Beggars and choosers

There’s an old saying – which I think is British – that perfectly sums up our collective attitude to gratitude…beggars can’t be choosers.

Personally, I think it’s pretty apt. If you’re in need all donations should be gratefully received but apparently not everyone shares my views.

I found this out to my peril on Friday night. I’m out in Soho with my housemate, my colleagues and some of their buddies and we’re standing outside a pub.

The weekend’s finally come out of hiding and we’re in high spirits; smoking and drinking and laughing.

And then, out of the corner of my eye, I see a homeless woman ambling towards us.

I immediately begin to look solemn (for some reason I think it’s disrespectful to look too happy in front of the destitute) and begin rooting around my pocket for loose change.

I always try and give money to the homeless – not because I’m charity minded but because I believe in Karma – but being on the breadline myself there is only so much I can give.

So the homeless woman, seeing that I’m feeling charitable, come and stands next to our group with an old coffee cup in her hand and extends it in my direction.

My hand is in my pocket looking for a suitable donation, and the first coin my hand settles on is a five pence piece.

I smile at the homeless lard, feeling the warm glow that only comes form helping your fellow man, and place the coin in the cup.

She smile back….until she looks down and notices the denomination of the coin I’ve handed over.

Angrily, and with a look of utter disdain on her face, she empties the cup in my hand – which only had my shiny coin in it in the first place – and rages off.

I look at my drinking buddies no utterly bemused and they look back barely containing their amusement.

I guess beggars can be choosers.


Tottenham’s problems are a case for the defence

While some football fans may be shocked by Tottenham’s from this season the problem has been there for a number of years.

Under Jol Spurs were praised for their exciting attacking football but their defence has always been poor – and herein lies the real issue.

Cast your mind back over the last few years and think of all the exciting games that Tottenham have been a part of. The 5-4 reverse against Arsenal and the 4-4 draws with Aston Villa and Chelsea all spring to mind and the common theme is poor defending.

Until Jonathon Woodgate arrived at the club, the only quality defender at the club was Ledley King and both have terrible injury problems. The likes of Ricardo Rocha, Andy Dawson and Anthony Gardner, who has since left the club, were – and still are – average at best.

To make matters worse there has been no solid defensive midfielders in the club with the club preferring to play with two playmakers such as Michael Carrick, Didier Zokora and Jermaine Jenas.

The balance has always been wrong and as the attacking players excelled the more likely they were to be noticed by he big boys.

The one striker Spurs could have kept hold of – Jermaine Defoe – they lost because they were not willing to rotate Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov. And once Manchester United and Liverpool came in for the striking duo they were never going to stay.

Tottenham fans have been blaming Daniel Levy and Damien Comolli for their current plight but they have brought a number of brilliant players to the club but none of them have been defensive enough.

They have not looked like putting a run of clean sheets together since Sol Campbell left for Arsenal and until they sort out this long standing problem the situation is unlikely to improve.

Tottenham have not become relegation candidates overnight – they were an accident waiting to happen.

England boy-boys wrong to target Cole

Even as an Arsenal fan I had to admit that the treatment of Ashley Cole during England’s win over Kazakhstan at Wembley was disgraceful.

While the home side cruised to a 5-1 victory over the international minnows, sections of the crowd were more content to dish out abuse to the former Gunners left-back.

No-one would disagree that fans have the right to voice their views – after all they pay through the nose to attend matches.

But why abuse one of your own?

The mistake made ultimately led to a goal but England were well on top and were good value for their victory.

Listening to 606 last night an irate Alan Green turned his anger on the ‘morons’ and those who called in and tried to defend their actions.

Some said the jeers were for Cole’s treatment of his wife Cheryl, other claimed that the fans were reacting to his exorbitant wage demands in his soured contract negotiations and others claimed it was because he was arrogant.

Of course Cole is not the first England player feel the fans fury with Beckham, Lampard and more recently Bentley also being booed but it seemed that some were waiting for the Chelsea full-back to make a mistake just so they could have a pop at him about his personal life.

The cold hard fact of the matter is that elite modern day footballers are millionaires, with pretty spouses who may think highly of themselves and jeering them will not change that fact.

While their lives are far removed from ours we are called supporters for a reason – our job is to support them.

After all they could never be truly successful without our backing.

Is it any wonder that England haven’t won a major trophy in 50 years.

Impatient Newcastle fans the real reason for decline

Interim Newcastle manager Joe Kinnear aimed a foul-mouthed tirade at the sports writers last week but the real people that need a stiff talking to are the Newcastle United fans.

While it cannot be denied that the St James’ Park heircarhy has not excelled itself over the last decade the day the club died was almost fifteen years ago when the Geordies blew a 12 point lead at the top of the Premiership.

Since then Newcastle have not come close to mounting a serious assault on any major trophy – save for the odd cup final defeat – and their fans have not been able to stand it.

Every supporter wants to win silverware but some fans set their clubs realistic goals while others, like the Magpies faithful, are far too impatient.

Almost winning trophies does not give any club the right to automatically challenge for honours but the Georides do not give their managers – or owners – time to settle and build up a team.

Bobby Robson came the closest to builiding a decent squad but was forced out while Allardyce and Gullit, who both came to the club held in high esteem, were not given the chance to help Newcastle flourish.

After Ashley is finally hounded out of the club and the new owners come in they will have to turn the club around as quickly as possible.

Because if one thing is for sure up at Newcastle is that fans want success.


PDA (Public Displays of Affection)

Being single – and I’m sure other singletons agree – that there is nothing worse than PDA.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with holding hands on the street. A cuddle in the park is also fine in my books. Even kissing on the tube is alright.

But dry humping near Oxford Circus station at rush hour is enough to make anyone feel queasy.

I’m leaving work with my colleague and as we round the corner to the tube station the resident homeless fella (which I have nicknamed Rufus – I don’t know why…he kind of looks like a Rufus) is leaning against the wall opposite.

Out of the corner of my eye I can see that his hips are thrusting but as he’s usually drunk at this time I just blame on Stella.

But on closer inspection his girlfriend (who I call Jane. Don’t ask) has her legs wrapped his waist and is enthusiastically bucking up against him.

All this at 5.30pm on a weekday – what’s more no-else seems to mind, or perhaps care, as they continue their daily dash out of the City.

My colleague, who was also been looking on chuckles and says “Jealous?”

I don’t even dignify it with a response.