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Month: October 2013

Why Brentwood Tories have disgusted me in their treatment of Lib Dem Cllr. Chilvers

My blood rarely boils. Tonight it is pumping about my body like nobodies business. You see this evening the Tories banded together and decided that Cllr. Karen Chilvers wasn’t up for being Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee because basically she was scrutinising them and wasn’t letting them do whatever they like. Interesting decision.

So they put a motion to remove her as Chair (which from what I can gather is against the actual constitution as currently written, although this seems to have been up for much debate) which succeeded tonight. A Conservative councillor will now oversee the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, I’m positive a Tory will really hold the Tory administration to account but whatever. However there were two things that really fucking hacked me off.

Firstly about how personal it got. Some of the things said about Cllr. Chilvers were vile. Look you can not like someone, we get it but why does politics get so personal? It was character assassination at its absolute worst. Whatever you think of Cllr. Chilvers, like her or not, you can’t arue that she is an effective councillor who works thoroughly hard for her constituents.

At local level I really do believe that there are plenty of terrific councillors from all parties. Yes I would naturally gravitate to saying the Lib Dems are the best but I won’t sit here an say everyone from other parties or independents aren’t standing up for the people they represent and work hard to ensure they get their voice heard in council.

Tonight though the vote went along party lines, a 20-15 vote was predicted and a 20-15 vote is exactly what we got. The whole opposition spoke glowingly about Cllr. Chilvers, whether they agree with her politics or not, they thought she was working hard and being effective in her role as chair of this committee. The Tories though all banded together because they decided they didn’t want to actually have effective scrutiny, they wanted life on easy street and that brings me the second point that really made my blood boil.

The Tories clearly do not have the best interests of the residents at the core of this motion. They would prefer to have ineffective scrutiny as long as it makes their lives easier and fulfills their personal vendetta against Cllr. Chilvers. Ensuring their personal vendetta is worth them screwing the people of Brentwood they are meant to represent. How can any politican honestly think this is a good thing? How can any councillor look a constituent in the eye and say they’ll do the best they can to get the best thing done for them, when in fact they’ll do the opposite as long as it makes them feel big.

Cllr. Chilvers is a big girl who’ll carry on working hard for the people she represents. I do hope and firmly believe the people of Brentwood West saw what life was like without her and swiftly voted her back into power. These voters had so much dislike and mistrust of the Lib Dems nationally that they lost a great hard-working councillor and they quickly realised that local and national politics are vastly different.

So what have we learned from the events tonight?

Well basically the Brentwood Tories put their own agendas above those of the residents they are supposed to represent. They don’t like Cllr. Chilvers and decided that she should be removed from her position to make their lives easier and to stroke their own egos. I didn’t see the whole debate as I was on air this evening and the webcast was paused, but from what I saw seemed pretty clear that Cllr. Roger Hirst will go home this evening, look in the mirror whilst cleaning his teeth and he’ll smirk to himself, nod and think, ‘I’m a big man, I’m awesome.’

The events of tonight put the whole council to shame. It wasn’t a debate. It was a witchhunt. Cllr. Chilvers had no chance because the Tories all decided that Cllr. Chilvers was unfit for the position. Cllr. Murphy said all the councillors should be disgusted and embarrassed at what was going on. She claimed she didn’t know what a whip was and despite being appalled by everything, she still voted to remove Cllr. Chilvers. If she was that disgusted and embarrassed surely she’d be most outraged by the person who brought the motion?

I worry about politics when things get this personal. I worry when people can stand and look at another person and say some of the things they said tonight. If this was in any line of work you’d say they were bullying. One thing though is the opposition parties can point out that the Tories now do not work for residents first, they work for their own personal gratification first and that is not what the people of Brentwood deserve.

Like Cllr. Chilvers or not, she works hard and was an effective chair of that committee. Having her in that position was the best thing for the people of Brentwood but as we now know, the best thing for the people of Brentwood is not what the Brentwood Tories want. The best thing for the Brentwood Tories is what the Brentwood Tories want first and foremost and that is now plain to see to anyone that follows the local politics scene of this particular Essex borough.

