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Light, spacious double room available in the dials.
2020.09.14 11:25 95th_RiflesLight, spacious double room available in the dials.
Hello Redditors, I'm looking for a housemate to join me in a great flat in the dials. Very close to the station to those that are still commuting or perfect for those working from home. (loads of room for a desk and good internet speeds). Move date can be flexible. Please have a look on spareroom and if you are interested please feel free to message me through spareroom or direct. https://www.spareroom.co.uk/flatshare/east_sussex/brighton/15405251 Cheers all, stay safe.
2020.07.14 20:17 LvondasMazinger Z My Episode Review Chart
Hello Mazinger subreddit! I’m completely new to the Mazinger franchise. I’m already a big fan of classic Gundam and the Devilman manga, so I feel right at home with Mazinger Z. I’ve rediscovered my love of the Monster of the Week formula so I’ve decided to try watching all 92 episodes of Mazinger Z in roughly seven chunks of 13 episodes. I’ve scored the first 14 episodes so far, and will be back at a later date to update more. I’m assigning a star rating to the episode itself, and then to the monster of the week. These are entirely subjective, and I’ve love to hear if you disagree with my choices. UPDATE 1 22.7.20 Added episodes 15 to 22. UPDATE 2 31.7.20 Added episodes 23 to 27. Mazinger Z Cour 1/7 Episodes 1-14 I’ve included who wrote each episode and who was the lead artist. The Writers Every episode of the first 14 is written by either Susumu Takaku or Keisuke Fujikawa. Both writers are known for writing many Super Sentai episodes later in their careers. Unfortunately, Mr Takaku is the superior writer by a wide margin, in my opinion. My favourite episodes (9, and 14) were both written by him, and most of the more generic filler seems to be written by Mr Fujikawa. If you want to know who wrote which episode, see the Japanese wiki page. The Artists With the exception of episode 2, the art in every episode was done by either Tadanao Tsuji or Seizou Yamazaki. I am presuming that these men are responsible for the monster of the week designs. Please let me know if I am mistaken? I can’t tie down a style to each artist. Perhaps Go Nagai sent in the designs himself?
Susumu Takaku ****
Tadanao Tsuji *****
Kikaijuu: Garada K7, Doublas M2 - skeleton theme, hydra theme. Excellent designs. Story: Strong first episode with multiple deaths. But is only part 1, and ends in cliff hanger with almost no robot combat.
Story: Part 2 of previous episode. Pace was too slow, and the battle was rather anticlimactic because Koji doesn’t know how to pilot yet.
Keisuke Fujikawa ***
Kikaijuu: Gromazen R9. Generic. Is weaker clone of Mazinger Z –Story: weak episode, but the scene where Dr Hell nearly has a mental breakdown is great and worth seeing. These early fights are pretty boring, with Koji winning suddenly at the end with Rust Hurricane, or Breast Fire.
Seizou Yamazaki **
Kikaijuu: Gaia Q5. Generic design, ability is electro magnetic confusion Story: Gaia is actually a threat, and the fight is good. But the battle is too quick with another anti-climatic ending. Too much slice of life high school stuff for my taste and a fairly long motorcycle scene.
Kikaijuu: KingDan X10 medieval/roman/Viking theme, ability is hologram decoys. Above average. Story: Better than the last episode. More threat again, but still the action is too basic. Best scene was Dr Hell forgiving Baron Ashura, and saying there is no limit to the criminal mind. Really great scene. Another unusual scene is of Koji and Shiro cleaning the mud from Mazinger Z with a wet mop.
Kikaijuu: Zaila, Danchel. Generic horned, walrus scorpion theme. Danchel is the star of this episode. Story: The battles are improving. Two robots are better than one. Loved the liquid oxygen effect from Danchel.
Kikaijuu: Ozones B3. Pink cyclops. Looks like a Zaku from Gundam. Story: Good for filler. It actually does something new with Baron Ashura, and has a mob turn against the Photon Power Lab. Probably the best fight yet. Overall, one of the strongest episodes yet.
Kikaijuu: Abdora U6 egypt themed. I normally love Egyptian themed robots but I don’t dig the dingy brown colour –Story: Rather dull episode. Night scenes look good. Best scene is a sexist moment when Aphrodite is denied upgrades by Koji’s vote in the photon power lab.
Kikaijuu: Demos F3 demon theme. Best design yet, and possibly a throwback to classic Devilman. Story: The monster of the week Robot looked really menacing and seemed indestructible for a while. This robot actually posed a threat. Very good for filler.
Kikaijuu: Dayan N4 generic– garbage brown design. Story: Koji’s brother is kidnapped, but apart from that, nothing new. I didn’t enjoy this one very much.
Kikaijuu: Brighton J2 generic demonic design Story: Buch better episode than the last last one. Baron Ashura unearths an old cannon to use against the Photon Lab. Very entertaining and lots of comedy from Boss and the gang.
Kikaijuu: Bicong 09 viking theme Story: A toy is enlarged by Dr Hells enlargement gun. Unusual episode for Mazinger Z, but it doesn’t quite fit in the canon established by the other episodes. The enlargement gun is too OP. Best scene is when Baron Ashura dreams up uses for the enlargement gun. If you don’t watch this episode, you must watch this scene. It’s hilarious.
Kikaijuu: Goronko S2 snowball theme Story: Winter episode. Robot is laughable ball robot, but the design shows imagination. In fact it’s one of my favourite designs yet. It’s a shame the episode is just a generic winter vacation episode.
Kikaijuu: Modilus, Spartan K5 bull theme, spartan theme. Story: Excellent episode. Subverts all expectations and has a great fight to boot. The best episode yet, and possibly Mazinger Z’s first really classic episode.
Overall, a rather inconsistent start, but I expect nothing less from the monster of the week formula.
Mazinger Z Cour 2/7 Episodes 15-27 Conclusion A slightly stronger season than the first. I gave four stars or more to 9 episodes, as opposed to 6 in the previous season. Once again, my two favourite episodes were written by Susumu Takakku, however I noted that he also wrote one dud in episode 20. Fujikawa's writing is improving and he wrote many episodes I enjoyed this time. My favourite Kikaiju were Glossam X2, Damdam L2, and Stronger T4.
Kikaijuu: Chigul E7, Gorias W3. Water lizard w nipple drills +red toad w electric whip. Story: 1st in a sort of natural disaster trilogy. Chigul causes tsunami. Gorias puts up a good fight but otherwise the episode is forgettable.
Kikaijuu: Balcan P5. mouse-like head pink glue weapon + tornado weapon. Story: Judo scene with Miki offers some character development. It is worth watching this scene alone. The kikaiju of the week puts up a good fight (pink glue!) but the episode is otherwise forgettable. 2nd in a sort of natural disaster trilogy.
Kikaijuu: Holzon V3. Generic w drill in head and earthquake ability. Story: unusual episode with Dr Gennosuke Yumi being blackmailed by baron Ashura to stop earthquakes. Ashura rides a cool robotic horse. Battle with Holzon is disappointingly short though. 3rd in a sort of natural disaster trilogy. 1 scene with Dr Yumi gives him a rare moment in the spotlight.
Kikaijuu: Glossam X2. Scissors design. Inspiration for cut-man in Mega Man? Story: The first game-changing episode since episode 6 (according to the filler guide). Really enjoyed the underwater scenes, and Glossam is a great monster of the week. I have a weakness for underwater and sea themed episodes.
Kikaijuu: Devila X1. Devil theme. Great design, but imo inferior to the one in episode 9. Story: Partial sequel to previous episode. Now that Mazinger Z can swim, the next kikaiju is the first flying monster of the week. The battle is a little anti-climatic but is still one of the stronger episodes so far.
Kikaijuu: Stronger T4. Turbine chest and whip arms. Story: Cliché bullying storyline obviously aimed at children. Stronger T4 has an excellent design though.
Kikaijuu: Wainder A2. Insect or bug eyed theme. Story: This is a “western” themed episode complete with cowboy hats and sixshooters. Mr Fujikawa wrote this episode, and as usual for him the story is almost non-existent, but the battle and novelty factor were higher than usual for him, so overall a memorable episode.
Kikaijuu: Balanger M1, Balanger M2 – Naval mine theme. Story: Mazinger Z attacks the underwater fortress Salude. (Finally!) This is the first time that the end of Dr Hell and Baron Ashura could be near. With 70 episodes left...that is unlikely. The episode is enjoyable, but Mazinger Z felt a little overpowered in this episode and the end of Balanger is rather sudden.
Kikaijuu: Damdam L2. Cylinder theme. Very memorable design. I love the goofy face in the middle. Story A bratty girl in a wheelchair learns how to grow up. The third episode so far to feature a child character prominently (the others were episode 12, and 20, I believe). This was the best of the three.
Kikaijuu: Jinrai S1. Jet plane theme. Story Jinrai S1 is a worthy opponent, and Mazinger Z is nearly stomped by it’s extremely fast flying speed.
Fujikawa + Hiroshi Koenji ****
Kikaijuu: Aeros B1, Aeros B2, Aeros B3. Rocket theme. Story A sort-of sequel to the previous episode, which also featured flying-themed Kikaiju. This is the first episode to feature three Kikaiju in the same episode and the battle does not disappoint. I also have a soft spot for erupting volcanoes and this episode features plenty of that. NOTE. This is the first episode since episode 2 not to be written by Susumu or Fumihiro.
Kikaijuu: Daima U5. Humanoid Bull theme. Story Baron Ashura pilots a Kikaiju! What a great way to end the first six months of Maziner Z! There is a filler side-plot with a delinquent and his pet dog, but that can’t spoil the fun. New music also features.
Kikaijuu: Belgas V5. Devil theme again. Story. The Kikaiju is a bit of a rip-off of Deimos in episode 9. However, the story is by Susumu and he writes a strong episode. Aphrodite A is stolen, and Baron Ashura tries to steal the engineering secrets of the giant robot.
I'm taking a break. I don't want to get burned out on Mazinger Z. If I get to the end, I will write a "good filler" and "bad filler" guide. Bye for now. 31.7.20.
2020.06.10 14:28 ChernyatThe Mysterious Song Timeline (...as of far) 10th June, 2020
THE MYSTERIOUS SONG (TIMELINE) If you're looking to read the timeline offline, you can download a PDF copy in the following link here. Shown in the following timeline is a detailed and non-biased description of significant events related to The Mysterious Song Saga. 1970’s 1979 SEPTEMBER-NOVEMBER: British musicians Simon Brighton (guitar), Terry Welbourn (bass), Colin Hopkirk (vocals) and Nick Green (drummer) form the post-punk band Sinking Ships. 1980’s 1980 MARCH-MAY: Sinking Ships record a 7" double 'A' side single called ‘The Cinema Clock’. This single includes two songs titled 'The Cinema Clock' and 'Strangers'. UNKNOWN DATE: The single ‘The Cinema Clock’ is released on 7” 45 RPM vinyl format by Dead Good Records. 1981-1982: UNKNOWN DATE(S): The Irish band Amuse disbands, leading to former Amuse band members Dave Clarke (drummer) and Shane O’ Neill (guitarist & vocalist) teaming up with musicians Declan Jones (bassists) and Eamonn Tynan (keyboardist & guitarist) to form the New Wave band Blue in Heaven. 1982-1984: UNKNOWN DATE(S): An unidentified post-punk band records and releases an unidentified song with a minimum duration of 2 minutes and 55 seconds. English lyricism is used throughout the song. UNKNOWN DATE: A local Wilhelmshaven 14-year-old named Darius S records the unidentified post-punk song in its entirety in a mono format on a Technics HiFi-Jacket System K6. The recording’s source is possibly from a radio station broadcast. UNKNOWN DATE: Darius rearranges the post-punk song on side 1 of a BASF Chromdioxid II 90 which is labelled as “Tape #4”. All songs recorded on the tape is listed on written paper. However, the song can’t be identified along with its creator(s). 1985 UNKNOWN DATE: Blue in Heaven release their debut album “All the Gods' Men” on vinyl through Island Records. The 9-track album features the songs “The Big Beat” and “Old Ned” which are placed as the second and fourth track respectively on the album. UNKNOWN DATE: Darius records a 1 minute and 56 second excerpt of “Old Ned” by Blue in Heaven. At the time of recording the song, he cannot identify the song’s title along with its creator(s). Due to the songs absence of identity, he nicknames the song as “Life Turns Inside Out”. UNKNOWN DATE: Darius compiles a playlist consisting of all the songs he has recorded which cannot be identified calling it the “Unknown Pleasures” playlist in reference to the Joy Division album of the same name. Among this group of songs is the unknown song and “Life Turns Inside Out”. 2000’s 2004 UNKNOWN DATE: Darius digitizes songs from his “Unknown Pleasures” playlist. He saves the digitised collection on .aiff and .m4a files. UNKNOWN DATE: Darius’ sister Lydia H gives Darius a website domain as a birthday present. UNKNOWN DATE: Darius uses his domain name as a website to raise awareness of his “Unknown Pleasures” playlist which includes downloadable links for all songs. This will be the first known reference of the unknown song as well as “Life Turns Inside Out” on the internet. 2007 18TH MARCH: Lydia decides to assist with her brother’s search for identifying the unknown song by taking the search to the internet by going under the username “bluuue” and alias name “Anton Riedel”. She would first post about the investigation on the usenet forums. A usenet user named “Andreas Eibach” recommends Lydia to continue her search on best-of-80s.de. Lydia posts several comments of the search on the Best-of-80’s forums. She then makes a post on spiritofradio.ca. In these various posts, she uploads an excerpt and full mp3 recording of the song. Lydia further describes that she might have heard the song during an NDR2 show called "Music for Young People" (Musik für junge Leute) around 13:30 (1:30pm). Furthermore, these posts allude that Lydia is from Bremen and her home radio station is Bremen4. 21ST MARCH: Reddit user “johnnymetoo” downloads the full recording of the song from Lydia’s usenet posts and stores the song on his HDD. 2010’s 2010 13TH JULY: Youtuber “eightiesrarities” uploads the song “Strangers” by Sinking Ships in the video “The Sinking Ships-Strangers.wmv”. 2011 16TH APRIL: Youtuber “redoalfo” uploads the excerpt of the unknown song in the video “Unknown Song - Cancion Desconocida - Track Id”. 2012 30TH APRIL: YouTube channel “dabunnymanPM” uploads the song “Old Ned” by Blue in Heaven in the video “Blue In Heaven Old Ned”. 21ST OCTOBER: User “lloren7” posts a comment about the unknown song onto the forocoches forums. 2013 27TH AUGUST: The Subreddit Lostwave is created. 2014 5TH SEPTEMBER: YouTube channel “In Depth Music” uploads the video “Post Punk Mix ‘1980’”. A music sample playlist featuring post punk songs released in 1980. One of the songs featured in the playlist is “The Cinema Clock” by Sinking Ships. 2017 UNKNOWN DATE: 14-year-old Brazilian student named Gabriel da Silva Vieira (aka Gabriel Vieira) starts his search for the unknown song by being informed about the unknown song by a friend named Nicolás Zúñiga from the Spanish independent record label Dead Wax Records. UNKNOWN DATE: Gabriel downloads redoalfo’s excerpt copy of the unknown song from YouTube. 19TH JULY: Online user “azthriller” uploads a post on watzatsong.com with a 30 second excerpt of the unknown song. 20TH SEPTEMBER: Spanish record label “Dead Wax Records” uploads an excerpt of the unknown song to their YouTube channel. 22ND SEPTEMBER: Online user “EITron” uploads a post on watzatsong.com with a 30 second excerpt of the unknown song. 2019 7TH APRIL: Gabriel uploads an excerpt of the unknown song to his YouTube channel in the video “THE MOST MYSTERIOUS SONG ON THE INTERNET!” The title of the video will be the first use of the now famous name coined for the unknown song. 19TH APRIL: Gabriel releases a 22-minute Vaporwave version of the mysterious song onto his Bandcamp profile “Colourx”. 20TH APRIL: Gabriel creates a Reddit profile named “gabgaskins” in hopes of spreading awareness of the mysterious song to a wider audience. APRIL-JULY: Gabriel creates 44 posts in relation to the song on Reddit in the following subreddits: - 80’s - AskUK - darkwave - depechemode - goth - HelpMeFind - ifyoulikeblank - JoyDivision - listentothis [POST REMOVED] - movies - Music - Mysteries - NameThatSong - news - NightmareExpo - postpunk - RBI - TheMysteriousSong - tipofmytongue [POST REMOVED] - todayileanred - UnresolvedMysteries [X5 POSTS REMOVED] - UnsolvedMysteries - Vaporwave - vinyl - WhatIsThisSong - whatisthisthing [POST REMOVED] - youtube [POST REMOVED] 27TH MAY: Australian music journalist Tyler Jenke publishes the article “Can you help some internet sleuths identify a mysterious song?” onto Tone Deaf. The article centres on the overall hunt for the song’s origin and full recording. 23RD JUNE: The Scottish electronic music group “Boards of Canada” broadcasts a 2-hour long mixtape titled “Societas x Tape” on NTS Radio as part of Warp Records’ 30th anniversary celebration event. Following the broadcast, Boards of Canada upload the full mixtape to Mega, Soundcloud and NTS Radio’s official website. 30TH JUNE: Gabriel creates the TheMysteriousSong subreddit. He also makes a post called “Unknown Song (Like The Wind) Investigation” which covers all information about the song as of far. JULY: Instagram user Bruno Kundo sends a direct message to YouTuber and musician Justin Whang explaining the search for the song as a recommended topic for Whang’s web series “Tales from the Internet”. 2ND JULY: Reddit user “newacountz” responds to “Unknown Song (Like The Wind) Investigation” saying he has found more posts made by Lydia in German music forums. He provides three links in his comment that proves his claim. During this time Lydia’s real name has not been uncovered. Meaning that users refer to her as Anton Riedel. Newacountz creates another comment in “Unknown Song (Like The Wind) Investigation” identifying the "Music for young people" (Musik für junge Leute) DJ to be British radio presenter Paul Baskerville who likely may of broadcasted the song between 1982 to 1984. 3RD JULY: Gabriel Vieira attempts to contact Paul Baskerville via Facebook. 10TH JULY: Justin Whang releases the video “The Most Mysterious Song on the Internet - Tales from the Internet” on his YouTube Channel. The video covers the then current progress of the search. Paul Baskerville responds to Gabriel saying he doesn’t know the song. Paul provides Gabriel an email address to a woman named “Baerbal” who archived Paul’s shows. Gabriel messages Babs. Paul sends Gabriel another email saying he is on holiday and will aim to play the excerpt on his radio show once he gets back. Reddit user “foreveranemptybliss” posts a thread on germany titled “HELP US IDENTIFY THIS SONG!”. The post covers the general basis of the search and encouraging others to participate. 11TH JULY: Johnnymetoo discovers and responds to foreveranemptybliss’ post, stating how he contributed to the early wave of the search back in 2007 on the Usenet Forums. Online users “Broinator”, “Dacoool” and “Fothbas” publish their interpretation of the song’s lyrics onto Genius. 12TH JULY: Johnnymetoo uploads the full version of the mysterious song on anonfiles and makes a post about it on TheMysteriousSong. Gabriel uploads the full recording onto his YouTube channel in the video titled “THE MOST MYSTERIOUS SONG ON THE INTERNET - FULL VERSION FOUND!”. Baerbal contacts Gabriel saying she has never heard the song and wishes him luck on his search. 14TH JULY: Gabriel releases his restored version of the song on TheMysteriousSong. Discord user Litronom makes a post on the Official “Most Mysterious Song on the Internet” discord server, providing a quoted translated excerpt of an old interview with Paul which he believes can determine that Paul would of sourced a lot of indie records as vinyl releases at local record stores like Unterm Durchschnitt. Meaning that the mysterious song would of most likely have been publicly released on vinyl. 17TH JULY: Gabriel is sent a message on reddit from a user claiming to know someone who had a German record label during the late 80s and would frequently send post-punk demo tapes for radio broadcasts. The user further explains to Gabriel that he would investigate the collection and send a tape to Gabriel that maybe of interest. 21ST JULY: Paul returns from his holiday and plays the mysterious song on his radio show “Nachtclub”. The public response to the song is mostly negative and provides no information. 22ND JULY: Paul contacts Gabriel saying he played the song on his radio show. Paul further states that responses from listeners suggests that Paul may have never actually played the song between 1982 to 1984 and that the song maybe the work of a hoax. 24TH JULY: Reddit user “Secone” posts a thread to TheMysteriousSong titled “Relation to an unknown song on Boards of Canada?”. The post talks about the Societas x Tape Mixtape and its content including an unidentified track at 1 hour 22 minutes and 43 seconds which appears to have similar instrumentation and vocal styles to that of the Mysterious Song. Secone concludes that these songs maybe made by the same unknown band. 25TH JULY: Gabriel responds to Secone’s post with strong interest. Gabriel uploads the unidentified Societas x Tape song to his YouTube channel. 26TH JULY: YouTuber “Richter Kraft” uploads the video “Paul Baskerville plays The Most Mysterious Song on the Internet” which features the full segment of the mysterious song on Paul Baskerville’s radio show Nachtclub. 28TH JULY: Reddit user “Emiliano9810” posts a thread to TheMysteriousSong titled “We might be closer than ever!”. The post talks about a possible lead into the GEMA public archives which is run by the German music society Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte (GEMA). The organisation archives all music played on all German radio stations since its establishment in 1933. Emiliano9810 further states that he has sent an email to GEMA and is waiting for a response. 31ST JULY: Members of The Most Mysterious Song on the Internet creates the Google Spreadsheet “List of Contacted/Investigated Bands, Labels, Persons, etc.” in order to maintain accuracy on current and ruled out leads on the search. 2ND AUGUST: A website named themysterioussong.com is launched with the Google Domain servers. Justin Whang releases the follow-up video “The Most Mysterious Song on the Internet - Tales from the Internet UPDATE” on his YouTube Channel. The video covers the events following his previous video. 3RD AUGUST: Reddit user “Gene_Rottenberry” posts a thread to TheMysteriousSong titled “My music-obsessed uncle may have solved the mystery! He also claims to have a copy of the record hidden somewhere among his massive collection”. The post states that after informing his uncle about the mysterious song, his uncle responds that the band behind the song was a German group named "Subigkeiten Jungs.". Many users theorise that the band’s name is supposed to be spelt as “Süßigkeiten Jung” (Candy Boys or Sweet Boys). Gene_Rottenberry further claims that his uncle was certain that he has a copy of the record featuring the mysterious song and that he "remembers that the album cover has a painting of a girl on it" and he will begin a search for the record. Many users begin to suspect that trolling is the motive for the post as information for Süßigkeiten Jung or other similarly named bands can’t be found online. An official discord server is created for the mysterious song investigation. Reddit user “HeartDessire” posts a thread to TheMysteriousSong titled “Discord”. The thread simply provides a link to the discord server as well as a few sentences encouraging users to join the server. 5TH AUGUST: Gene_Rottenberry edits his post “My music-obsessed uncle may have solved the mystery! He also claims to have a copy of the record hidden somewhere among his massive collection” with an update stating that his Uncle found the record and attaches two images showing the front and back covers of the said record. 7TH AUGUST: Discord user “Tiiffi#6700” watches the YouTube video “Post Punk Mix ‘1980’” posted by the channel In Depth Music. Tiiffi#6700 notices that the 16TH track on the playlist (Sinking Ships - The Cinema Clock) holds a similar music style to that of the unidentified Societas x Tape song. On further investigation Tiiffi#6700 successfully identifies the Societas x Tape song as “Strangers” by Sinking Ships by finding the YouTube video “The Sinking Ships-Strangers.wmv”. Tiiffi#6700 posts his findings on the Official “Most Mysterious Song on the Internet” discord server. Reddit user “cantfindthistune” posts a thread to TheMysteriousSong titled “The ‘possibly related song’ has been SOLVED! Title is ‘Sinking Ships – Strangers’”. The posts briefly covers Tiiffi#6700’s discovery and a link to the YouTube video “The Sinking Ships-Strangers.wmv” Reddit user “KoobTeraz” sends an email to Sinking Ships’ band member Terry Welbourn in hopes of confirming if the mysterious song was made by his band. Reddit user “mariois64” sharpens the visuals of Gene_Rottenberry’s photo showing the back cover of the Süßigkeiten Jung album and reveals that the image is photoshopped. Mariois64 posts his findings to TheMysteriousSong in a thread titled “I cleaned up this photo a tad and damn the photoshopping sits out like a sore thumb”. Moderators remove Gene_Rottenberry’s post soon after. 9TH AUGUST: Terry Welbourn responds to KoobTeraz’s email to confirm that Sinking Ships are not the creators of the mysterious song. KoobTeraz posts this response in the thread on TheMysteriousSong titled “The Sinking Ships have been ruled out”. 12TH AUGUST: Gene_Rottenberry uploads a high-quality image of the Süßigkeiten Jung front album cover to fakealbumcovers in the thread titled “Sußigkeiten Jungs (Candy Boys) - Ein”, further confirming the falsehood of his claims. 20TH AUGUST: The mysterious song is broadcasted on the German radio station Radio Eins, Paul is interviewed on the station, but no new information is gained from this broadcast. Darius returns home from work at about 1:15pm (13:15) and decides to listen to Radio Eins’ broadcast of the mysterious song. He contacts Lydia to tell her what he has heard. Lydia researches the current events on the investigation, finds Gabriel’s contact details and reaches out to him via Messenger. She discloses to him that she was the one behind the Anton Riedel account, her brother was the one to record the song in the 80’s and provides an image showing a playlist of Tape #4 Side 1 which includes the mysterious song. Gabriel posts Lydia’s message on the thread to TheMysteriousSong titled “UPDATE AUGUST 20th, 2019”. Users on the thread are sceptical about her claims. 21ST AUGUST: Meme documentation website “Know Your Meme” creates a page for the mysterious song. Lydia creates the reddit account bluuely in order to maintain contact with the community. Lydia makes a comment on Gabriel’s post “UPDATE AUGUST 20th, 2019”. The comment details an in-depth explanation to her identity and promising to keep the community updated with more developments. Lydia logs into her bluuue account on best-of-80s.de to prove her identity by responding to a private message. 25TH AUGUST: Lydia posts a thread to TheMysteriousSong titled “Update 2 from Lydia”. This update thread provides in detail the history of Tape #4 which holds the recording of the mysterious song. Specifically, covering the type and model of the tape, the recording method Darius practices and the digitisation processes made by Darius in 2004. She further explains that he has no tape deck now and describes the previous model tape deck they once owned. In an edited section of the post she adds a brief description about the content of Tape #5. Various types of media are also attached to the thread like a download link to a .flac version of the mysterious song, images of Tape #4, promotional material for the Technics HiFi-Jacket System K6 and images of the full playlist sheet for Tape #5. 27TH AUGUST: Lydia posts a thread to TheMysteriousSong titled “(Small) update 3 from Lydia”. This thread aims to briefly clarify the digitization file format process Darius had done in response to speculations of fake song files. She promises that she will post more updates soon. 29TH AUGUST: Lydia contacts Darius about an approach to digitizing the full length of Tape #4 Side 1. They both agree to contact a digitization company who specialises in the digitization of cassettes and vinyls. Lydia posts a thread to TheMysteriousSong titled “Update 4 from Lydia”. She briefly explains how she will approach the digitization process of Tape #4 Side 1. She further states that she will plan to bring her tape deck to Darius during her next visit if their initial digitization plan fails. 30TH AUGUST: Lydia gets in contact with Alke Lorenzen from Radio Eins. They consider doing an interview with Darius or herself, but then decide that it will be better to wait until the mystery is solved. 3RD SEPTEMBER: Lydia posts a thread to TheMysteriousSong titled “Update 5 from Lydia (rather a small one)”. She briefly explains about the contact with Alike Lorenzen, the creation of a new email address for the search and a confirmation response from Paul in which he mostly broadcasted tracks from vinyl formats. Very rarely would he source songs from cassettes. However, the times he would play cassettes, he would usually first transfer them to a reel-to-reel tape. 7TH SEPTEMBER: The Munich-based tabloid “Tageszeitung” (Tz) publishes the article “80er-Song lässt Musik-Fans rätseln - Neuer Hinweis macht Hoffnung - Wer kann helfen?” (80's song lets puzzle music fans - New hint makes hope - who can help?) which covers the overall events, theorises and cultural impact related to the search. The article also features a written interview with Lydia. German tabloid company “Hessische/Niedersächsische Allgemeine” (HNA) publishes TZ’s article “80er-Song lässt Musik-Fans rätseln - Neuer Hinweis macht Hoffnung - Wer kann helfen?” (80's song lets puzzle music fans - New hint makes hope - who can help?)” to their official website. 8TH SEPTEMBER: German internet journalist Christian Schiffer publishes his article “Internet ratlos: Wie heißt dieser Song?” (Internet at a loss: What's the name of this song?) on the German news outlet “BR24”. The article covers the general events of the search as well as theorises on the mysterious song’s lyrical value, origins and briefly covers the Subigkeiten Jungs hoax. The official BR24 Facebook Page makes a post about Christian Schiffer’s article with a link to the article. The Swiss daily newspaper outlet “20 Minuten” (20 Minutes) publishes the article “Wer kennt diesen mysteriösen Song?” (Who knows this mysterious song?). The article covers the general facts about the searches, mentions the Tz article and describes the false Antwon01 identity claim on Shazam. 9TH SEPTEMBER: Reddit user “antisocialfriend” contacts his Mum Sheila D in hopes of broadcasting the mysterious song on her radio show “Mix106.1FM WVNO Live” in Mansfield, Ohio. She responds to antisocialfriend’s message with approval. However, she can only play a portion of the song. Antisocialfriend publicly documents this conversation on TheMysteriousSong in a thread titled “My mom is a DJ on a weekend 80’s radio show, she’s gonna play a clip on air”. German Software Engineer Henning Uhle publishes a post on his blog titled “Like the Wind – Das Lied, das keiner kennt” (Like the Wind - The song nobody knows). The post details the general events and theorise of the song as well as Henning providing his own thoughts and opinions on the matter. The Austrian daily news publisher “Der Standard” publishes the article titled “Mysterious song leaves the net desperate for years”. The article covers the overall events, traces and fakes that have arisen from the search. German news publisher “Nau” publishes the article “Who knows this song?” written by German journalist Sven Würgler. The article covers the events of the search in a very basic detail. German news publisher “Neon” publishes the article titled “Mysteriöser Song aus den 80ern: Niemand kann dieses Lied erkennen – du vielleicht?” (Mysterious song from the 80s: Nobody can recognize this song - you maybe?). The article covers the general events of the search. 10TH SEPTEMBER: The major German daily newspaper “Augsburger Allgemeine” publishes the article titled “Most Mysterious Song On The Internet": Spur führt nach Deutschland” ("Most Mysterious Song On The Internet": Track leads to Germany). The article provides a detailed look into the events of the search and provides their own interpretation of the mysterious song’s lyrics. The online darkwave/gothic rock group “Spontis” publishes the article “The Most Mysterious Song – Wie die Suche nach dem geheimnisvollen Song aus den 80ern begann” (The Most Mysterious Song - How the search for the mysterious song from the 80s began) written by blogger and self-proclaimed “Wizard of Goth” Robert Forst. While the first few paragraphs of the article are written by Robert who describes the overview of the search, the remaining article is written by Darius himself who describes his personal search for the mysterious song in immense detail. This article would be Darius’ most descriptive statement on the search. 11TH SEPTEMBER: The German free-to-air television news channel “Welt” publishes the article titled “Wer kennt diesen Song aus den 80er-Jahren?” (Who knows this song from the 80s?) written by German reporter Viola Ulrich. The article covers a general overview of the search. 