Why and When? Get Coventry City back to Cov

A famous pundit once said that football is a ‘funny old game’, well sometimes it isn’t.

I was contacted recently by fellow Saints fan Jimmy Hayes with some information about the ‘Why and When Campaign’ focused on raising awareness of the plight that fans of Coventry City find themselves in.

The situation is close to my heart for a number of reasons. Firstly because I love my football club, and I know how it feels to be at the point where you don’t know if you will soon even have one, secondly because I now live in the city of Coventry and I work alongside it’s people and those who have supported the club for years. The third reason is a selfish need for nostalgia. Perhaps I am getting old, but in recent years more than ever I have felt grief for the loss of the game I first knew, and the 1987 FA Cup final was very much a part of that.

The people who started the problems at Coventry were once linked with a takeover for Saints. It doesn’t bare thinking about, but for the fans of the Sky Blues it is reality, and now they find their team playing it’s home games in Northampton. The people behind the campaign tell us more:

Andy Scaysbrook (Lifelong Coventry City fan, and award winning photojournalist) ‘I grew up watching Coventry City, from the age of 6, my family were season ticket holders. My Father and my Grandad took me to Highfield Road during the days of the Sky Blue revolution that was led by Jimmy Hill in the 60’s. 

 I started my photographic career working for the club, shooting action pictures for the matchday programme. In my 44 years of being a City fan I have travelled all over the country to support the team. We have been through some terrible times over the years but the situation at the club is now desperate. Through all of this, the fans have stood firm and sought to work to try and find a solution to the horrendous situation we now find ourselves in. 
 
I know many City fans and the desperation they feel is awful. I want to be able to put these feelings into pictures and help raise the profile of our plight, hence the Why & When photography campaign.’

 

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Jimmy Hayes ‘As a Southampton fan, I have seen us take the terrible tumble through the leagues, have seen managers, chairman and owners come and go. I, and thousands of others have felt the horrible uncertainty that comes with it. What has happened to Coventry could have easily happened to us. Football club owners should always have the best interest of the club and the fans at heart. If we, the fans, stand together, perhaps we can stop this happening in in the future.’

 

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The first phase of the campaign is based around seven images with the following message:

“We are the sons and daughters of the City of the Phoenix…

Generations have rallied together to fight side by side for what is right.

The people of our city have stood together, through wars, economic depression and social upheaval. We have survived even when the odds were stacked against us.

Coventry City Football Club has been our port in the storm, a rallying point, a shelter, a reason for hope and a chance to dream…

The spirit of Coventry is an unstoppable force. Born from adversity it has gathered strength through generations of Cov Kids. It’s time to fight again…

Our famous club is under threat and stands on the brink of losing its identity. When loyal fans, generations old and new cannot watch a game in the city they love, the time has come to stand up and be counted…

We STILL have a voice. Stand up and USE it”

#why&when

To see all the images follow this link:- https://www.facebook.com/GreenKnightMedia
The next time you take your seat to watch your team playing in your city, take a second to think about the Coventry City supporters who right now, don’t have the opportunity to do the same.

Chris

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Stay Safe With The Saints…

Heading to St. Mary’s to watch Saints is all about fun. Football after all is a form of entertainment, and for generations supporters have gone to the game to get their football fix with their only care being the outcome of that day’s match. This does not mean that being in the confines of the ground makes you immune from any ailments and illnesses you may have and often they pay no respect to location and situation.

That is where the SDSA (Saints Disabled Supporter Association) have stepped in. After an incident at St. Mary’s they wisely thought that it would be a good idea for supporters to carry an ‘Emergency Medical Card’ to assist first aiders with any medical history you might have, should you be taken ill at a game. This makes perfect sense. Those attending you will not know you or anything about you and any background health information could help them save your life!

medcard

The SDSA are providing these cards for free, but would appreciate a donation.

The SDSA committee launch the EMC scheme before the QPR game.

