Are you really that hungry?

A couple of Sundays ago I was out in North London with my flatmate, his girlfriend and his brother and on the way back we decided to pick up something quick for dinner.

We’re walking to the bus stop when my housemate points and says ‘Waitrose’ – already I’m prepared for the worst.

I never feel comfortable in that place. They should have pictures of Jeremy Clarkson outside with a sign saying ‘You have to be at least this middle-class to enter’.

Not wanting to be the nay-sayer I agree and we begin wandering around looking for the basics for a lazy Sunday lunch so I amble over to the rotisserie chicken counter.

As a basic rule I am less and less surprised by what I see in supermarkets these days. Living in London anything goes in the local Safeway.

A sight I see more often than others is children eating.

Mothers too weary to fight with their nippers give up and let their child eat a packet of crisps as they walk round the store, presenting the empty bag to an annoyed cashier at the till to pay for it.

So – with that in mind – I’m waiting for my lemon and garlic whole chicken when a man sidles up to the counter next to me struggling to open a large box.

I turn my head to see what he’s doing just as he begins to sink his teeth into a Waitrose family size quiche.

I know that food shopping on an empty stomach is a bad idea but are you really that hungry?


Big Four?…Big Two

Just two games into the season there is further evidence that the Premier League big four is in fact rapidly becoming a big two.

Chelsea made an impressive start to the season with their 4-0 demolition of FA Cup holders Portsmouth and their battling away victory at Wigan.

Double-holders Manchester United have perhaps been less fluent but considering the injury of Cristiano Ronaldo and the lack of an out-and-out striker they have scrapped hard for their four points.

And like last season Liverpool – who have had two incredibly lucky opening matches – still look like coming up short.

Gerrard had to come to the rescue again against Middlesbrough at the weekend and another great Torres goal sealed a nervy victory against Sunderland on opening day.

Most disappointing of all has been the first two performances by Arsenal. The Gunners dominated West Brom on the opening day but an inability to create clear cut chances contributed to narrow one goal win.

Fans hoping for more this weekend were treated to an inept performance on Saturday evening saw Fulham take all three points at the Cottage.

Wenger and Benitez need to have a long hard look at their midfielders – with Arsenal lacking a string presence in central midfield and Liverpool in need of two quality wingers – if they want to get anywhere near winning the Premier League title this season.

Just an average European nation

British sport officially died in London on November 25th 1953.

Prior to England’s football match with Hungary they had not lost a match against a team outside the British Isles at Wembley since 1901.

The visitors won 6-3 and, after such a loss, you would have thought that the misplaced belief of England’s tactical and physical superiority would have died that day too.

But it didn’t. More than 50 years on the ‘Rule Britannia’ mentality still lives on – and it is rife in almost all sports.

If we really that great we would surely have more than one football and one rugby world title to show for it.

And with the Olympic games just days away there is talk of Britain bringing home a record medal haul.

Aside from the talents of Colin Jackson, Sally Gunnell and Linford Christie there has been very few world class British athletes to shout about in the last 15 years.

Like most people I’m sick of pretending to be interested in rowing or the ‘brave’ efforts of Paula Radcliffe – who will probably quit again if she can’t make the podium.

For the first time in half a century let’s be honest about our prospects.

We won’t win the World cup.

We won’t win the Ashes

And we won’t bring home a sackful of gold medals.

It’s about time we accepted our true place in the sporting world as an average European nation and not a global superpower.

Brand new season…same old Arsenal

While many must admire Arsenal for the bold attacking play and their policy of blooding youngsters their die hard fans must tire of the increasingly frustrating play.

The Gunners – with the vast majority of their ranks under the age of 25 – boast a level of technical excellence and athleticism unseen in their rivals but for some reason seem shy of shooting at goal.

Arsene Wenger’s charges scored a hatful last season but despite their dominance in the vast majority of games they could have had plenty more – and may even have claimed the title if they could have scored more goals when it mattered.

Seeing the Gunners turn out against Juventus in the Emirates Cup on Saturday it seems that nothing has changed since last season. The team still want to walk the ball into the net.

While the Arsenal players are undoubtedly proud of their ability to play the game in the right way it would be unfair to say their deficiency is not a case of PGS (Perfect Goal Syndrome) but is more likely to be a reflection on their lack of goal scoring wingers.

Hleb, before he left for Barcelona, and Rosicky are both talented players but failed to hit the net with the frequency Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg did during the undefeated season and the double winning side of 2002 and has Marc Overmars and Ray Parlour had done before them.

In addition, with Eduardo still out injured and Robin Van Persie likely to be injured at some point in the near future the boys from the Emirates might also need to find another striker who is happy to shoot on sight.

For Arsenal to thrive this season they are going to have to stop relying on the strikers to score the goals or hope that their midfield can chip in to help out.

If not it will be close but not close enough for the fourth season in a row

People watching…because humans do the strangest things

The Vikings

I’m on the tube with my brother and we’re coming back from watching the Emirates Cup. I’m happy that we’ve got seats until he reminds that we’ve just lost to Juventus and I put my stern face back on.

I remind him that we need to change at Holborn so we amble towards the doors. As the train pulls into the station we notice three girls dressed as Vikings complete with horn hats and extra small Scandinavian smocks (which I doubt were ever worn during that era).

My brother tells me that it must be a hen party, we both shake our heads and tut and such behaviour. As we get off the train I sneakily crane my head to get another look until my I receive a sharp brotherly nudge in the ribs for being so obvious.

As I walk up the platform I notice two older women sitting on a bench on the platform talking in quiet hushed tones.

As we approach, I realise they are also staring at the three Norse woman but for quite different reasons.

The train finishes pulling out of the station, the women’s whispers suddenly become audible. Without warning the lead Viking drops her purse and spins around to pick it up.

We’re all caught red-handed.

Thinking they’ve been caught bitching about strangers the waiting women begin to grin guiltily.

I pretend that the green laces of my Adidas are the most interest things I have ever seen.

Meanwhile, my brother struggles to contain his laughter…