13TH SEPTEMBER: Sheila D confirms via direct messages that the song will be broadcasted to her radio show on 9:30pm (21:30) Saturday, 14TH September. Antisocialfriend documents the confirmation texts on TheMysteriousSong in a thread titled “Update: My mom’s playing a clip of the song & talking about it on her radio show”. 14TH SEPTEMBER: Sheila D broadcasts the mysterious song on her radio show with co-host Mike Tyler as a pre-recorded segment. YouTuber “Father Pucci” uploads the video “MIX 106.1 WVNO's Mike Tyler and Sheila D introduce "The Mysterious Song" on Weekend Flashback” which features the full pre-recorded segment with the mysterious song played and discussed. Reddit user “deinterlacing” emails the staff at GEMA about the search. Deinterlacing gets a response from GEMA stating that the online archive is only the database’s excerpt. Deinterlacing posts a thread to TheMysteriousSong titled “Confirmation that the online GEMA database is NOT comprehensive” which makes a quick note on the database excerpt discovery. 20TH SEPTEMBER: Deinterlacing attempts another enquiry email to GEMA about the search. GEMA responds back by saying that they unfortunately don’t have all recorded titles between 1982 to 1984. 21ST-22ND SEPTEMBER: Darius and Lydia digitize Tape #4 Side 1. 23RD SEPTEMBER: Lydia posts a thread to TheMysteriousSong titled “Update 6 from Lydia - full tape recording”. In this thread she attaches 3 WeTransfer links to 1 .flac and 2 mp3 files of Tape #4 Side 1. She attaches the image of the playlist sheet of the recording and briefly explains the differences in volume for each song. Reddit user “Adundiddlydooman” downloads and uploads the Tape #4 Side 1 recording to archive.org. Lydia adds a section to her thread “Update 6 from Lydia - full tape recording” which mentions Adundiddlydooman’s efforts in archiving the Tape #4 side 1 recording. 24TH SEPTEMBER: American music media outlet Rolling Stone publishes an article titled “The Unsolved Case of the Most Mysterious Song on the Internet” written by American journalist David Browne. The article covers the events of the search in an in-depth manner while also gaining interviews with pivotal figures in the search like Darius, Lydia, Gabriel Vieira, Paul Baskerville and MKII. Reddit user “wyspana” posts a thread to TheMysteriousSong titled “[Offtopic] "Life turns inside out" - the other unid song”. The post briefly spreads the awareness for the search for “Old Ned” by Blue in Heaven. Since the song was still unidentified during this time, the song was still referred to as “Life Turns Inside Out”. Furthermore, wyspana attaches a link to an .mp3 file of the song. 25TH SEPTEMBER: Youtuber Joshua Montague uploads Darius’ except recording of “Old Ned” by Blue in Heaven in the video “Life Turns Inside Out - Mysterious '80s song”. 26TH SEPTEMBER: American media outlet PRI publishes the article and 11-minute podcast titled “What is 'The Most Mysterious Song on the Internet'?” which is produced by Sam Kim. The podcast marks the first time Lydia partakes in an audio interview. 27TH SEPTEMBER: German news publisher Zeit publishes the article “Wer kennt diesen Song?” (Who Knows this Song?) written by German journalist Ekkehard Knörer. The article covers the general historic overview of the search and makes a complementary reference to the Rolling Stone article “The Unsolved Case of the Most Mysterious Song on the Internet”. 29TH SEPTEMBER: Deinterlacing posts a thread to TheMysteriousSong titled “Looks like GEMA may not even have TMMS in an internal database. More theories in comments”. The post contains an attached screenshot of Deinterlacing’s 20TH September email to GEMA as well as GEMA’s response. 3RD OCTOBER: YouTuber, Reddit user and writer C. W. Schultz posts a thread to Lostwave titled “List of mysterious albums/songs - Lost or found”. His posts include a detailed list of songs and albums categorised as Lost, Found or of Unknown Origin. The list also provides links to music identification forums. 6TH OCTOBER: American news outlet The New York Times publishes the article “What to Cook This Week” which is written by food editor Sam Sifton. Although the article mainly discusses recommended dishes to cook for a weekly schedule, he briefly mentions the mysterious song when referencing the PRI article “What is 'The Most Mysterious Song on the Internet'?”. 8TH OCTOBER: American newspaper and entertainment website The AV Club publishes the article “Internet sleuths are trying to identify a mysterious, probably German song from an '80s radio broadcast” written by American writer and editor Reid McCarter. The article covers the general historic overview of the search. 9TH OCTOBER: Youtuber “Yoshimitsu Cáleon” uploads the video “LA CANCIÓN MÁS MISTERIOSA DE INTERNET El enigma que nadie ha podido resolver” (THE MOST MYSTERIOUS INTERNET SONG The enigma that nobody has been able to solve) which covers events and theorises of the search in a general overview. 21ST OCTOBER: C. W. Schultz uploads the video “Top 10 Most Mysterious Songs”. As stated in its title, the video explores the history and interest of 10 selected unidentified songs as well as some honourable mentions. The video includes “Old Ned” at #4 and the Mysterious Song at #1. 8TH NOVEMBER: Youtuber “IDIOKRATIJA” uploads the video “Najmisterioznija Pesma Na Internetu - Nerešen Slučaj” (The Most Mysterious Song On The Internet - An Unsolved Case) which covers events and theorises of the search in a general overview. 9TH NOVEMBER: Lydia posts a thread to TheMysteriousSong titled “Update 7 from Lydia - Topic: the radio DJs”. The thread takes an in-depth look into all radio DJs who would have and not have hosted radio shows between 1982-1984. 10TH NOVEMBER: Reddit user “randomNinja64” posts a thread to TheMysteriousSong titled “A Talk With A German Man From The 80s (Recent Anecdote)”. The threads details randomNinja64’s recent contact with a family friend who after being informed about the search says that the possibility that the song played on NDR2 seems unlikely. As the family friend claims that NDR1 broadcasted the news, NDR2 broadcasted classical music and NDR3 would broadcast pop music. Johnnymetoo comments in the thread “A Talk With A German Man From The 80s (Recent Anecdote)”. His comment helps to correct the claims made in the post stating that NDR2 broadcasted pop music and NDR3 broadcasted classical music. 11TH NOVEMBER: Lydia comments on the thread “A Talk With A German Man From The 80s (Recent Anecdote)”. Her comment aims to correct her NDR2 assumption in 2007 by stating that it would have most likely have been NDR1 who broadcasted the song since Music for Young People had transferred to this station. UNKNOWN DATE(S): Reddit user “quantum_foam_finger” views C. W. Schultz posts “List of mysterious albums/songs - Lost or found” on lostwave. They notice that listed song “Life Turns Inside Out” has similar vocals and instrumentation to that of the Blue in Heaven song “The Big Beat”. After researching the bands discography, quantum_foam_finger successfully identifies “Life Turns inside Out” as “Old Ned”. 18TH NOVEMBER: C. W. Schultz posts a thread on TheMysteriousSong titled “UPDATE: "Life Turns Inside Out" solved!”. The post includes a link to dabunnymanPM’s YouTube upload of “Old Ned”. C. W. Schultz also makes a post in the thread explaining how quantum_foam_finger was able to identify the track. Quantum_foam_finger makes a reply post on the thread ““UPDATE: "Life Turns Inside Out" solved!” in which they provide additional information as to how they discovered the track. 2020 20TH MARCH: YouTube Channel “The Very Unknown Band - Topic” uploads the video “The Most Mysterious Song On The Internet (Remastered)”. As stated in its titled, the video provides a remastered version of the Mysterious Song. 6TH JUNE: Reddit user “xaviersimpson88” posts a thread to TheMysteriousSong titled “MS AIRDATE is August 27-31, 1984 (will give details in comments)”. In the thread xaviersimpson88 explains that digitized Music listings from August 27-31 in 1984 could be able to specify the Mysterious Song’s airdate. ONGOING: - The search for the Mysterious song’s identity and origins. Any future revelations to the saga will be included in an updated edition of the timeline. All information displayed in this timeline was obtained through public information. Information obtained through private sources will NOT be allowed on the timeline. Everyone is encouraged to provide information that could fit in the timeline. Whether you can provide evidential proof for your claims is just a different story. Remember that I am a human being and mistakes can happen. Don’t be afraid to correct me on my research. Just don’t be inappropriate about it. NOTE: If anyone has more information about the history of the Antwon01 case that will be appreciated. Also, since I have been absent from the subreddit for some time, I have unfortunately lost track on some key events since late November. So, if you all can bring me up to speed it will be greatly respected.
edit: Unfortunately Season 1-16 are no longer available for free. I will keep the blank formatting available in case other seasons become accessible. Hi guys, I was complaining yesterday about how hard it is to browse episodes on the website without having to click around. I decided to start an episode guide and would love it if anyone wants to help. Since I was listening to an episode from Season 17 when the frustration hit I figured I would start there. [S00E00](link) - Date description SEASON 17 S17E01 - Jan 13, 2017 - We kick off a new year of podcasts with a look odd false cognates, AI interlingua and the future of language. We then feature miraculous Russian mind reading OBEs, automatic writing in Australia and the growing Goat Yoga wave sweeping the world! S17E02 - Jan 20, 2017 Award winning investigative journalist Scott Carney returns to discuss his new book ‘What Doesn’t Kill Us’ and his training in the Wim Hof method. Carney examines Hof’s remarkable ability to control his body temperature in extreme cold and how his unique training has forced modern science to rethink our conscious control of our physiology. S17E03 - Jan 27, 2017 Artist Sean Bartock joins us to discuss his memoirs of alien abductions, native spirits, and high strangeness from his book 'Flashbacks'. Bartock believes he had experienced multiple abductions since his childhood, but with the memories remaining mostly hidden, it would take a life change in his early 40s and a series of strange encounters to unlock the true nature of his experiences. S17E04 - Feb 3, 2017 This week UFO researcher Paul Stonehill brings us his latest research into Russian USOs, strange cases from secret soviet files and the mysterious Matua island. We then feature new research on children who remember past lives and curious cases of xenoglossy from around the world. S17E05 - Feb 10, 2017 This week we discover one of history's strangest cases of communication through time with the mystery of the 1985 Dodleston messages. In 1984, an Economics teacher living in the small rural village of Dodleston found he had the opportunity to communicate with someone from the past, when he was thrust into a strange link that tied him across centuries with a past inhabitant of his home via an early model personal computer and it’s word processing software EDWORD. Both accused the other of trickery, poltergeist activity, witchcraft and devilry, but eventually, a bond between the two was formed. Cross-century communications are never easy, however, especially when the future gets involved. S17E06 - Feb 17, 2017 Award winning Australian author Kate Grenville joins us in the studio this week to discuss her new book The Case Against Fragrance and the potential dangers of artificial scent. Prompted by her own adverse reaction to the artificial fragrances around us, Grenville’s research reveals the power of the fragrance industry and the greater impact of chemicals in our environment. S17E07 - Feb 24, 2017 Bikini clad spectres and tree hopping humanoids sets the tone of weirdness for this episode as we eventually wind up deciphering occult symbology in our nation’s capital. We then peel back the layers of the world’s “Holy Madmen” and find a dangerous line walked between saintliness and depravity. S17E08 - Mar 3, 2017 German author Nick Ohler joins us this week to discuss his ground breaking bestseller ‘Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany’. Ohler’s research details the pervasive use of methamphetamines by the entire Third Reich and how Hitler’s private physician changed the course of the war with his injected cocktails of stimulants. We then reveal psychotronic mind control devices and the last ditch attempts to save the crumbling Soviet Union with mass broadcast hypnosis. S17E09 - Mar 10, 2017 After our team of analysts takes on the latest Wiki leaks 'Vault 7' release we turn to new time-slip experiences involving future cities and New Orleans bordellos. We then cover perhaps the most chilling of all MU topics... the dreaded 'Haunted Honky Tonk Piano' and in our Plus+ extension we feature the bizarre Tujunga Canyon encounters and how Bigfoot lost his grapes S17E10 - Mar 18, 2017 After an eventful trip to the Theosophical library we return with stories of "Oriental Wisdom" and tall tales from one Alexander Cannon that ultimately lead us to more Nazi WWII conspiracy and intrigue. In our Plus+ extension we then investigate spectral encounters with animal spirits, ghost doggos, and a saucy scandal featuring a Russian underwear model and a Racoon. S17E11 - Mar 24, 2017 Japanese "Forest Bathing" and getting high on hinoki feature this week as we look at the 'The Nature Fix' and the disease fighting, health enhancing benefits of our natural environments. We then examine 19th century cases of strange abductions from Japan that bizarrely mirror David Paulides' Missing 411 research and Aaron unwraps a banking conspiracy involving global elites and the sinking of the Titanic. S17E12 - Mar 31, 2017 This week we peel back the occult layers to investigate the Merovingian bloodline, Rennes-le-Château, and Ouija board sessions with antediluvian God-Kings of old. We then share the true horror of history’s worst plagues and the Tantra of Tachikawa-ryu S17E13 - Apr 7, 2017 This week we are joined by author and investigative journalist Leslie Kean to discuss her new book Surviving Death. Kean, well known for her New York Times best seller ‘UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record’, reveals stunning and varied evidence suggesting that consciousness survives death and also shares her direct experience of inexplicable phenomena – that had life-changing results. S17E14 - Apr 14, 2017 Reports of people disappearing in forests and national parks across the world continue with David Paulides’ latest: Missing 411 – Hunters. We review the strangest cases and again try to make sense of the mystery. Our Plus+ extension then features the new book from Cody Cassidy and Paul Doherty ‘And Then You’re Dead’, answering important questions like “What would happen if I stuck my hand in the large hadron collider?” S17E15 - Apr 21, 2017 This week we take a detour into the dark world of terror sponsored insider-trading, financial warfare, and Wall St.’s AI “Manhattan Project”. Along the way we discover more on the fractal nature of reality and dig up some doubloons, before our kitchen is invaded by a clever squatch. S17E16 - Apr 28, 2017 Missing 411 suspects get lined up for this episode as we look at the patterns of strange activity that bind them together. The Australian Yowie returns in a very vocal way along with insane tales of Orb-nappings from the Blue Mountains. We then return to the so called "cluster location" or "windows area" of the Great Lakes Triangle and investigate the unsolved cases of missing aircraft, vanishing ships, and strange underwater objects. S17E17 - May 5, 2017 This week we look at the latest collection of Whistleblower testimony from Steven Greer and unpack the complicated web of Special Access Programs and Black Ops money manipulation. We then tell the tale of a man kidnapped in the Amazon jungle by a tribe of Shaman who train him to become a nature communing Witch Doctor. S17E18 - May 12, 2017 UFO attacks and saucer doctors feature this week with more strange cases featuring physiological evidence of contact. We also include a young boy’s pet bubble, the parallel matriarchy dimension, and a return of the Elephant charming Yogi masters of India. S17E19 - May 19, 2017 Cosmological architecture and intelligent design are the focus this week as we look at the work of Christopher Knight and Alan Butler. We follow their research into ancient units of measurement, their relationship to our earth, moon, and star and what message this relationship has left behind for human beings. S17E20 - May 26, 2017 A strange desert encounter leads to a secret holy manuscript this week which details apocalyptic invasion scenarios, holy alliances, and the mark of the beast. We then dabble in Poltergeist cases before wrapping up the final highlights of Contact in the Desert and tragic downfall of the internet’s premier “Goddess Power” university. SHOW NOTES: https://mysteriousuniverse.org/2017/05/17-20-mu-podcast/ S17E21 - Jun 2, 2017 A mysterious Christian mystic from the island of Cyprus is our focus this week as we examine the strange tales of The Magus of Strovolos. Discussions on thought forms, rogue Tulpas and etheric vampires ultimately forge a path into Plus+ as we uncover colonial tales of black magic sorcery from the British colonies. S17E22 - Jun 9, 2017 Author and science journalist Bob Holmes joins us this week to discuss his new book FLAVOR: The Science of Our Most Neglected Sense. In FLAVOR, Holmes tackles questions like why cake tastes sweetest on white plates, how wine experts’ eyes fool their noses, how language affects flavor, and ultimately how our thoughts dictate our experiences. We also feature the insane cookbooks of the 1930s Italian futurists, the insane world of "Targeted Individuals" and the classic from Leonard Stringfield: Situation Red. S17E23 - Jun 16, 2017 Mass abductions and alien mind scans are back on the agenda this week as we examine the “Alien Abduction Stockholm-syndrome” of the modern age. We also feature the dawn of saucers in Australia, sugar stealing entities, and huggy the mantoid. SHOW NOTES: bit.ly/2sy94Ca S17E24 - Jun 23, 2017 Investigative film maker Jeremy Corbell returns on our final episode of Season 17 to share his latest work and discuss the ever elusive “Phenomenon”. Corbell updates us on his isotope analysis of the strange fragment retrieved from Patient Seventeen’s body, the misdirection and threads of deception within the UFO field, and his brand new project: Hunt the Skinwalker. SHOW NOTES: http://bit.ly/2sy9EiV SEASON 18 S18E01 - Jul 7, 2017 Journalist and historian Garrett M. Graff joins us to discuss the history of the US government’s secret plan to save itself.. while the rest of us die. His new book Raven Rock reveals the sixty plus years of planning and development that has gone into the secret Doomsday plans and the multibillion-dollar Continuity of Government (COG) program. From the sprawling secret bases buried deep under the mountains, to hidden facilities hidden right under our noses, the underground world of a dormant shadow government is revealed like never before. SHOW NOTES: http://bit.ly/2tUejg5 S18E02 - Jul 14, 2017 Film maker Chris Garetano returns to give us more clues on the true story behind the Montauk conspiracy and his upcoming History Channel documentary ‘Dark Files’. We then look at how Big Data reveals everyone’s lies, what PornHub search data tells us about our darkest secrets, and how Freud missed all the universe’s warnings about his impending demise. SHOW NOTES: bit.ly/2tmpyu0 S18E03 - Jul 21, 2017 This week we have a special panel discussion on UFOs: Reframing the Debate, the new collection of original essays edited by Robbie Graham. Joining Graham are essay contributors (and MU alumni) MJ Banias, Micah Hanks, and The Red Pill Junkie. The new book is a call to break away from established ideas, approaches, and practices, and to boldly tread a new path in quest of understanding what may very well be the greatest mystery of all. In our Plus+ extension we investigate missing aircraft and electronic fog along with obscure Japanese cults of the 1980s. FULL SHOW NOTES: bit.ly/2gQwWfY S18E04 - Jul 28, 2017 Author and Astronomer Bob Berman joins us this week to discuss how Biocentrism views life and consciousness as the keys to understanding the universe. We look at Berman’s most recent co-authored book on the biocentric ‘theory of everything’, he shares his own ecstatic experience, and we try and wrap our heads around the claim that there is no independent external universe outside of biological existence. In our Plus+ extension we look at history’s ignored prophets and how their patterns of prediction reveal warnings of a future calamity. SHOW NOTES: http://bit.ly/2uIEkgV S18E05 - Aug 4, 2017 Consciousness researcher and author Nanci Trivellato joins us to discuss her work with the International Academy of Consciousness (IAC), OBEs, and her latest findings on supernormal experiences in children. Trivellato is a co-founder of the Institute of Applied Consciousness Technologies (I-ACT) and has over 25 years experience with non-ordinary (psi) phenomena research and instruction. In our Plus+ extension we feature the ‘Seeds of Life’ and the quest through history to discover where babies come from and Aaron serves up the latest eyewitness reports of flying creatures in Chicago. SHOW NOTES: http://bit.ly/2ws9Zmj S18E06 - Aug 11, 2017 Research into strange Japanese cults lead us into a vast geopolitical conspiracy connecting occult secret societies, Hitler's magician, money laundering, weapon's smuggling, and unexplained explosions in the Australian outback. The story begins with an Australian man's rise through the ranks of the Sukyo Mahikari cult and ultimately ends with dark secrets and strings pulled by a powerful hidden hand. SHOW NOTES: bit.ly/2vtuOyC S18E07 - Aug 18, 2017 Parasitic ESP twins are featured this week as we share dark tales of synchronicity and extreme chance. We then investigate the studies of Taiwanese children with “Finger Reading” abilities before breaking the seal once again on the hidden cave of Tayos and its Metal Library of knowledge. SHOW NOTES: http://bit.ly/2fS3NB7 S18E08 - Aug 25, 2017 This week author Sam Kean returns to discuss his latest book ‘Caesar’s Last Breath‘ and how the alchemy of air reshaped our continents, steered human progress, powered revolutions, and continues to influence everything we do. We then feature “The Boy Who Loved Too Much” and the challenges of William’s syndrome, the disorder that robs its sufferers the ability to distrust. SHOW NOTES: http://bit.ly/2gaUSek S18E09 - Sep 1, 2017 In the late 1920s, before his death, a Swiss language teacher in Greece left his secret diary to his favourite student for translation. As he began the translation it became apparent that this was no ordinary diary and its contents would soon become an object of fascination and secrecy to Freemasons and Theosophists alike. We reveal the story of the diary and the bizarre claims of its author, Paul Amadeus Dienach. FULL SHOW NOTES: bit.ly/2wp30xp S18E10 - Sep 8, 2017 Veteran UFO researcher Grant Cameron joins us this week to discuss one of history’s greatest UFO flaps and the life changing sightings that propelled him into the field. Charlie Red Star was the name given to glowing red disc-shaped objects that seemed to buzz the town of Carmen in Manitoba Canada with a regularity that had never been seen before. Soon hundreds of eyewitnesses would report seeing “Charlie” but the sightings quickly evolved into a complicated variety of encounters that would send Cameron on a life long quest for answers. FULL SHOW NOTES: http://bit.ly/2gQZW7N S18E11 - Sep 15, 2017 Lost treasure and cursed doubloons leads into the murky world of CIA gold and military controlled black projects. We then venture deep into the inner earth with light speed escalators, warp bubbles, and the legend of Yamashita’s Golden Lilly before finally petting the coat of the spectral WereWolf-Bear-Dogman. FULL SHOW NOTES: http://bit.ly/2y3KxEn S18E12 - Sep 22, 2017 Vintage past-life recordings literally fell into our laps this week as we discovered mint vinyl records hidden in the sleeve of the old hardcover book ‘Encounters with the Past’. We reveal the recorded sessions and hear the visceral reactions from the hypnosis subjects. We then dig deeper into the legend of Yamashita’s gold as Aaron connects the dots between corrupt Filipino politicians, secret US military agreements, booby trapped gold vaults, Golden buddhas, and hidden diamonds! FULL SHOW NOTES: http://bit.ly/2yhOXYv S18E13 - Sep 29, 2017 Radionic blasts and auto-taxidermy devices get us warmed up before we launch into the Lost City of the Monkey God and the return of the Mayans. We then discover ‘The Nine’ that guide science and technology and the hidden alchemists that tried to warn the Germans of the dangers of Nuclear weapons. SHOW NOTES: http://bit.ly/2xLLIek S18E14 - Oct 6, 2017 This week we review David Bramwell’s marvellously strange string of synchronicities from his latest book ‘The Haunted Moustache‘. After receiving an odd family heirloom, Bramwell pursues a quest for answers that leads him into the eccentric occult underground of Brighton. We then return to tales of underground cities with eyewitness accounts of inebriated dwarves and more light-speed escalators. SHOW NOTES: http://bit.ly/2yMhZ2F S18E15 - Oct 13, 2017 Australian author and Cryptonaturalist Tim the Yowie Man joins us this week to share his adventures across the country from the new book ‘Haunted & Mysterious Australia’. From poltergeists in tunnels beneath Sydney to ghost ships (and head-butting camels), Tim spins us plenty of yarns before we dive into occult conspiracy in our Plus+ extension with the saboteurs of the ‘Deep State’. SHOW NOTES: http://bit.ly/2yl4tWS S18E16 - Oct 20, 2017 Author Lynne McTaggart joins us this week to discuss the intention experiments from her latest book ‘The Power of Eight‘. The new work expands upon McTaggart’s previous experiments on the material effects of intention and reveal a powerful, life transforming change for the participants. We are then joined by film maker Jeremy Corbell who’s new full length documentary ‘Patient 17‘ is now available on iTunes. The film details the study of a strange foreign object surgically retrieved from “patient 17” that could potentially be non-terrestrial. FULL SHOW NOTES: http://bit.ly/2gTtJKs S18E17 - Oct 27, 2017 We spin tales of mist monsters, smoke demons and mad gassers into a ‘states of matter’ special with some of the strangest entity encounters on record. We then set off to Nepal, Tibet and Spain with Lama Yeshe and his subsequent reincarnation 11 months later as a Tenzin Osel: The Spanish Lama Baby. FULL SHOW NOTES: http://bit.ly/2zLNCd8 S18E18 - Nov 3, 2017 After discussing the latest in genetic advances, the future of IVF manipulation, new Giza discoveries, and the fried chicken bath bomb we are joined by experienced Theosophist Pedro Oliveira. Oliveira takes us through the deep history of the Theosophical society revealing it’s intriguing founders, the influence of the Mahatmas, and the organisation’s pursuit of divine wisdom. In our Plus+ extension we investigate claims of CIA mind control vs “Targeted” individuals and return to the holy ground of the Church of Gail. SHOW NOTES: http://bit.ly/2zbHNa0 S18E19 - Nov 10, 2017 Australian researcher Lynne Kelly joins us this week to discuss ‘The Memory Code‘ that manages to unlock the secrets of ancient monuments around the world. Using traditional Aboriginal songlines as the key, Kelly has identified the powerful memory technique used by indigenous people around the world. She has discovered that this ancient memory technique is the secret behind the great stone monuments like Stonehenge, which have for so long puzzled archaeologists. SHOW NOTES: http://bit.ly/2hq6M51 S18E20 - Nov 17, 2017 We continue our important work of determining the ultimate purpose of Black Ops Bigfoot on this episode and ultimately end up with an Orangu-man fugitive fleeing in a stolen aerial vehicle. We get closer to finding answers in our Plus+ extension with an experiencer’s long list of high strangeness that leads her to becoming an emissary to just about every sentient race in the galaxy. S18E21 - Nov 24, 2017 We are joined by film makers Peter Marsh and Gabi Plumm this week to discuss the hidden history of New Zealand and the evidence of a mysterious race of people that predate Polynesian settlement in the region. Tales of red haired giants and the fair-skinned tiny folk of the islands are revealed before we travel to the Taiga forest for Russian encounters with flying beasts and out of place serpents. SHOW NOTES: http://bit.ly/2hP9i13 S18E22 - Dec 1, 2017 Mechanised Jurassic beasts and elusive electric powered serpents are featured this week as we follow the trail to a potential breakaway civilisation. We then move to the bizarre medical wonders of antiquity from health potions and man grease, to candied elders and Roto Rectors. This all culminates in a Sungazing session that will leave you wanting a cheeseburger. SHOW NOTES: http://bit.ly/2ABpYEA S18E23 - Dec 8, 2017 This week we pit the modern metrosexual against ancient cave men to decide the ultimate winner in the battle for manliness. Along the way we discover one-legged Aboriginal hopping hunters, oiled up casanovas, and the Yakuza’s jingle bells. Our Plus+ extension then features terrifying experiments with chemical warfare in WWI and German spies that went to extreme cross-dressing lengths to conceal their weapons of mass destruction. FULL SHOW NOTES: http://bit.ly/2Bo5yj0 S18E24 - Dec 15 , 2017 After strange links between full moons and motorcycles, roadways and headless horsemen, and phantom self driving vehicles, we cover the latest news on the man who cemented his head into a microwave. In our Plus extension we then venture into Chronobiology, the hidden power of timing, and finish on an “Urban Tantra” channeling session. FULL SHOW NOTES: http://bit.ly/2yESP5z S18E25 - Dec 22, 2017 For our 'walk it over the line' end of year special we look at the cryptocurrency dominatrix, S.Rob's Santa Claus tulpa magic and the evolution of the deadly Nukkake bomb. We then discuss more reports of aquatic humanoids in Russia and the giant sentient Taco to close out 2017. NOTE: This is the last episode of 2017 - We return on January 9 for Plus+ members and January 12 for season 19. SHOW NOTES: http://bit.ly/2peTafP
2020.01.18 22:15 AnnieIWillKnow[MATCH THREAD] Arsenal Women vs Chelsea FC Women - 14:00 GMT, 19/01 (WSL)
Arsenal Women vs Chelsea FC Women
Date: 19th January 2020 KO: 14:00 GMT Competition: Women's Super League, match day 13 Venue: Meadow Park Welcome to the /chelsealadiesfc match thread for Chelsea's away game against Arsenal, in the WSL. This thread is for all pre-match, live and post-match discussion of the above fixture, and the body of the post will be updated with line-ups and match events. PREVIEW: This Sunday afternoon sees Chelsea FC Women make the short trip around the M25 to Borehamwood, for one of the biggest fixtures of the season - Arsenal away. Last season’s champions sit 4 points above Chelsea in the WSL (although do Chelsea have a game in hand) - and after a slightly quiet start, the Gunners have roared into life in recent weeks, having rediscovered the form which saw them storm to the league title, in 2018/19. In the reverse fixture at Kingsmeadow earlier this season, Chelsea came from 1-0 down to earn a massive 3 points in this season’s title race. Those remain the only points Arsenal have dropped all season, and whilst Chelsea remain unbeaten in the league, disappointing draws against Brighton and Liverpool see our London rivals sit above us in the league standings. Both teams come into this game following league wins, but it is arguably Arsenal who are in the better form, with Emma Hayes having drawn attention to Chelsea’s poor concentration in our defensive third in recent matches. A team like Arsenal will mercilessly exploit any vulnerabilities, and Chelsea will need to step it up if we are to get anything from this game. Arsenal’s danger women include the likes of Vivienne Miedema, who once again leads the goal scoring charts, Beth Mead, Kim Little, and Jordan Nobbs - to name just a few of Arsenal’s world class players. Of course Chelsea have plenty of threats of our own - Ji So-Yun and Beth England have started 2020 in fine form, and with January signing Sam Kerr yet to net for the Blues, Sunday could be the perfect time for her to announce herself in England. Chelsea and Arsenal both won their mid-week Conti Cup quarter finals to advance to the final four, but have been kept away from each other in the semi final draw, as Chelsea travel to Manchester United, and Arsenal hosting Manchester City. A win here for Chelsea would give us a huge boost in the title race - whereas a loss would make Arsenal the certain favourites to retain their league title. Put simply, this is a big one - UTC! HOW TO FOLLOW: The match will be being shown live on BT Sport, as this week's televised WSL game. For those not in the UK, the match is also being streamed for free online on the FA Player - which is entirely free to register and use. As always, live updates will also be provided by Chelsea FC Women's official Twitter account @chelseafcw. LINE-UPS: Arsenal: Zinsberger, Schnaderbeck, Williamson, Quinn, Walti, Roord, Little, Nobbs, Van de Donk, McCabe, Miedema (Subs: Peyraud-Magnin, Evans, Maier, Filis, Grant, Mead) Chelsea: Berger; Andersson, Bright, Eriksson (C), Mjelde, Ingle, Ji, Reiten, England, Kerr, Cuthbert (Subs: Telford, Blundell, Cooper, Napier, Bachmann, Spence, Carter) MATCH EVENTS:
KICK OFF! We are under way, COME ON CHELSEA!