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Why I’m disappointed with Tim Farron over his nuclear comments

Tim Farron today spoke to the Huffington Post about his dismay over the new nuclear power station and why he personally isn’t supportive of it. I have no problem with this. He can have an opinion just as well as the next person. It is part of what makes being a member of this party good in my view – people can openly express opinions even if they differ from the party line. However I am disappointed because it doesn’t seem like a grown-up and mature reason for being unhappy.

The popular MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale believes that, ‘an equally ambitious investment in renewables would be a better solution,’ than investing the money in this nuclear power station. Quite possibly but that is an idealistic approach. I’m not privvy to top-level government talks but I’d be somewhat surprised if any company – either UK based or foreign – are ready to invest £16bn in renewable energy schemes in the United Kingdom. So this means that Tim is calling for the UK tax payer to fund these schemes and last I heard, money wasn’t exactly swilling around the government coffers.

Of course if the Lib Dems were in control then money could be found, heck the Tories or Labour could find the money as well. There is money but it is all a question of what people see as a priority. High Speed Rail 2 is a costly exercise and opinion seems to be split on whether this is value for money to the UK tax payer. We all know that the Lib Dems wouldn’t write a blank cheque to replace Trident so money could be found there. However that isn’t the situation as it stands but remember none of this investment is coming from the UK tax payer. They are in effect getting 7% of their electricity at no start up cost to them.

The money is coming from overseas and Tim isn’t completely down with that either, talking in the same article he did ‘seriously question what is going on when so much of this investment is going to bleed overseas.’ Now if a UK company was willing and prepared to fund the new build then good times, however the long and short of it is K businesses do not have that type of money to invest long-term. The economy isn’t strong enough and therefore foreign companies – and money – from countries who have capital to invest in long-term is the most sensible way forward. They say 25,000 jobs will be created in the construction phase of this project and the vast majority will be from UK sources. Whilst it isn’t ideal, it is the grown-up approach.

It does seem to me that Tim is talking to the left of the party and further positioning himself to be Nick Clegg’s successor. He is well liked by the left and the centre of the party. After Nick then I do think those in the left of the party will want a Tim Farron to lead, the only question is whether the left of the party will have enough members to elect Tim when the time comes or whether they’ll have given up their membership and/or departed for Labour.

Do I personally disagree with what Tim has said? No. The difference is I think these kind of deals are where the real world is at the moment and we don’t live in an ideal world. This is why I was pleased with the party at Conference to get behind nuclear power in limited circumstances. I felt it was the sound of the party growing up. Nuclear power isn’t great but is it better than fossil fuels? I’d argue that it was and it is a step in the right direction.

Also this deal means that the UK tax payer isn’t burdened with the build cost and if the costs spiral out of control then we might be extremely grateful for that. Remember how a significant number of the population were pissed off at the spiraling cost of the Olympics? Imagine what they would say at a publicly funded nuclear power plant doing the same?

Would I prefer lots of money going into renewable sources? I would but again I don’t see that the UK tax payer would be so willing and I don’t see foreign companies lining up to fund this. Renewable energies are moving forward but until they become more cost-efficient for the power they give out then the tax payer will not be getting value for money. The Severn tidal barrage started off with a £15bn estimation for cost but now it’s £25bn and would provide just 5% of all energy requirements in the country – also it would have needed thirty years of state support. It would be good long long-term but would it be value for money? No.

The Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project looks set to cost between £550m and £650m and would provide power for all the homes in Swansea (for 14 hours a day). It is an interesting project but they are looking for investment. Does Tim believe that this investment should only come from UK firms or is foreign investment ok for renewable schemes?

