed by my other housemate Nav, last night. All the e-mail included was a website URL and the comment in the subject line, “I bidded on it for you mate”. This was strange? Placing bids on my behalf? I followed the link, to be greeted with the famous image from my childhood. Showing all my dreams in a single piece of metal. My dreams remain and shall forever, for the auction was for a vehicle. Not any vehicle, but the creation of Doctor Emmett Brown. One day I hope to live the dream. But for the time being, I am a member of DeLorean Owners Club. Yes, I know I do not own one (yet), but the club is open to enthusiasts, as well as owners of the gull wing automobile. I joined in May 2001, following a visit to Belfast, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the cars manufacture. Find out more by visiting the fantastic resource if you dare to Enter My World.

So my final exam beckons. With it my time at university comes to an end. I feel strange. Time as a student has flown by so quickly and the real world is knocking on my door. As I head back to Wycombe at the end of this month, I see friendships drawing to a close. No, I should not think like that at all. There is no closure, just a change in direction. Some will continue on this journey with me. Others will find a different path. I wish them well. The certainty of the big bad world, only begins to come home as I make job applications. I just hope this job search is more successful than my hunt for placement, two years ago. Obviously much more critical now, I need a job! :)

The FA Cup takes place this weekend. Of course, it should be Arsenal in the final and not Man Yoo. Oh well, never mind, there is always next year and we should be more than happy with the Premiership crown. One of the highlights of all the coverage on the BBC has been the use of Don King as a marketing guru. Read his Philosophy of Champology to convert our cup competition into a FA Mega Bowl, with all the razzmatazz that only the Americans can bring! 😀

Saturday 13th March 2004

We place our happiness in other people’s hands. I am a strong believer in this prophecy. There is some amazing joy in making someone else happy. But when someone else makes you happy, that is a feeling on another level. A feeling that is unlike another other I have felt. I feel invincible, unbreakable and may I be bold enough to immortal? Maybe that is taking it too far? But I do feel like I could jump up and touch the sky. I do not really know what has made me feel the way I do right now. You will have noticed that my blog has at times been quite negative and pondered upon ‘dark days’ in recent entries. This is because I have felt that recently, I have been losing a few battles on a few fronts.

That is not to say, that I’ve won, or for that matter been beaten. It is just a feeling of sheer joy and happiness before the final push?

It is mid March and the time is flying by. I’m not sure why this final year at University appears to heading uncontrollably to a end. An event this week, brought everything into perspective. My graduation ceremony details. This is a day I’ve been waiting for some twenty three years of my life. I know, for other people in my life have been waiting for it, for much longer. Particularly those in a country far far away. Enjoying a victory against the old enemy this morning, which I know (having spoken to my cousin!) they relished more than life itself.

I appear to be in a period in my life when nothing can go wrong? Or is this just a false sense of security I find myself in? Arsenal proving themselves to be nvincible and pushing for the title, Champions League and of course FA Cup. Read the latest from Arse Blog, with an intriguing look at our last semi-final clash with Manchester United, five years ago.

Has the fool become a hero..?

I’m caught in a crowd, I’m stuck in the ground
But I just keep moving around
I can turn almost anything bad into something good
If we all stand up when the going gets rough
And baby we hold out for better things
Then we all can be the ones who shine on
Everybody knows that

Monday 16th February 2004

Back in Leicester, after a weekend at home. As always, time at home is extremely hectic, and before I know where I am, the time has drifted by and the East Midlands beckons once more. Another week at Uni begins and with it, the expectation and realisation that this is the final hurdle. A phrase which echoes in my mind, whenever I head to campus. Not long now, I know, as I draw closer to the finish line with every passing day.

Arsenal were in FA Cup action on Sunday lunchtime. I was eagerly anticipating the 5th Round tie. I recall coming back on Saturday 8th March, from Leicester to the catch the last dramatic encounter between the London clubs in this cup competition. If that match had anything to go by, I was in for an entertaining game of football. However, I was disheartened to hear that Henry was out of the game through injury. I knew that this would be a major test for the Gooners. Chelsea, must have thought this was the best opportunity to beat us in four years. The tie was going as scripted, with the Blues scoring towards the end of the first half. I had a feeling though. I had a feeling about our new signing Reyes. He had to deliver at some point and why not the best cup competition in the world. Two amazing goals in the space of five minutes. I would have been happy to go for the reply, but Reyes proved that with time and space he is deadly. What was everyone saying about Arsenal’s over reliance on Henry? I also feel a huge mention of Dennis Bergkamp is necessary. His contribution and vision was inspiring. Admirable to see a player still showing great skill and talent, even at the twilight of their professional career. There were numerous occasions when he split open the Chelsea defence, but unfortunately Arsenal were not able to make the most of the goal scoring opportunity. Not much else to report I am afraid at the moment. Upgrading my hosting this week, so the guest book should be online by Friday or the weekend.

