Sunday, February 21, 2010

Obscure and free music weekend, a bit of everything

This weeknd I decided to do a bit of research into a few bands who give away their music and here are my favourites

Pope John Paul iii
Pope John Paul iii are a band from California and their innovative folk, lo-fi, tongue in cheek crapcore is well worth a listen. The band members are Adam and Ryan Beebe who claim to record on some of the World's worst recording equipment, hence them wanting to swap their studio for Paul Mc.Cartney's in the song Paul Mc.Cartney's studio. Your guess is as good as mine for the inspiration of the song Booze.

For a selection of free tracks click on the albums at

dress up like a hooker, i'll be charlie sheen
I don't know much about this band, but their songs are lo-fi classics, with European Soul being my favourite. You can download their album Hi five for lo-fi at

Harperactive is James Harper who was born in Bangkok but now lives in Manchester is an innovative techno artist who you can support by downloading his the Mancunian Way album at

Boonikum are a Russian band with great vocals. Give them a go at:

Another weekend without football

No live football this weekend either, as I was working and even if I hadn't been the Ely game was called off, so I've been surfing the World of obscure music a bit more.

League cup history

Next week Villa take on Manchester United in the League Cup final, or the Carling Cup as it is known at present. Villa have previousy won 5 of the last 7 league cup finals that they have appeared in includig an impressive win over United in 1994. However, United are the holders and Villa haven't won the cup or any other major trophy since defeating Leeds 3-0 im 1996.

The league cup was originally the idea of Alan Hardaker who was secretary of the football league between 1957 and 1979. His idea was to have a mid week cup that would make use of the relatively new floodlights around the country and the format of a 2 legged competition was seen as advantageous to lower division teams. This wasn't popular with some of the bigger clubs, but the inaugaral tournament in 1961, which was won by Villa was deemed a success. In 1966 winning the league cup led to a place in the UEFA Cup, as it still does when one of the big 4 don't win it. In 1967 the tournment made yet more concessions to the bigger clubs when the tournament final was a one off at Wembley instead of a 2 legged affair and a crowd of 98000+ fans saw QPR beat West Brom 3-2.

In 1982 the league cup became the first major tournament in the UK to be sponsored when the Milk Marketing Board had its name changed to the Milk Cup and Liverpool beat Spurs 3-1. Since then the League Cup has been known as the Littlewoods Cup, Rumbelows, Coca Cola, Worhington and is now the Carling Cup.

The League Cup has been devalued a little bit over the last few years, as certain teams put out weakened teams, Arsenal probably being the most guilty of this. However, teams from the top 4 often win it and in general it offers the best opportunity for the rest to win something. Maybe for this reason and the fact that there are no non-league teams in the competition a lot of the hocks of the tounament are forgotten. However, there have been some notable giant killing scenes. In 1974-5 Chester beat Leeds. In 1995-6 York beat Man United 3-0 at Old Trafford and Grimsby beat Liverpool in 2002 and Spurs in 2005.

Liverpool hold the record number of final victories and final appearances winning 7 out of 10 of the finals they have appeared in.

Top: Dalian and Ron Atkinson celebrate Villa's win over Man United in 1994
Below: Villa players including Ugo Ehiogu and Mark Bosnich celebrate the win over Leeds

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Have Ely finally learnt?

Last night it was freezing and persisting down, but I had already signed up for a Saturday of work drudgery so there was no way I was missing the chance of a match. Another Tuesday and another rescheduled local Derby as Ely took on Mildenhall Town.

As I said the weather was dreadful and for some reason the programme hadn't turned up. Luckily I've got over my programme dependency thanks to the fact I've probably lost most of my Ukrainian and Korean programmes on my travels, but it's still always nice to get one.

When I arrived at the ground the referee was in the middle of his fourth pitch inspection and Mildenhall were trying to convince the ref to have the game called off, which seemed a bit strange as it was Ely who had several players missing including the talismanic Robbie Mason.

Anyway, it seems that Mildenhall's worries were well founded as Ely took an early lead when David Smith scored on 9 minutes. The rest of the first half saw the home team having slightly the upper hand, but Lee Pacey was on cracking form between the posts. It was Ely who with a short passing game dominated rather than the visitors who seemed scared of the ball getting stuck in the mud though. A moe cynical person than myself might say that as Ely usually lose games from losing the ball in midfield they had the advantage that the middle of the pitch was the muddiest part. However, the new lad from CRC who played last week at left back had moved on to the left wing and he had another good game. I still don't now his name due to the lack of programmes ad coverage in today's papers.

The second half saw Ely extend their lead when a deflected shot looped off a defender nd into the Mildenhall goal on 56 minutes. Ely then came under further pressure as Mildenhall tried to get back in the game. This didn't look likely though as Ben Lawrence, Brady Stone and Lee Pacey seemed more than capable of dealing with anything the Mildenhall forwards could throw at them. In fact Ely had a couple of chances to extend their lead with some decent shots including one that hit the bar.