To cut a long rambling blog post short, I would love to see more renewable projects funded but when budgets are so tight it is hard to justify it. The Late 90s and early 00s was the perfect time to invest in large long-term capital projects like these and hopefully towards the end of the decade, when the economy is flourishing once more then it would be easier to get value for money for these projects. If foreign companies want to invest in the UK infrastructure then I’m all for it, whether it be for nuclear power, renewable energies or whatever.

Sometimes ideology has to take a back-seat to the realities of the world and that is where myself and the good MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale seem to differ.

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The Yoshi Story and why I think he could still have been a Pompey great…

Sometimes we have a logical (or even an illogical) gravitation towards someone. In terms of sport we we all root for teams but there are also players that we root for even harder whether they be on our team or that of another. For me there are many that fit this bill but none more so than a 5ft 10″ Japanese goalkeeper who was Japan’s answer to David Beckham.

I hadn’t thought about that man for years until Neil Allen wrote a column about him last week, which was published online last night, . You see that goalkeeper came and played in England. He signed for £1.8million in the autumn before the 2002 World Cup, which was to be played in Japan and South Korea. He didn’t sign for Manchester United. He didn’t sign for Arsenal. Not even Liverpool but for the big boys – Portsmouth.

He arrived to much fanfare. If I recall correctly the club even got Barry Davies in to MC his press conference. There was little doubt Kawaguchi was a good goalkeeper but there was a huge question mark surrounding whether he could survive the harshness of English league football and why Portsmouth were really signing a Japanese goalkeeper, when manager Graham Rix seemed happy enough with a 42 year-old who went down in stages.


The whole deal was about one thing – money. The affable 26 year-old was a pawn in a plan devised by Milan Mandaric to make money. Harry Redknapp, who was Director of Football at the time was sent to scout him and obviously came back with a decent enough report on the player. However in his recent autobiography as Neil Allen points out, he now claims that he fell asleep. Due to the fact that it is in his autobiography, I question the truthfulness of this statement as we already know giant swathes of it is made up.

So anyway he signs, for all the wrong reasons, but he’s here. He has a manager who doesn’t want him and is in a foreign country without anyone looking out for him, either on or off the pitch. This is a recipe for disaster. As many of you will know I am a huge baseball fan and when teams bring in Japanese players they will also hire a full-time interpreter to help them adjust both in the dressing rooms but also to the area, someone they can communicate with and spend some time socially with. None of this happened for Kawaguchi at Portsmouth.

His debut didn’t start well, a goal conceded after just 26 seconds but a win. The next game was a draw but his third game in Portsmouth blue was to this day still the finest I had ever seen by a Portsmouth goalkeeper. It was a Saturday lunchtime kick-off against Manchester City. City would go on to win the league at a canter and I’m pretty sure they were top when they visited Fratton Park. It was 2-1 to the good guys at the half but the second half it was all one way traffic and turned into the Manchester City attack (and primarily Darren Huckerby) v Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi. I would say attack Vs. defence but that would be overstating the role Pompey’s defence played in the game. The back-line was just dreadful but Yoshi was unbeatable, saving everything and putting in a performance for the ages.

I have no idea how many Pompey fans remember that game but it is still etched in my memory. That was a pretty forgettable season for one reason or another, the sad loss of the clubs incumbent goalkeeper on the eve of the season being probably the one that most remember clearest. There were highs, like the Prosinecki inspired 4-2 Bank Holiday Grimsby game and the 3-3 comeback at Wimbledon when down 3-0 with 20 minutes left. The lows though also stick in the mind, that Leyton Orient cup defeat and the 4-4 Barnsley game are the two games that spring to mind.

Neil Allen writes about 25 goals in 11 games conceded for Yoshi in his Portsmouth spell but people forget just how shit of a defence he was playing behind. In the subsequent seven games after being kicked to the curb, in came the saviour Dave Beasant and he promptly conceded 22 goals in those seven games, that is averaging over three goals a game, that is worse than Yoshi’s record. So either Yoshi was just so awful he battered down the confidence of the defence to a point where they couldn’t recover or they just weren’t very good in the first place.