I am breaking with the tradition of my website. Usually, I do mention a site, a webmaster and praise their creative ability. However on this occasion, I’m going
to go once step further and dedicate this blog entry to my dear friend, Kristy. For the rest of the events as they unfold will have a special meaning, only for
her. I hadn’t driven my car since Christmas and was looking forward to getting behind the wheel again. In anticipation for this, I burnt myself an Audio CD for the
first time, since Christmas. There were so many songs that I had been listening to excessively on WinAmp, but creating a track listing wasn’t too difficult. I need to take you back, take you back to the days of my placement. I mention on Wednesday 23rd April, that I had created yet another MP3 CD for the car. This particular collection was called ‘Pure Pop’. Now, I am sure that you are the same as me, when you are listening to a new album. You go straight for the songs that you know and love. Those that have been released as singles and had the most radio play. Very much, like a kid in sweet shop. You go for your favourite sweets, always. After a time, you begin to actually listen to the other tracks on the album. On one occasion, I recall vividly taking such a decision with this MP3 CD. I was going to start at track one, and let the CD cycle through all the tracks. The day I did
this, I was on the M1, heading back from Bedford, after yet another eventful day at work. But work was far from my mind and my thoughts were far from the road ahead. I already had a good collection of favourite songs on this album, beyond the well known singles. I thought there were no more I needed to hear. I was
far from right. As track six faded away, and the noise of the motorway traffic became apparent to me once more, I felt something strange. The feeling was that
of a distant memory. The song started, and music filled my car once more. The arrangement was breathtakingly perfect, every note timed with such grace and poise. Then the vocals began. There was only one person I thought of when I was listening to the song, those feelings came rushing back. “You say you’re sorry for the things That you’ve done To my life”, struck such a cord with me. I know that my time on placement was the best time for me professionally, where I took major leaps and bounds as a person. However, personally, it was the worse phase of my life in recent years, particularly the second half of 2002. Everyone knows that I am a fan of pure pop, and this was pure pop at it’s best. Simple, yet dramatic music that moves the soul. I had been listening to the song again, in recent weeks, not really sure why. The song is still as magnificent as ever, but those feelings, I felt in April are alien to me now. On Saturday, I headed to Bedford and there was only one song I
wanted to hear on my stereo. As I headed onto the motorway, the track came on. While driving my thoughts again drifted, but further afield than before. Across
the Channel to the Netherlands, to Rotterdam, where Kristy lives. I recalled with great accuracy the MSN conversation I had with her, in early January. I had
asked her what songs I should listen. She recommend the aforementioned track. I listened to it again, and the memories came flooding back. I asked if the
song had a video on the band’s DVD album. I was disappointed to hear, that it did not. But then Kristy told me that they performed the song live and the footage
included my favourite member, pumping the air in celebration during the minor bridge in the song. I tried to picture this and smiled. The power of music. Never to be underestimated. The band are of course, Liberty X and the song is, “Everyday”, from their debut album, “Thinking It Over”.

Saturday 17th May 2003

Looking back at my week off there appears to be ‘re-occurring 80s theme’. I must have chosen, the best week to take off work, being a big fan of 80s music, and 80s related material in general. It started subtly on Sunday evening. I didn’t get a chance to re-visit my childhood, but I do regret not finding the time to watch the epic
film. The film in question? Indiana Jones and The Raiders of The Lost Ark. What took me back to my childhood, was the theme. Unfortunately, I had deleted my Themed
MP3s from my hard drive and archived them to CD-rom. Thinking that this would be a clever thing to do! (Why?) I then had to search around for this elusive CD-rom, unable to find the score, by the famous, man of many themes, John Williams. Eventually, I did find what I was looking for, and have done the right thing and copied the Themes back to my hard drive. However, the 80s theme was to continue for throughout the week. Magic, the easy listening music channel, had an Ultimate 80s week. I saw, my favourite music video, on Chart Show TV, when they counted down the album chart. I also, saw Knight Rider, and in this particular episode, they were able to slipped in the name of John DeLorean. Interesting indeed. The good news is that Indy will be back on the small screen tomorrow evening, in the second installment, the “Temple Of Doom”. I must remember to find the Sky Remote Control and hide it somewhere…

