Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Right Back Missing. Last seen somewhere near Liverpool.

We have only two words to say about England's capitulation to The Bosch; Glen Johnson.
Where was he?
We distinctly remember he was on the team sheet but perhaps he got lost on his way to the pitch. Wherever he was, he definitely wasn't playing right back on Sunday afternoon. Because whenever the Germans felt like having a foray towards goal they decided that Ashley Cole might put up some kind of resistance, where as over on the over side of the pitch they could canter down the line unimpeded. In fact, for the last goal it was left to Gareth Barry to take the wing back's duties - with predictably disastrous results.
Of course, Johnson was there. He was playing his usual game of 'Hollywood Defender' that involves him hanging around the opponent's 18 yard area in the hope of getting his name on the scoresheet... and then hoping someone will do his job for him when we lose the ball. Capello's made a lot of mistakes, taking Johnson is probably the one that has cost us the most.

Note to GJ: If you want to to know what a real right wing back looks like, get a copy of the Brazil v Chile game and watch Maicon for 90 minutes. He gets forward too - but he gets back again (that's the bit you need to remember). Oh well, onto the Euros with Harry in charge!

Monday, 28 June 2010

Dismal Dover

If you were asked to invent the worst seaside town you could think of, it would be difficult to come up with anything more dismal than Dover.

A town where almost the entire sea front is obscured by one of the ugliest blocks of post war flats outside of Soviet Russia. A seaside town devoid of any kind of seaside attraction; no foodstalls, no amusements, no excitement, no where to sip a cool evening beverage and admire the views of the ferries coming and going. A no where town. No where near a resort.

Dover is a town mired in inertia, where enterprise is thwarted, where local grandees squabble over the meagre pickings and the harbour board excuse their destruction of the character of the town by citing the fact they are the biggest employer. "We create all the work, so we can ruin the place. Tough".
In short, Dover is a hole. The sea front is an array of decrepit, derelict buildings, overshadowed by that hideous masterpiece of modern architecture, Burlington House. A grand name for a kack brown, corrugated and unappealing monstrosity. An empty shell of a building kept standing by the crop of anntenae that support it (rather than the other way around) because in a town as poor as Dover the rental income from the aerials actually generates sufficient income to warrant its ongoing existence. Dover, the only town where an empty building creates more cash than its surrounding environment.
But Burlington House is just one of the many issues faced by this ailing area. Low employment, petty crime, an aging population, poverty, chaotic town planning and a backward looking mentality that still regards WWII as the heyday.
So is all hope lost?
Not necessarily. Dover needs imagination, vitality and a commitment to quality that will raise the aspirations of its people and businesses. Dover should stop thinking of itself as the historic last staging post of the UK but the modern gateway to the continent. If Dover is always going to be a port, let's invest in making it a magnificent portal. It has a unique position; it is both a welcome home and exciting launchpad - two genuine emotional connections that resonate with today's constantly moving population. Let's start capitalising on that distinction. Let's get Dover Council, it's business community, it's people, it's stakeholders, and Charlie Elphicke (its MP) working together to make this unique location more than just a tired thoroughfare. Let's champion Dover as a destination in it's own right. One that give visitors a better first impression than derelict buildings, empty hotels and the stench of decay.