We know Linvoy went on to be a Pompey legend but his career took off when Arjen De Zeeuw got his teeth into him and he helped mold Linvoy. The other names of central defenders in that team include the likes of Carl Tiler, Scott Hiley, a young Lewis Buxton and another foreign import who’d go on to star in Italy’s third tier before being suspended as part maath fixing, Allesandro Zamperini. The full-backs were Jason Crowe, an old and crocked Justin Edinburgh and a full-back whose confidence plummeted to depths usually reserved for me when I talk to pretty girls in Jamie Vincent. To cut a long story short, had Pompey signed Iker Casillas that autumn, fresh of his Champions League Final heroics, he’d have struggled behind that defence and lets not beat around the bush here, the midfielder was full of attacking flair but no defensive steal to protect that leaky back-line either.

Also remember the clubs goalkeeper at the time had already rubbished his new team mate in the local paper, not exactly the best quality team mate huh? I know no-one likes when someone comes in to take their job, certainly if you think you are better than them, but in a dressing room environment this already ensured that Yoshi was an outsider.

The odds were stacked against him from the start. Brought to the club because Milan Mandaric thought he’d make a lot of money. Brought to a club where the manager had no interest in him. Brought into a dressing room that didn’t seem to welcome him and brought into a team where the defence was as leaky as an England dressing room so it would seem.

He may have been short for a goalkeeper but last I heard Fabien Barthez had a pretty darn good career, he only won the European Championships and World Cup as the French national goalkeeper. He also won the Champions League with Marseilles. Height helps but it isn’t the be all and end all. He still has the use of his arms that attackers don’t and I’m pretty sure most goalkeepers arms are longer than a few inches, so therefore he still would have been able to leap over attacking players to catch and punch a ball, in fact this is one thing no-one disputes, the fact that Yoshi was ‘rubber like’ and had excellent spring.

Was he a natural fit for English league football? No. No he wasn’t, but was he given the opportunity to succeed at Portsmouth? No. No he sure as hell wasn’t. His signing was ill thought out and instead of putting him in a position to thrive and flourish, the club made bad decision after bad decision to erode the lads confidence and there is plenty of blame to go around from the chairman, to Harry Redknapp, to Graham Rix, to Dave Beasant and others. Had this been a coherent signing with plans in place to help Yoshi settle in a foreign country and playing behind at least a league average defence then he could have been a Pompey great. Now instead he is derided for being a goalkeeper that let in four to Leyton Orient.

This makes me sad. Pompey ruined his career all in the name of making a quick buck and whilst in the list of things Pompey owners have done to the club in the past two decades this doesn’t rank in the top tier, it is probably from a human standpoint the worst thing they did. They turned a national hero into an afterthought on the eve of a World Cup in his homeland, all because one man saw dollar signs light up in his eyes and thought all he had to do was sign him to make those dollar signs turn into cold hard cash and a lucrative revenue stream.

Sadly for Milan Mandaric unless you give the person whom you think is a great financial asset the best opportunity to succeed, then the investment will go up the swanny and that is exactly what happened. The club invested in Yoshi to sign him but never invested in either him as a person or him as a goalkeeper that that was their greatest fault.

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Nick Clegg’s ideology represents more voters than any other political leader

6% of people think Nigel Farage is an extreme left-winger, which is pretty funny but that isn’t the important thing that Ipsos-Mori has uncovered. The pollster asked people in one of their latest polls to describe their place on the political spectrum and the place of all the main party leaders. Now unsurprisingly the poll has found that most people see Ed Miliband on the left with David Cameron and Nigel Farage on the right. Nick Clegg is placed in the centre. Ticks all round.

Now when it comes to how people describe their own political views then there is a bigger spread, but the highest number based themselves in the centre-ground and that is exactly where Nick Clegg is placed.