Strangely the Mildenhall players who had wanted the game cancelled, and who probably knew Ely had a propensity to throw leads away in the last few minutes didn't seem to want the game to end and for some reason the referee obiged them by adding on 9 minutes of what is commonly known as Fergie time. However, it appears Ely have learnt, they remained solid at the back and they didn't pick up any stupid bookings (the lack of stupid bookings was perhaps down to Robbie not playing though). Anyway, although the away frm remains patchy things are lookig up at the Unwin.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Keeping it in reserve

Well the weather is still rubbish, but I finally had a Saturday free and the weather wasn't too bad for football to be called off so I had a decision to make. I was half tempted to go to Cambridge v Wimbledon, but I wasn't sure if it was all ticket or not, although I doubt it was given Cambridge's recent form. The other possibilty was a trip to Soham Town Rangers, but as it turned out I couldn't be bothered, so I scraped the barrel that is Ely City Reserves.

To be honest the standard quite often isn't lower than the first team and it is never short of incident. I seem to be (almost) alone on this opnion though, as the crowd was so small the bloke who collects the cash hadn't turned up, so I had to track someone down to pay the two quid to.

Things did't start too brightly though and Ely were 1-0 down to Eaton Socon at af time in a half with few incidents. To be honest Ely could have had a few goals if the bloke who I see on the tran every day hadn't been so useless. It looks like the manager agreed with me as he was off at half time.

The change didn't seem to make much of a change to Ely though as they still couldn't score. However, Eaton Socon were not too shy in the tackle and they eventually paid the price when they had a player sent off on 68 minutes for bringing an Ely forward down in the box. Ely scored from the spot, but they didn't capitalise on the extra man and the ame finished Ely City Reserves 1 Eaton Socon 1

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The end of the Wisbech hoodoo

Last night Ely played Wisbech in what can perhaps be called a local derby in front of a not too bumper crowd of 101. However, the weather was pretty bad and the league had fiddled with the fixtures that many times nobody could be blamed for not knowing what was going on. In fact before the gam we weren't entirely sure if the opposition were Wisbech or Mildenhall. As it happens Mildenhall were playing CRC in the Cambridgeshire cup last night and will be playing at Ely next Tuesday. The weather has been dreadful lately though, hence this being my first trip to the Unwin since Decmber and more snowfall today might mean that the Mildenhall game could be off if things don't improve.

Thankfully the pitch wasn't frozen or waterlogged last night, a state it has been fluctuatng beween for most of the winter. Finally, though Ely got a victory over the Fenmen, who seem to have been a bogie team for Ely at least since I have been following the Robins.

The first half was a bit of a stalemate with both sides creating chances, but neither of them really threateing to score, although Robbie Mason did fluff a pretty good chance and on balance Ely probably shaded it.

The second half was a much more exciting affair and Robbie Mason scored from 12 yards out shortly after the break. Nick Impey could have put a few more balls in for Mason and Fielding, but he was doing his impression of a crab, so it looked like one was all we could expect. Wisbech also looked like they could get back in the game and in the midway part of the game it looked like they would get a penalty but the ref decided it was a dive. Well done ref! Obviously Ely had to give us a couple of heart attacks towards the end and the new lad in at left back on loan from CRC (sorry I don't know his name yet) had a rally good game, but a few hospital passes from his new team mates might have left him longing for the bench at the Abbey. However, for once Ely held on and won the game to lay to rest the Wisbech hoodoo.

Wisbech must have taken it badly as they named Steve Appleby as their manager straight after the match and judging by the picture of him on the Wisbech site he won't be tolerating any poor performances.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Gabby, Gabby, Gabby...

Well a great day was had on Saturday even if it wasn't the most exciting game of the season. The game started off quietly enough (well at Craven Cottage would you expect it to start any other way?) with both teams looking like teams who were severley lacking in form - funny that. However, it was Villa who looked the stronger team and Collins and inparticularly Richard Dunne looked capable of coping with anything that Zamora et al could throw at them.

The break through finally came on 40 minutes when a cross from Petrov found Gabby Agbonlahor in space and he headed home clinically to make it 1-0. Four minutes later just before half time Gabby doubled the scoring with a superb individual effort after a pass from Carlos Cuellar had picked him out in space.

The second half saw Villa passing the ball around nicely with Fulham not really ever looking like breaking down the Villa defence. Fulham did get the ball in the back of the net in the closing stages of the game, but David Elm was offside and not even this seemed to ruffle Villa's feathers, although shortly after Richard Dunne, who was again superb had to make a last ditch block to stop Elm from getting legitimately on the score sheet.

To sume up, an effective if not earth shattering performance by Villa, while Fulham looked a bit toothless.

The top picture (yes I actually took my camera) shows Stewart Downing about to take a corner, which was saved after a Heskey shot.

Below (I stole that photo) shos Gabby Abonlahor outjumping Davies of Fulham