The SDSA committee launch the EMC scheme before the QPR game.

The SDSA are working hard with the club to ensure that Saints facilities are in the top 5 in the country for disabled supporters (they are already ranked in the top 10), so help them help keep you safe by signing up for a medical card.

For more details on the card, please read the following link:- http://www.saintsdsa.org.uk/news/2013/medicalcard.html and you can contact the SDSA via twitter here:- https://twitter.com/saintsdsa.

Chris

Premier League Preview: Part 1

With the big kick off just three and a bit days away, I caught up with fans our our new Premier League opponents to get their thoughts on what lies ahead…

Arsenal:-

Name:- Andrew Mangan

Team:- Arsenal

Website:- http://arseblog.com

Twitter:- @arseblog

What can we expect from your club this season?

Nice, attacking football, short passing, a reluctance to shoot from distance, generous defending, late calamities, the tease of a trophy and balanced, considered expressions of opinion from online fans.

Who is your most important player?

At the moment, with some of the summer still to go and the future of Van Persie still to be decided, I’d say Mikel Arteta. He’s a calm, experienced professional who really makes the team tick. I think if Van Persie goes we might see him step up.

Where do you predict you will finish this season?

Top four, but I can’t really be any more exact than that.

Who might win the Premier League?

I never rule us out, despite it being so long since we’ve won it we have challenged some seasons so you never know. So, Arsenal, United, Chelsea, Man City.

Who definitely won’t?

Everyone else. I don’t think Liverpool have the squad, I’m not sure Sp*rs do either although they’re definitely top six material, and apart from that the financial side of things pretty much precludes anyone else from challenging.

What is your most anticipated fixture?

Obviously the North London derbies but the rivalry with United for so long means I always look forward to those games.

What is your most anticipated fixture that doesn’t involve your club?

Man United v Man City. When United were winning everything I think there was a certain sympathy for City when they were being relegated and being cast under such a successful shadow. It shows how far things have come that this is a game I can’t wait to see and I want United to murder them.

How do you think Southampton will fare?

To be honest I haven’t seen much of Southampton since they were relegated but obviously there’s been a huge turnaround. When you consider how far you fell to have come back to the Premier League is a fantastic achievement. And the club seem to have the infrastructure and know-how to get up and stay up, which is the most important thing. It’s not at all unusual for a newly promoted team to have a fine first season, but it’s achieving the consistency over the next few years that will provide the real challenge.

You find yourself stuck in White Hart Lane. How do you escape unnoticed?

Hold my nose like that bloke out of Rent-a-ghost.

Aston Villa:-

Name:- Matt Turvey

Team:- Aston Villa

Website:- http://www.astonvillalife.com

Twitter:- @MatthewSTurvey for me, @AstonVillaLife for the site.

What can we expect from your club this season?

Some good, solid football.  Now that Paul Lambert is in charge, the club seem to be going in the right direction and most of our fans are appreciative of that.  Progress will take time, but I feel people will see more of our club’s potential this year.  I also expect our new signings to draw the attention of some of the big clubs – Karim El-Ahmadi and Brett Holman will do well this year I feel.

Who is your most important player?

Stephen Ireland – he may well have had a mixed start to his career in his first season, but last year he was rightly fan’s player of the year, and showed a fantastic determination to play for the team.  If he is on form, and signs seem to show he will be this season, he’s unplayable and, in my opinion, the most technically gifted player we have.

Where do you predict you will finish this season?

A solid mid-table finish.  This might sound low in the eyes of some Aston Villa fans, but after the past two seasons and the need to change things, it is a good enough expectation.  That doesn’t mean that we can’t do better, just that I am not expecting us to do more.  You never know – we may end up surprising everyone like Newcastle did last year!

Who might win the Premier League?

It depends how you want me to answer.  The obvious candidates, such as the two Manchester clubs, and Chelsea are, well, obvious.  If you mean who could be a dark horse, then I think that it’s probably a stretch too far to pick one.  The most likely candidate would be Tottenham Hotspur I imagine, although a lot will hinge on both how Andre Villas-Boas does at the club, and whether they can keep hold of key players like Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart.