3' - Chelsea with some neat passing in and around the Arsenal box so far, but without creating any real chances
5' - Chelsea dominating possession early doors, an Arsenal counter thankfully breaks down
8' - A first Chelsea corner, all Blues so far
9' - Cuthbert's corner is cleared, and Arsenal break at speed... but Chelsea get back in numbers and clear our lines
10' GOOAOAOAOALALALLAAAZZZOZZOOOO!!!!! WHAT A GOAL! Beth England gets the ball on the right hand side, cuts inside and unleashes a beautiful strike to best Zinsberger and put Chelsea into the lead! It's Chelsea 1-0 Arsenal!
12' GOOOOOOOOAALLLLLL!!! GET IN!!!! SAM KERR WITH HER FIRST CHELSEA GOAL!! Reiten with the cross from the left and Sam Kerr beats the Arsenal defender to it to nod past an oncoming Zinsberger! What a time to score her first goal for Chelsea! It's Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal
16' - Arsenal break again, but again Chelsea are back in numbers and defend well. Arsenal want a free kick, ref is having none of it
18' - Arsenal have a corner, take it short, then try appealing for a penalty for handball. Nah.
20' GOOOOOOOALAALLL!! YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! Chelsea have a free kick outside the box, Arsenal clear but it's met by Sophie Ingle, who loops a sensational strike over Zinsberger to put Chelsea 3-0 up!! It's Chelsea 3-0 Arsenal and we're in dreamland!
25' - Arsenal putting a bit of pressure on, they earn a corner but Chelsea stand strong
30' - Chelsea aren't letting Arsenal get a foot in this game at all
32' - Kerr has a good chance to put Chelsea 4-0 up, but puts her strike well wide
34' - Kerr runs onto a gorgeous Guro Reiten through ball, and the Arsenal defender does well to make an excellent tackle
42' - Arsenal carelessly give the ball away in their own third and Sam Kerr steals possession, but her shot is blocked in the box. Appeals for handball waved away by the ref
45+ 1' - Arsenal have a free kick, but it's comfortably collected by Berger.
HALF TIME! An incredible 45 minutes for the Blues.
SECOND HALF! Off we go...
47' - Oooof. Millie Bright lets Katie McCabe know she's there with a strong challenge, but gets away with it
50' - Chelsea continue where they left off, completely dominating. Ji has a chance, but her shot is too high
56' - Van der Donk gets in behind, for what feels like the first time this game for Arsenal, but Berger collects the through ball.
59' - Arsenal make a double change, with Lisa Evans and Beth Mead replacing Jordan Nobbs and Lucy Quinn
60' - Chippy Aussie Kerr tries to chip the Arsenal keeper. Not chippy enough.
62' - Cuthbert goes down following a clash with some Arsenal player, but is thankfully fine to continue
65' - Mjelde is the first Chelsea player to go in the book
66' - Miedema is through on goal, but comes under pressure from the Chelsea defence and Berger, who closes down the angle well, and the forward can only find the side netting
68' - GOOOOOOOOAAAALLLL!!! It's four, and surely the 3 points for Chelsea!! Some lovely build up play from the Blues ends with a cross into the box, which Guro Reiten heads home. Chelsea 4-0 Arsenal!
73' - GOAL! Well, that may make it interesting... substitute Beth Mead pulls one back for Arsenal, with Berger fumbling the save. Chelsea 4-1 Arsenal.
80' - Arsenal are pushing, but Chelsea win a corner... which the Gunners clear
81' - SUBSTITUTION: First Chelsea change is a defensive one, with full back Hannah Blundell coming on for Guro Reiten
84' - SUBSTITUTION: Hayes shutting up shop a bit here, with Drew Spence coming on for Sam Kerr.
90' - four minutes of stoppage time to play, with this one petering out
FULL TIME! And that is that! What a performance from Chelsea, as we absolutely humble Arsenal 4-1 at their own home - a huge 3 points in the title race!
2019.09.14 20:27 PresidentRaggy[MATCH THREAD] Brighton and Hove Albion vs. Chelsea FC Women (A) 1400 BST, 15/09 (FA WSL)
DATE: 15 September 2019 KO: 1400 BST Competition: FA WSL Venue: The People’s Pension Stadium, Crawley Welcome to the /chelsealadiesfc match thread as Chelsea travel south to face Brighton and Hove Albion for the second match of this year’s FA WSL!
Chelsea opened the season in front of close to 25,000 fans at Stamford Bridge, against newly-promoted Tottenham. The Blues took an early lead thanks to a stunner from Beth England but were unable to finish any of their handful of scoring chances. Emma Hayes noted her squad would work on finishing this week, and the Blues back line showed some need to tighten up. New signing Guro Reiten was a bright spot against Spurs and provided a needed attacking impetus as Fran Kirby and Erin Cuthbert are still returning from injuries. Brighton and Bristol City came away with one point each last week in a goalless draw in Bristol; Brighton had a first-half penalty saved. This will be Chelsea’s fifth match against Brighton, and the Blues have won each previous encounter. The Seagulls are in their second season as a top-flight club and finished ninth last year.
“Things like being clinical will come the deeper we get into the season, those will become second nature, but it’s so important now to get the momentum and to keep winning. “In my first season here, I felt like we just started off winning and then we kept on winning and winning, and I feel like that’s the momentum we need to get into. If we want to win the league we need to get into winning ways early. “It’s going to be a tough game, it’s an away game, it’s Brighton. We know that they are good at defending and they are hard to beat and play against so I think we need to give them respect.”
"I’m going to give it time, I think I need time to adapt to everything and everyone. I am a team-player so I need to know the players that I’m playing with, how I can make them good and how they can make me good because I’ve just been here two months and in that time away with the national team. "I’ve not had much time, but if we give it a bit of time I think I’m going to improve as a player here at Chelsea. "I should have scored a couple of goals, two or three maybe, especially my header that hit the post. Sometimes I can beat myself up with my performances but right now everything is so new so it’s important for me to think positive and I know it’s going to get better so it’s okay."
HOW TO FOLLOW
Updates will be posted here, and on the Chelsea FCW Twitter Watch CFCW fixtures on the NEW FA Player! This exciting new opportunity will give women's football fans access to most WSL games and some other competitions (some games will only be televised on BT Sport for local fans, but fans outside the coverage area will be able to watch all games on the Player).
Chelsea (looking like a 4-3-3 or 4-3-2-1): Berger; Mjelde, Bright, Eriksson (c), Andersson; Ingle, Ji, Spence; Cuthbert, England, Reiten. Subs: Telford, Thorisdottir, Asante, Carter, Cooper, Engman, Bachmann. Brighton (formation TBD): Walsh, Lundorf, Williams, Kerkdijk, Gibbons, Connolly, Bowman, Le Garrec, Brazil, Umotong, Whelan. Subs: Harris, F. Whelan, Barton, Natkiel, Bilden, Simpkins, Green.
1' Tweet! We are underway at Peoples' Pension Stadium!! Chelsea in the black third kids today! 2' Eriksson launches a wonderful diagonal pass to Reiten, who gives it too much of a touch and it goes over the sideline. Chelsea looking good but Brighton are very quick to apply pressure. 6' Reiten and Cuthbert over a free kick; Cuthbert's delivery comes right to Walsh, unfortunate. 6' England drops to the floor, but appears to be fine to carry on. 10' Ji floats a pass to the far post but Brighton get a good head on it. Chelsea are really trying to get the ball wide left to Reiten in the opening 10m. 12' Berger gets her hands on the ball for the first time after a powerful, but easily grabbed, shot from Le Garrec on a free kick. 12' Chelsea corner! Reiten is speeding all over the place. 13' A bit crowded in the box and the corner is ultimately for naught; a Brighton defender got a good block in and Chelsea were unable to settle the ball and get a good hit. 17' Bright works the ball really well with Drew Spence and has a great opportunity in front of goal, but skies it. 18' Andersson and Reiten work it down the left wing and get the ball more central for England, whose shot just misses. Chelsea are really probing the Brighton defence here. 19' Walsh makes decently comfortable save from Cuthbert's left foot. 20' Chelsea corner! Again it's a scrum in the box and the Blues appeal for a penalty after a shot hits a defender's hand. Another corner is quickly cleared and Brighton go on the attack, but our back four don't let them too far the halfway point. 25' Corner for the Seagulls is a little scrappy but Berger collects calmly. 26' Cuthbert has nice interplay with Reiten up top, there's got to be a Chelsea goal here before the half.... 28' Reiten sends the ball in from that left side, looking for England or possibly Cuthbert. Walsh is first to it. 29' Gibbons makes a crucial tackle right as Cuthbert pulls the trigger. Lovely work from England to keep a pass in play and get it to our Scottish international. 36' Ji wins a free kick in Brighton's half. 41' Great ball in from a free kick is juuuust too high for Spence. 42' Lovely, lovely ball from Mjelde. Cuthbert is allllmost to it in time but it flies high. Walsh appears to have been clattered but will continue. 45' Le Garrec has a great chance that flies wide. Berger would have had that one. 45+1' Tweet! Halftime, 0-0. Bright and Cuthbert each had a close chance. England and Reiten working very hard up top and our defense looking able to deal with speedy, creative Brighton. Hoping we crack open the floodgates in the second half in Sussex! 46' Tweet! We are back underway! 52' Spence and Cuthbert each force Walsh into making a save. Come on now... 60' Brighton gifted a handful of corners but they're dealt with. 65' Bachmann (CHE) on for Spence. 65' Green (BHA) on for Umotong. 70' Green has a shot from near 35 yards out but it's high and wide to the right. 72' Le Garrec also tries a shot from far out but it's high. 82' Engman (CHE) on for Cuthbert. 84' Good block from Eriksson to deny Brazil a powerful shot; Brighton corner. 84' Brighton goal. An unmarked Aileen Wheelan makes the Blues pay for their struggle to clear with a good hit from inside the box. Assist from Kerkdijk. 85' Simpkins (BHA) on for Le Garrec. 85' Thorisdottir (CHE) on for Ingle. 86' Bright booked for a tough challenge on Green. Chelsea can't lose composure here... 90' Bright launches one forward, Thorisdottir is there but can't get enough on it. 90' Three minutes added time. 91' THE EQUALIZER!!!!!! Engman fires a loose ball into the back of the net. 1-1. 90+3' Engman wins a free kick a few meters wide of the box. Reiten takes it and it's a great cross, Thorisdottir rattles the post but is offside anyhow. 90+5' Tweet! It finishes 1-1. Chelsea had better chances in the first 45 but were not clinical enough to finish any chances. The Blues had a slower second half and will be disappointed they had to grab a last-minute goal to earn a point.
2019.09.02 11:17 Teroc[Race Report] First 100km ultra: South Coast Challenge
Name: South Coast Challenge
Location: Sussex, UK
I started training properly for that Ultra back in January, which isn't a lot of time. Before that, I was mostly running ~40km a week, with almost no structure. In January, after signing up, I started doing the Garmin's Marathon level 3 plan. Of course, I increased my weekly mileage way too fast which created some problems and injuries, but it stabilised and I ended up around 60-80km per week. I ran a training 52km ultra back in May in 4h24. It was pretty tough, but fun and I learned a lot from it. I struggled with more injuries back in June (plantar), and I had to actually drop out of the original Ultra I was supposed to run in July due to an injury a couple days before the race (pulled something in my calf). It was probably a way for my body to tell me something... I went to the physio, rested a while, tuned down the training, and I started my race stronger than ever. My fitness might have gone down a bit, but my legs felt really good.
Traveled 4 hours to Brighton the day before the race to stay with some friends. Registered the day before so that I could arrive a bit later on the day. I was feeling really good, not stressed and I managed to sleep ok. Woke up at 5am, ate a bowl of porridge, some coffee and made my way to the start.
6:45am start! It was a nice day, clear and relatively warm. I carried 1.5L in my Camelbak, 0.5L of sports drink in my flask, some chews and powerbars. Everything was lubed or taped to prevent chafing and blisters (it worked really well). From the start, I ended up in the lead. We had a nice group of 5 until the second pit stop. The views were amazing, pace was easy (~6min/km), company was good. People stopped to refill at the 2nd aid station, but I still had plenty of food and drinks so I carried on by myself. I was in 1st position until the mid-way aid station at km 55. Took it slow but steady, walking or jogging slowly uphills, chatting with my friends on WhatsApp, sending silly videos, feeling great! Average pace still around 6min/km, so very comfortable (my usual easy pace is 5min/km). Then, things starting going bad at around km 40. The stomach cramps arrived and it ended up being the start of a very long nightmare that lasted until about km 80. My legs were still great, but the stomach pains made it very hard to run. Each impact on the ground sent waves of pain into my guts. Toilet stops weren't pretty but painful. The stretch from km 40 to the mid-way stop in Brighton at km 55 was awful. I had to walk most of it as running was just too painful. I almost shit myself a few times. Truly miserable. I finally made it to the half-way point and almost collapsed. Talked to the medics who told me to take it easy and rest as much as I needed. I ended up stopping for almost 50 minutes, trying to feel alive again. I managed to eat a little bit of pasta from the catering station, refilled my bottles, and spent some time on the toilets with very bad diarrhea. I could hear the announcer counting the people arriving. 2nd runner, 5th runner, 12th runner. No no no, my lead :( Oh well... After a while, I forced myself to keep going. My friends really pushed me on our WhatsApp threads. The next 30km were a blur of pain and cramps. I couldn't eat anything, so I sustained myself with water, sports drink and electrolytes pills (I thought I might just be low on Sodium and stuff). I ended up walking most of it and jogging when I could, trying to push through the pain, counting the km until the next aid station where I could unload my guts and rest for a few minutes. My average pace went down by 1-2min/km, but I managed to keep moving. After a while, I realised that if I ran long enough, the stomach pain would fade away a little, so I managed to pick up the speed a bit. I arrived at the 2nd to last aid station (~80k) 7th, starting to feel a little bit better. I stopped about 15min to tend to my feet as I felt a blister coming. After leaving the station, two guys overtook me and I thought I'd never see them again. I somehow managed to hold on, keeping them in line of sight. My gut was starting to settle and I managed to push hard on the downhill session to the last aid station, and I ended up catching up to them at km 92, just before the last stop. They were also very tired, but I somehow had a second wind. I still hadn't eaten anything since km 55 and was still only drinking water and sports drinks. Somehow, my legs felt amazing (probably due to the slow pace and walking), so I ran the last stretch at a very good pace. I ended up finishing 10 minutes before the two guys! I crossed the finish line in 5th position, so happy it was finally over. 12 hours and 10 minutes of highs, downs, liquid poop and pain. I finished 7th overall as a couple other guys that started at 8am did a better time.
I had the most amazing burger at the catering tent. My body probably went into shock, I started to shake uncontrollably and felt really cold. I had a coke, the medics gave me a blanket and I tried to ride through it while waiting for my friends to pick me up. Surprisingly, my legs felt really good and not too stiff or painful at all. All that training really did pay off (I ran about 2000km total since January). I managed to sleep ok, though I had lots of foot cramps while laying down in bed. On Sunday, I was a bit stiff, and my left calf is still a bit painful, but I've been a lot worse than that! I remember being a lot more sore after my 52k ultra. Today, I feel pretty good. I'll probably do a short recovery run to keep moving. I usually play badminton on Monday and Tuesday, but I won't go this week. All in all, I'm pretty happy with how it went. I really need to sort out the nutrition part (looking for advice!). I'm pretty sure I could have finished first, or very close second if I didn't have those stomach cramps. My legs were super strong and I could have maintained the winning pace all day, easy. I'll probably try and sign up to more 50k to 50mi races so I can train the nutrition side of things before I try another 100km race.
2019.07.31 15:46 BonemanAndTheBrisketOC: Top 126 Moments of Liverpool's 2018/19 Season (#76-#67)
Introduction Part 1: #126-#117 Part 2: #116-#107 Part 3: #106-#97 Part 4: #96-#87 Part 5: #86-#77 Hello all! Yesterday I was carrying some takeout Indian food into my apartment, but as I went to open the door to the building, I dropped the box. It then proceeded to fall down 3 flights and land on the ground below. Amazingly, it was completely unscathed and hadn't even opened. As such I'm on top of the world right now. I truly hope things are going that well for all of you. Today we've got some incredible team goals, the our first official moment from the Champions League final, and Liverpool legend Alberto Moreno Pérez. I won't keep you waiting, let's get into it.
Date: 6/1/19 Match: Tottenham Final Score: 1-0, 38' Player(s): Matip, Robertson Summary:Matip's insane pass under pressure in the final This is, unfortunately, the last time Matip will feature in this list. That's mostly due to the incredible quality of the other players in our squad and the plethora of amazing moments we've had this year, but I'm still sad I couldn't include more of everyone's favorite giraffe. Matip doesn't get enough credit in general, but whenever he does, it's usually for things like his aerial prowess or his funny-yet-effective driving forward runs. Quite rarely do people mention how genuinely good he is on the ball. Having three different top-class ball-playing center backs on our roster is one of the main reasons our attack managed to stay so lethal even after teams started to defend the front 3 more effectively. Between Van Dijk, Matip, Gomez, and Alisson, I've actually become comfortable with us trying to play out from the back, which was honestly unthinkable as recently as a year ago. This clip here may be the best example of Matip's passing ability. Tottenham are pressing high and still have plenty of wind in their sails. Robertson makes a simple backpass that takes just a bit too much time to get to Alisson, who's now under pressure from Kane to get rid of the ball. He goes to Matip for an easy outlet pass, but Heung-Min Son, rapid as he is, has closed the gap between the two. Matip, now on the ball, is in a real conundrum. He doesn't have the time to turn right and find Alexander-Arnold on the wing, he can't go back to Alisson with Kane right there, Fabinho is cut off, and both Van Dijk and Wijnaldum have men bearing down on them. The only free player left in defense is Andrew Robertson, who's all the way on the other side of the pitch. The problem is that Christian Eriksen is cutting off the straight pass to Robertson, so in order to find him, Matip has to make a pass with just the right amount of spin on it, while putting a good bit of pace into it as well. And he has to do this basically from a standstill with Son breathing down his neck. And that's exactly what he does. This pass is so pretty that it almost distracts from how important it was. 90% of center backs launch this ball out for a throw-in, turning possession over to the other team. The few that are crazy and confident enough to try to actually find a teammate here probably end up turning the ball over one way or another, which is even worse. Somehow, Matip finds the perfect pass, giving Robertson a golf course of space in front of him. He takes all of it and fires a deceptively difficult ball that Lloris manages to swipe away. Can you imagine if he'd scored this? If Matip got an assist here? This pass would be top 10, easily. I love Joel Matip so much. I'd say we robbed Schalke, but you can't rob something that's free.
Date: 6/1/19 Match: Tottenham Final Score: 1-0 Player(s): Alexander-Arnold Summary:Trent denies Son 1v1 in the final We'll stick with the Champions League final for now, and come to a moment that most of us probably forgot by now. I only say that because I did, but it's quite possible that my memory is just shit. First, we need to be honest with ourselves, the final was a bit shit. There's nothing wrong with that, most major tournament finals are, especially when there's 3 weeks in between the end of the season and the final. Of course, for Liverpool fans, it was a heart-pounding ride right from the start, but I found myself more than a bit frustrated at times with how much of the ball we were giving Tottenham. It was the right move, of course, I'm not criticizing the tactic, just saying that there wasn't much to enjoy from an attacking perspective. That's why a good few moments from the final ended up being on the defensive side of the ball, where we were, quite frankly, absolutely imperious. It wasn't that Tottenham weren't able to create dangerous situations, quite the opposite really, they had more than a few moments where they'd managed to get their forwards in space with numbers. It's just that every single time, our back 4 and our goalkeeper denied them before that danger could manifest as a real chance. That's exactly what Trent manages here. Christian Eriksen, undeniably great player that he is, finds Son with a fantastic pass despite being harassed by Van Dijk the entire way. Son is now essentially 1v1, and he gets greedy, trying to take Trent out of the equation altogether. Trent sees the pullback coming through, and gets a vital boot in to clear the ball away, dissolving the situation before Son had a chance to shoot. This moment didn't make many highlight reels (hence why I've pulled from a less-than-official one with a grey filter to avoid content identification), but the situation makes it incredibly important. If this is against Brentford in the League Cup, I'd probably hardly think twice about it, but in the Champions League final, up just 1-0, against one of the most underrated forwards in the world? I can't just leave this one out. Top class play from Trent.
Date: 8/25/18 Match: Brighton Score: 0-0, 23' Player(s): Salah, Firmino, Mané, Milner Summary:Salah scores great team goal against Brighton After a year in which our high-flying, "heavy metal" style of football got us one match away from the football Mount Olympus, Liverpool adopted a generally more sensible approach the following season. With world-class players at every single defensive position, it only made sense to lean heavier on the defense and not press like madmen quite as often, and the decision paid huge dividends. Still, it's not as if we completely abandoned the gegenpress approach. The only thing better than an effective tactical approach is multiple tactical approaches, and being able to switch between poised, calm defense and wild out-and-out pressing at a moment's notice made Liverpool a headache for defenses to deal with. That's precisely what happens here, as Brighton get lazy in possession. They've won a free kick in their end, and elect to take it short. It seems the sensible decision, as the front 3 aren't showing a press at the moment. But on the backpass, Firmino makes a casual, probing run forward. He's not trying to win the ball, but rather to persuade the defender to pass it where he wants him to. It works. The defender completely ignores Montoya on the wing and makes a panicked pass right down the middle, and the exact second he does, James Milner starts running like a bat out of hell. Bissouma's touch is a bit too heavy, and Milner's excellent anticipation lets him poke it away to Mané. Suddenly, out of seemingly nothing, Brighton are on their heels. The commentator call from there about sums it up. Mané, Firmino, Salah!. It takes those 3 about 2 seconds to turn Milner's challenge into a goal, one that would end up as the match-winner no less. This sort of thing doesn't happen in 17/18, because teams see it coming. Being able to lull the opponent into a false sense of security is a powerful tool, because it means that your opponent can't relax even when they have time and space.
Virgil Van Dijk has of course been an amazing player in terms of his individual skill, but he's also everything we could have ever wanted in terms of a leader for the backline. In his first match against Everton in the cup, I remember being shocked at how much he was yelling. I thought "is this normal? Are defenders supposed to communicate this much?". As incredible and capable as all our other defenders are, Van Dijk really is the glue that holds everything together, and as such he can shout as much as he damn well pleases. Long may he scream.
