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Posts from the ‘Fans’ Category

Broken Countries: Stay or Go #Britain #Turkey

As I awake this Easter Holiday and reflect on Sky News and the day’s and previous day’s events, I am tempted to recite those famous lyrics of The Clash band ‘Should I stay or should I go now?’.  Not afraid of being controversial, I put forward a viewpoint that might suggest some undertones and causes of unacceptable behaviour by sporting fans, that may have roots in the turmoil in the indigenous countries.  On this occasion, I’m advocating a view  of ‘Broken Britain’ and ‘Broken Turkey’.

Well respected sports journalists this week recalled events in Spain surrounding Leicester City’s supporters invasion of Madrid in the Champions League.  David Conn reported: “Leicester fans in a square in Madrid chanting ‘You Spanish bastards. Gibraltar is ours”. Oliver Holt: “Last night – Dortmund fans sharing their homes with Monaco fans shouting ‘Gibraltar is ours’. Makes you despair”. The Gibraltar subject being one of a newsworthy matter of potential #Brexit conflict in negotiations now that article 50 has been evoked.

It’s not that freedom of speech should be curtailed vis-a-vis Turkey’s President Recep Tayip Erdogan. However, with the ‘Foxes” incident, I advocate this mirrors a growing trend among English fans to aggression, racism, hooliganism and isolation. Leicester merely mimics a Country-wide trend, witnessed personally by me following the English national Team.

I still recite the demographics and metrics of the stereotypical ‘Brexiteers’ as a contract to the ‘Remainers’.  Of course, one should be wary of tarring all with that same brush, but it has been exposed that poverty, disillusionment and ignorance were common traits of that, slightly more than half of the Country, that voted for us to leave Europe.  I feel the same disadvantaged populous are those that are found among these hooligans.  I also suggest that this is not just a few, but the way an increasing portion of the British population are moving. The future can only mean more turmoil if such idiotic beliefs and unacceptable behaviour are likely to grow.  It this a ‘time bomb’ waiting to explode?  Is this the Country that we want future generations to be brought up in?

Last night, the fans of Besiktas rioted in France. The current documentaries by Simon Reeve on Turkey offers an unbiased reporting of the characteristics and frailty in both economic, cultural and political terms.  Here there is a clear hypothesis that by the ruling party allowing more immigration and offering relatively small ‘handouts’ to the poorer segment of society then what is happening is tantamount to ‘buying votes’ to further the aims and securing the power of that same AK Parti. The referendum is upon us which could give the biggest boost to that political party and widen the gap between Islamists and the traditional supporters of modern Turkey for which Ataturk was catalyst.

Okay – maybe a tenuous link, but I would promote one theory that hooliganism in football with Turkish fan involvement, may also have roots in the unrest from their homeland (By the way, I have also seen French supporters that are not blameless and witnessing firsthand where such as socio-disadvantage, ethnicity and social-exclusion may have inflamed situations).

In a short blog post, one should be wary of generalisations. Yest, I feel there could be factors much wider than traditional football supporting motivations that are now driving behaviour.  Where, I live bus loads of Turks, many of which I know, have travelled to London for advance voting to try and prevent increased influence to Erdogan. In this same area, the majority voted Remain in the EU Referendum.  So whilst some comfort in being surrounded by like-minded people, I do worry about the future in both of these two great countries and for the first time actually contemplate ‘Go’ in search of the best future for my family.

Adrian Stores is CEO at ACROBAT | FCSM.  It concentrates on marketing, sponsorship and fundraising – mainly in UK and Turkey. More information: http://www.acrobatfcsm.com

Fancy a flutter?

As you are aware there are some key sporting dates coming along in the Calendar, the Grand National on Saturday 8th April 2017 and the US Masters at Augusta starting on the 6th April 2017. These tend to be huge betting opportunities for sports fans and to give us some encouragement to recruit new members and generate good revenue from existing members we have created a special deal just for followers of Manchester Rugby Club.

For anybody to take up our free bet package (£30 gets you £30) from tomorrow morning to the 8th April, the start time of the Grand National, we will get a cash incentive of £20 cash to our Club which will be paid once the terms and conditions of the offer are delivered.

So you will appreciate now is the time to start recruiting new members especially at the busiest time of the betting calendar, just think 25 punters taking up this package would get our Club £500.

Fancy a flutter and help us out in the process? Plenty of people bet on these events and so now why not encourage them to use our Site www.manchesterrugby.bet.

Thank you for reading.

Football is important…..