Nick Clegg represents the bulk of us
Nick Clegg represents the bulk of us

This goes to support my long-held belief that if people truly believed that the Lib Dems could form a government on their own, then they would be far more happy to vote for them. The thing is Labour and the Conservatives have dominated government for just so long that people still think that the Lib Dems are a wasted vote. If we could get people over that prospect and just looked at all the manifestos without knowing who write them, more people would vote for the Lib Dems than any other party.

I do genuinely believe that most people sit in the centre-ground or lean slightly to the right or to the left. Whilst extreme views are growing, they aren’t anywhere near the number of people who sit in the middle ground. This is the Lib Dems biggest problem, getting people to vote for the political party who best represents them and not just listen to the highlights. If the party can do this then we can progress and keep moving forward

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Southend Council will not move to four-year all-up elections

At 23:54 tonight the process of moving to four-year all-up elections in Southend came to a juddering holt as 26 councillors voted against the proposals. They were voting on whether their should be a full consultation regarding the matter, which would then lead to a special vote on the issue down the line. Had the proposal made it through this special vote then 2015 was the year when we’d see all-up elections.

The debate did concentrate along party lines but the numbers show that a couple of Tories had to have gone against the motion. At the named vote I couldn’t make out some of the votes as people had quiet voices but seven of the eight Liberal Democrat councillors in the chamber did vote against. I was unable to hear Cllr. Wexham’s vote but when he stood up in the debate he strongly hinted that he was against the proposal so I suspect he did indeed vote against but I could not make out his response.. Cllr. Betson was not at the meeting.

The debate rested on two issues, firstly the saving of around £50k a year that would be saved by going to all-up elections and whether the people of Southend are better served by having all-up elections or not. Several councillors including Cllr. Velmurugan and Cllr. Longley said that the money could be saved by reducing the allowances, Cllr. Longley said that reducing allowances by £1,000 a year would indeed save the same amount of money.

‘The Price of Democracy’ was the buzz sentence. Councillors who were in favour of this move believed that the public were fatigued by voting in three of every four years for a councillor, they had the opinion that if they only voted once every four years then they would become more engaged and enthused with the democratic process. Whilst I do believe that there are people who don’t like getting their doors knocked by people looking for votes, there are many who like to be fully engaged and enjoy hearing from political activists, councillors and potential councillors.

I think it was Cllr. Terry who made the point about the hypothetical situation if Boris were to get Boris Island through that an ‘Anti Boris Island’ Party could spring up in Southend and swing into power on that one standalone issue. This would be fine but it was a good example as to how one issue can dominate an election and result in good and experienced councillors being kicked out, leaving their experience on the sidelines for at least four years.

Personally I’m in favour of electing in thirds as it means councillors can’t rest on their laurels. I like the fact that nine wards in Southend aren’t just solely represented by one party. I may be a card carrying Lib Dem but I don’t think people should vote for someone – certainly not at local level – solely because of who they stand for. Local elections should be about local issues. If the best person is standing for a party you might not vote for nationally then vote for them. Councillors can’t change the world but they can sort out day-to-day problems and that is who people should vote for.

I think all-up elections would lead to disillusionment and allow councillors to rest upon their laurels, I really do. Also all-up elections mean that national trends and swings can overshadow what is actually going on locally. There are other ways that money can be saved that don’t impinge on the democratic process and the evolution of council. I’m sure any dominant party would prefer all-up elections as that will lead to them being able to push through more ideological measures with greater ease, but as a liberal I think the more debate and variety in the chamber leads to more middle of the political spectrum politics and unsurprisingly I’m all for that.

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‘Let your friend drive home drunk’ school tells pupil

Every so often you come across a news story that you just can’t understand. This afternoon that happened to me. An American teenager (Erin Cox) gets a call from her friend who is drinking underage. Bad girl. However the underage drinker was old enough to drive and had indeed driven to a party but knew better than to drive home, so she called her friend to come pick her up. Her friend came and picked her up to take her home. Good story, no?