Who definitely won’t?

Sad as it is to say, probably about 16 teams in the league.  I know last season’s campaign was very competitive for the majority of the league members, but the title contenders were way ahead of even the Europa League places.

What is your most anticipated fixture?

It’s a strange pick from me in the eyes of some, but I’ll be interested to see the reaction our manager gets when we play Norwich away.  I imagine it will be mostly positive, but I’m sure there are some Norwich fans who didn’t appreciate him leaving the club.  Beyond that game, I just like teams who play football the right way, so I always like to see those kinds of games.

What is your most anticipated fixture that doesn’t involve your club?

The Manchester derbies –  It’s highly likely that the winner of the Premier League will come from those two teams this year.  Beyond those, any game that involves Manchester City.  I know they may well just be buying success, but they play good football, and their last game of the season against QPR had me out of my seat – I’ve never known a more exciting conclusion to the title race than that.

How do you think Southampton will fare?

I think they will do well.  I’ve got a lot of time for Nigel Adkins and few can doubt the way he has taken the club to two successive promotions.  In that regard, he is much like our current manager.  My only concern for Southampton is that if they do well, I imagine bigger clubs will be looking at Adkins as a potential candidate for their clubs.  That’s no disrespect to Southampton as a club, rather the fact that you can be very proud of what your manager has achieved.

You find yourself stuck in St. Andrews. How do you escape unnoticed?

Ah, the lovely St Andrews, home ground of Birmingham City.  Assuming I was there for a match (there’s no real other reason why I’d be there), then I’d probably just try to fit in with their usual fan base by adopting a heavy Birmingham accent and looking constantly miserable.  If I kept that up, I’d fit in nicely and be able to escape.  I guess the only thing against me is that I write for one of the regional papers, so a fair number of them may well know my face!

Stephen Ireland could be a key man for Villa.

Chelsea:-

Name:- Denise Hope

Team:- Chelsea

Website:- http://thechelseablog.org/

Twitter:- @TheChelseaBlog

What can we expect from your club this season?

As ever with Chelsea, you can expect the unexpected. We haven’t had a particularly exciting pre-season although it’s worth bearing in mind the last time we had such an unspectacular pre-season we won the double. I’m not suggesting we’ll repeat that but I do think we’ll have a much more attack-minded side this season rather than the constant defensive displays that saw us defy some remarkable odds last season. I should mention we’re Champions of Europe here really (just because I can).

Who is your most important player?

Historically in this squad that probably has to be John Terry, just for his sheer contribution as a leader and motivator. However, if we’re talking about who will be a key player for us in the coming season, I can see Hazard, Mata and Marin all causing a few nerves in opposition defences but for me our success or failure could fall at the feet of Fernando Torres. If he has the sort of season we bought him for, we’ll be flying – if he doesn’t, we’ll be f***ed.

Where do you predict you will finish this season?

Top two for sure this season. Our final position in the Premier League last season was down to the damage done under AVB’s management (that’s not laying the blame squarely on his shoulders either). There was no real way back for Di Matteo from that and he was right to go for the Champions League instead. This season though, he’s already made his intention clear to address our Premier League standing, and I’ve every faith he’ll do that.

Who might win the Premier League?

We might! If not us, then United – they won’t take last season laying down, that has to have hurt everyone at Old Trafford and they’ll make sure they finish above City this time. Hopefully that’ll still leave them behind us though.

Who definitely won’t?

Spurs! Not that they’d have a hope in hell anyway but from some of the bitter stuff he’s already had to say in the press, it’s clear AVB’s more focused on Chelsea than anything else in the Premier League – never a good thing.

What is your most anticipated fixture?