We often recite those famous words from William (‘Bill’) Shankly OBE 1913-1981 “Football’s not a matter of life or death. It’s much more important than that.” Well I thought that quote might lead in to a particularly heart-moving story from this weekend’s fixtures in junior football in Stockport.

From my perspective I posted last week on Facebook: “Feel genuinely ‘numb’ when have learned that a girl, with lovely boys, passed away today. Cannot claim to have been a close Friend, she was a former neighbour – but lovely, genuine person, who I always chatted with and smiled to. Life can be so cruel taking away a young mother when her whole life should have been ahead of her 😦 RIP x”.

This serves in to a much more important reflection, that which recounts, the braveness and heroics of the deceased, Dawn Shepherd’s Son, Cameron.  The article kindly repeated courtesy of Author, Gary Howard.

“What a gorgeous story about the very brave Cameron from his football game on Saturday..

Lisa Shepherd (Dawn’s Sister) – My Gary writes a match report after every football match and I thought you might like to read this about how wonderfully brave Cameron was today. X

“Dad, should I ask Cameron if he’d like to be captain today?”. And so the tone for the day was set, as I wiped the first of many a tear away from my eye and told Corey that, yes, that would be a lovely gesture.

After the devastating news filtered through on Thursday that Cameron’s much loved mum, Dawn, had sadly lost her brave battle with Cancer and passed away at such a stupidly young age, today was a day that I didn’t think would ever happen. Upon hearing the news, we obviously made arrangements to postpone the game. Our opponents, Cheadle and Gatley Hurricanes, couldn’t have been more accommodating and were fully prepared to cancel at a minute’s notice. If they ever get to read this, thank you.

Cameron, however, had other ideas. He got in touch late on Thursday evening via his Grandad, Brian, to say that he wanted the game to go ahead. Quite how Cam and Brian found the courage to even think about football on such a tragic day is beyond my comprehension. What’s more, however, Cam said that he wanted to play in the game in order to ‘make his mum proud’. She always was, Cam. She always was.

And so, with Cam’s wishes, the league cup game went ahead. To say it was an emotional roller-coaster would be somewhat of an understatement!

We could talk about lots of things. A last minute chance from James that went begging with the game finely (I mean frantically) poised at 2-2. Brandon’s last second winner to give us a 3-2 victory. Dan’s hop, skip and jump celebration that saw him destroy the ref’s brand new linesman’s flag. Harry running the length of the field from his goal to join in the match-winning celebration. Or Ollie Rab obtaining the dubious recognition of being our first ever player to get sent off. We could talk about all of this. But it wouldn’t mean a thing.

For today was about one brave little boy, his brave Grandad for coming along as always to support, and his brave, brave mum, who will sadly no longer see what an amazing human being her son will grow up to be.

As is so often the case in these horrendous circumstances, something happens that you just couldn’t script. And so it was, just 3 minutes into the game that Cameron himself scored to give us an early lead. As he celebrated by pointing his hands to the sky before being mobbed by his team-mates, the tissues came out on the sidelines for the first of many, many times. I’ve never seen so many grown men with ‘something in their eye’ as the whole crowd seemed to pause for a moment to grasp the emotion of what had just happened.

The next 5 minutes were a bit of a blur for everyone I suspect, players and supporters alike. So it wasn’t really surprising that Cheadle & Gatley managed to equalise after 8 minutes. To be fair, they fully deserved to be level. They matched us in nearly every area of the park, with their coach commenting how it was without doubt the best he’d ever seen his team play. Some day for them to choose that performance eh?!

2-1 down at half-time wasn’t what we were hoping for. A few strategic changes here and there, with Matty coming on to rekindle his lost love affair with defence, thankfully provided the catalyst for an improved performance in the 2nd half.

I could tell you who got our equaliser, but Hollywood scriptwriters would suggest I’m being far-fetched! But it was indeed the man of the day, Cam, who scored with just 5 minutes remaining. 4 minutes and 30 seconds later, he also played a ball through to Brandon, who found himself running through on goal with just the keeper to beat.

Time seemed to come to a stop at this point. I’ve played it back in my mind for the last few hours and, what must’ve been a 5 second process in real-life, has somehow become played out in slow-motion to take an age. I’m convinced that nobody at that ground today could have remained so composed in such circumstances as Brandon did to coolly slot home the winner.

Myself, Dan and Ian celebrated like we’ve never celebrated before. The parents celebrated like they’d never celebrated before. The lads, our boys, celebrated like they’d never celebrated before. And we cried. Like we’ve all never cried at a football match before. On the toughest day of our short history, we’d done it!