Date: 1/3/19 Match: City A Score: 1-0 Player(s): Everyone Summary:Incredible team goal vs. City I'm going to be quite honest, I don't like thinking about this game. Every time I do, my brain gets filled with nasty, useless thoughts that just make me unhappy and ungrateful, and though I'm young, life is just too fleeting to spend any time focusing on things like that. Which is why I was initially more than happy to let sleeping dogs lie and just not mention anything from this match on this list. But sweet Christ this is a pretty goal. So much interplay, so many passes that even this brilliant clip wasn't able to get all of them, so much quick thinking and moments of genius from the boys here. We were under pressure from City quite literally the entire time in this clip, but they never managed to even touch the ball. Rather than go through it play-by-play, which would take forever, I'll just highlight the particularly impressive moments: -Trent's high boot pass to Mané that starts it off in this clip is very pretty to look at, and deceptively difficult to pull off on the sort of ball that Hendo gave him. -Mané's settle and immediate pass to Gini might actually be the most impressive thing in this clip. I do not understand how he was physically able to pull this off, it looks almost like he takes two touches before hitting the ground. -Fabinho's ball up to Firmino was pitch-perfect, love to see him spraying passes everywhere. -Trent's cross-field pass to Robertson is fucking filthy, he makes the ball curve so subtly in the air like it's absolutely nothing. -I will never, ever tire of watching Trent psych out Leroy Sané that hard. Sané couldn't have bit harder if he were Luis Suarez in a frustrating, physical match against world-class defenders. -Trent finding Robertson that well 6 yards from net with his left foot will never cease to amaze me. -I love Bobby Firmino so much. Yeah, I think that about covers it. I'm going to move on now, but it really was an amazing goal.
Date: 4/9/19 Match: Porto H Score: 1-0, 26' Player(s): Henderson, Alexander-Arnold, Firmino Summary:Hendo and Trent make things easy for Firmino Pretty much every Porto moment so far has been, admittedly, a bit trivial. That can happen when you beat a team 6-1 on aggregate and only really have to sweat for about 30 minutes. However, at this point, the tie was still very much in the balance. Liverpool had gotten lucky on Keita's opener (and frankly, a bit of good fortune was overdue after the constant tough draws in the Champions League), but in a match where you're clearly the better side, on such an important stage, you want to bury the opponent as much as you can. As we know all too well, there's nothing more scary than an underdog that's hung around too long. Luckily, we had our beloved captain finally back in his best role, just in time to help tear apart a team in the CL quarterfinals. Pay attention to the defense when Hendo gets the ball. Positively everyone is back for Porto, they have 9 men behind the ball, one of whom is off-screen. Their backline has, no exaggeration, 6 men. And yet somehow, not a single one of them picks up Alexander-Arnold's run on the right side. Hendo, to his credit, gives no indication as to where his pass is going, and Salah intelligently lets it run for Trent, who has now somehow gotten past every single defender with one pass. From there, it's child's play to get it straight across to Firmino. I'd say that he'll never score an easier goal in his life, but his opener against Arsenal at Anfield was at least this easy. This, incidentally, was also a no-look goal, which is always nice to see. The feeling after the match was that Liverpool could have scored more, and to be fair we absolutely could have. But 2-0 is a fantastic result, and we couldn't have gotten it in a simpler way.
Date: 4/5/19 Match: Southampton A Score: 2-1, 86' Player(s): Henderson Summary:Hendo polishes things off from his new position Surprise everyone, it's a Jordan Henderson episode! Henderson finally being back in an attacking midfield role was a sight for sore eyes, and a rather ingenious move by Klopp too. Late in the season, teams are usually set, and everyone knows what to expect, so any innovation, no matter how small, can really help throw your opponent off. Klopp is a big fan of versatility in his players, so I'm sure he saw the value in Henderson switching positions this late on. And boy would this decision pay dividends. Southampton away was honestly one of our toughest fixtures this season, Champions League included, and it took some absolutely heroic performances from the boys to get back into it. We'd grabbed the lead by this point, but nothing is ever certain in the Premier League. Southampton had been pushing for the tying goal, which left them wide open to the counter. Firmino gets the ball right near the endline, and steps back to beat his defender, but he's lacking the option in the middle that he needs. Luckily, Jordan Henderson has made an absolutely gut-busting run right into the heart of the Southampton defense, and Firmino, himself a connoisseur of effort plays, decides to put it on a plate for him. Henderson taps it home and the match is over. The celebration deserves some attention as well. It may honestly be my favorite of the season. Henderson's just scored his first goal for us in 2 years, an absolutely massive one, and he puts every bit of passion he'd built up over those 2 years into it. The mist flies off the grass behind his hand like skidmarks behind a formula-1 racecar. Everything about it is so satisfying. I, for one, cannot wait to see Henderson celebrate more goals this upcoming season.
Date: 4/26/19 Match: Huddersfield H Score: 1-0, 46' Player(s): Salah, Alexander-Arnold Summary:Salah chips the keeper to put the game away I'll be honest, going into this match, I was fucking exhausted. Just take a look at the league fixtures before this match. Burnley 4-2, Fulham 2-1, Tottenham 2-1, Southampton 3-1, Chelsea 2-0, and Cardiff 2-0. Some memorable matches, for sure, but 6 nailbiters in a row in the midst of a dead heat for the Premier League title. I love excitement, but I'd had about a month and a half of nothing but excitement. For once, I wanted an easy victory, one I didn't have to worry about, especially with Barcelona at the Camp Nou looming just 5 days later. This match delivered on that on so many levels. In the first place, Huddersfield kept it level for all of 15 seconds (more on that later), and by the end, we were taking starters off and putting Ox on for a feel-good story (Moment #82). And yet, going into halftime, the score was just 2-0. Granted, Huddersfield were extremely unlikely to score 2 against us, but we couldn't relax just yet, not the way we wanted to. We needed at least one more to really be able to coast through the rest of this. Thankfully, we have Mohamed Salah. With about 50 seconds left in the half, Salah makes a dangerous run between two Huddersfield defenders, and Trent sees it all the way, delivering a perfect ball right up the middle. Lossl can see that both defenders are beaten, so he makes the right choice and comes out for the ball. Salah sees him coming though, and opts to chip the keeper. Lossl actually anticipates this well, but he doesn't manage to get a touch on it, and Salah's chip floats peacefully into the net. Liverpool now have the cushion they needed going into halftime, which allowed everyone to have fun and relax for a change.
Date: 10/24/18 Match: Red Star H Score: 0-0, 20' Player(s): Firmino Summary:Firmino opens the scoring to start the rout Liverpool started off their Champions League redemption campaign more than well enough, with an incredibly memorable win against PSG that somehow probably doesn't even rank in the top 10 CL games this year (it really was a wild campaign). However, things took a turn for the worse against Napoli. Liverpool put out easily their worst and most lethargic performance of the season and suffered their first away defeat. Going into their easiest match on paper against Red Star at Anfield, Liverpool needed to win, and ideally win big. They didn't get much credit for it, but Red Star were a far better side than their recent reputation suggested. They would of course go on to beat Liverpool in one of the few matches this season that didn't register on this list (although it did get an honorable mention), but even by this point they'd managed to hold Napoli to a draw at home. They were absolutely a resolute defensive side, capable of defending for 90 minutes and forcing teams to break them down. As is so often the case with Liverpool, the first goal would be absolutely crucial in this game. Shaqiri gets the ball from Firmino in Red Star's half, but rather than step up and put pressure on the midfield, Red Star have opted to keep their defensive shape, not pressing Shaqiri until about 10 yards outside the box. The idea here is to cut down on the space Liverpool have to run, neutralizing their speed advantage. An unfortunate drawback of this approach is that it gives midfielders time to pick out a good pass, and that's exactly what Shaqiri does here, finding Robertson with a lovely threaded ball. Robertson could cross, but he's a bit close to the goal and doesn't have any target at the back post yet. Instead, he opts to pull the ball back for Firmino and let the front 3 work their magic in the box. Firmino has two Red Star defenders directly in front of him, but he shows remarkable poise, taking a quick touch inside that completely turns one defender around, before firing his shot. He gets a bit lucky on this one, as it takes a deflection off a defender to fool the goalkeeper. It's slight, but you can just see it on the behind the net replay. Still, great teams make their own luck, and Firmino's well-worked goal would open the floodgates, letting Liverpool get a very important rout over Red Star underway.
Date: 10/27/18 Match: Cardiff H Score: 1-0, 65' Player(s): Mané, Moreno Summary:Mané great goal to double the lead Looking back, I'd forgotten just how tense this match was. For as early as Salah got on the scoresheet, it really took us a while to build on the lead, and we weren't able to really relax until very late in the match, as Cardiff managed to pull one back. This was a deceptively tough match, and in situations like this, the best way to beat a defense like Cardiff's is clever interplay, switches of the field and creative decision making. Or you can just do it all yourself, like Mané does here. To be fair, Firmino does well to pull the ball out between 3 defenders and keep possession for the team, but this moment is all about Mané. He gets the ball and immediately turns inside, but his path is cut off and he has no choice but to turn back. This just invites more pressure on him though, and his touch outside is a bit heavy. Somehow he manages to get to it before the Cardiff player does, and then he manages to get to the rebound first to touch it through Moreno's legs. Now with just a little bit of space, Mané decides that he has everything he needs, and lets it fly. The strike is perfect, somehow finding its way inside the far post from a really tight angle. Almost makes you feel bad for Etheridge. The real star here though? Alberto Moreno. Just look at his pass inside to Mané, the timing of it, the pace, how... straight he makes the ball go, it's breathtaking. And then the brilliant little basketball screen he does, letting Mané nutmeg him so that he can get past a defender, really giving it all for the team. Truly a heroic performance from the spaniard. I kid, of course, but it was nice to see Albie get involved here, I was starting to wonder if he'd ever show up. For all his mistakes, I love that little goofball, and I wish him the best with Villarreal.
Date: 2/9/19 Match: Bournemouth H Score: 2-0, 48' Player(s): Firmino, Salah Summary:Firmino backheel to Salah I have a confession to make. I am... American. I know, and I apologize. I understand if no one wants to be my friend anymore, I can't say I'd react any differently in your shoes. (Those of you who were here for the first post in this series know this fact, because I foolishly didn't realize that NBC sports is region-locked outside America) All this to say, the only times I'd managed to see Liverpool in person were when they finally started making trips to the US. My family and I went all the way to Chicago to watch Raheem Sterling put one past Olympiakos in Soldier Field. I was too young to drink at the time, but I occupied myself on the party bus by handing out drinks to everyone. Then just this last year, we went up to Ann Arbor to visit my brothers and watched Xherdan Shaqiri score a bicycle kick against Manchester United. My foot was injured and in a boot that day, but I still jumped up and down like a kid. Still, those were ultimately just preseason matches, appetizers, samples, the little puff of perfume they spray on you in the store even though you didn't want or ask them to and now you smell like Caroline Herrera's "Good Girl" all day. They don't compare to the real thing, seeing an actual league game at Anfield, live and in person. For so long, something like that was a dream, some far-off Mecca-esque pilgrimage that I might maybe make one day when I had a sensible job and enough vacation days saved up. Luckily, I got a temporary teaching job in last year in France, where they hand out vacation days like candy. My mother, the absolute saint that she is, decided to come over to visit me, and she brought along my brother who, incidentally, is the real Liverpool fanatic in the family, the one who got everyone else to start watching with him. We'd all decided to visit England for my brother's first time in Europe, and, well, opportunity came knocking. (I still remember the day my mom ordered the tickets. My brother and I got a text from her that read, and I quote "I'm trying to find good tickets, is 'The Kop' a good place to sit?". Bless her heart, she doesn't know quite as many club terms as we do.) Going to an actual match really is different. In preseason, you're just there to have a good time. Any positive event is just a treat, something that lets you say "I say so-and-so score live". But this was the real deal, an actual match. As excited as we were, there was this tension in the air: "What if we lose?" Luckily, we got treated to an absolute banger of a match. We couldn't really relax by this point, but we were tearing Bournemouth to shreds. Another goal was coming, and you could feel it. And what a goal it was. This first ball by Keita is absolutely sublime, he was on fire that day. But then Firmino manages to one-up it with a perfect little backheel into the path of Salah, who does what he does best and bends it into the far corner. I still can't really believe that I saw this happen live. I may be over-rating this goal for sentimental reasons, but in my defense, we didn't actually score very many backheels this year, that was more of a 17/18 thing. Either way, this goal is pure quality.
On the face of it, I got everything I could have asked for in this match. We won 3-0, played amazing football, and me and my brother got to chant our lungs out the whole match. But it could've been so much more. I'm not kidding when I say that we could've scored 8 that day, we were that good. As proof, here are 5 straight golden chances that we missed, back-to-back. I didn't even have to edit them together, they all just happened in a row. First Mané somehow puts a point-blank header wide of the far post, then Salah strikes the crossbar, then Keita blasts a golden opportunity for his first Liverpool goal over the bar, then Firmino somehow doesn't score on a breakaway, and finally Trent takes a bit too long to line up his shot near the end of the match. The Keita and Firmino misses hurt the most, I think. Keita was imperious that day and deserved to score his first (plus his picture was on the match program, so that would have been a wonderful little moment). Meanwhile, Firmino was the only member of the front 3 who hadn't scored, and we chanted his song for a solid 8 minutes to try to get him to score, and right at the end it he got that golden opportunity and missed it. I can't actually be that upset about this, it was a wonderful experience, and I found everyone we met to be exceedingly kind and welcoming. Also, the meat pies were the best thing I've ever tasted in my life and made me want to move to Liverpool. And that about does it! Apologies for getting so personal and sentimental at the end there, but given that this list is ultimately just my personal opinion, I felt like it was necessary to talk about these moments from my perspective. It really meant a lot to my brother and I to see that match, and we'll forever be able to say that we saw the European Champions play in person. I'll leave on that positive note. Sincere thank you's to everyone who's been following and commenting all those nice things every day, it's really nice to know that people enjoy this series so much.
2019.07.27 15:47 BonemanAndTheBrisketOC: Top 126 Moments of Liverpool's 2018/19 Season (#116-#107)
Introduction Part 1: #126-#117 Hello again everyone! Welcome back to part 2 of this very long list, this time with links that will actually work for people in the UK! Today I've got a couple doozies for you. Some wonderful interplay, great finishes, goal-line technology, and some blind luck. Typical Liverpool, is what I'm trying to say.
Date: 3/17/19 Match: Fulham A Score: 0-0, 25' Player(s): Firmino, Mané Summary:Firmino and Mané playing like no one else is there This goal would get overshadowed by some more dramatic moments later on, but we should remember it for how simple and easy Bobby and Sadio made it look. Sadio gets the ball from Robertson, and already you can see the Fulham defense is on their heels trying to get back. Mané plays it into Firmino, who despite Fulham's protests is very much onside, as Fulham weren't keeping a defensive line so much as a bell curve. One pass back from Firmino later, and Liverpool have the lead. Two passes, two good runs, and two Liverpool players have unlocked an entire defense in a must-win game. I'm tempted to put this moment higher, but the defending really is atrocious. Absolutely no one picks up Mané running all alone inside the box, and no one steps to Firmino to cut off his shot. You can really see why Fulham let in all those goals last year. Still, nice bit of interplay from our forwards in an important game.
Date: 11/3/18 Match: Arsenal A Score: 0-0, 61' Player(s): Milner Summary:Reliable James Milner great strike vs. Arsenal I've spoken plenty already about how deadly we were from crosses last year (and I'll have plenty more to say about that later), but there's one aspect of the offense I'd like to criticize a bit. With so many balls getting lumped into the penalty area, there are bound to be deflections like this one that just sit up so perfectly, yet despite that, there were a distinct lack of those good ol' fashioned "have a go, son" screamers last season. Maybe it's just the result of watching Steven Gerrard in his prime, but god I love goals like this. So let's give credit to James Milner for putting one in, and in a big fixture at that. It all starts with Robertson's ball up to Mané, who forces Leno to come out and collect his ball to Salah. Leno makes a mess of it though, and it sits up beautifully in the box, exactly what Milner was looking for. Before he even sets up to strike, Leno starts moving to his left, so Milner, penalty afficionado that he is, sends a screamer to Leno's right. So often we see players just take a random whack at balls like this, it's rare to see someone take a chance like this so intelligently. But that's just how James Milner is.
Date: 10/2/18 Match: Napoli A Score: 0-0, 33' + 50' Player(s): Alisson Summary:Alisson 2 good saves on Milik Honestly, when I started this list, I didn't expect to find much to talk about with this match. We played horribly, conceded late, and were lucky not to concede more. I'd forgotten, though, that Alisson actually had a pretty solid game, especially with these two saves on Arkadiusz Milik (who will appear again much, much later on in this list). The first save is certainly more visually appealing, with Alisson making a quick reaction to Milik's shot inside the box. The second one might be more impressive though. The defense gives Milik acres of space, and he turns, sets up a shot, and fires a hard, swirling effort that bounces right in front of Alisson as he goes to save it. Anticipating where that ball was going to land is no small feat, and Alisson gets extra credit for being the only member of the team alert to Milik's shot, as he followed it all the way. Now, are these the sort of saves I'd expect Alisson to make? Yes, if only because we all know how class he is. But they still make the list because of how important they ended up being later on, as we only just squeaked by Napoli to make it out of the groups.
Date: 10/28/18 Match: Huddersfield A Score: 0-0, 24' Player(s): Salah Summary:Salah the decisive factor in tough match It's gotten lost in the flow of winning the Champions League, but people forget just how tough of a match this was. It seems ridiculous in hindsight, Liverpool, the European Champions, being tested by Huddersfield, one of the worst sides in top-flight history. And yet the xG stats say that Huddersfield basically played us even, 0.66 to 0.64. Of course, it helps to have a player like Mo Salah, who can finish from even the tightest of angles. Trent plays a great ball to Shaqiri to put him in acres of space, and he picks out a great pass for Mo, who calmly runs onto it and manages to squeeze it past his defender and the keeper to find the bottom corner. In matches like this, where you're not likely to get open chances, finishing tough ones becomes all the more important. So very often, Salah has been that difference maker for us.
Date: 9/15/18 Match: Tottenham A Score: 0-0, 39' Player(s): Wijnaldum, Michel Vorm Summary:Goal-line tech awards Gini's header Early-season top 6 matches can be tricky. You've only just started the season, and you haven't yet played against some truly top opposition. Having that first test on the road makes things harder, and can end up derailing your season, as it did to us for a bit the year prior against Tottenham. In matches like these, it's important to find a way to get on the scoresheet first. And, predictably, Liverpool found a way to do it from a corner. Milner's corners are sometimes maligned, but every now and then he can manage a truly troubling cross, as he did here. It helps when the opposition has a backup keeper in Michel Vorm, who had a not-very-good day (this will not be his only appearance). Vorm reaches out to punch this ball, but immediately makes a mess of it, forcing Alderweireld to make a weak clearance. It falls right to Wijnaldum who, unable to get much power behind it, opts to lob it over the keeper. It just works, as Vorm's overzealous punch makes him a step late. This is also, as far as I could find, our only goal all year that had to be confirmed through goal-line technology. So that's pretty neat.
Date: 10/24/18 Match: Red Star H Score: 2-0, 51' Player(s): Salah, Mané, Filip Stojkovic Summary:Salah goes down the middle in the Champions League I have good news and bad news. The good news is, this is our first Champions League goal of the list! The bad news is, it's pretty boring. Mané gets the ball in the box, escapes his defenders briefly, and as he touches the ball forward, Stojkovic gives him exactly the contact he was looking for, and Mané wins a penalty. Salah steps up and goes right down the middle to make it 3-0. Frankly, if it hadn't come in the Champions League, this moment might've not even featured. After all, it was already 2-0, and given the gap in quality and the venue, Red Star were probably already beaten. Still, this goal would end up being massively important for goal-difference reasons by the end of the group stage. And really, how can you chronicle the European Champions without mentioning all the goals they scored in Europe?
Date: 5/12/19 Match: Wolves H Score: 0-0, 17' Player(s): Mané, Trent Summary:Mané opens things up on the final day Had things gone differently, this goal could've been so, so much higher. For a brief moment, it looked like this would be the goal that won us the Premier League. It's bittersweet, to be sure, but I'll never forget how I felt when Brighton scored and we were 1-0 up. The goal itself is rather pretty though. Mané makes a good cross-field pass to Trent, whose first touch is absolutely sublime. Hendo plays him in, and Trents cross takes the sweetest deflection for Mané, who makes no mistake right in front of the Kop. (Frankly, I'm still astonished that we beat a team as good as Wolves 2-0 both times in the league, when every other top 6 member slipped up against them.) Anyway, apologies, I'll do my best to not ruminate on the league too much from here on out. That ecstatic feeling didn't last, but that doesn't mean there isn't value in going the distance, and the boys did themselves proud.
Date: 1/12/19 Match: Brighton A Score: 1-0, 92' Player(s): Alexander-Arnold Summary:Trent saves sure goal in close match The festive period can be absolutely brutal, and it usually is for Liverpool. As long as I've been a fan, I don't think I've ever seen a holiday period where we didn't play one or two shit games and end up giving points away. Until this year, that is. It's astonishing to think about, but in all of December and most of January, Liverpool won every single (league) match that they played. That's a difficult feat, one that even this year's City couldn't match, and it takes both skill and luck to pull off. Luckily, Trent Alexander-Arnold had plenty of both on this play. 3 minutes from time away from home, nursing a 1-0 lead against relegation battlers Brighton, Naby Keita loses the ball in a horrible area in our own half. Worse yet, Brighton get an incredible ball between Virgil and Robertson to put one of their players through. Trent is back covering the cross, but it takes a deflection that could have been disastrous. Trent, now in front of the play and running full-speed toward Alisson's net, sticks his leg out there and just manages to redirect it. It's not a clearance, but somehow the ball sneaks its play into the perfect area between two Brighton players, giving everyone time to get back and deal with the situation. I'd have put this higher on the list, but it was almost certainly pure luck that the ball ended up where it did, so it's hard to give Trent credit for all of it. Still, it was a crucial play that likely saved the 3 points.
Date: 1/12/19 Match: Brighton Score: 0-0, 49' Player(s): Salah, Pascal Gross Summary:Salah draws penalty on Gross for the winner Now I know what you're thinking, how on earth has a simple penalty gotten so high on this list? Well, two reasons. One, it was a match-winner in a game that we only just barely won, as we saw in the last moment. Two, Salah absolutely skins Gross alive here. Look at Brighton's defensive shape when Salah receives the ball from Shaqiri. Seven men and a keeper, all in the box, blocking every single pass he could conceivably have. Salah's only option here, other than a tepid layoff to Shaqiri, is to beat his man 1v1. And though Pascal Gross assuredly knows this, he's still powerless to stop it. Salah didn't even have to do anything special to get it, he takes a touch toward the endline, circles back around to get some space, and uses his natural speed to burst right by Gross. Gross probably didn't need to drag him down, as there were still 3 defenders to cut off his shot, but such is the threat of Mo Salah. Defenders will put their arms all over him to avoid getting beaten, but one wrong move and he's gotten a penalty to win the game. The penalty itself wasn't half-bad either, Salah puts it into the side-netting with the confidence of a player who knows his own immense quality.
Date: 12/26/18 Match: Newcastle H Score: 0-0, 11' Player(s): Lovren Summary:Lovren has a fucking go to open the scoring I spoke earlier about how Milner's finish against Arsenal, banger though it may be, was actually deceptively intelligent, a nice change of pace from players just hacking at the ball and praying. But sometimes you're Dejan Lovren, an absolute lad with the utmost confidence in yourself, and you just need to have a fucking go. It all starts from a corner taken short by Shaqiri, which lets Robertson put a high, looping cross into the box. It doesn't find a red shirt, but the header away gets scuffed and falls right to Lovren, who has just enough time to set up the strike and not overthink it. Frankly, this was probably blind luck, I wouldn't bet on Lovren scoring this one very often, but my word does he catch the ball sweetly here. It was also the opener in a match against a very resolute defensive side, so he gets credit for that. And so ends Part 2. As always, feel free to comment whatever thoughts you have about these moments or this series, or even just about your day, some nice food you had, something nice that happened to you, whatever. I'll be back with Part 3 tomorrow!
Welcome to the triumphant return of the Premier League Previews, a series where a fan gives an overview of his team for your perusal, and I get an excuse to take pot-shots at other clubs. This will run until the eve of the Premier League, taking a look at each club in turn. We're continuing our seaside theme today with AFC Bournemouth. About
After the first 12 games of last season and sitting pretty in 6th place, rumour has it that certain Cherries fans had started picking which destination they'd prefer for a Europa league 1st qualifying round away day. However after yet more long-term injuries and a resulting loss of form the season fizzled out to a safe 14th place. Don't let the 14th place finish fool you as in my opinion this was the season where the most progression was made since promotion to the Premier League, with the team pulling off some brilliant results (see Bournemouth 4 - 0 Chelsea) and a slight tweaking the style of play, producing scintillating football at times. The emergence of the deadly "front 4" providing goals and assists galore saw Callum Wilson finally get his deserved international call up and debut goal against the USA, resulting in him being linked to Chelsea for £40m+ in January. Ryan Fraser narrowly missed out on being the top assister in the Premier League to a certain £130m Galactico and has in result been linked with the likes of Everton and Arsenal for £30m (with a year left on his deal). David Brooks has emerged from young boy into a £50m player linked with Manchester United and Josh King continues to be one of the most criminally underrated strikers in the Premier League. With these 4 signed at a combined £13.4m, I'd say the efforts of Eddie's long term planning are coming to fruition. As has been the issue with every campaign since promotion however, the defence has been the issue. 70 goals were conceded last year, a figure beaten only by Fulham and Huddersfield, who will be playing for Championship glory next season. However a return of 56 goals scored, the most outside the top 6 make up for this. Don't ever say you don't get value for money at Dean Court. The final couple of games gave reason for optimism however. A brilliant debut against Spurs for young Irish keeper Mark Travers came as a pleasant surprise, as well as promising performances from young fringe players such as January signings Chris Mepham and Dominic Solanke as well as academy product Jack Simpson. Overall, another entertaining season of good football was left with the bitter-sweet taste of what could have been after that early season form. Injuries to Lewis Cook and record signing Jefferson Lerma were absolutely key, and came at the same time as the drop in form, which is no coincidence. It is hard to complain as a Bournemouth fan, but you get the feeling that fans are starting to get frustrated at a stale-ness within the club. No progress has been made on a new stadium and the cups still seem to be an opportunity to give fringe players some minutes. The new training ground is however under way, so the pavilion outside the ground can stop being used for training soon enough and hopefully can be used as a tool to attract better players to the South Coast. As if the beach and the prospect of a house on Sandbanks was enough!
After spending £31m (Transfermarkt) on Chris Mepham and Dominic Solanke in January of last season, I wasn't expecting too much from the business this summer. Eddie had been chasing Mepham for what seemed like an eternity, so I'm excited to see what he'll bring to the table this season and Dominic Solanke seems to be hugely rated in the England setup, however he has a job displacing King or Wilson up top. So far only 2 signings have come in, and they can now be described as very 'Bournemouth' signings. We seem to have found a niche in attracting some of the best young British talent in the Football League and offering them a chance at breaking into a team in the Premier League. Lloyd Kelly comes in for £13m as a highly rated left back who, again is highly rated in the England setup and performed well at Championship level last season for Bristol City. We've also signed right-back Jack Stacey from Luton Town who, I confess I don't know much about but he seems like a full back who loves to get forward and scored a few goals last season as well. We're rumoured to be looking for a Goalkeeper, Centre Midfielder and a StrikeWinger in the rest of the window. We've been strongly linked with Jack Butland, who could go down as one of the best signings in our history if completed as he was very close to Jordan Pickford in competing for England's #1 spot, but his stock has dropped after playing for an underperforming Stoke in the Championship. That superb shot-stopper is still in there however and could be a massive signing. We also seem to be heavily linked with Philip Billing from Huddersfield. From afar I've heard stories about him having a bad attitude when not picked which you never like to hear, but Eddie could go after Anna from Love Island for all I care, I'd still back him to make the right decision on signing a player. In terms of exits, we've managed to start being able to get good fees for our players. £20m rising to £26m for Tyrone Mings is a great deal for all parties. It's such a shame it hasn't worked out for Tyrone and I truly wish him all the best at Villa. Whoever managed to convince Sheffield United to not only target Lys Mousset, but fork out £10m for him deserves a heavy commission as a result of that sale. You can see he's got ability, but he's too friendly with Jordon Ibe and I don't think that's helped his attitude. It was a sad moment to see Marc Pugh finally leave, however it's absolutely the right time. As of the time of writing this, Harry Arter is still with us and I would love to see him charging around our midfield again. To use the old cliche however, the best business this summer has been to retain the aforementioned front 4. Wee man (Ryan Fraser) still hasn't signed a new deal as of yet. With 1 year remaining I'd be gutted to see him go on a free, but I heard someone saw he liked a tweet begging him to sign a deal. Looking forward to the official announcement in the coming days. I'd love to see us have a go in the cups, I've always said it would be a dream to see Bournemouth at Wembley and I feel we're established enough as a Premier League side to be able to afford the risk of a deep cup run. However as always, the priority has to be staying in the league. Transfers Highlights
All fees from Transfermarkt All incoming/outgoing transfersFull 2019-20 squad 3 players to watch out for David Brooks It's hard to put Brooksy in as a player to watch out for after a break-out season last year, but boy does he have talent. Dejavu occured when he got injured during the 4-0 battering of Chelsea which ruled him out for a while. I can see him progressing further this year and providing more game deciding contributions, could be one to watch out for in the Fantasy League too as he's got bags of goals and assists in him. Lewis Cook Had injuries not been a concept, Lewis would be a sure starter in England's midfield. Yet again his season was ended early with a ligament injury and he's only just come back into training. However given an extended run of games he can build a formidable partnership in midfield with yellow card machine Jefferson Lerma to put him right back in contention for another England call up. Chris Mepham As mentioned above, Eddie had chased Mepham for 18 months prior to him actually signing in January last year for £12m. Another one of those 'Bournemouth' signings who can come from the Football League and make an impact at Premier League club. Steve Cook and Nathan Ake have become the standout centre-back partnership for us over the last 2 years, however if last season's 70 goal concession is on it's way to being repeated, something will have to change and from the few performances (bar his debut away at Arsenal) he put in last season I can see him progressing to be a real leader in the team. I've seen him touted as a future Wales captain and I'd love to see him also develop the leadership qualities to be a key part of our team to come. What the fans think Thanks to /AFCBournemouthfor their help.