Of course our game against QPR will have even more added spice than previous meetings but to be honest, JT will undoubtedly have a camera rammed up his left nostril (with an obligatory microphone courtesy of some new FA ruling) and  it’ll be too much of a circus to get too excited about it. So, I’ll go with Spurs – these derbies are always much anticipated and it’ll be an interesting one against them having put them out of the Champions League, not to mention meeting our former manager as the opposition.

What is your most anticipated fixture that doesn’t involve your club?

After events on the final day last season, the Manchester derby should be well worth a watch shouldn’t it?

How do you think Southampton will fare?

If I’m honest, will you edit it out? Just kidding! I think you’ll have a honeymoon season, so you’ll do ok. Maybe a finish around 14th?

You find yourself stuck in The Emirates Stadium. How do you escape unnoticed?

To be honest, if I was stuck in Arsenal’s ground, escape wouldn’t be too difficult. I’d sneak out ten minutes before the end along with the rest of them – no-one would think that was unusual.

Everton:-

Name:- Phill Nuttall

Team:- Everton

Website:- www.evertonfc.com

Twitter:- @phillipnuttall

What can we expect from your club this season?

This season will see a more dynamic Everton in the premier league. We have let go of players who were not making the desired impact, eg Rodwell, Cahill & fringe players, and brought in more industrious players such as Gibson, Naismith & Jelavic, fans can expect to see Everton better in possession, defensively solid, and more free flowing in the goals department.

Who is your most important player?Jac

It’s a coin toss between Steven Pienaar and Maruane Fellaini.

Where do you predict you will finish this season?

If we start the season how we finish it then top 6 for Everton this season.

Who might win the Premier League?

City/Chelsea

Who definitely won’t?

The other 18 teams.

What is your most anticipated fixture?

Chelsea, always a great game between us.

What is your most anticipated fixture that doesn’t involve your club?

I’m looking forward to watching Chelsea v Arsenal given their signings.

How do you think Southampton will fare?

I hope they stay up, robbed of many young talents in recent years but back where they belong, can’t see them.finishing top 10 – a season of consolidation for the saints.

You find yourself stuck in Anfield. How do you escape unnoticed?

Anfield – Go dressed as donkey from Shrek – people will just say “Hi Suarez”.

Everton will look to their midfield pair to chase the leading pack.

Fulham:-

Name:- Kyle Bonn

Team:- Fulham

Website:- FulhamsFinest.com

Twitter:- @FulhamsFinest

What can we expect from your club this season?

This question depends a lot on what happens in the final few weeks of the transfer window.  Martin Jol recently said that Fulham is far from done, and they haven’t spent a pound in the transfer market yet despite having brought in Hugo Rodallega, Mladen Petric, and Sascha Riether.  If Jol can find two more strikers and a midfielder like he said he’s looking for, this club has a ton of potential.

Fulham are a club that have flown entirely under the radar in the last few seasons, and without attracting the attention of much of the media and fans have grown up in the Premier League, making themselves a mainstay in the middle of the pack.  Not only that, but a few top-10 finishes in the last couple of years have the fan base buzzing with thoughts of Europa League qualifying dancing in their heads.  With the overhaul Martin Jol has brought to the squad this offseason and the mystery surrounding Clint Dempsey’s future, there may a settling-in period, but to expect another 9th place finish isn’t overestimating this squad by any means.

Who is your most important player?

The American Clint Dempsey, with the shroud covering his future, can almost be thought of as too much a distraction. However, he’s still no question the most well-rounded talent on the club who can strike at any time from the midfield.  The question is, where will he be when the window comes to a close? And if he’s still on the Fulham roster, what role will he play? He’s been locked out of all preseason action so far, with rumors of misgivings with management abound (although the club insists his fitness is the issue). Liverpool are the no-doubt frontrunners for his services at the moment, but with Fulham requiring £10 million to complete the deal, and Dempsey about to top 30 years of age, the Reds are reluctant to pull the trigger.