Well between the phone call and the girl picking up her drunk friend, the police raided the party and broke it up. When the girl who came to pick her up arrived to pick her up she was told she’d be hauled before court for underage drinking. Police arrested 12 and issued court summons to everyone else at the venue. Uh oh. However the police officer at the scene did tell the court that Erin Cox was not drinking and had indeed just shown up to drive someone home. Case dismissed. All sorted.

As Lee Corso would say, ‘not so fast my friend…’

What happened next was Ms Cox was stripped of being captain of her High School Volleyball team and suspended for five games because she was around alcohol. Any high school athlete at her school can be suspended just being in the vicinity of alcohol. They are the rules. She launched legal action against the school for suspending her but the Court decided they didn’t have the jurisdiction to overturn the school’s decision.

The lawyer for the school said outside the courtroom, “The school is really trying to take a very serious and principled stand regarding alcohol and we all get that. Teen drinking is a serious problem.” Yes and we have no problem with that but at some point common sense prevails. If Ms Cox says she can’t pick up her friend then the logical next step is for that friend to get in her car and drive home. What is worse in the grand scheme of things, underage drinking or drinking and driving? Anyone…?

Of course it is the latter. The school is taking a strong stand against drinking but being a good friend and stopping a drunk person getting behind the wheel is clearly something they aren’t in favour of. The people behind this decision are clearly idiots and will defend themselves to the nth degree. Rules are rules and there is nothing that can supersede a rule.

This young woman would not have been punished had she allowed her friend to get behind the wheel drunk that night, yet she is for going to pick her up to stop her drink-driving. There is no logic behind that notion. It is drummed into young people that underage drinking is bad but if you do then don’t drive home drunk – call someone and get them to pick you up. We all know this but North Andover High School administrators clearly believe differently. Ms Cox said she would do nothing differently but this story could easily propel others in similar situations to not come to their friends aid, in turn putting more drink-drivers on the road and who knows what happens then.

I just think these idiots could indirectly lead to people dying and I don’t think that is a stretch. So kids listen to these idiots. They say let friends drive home drunk because if you are around alcohol then you will be punished. What a great message to send our young people.


You can read the full story from the Boston Herald

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Harry Redknapp. A liar or a man who has a very dodgy memory? Thoughts on his Pompey/Southampton move.

This evening I was sat in the radio box at Roots Hall commentating over one of the most bizarre 15 minutes of football that I have ever seen. Southend came out after Half-Time 1-0 down but were 2-1 up within eight minutes. They would be 5-2 down just seven minutes later. Truly absurd football. Whilst calling the game I was leaning over watching the laptop of our colleagues at BBC London and I saw Portsmouth were 1-0 up away at Oxford. Late in the game I glanced over and I saw the Oxford v Portsmouth game was flashing ‘Goal’ and I awaited to see who had scored it and it was Portsmouth. I gave a proper fist pump as my co-commentator knew exactly what had happened.

You see I may call Southend games but I don’t hide the fact that I am a Portsmouth fan first and foremost. My love of the club may have waned whilst the glut of shall we call them ‘interesting’ characters owned the club. However the good guys now own the good ship Pompey and I now keenly read and watch the news from the south coast with interest.

Back in Harry Redknapp’s day though I was a Season Ticket in the Fratton End. I still lived down south and was working as a writer covering the club. They were good times. Whatever Pompey fans think of Harry now they’ll certainly say that our run to winning the Championship was a glorious year and staying up in the Premier League in that first year was pretty sweet. In Harry’s third full season though he left the club and would turn up along the M27 as manager of our arch-rival. Lets put it this way…Pompey fans…not overly amused by this.

Why am I writing about this today? Well Harry is serialising his book in the Daily Mail. One of the pieces is about his departure from Pompey and how the Pompey fans reacted and a couple of things jumped out at me:

Everyone had a rattle and they just went to enjoy the game. If that sounds a rose-tinted or nostalgic memory, I’m sorry, but it’s true. It was especially brought home to me when I was shown the door by Portsmouth in 2004 and Southampton offered me the chance to go there.