How do you think this season will go?
We should be capable of making the top half of the table. I wouldn't be surprised if we fall somewhat short of this ambition at the start of 2020 when we have a number of easier fixtures. With another possible league cup quarter final in the mix this would be very much on the cards in my mind. I'd hope for 52-54 points if we're playing as good as we can but 46-48 would be expected.
It's going to very much depend on us getting over our injury problems, because they seem to rear their ugly head every season, but I am quietly optimistic of challenging our high points total of 16-17. If we get the luck we can maybe do a Wolves. We have a nicely settled team and I think that will work in our favour over buying lots. I wouldn't mind two or three new ins to replace outgoings though.
We’ll finish on our highest points tally to date, but not highest table position. We’ll be plagued by injuries a couple of these will be out for long periods (Wilson, Fraser, Brooks, Lewis cook) that will result in some non-starters having to step up.
Which player is going to be your star of the season and why?
David Brooks or Lewis Cook would be the best bets. Brooks is extremely technically gifted and I fully expect him to be one of our highest contributers in combined goals and assists next season. With the Euros coming next summer he should be attracting all sorts of admirers so this might be his last season with us. Cook on the other hand is essential to how Eddie Howe wants us to play. His passing ability is unmatched in our squad and he sets the tempo of how we play. He's back from a lengthy injury so I'm hoping his presence could revitalise the squads performances. Might not contribute in goals and assists but will certainly play a decisive part in whether or not we have a successful season.
It could be any one of four or five. At Bournemouth we don't really seem to do star players, but put it down to a team effort. Saying that, Ryan Fraser is going to be a key player, simply down to the fact that we still don't know for sure that he is staying. If Fraser stays then his partnership with Callum Wilson is again going to be pivotal. I'm excited to see how our midfield shapes up this season too. Lewis Cook has the ability to really cement himself as a future England staple, and I really believe Jefferson Lerma can show how good he really is in his second season in England. Lerma is the tough man in midfield we have cried out for for years (ever since Marvin Bartley in L1 really - different standard, of course) and I can't wait to see Jeff terrorise his opponents again come August. At the back I expect Nathan Ake will be as dominant both positionally and in the air again. That man just has a sixth sense on where to be and when. On the right I hope that young David Brooks can continue to show the ability he served up in his first Premiership season last year.
Boruc, Kelly, Ake, S Cook, Smith, Lerma, L Cook, Fraser, Brooks, King, Wilson. Formation: same 4-5-1 horseshoe when off the ball and using King and Wilson's speed to counter while relying upon Brooks, Fraser and Cook to make the right decisions to keep up the counters momentum, 4-2-2-2 on the ball with Fraser and Brooks working the space on the wing while Cook controls the tempo until we facilitate an opening with Wilson and King plugging the space in front of the opposition back four.
by NickTM The Manager:Eddie Howe has been highly rated since before he even stepped foot in the Premier League, and since then his reputation has only grown. With a glowing track record of developing talent and what is clearly quite an effective recruitment team behind him, that Howe is entering his seventh full season as manager is something of an achievement for Bournemouth themselves, given the bigger clubs that were circling every time they dumped one of their managers. His commitment to decent football has won Bournemouth a fair amount of admirers in the media, and for good reason. The Team: Pace is all over this team, from the quick off the mark Nathan Aké at the back to Jefferson Lerma's charging around in midfield to the absolute array of quick forwards. Jordon Ibe, Dom Solanke, Callum Wilson, Junior Stanislas, Ryan Fraser and especially Josh King all have pace to burn, and the threat of it alone is enough to keep teams off-balance. It was nice to see Callum Wilson return with a good haul of goals last year after some particularly nasty injury travails, and Bournemouth fans will be hoping Lewis Cook pulls off something similar. It's also a very English team, which will probably keep them afloat when the Faragian blackshirts march on Westminster next year and burn anyone with a particularly foreign sounding name at the stake. Why to like them: Artur Boruc is always worth keeping an eye on in case he does something utterly insane. The aforementioned pace means some quite gorgeous raking through ball counterattacks can occasionally be seen, and when in more thorough possession of the ball Bournemouth's attractive style of play is pleasing on the eye. Why to dislike them: Despite their reputation for positive football, a constantly overlooked feature of Bournemouth teams over the last few years has been their cynical fouling and approach to play that gets constantly glossed over by pundits in favour of talking about how plucky and small they are. Personally I've always had a small, nagging vendetta against them ever since a Bournemouth fan a few years ago adamantly insisted Junior Stanislas was better than Wilf Zaha. Summary: Another season in the Prem for the smallest team in the league, and it's another season where they'll be hoping to stay up with authority. Enough time has passed now that lots of people are expecting them to push on a little this year, and if injuries don't rear their ugly head they could well be on their way to the top half.
2019.04.04 17:18 rocknrollsteveJanuary 20, 1972, The Brighton Dome, Brighton, England, flac + A note from me in the comments
January 20, 1972, The Brighton Dome, Brighton, England Set 1 - 44:13 01 Speak To Me 2:14 02 Breathe 2:45 03 Travel Sequence 7:51 04 Time 6:22 05 Breathe Reprise 1:43 06 Mortality Sequence 4:26 07 Money 3:37 08 Atom Heart Mother 15:10 Set 2 - 62:12 01 Careful With That Axe Eugene 10:51 02 One Of These Days 8:37 03 Echoes 26:01 04 A Saucerful Of Secrets 16:42 Total: 106:25 Meant to be the premier of "The Dark Side Of The Moon", the performance was halted during "Money" due to equipment malfunctions. Considered best source for this date. This source ran slow and had an occasional tick/crackle that apparently is not unusual for HI-FI VHS sources. Also, when Breathe first kicked in the taper was readjusting his levels which was a bit disruptive. Speed corrected -3.0%, Removed most of the occasional ticks/crackles, smoothed levels of first 12 seconds of Breathe. Applied very slight EQ, very slight NR, and smoothed a few tape starts since taper was stopping between some tracks. Also ended Set1 after AHM since this is where they took their break. I rarely use NR and I am not adverse to typical low gen analog hiss since I grew up with it. I made an exception here after getting a good hiss sample and conservatively applying it. The spectrograph showed little music beyond 10k and I left more than 2k of buffer above the music. The result is perhaps a 30% reduction in hiss.
2019.02.03 11:30 machspeedgogogoOfficial News Timeline Regarding Kojima Productions and Death Stranding
I decided to gather all of the important article links in one post, so everyone can easily reach it. I wanted to vary the sources and give more direct quotes from Kojima and Kojima Productions themselves so people wouldn't misquote them or anything. I think people would find this useful since there's quite a few times when people just randomly take an interest in Death Stranding and don't really know what to look for to get to know more about it so yeah, a post compiling all the news would have been useful. Some of the links lead to tweet compilations, some are videos followed by a link to a recap of them and some of them are interviews and articles. There's an overlap in what you can find out from reading all of them of course but it's still worth going through regardless mainly for info and mindset Kojima Productions has during the making of this game. Hopefully, this post can make it easier for all of you to get information on Death Stranding and to reiterate some of your theories or just to get caught up to speed. I'll keep updating this post as we get new information of course. Good luck and have fun, Ludens.
Norman Reedus talks Death Stranding. “The concept is so mind-blowing, because it’s not like, you know, ‘kill everybody and win the game’, it’s a connecting thing. It’s like the opposite. And, you know, it’s so ahead of its time. And there’s elements of social media in it, and the idea is that – you know, you have so many games, and so many parts of millennial culture I guess, is being alone in a room. And you lose physical contact with people. This is after that and the re-establishing of that physical contact.” (I included the main quote). B&H Photography Podcast (from 41:55 onwards) https://www.metalgearinformer.com/?p=31288
Kojima, Lindsay Wagner and Geoff Keighley interview, talks about combat being present and alternative ways to go around conflict. Norman is only playable character. Point of the game is to reconnect the world, Mads global collaboration comment "isn't wrong". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWcwuRGRqjQ
2019.01.08 02:32 darknotion42Of Matters Concerning The Reliquary at Norwich Cathedral
The following events lie buried in my past like a pebble in the soil. I have swept gravel over them, but it will not take much winkling to pop them out into the sunlight once more. I am of a mind to lay out clearly, before memory’s keen edge grows dull, the circumstances surrounding a sequence of happenings upon which I have thus far forborne to write. Should the facts they pertain to one day become of import or significance, these pages may provide some useful background to the scholar. Invariably, youthful summers would for my sister and I consist of being whisked off by train to the easterly quadrant of the country, our parents being inveterate admirers of the sights and sounds of the city of Norwich. Hailing as we did from a thoroughly unremarkable hamlet in the midlands, and employed as they were in the demanding yet unglamorous world of haberdashery, this tradition was regarded as a revivicating respite from drudgery. The prospect certainly appeared to excite my younger sibling, who had visions of shopping at the ‘big shops’ and suchforth. I would as well have been left to my own devices, content in my room to absorb old periodicals, historical treatises and other miscellaneous tracts loaned from the local library. If you have never had occasion to stop at the city of Norwich, it is admittedly not free of charm. The attending visitor will find structures of medieval build to gaze upon, many now leaning at impressively declivitous angles. Along the irregularly cobbled streets are multitudinous stalls and lively markets that may be explored and remarked on at length. I took lasting pleasure in the splendid displays of taxidermy in the castle’s museum, gawking morbidly at the array of transfixed birds and other unfortunate creatures. But as has often been noted, familiarity breeds contempt, or in my case, boredom. Year on year we holidayed in the same locale, despite my entreaties to venture further afield- Blackpool, Brighton, even Bognor. By and by, when summer rolled around there remained only one facet of the whole tedious excursion which I held in anticipation. That singular highlight was to be found in the big cathedral at the city’s heart. Many were the afternoons whiled away in this grand house of worship; lifting the seats of ancient wooden pews to discover the whimsical misericords carved beneath, each unique! Walking the cloisters with eyes raised to admire the heraldic ceiling bosses in protuberance above the arches! Trailing one’s hand along the smooth stone walls, digging one’s nails deeply into the timeworn grooves of the memorial inscriptions, or circumnavigating the exterior to catalogue the rooftop menagerie of grotesquely whimsical gargoyles! There were innumerable hours of study and contemplation to be obtained here, and I could look forward on any given day to stumbling across some previously-uninvestigated nook or vestibule worthy of examination. But amidst this cornucopia of myth and antiquity there was one area which invariably drew me back with a heady allure. It is not obviously signposted and therefore overlooked by many patrons. Follow the richly patterned draperies along the eastern apse and you may note, partly effaced by hanging cloth, a stone stairwell which upon investigation leads up to a rough-hewn chamber. Extant here upon the walls are coloured daubs depicting biblical figures from the mediaeval era, miraculously bearing pigment despite being some eight hundred years dry. This secluded chapel is assigned, in the modern era, the reliquary of the cathedral, taking the form of a stone vault lined with polished mahogany display cabinets. Arrayed behind crystal glass panes lie cruciform coffers of pure gold and silver, worked with intricate adornments. Each of these exalted treasuries conceal a hinged compartment traditionally used for venerating the bones, raiments and other earthly relics of martyred saints. How my eager mind would rove, picturing what gory delights once- or still may!- reside under those jewelled lids and devotional miniatures, entranced by thoughts of fleshly fragments which had once drawn worshippers from around the country. My family found it unremarkable that I chose to pass the better part of my holiday at this venue, knowing my bookish propensity for places steeped in history. In truth, they were pleased to leave me in the neutral company of the priests as they bounded the streets and theatres of the city centre, enjoyment untrammeled by my jaded proclamations of boredom. I became a familiar sight around the ancient building in the summer months. The clergy began to address me by name and, noting my deep respect for the place, admitted me into sacrosanct corridors and antechambers usually proscribed from public view. Thusly indulged, I had access to many unseen items and rarities in the vast storage spaces of the cathedral, was even left to rifle unmonitored through the long shelves of liturgical miscellany and clerical rolls. Of the various preachers and lay people with whom I became acquainted, I remember almost exclusively one white-haired and wizened priest. Father Bernard was known to be an authority on the lore and legend of the cathedral, partly by virtue of having been appointed to the ministry for longer than he, or anyone else, could remember. This reputation beset him to such an extent that on several occasions I saw him quite immobilised by flocks of eager students from the local colleges. I rather think they idolised him. At that time, I probably did too. When pressed to share his knowledge regarding the items held in the reliquary, Father Bernard confirmed to me that no skull fragments or tibiae remained within the display, even going so far as to unlock the cabinets and carefully pry open a few of the precious containers to prove his word. This went some way toward assuaging my disappointment, as he graciously allowed me to handle the objects myself and sniff surreptitiously at their musty, odiferous interiors. (I admit I bore then, and still bear now, no religious leanings in the slightest, although I hold no ill-will towards members of those orders who possess such beliefs. Each unto their own, is precisely the limit of my own interpretation of spirituality! Nonetheless, religious narratives are not without appeal- the Christian martyrologies were in particular of great salacity to my young mind. The exceptionally spiteful execution methods that lay in store for these hapless folk tested the bounds of my fertile imagination.) As that summer drew to a close, I was lingering over the items in the reliquary when I took note- for the first time, I thought- of a framed painting in a niche near the stairwell. I was not unduly surprised this nondescript piece had escaped my scrutiny, which by necessity must have been consumed by the ornate treasures within the display cases and, to a lesser extent, the venerable wall friezes. On further inspection I discovered a yellowed placard below, reading: ‘Crucifixion scene, by unknown, early.’ This conspicuous lack of information aroused a restless curiosity. Examining the unobtrusive piece more closely, I found it did indeed depict a man on a cross, as viewed from a distance across a hilly, windswept landscape. In the main, the colour palette was dark, even monochromatic- in the subdued lighting of the reliquary, I couldn’t be certain. The surrounding frame was equally benighted, consisting of four withered, iron-hard planks with a curiously twisted and knotted grain, worn smooth so as to suggest great age. The most striking aspect of the piece was found in the techniques the artist had used. The entire scene was comprised of jagged cross-hatching and deep-gouged scratches, indecipherably dense and impressionistic when viewed at close quarters, but resolving into recognisable forms when at the appropriate remove. Some quality of the angles, the momentum of the strokes, made it clear that the image had been painted savagely and at reckless speed. Whilst the fundamental theme seemed standard fare for a devotional piece, there was an intensity here not often seen in such depictions. The central figure of the scene drew the eye irresistibly, despite being partially obscured in the gloomy middle distance. There was a harrowing geometry about the agonised, twisted spine of the condemned. Without delineating any explicit detail, the artist had successfully encapsulated an echo of teeth-grinding torment. After an unspecified time so engrossed, I discerned palpable twinges of discomfort in my breast, which I imagined to be pangs of empathy with the beleaguered subject of the bleak painting. It was as if those scratched, serrated lines were raking at the exposed surfaces of my soul, raising red-raw furrows which grew sorer with each scourge of the artist’s brittle brush. An unseasonable chill had entered the room, and I massaged my brow to clear the stygian thoughts which had begun to circulate. I was unused to such visceral reactions in response to an artwork. Presently I left the reliquary and sought out my family, for once glad to accompany them in purchasing pork buns and sweetmeats at the market, resolving to put drafty chambers and stuffy priests behind me for the remainder of the holiday. Despite these intentions, the following day I found myself standing in front of the painting, soaking in the detail of those frenzied streaks and barbed, nail-biting angles. Applying my undivided focus, I could sense the artist’s anger lashing out with an intensity that bordered on the physical. In spite of, or perhaps because of, the trepidatious atmosphere of the piece, I was frequently drawn back to it. I began to apply a systematic zeal, aiming to diagnose which specific element of the composition produced its disconcerting effect. I also attempted to marshal other resources to my cause. Striving for nonchalance with Father Bernard, I seeded our conversation with topical asides, reluctant to reveal my interests outright. But he forced me to state my purpose plainly. “Oh, the painting in the reliquary, you say? What attraction does that dusty old piece have for you? It has been in place since my commission, for sure… but, I’m afraid I am none the wiser as to why it’s kept there. It’s not especially inviting to behold, if my opinion be known. I have always found it to be somewhat... prickly.” I saw him suppress a shudder beneath his cassock. The wise old priest had never defaulted in his omniscience before. Nonetheless, here at least was confirmation that I was not the only one susceptible to the painting’s sinister ambience. Encouraged, I redoubled my efforts to uncover the process behind this reaction. It was at this next juncture that I experienced the first in a number of inexplicable proceedings that were to subsequently befall me in that place. You are at your liberty to receive my claim and scoff, or otherwise react with amused disbelief. I can only report to you what my innocent eyes perceived as best as memory serves. My diligence was justified, for I might not have been present to bear witness at that precise moment had I not been so stubborn in my confrontations. Or, perhaps my sustained proximity over the preceding days accrued some quickening effect. What I remain certain of is that as I peered deeply into that harrowing vista, I caught a tiny but unmistakable shudder of movement from the contorted figure on the cross. The results of this on me were received somewhat like an electric shock. In the next moment I found myself curled into a foetus-like pose on the floor against the opposite wall of the reliquary, shivering as if it were midwinter, with no notion of how I had arrived there. Regaining my feet and dusting myself off, I looked around in embarrassment to check no-one had observed my collapse. Rather than effecting a swift exit from the reliquary as certain amongst you, dear readership, may well be urging my younger self to do, curiosity won the day. You must understand, the analytical mind is not likely to allow superstition to enter into its everyday vocabulary. It was with this attitude I advanced again on that most mysterious artwork. There was to be some hitherto unexpected contrivance, some ingenious play of shadows with which the artist had caused the crucified figure to twitch. Disappointingly, I found all features of the painting to be as staunchly immobile as might ordinarily be expected. I could elicit no further minim of movement, even in light of the frame being rattled lightly in its fixture. Perhaps imagination, some glimmering at the edges of my overstrained vision was responsible for the trick. At length, I drew back in defeat. Then I saw the confirmation of what I had experienced. The casual viewer would struggle to discern the inconsistency, but I could not be in doubt. The crooked scribble of a man was now frozen in a fractionally different position of agony on his cross. This was proof, of something... but I wasn’t sure what. It had grown late in the day as I tarried. Rummaging about for my Box Brownie, I took a number of photographs before withdrawing from my quarry in a temporary truce. ~~~ Summer had breathed its last, and on the next day we packed up for home. To see Norwich receding into the distance was usually a matter for personal celebration, but on the train I sat despondent. I felt I had been on the verge of- something, some process of enlightenment, which would mark my rise to prominence amongst the scholastic world. And I had proof, photographic evidence! But my investigations were now stymied until next year. After an intolerable wait for the film to be developed, I discovered that the low light conditions of the reliquary had resulted in an imprecise rendering. To my dismay, whilst the frame and outer segments of the image were fairly well visible, the vital, central portion was hopelessly blurred. Consumed in a paroxysm of frustration, I chastened myself for entertaining farfetched fancies that could have no basis in the tangible world of dates, statistics and other immutabilities. Resolving to lay matters aside, the conundrum nevertheless remained on the periphery of my thoughts. It was with undimmed vigor that, next summer, I marched into the reliquary for long-overdue audience with the object of my obsession. But, despite my attempts to recreate the conditions that triggered the anomaly before, I could not persuade the figure to repeat its trick. After a fruitless week, I decided that I would need to track down a better resolution photograph if I was to prove my hypothesis to the world at large. Father Bernard seemed perplexed that, one whole year later, I still spoke of this unremarkable (albeit enigmatic) painting. My sheaf of blurred photos failed to excite him, but I pestered and nagged until he agreed to help me track down a ledger of artworks in the remit of the cathedral, stored somewhere along the endless shelves of the archives. This weighty tome, when finally unearthed, recorded the dates on which the various assets were invested at the cathedral, along with colour prints and other useful footnotes. Fortuitously there was an index in the back with which I was able to locate the section labelled ‘Passion’, and at the end of this I found the entry I sought. Father Bernard raised his eyebrows as I let slip the first syllable of a coarse oath. Although the scene was fully lit and well-composed, some fluke of exposure had caused the same obfuscating blur around the crucified figure as seen in my own amateur photographs. The page was devoid of any illuminating annotation, but in the margin someone had scratched a question mark in faded ink. So far I had unearthed nothing to support my conviction that some part of the painting had moved. I was not prepared to suffer the embarrassment of having my credibility with wise Father Bernard annulled, who would surely have dismissed the claim as a youthful vie for attention. However, my perseverance eventually seemed to pique his interest. Or, perhaps his professional pride had been nettled by an inability to provide definitive answers to relatively simple questions. “I’ve appraised a number of artworks over the years, religious and secular, but I confess I’ve never seen a canvas quite like this. There appear to be miniscule pinpricks all over the surface, analogous to leather. As to the medium in which the work was executed, whether we are looking at paint, or ink, or some other extract… I cannot say. It’s terribly black, though. Doesn’t appear to contain any tinge of blue or brown, as I would normally expect in a dark pigment. No matter how much light I get on it, it’s black all the way down… black as sin...” He lapsed into contemplative silence, and I had to clear my throat loudly to elicit any further commentary. In any case, he seemed disinclined to speak more. “Wouldn’t you like to spend the rest of the day outside, under the sun for a change? I do not consider it productive for one so young to become fixated on a mouldy old painting.” But from that time onwards, I could not fail to notice that Father Bernard became fixated too. Skulking in the priest’s corridors one afternoon, I heard raised voices emanating from behind a closed door. I gleaned from the muted argument that Father Bernard was for investigating the provenance of the crucifixion painting, by way of thorough structural analysis from a team consisting of himself and postdoctoral researchers from the college. He put forth the case that if no light could be shed on the object’s origins, its legitimacy to be displayed inside the cathedral must be considered. His opponent, probably the deacon, argued that if the item in question was half as venerable as Father Bernard purported, it was too important to be tampered with. Besides which, the deacon made it clear, an image of what was assumed to be the Saviour on the cross was concerned, therefore making it a doctrinal matter that was not to be reorganised without instructions from the archbishop’s office. At some point during my vigil in the reliquary, I became aware of an indefinable change in the vista in front of me. It seemed improbable that any iota of activity from the figure on the cross could have gone unnoticed- and sure enough, the alteration was not to be found in the scene itself. Instead, near the base of the blackened and knotted frame, a fresh, livid scratch was visible. I sought out Father Bernard who feigned puzzlement at the time, but later admitted, not without embarrassment, that he had removed a sliver from the frame earlier in the week. Upon deliberation it had been passed for analysis by some fellows at the science department of the college. “It required quite some effort to carve out that splinter too, even with a freshly-ground razor. Well, the college delivered their results to me this very morning. You’ll no doubt be interested to hear the results, although I can’t say what, if any, conclusions may be drawn from them.” “The wood has been identified as Lebanese cedar, even if it’s not recognisable as such, as it appears to have fossilised or cured by some other natural process. Evidently the brand-new radiocarbon method was used. The college believes the sample I provided may be thousands of years old.” “It is unclear if this is the original frame, or precisely when it was constructed for its current purpose. The methods of manufacture are… unfamiliar to me.” Father Bernard trailed off, distracted, having slurred his words uncharacteristically throughout his previous sentence. “Cedar,” I prompted, “Wasn't that supposed to be the wood they made crosses out of?” “You’ll find it also repels moths quite effectively. It seems there was other contamination in the sample I took.. Plant fragments, and… blood.” “Human blood..?” I whispered, intrigued. The old priest was about to answer, before he shut with mouth with a click, suddenly looking vexed that he had spoken freely on the topic. He swatted his hand as if trying to clear irksome insects. “I can’t derive any significance, though. Neither should you.” he concluded abruptly, and tottered off down a side corridor. The next day, Father Bernard was not to be found within the cathedral grounds. Upon enquiry I was advised by one of the younger priests that he was bedridden at a ward in the infirmary, having taken ill during the night. No-one was able to furnish me with further specifics. With my mentor indisposed, fewer people took heed of my coming and goings, and my meditations in the reliquary went uninterrupted. The data received from the college was sparse and fragmentary, but I incorporated every tidbit into my considerations. I also found an odd conjunction in the fact of Father Bernard’s hospitalisation a scant few days after his clandestine interference with the painting, or at least its framework. Inwardly, I still made assurances that I was enacting my research under strictest terms of logical observation. But in truth, I was clinging to the scrap of supernatural that I was convinced I had experienced, teetering on the brink of another world of possibilities, and the painting was the key. This portion of the holiday is remembered as one recalls a nightmare. My sense of time became perturbed, and I found myself entering feverish reveries of contemplation, from which I would emerge swaying on my feet. I’m uncertain how much agency I truly retained by this point. I fancy I suspected on some intuitive level that, one way or another, matters were due to come to a head. Late one evening I awoke from my trance, hands outstretched as if in supplication. The usual chill feelings of desolation in the room had become amplified, pouring over me in gelid waves. A current of air sighed against my cheeks, and my scalp prickled as if charged with static. In my peripheral vision there loomed a dark mass which appeared to have swum to the forefront of the painting. Somehow, I knew it was very important for me not to directly at it. In that moment, I quite lost my facade of empirical fascination.This was no longer an intellectual game, or an exercise of will over internal paranoia. This was... hunger, rage, frustration, condensed black hatred that fizzed and brewed as if it had been fermenting for millennia. And I was its prey. I developed a crick in my arms and neck from holding my posture rigid, a cramp which spread throughout rest of my body. I didn’t think I could move a muscle. How long had I been stood in front of the painting? Had anyone seen me go up into the reliquary? My apprehension mounted towards terror as I realised I was ensnared. My paralysis was broken only when I heard a 'snick' at the base of the frame and reflexively lunged to catch the object which fell from a concealed aperture. Folding my hands over the tiny, rough thing, I backed away with my head bowed, never lifting my gaze, turning to run only when I dared. Hammering down the uneven steps, I tore across the flagstones of the cathedral and flung myself through the huge doors, coming to a rough halt on hands and knees in the graveyard. Unlatching my fingers from around my prize, I beheld the calcified scrap therein. I cannot account for what I did, there on that revered soil. No frenzied curiosity or relic-hunter’s fetish could explain to me those odd, ritualistic actions. Unobserved amongst the mossy gravestones, I snapped the stubborn bone between my hands and poured out the fine, silty dust inside. Raised it to my lips and thrust my tongue into the pile. Tried to breathe it up through my nose. Rubbed it against my gums. Did other strange, deviant things which I don't care to recount here. When the dessicated marrow was completely consumed, I tossed the broken bone into some nearby shrubs and passed out neatly on the soil. I awoke of my own accord precisely twelve hours later, immediately lucid, the taste of dust thick in my throat. It transpired that I had fallen into such a deep coma that neither brandy nor smelling salts would arouse me. The doctors at the infirmary could find nothing physically wrong with me save for some purplish, yet painless indentations on each of my palms and feet, which faded within the hour. The priest who discovered me slumped in the graveyard was still hovering about after I regained consciousness. After his enquiries as to my wellbeing, I was privately amazed to hear how, whilst insensible, I had raved in an ancient Galilean dialect. When he began to ask tentative questions about my activities that day in the reliquary, I grew reticent. It has taken decades for this reticence to fade. At the time I asserted to have no memory of the preceding day, but I fancied I saw a gleam of nascent comprehension in his eye as he left. My parents concluded that I had become faint from too much time spent indoors, breathing the vapors and dank miasmas of the cathedral. I was mortified to learn they also had suspicions that the clerics there had been attempting to indoctrinate me into the priesthood, which I refuted vigorously. Needless to say, we did not return to Norwich for future holidays. On our arrival home, we began receiving letters from the priest who had interviewed me at the infirmary, who was now firmly convinced that he tugged at the strands of theological mysticism. These missives went unanswered and eventually grew infrequent, then ceased. In one such letter, received shortly after my recovery, he regretfully informed us that Father Bernard had passed away from an ‘unknown malady of old age’. Privately, I hypothesised a different cause of demise. And although I would have liked nothing more than to strike a bold line below these proceedings, one fact has prevented me from doing so. Beginning promptly on my departure from Norwich that fateful year, I experienced the onset of what can only be described as cravings. To this day, the urge is there, pulsing out like a beacon from the east, exhorting me silently but insistently. I have convinced myself it is honest scientific curiosity that calls me back, not some immense, ancient entity with its hooks in my soul. In defense of its lure, I have cultivated a deliberate aversion to churches and places of religious worship, which has blossomed almost into physical allergy. What would happen if I were to go willingly back to Norwich cathedral today, to stand in the reliquary once more? Who can say... these events are settled, and I have vowed to stay outside of it’s malign radius. And although my wife tells me I still on occasion mumble ancient words from other lands in my slumber, I am content to rake the earth back over these memories, and hope they remain undisturbed. ~~~
2018.12.20 21:27 v3ra1ynn[META] The /r/Analog 2018 "Best of the Year" Awards! - Announcement
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2018.10.09 10:37 FirearmConciergeDiary of a Douchebag: FC does a gun show, Part 2.