The man, who most deserved a goal in the FA Cup, got exactly what he deserved and provided us Gooners, with the only silverware of the season. A season which as always started with so much promise and hope ends, on a high, but somewhere, you feel, we deserved much more… Looking back at my life then, I see myself struggling to come to terms with events taking place before me. In a way, these events still cast a shadow over me now. I am unable to put into words, the reasons for this, having spent far too much time searching for answers. But I feel that looking forward to the future, I am destined to have these questions answered. Or perhaps rather, THE question answered. It was great to see Arsenal lifting the trophy, again, particularly after watching Robert Pries, being stretched off, against Newcastle last season, in the same competition. He will forever be, the midfield maestro and does nothing but expel true class when on the football pitch. Perhaps, one day, I’ll watch an FA Cup Final…from the comfort of the stadium…

Music wise, my Audio page has now been fully updated. I had been listening to R Kelly, at the beginning of the week, but recent additions to my play list, include, Shakespeare’s Words, by the vocal harmony group, One True Voice. Strange, how the score to this song, sounds very familiar to some 70s police/detective series, particularly when it ends. Another is a trance/techno record from Foundation (no not the Motown group, The Foundations) but a debut release called “All Out Of Love”. It has a great piano score through, and great vocals… and yet again, proving to reflect my mood…

Sunday 23rd March 2003

The lesson of this weekend and previous week? There are only certain ways of answering your critics…. Working hard and playing hard too!

Another great weekend – this is turning into an enjoyable habit! My friend from Uni, Darren came over to Wycombe on Saturday. He is currently also on an Industrial
Placement with Viglen, based in Wembley. It was great to see him again and spend some quality time on the weekend. Doing the usual things, exchanging music and software – as you do. Plus, backing up my now legendary world class MP3 collection to… wait for it! DVD! Now, I have a gold standard backup, safe and secure. So now, no matter what happens to my hard drive, I will be covered! :o)

Getting things done, so getting all kitted up for the summer. Just a few more things to sort out and I’ll be all set! :)

I just wanted to say a big extended hello, to all my cousins out there in the sub continent of India. Especially Pooja, who has started e-mailing me on my Yahoo account. :)

Today was a relaxing Sunday as always. However, there was the momentous cloud of the Premiership hanging over me, as a Gooner. Manchester United may have enjoyed a few hours ‘on top’ but it was Arsenal that had some points to prove. Indeed there is only one way of answering your critics. Winning, whether in the style or with a dogged performance. Everton have proved to be one of those teams, that can grind out a result. But as always, we were able to rise above the negative backlash
connected to defeat or even a draw. Just the small occasion of the FA Cup on Tuesday.

Not much of an update to the site at all I’m afraid. Very busy at the moment. Will update next weekend, expect the MP3 collection to GROW… and I mean a major increase in the album section in particular.

Saturday 8th March 2003

What a weekend! This is turning into what I can only describe as the “perfect” weekend! What a FA Cup game! One of the best football matches I have seen for ages! Arsenal showed what true champions are made of! Going down to a goal, conceded early, the Gooners were able to raise our game and come back into the game. To take the lead was amazing, but of course now, Arsenal did it in style! Henry, taking the ball, with effortless control, racing towards the Chelsea keeper. He then becomes poetry in motion, turning, in such a fashion, to both protect the ball, and leave the goalkeeper stranded! He then tapped the ball with the coolness of a chilled ice cold drink, to calmly place the ball into the back of the net! Breathtaking stuff! The Reds, showing their true class, and in what style! The third goal, never materialized for Arsenal, but the fourth of the game did for Chelsea! After one failed attack to another, the Blues, were able to scrabble a goal into the back of Seaman’s goal! A fair result at the end of the day, I have to say! Less said about the whole penalty appeal, the better!

Do you recall a song called, “Days Like That”, by a British girl group called Fierce? Well, I was watching Smash Hits on a Friday night (28th February), and I recognized the score, but the female voices were different, although the sound created did to a certain extend match the Fierce version of 2000. Then, as I continued to watch the video, I noticed it was a whole new girl group and a crisp sexy musical movie! The band were the Canadian group, Sugar Jones and we can expect more fresh material crossing to our shores from them very soon!

The only other new songs I have noticed on the Sky Digital music channels, are The Bangles (still going strong after all these years!) “Something That You Said” and also Kym Marsh (from the winning ITV Popstars band – Hear’Say) making her debut single release with “Cry”. This easy on the ear, yet powerful ballad, has quite a fresh feeling! But that isn’t to say that its a very original sound, it conjures up memories of a similar composition. Who cares though?! Its great to see someone bouncing back, especially after only hitting the headlines for walking out on the reality TV show group.

Just the regular audio page update! Very busy, and hectic weekend! Try and do more next weekend!

Life is good, life is great. I won’t speak to soon though! I’ll just enjoy the moment as much as I can! :) I made the mistake on Friday, at work, to make the regrettable comment, “Everything is running smoothly today, for a change!” Straight after my lunch break, everything that could possibly fail, did! Server, phone system and internet connection! :)

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