Now the thing is…Harry was never shown the door by Portsmouth. He resigned. He quit. He walked out of Portsmouth because he didn’t want to work for Milan Mandaric anymore. He didn’t like a Director of Football coming in over his head. One thing that didn’t happen was him getting the sack. How do we know this? Well because Harry said so at the time – and reiterated it when he was questioned by police in relation to his court case.

At the time he told BBC Sport:

It is something (resigning) I have been thinking about for a while. I made it without any pressure from the chairman or the board.

He told police in 2009:

He (Mandaric) got the hump with him because he brought in a director of football when I didn’t want one.

And he got the needle because I became bigger than him at the football club. He didn’t like that really.

Then we played Villa and we were 2-0 down at half-time and Milan — I had two friends sitting behind him — tore up his ticket into 50 pieces, threw it up in the air and said, “Why am I paying all this money for this rubbish?

So the next morning I rang Peter Storrie (the then chief executive) and said, “I’ve had enough of him. I want out”.’

Look I’m all for rewriting history. When I write my memoirs you’ll read all about how handsome I was as a young man and how women were fawning over me and jostling for my attention. That doesn’t mean it is true of course but we all like to remember the past more fondly than we possibly should.

He goes on to speak about the personal bile that he suffered at the hands of Portsmouth fans. A lot of it was over the top. I can’t defend a significant amount of Pompey fans for some of the things they said or did. However I’m not sure how Harry can honestly say that he didn’t think it would be a problem

I had all these very reasonable thoughts in my head as I left my new chairman’s house and I thought enough people would see the logic with me. If I couldn’t work for Portsmouth, this really was the next best thing.

He could’ve still worked for Portsmouth. He chose not to. When your boyfriend/girlfriend ditches you and starts seeing your arch-nemesis then generally you aren’t too happy . Football fans are pretty tribal so if you ditch them and move to the hated rival then expect some shit. Whether this is right or wrong isn’t something I’m going to debate at 01:04 but you have to expect it.

Harry is either incredibly naive or just has very little contact with the realities of the world. I don’t know which. He wrote earlier this week that he didn’t hold grudges but I think the general consensus is (and one I subscribe to) that he took the Southampton job solely to get back at Portsmouth. He was hurting and smarting by what he perceived as unfair treatment at Portsmouth (having a Director of Football brought in above him) but when he first came to Portsmouth he was brought in as a Director of Football over the head of the incumbent manager Graeme Rix. So he was fine doing that to someone else but when it was done to him it was extremely unfair. Gotta love it haven’t you?

He goes on to say…

Looking back, I think that maybe they liked me so much when I was there, that we had such a good relationship, that my leaving hurt far more intensely than the departure of another manager would.

They treated me like God because we had gone from being nowhere to being a Premier League team that had survived.

We had the best year, winning the title to get promoted, and I don’t think any of us felt we could top that. So when I went to Southampton it was as if I had betrayed all that affection.

They were too upset to step back from the situation and think: ‘Harry got pushed out because they brought this other bloke in’.

He did have a terrific relationship with the Pompey fans – he is right. He was treated well – he is right but he needs to remember that the most beloved manager for Pompey fans of my generation is Alan Ball, a man who also managed Southampton. The fact he managed us and them and then ultimately us again (just as Harry would do) didn’t matter to the Pompey fans. They (me included) adored Alan Ball for what he did in both his stints at Fratton Park. He always put the club first. This is why he was so beloved despite his Southampton connections. Harry cannot say the same with a straight face.

There is no doubt that Pompey fans were hurt and felt betrayed by Harry. I think it is probably fair to say overly so. For football is just football. However Harry should never say that Pompey fans treated him like a God. He was liked, but was he was respected and beloved like Alan Ball? I don’t think so.