Friday, 1PM: I leave work early. I have to set up for the gun show early because the only time my mechanic has for the alignment rack for the next week and a half is friday afternoon and I am in need of an alignment to keep my Michelin Defender's in a nice predictable wear pattern. My loadout this weekend includes a whole bunch of the usual stuff, Colts, Sigs, HK's, Glock's a few Springfields and four Daniel Defense rifles and an FN SLP Mk 1. I haul over a few used guns that I just took on trade too, a Tavor 556 LH and a Mossberg 500 that I got for $100 off someone wanting to trade it towards a new Glock 23. Four trips with the hand truck gets everything in before the rain starts. I have reserved two tables but I have enough merchandise to cover three. The exhibitor tells me tables went up so two tables cost me $160 for the weekend and I consider it a small expense to view the express train to hell that is the gun culture. 45 minutes flies by as I set up my table just the way I want it and I get to Lenny's to get my alignment done. He's been doing an alignment for me no charge for the past 3 years after I told him NOT to buy an old Browning shotgun he fell in love with on gunbroker. He wanted to use it for upland hunting, sporting clays, skeet and anything moving through the air killing. It was an old gun that had FIXED barrel chokes - Full and Full. I told him RUN LIKE HELL. He said my advice saved him from a $1500 mistake and the least he can do is keep my car on the road no charge. He gets my car set up on his $80,000 hunter alignment rack and finds my toe in is way out of spec. He spends a few minutes banging around with a wrench and everything is all good. As he's doing that, since I know he won't take my money - I walk to the 7-11 across the street and grab him a tall boy of Rolling Rock. His week is so shitty that he shotguns it faster than Brett Kavanaugh circa 1982. Time to head home. I'm halfway there when the phone rings ring ring FC: Go for FC 1: Hey FC, it's Captain Bob. How's it going? FC: Good! I got your stuff fixed and ready to go on my desk. 1: I can be there in 15 minutes! FC: I'll turn around, see you in 15. Captain Bob is a four stripe left seat pilot for Delta on the triple. We love talking airplanes and guns. He's had me tune up an old 220 he wants to use at a class he's taking at FLETC later this year. Like a good pilot, he believes in a comprehensive pre flight inspection. And since his type rating says B777 and not P220, he wanted someone to make sure he's not taking a dud to class. All I did to it was give it a visual, clean and lube and although it probably didn't need it - it had a 20 year old recoil spring so I installed a new one just as a precaution. I get back to my desk and get his gun ready, cleared and slide locked back as he walks in the door. He just got home from running a 777LR to Johannesburg and back and is very pleased to see his old 220 ready to roll. I take my glasses off and point out he's got a little bit of slide peening in a few spots but just keep it lubricated and it's normal wear and tear since he does not shoot it much. He asks me if I have any 300 blackout ammo, I pull a case of 220gr OTM off the shelf. I tell him $450 on the ammo and the pistol inspection and recoil spring is on the house and he's having none of it. Hands me five crisp hundos and tells me to keep it. Just as I'm tucking the cash into my desk drawer, my door opens up and since I'm not wearing my glasses - I see a blurry silhouette of.....is that wonder woman? HUGE TITS on a small frame. I can't tell what's going on. FC: Hi! Lady: Hey FC, it's Lisa. I was just getting my wedding dress altered next door and wanted to say hi! FC: Oh hey! I'm not wearing my glasses so I have no idea what's happening! Lisa: See you tomorrow! FC: I'l be there! So anyways Bob, that was strange. I am normally not used to having my door flung open by halfway attractive women..... Bob: Neither am I! You should see some of the FA's on the J'burg route! We have a laugh. Some more airplane talk about the old 72's and I tell him about the time I greased it in the box on the A320. Turns out he flew A320's as well as boeings and we revel in the differences in both the airplanes. I really like the Airbus design and their workflow even though Boeing guys love to hate it. He's happy with his 220 and we pull chocks. I head home, throw a ribeye on the grill and go to bed early. I've got a busy day in the morning. Saturday morning I wake up at 7AM and look at my to do list. Shit shower and shave. The gun show closes at 5. Lisa's wedding is at 6. The venue is at the lake 39 minutes from the VFW hall. I have a plan. I will leave STRAIGHT to the venue from the gun show and I'll put on dress clothes below the belt. After all, how often do you look at another man's pants? I throw on an HK black NO COMPROMISE Polo shirt untucked with a black alligator belt and Canali navy slacks with my new Allen Edmonds boulevards in black. Socks by Brumell and boxers by Fruit of the Loom. I walk into the VFW hall with a non iron Lauren white spread collar shirt, Ted Baker tie and Canali jacket slung over my shoulder. Nobody notices the pitter patter sound of leather soles on the concrete as the show starts coming to life. It's 8:55. Lets get this show on the road. The loudspeaker crackles and lets everyone in the hall know the doors are about to open up and asks us to check all our guns for ammo and zip ties. I get my table ready and pull out my 4473's on clipboards and check my pens. FFL in frame is standing up on the table, everything is tagged and tied. There will be no discharge of firearms at my table as a result. 9AM: Show opens. It's dead. Deader than dead. Like, life support dead. Typically there is a line from the entryway of the hall and around the building to get into the show every time. This is not the show of years ago. This summer has been atrocious. I talked to the promoter and lots of vendors did not reserve tables for this and the next show. The numbers are way down. Some people start to trickle in but it's not a good sign. 9:30AM: A fellow walks up and asks me if I have a Sig 226 TACOPS with TB in stock. I don't but vendors do. He drove 2 hours to this show to try and find one since his local place did not have it. They're on contract with sig and refuses to order one from distribution to make him happy and Sig has no idea when they're going to make more out of New Hampshire. Well, thanks to Ron Cohen making 26 SKU's for every single pistol - that's what you get. 9:41AM: Fellow wearing an INFOWARS shirt molests way too much merchandise on my table than I'm comfortable with. I shoot a knowing eye roll to Noah over at the next table. He's a 27 year old jewish gold bullion dealer from Long Island that votes libertarian and laughs at all my jokes. He adjusts his RON PAUL FOR PRESIDENT banner hanging off the edge of his table as I wait for Finger McBangerson here to go away so I can wipe down all my stuff. 10:23AM: Guy walks up to me and he says he's looking for a shotgun for competition. I point him towards the SLP at the end of the table. 10:24AM: Older fellow walks up to me and says he's looking for a gun for his wife as he lifts up a Colt Commander. I tell him that will definitely kill his wife. Guy looking at the SLP cracks up laughing. Older guy looks at me mortified. Then he gets the joke. Asks me about suitability of a steel framed colt commander for her. I say probably not a good first choice. Perhaps you should send her to an NRA basic pistol class. 10:39AM: Guy asks me what's the best I'll do on a Glock 17L. I tell him the tag is already priced more than fair. He asks if he can buy it with cash if he can get a discount. I'm like let me see. I ask him if he's got a state CWL. He says yes. I take off $20. He says it's a deal, hands me a stack of money, current CWL and a California drivers license. FC: Do you have residency in this state? 1: No, I'm here visiting for work FC: And you want me to sell you a gun with a California drivers license and no residency? 1: DUDE! KEEP IT DOWN! Do you have any idea what would happen if people found out I didn't live here? FC: YES I DO! They wouldn't be a party to you breaking the law! I hand him all his shit back and tell him to get on the next flight to Fresno. 12:01 PM: Lunchtime. I pick up my sammich from Jersey mikes and nobody fails to interrupt me to throw money at me. This is not a very good sign. 12:16 PM: I am scarfing down the last of my sandwich as Infowars shirt guy comes back around. We chat a bit about 1911's and he eventually tries to convince me that I need to buy the water filter that Alex Jones is selling to keep us from turning homosexual. I tell him now I'm not gay, but look at these shoes. I pull my left hock up and put a nice shiny new Allen Edmonds boulevard on the table. He seems to recoil in horror. As he walks away, I tell him he didn't even notice that I had them straight laced! They're fabulous! Nobody understands my humor. 12:33 PM: The vendor to the left of me is selling clothing offensive to the left. MAGA hats, anti snowflake shirts, ISIS hunting permit graphic tees, etc. I debate calling one of my guys and having "MAKE 45ACP GREAT AGAIN" hats made up. I call up r_shackleford and he thinks this is genius. We trade witty banter back and forth for a few minutes. 12:49 PM: The vendor in front of me is a gigantic pawn shop with 16 tables. There's a woman trying to sell them a rifle, and not succeeding at all. Sam looks over at me and points and says to her "you know, he buys guns too!" FUCK YOU SAM. FUCK YOU LONG. FUCK YOU HARD. The hambeast approaches and thrusts a rifle in my face. "WE BUILT IT CUSTOM" she says. "I NEED MONEY FOR CHEMO" she says. The barrel says 223 Wylde. The lower says Aero Precision. The price tag says $1500 OBO. I tell her she'd be lucky if she got HALF that in this economy. She complains that they really need the money and her two demon spawn that are traveling with her seem to be tired of her getting the same speech from every vendor in the hall. NO YOUR GODDAMN HOMEBUILT 223 WYLDE AR15 IS NOT WORTH $1500 It's not even worth $750 It's worth MAYBE the same price as a new PSA rifle - $350, $450 tops if you threw in the little girl. Editors note (start voice over here): Hi, I'm Matt Damon. Human trafficking is no laughing matter. For just a small donation of $50 or more, you can fight human trafficking. I prefer that you donate to Rapha House International, a charity dedicated to preventing sex trafficking and providing care and treatment to its victims. If you go to the post in the top of guns and donate, you can even stop shitposters like FirearmConcierge from posting stuff like this for the rest of the month if you donate enough money. This sort of support can only be made possible from viewers like you. Please, donate today. Stop the suffering. For the little girls. For reddit. For America. The lady looks at me like a truck stop rapist and inevitably proclaims that SHE KNOWS WHAT SHE'S GOT. Words fail me. I shake my head as she walks away with her demon spawn and I shoot a look back at sam and mouth very carefully YOU FUCKER back at him. Sam cracks up laughing. 1:12PM: I'm asked if that's a Dead Air Sandman on my table. I say yes. Guy asks to look at it and explains to his friend that it's a DAA Sandman and talks about the mounting system. FC: You know your stuff. 1: Yeah I just bought one. FC: I'm the only DAA dealer around here, you don't look familiar. Who'd you get it from? 1: Silencershop. Used the kiosk at a dealer in another city 1.5 hours away FC: Uh, I stock the sandman and would have made you a deal. Why'd you do go through them if you don't mind my asking? 1: Well it was a timesaver. FC: How's that? I mean that place I know is an hour and a half away without traffic, so you made a trip there to do your stuff - then back. That's 3 hours. Then another 3 hours after your stamps clear - so that's 6 hours in a car total. I can call the PD, make an appointment for you to roll your prints and you're done in 15 minutes. Photos at CVS are another 15 minutes. How is 6 hours a timesaver instead of 30 minutes? 1: Well I just knew that if I had to make more than one stop I'd never do it, so it was spend 6 hours in a car and get it done in one shot or spend 15 minutes doing fingerprints or photos and being too lazy to do the other one and never sending in the paperwork. So this was the better choice for me. FC: Uh. Okay? 1: Why don't you have a kiosk? FC: I'm not paying $9000 for something that's going to save you time and cost me money and then have to deal with being tech support and having a device in my place of business that compresses my own margins. We're down to making $50 on a can from making $350. This isn't a position I'm interested in taking. 1: Well, sucks to be you. I'm buying all my cans from silencershop now! FC: Enjoy your 6 hour drive. 1:30 PM: Man walks up with an old stainless combat commander colt. Series 70. No original box and sights. Looks well used. Thinks I’m crazy when I say I won’t give him $1000 on trade. 1:39 PM: Guy comes back. Guy wants me to put a can on his 1917 eddystone that is not threaded. He asks what he can get for $150 1:45 PM: Lady picks up a Trijicon RMR and asks to turn it on. I shove a battery in it and turn it on. 1: This is a laser sight right? FC: This is an RMR from Trijicon and RMR stands for Ruggedized Miniature Reflex sight - it uses a laser of sorts and projects it onto this lens here.... 1: THIS COSTS $500? AND IT DOES NOT EVEN PUT IT ON THE TARGET? FC: Well if you just look through the lens here you can see the red dot projected onto the glass..... 1: I CAN BUY A $30 LASER POINTER AND DUCT TAPE IT TO MY GUN AND I'D BE $470 CHEAPER AND IT WOULD PUT THE LASER ON THE BAD GUY! WHAT IS THIS GARBAGE YOU'RE TRYING TO SELL? She walks away. My mouth is agape. 2:15PM: Old guy walks up and points at a Glock 34 I have on the table. MY FRIEND BOUGHT A GLOCK IN 89 WITH NYPD AND SHOT HIMSELF HOLSTERING IT. I DONT TRUST THE DAMN THINGS and shuffles away without me having time for a rebuttal 2:21PM: Someone walks up asking me if I want to buy a used les Baer Comanche. I tell him I buy when I can make money. I look at it. It’s clean. He wants $1600. Street is about $1600, that's all the money. Street the gun sells for about $1799 NEW, which means I can buy it for less than $1600 new. I tell him this. He looks at me like Elizabeth Warren looks at Brett Kavanaugh and shuffles away. I shake my head as I notice a familiar face walk up. I can't place it. He looks at some guns. 2:25PM: I'm asked if I have a card from the familiar stranger. I reach down into my wallet and fish one out, I hand it to him and he smiles at me. It finally clicks. FC: Dr Livingstone, I presume. Doc: I haven't seen you in years, how have you been? (The doc is FC's old therapist. He can't say hi to me walking around due to HIPAA but if I open a dialogue, it's okay) FC: Eh, same old shit different day. I uh made some mistakes a few weeks ago and I thought of you. Doc: Oh really? How so. FC: Well uh. You remember that day when I told you to go back to the Office of the Bursar at UCLA and ask for a refund on your $125,000 post graduate education because it was nothing but academic detritus? Doc: Well, I hadn't thought about it for a few years but it sounds like something you would say. FC: It was right after you told me that I used 3 different quotes from 3 different academics in a span of less than 5 minutes to answer your question. You said that I intellectualize as a defense because I don't like getting close to people. I said you're full of shit. You asked me do I even know what intellectualize means? I said of course I know what it means, what do you think I'm some kind of idiot? Then you sat there grinning like a Cheshire cat at the thought of making me eat my own words. Doc: Haha. Now, that sounds familiar. I remember that. FC: Well I don't know how many patients are willing to say it but you were right and I was wrong. Doc: I don't get much pleasure in hearing that, but did you learn anything about yourself? FC: It took a few years to realize you may have been right all along but yeah. Doc: Then what does it matter who's right or wrong as long as you learned something? FC: Hmm. That's not bad. How's business? Doc: Full appointment book and not taking new patients. FC: I guess you could say it's........a little crazy? Doc: I missed your humor. Tell me about this Glock 45... I show him a few different guns and crack jokes about disgruntled patients. He says he'll think about arming himself what with crime and mentally unstable people being growth sectors in this post-trump apocalyptic nightmare. I tell him to be fore warned is to be fore armed. He seems reticent, but I can only lead the horse to water. I can't make him drink. 2:51PM: Fellow walks up. 1: I need a colt ladysmith. Do you have one? FC: the colt or the ladysmith? 1: The colt ladysmith FC: is it a colt or a smith? 1: smith FC: which model? 1: the ladysmith! FC: I know but I need to know what model. They put that on a bunch of different guns 1: it’s the one with writing on the side of the gun. It says. LADY SMITH on it. You know the one I realize the strongest case for repealing the second amendment is spending a day talking to people at the gun show. 3PM: Two hours left to go! The end is in sight! I haven't sold a single fucking gun yet! 3:02 PM: Man walks up. Hey do you have the new Sig 925? FC: You mean 365? 1: No the 925 FC: Sig does not make a 925 1: Yes they do, it's the new one. FC: The 365? 1: No! The 925! FC: Can you show me a picture? 1: It's the one on the magazine. FC: Most of sigs guns have magazines. 1: I mean the one in print. It's on the cover. FC: The cover of the periodical you mean? 1: Yeah! You know the new one! FC: Well if it's on the cover, it should be easy to find on google. Can you show me a picture? 1: There's nothing coming up on google for the Sig 925 FC: Maybe perhaps its because it's the sig 365? 1: I'm telling you it's not that. It's the new one they just came out with. It's the 925. FC: Care to make a wager? 1: No. FC: If you bring me a photo I can try to narrow it down. 1: I'll find the magazine at home and bring it in tomorrow. FC: Periodical. 1: Whatever. 3:11: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUFSB2plwzM 3:12: Numismatist neighbor Noah asks me a question Noah: Hey! What's a hi point? FC: A cry for help! (everyone laughs) Noah: No I mean price wise? FC: Like $100, they're garbage guns. Me and Noah start talking. I am moving more and more libertarian every day. He's the treasurer of his local LP chapter in Suffolk county. For a jewish kid from Riverhead, we sure have a lot in common. We get into an animated debate on the virtues of Kelo v New London in that it was a shitty position for the town of New London to take Susette Kelo's house for redevelopment under eminent domain. If they wanted to redevelop it, for the government to use eminent domain is a government run amok. As a libertarian, he hates government overreaching - as someone who also hates that sort of thing, we are in very vocal agreeance. The tshirt vendor is listening to us debate the merits of the case and how the SCOTUS created a TERRIBLE precedent regarding government using the takings clause and when we finish he asks us a question. TShirtGuy: How the fuck do you two know so much about a supreme court case? Noah: Well, when you went to college and you're an economics and pre law major.... FC: Let me make it simple. WE ARE NERDS! Everyone has a laugh. TShirtGuy: Speaking of funny, check this out! He holds up a shirt. It says in big print on the front: the the reason gun shows exist is so women can know what it’s like for when they drag men to the mall I chuckle. 3:13 PM: I get in an argument with the republican candidate for office of something or other on gun laws. He is stupid and he is going to lose. 3:23 PM: A nice lady walks up. She looks familiar. She looks at some guns and feels up a 226 and remarks how well she likes how it handles. FC: You're Bernice, aren't you? Bernice: Why yes I am! You do not look familiar. How do I know you? FC: You're still working at the courthouse right? Bernice: That's right! FC: Judge Snyder, right? Bernice: No! He moved up to the appellate circuit last month it's... FC: Judge Reinhold! That's right, one of his JA's called me to buy a gun last month. I forgot Christine told me, you're right. Bernice: Holy crap, you have an incredible memory. When was the last time you were in front of Judge Snyder? FC: Four years ago. I was the one that filed the motion citing the big lebowski. Bernice: OH MY GOD THAT WAS YOU? I remember that! FC: Yeah and I had to go dumpster diving to get my phone back. Shit, was that really 4 years ago? Fuck. We talk more about guns and stuff. She loves her old West German 226. I tell her that if she really wants to have some fun, she should ask Judge Snyder to tag along on his next range day. About two years ago, the judge called me up asking for some advice. He's Tet offensive era USMC and wanted a new toy to reach out and touch someone and was dead set on getting a new SR25. I talked him out of it because SR25's are stupid expensive. I knew of another dealer that had a T&E 20" SR25 that they were looking to unload cheap and I told him that with the amount of money he'd save going to the T&E gun versus the new one - the delta would more than cover a Nightforce NXS, rings and mounting and that would save him money and be a good performer. I'm friends with his daughter on facebook and they both looked like they had a lot of fun ringing the gong at the gun club. Bernice is impressed. Too bad she's not my type, we'd get along fantastically if I was 15 years older. 4 PM: 60 minutes left to this shit show. 4:04PM: The loudspeaker crackles. ATTENTION ATTENTION: BRETT KAVANAUGH HAS JUST BEEN CONFIRMED TO THE SUPREME COURT. The proletariat rejoices and hooting and hollering typically reserved for the LSU game breaks out in the hall. ALSO WILL THE RED JEEP PARKED IN THE FIRE LANE PLEASE MOVE - YOU ARE BLOCKING THE BBQ GUY FROM LEAVING. RED JEEP. MOVE OR YOU WILL BE TOWED. 4:11 PM: Guy walks up in civvies. 1: I wanna buy this but I’m not a state resident FC: well what’s your deal? Give me some more to work with. 1: I’m from Texas but I’m in the military FC: if you got your orders - PCS to any base in this state says you’re a state resident, but if you don't - I can't help you. I know a lot of guys don't travel around with their orders.... JUST AS I SAY THAT the guy pulls out a wad of hundreds out of his pocket and his PCS paperwork, signed, rubber stamped and billeted. THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE. I give him the clipboard as I look at his paperwork. No blank spaces, approved change of station to Barksdale AFB, address reads base housing, everything is in order for the young airman. HOLY FUCKING SHIT. THIS IS AMAZING. Forms done correct on the first swing. I AM WAITING FOR THE OTHER SHOE TO DROP. I call in the transaction and they tell me that the national system is down. NO IDEA WHEN IT'S GOING TO BE BACK UP. I tell the USAF that the system is down and we can't do anything. He takes my card and hands me money and says just call him when it's ready to be picked up. Huh. Okay, he's cool with that. His girlfriend lives over here so he's back here every weekend. Done! I mark up the paperwork with some notes. 4:23 PM: One guy just walked up and told me that he had no idea HK made rifles. Apparently made a bunch of rifles a few years ago and stamped glocks name on them for Glock. Since Glock can't be found out to be making rifles. This captures the attention of another guy who asks me if my Glocks on the table have fluted firing pins. I tell him they do not make fluted firing pins. That makes no sense. He says yes they do make sense. They're fluted so they shoot underwater. 4:28 PM: Noah's table has someone in front of it debating buying some gold. As they delve into the discussion of gold and FIAT currency, I hear the following. 1: Bitcoin is a webpage. It’s like buying stock. Bitcoin issues shares and it dilutes so the price goes down. Noah: I don't think that's how it works. 1: You’re basically buying a part of a big webpage FC: This is like listening to someone try to explain that pi is exactly 3. Noah: What's wrong with you? FC: I am the Anthony Bourdain of the gun world. I eat, I drink and I yell at idiots. 4:45 PM It's getting close to show close, I need to get ready for the wedding. I grab my Lauren shirt that thankfully is non iron and just dressy enough to work and just casual enough to be worn without a tie if you need to and whip off my HK polo. I put on the shirt and tuck it in as I notice a lovely couple walk up out of the corner of my eye. Its Jim and Jane, Jane is a pharmacist that works at the hospital and Jim is a Gastroenterology resident at the hospital too. They buy lots of guns from me. I finish tucking in my shirt as we talk shop. Jim wants 6 cans, 3 handgun and 3 rifle and wants to know what his options are. I rattle off all the options I would look at and I write some down on a legal pad for Jane to show him on the computer when he gets home. We talk 762 vs 556, 45 vs 9mm and direct thread vs QD for about 10 minutes as I tie off my blue Ted Baker tie into a Pratt knot. The apex of the tie just touches my belt buckle. Length is right on the money, and I didn't even have a mirror. Jane approves of my knot and color selection. Go me. 4:55 PM: Fabulousness achieved, I call back in and find out national system is still down. FUCK. Well this is gonna have to wait till tomorrow. I shove Airman Cecil O'Malley's paperwork under the table and start stowing stuff since the show is about to close. 4:59 PM: Table is covered up and FC is walking out the door as the announcement crackles over the loudspeaker. THE SHOW IS CLOSED. PLEASE LEAVE THROUGH THE FRONT DOOR. 5:01 PM: On the way to the wedding! I stop at Target along the way because I've forgotten to get a card. I find one that says "It was meant to brie" on the front. It has some greeting card herpes, aka glitter on it but I have no time to be picky. As I'm in line to checkout I write something cheeky. "I always said love was cheesy and I camembert it sometimes.....Love, FC" The cashier scans it, I plug my amex into the card reader as I slip in a yard in there and seal up the envelope and slide it into my jacket pocket. The ride to the lake breaks every speed limit in two counties. 5:45PM: I arrive 15 minutes before the ceremony is about to begin and the parking staff puts me in the back lot. I hike over to the open bar and get a fresca. I'm supposed to behave myself, so FC quit drinking and is just chilling with a fresca as he scans the room. I know NOBODY at this wedding except the bride, groom and MAYBE the bride's massage therapist. Nope. I know nobody here. Awwwkward. I behave myself and sip on a fresca as the wedding starts. She gets married. She says yes. He says yes. FC is an ordained minister and can step up and marry someone in case there's an emergency but my services will not be needed at this wedding because things are going smoother than a cold filtered miller genuine draft. It's all good. The DJ announces the new couple and they walk down the aisle together as husband and wife for the first time. The music starts playing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNEgUPKxk7A ITS HEAVY D AND THE BOYZ! I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO GO TO A WEDDING WHERE THEY PLAY THE COUPLE OFF TO HEAVY D! I mention this to the people sitting next to me and they're like it's just like hitch! I'm like what? They go on to explain to me that it's a movie. Starring Will Smith. Huh. Didn't see that one. 5:45 PM: The open bar and the food is coming out. I look around and I definitely do not know ANYBODY HERE. I need to eat and go home. I grab a plate of cocktail shrimp and some lobster sliders and sit down at a picnic table away from the crowd. I don't even notice a busty brunette with cleavage showing also sitting at the table staring at her phone across from me until she says hi. 1: Hi. FC: Hi. (I scarf down a lobster slider. Munch munch) 1: So how do you know the lovely couple? FC: Well she was a friend of a friend and next thing you know I'm showing up to the Christmas party and the wedding. Then Seth is showing up and then they're getting married. You? 1: I work with Lisa, I'm a flight attendant. But I've been out of work for a few months. We had this thing at work. It's called a fume event. I happens when well uh how do I say? FC: Contaminated bleed air via the pneumatic air conditioning kit - or PACK - gets into the cabin, causing all sorts of respiratory irritation and all sorts of other things for the crew. You're on the 320, right? 1: The airbus? Yeah. Me and Lise are also on the.... FC: 321 and the 319. Yeah, I'm familiar with the technology. 1: You're a pilot. FC: Not exactly. I just know airplanes really well. 1: So you're an aerospace engineer. FC: I wouldn't go that far. Hahaha. That's stretching it. A lot. 1: Let me get this right. You're friends with Lisa and Seth, you know airplanes, you're the only one at this wedding actually wearing a suit...... FC: To be fair, it's Louisiana in October. We're lucky most of the folks here aren't wearing Mossy Oak and Realtree. 1: Hahahahahhah! You must live in Baton Rouge! FC: I do. 1: Me too! What part of the city? I live in (names neighborhood) FC: I'm over in (neighborhood next to her) 1: OH MY GOD! That's 10 minutes from my house! So anyways, you're smart, you're funny, where have you been all my life? I'm Ally. FC: I'm Will. 1: You wanna get dinner together? I literally do not know anyone else here and I was thinking about leaving before I met you. FC: Uh sure. Lemme just top this fresca off. 1: I'll join you. 6:15 We're told by the bartenders to grab a ceremonial wedding tervis tumbler with a patch commemorating the happy couple's nuptials hermetically sealed inside. They didn't want a bunch of red solo cups going to the dumpster so they decided to ball out. I walk up to the table where there's literally 200 tumblers in varying colors to choose from and I grab a random one as Ally grabs one too. We head to the bar, she fills her with vodka and sprite. I top off with ginger ale because I'm staying sober and I have to drive 45 minutes back to casa de FC in BTR. She asks me how I know so much about airplanes, I tell her it's been a lifelong obsession and I've done some ground school on the 320 and the 737 and I much prefer the 320. I ask her what's tough about her job and she tells me that most people don't know they only get paid when the doors close. I say yeah, block time is a real bitch sometimes. She looks at me like I'm crazy. I'm like what? She's like HOW DO YOU KNOW ABOUT BLOCK TIME? I told you, I know airplanes. We chat some more as the crowd gets drunker and drunker and more ridiculous on the dance floor. Someone requested Strokin' by Clarence Carter and the DJ ACTUALLY PLAYED IT. Goddamnit Lisa! HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF A DO NOT PLAY LIST? Wow. 7:10 PM We find some seats for dinner as the buffet opens up, I pile a bunch of chicken marsala and beef wellington on my plate and we head back to the table. She's only a few years older than me and cannot believe that I am single. She asks if I've tried tinder. I tell her the tinder story about me being stuffed into the back of a police car and it is met with raucous laughter. 1: So, do you dance? FC: I do a lot of things, but I don't dance. Baton Rouge is the city that rhythm forgot. 1: I don't really dance either. As a matter of fact, I'm perfectly content to people watch all night with you here by my side. Her hand ran down to touch mine. It had a ring on it. FC: What does your husband think about that? Next thing I know, Lisa and Seth have dropped by the table to say hello. They're taking pictures with everyone and we can't continue the conversation we were just having. Lisa dives in to hug Ally, Seth gives me a handshake, sips my drink and asks why there isn't any bourbon in that tumbler. FC: Gotta behave myself. Long drive back home. Ally: OH MY GOD LISA! Will is FANTASTIC! Where have you been keeping him? He's funny, he's amazing and he looks hot in a suit! If I wasn't married, he'd be the perfect guy! (We're cut off by Lisa, she looks at me sternly.) Lisa: WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU? FC: What? Lisa: Yesterday! When I was getting my wedding dress fitted! You called me a half attractive woman..... FC: It's not a normal occurrence! Most of the women who open my door are total heifers! For real! Take the compliment! Lisa cracks up, and Seth who has had a few drinks laughs so hard that he damn near falls over. You can hear the cackle of his laugh carry across the lake. The best man props him back up and they all have a laugh. The wedding planner slides in and tells the bride that her cake has been outside of refrigeration for an hour and 15 minutes now and is structurally deficient. They need to cut it now before it collapses in upon itself like a black hole. Lisa grabs Ally, Seth grabs me and the rest of the table follows. We're now part of the wedding cake cutting crew. 7:15 PM: The entourage all takes their Instagram positions as Lisa cuts into her structurally deficient cake and Seth resists the urge to do anything cheeky and fun with frosting. It's cute, everyone toasts the newlyweds. 7:20 PM: I pull Lisa aside privately and I ask her - what the fuck is Ally's deal? "If I wasn't married he'd be the perfect guy?" WHO THE FUCK SAYS THAT? A married woman? At a wedding? To a guy she JUST MET? Lisa: Look, I have no idea how her marriage is going or what her deal is. But just because there's a goalie doesn't mean you can't score. FC: WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN? Lisa: It means that maybe, if she's throwing herself at you......you should catch her. I gotta go throw the bouquet. Brb. FC: ..... 7:25 Lisa goes to throw her bouquet and Ally has found me and is back at my side. 1: Where were we? I was just saying to Lisa that I was wondering where a guy like you has been all my life? You are awesome. FC: I am awesome, and you are married. 1: Yeah, I know. Come on, I really want you......I mean I really want you......to go photobooth with me. Come on, it'll be fun. She grabs my arm and drags me to the photobooth and she puts ridiculous hats and stuff on me. I'm like no, I've been looking ridiculous enough from birth. i'm good. She literally begs me with puppy dog eyes and does that thing where she shows cleavage. FC: Isn't this like against one of the ten commandments? Thou shalt not......photobooth with another man's wife? 1: Hmm. Yeah, I guess. You're really sweet though. If I was single, I'd be all over you right now. FC: Who says that? Really? 1: So, answer me this. You're not an engineer. You're not a pilot. What do you do? FC: Gun dealer. 1: So if I had something like an AR15 that needed some work, you'd be the guy to call? FC: Maybe, depending on what you needed - there's a lot of things where I'll just tell you flat out what you're trying to do is uneconomical and a bad idea. 1: Well, I'd really like it if you could check out some of my equipment sometime. FC, internal monologue: WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE FC, external monologue: Bring it by the gun show this weekend and I'll see what I can do. I crack an uneasy smile as she gets up to go use the bathroom. I decide it's time to get the fuck out of here. 8:11 Making my escape plan proves to be a little tougher than I expected. The parking at the venue at the lake is dark and unlit and I have to navigate my way back to my car in the dark using the light from my phone. I reach into my jacket and I realize that their card is still inside. Fuck. I gotta go back. I turn around and head back to the gift table and I use some ninja recon skills I picked up in catholic school to make sure Ally is nowhere nearby. The coast is clear. I walk up to the little birdcage they have for cards, drop mine in confidently and get ready to turn on my heel and leave. I start making my way back to the parking lot when Seth is just walking out of the bathroom next to the gift table. 1: Hey man, you heading home? FC: I am now, forgot to drop off your card. 1: Ally thought you left without saying goodbye to her, so she asked me for your number. I gave it to her. FC: Oh dear lord. 1: What? FC: Did you hear that woman? "If I was single, you'd be the perfect guy!" Those words are not in a vocabulary of any married woman I know. 1: Dude, you just gotta chill out and go with the flow man. It's not your marriage. If she wants a piece of you, cut her off a slice. FC: Are you serious? 1: When I met Lisa, she was still married to Freddie. Look at us now, 7 years later and we're happy. You want to be happy, don't you? FC: Yeah but.... 1: No but's! Go storm the castle! I gotta go, but I'll catch you at the afterparty tomorrow night! You going? FC: Yeah at your house right? 1: Yeah, what time the gun show wrap up? FC: 4, so I'll be out by 5. 1: I got steaks going on the grill at 3, I'll get save a nice one for you. You still a medium rare guy? FC: You know it! 1: I think Ally is gonna be there too, you two should get to know each other a little better. FC: That's what I'm afraid of! Seth goes back to his wedding, I hop in the car and drive home. It's almost 10PM as I approach the Jersey mikes by my house. I stop in to grab a sandwich for Sunday. Just as I walk up I hear one of the sandiwch makers swear she's going to slit the throat of the next person who orders a sandwich. Eep. I tell her I need a giant 9. She starts making me one. I ask her if she's trying to get out of here right at 10? She says yeah, she's trying to catch the end of the Yankees/Red Sox game. I tell her my old man was from Brighton and my mom was from Elmhurst, so there's no love lost there. We have a laugh. She caught the Yankees pummeling the A's in the wild card on Wednesday. I whip out my phone and check the score for her. Yankees are up 6-2. I tell her she should be able to catch the end of it at home or whatever sports bar she's going to. She tells me she's going to the outback steakhouse the next block over to watch it and they better have the game on when she rolls up in 15. I tell her I'll do her one better. I dated the bartender there (once, she friendzoned me) and I'll message her on facebook to have it on for you. It is at this moment, I am asked for the second time that evening - from a strange woman I've just met - where have I been all her life? I head home, throw my sandwich in the fridge and head to bed wondering WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE? Did FC like get game all of a sudden? Donald Trump is President. The Eagles won the super bowl. You can't make this shit up. I got one more day at the gun show too. Postscript: As I write this, it's Columbus day and the Indians, the Redskins and Braves all got their asses handed to them. We truly live in interesting times.