My prediction has always been for Dempsey leaving in the winter, and it’s looking more and more like that will be the case.  However, if Fulham do indeed find themselves in the race for a Europa League spot, they may find more value in his playing services than in the cold, hard cash they would receive from a team.  Letting him walk for free would hurt, but at the same time if he successfully helped the team to previously unreached heights, most would be content to overlook that.

Where do you predict you will finish this season?

Like I said earlier, 9th place is a realistic expectation this season, but the future is bright.

Who might win the Premier League?

I can’t bet against Manchester United, who with their successful acquisitions this offseason, and the lack of moves made by their derby rivals, they once again the upper hand.

Who definitely won’t?

I know this isn’t going out on much of a limb these days, but Arsenal’s struggles to secure hardware will continue this season.  As much as Wenger has figured out how to sign cheques and complete transactions once again, and has used that to his advantage to secure a number of excellent buys, they won’t have a major impact until the second half of the season, by which time it will be too late.  Next season, however, I would beware the Gunners.

What is your most anticipated fixture?

No doubt Fulham fans this season will be looking forward to both ends of the fixtures with Queens Park Rangers.  Fans have developed a fearsome hatred for each side, being fueled with QPR’s hiring of Mark Hughes, completing his traitorous departure from Craven Cottage. Fulham fans sat back last season with a wry smile while they watched their London rivals squirm their way out of relegation. The Cottagers thumped QPR 6-0 in the home fixture, and took another 3 points 1-0 across London, giving firm bragging rights to the banks of the Thames.  The first matchup will be much-anticipated, and fans will have to wait until December 15 for the rivalry to continue at Loftus Road.

What is your most anticipated fixture that doesn’t involve your club?

The Manchester derby has to be the most exciting fixture.  While I’m sure that doesn’t surprise anyone, these two clubs have to be considered once again the top two in the country.  They very well could decide the championship, and it doesn’t get much better than that.

How do you think Southampton will fare?

Unfortunately I think Southampton will struggle to stay in the Premiership.  This isn’t to underestimate Southampton, but rather a number of teams that finished in the bottom quarter of the league last season have spent a great deal of money this offseason and unfortunately for Southampton this puts them at a disadvantage. Look at what clubs such as Queens Park Rangers, Aston Villa, and even newly promoted sides West Ham and Reading have added this offseason, they may be distancing themselves from other more dormant clubs like Southampton.

Thanks to all the contributors for their input! Look out for the next three parts soon!

Chris

Ranning away with it….

So, why does a man who rarely does any exercise, traditionally hates running, and now after a pretty inactive post army life weighs 15 stone want to do the Great South Run?

Well, firstly I have a clear need to be fitter, I would like to play more sport and most importantly lose some weight. Having done nothing for two and a half years, entering a ten mile road race, may seem a bit drastic, but I have always been somebody that needs a target and motivation. Running for the sake of it, is not my style at all.

The last time I did a ten mile run was in 2007 in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, while serving there in the British Army. I don’t remember my exact time, but I think it was around the 1:25 -1:35 mark, being that it was mountainous terrain, I think that this time area is a reasonable target for the flat surface of Southsea. The only problem is, that was achieved when I was at my peak of physical fitness. I was never the fittest squaddie, in fact I wasn’t even close, but my seven months in the former Yugoslavia provided me with enough time and opportunities to do more exercise than ever before(after the kick up the arse of failing a physical fitness test) and dare I say it, I actually began to enjoy it!

So I have set my targets, 10 miles, 1:25-1:35 time, Raise some money for the Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust, Lose weight, and hopefully enjoy it. All this in 8 months? Should be achievable.

How does somebody go about suddenly becoming a runner again? That bit is easy. Dig out the old army PT trainers? Check. Get a treadmill? Check. Download Runkeeper App for my iPhone? Check. Bought Muesli? Check. Make a motivational itunes playlist to include the theme from Rocky? Check.