In the squad game of 9v9, we again showed what a force we could become next season. Goals from Ollie, Brandon, Harry and Luca saw us take a 4-1 victory, which thankfully wasn’t spoilt by our very own Joey Barton being sent for an early wash with the family flannel (I miss those days!). It was a great squad performance driven by Cameron playing in defence. If you didn’t fill up when he was substituted to get a standing ovation with minutes to go, unplug yourself; you’re not human.

Man of the Match for the cup game was this week voted for by the players. Such is the bond amongst this fantastic set of lads, their unanimous decision was for Cameron who deserved it for so much more than simply sentiment. In an unprecedented move, Cameron also won the award for the squad game. Again, it was fully deserved. On a day when he wanted to make his mum proud, he couldn’t have done a better job.

Thanks as always for your support. You are the extra ‘man’ that we needed today. We’ll have tougher games, but we won’t have many tougher days. And thanks on behalf of Cam for making it ‘normal’.

For Dawn. Your son couldn’t have made you prouder. Rest in peace. We miss you.”

A fundraising page has been set up to honour the life of Dawn Shepherd, who passed away on the 3rd of November 2016 after a courageous battle with cancer. Dawn has two gorgeous boys called Cameron age 9 and Lewis age 11 and through this page and other fundraising we want to help these brave boys as much as possible for their future.  Please do follow this link and donate and/or publicize – it all really can help Cameron and Lewis.  Thank you for listening.

NOW please click through: https://www.gofundme.com/the-dawn-shepherd-foundation

Go Pokémon Go

The latest trend to hit the vision and minds of digital and mobile gamers is ‘Pokémon Go’.

To many, another innovation worthy of disdain from the parents and authorities with children transfixed by Wii, XBox, Playstation, tablets and mobiles.

I must be just another in an army of parents that recite the monotonous and predictable lines about an upbringing without technology – where leisure time and weekends meant playing outdoors at the local ‘rec’ (recreation ground) unsupervised. How times have changed with more ‘cotton wool’ protocols in approaches to childcare and interaction meaning chats via headsets between friends – if not in the same room.

The Company announces: “Travel between the real world and the virtual world of Pokémon with Pokémon GO for iPhone and Android devices. With Pokémon GO, you’ll discover Pokémon in a whole new world—your own!” It says that ‘Pokémon Go’ was downloaded more times in its first week than any other iPhone app in history.

But those awaiting my displeasure will be kept waiting. Today, I let my Son out of my sight for the first real time to go with five trusted friends hunting for Pokémons. The reason I’m actually defending this innovation is that this Game actually took the boys outdoors and they enjoyed camaraderie, banter, relationships and most of all a plus for me, exercise. Thankfully the boys in question all partake in regular sport, be that rugby, football, lacrosse or swimming. I do believe (even though I’ve never played it) the coding of Pokémon offers potential for projects linking to Pokémon or similar technology which could fit with new exercise regimes and/or fan engagement.  Vancouver Whitecaps have broken news of their recent signings this Season 2016/2017, by recreating their own version of Pokémon GO. The options are endless and limited only by the creativity of developers.

The Youth Sports Trust claims: “One in four kids thinks playing computer games is ‘exercise’“. Well kiddywinks, I’ve got news for you it isn’t!  But with Pokémon maybe there’s hope? The Findings appear in a Study, entitled the “Class of 2035”, which warns “that sport in schools is at a “critical crossroads” and must remain a priority “to avoid a physically and socially disengaged future generation, over dependent on technology”.

My Brother-in-Law who has undertaken research into technology and effects on perceptions and reactions at University of Portsmouth – appears to back the idea up to an hour a day of sedentary game playing may actually do good and sharpen responses. But this idea of taking technology as a platform to facilitate exercise could surely get a thumbs up. Modern day pastimes and trends linked to every day needs, namely: exercise – and the combat of unhealthy lifestyles and obesity.

The World Health Organization (WHO) regards childhood obesity as a major challenge for public health this Century. Obese children and adolescents are at an increased risk of developing various health problems, and are also more likely to become obese adults themselves in turn.

So my message is clear, if the likes of Donald Trump can convince the populous to vote for him as a US Presidential Candidate – I think a more plausible manifesto or mission is to take Pokémonand either via the CSR of the inventing company and/or a credible sporting practitioner, take Pokémon, or an equally compelling character and platform, and redress the balance.  The Game is making circa $1.6 million per day with an estimated 7.5 million U.S downloads.

I say “Go Pokemon Go” show the World the good that technology and exercise can bring to children’s lives and futures.