2018.10.08 13:20 TheWCAOfficialWCA Competition Announcement Thread for Week 40 of 2018
Hi /cubers! Here is the list of competitions announced since Monday 2018-10-01. For more information please visit the corresponding websites :) Disclaimer: continents correspond to the WCA interpretation. The full list can be found here. (Dates are year-month-day)
2018.10.06 03:29 MosF94A Guide to Every <= £5.5m Midfielder & Forward
Carrying on from my thread on bargain-basement goalkeepers and defenders from the other day (https://www.reddit.com/FantasyPL/comments/9l3kgw/a_guide_to_every_44m_goalkeeper_defende), here I'll be looking at midfield/attacking enablers. I've gone for a slightly different format, ordered by team, because the number of cheap midfielders in the game is ridiculously high (Leicester alone have 12 midfielders priced <= £5.5m), and opted for £5.5m as the upper limit because it's just below the value of the popular (rightly so) cheap picks like Fraser, Gudmundsson, Ings and Jimenez. There are probably (definitely) even more non-options to sift through than last time, so particular players of interest (for whatever reasons) will be bolded, so if you're short on time, skip to those. And like last time, if I've got anything wrong, please let me know! ARSENAL In midfield: Xhaka (£5.3m) will grab a couple of bangers and assists from corners a season, but will blank much more frequently and get loads of yellows, so he's a poor option, as ever. Iwobi (£5.5m) has decent returns (1 goal, 2 assists) from his limited minutes so far, but barring injuries won't play enough to be worth serious consideration. Guendouzi (£4.5m) has lost his place to Torreira (£4.9m), who is too defensive to be enticing, though should strengthen Arsenal's defence through his presence. Maitland-Niles (£4.4m) was playing at left-back before he got injured, and is unlikely to play many minutes when everyone's fit. Elneny (£4.3m) is interesting insofar as he's one of only 3 midfielders currently priced at £4.3m, but hasn't played a single minute yet, so would only be worth considering if you're Wildcarding, have 5 playable defenders but need that extra £0.1m to get the squad you want... Up front: N/A BOURNEMOUTH In midfield: Brooks (£5.0m) is an intriguing option - I saw him play a lot for my team (Sheffield United) last year, and he's extremely talented: a great dribbler, great technique, good creativity: but he's still quite raw, has already missed a few big chances this season, and may be about to lose his place to the returning Stanislas, so I wouldn't recommend buying him at present, but he's one for the watchlist for sure. Lerma (£4.5m) looks to be nailed, but offers little going forward (the penalty assist last week was quite flukey) and is a yellow card magnet - 3 in 4 starts this season, 16(!) in 25 games for Levante last year. Surman (£4.8m) and Gosling (£4.9m) won't play enough to be worth their prices, while Lewis Cook (£4.8m) should be starting alongside Lerma, and is a talented deep-lying playmaker, but offers little from an FPL perspective. Pugh (£4.4m) has yet to feature, and probably won't play much throughout the season. Ibe (£5.1m) has barely played and appears to be out of favour. Up front: Mousset (£5.0m) features sporadically, and only plays a handful of minutes when he does BRIGHTON In midfield: Knockaert (£5.5m) is an exciting option who's been hyped a fair bit recently; he's already got 3 assists, compared to 1 last season, scored a lovely goal against Spurs, has spoken about his battle with depression last year and how much better he's feeling now, and he looks very lively - I do worry, when Jahanbakhsh, Izquierdo and Gross are fit/up to speed, to what extent they'll be splitting minutes, but for now he looks like a very good pick. March (£5.0m) has started every match so far, but offers fewer attacking returns and is likely to lose his spot sooner or later. Propper (£4.9m) has started every game so far, and chipped in with a few assists last year, but there are better options at his price. Bissouma (£4.8m) looks like quite a lively player, but lacking in end product and perhaps isn't attacking enough to be an FPL option. Stephens (£4.4m) is interesting, because he's one of (if not the) most nailed £4.4m options, can grab the occasional assist (3 last year) and is on the way (-85% and counting according to fplstatistics) to dropping to £4.3m. He's currently struggling with an injury, but when fit he's pretty much the perfect enabler. Kayal (£4.4m) is his back-up. Up front: Locadia (£5.4m) tends to come off the bench, and doesn't offer a great deal of goal-threat when he does. Andone (£5.0m), on the other hand, could become an exciting option - he's been injured and is only now returning, so hasn't played and PL football yet, but should provide tough competition for Glenn Murray. He scored 12 goals for Deportivo in his first season in La Liga (faring less well last year in a poor team), is a real handful for defenders, and should suit Brighton's style of play. Not someone to bring in until he gets regular starts, which could be a while with Murray having scored an impressive 5 goals in 8 games, but he's one of very few forwards at his price with the potential to score a decent number of goals this season - if he starts to start. BURNLEY In midfield: Lennon (£5.0m) has played every minute so far this season, and got a great double return in GW6, but I don't expect him to get many returns throughout the season; his FPL pedigree isn't great, Burnley's fixtures turn pretty grim pretty soon, and he may soon lose his place to Brady (£5.4m), who looked lively before injury curtailed his season last year, and may become a decent differential once he's back to full fitness, though he's more likely to provide assists than goals. Westwood (£4.5m) is one of the highest scoring £4.5ms, bagging 2 assists in his last 2 games, and could be a tempting option, but I suspect he'll lose his place in the coming weeks to the returning Defour (£5.4m), who is himself too defensive-minded to provide anything close to decent FPL value. Cork (£4.8m) was good value last year, but is too expensive for this year for his very limited attacking potential. Hendrick (£5.4m) will get the occasional attacking return, but not enough to justify his price. McNeil (£4.5m) probably won't get many minutes. Up front: Vokes (£5.3m) has started the last 3 games and grabbed a goal vs Cardiff, but with Wood, Barnes and Vydra also at the club there is no guarantee that this will continue, so he's probably too much of a gamble at his price CARDIFF In midfield: Camarasa (£4.5m) has started the last 6 matches, 3 in centre-mid and 3 on the wing, and has grabbed a goal against Arsenal; he isn't an overly attacking player, but is a bit more creative and playing in a more advanced role than most players at his price. Murphy (£4.8m) is a more natural winger and a more likely goal-threat (grabbing 7 goals for Norwich last season), and should see more starts after his goal vs Burnley - though I'd want to see him playing more consistent minutes before considering bringing him in. Ward (£4.5m), as an OOP striker, is a popular option, with a bigger upside than any other player in his price-bracket; however, there's also the risk in any given week of him only playing a handful of minutes. If you're looking for reliable 2-pointers, I'd avoid him. If you're willing to take the risk of fairly frequent 1-pointers and the occasional 0 for the chance of a 7-pointer 3 or 4 times a season, then he's your man. Ralls (£4.8m) looks a more reliable pick, scoring 7 goals with 4 assists last season, taking many of Cardiff's set-pieces and only missing 12 minutes to date, but has yet to record a single goal or assist this season. Hoilett (£5.2m) also performed impressively last season, with 9 goals and 11 assists, but has yet to demonstrate this quality in the PL. Arter (£4.9m) is too prone to yellow cards and not prone enough to attacking returns. Paterson (£5.2m) also scored plenty of goals (10) in the Championship, but he's another one who's yet to step up, and has struggled for consistent minutes. Mendez-Laing (£4.8m) is out for another month or so with an injury, while Damour (£4.4m) and Harris (£4.5m) have yet to feature. Neither has the injured Gunnarson (£4.4m), who is close to dropping to £4.3m, but has been a regular starter in the Championship when fit, with just a hint of goal-threat about him too; if he does drop, and if he does start when he's fit, he'll be the best £4.3m mid that we have. Up front: Zohore (£4.8m) has been criticised by Warnock, player far fewer minutes than were expected of him, and not looked up to the PL. Madine (£4.5m) has played even fewer minutes, though not as few as the £4.4m strikers, so that's a small plus. Reid (£5.3m) had a great season for Bristol City last year, grabbing 19 goals and 7 assists, and is probably the most likely of Cardiff's strikers to find his feet in the PL eventually, but he's yet to score and didn't feature at all against Burnley, so he's one to watch from a distance for now. CHELSEA In midfield: Jorginho (£5.1m) would be a great option if players scored a point for every 50 passes completed, but they don't, and he doesn't offer much goal-threat or assist-threat playing as deep as he does, so he's a poor pick. Kante (£5.0m) is more interesting; he hasn't got any attacking returns since GW1, and the box-to-box role Sarri has deployed him in doesn't suit him perfectly, but it looks like he'll continue to play in a slightly more advanced role than Jorg, and if he can adapt well to this more offensive role, he could be a decent option - I'm not saying he could do a Yaya Toure, but perhaps he could become a 4/5 goals and 4/5 assists a season player, which would provide pretty good value at his price - his quick free-kick through-ball to Hazard against Liverpool was a positive sign. Loftus-Cheek (£5.2m) isn't playing enough to be worth consideration, unfortunately, but could be an exciting option if another PL team loans him in January. Drinkwater (£4.8m) hasn't played yet and doesn't look likely to, and Ampadu (£4.4m) has not been trusted with PL football yet. The same applies to Hudson-Odoi (£4.3m), one of only 3 midfielders at his price, and the closest to dropping to £4.2m (though still a long way away) - if he does drop again, and he may do before Christmas, he'd be the stand-alone cheapest of all midfielders; if this was combined with a loan move to a lower-half side in January where he'd be getting regular minutes (and we all know Chelsea love a loan), he could become an excellent option. Up front: N/A CRYSTAL PALACE In midfield: McArthur (£4.8m) has scored 5 goals in each of his last 2 seasons, but seems to be playing fairly deep this season and may face competition for his place from Kouyate (£4.8m), who is himself too defensive a player to consider. Kaikai (£4.4m) has managed a grand total of 3 points over the last 3 seasons, one in each, which is kind of impressive in a way but definitely not somebody you want in your squad. Puncheon (£4.3m) may actually be a good option for his price; he hasn't played any PL football since he did his ACL in January, but he's been back in the squad for the last couple of weeks and played 90 minutes in the League Cup. I wouldn't expect him to be starting games, and ACLs are extremely tough injuries to recover from, but he's the club captain, still only 31, and may get a fair few minutes from the bench as the season wears on. Up front: Wickham (£4.9m) is long-term injured, and isn't prolific even when he's fit. Sorloth (£4.9m) was expected to feature more this season, but has yet to start a game, despite Benteke missing 3 games through injury, as Jordan Ayew has been preferred. EVERTON In midfield: Gueye (£4.9m) is a sure starter when fit, but his price is too steep for a defensive mid. Davies (£5.3m) is a more creative player, but not a huge attacking threat and unsure of starts. Schneiderlin (£4.4m) also isn't sure enough of starts to be a tempting option, especially with Andre Gomes (£5.4m) likely to start when he recovers from injury - he too doesn't offer enough of an attacking threat for his price (there seems to be a pattern emerging here...) McCarthy (£4.4m) is long-term injured, Baningime (£4.4m) won't play many minutes, and nor will Dowell (£4.5m). Lookman (£5.1m) did really well on loan at RB Leipzig last season, and I was hoping he'd get plenty of minutes this year and prove a bit of a bargain, but he's barely featured so far, and a lot would have to change for him to become an option. Up front: Niasse (£5.2m) only features sporadically, and always from the bench. Calvert-Lewin (£5.4m) has started the last 4 games, but isn't a great finisher and is unlikely to keep his spot in the mid-to-long-term. FULHAM In midfield: Seri (£5.5m) looks like a decent pick primarily because of he's a bit of a bonus-point magnet - his baseline BPS is really good even when he doesn't get an assist/goal (he got 2 bonus points in the 1-1 draw with Watford without contributing to a goal), and he's got 1 goal and 1 assist so far, which is fine but not great - but in his best season with Nice, he got 7 goals and 9 assists, which is very similar to Gross's numbers from last year, who is another player with that ability to get bonus points without goal contributions, and we know how highly he scored last year - so Seri too might score better in FPL than his returns would suggest. Cairney (£4.8m) is another exciting option, and perhaps will play in a slightly more attacking role than Seri, when he returns from injury shortly; 6 goals and 5 assists in the Championship last year, 13(!) goals and 10 assists the previous year - if he has a good season, 4/5 goals and 4/5 assists isn't out of the question, which would be very good value at his price. Zambo-Anguissa (£4.4m), Johansen (£5.2m) and McDonald (£4.4m) have been battling to lock-down a spot, and I expect Zambo to win out, long-term, as the 3rd man in Fulham's midfield - if he does, he'll be a solid if unspectacular option at his price. Ayite (£4.4m) is a very attacking player (unusual at this price bracket) but unlikely to get enough minutes to be reliable - Kebano (£4.4m) is injured, but will be even further down the pecking-order when fit. Cisse (£4.4m) has yet to feature, and I don't expect that to change in the near future. Up front: Kamara (£4.4m) hasn't played since GW2, and only has a place in any squad if you're playing 352/442 and have no interest in ever playing with 3 up-front (that's a big issue with 2-striker formations, that it's tough to find a reliable 3rd striker that costs <=£4.5m and can reliably score you 1/2 points if needed, whereas there are plenty of midfielders who can fulfil this role). Vietto (£5.5m) has started the last 5 games and raked up an impressive 3 assists, but the price still seems a bit steep for a reverse-OOP wingeinside-forward who has yet to score a goal. HUDDERSFIELD In midfield: Billing (£4.5m) has started every game and grabbed a goal, making him a popular, and pretty decent, option - however, he does like a yellow card, and it's unlikely (as a defensive mid) that he scores many more goals this season. Hogg (£4.4m) plays a similar role, but is less assured of starting, while Williams (£4.5m) and Bacuna (£4.4m), have yet to feature. Mooy (£5.3m) is a genuinely good, creative player, but he plays too deep to get many attacking returns. None of Pritchard (£4.8m), van la Parra (£4.8m), Sabiri (£4.5m), Sobhi (£4.8m), Diakhaby (£4.7m) have been able to nail down an AM/winger spot in the team, and until someone does, none of them are viable (even by Huddersfield standards). Up front: Quaner (£4.4m), perhaps the least technically proficient attacking player in the league, has yet to feature after last season's heroics, and like Kamara only has a place in any squad if you're playing 352/442 and have no interest in ever playing with 3 up-front. In his limited minutes, Kachunga (£4.9m) has played as a reverse-OOP winger. Depoitre (£5.2m) actually managed a relatively decent 6 goals last season, but Wagner's inability to decide whether he prefers him or Mounier makes him unreliable even as bench fodder. LEICESTER In midfield: Gray (£5.5m), currently injured until after the international break, usually starts when fit, and is a lively, direct player, but is lacking in end product and consistency - he's worth watching though, because if he can find those 2 things he could be a good differential. Mendy (£4.5m) has started the last 6 games and grabbed a flukey assist for a Maddison free-kick - he won't get many attacking returns, but his consistent minutes in a team with good fixtures that is improving defensively make him a solid option at his price. Old favourite Albrighton (£5.3m) has played fewer minutes this season, and is not at present a viable budget option. Ndidi (£4.9m) is too expensive for a primarily defensive player. Adrien Silva (£4.9m) has seen his minutes dwindle into nothing. Ghezzal (£5.3m) has yet to nail down a starting spot, and may take a while to settle. Amartey (£4.5m) has played a lot of minutes as a reverse-OOP right-back, but when Pereira has adjusted to the PL I expect him to shift back to right-back and Amartey to be dropped. Iborra (£4.8m) has played very few minutes, James (£4.4m) is long-term injured and Diabate (£4.7m) and Choudhury (£4.4m) have yet to feature. Up front: Okazaki (£5.3m) is aging, and has barely featured this season LIVERPOOL In midfield: Wijnaldum (£5.5m) has started every game so far, and grabbed a goal, but his role in Liverpool's team isn't particularly attacking - he scored 1 goal with 2 assists last year, which pales in comparison to his returns from previous seasons, and this season he's unlikely to score many more. Henderson (£5.3m) plays in an even more defence-focused role and hasn't been as consistent starter as you might expect so far this season. Up front: Solanke (£4.8m) hasn't played yet, is unlikely to play much, and hasn't impressed much when he has played. MAN CITY In midfield: Fernandinho (£5.4m) got decent returns last season (5 goals, 4 assists), but he looks to have started regressing slightly and his increased price makes him an unappealing option. Foden (£4.7m) is unlikely to feature enough to be worth considering (maybe next year), Diaz (£4.8m) will feature even less, and when Zinchenko (£4.8m) features it will probably be as a reverse-OOP left-back. Up-front: N/A MAN UNITED In midfield: Fellaini (£5.0m) - it feels ugly recommending Fellaini as a potentially decent FPL pick, though probably no more ugly than it feels for Utd fans to watch their team hoof it up to him as their only plan to get back into a game they're losing... But that's what could make him a decent pick; I'm unconvinced that he'll be a long-term starter (he has started the last 4, and played 90 in all of them), but if he is, the combination of regular minutes with his aerial goal-threat (4 goals last season in 611 minutes, 11 goals in his best season for Everton) could make him a viable option - unlikely, perhaps, but possible. Matic (£5.0m) should be a much more guaranteed starter, though lacks the goal-threat to be an interesting option, while Herrera (£5.0m) lacks both goal threat and likelihood of starting, as do Pereira (£4.7m) and McTominay (£4.4m), although the latter did start against West Ham. Up front: N/A NEWCASTLE In midfield: Diame (£5.0m) and Shelvey (£5.4m) are the first-choice centre-mid pairing, and neither offer the likelihood of very many attacking returns. Kenedy (£4.9m) was hotly tipped for a good season back in August, but has since floundered, putting in his best performance of the season as a reverse-OOP left-back against Leicester; still, there's a decent chance Kenedy returns to the wing, turns it around and starts to deliver once Newcastle's great run of fixtures starts in GW9, so keep an eye on him. Murphy (£4.9m) and Atsu (£5.2m) are rotation options at a push, as is Ki Sung-Yueng (£4.8m). Hayden (£4.4m) is a card-magnet and will only play against big teams to solidify the midfield, while Longstaff (£4.5m) is unlikely to play at all. Up front: Joselu (£5.0m) has played a lot of minutes so far, and has managed to score 2 goals with decent headed finishes. However, even if he's the cheapest starting striker in the league, the fact remains that he is not a good player, and Rondon will surely be taking his place one he overcomes his niggle. SOUTHAMPTON In midfield: Hojbjerg (£4.5m) is the standout midfielder in his price-bracket. He doesn't have a great history of goalscoring, so expecting him to repeat his exploits from a couple of weeks ago with any sort of frequency is probably unrealistic. However, he is getting in some good positions and showing more attacking intent than you might expect from a £4.5m player, and seems to have solidified himself as the partner of Lemina (£5.0m), who perhaps has less attacking threat at a higher price. Redmond (£5.3m) hasn't quite lived up to his New Henry moniker (understatement of the millennium...), has frustrated a lot of FPL players in the past, and has yet to record a goal or assist this year - however, he has looked lively, playing every minute of every game, and he's the kind of player that, once he gets one goal, could go on a bit of a hot-streak after a boost in confidence, so I wouldn't dismiss him outright. Romeu (£4.4m) is only likely to play against the big teams to solidify the midfield. Ward-Prowse (£5.2m) and Davis (£4.7m) have barely featured and appear to be out of favour. Armstrong (£5.2m) is still settling into the PL and has yet to find a role that suits him in the Saints' team. Up front: Long (£4.8m) has played plenty of minutes, but as per the last couple of seasons looks about as far from prolific as it's possible for a striker to be... SPURS In midfield: Dier (£4.8m) and Dembele (£4.9m) are the first choice pairing, but neither are too defensively-minded to be FPL options. Winks (£5.5m) is a more creative player, but is unlikely to play enough, or in an advanced enough role, to be worth his price. Sissoko (£4.9m) won't play much, and is rarely good when he does. Wanyama (£4.9m) has been injured a lot over the last season, hopefully for Spurs' sake he regains his place in their midfield soon, but he won't get many FPL returns even if he does, except for his annual banger or two. Amos (£4.4m) and Nkoudou (£4.9m) won't feature at all often Up front: N/A WATFORD In midfield: Hughes (£5.0m) is a very good option; 60+ minutes in every match so far, 1 goal, 1 assist, and he usually looks quite lively. The big question for Hughes is whether he keeps his spot, or is moved to the centre (which could benefit him, being his natural position), when Deulofeu (£5.4m) returns and (presumably) plays primarily on the right-wing. Deulofeu could himself be a good differential - he looked good on loan last season before he was stricken by injury, and bagged 2 goals & 9 assists in under 1400 minutes during his best season with Everton. Capoue (£5.0m) has played every minute so far, but his price is too steep for a holding midfielder, especially when he could lose his place to Chalobah (£4.5m) in the nearish future. Cleverley (£5.0m) is out for a while with an achilles injury, Sema (£4.8m) is an occasional sub and nothing more, at present, while Quina (£4.4m) is still young and unlikely to see much PL football this season. Up front: Okaka (£5.0m) has yet to feature this season. Success (£4.5m) has featured in every game this season, off the bench for between 1 and 20 minutes, making him the best out of a motley bunch of £4.5m forwards in this year's game. Despite scoring a couple of goals, Gray hasn't been overly impressive, so can Success steal his spot at some point this season? Maybe he can - and then he really would be good value WEST HAM In midfield: Noble (£4.9m) looks a surprisingly decent option - he's already got 2 assists, playing in a slightly more advanced role than in recent years, with 2 more defensive midfielders alongside him, and is probably on penalties. Though when Wilshere (£4.9m) returns, he may take up this more advanced role in the midfield 3; a lot has been made of how West Ham have improved since Wilshere's been out, which is true, but is more to do with Pellegrini switching to a more balanced formation with more midfield stability than anything Jack had been doing wrong - playing as the most advanced and creative of a midfield 3 may well be the position to finally see Wilshere thrive; if he can stay free from injury, of course. If Obiang (£4.4m) can keep his place in the midfield 3 he looks like a good option at his price - though, if I owned him, I would worry that he may be the one to make way when Wilshere returns (assuming Wilshere does eventually find his way back into the starting XI). Masuaku (£4.4m) is another good budget-enabler, despite playing as a reverse-OOP left-back - he seems to be strongly favoured over Cresswell by Pellegrini, though there may be some rotation throughout the season. Snodgrass (£5.4m) won't start frequently enough to be worth consideration, Carlos Sanchez (£4.5m) is probably out injured for the season, and youngster Diangana (£4.5m) is unlikely to feature much. Up-front: Big Andy Carroll (£5.4m) is still injured, and very likely to keep up his remarkable record of failing to play more than 1500 minutes since the 12/13 season. When he plays, he can be really dangerous, but he doesn't play nearly often enough to be a viable option. WOLVES In midfield: Moutinho (£5.5m) and Neves (£5.2m) is a great real-life centre-mid combo, but for FPL, they aren't great options at all. You'll get a couple of screamers from both of them across a season, a couple of assists each too, but not much more than that; their real strength lies in dictating and spreading the ball. Costa (£4.9m) has started every game, but is always subbed off early, and has yet to deliver an attacking return - it's a bit like the Pedro/Willian situation at Chelsea - whoever comes off the bench and is running at a tired defence seems to be the likelier to grab attacking returns - and the man who comes on for Costa is usually/always Traore (£5.5m) - not someone I'd recommend bringing in now, because he isn't playing enough minutes, and he's notoriously unpredictable/lacking in end product, but he's so dangerous, and his decision making improved a lot under Tony Pulis at Middlesborough last year. If he can work on the consistency of his delivery and his finishing, he could become an incredible option, but it's too early to be confident of this happening. Cavaleiro (£5.3m) played a similar "super-sub" role against Southampton last week, scoring with his first touch of the season, but I expect Traore to outperform him more often than not. Youngster Gibbs-White (£4.4m) will only appear sporadically off the bench, while Dendoncker (£4.4m) may eventually steal Bennett's spot as Wolves right-sided centre-back, but that's unlikely to happen while Wolves continue to be very defensively solid. Up front: it's been a long time since Bonatini (£4.9m) scored a league goal, and I wouldn't bet on him scoring anytime soon - I doubt Jimenez has any worries about keeping his starting spot. That's your lot, thanks for reading (if you read it all, I'll be impressed!), and I hope there's some helpful info in there among the copious dismissals of copious terrible options... TL/DR: there are barely any good striking options <= £5.5m, while in midfield, there may be quite a few decent options...