There is an old army saying, “All the gear, no idea” which is pretty apt, but after a week into my training plan, I already feel like a “runner”, I’ve discussed it at work, I’ve shared my run information with my facebook friends and subscribed to “Runner’s World” magazine. Ok, that last one is a lie, I mean what would there be to actually read about? One foot after the other as fast as you can right?

Wrong. There is so much more to it than that, and even though I was aware how unfit I had become, I was still surprised by how much I struggled on that treadmill for the first time. Red faced and sweating like a racehorse after two miles, the dry retching started. Two miles? This wasn’t looking good. If the first treadmill run was a “back to earth with a bump” moment, the first road run went beyond the bump and full on choke slammed me back to earth.

Out I went, confident that “Gonna Fly Now(theme from Rocky)” and “Lose Yourself” by Eminem would get me through a nice jaunt along Cowes seafront. By the time I actually got to the seafront, I was yet again a sweaty mess. Realistically I was going quite well, and started to feel more comfortable, only for a silver fox in a 70’s tracksuit who was probably my age when I was born to overtake me at Egypt Point. Confidence Knocked. Eminem had kicked in, but he could stuff his 8 mile. I carried on for as long as I could, conscious of the fact that this was my first road run in over two years and finished a 2.2 mile route in 24 minutes. A pace of just under 11 minutes per mile. I was disappointed. I have since been reassured by people that this isn’t too bad, but patience has never been a quality of mine, and I couldn’t help being deflated.

Long way to go yet, and am sure I will improve. Now to the truly important part. The fund raising. I am not someone who does a lot for charity, so to be able to raise some money for the Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust makes me feel warm inside! I want to raise the most that I can, so have been trying to come up with some ideas to encourage people to part with their hard earned cash. Seeing as the event is run round the streets of Southsea and Portsmouth, my initial thought was, that if I could raise £2k I would run it in a Saints shirt with the name “Scummer” on the back. This could serve a double purpose, as I am pretty sure my pace would be significantly upped! Somebody else came up with the idea of having everybody who sponsors me could declare that they back Saints or Pompey, and whichever side donates the most money dictates which teams shirt I will wear during the race! The thought of wearing a Pompey shirt does not sit well with me at all, but in the name of charity I might take the risk. Thoughts?

Chris

Hello world!

Hello and welcome to my shiny new website!

For those of you that don’t know me, and haven’t bothered to read the header information or visited the About page, I’m Chris or Stig if you are from Cowes, I work in IT, I follow football, I’m pretty normal, not being able to sit and relax in rooms with the door open is normal right?

I already write blogs for Shoot Magazine and occasionally for Saintsweb on one particular subject that is close to my heart. The Pride of the South. The Saints. Southampton Football Club. I felt like I needed my own page so I could write on not just Saints, but football in general and other things that I feel passionate about.

The name of my site georgeweahscousin.com, spawns from my passion obsession for football and Saints. Back in 1996, then Saints manager Graeme Souness received a phone call apparently from world football superstar and legendary striker George Weah, who told the surprisingly naive moustachioued Scotsman that his cousin Ali Dia was a great player and immediately available to sign. Before you could say “How did you get this number” Graeme was getting the deal done and dusted. Dia made his debut for the Saints in the Premier League tie with Leeds United, replacing Matthew Le Tissier after 32 minutes, he was then taken off on 53 minutes after the worst performance in Premier League history, condemning Dia and Saints to laughing stock levels of infamy!

Ali Dia

I will also be using this page to track my fitness progress. Much to the surprise of those closest to me, I recently signed up to do the Great South Run(10 mile road race round Southsea/Portsmouth). An odd decision for somebody who has done less exercise in the last two and a half years than Heather Mills left leg, so hopefully those that read this will be able to see just how much progress somebody who traditionally hates running and let’s face it, is a little bit portly at the moment can make in eight and a half months! On a serious note though I will be running for a good cause, the Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust so all support and donations(site will be up soon) will be greatly appreciated.

So sit back, and hopefully enjoy! Thanks for Reading!

Chris