To sum up Harry had good times at Portsmouth. Things went bad and he walked because he didn’t have everything his own way. He was never pushed. Never forced nor cajoled out of the door. He walked. He took the Southampton job out of pure spite considering he said at the time he wanted to take some time out to recharge his batteries. Yeah batteries take more than a few weeks to recharge. He came back, did a great job but that great job came at an even greater price and when he saw the writing on the wall he walked out again for pastures new.

Love him or hate him (or being entirely indifferent to him). Harry is an interesting character who is far more savvy than he likes to let on. He knew Pompey fans would not wish him well on taking the Southampton job. He knew they would vilify him. Did Jim Smith get some shit for taking the Southampton job? Sure he did but it was nothing like what Redknapp got because the fans had deep rooted respect for the Bald Eagle. That is something Pompey fans do not have for Harry and many sets of fans around the country seem to have a similar sense of indifference at best towards the current QPR manager and that isn’t just a coincidence…

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Deadliest Catch gets renewed for a tenth season but without the F/V Cornelia Marie

I have a few TV passions. I like Masterchef Australia (although season five so far has been very disappointing with the standard of contestant being way down on previous years). I like The Newsroom. I liked StormChasers when it was on and one of my other big loves is Deadliest Catch. I don’t fish and have no desire to ever do so but watching these crabbers go about their business in often treacherous conditions is fascinating and I’m not alone. Constantly Deadliest Catch has reigned supreme for the Discovery channel and despite no official confirmation of it being renewed, it will be returning for a tenth season in the spring with filming set to begin within the fortnight.

One of the most interesting storylines this season was clearly Josh Harris having bought back the F/V Cornelia Marie and seeing how he did as a captain. The boat was part owned by his father but after he died further filming the Harris brothers after a year employing other captain’s lost the boat and Josh and spent the past three years earning the money to buy it back, which he successfully did earlier this year.

However a couple of weeks ago he posted the following on his Facebook page:

So to all my fans that watched the show, Deadliest Catch, the Cornelia Marie, was not optioned this year so we regretfully will not be on the show anymore. Thank you for all the support we will still be fishing. Things may still get filmed but most likely not through Discovery. Sorry to let people down, things with Discovery couldn’t meet up with what we needed, so I appoligize (sic) to all but this is where we are. There may be another company this year that we go with but for now we will just fish. Jake and I love you all for your support over the years and most of all from the old man, thank you for everything!

Now of course we have no idea what the issue is that has resulted in the boat not returning to the show. The boat was one of the longest tenured boats on the show having been on the show since opilio crab in season one (only the F/V Northwestern has been with the show for every season although in the first season the F/V Time Bandit served as the main chase boat for filming). The return of the F/V Cornelia Marie was one that excited many fans so you have to believe that at this juncture it is a money issue and you never know it may get resolved between now and the time filming starts.

For now though this is a disappointing state of affairs. The F/V Cornelia Marie wasn’t my favourite boat but the storyline was truly compelling. Has Jake Harris got over his personal demons for good? Can Josh be a good captain? Will they entice Freddy back from the Wizard? As it stands we won’t know the answers to the first two although if Freddy isn’t on the F/V Wizard we’ll know exactly where he is. Now we’ll just have to wait and see what Jake Anderson does and see how Edgar and Sig get on as a primary storyline and can the F/V Time Bandit get over Mike Fourtner’s retirement?

As for the other boats I just don’t care about Junior and the F/V Seabrooke, same for Elliott on the Saga. These new boats and young captains just don’t entertain me. If the show just had the F/V Northwestern, F/V Wizard, F/V Time Bandit and F/V Cornelia Marie and left the other boats and captains I wouldn’t shed a tear. However at this point I have to go on Deadliest Catch silence until the spring so nothing is spoiled for me when the show starts. I do hope that things can change between Discovery and Josh Harris because seeing how he does with his own boat would be a driving force behind a strong tenth season of one of the most gripping and captivating shows on television.

Update 16/01/14: It looks as though the Cornelia Marie and Discovery have come to an agreement for the Snow Crab season so they’ll be back on the show for the second half of the 2014 season of the show. Great news!

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