The date is March 14 of this year, and Pep Guardiola is making the short journey from the seven-star Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi to the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, where a special guest is waiting to greet him.
His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the billionaire owner of Manchester City, has invited Guardiola to his office for a catch-up and to personally thank the Catalan for leading the team to the brink of a third league title in seven seasons. Sheikh Mansour, accompanied by Khaldoon Al Mubarak, the City chairman, greets Guardiola with a handshake and hug before showing him around his office. Guardiola, who is in Abu Dhabi with his squad for a warm-weather training camp, is then invited to take a look at something that is of great personal pride to Sheikh Mansour — his trophy cabinet. The Sheikh, a member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, has a full-size replica of all six trophies City have won since he bought the club in 2008. Each is encased in a transparent box. Sheikh Mansour points to one of the two Premier League trophies on display and says: “Maybe we will have another one soon,” drawing laughter from Guardiola and Al-Mubarak inside the air-conditioned room, which offers those present a respite from the baking temperatures outside. That hope has turned into reality. City’s fifth title in their 124-year history was secured yesterday after Manchester United fell to a surprise defeat by West Bromwich Albion. Sergio Agüero gets City’s season-long goal rush under way with the first against Brighton Sergio Agüero gets City’s season-long goal rush under way with the first against Brighton GERRY PENNY/EPA The Sergio Agüero-inspired title win of 2012 may have been the most dramatic trophy success, but this season’s triumph seems more significant purely because of the way City have swept all before them. City’s Champions League exit against Liverpool was disappointing — as was their league defeat by United — but their performances in the league this season have been near faultless. Guardiola’s men have claimed the title in record-equalling time, losing just twice, and crucially they have done it playing some of the best football this country has seen. They have made it look easy, but of course it has not been. So how exactly did City win the league in such impressive fashion? Those close to Guardiola say there are three factors behind the club’s title triumph: 1) GUARDIOLA’S WORK RATE AND MODUS OPERANDI Given his touchline histrionics and tense demeanour in press conferences, there is a perception from outside that Guardiola is something of a control freak who does not know how to switch off. But more often than not, he is so relaxed that he regularly potters around his office at the City Football Academy (CFA), the club’s £200 million training ground, with his shoes off. He will walk along the corridors of the first-team building in his socks talking to staff. “How are you? What have you been up to?” he will ask. The same approach applies to his relationship with his players. Contrary to popular belief, he does not insist on sitting his players down and subjecting them to video clip after video clip of action on his laptop. Only on a couple of occasions per season will he beckon a player into the office for a chat or to point out something he has spotted during a video analysis session. “Come, come,” he will say softly. “Let me show you this.” Guardiola has an unrelenting belief in his methods, but he always wants feedback from his players and coaches too. He is not an authoritarian. “Do you like the way we play?” he asked his players in a training session this season, conscious perhaps of the failures of last term. The unanimous answer was “yes”. Feedback is welcomed on match days too. In the final team meeting before City’s coach departs from the CFA and makes the two-minute drive across the road to the Etihad Stadium, Guardiola’s last words to his players are always: “Any questions?” The focus is on the collective. Every time he wins the manager of the month award, Guardiola insists on all his coaching staff being present in the photo. Guardiola’s coaches are well liked and respected. The assistant coach Mikel Arteta’s work on the training ground and in video analysis, has been key to improving City’s possession game. Guardiola becomes tense only on match days or the day before a game when he has to conduct his pre-match press conferences. It is no secret that Guardiola does not enjoy media engagements. During his press conferences, he fidgets a lot in the 25 minutes he sits on his swivell chair at the top table in the press auditorium at the CFA. In the press conference that preceded the derby, he scratched his nose repeatedly and buried his head in his hands when asked a question about the possibility of winning the title against their neighbours. At one point, he even started lining up the Dictaphones on the desk to keep himself occupied. His first media briefing at the CFA took place in a small 4mx3m room. About 15 journalists crammed inside. Guardiola looked overwhelmed and uncomfortable, holding himself with his arms across his chest. It is not that he has a hatred for the media, he just would prefer to be out on the training pitch. On bumping into me at the CFA recently, he asked with genuine concern: “How are you? What have you been doing? How is your newspaper doing? I read some bad things about jobs in the industry in Spain . . .” Ask those in the highest and most influential roles within the club to describe Guardiola in one word and the most common reply is “genius”. But there is little point in having such a brilliant technical mind if you do not have drive and ambition to go with it. Guardiola has those traits in abundance. April 1, the day after City had recorded their 27th league win of the season, was designated as a “recovery day” for the players who had taken part in the 3-1 victory away to Everton. Raheem Sterling, Vincent Kompany and Kevin De Bruyne were told they just had to report for a massage and gym work. Those who did not feature at Goodison Park were told to head out to the training pitch. Some managers palm off recovery-day training sessions with squad players to their assistants, but not Guardiola. The Catalan always wants to be in his natural habitat — out on the grass. He was soaked through in the torrential rain, bouncing up and down on his feet, animatedly showing Lukas Nmecha, the academy striker, how to attack the box; advising Tosin Adarabioyo, the 20-year-old, on defensive positioning; and encouraging Oleksandr Zinchenko, the young versatile Ukrainian, to try new things. “The players appreciate that kind of gesture,” one training-ground source said. It is this kind of dedication that makes Guardiola such a popular figure and such a superb coach. Guardiola’s working day usually lasts about ten hours and he will work six or seven days per week. On a non-match day, the 47-year-old will set off from his £2.7 million flat in the Deansgate area of Manchester at about 8.30am and make the 15-minute drive east to the CFA. There, he will have breakfast in the canteen in the first-team building with his players and staff. Sometimes Ferran Soriano, City’s chief executive, will join his long-time friend and they will talk about football or politics as they eat fruit or a bowl of cereal. After breakfast, the players head to the gym or the massage tables while Guardiola and his many coaches set the training session up that they had meticulously planned the previous afternoon. After a warm-up led by Lorenzo Buenaventura, the fitness coach, training starts at 11 with a series of “rondos” — a game of keep ball in which six players try to keep the ball away from two tacklers within a box no larger than a few square metres. The aim is to improve a player’s first touch and passing ability in tight spaces. It is no coincidence that many of City’s goals this season have come from lightning-quick one-twos on the edge of the box. Given how much emphasis there is on their ability to play it out from the back, it will come as no surprise that Ederson and Claudio Bravo, the goalkeepers, take part in the rondos. Such is the speed at which the players flick the ball to each other during this exercise that new signings are said to take a few days to get up to the level of their contemporaries. Tactical and positional work follows, but sometimes this can be as short as 15 minutes as Guardiola is wary of overburdening his players. Everyone then retreats inside. Guardiola starts planning for the following day while the players have a massage or a swim in the pool before they convene for lunch. It was not the case during Manuel Pellegrini’s reign, but under Guardiola it is compulsory for players to have lunch and breakfast at the CFA. The former Barcelona coach wants to ensure his players do not gain weight and he insists they stick to a healthy diet of lean meat, vegetables and fish. Instructing your players to eat two meals per day at the training ground is an abnormal request for professional footballers, but City’s squad do not mind. “They know it helps create a positive environment,” one official said. The players go home at about 2pm, but Guardiola stays to analyse videos of his team and the opposition, and plan for the following day. The players enjoy training much more than they did under Pellegrini. The Chilean’s sessions were more “formulaic”, according to one player. Guardiola has made other changes that have been welcomed by the players too. After matches, the squad used to eat at home. Given that some of them live an hour away, players were often not eating their evening meal until late, which was unhealthy. Now they have a meal laid on for them in the players’ lounge at the CFA straight after games. Players can take their meals home with them if they want and they are given cardboard cups of mixed nuts to take away too. And rather than stop in the basic dormitories of the CFA the night before matches, the players now stay at home with their families and travel in on the morning of the match. “Pep knows that because his players play around 60 times per year — often twice a week — they get very little time with their families,” Martí Perarnau, Guardiola’s biographer, says. “If they stop in a hotel the night before every match, maintaining a good personal relationship with your family is practically impossible. For that reason, he prefers that they stay at home. He started to do it from day one at Barcelona and he kept doing it at Bayern. The Bayern players were surprised to begin with but they liked it a lot.” Home time for the City manager is about 7pm. Because of his relentless work rate, he only has a short amount of free time, which he likes to spend with his wife, Cristina, and their three children Maria, Màrius and Valentina. During international breaks and in the summer, Guardiola likes to play golf. He has played several courses in Greater Manchester, one of which is Denton Golf Club, the £700 per year course to the east of the city. He also likes box sets. Last season, he used to watch Narcos, the drama series about Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, and American political series House of Cards. Guardiola’s key staff Xabi Mancisidor, Head of goalkeeping (top, left) A former goalkeeper for Mallorca in Spain, Mancisidor joined City as goalkeeping coach under Manuel Pellegrini , who he worked with at Malaga. Guardiola made him head of goalkeeping upon his arrival in 2016. Carles Planchart, Performance analysis coach (top, second left) Renowned for his attention to detail, Planchart has been by Guardiola’s side since the City manager began his coaching career with Barcelona B in 2007. His role involves analysing collective and individual tactical aspects to help make improvements to individual players and the team. Lorenzo Buenaventura, Fitness coach (top, second right) Another of Guardiola’s trusted lieutenants, Buenaventura worked with the Catalan at Barcelona and Bayern Munich. He plays an important role in helping City play with the intensity that is a hallmark of a Guardiola team. Manel Estiarte, Head of player support and protocol (top, right) Having worked with Guardiola at Bayern Munich, Estiarte, who is an Oylympic gold medallist having played for Spain’s water polo team at six Olympics, is a trusted friend of Guardiola and has a wealth of sporting knowledge that the manager like to tap into. Mikel Arteta, Assistant coach (bottom, left) The former Everton and Arsenal midfielder linked up with Guardiola in 2016 after deciding to end his playing career in north London. He was the first member of Guardiola’s coaching team to be officially confirmed and is one of his key assistants. Brian Kidd, Assistant coach (bottom, second left) A former Manchester United and Manchester City player, Kidd was assistant manager to Alex Ferguson at United and later joined City in 2009. He has worked under Roberto Mancini, Pellegrini and now Guardiola in his role as an assistant. Rodolfo Borrell, Assistant coach (bottom, second right) Borrell was Lionel Messi’s first coach at Barcelona and he also played a role in the development of the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta. He first moved to England when appointed technical director at Liverpool’s academy under Rafa Benitez. He joined City’s academy in 2014 before joining Guardiola’s staff in 2016. Domenec Torrent, Assistant coach (bottom, right) Perhaps Guardiola’s most trusted member of staff, Torrent has worked alongside the City manager at his previous managerial roles at Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Torrent, one of four assistant coaches, usually sits next to Guardiola on the bench. 2) DRESSING-ROOM UNITY An unrelenting commitment to hard work is not the only facet required in a title-winning team, of course. “Unless the players are with me, it will not work,” Guardiola tells his staff. Luckily for City, they very much are. “Harmonious” is an adjective one staff member uses to describe the atmosphere in the dressing room. Another says there is an “egalitarian” feel to the squad. Some of those who have worked for the club for more than a decade say this is the most united group of players they have seen. Senior figures at the club have noted that during goal celebrations there is never one player who breaks away to celebrate on their own. And in the majority of cases, the first thing the goal scorer does after the ball hits the back of the net is turn and point to the team-mate who set him up. It is fair to say that at times over the past two years, the bond between manager and players has been tested. It is understood that Joe Hart complained before being loaned to Torino at the start of last season that not enough of the squad were speaking English at the training ground. Other players were mystified by the tactics employed in last season’s Champions League last-16 defeat against Monaco. Others questioned why they had to fly to Spain to take part in a friendly against Girona, City’s sister club, which is also part-owned by a company fronted by Guardiola’s brother, Pere, in the second week of this season. Overall this season, however, observers have noted a huge improvement in the togetherness of the squad. It is less cliquey. Guardiola’s staff have spotted that unlike last year, during breakfast at the CFA, the Argentinians (Sergio Agüero and Nicolás Otamendi) will mix with the Portuguese-speaking quintet of Fernandinho, Gabriel Jesus, Ederson, Danilo and Bernardo Silva. John Stones and Kyle Walker will break off from Fabian Delph and Raheem Sterling to talk to Leroy Sané and Ilkay Gündogan, the German duo. So why are the squad closer now than they were last year? There are several reasons. Firstly, players have had time to adapt to their surroundings and working environment. Staff noticed during the pre-season tour of America last summer that Sané’s English had improved dramatically. He got the jokes he did not get last year. He understood the instructions of his team-mates that he did not understand the previous year. The personality of the signings City made in the summer has also made a big difference. In particular, the players warmed immediately to Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy, the two arrivals from Monaco. Silva, the first signing of the close season, started only four league games before Christmas, but has been out of the team only six times in the Premier League since the turn of the year. “He is always smiling, always laughing, always optimistic,” one colleague says. The Portuguese does not mind being on the end of a practical joke. This season he has been pelted with eggs by his team mates at the CFA, thrown into the swimming pool fully clothed and, on another occasion, his colleagues spray painted his shoes black and hung them from the ceiling by the laces. “It’s always Bernardo... always him,” says Kevin De Bruyne, the City playmaker, with a chuckle. Mendy has been injured for most of the season, but his impact on morale at the CFA has been profound, not just with regard to the players, but with staff too, from the kit men to the media team to the marketing graduates with whom he was playing beer pong at the Christmas party. The Frenchman was not drinking (he is teetotal) but he just fancied joining in with staff, many of who were startled to see the players mixing with everyone else from the club. That was a directive of the manager. At the party, which took place at the Menagerie bar in the city centre, just a stone’s throw from the Lowry Hotel where José Mourinho resides, Guardiola insisted there should be no ropes or barriers separating players from staff. They must mix, which does not happen at some other big clubs such as United. It is this kind of approach that has made Guardiola’s players feel a sense of belonging; they have a strong affinity for the club and the city. Guardiola wants to create a family environment within the squad. Before they headed to Menagerie in December, the players had their Christmas party at the CFA. They were encouraged to bring their families. An indoor ice rink was set up for the children. The squad have taken part in other activities together. They regularly play pool in their lounge at the CFA. Guardiola took them to the cinema to see La La Land last season. This year, Kompany organised a paintballing trip. The closeness of the squad is no more evident than in times of celebration and there have been plenty of those this season. When City flew to Abu Dhabi a couple of hours after their win over Stoke City last month, the players sang the Kolo Touré/Yaya Touré song during the flight, and another chant about City’s front three to the tune of The Archies’ 1969 release Sugar Sugar. “We’ve got Raz [Sterling], Sané Sané, and we’ve got Agüeroooo,” the lyrics went. Every victory has been celebrated with songs in the dressing room. The loudest celebrations came after the 1-0 win away to Chelsea. De Bruyne, the match-winner, and Delph, delayed their post-match TV interview when they walked off the pitch when they heard strains of “Ooooh Kevin De Bruyne” being sung from within the away dressing room ten yards away. “Give us a couple of minutes first please, we have to go and celebrate this with our team-mates,” De Bruyne said to the TV reporter. 3) THE PLAYERS Hard work and a unified dressing room will only get you so far in a title race. A manager has to have a squad blessed with an abundance of talent playing in the right way. There is an acceptance among the City hierarchy that they have spent a lot of money since Guardiola took over. “I’m a lucky guy,” the City manager said recently when speaking about the financial backing he has received from the board. Seventeen players have arrived at a total cost of almost £440 million. But for the most part, City have invested their money wisely. Of all the players Guardiola has signed, only Claudio Bravo and Nolito — now with Seville — have not lived up to expectations. City were ridiculed for paying £35 million — a world-record sum for a goalkeeper — when they signed Ederson last summer, but now some at the club believe he is worth three times as much. The same goes for Sané, a £37 million signing from Schalke, and Jesus, who cost £33 million. Although he will never say so in public out of respect to his players, Guardiola did not feel he had the squad at his disposal to win the title last season. The improvement in the full-back and goalkeeper positions last summer has made City into a title-winning team. Guardiola identified the goalkeeper position as a weak point when analysing Hart’s kicking during training sessions in Shenzhen on his first pre-season tour. The England goalkeeper kept putting the ball out of play when trying to chip to Xabier Mancisidor, the goalkeeper coach, on the touchline just 30 yards away. Guardiola inquired about signing Manuel Neuer, but Bayern Munich told him he was not for sale. Then they asked about Marc-André ter Stegen, but he had just been made Barcelona’s No 1. Bravo, who had been a first-team regular with Barça the previous season, was not a bad third choice, but just two or three months into last season, Guardiola reluctantly accepted the Chilean was not up to the task and Txiki Begiristain, the director of football, started the process of signing Ederson, whom they had scouted extensively, from Benfica. The Brazilian has been outstanding. He has the composure and technical ability that Bravo lacked, and he is extremely brave. Ederson transmits a calmness and confidence to his back four, which is part of the reason why City have conceded the fewest goals in the league. Full back was another area of concern for Guardiola when he took over. Guardiola considered buying a pair of new full backs straight away — Héctor Bellerín, of Arsenal, was sounded out — as he knew Pablo Zabaleta, Gaël Clichy, Aleksandar Kolarov and Bacary Sagna were not quick enough, but after a meeting with Soriano and Begiristain two summers ago, he decided against bringing two in because he felt it would cause too much upheaval after making six first-team signings. A year on, Walker, Mendy and Danilo joined the club and all four full backs from the previous year departed. All three new signings made a big impression on Guardiola in America, where they beat Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur. City’s only defeat came against United in which Ederson made an almighty gaffe, running out of his area only to be rounded by Romelu Lukaku, but Guardiola did not panic. With Bernardo Silva, three new, younger, more vibrant full backs and a confident goalkeeper in his squad, everything was falling into place. The manager and his players left their seats to mingle with staff on the flight home from Nashville last July. Songs were sung. “There was a feeling that it was the start of something special,” one staff member said. Not long into the season, Guardiola felt his decision to buy Walker and Mendy for a combined total of more than £100 million was justified, even though the latter suffered cruciate ligament damage against Crystal Palace in September. By the sixth match of the season, Walker and Mendy had already recorded more assists than Sagna, Zabaleta, Kolarov and Clichy had between them the previous year. But it was not just on the attacking front that the new full backs helped improve City. One of the reasons why Guardiola bought Walker and Mendy was because of the impact their presence in the team would have on Sterling and Sané. The previous season, there was a feeling within the City coaching staff that the two wingers were reluctant to get forward because they knew Zabaleta and Clichy would not be able to provide cover if Sterling or Sané lost the ball and the opposition hit on the break. Given Walker and Mendy’s pace, that was no longer the case. Mendy’s injury led to a big hole at left back, but Delph quickly adapted to the position. Guardiola does not feel he has been let down by any of his players this season. There are a number who have exceeded expectations, according to those who know him best. David Silva is playing the best football of his career even though he had to go through the trauma of seeing his partner, Yessica Suárez, give birth to their first son, Mateo, prematurely in December. Fernandinho’s work rate has been phenomenal, Guardiola’s staff concede. “Without him, none of this would be possible,” Guardiola said recently. Guardiola told Sterling he should be scoring 20 goals per season when he arrived at the club. This season, he has 22. But the one man who has impressed Guardiola more than any other this season is De Bruyne with 15 assists and seven goals in the league. Ask those in Guardiola’s inner circle why De Bruyne has had such an excellent season and they point to a decision the manager made last summer. In Guardiola’s first season, he formed a four-man senior players’ group, the members of which were Kompany, Fernandinho, David Silva and Agüero. When Kompany was out of the team, the other three shared the captaincy and were seen as the link between the squad and the management. Last summer, Guardiola said: “I want a fifth [member].” Each player cast a vote. De Bruyne was the overwhelming winner. When the result was announced in front of the squad, De Bruyne was bursting with pride according to those in the room. That was one of the reasons why he signed a new contract in January. He feels more important, more responsible. He can be seen offering advice to younger players. He is an intelligent and humble professional and has been earmarked as a future club captain. That he speaks four languages helps. “Whoever is talking you can understand them a bit,” he says. There were times last season when De Bruyne was not completely happy. Indeed it was only about 13 months ago that the 26-year-old finally understood what Guardiola wanted. “Now I get it. Now I know what he wants from me,” he told friends after the 2-0 win away to Middlesbrough on March 11. A tactical shift from the flanks to the “free 8” position, as De Bruyne puts it, has helped too. Guardiola first earmarked De Bruyne for a central role, where he has more touches and therefore can do more damage, after studying footage of Belgium’s 8-1 win over Estonia in November 2016. De Bruyne played in a 3-4-3 formation alongside Axel Witsel and set up Dries Mertens for a goal. “I watched your match; you can play there,” Guardiola said to De Bruyne. MOST TITLES IN THE TOP FLIGHT 1. Manchester United 20
Aston Villa 7
=6. Sunderland, Chelsea 6
Manchester City 5
=9. Newcastle United, Sheffield Wednesday 4 And thus the idea of lining De Bruyne up alongside David Silva and Fernandinho in a three-man midfield was planted in Guardiola’s head. That midfield, possibly the best in Europe, is in no small part responsible for City’s title win and that the team have passed the ball more than 6,000 times more than United this season. SO HOW LONG WILL THIS LOVE AFFAIR LAST? Guardiola and his agent Josep Maria Orobitg will sit down with Soriano, Begiristain and Al Mubarak in the summer to discuss an extension to his present deal, which expires at the end of next season. The club are hopeful Guardiola will extend his contract by at least one season. The man himself has not decided what to do. Those who know him best say there is no chance of Guardiola staying for ten years. That is not the way he operates. His staff have not ruled out extending the deal by 12 months, but Guardiola has genuinely not made up his mind yet. He will wait until the season is over before giving it serious consideration. What is for sure is that he will be backed in the transfer market again this summer. Such is the strength of his present squad that only two players are set to arrive. Guardiola wants a new central midfielder to provide competition for Fernandinho, who turns 33 next month. Jorginho, the Napoli player, and Julian Weigl of Borussia Dortmund, are among a number of candidates being assessed. With those improvements, and Guardiola’s drive to succeed, it will surely only be a matter of time before Sheikh Mansour has to clear more room for even more trophies. Five key matches en route to the title Manchester City 1 Everton 1 — August 21 Manchester City 1 - 1 Everton City appeared to be heading towards a home defeat in only the second game of the season after Wayne Rooney had given Everton a first-half lead and Kyle Walker had been controversially sent off for two bookings in quick succession shortly before half-time. Raheem Sterling capitalised on a poor defensive header from Mason Holgate to volley City level with eight minutes remaining. How different things might have been had they suffered an early defeat. Bournemouth 1 Manchester City 2 — August 27 Bournemouth 1 - 2 Manchester City In their very next fixture, City were staring down the barrel of yet more dropped points. Charlie Daniels’ early thunderbolt had been cancelled out by Gabriel Jesus’s equaliser in the first half and, despite City’s relentless pressing, the game remained level as it entered the seventh minute of stoppage time. Sterling was the hero again as his scuffed effort looped into the net. The City winger was subsequently sent off for overzealous celebrations. Chelsea 0 Manchester City 1 — September 30 This was a dominant display against last season’s champions but it needed a moment of second-half magic from Kevin De Bruyne. The midfielder has a habit of reminding his former club what they are missing and he struck the winner at Stamford Bridge, a powerful, rising strike with his left foot from outside the penalty area. The result meant that City kept pace with local rivals United as both enjoyed blistering starts to the season. Manchester United 1 Manchester City 2 — December 10 Manchester Utd 1 - 2 Manchester City Manchester City’s season has been synonymous with free-flowing attacking football but it was two goals from set pieces that won it for Guardiola’s side at Old Trafford. David Silva and Nicolas Otamendi pounced on loose balls in the box either side of Marcus Rashford’s equaliser to allow City to open up an 11-point lead on their rivals in second. Manchester City 3 Newcastle United 1 — January 20 Manchester City 3 - 1 Newcastle A comfortable home victory against a side who for most of the season were fighting against relegation may not seem like a significant result. But this fixture came directly after their first Premier League defeat of the season against Liverpool at Anfield. They responded courtesy of a Sergio Aguero hat-trick to get their march to the title back on track.
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